Total War: Three Kingdoms is as close to flawless as you'll find, with a fantastic balance of 4X strategy and character-focused development and emergent storytelling. The battles are frantic, with increased tactical opportunities through duelling. City development is more intuitive and less restrictive, though still requires thought and all of this takes place on a China that looks downright fantastic, where even the UI and menus look great. This is the Total War experience and a new high for the series.
Forza Horizon 4 is nothing short of fantastic. With a host of content, backed by a fantastic roster of cars that tread the fine line between arcade and simulation perfectly. While the amalgamated UK may be a little too pristine, not completely reflecting reality, it's such a stunning and enjoyable place to race around that any issues are washed away in the utter fun you're having. Forza Horizon 4 is, without a shadow of a doubt, the pinnacle of the series and arguably the best racing game you can buy.
Civilization VI is the pinnacle of the series. It's featured huge, sweeping changes, and nothing was left out. Everything has found a purpose, they all work together in tandem but also have a reason to stand alone. Only slight AI issues can be found here, but nothing every other 4X or Grand Strategy game hasn't encountered on a worse level. Civilization VI is, frankly, the best 4X strategy game in the world.
Horizon Zero Dawn is a pure sign of what can be completed with an exceptionally designed open world. Not only that, it has exceptional characterisation and a sincere story that doesn't shoehorn elements, allowing for the organic growth of characters. This is a game that I can barely find any faults with, except borrowing some elements from other open world games. Even so, it made each and every element its own in one of the best games to date.
Total War: Warhammer II takes the fantasy setting to its next logical level. Bringing in completely unique factions, giving them all a personality of their own in the franchises most focused campaign ever has led to an incredibly compelling game. The only problem is that the old Total War issues of poor AI with diplomacy still prevails and that the economy is easy to game to your advantage. Still, altogether an outstanding release.
With a clean, intuitive new UI as well as tutorials that introduce both new and veteran managers to all of the major systems in Football Manager 2019, it's never been as easy to get into the game. Thanks to a myriad of upgrades, both large and small, the series as also never been this good. Unarguably the pinnacle of the series so far, with only a few remaining issues like press conferences and player conversations, this is sure to be the highlight for all budding managers.
Football Manager 2020 is the purest, most engrossing and also the most accessible football management game yet and marks yet another high point for the series. From improved accessibility and usability to improved AI and long-term gameplay functions in new features like the development centre & club vision, this is a game that takes a longer more realistic look at the beautiful game than any before it. Slight issues still prevail, but this is the closest to perfect the series has ever been.
Football Manager 2021 is by far the closest representation to the beautiful game you can find. With an improved matchday engine, improved AI and even more datapoints than ever before, all represented in a more digestible method, making it more accessible than ever before. However, there's still no doubt that the series is still going to have a high barrier to entry, and it has some irritating issues, such as repetition in the press conferences and other interaction aspects. Issues aside, this is yet another improvement and superior entry to the series.
Firewatch is a short, succinct, game that tells the story it wants to tell. It offers a real look at developing relationships, choice and consequence, all with the beautifully rendered backdrop of the Shoshone national forest. It's a game that will stick with you beyond the finish and one that you'll want to go back to.