- Thief: The Dark Project
- Dark Souls
- Alpha Protocol
Some lingering series quirks persist, but other smart lessons from the first game have been applied to Total War: Warhammer 2. Another four mechanically diverse factions, each pursuing a singular campaign goal on a richly detailed map, make this a powerful sequel.
The quests (both self-contained and the companion extras) are up to Tyranny's written standards, but in terms of combat and broader consequences Bastard's Wound doesn't make a massive impression. It's comfortably familiar, just not essential.
Endless Space 2 bolsters Amplitude's reputation for superb, unique 4X faction design. The interwoven narrative and management mechanics produce a universe within which its easy to lose yourself, but some lingering bugs suggest the game may have launched prematurely.
Relic reinvent Dawn of War once again, retaining many RTS staples and borrowing a little from their MOBA genre-cousins. It's not a flawless mix, and the multiplayer contents are a bit lean; but distinctive factions, a solid campaign, and largely compatible mechanics give Dawn of War 3 a strong base of operations.
It takes a while to find its voice and stretches a three song soundtrack to near breaking point, but this first episode demonstrates a willingness to take a stand-alone Guardians of the Galaxy plot in intriguing directions. Most importantly: it pulls off just enough jokes.
In tandem, the (free) Banks 1.5 update and Utopia contribute a splendid set of features and mechanical changes to Stellaris. Taken alone, Utopia is more the luxury trimmings to Banks’ essentials, but it’s a fine package of unique species specialisation and mega-engineering all the same.
This hopefully isn't the last we'll see of Eidos Montreal's Deus Ex, but if it is then A Criminal Past at least serves as a compact summary of their tenure at the helm. Nothing too radical here, just a well constructed prison level for Adam Jensen to be let loose upon.