As always, the battles are exciting, and the scope and scale never fails to impress, with the addition of the heroes adding a new dimension to tactics and strategies. This is the game that Romance of the Three Kingdoms fans have been waiting for.
Quite simply, Metro Exodus is the perfect way to round off this trilogy, and a testament to the powerful evolution that a gaming franchise can make. The open world offers a whole new perspective from which to enjoy Artom's tale. Whilst there are some niggly issues with AI, and maybe an overuse of bespoke animations, the fact remains that it is hard to think of a better example of how to design a single-player survival adventure. Visually stunning and packed with audio detail, this is something that should be experienced by any PC gamer.
Ultimately, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is a valued successor in the series and brings the franchise right back to its roots. Graphically, the game is stunning. It pops with glistening detail and lighting, and lots of delicate touches, such as the raindrops on the windows. This is matched by the bombastic sound quality which delivers pounding thrust and thundering cannons through the clouds. Whilst the campaign could be a touch longer, and it is regrettable that the VR mode is not yet present in the PC version, overall the package on offer here is well worth it for any flight combat fans.
Project Highrise: Architect's Edition is a great overall package for any sim fan to enjoy. Thanks to the DLC, there is a lot of content here to enjoy, and a really addicting experience to have. The scenarios could be a little more varied, but they all have their own set of unique challenges to overcome - not to mention, for those that prefer, the sandbox mode allows players to enjoy building any way they want. Playing on the Switch is generally a good experience, albeit the UI can pose some challenges to clarity on the screen, particularly in undocked mode. This is a title to pick up, though, and is sure to scratch the simulation itch for so many.
The Wizards is generally a good VR action-adventure title. Using some imaginative and intuitive controls to cast spells, it does an excellent job of making the player feel like they are indeed controlling a powerful wizard. The narrator is brilliant, and there are some really special effects and sights to see. However, things are let down slightly by the overall length of the game, which can be polished off in just a few hours. Additionally, many of the landscapes and levels have the habit of merging together due to how similar in style they look to one another, with only small bits of variety. It isn't the cheapest adventure on the market, but certainly one to pick up if a fan of this genre.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a tour de force of a game. It says something that this very title inspired the creation of many similar turn-based styles, and probably helped push the rogue-like nature of permadeath even further than it had already started to become back in 2012. The sense of scale, and the equal sense of responsibility on the shoulders of the player to lead humanity's last stand, is immense, as, from USA to Australia, every theatre is covered, every front is battled, and every soldier's death is a tragedy that has an individual story behind it. That is the beauty of this creation, and that is the beauty of a game that feels like it is more than just a hobby - although it soon becomes an obsession. Of course, that was proven with its critical and commercial success, which spawned multiple expansions, a full-fledged sequel, and has, in many ways, turned the circle all the way back by inspiring future titles to build on the success and mechanics employed here.
Football Manager 2019 is a fantastic entry in the series and anyone that hasn't picked up the game in a few years will be blown away by the structural changes to the way it works. The training system allows so much more flexibility in management, whilst drawing on real world examples of how teams are coached in the modern age. In addition, the tactical system overhaul makes creating a specific style for teams to play in much easier. The all-round performance is great, with the UI sensibly remaining as clean and user-friendly as it has been for a number of years now. There are a few minor things that could be polished up, but this is a great buy and sure to have a whole new group of football fanatics addicted.
From a pure mechanical point of view Lost on Mars is decent. It generally retains the fun of Far Cry 5 action in a different setting and story. The problem comes in the execution, with the previous originality and variety of missions and situations replaced by bland tower climbing and frustratingly repetitive boss fights. There is humour in Hurk and his tale and the AI 'ANNE' displays all the traits of a typically psychopathic computer system well. However, this humour only goes so far and can't assist in battling through the hours and hours of looped gameplay with weapon upgrades being the only meaningful reward for doing so. It is fair to say it hasn't been a vintage collection of expansion campaigns for Season Pass holders so far, with many arguably wanting more quality so far for Far Cry 5. Hopefully, the final one will make up for these disappointments.