For a full-price game, though, Wahammer 40K: Armageddon feels lacklustre and slightly cheap, more of a re-skin of Panzer Corps than its own beast, and lacking the sense of grandeur that the setting requires. There's a great turn-based 40K out there somewhere, but this isn't it.
The first act is a little slow to get going, but once the story has its hooks in you and the true scale of the world opens up before your eyes, it's easy to forgive early problems with pacing and a slightly lacklustre combat system. It says something that after around forty-five hours of gameplay I was disappointed that the main plot was showing signs of coming to an end, and that as soon as I finished I wanted to start the whole thing over again.
If you're a fan of RPGs, you should really check the game out; the story is engaging and the characters are fun, but it's the charming picture-book aesthetic and unique combat system that really make the difference. At a knockdown price with all the extra DLC included, there's really no reason not to give it a go.
I'm sure Firaxis will eventually make a great game out of Beyond Earth. They're a smart development team that knows how to improve and iterate on a solid core product, which Beyond Earth certainly is. Right now, though, I can't help but feel slightly disappointed by the state of the game. It's perfectly enjoyable, but for every smart innovation it seems to have lost a portion of both complexity and character. There's potential here, but we'll have to wait for a couple of meaty expansions to see Beyond Earth's promise fully realised.
Stripped down and lacking new ideas, F1 2014 definitely feels like a stopgap; the racing itself has been honed over several incarnations to the point where it's pretty damned sharp, but with the omission of classic mode and a relatively scarce list of new features, there's a sense that Codemasters are resting on their laurels here while they concentrate on the next-gen F1 title they've got in the works.
It's the smart faction design that's the key – Amplitude has done a fantastic job of creating races that feel distinctly different from each other, each offering an interesting new take on traditional 4X gameplay. I don't think Endless Legend is quite the finished article just yet, but there's a solid and likeable core experience here that deserves your attention.
There's a level of roughness here that I couldn't help but be a little disappointed by after such a long development time. For every smartly written sequence with vibrant locations and characters, there's an aimless fetch quest or an overlong combat section. Oddly enough, despite the content added in Wasteland 2's extra year of production, I think the game could have benefited from being cut down, edited to emphasise the best bits and get rid of some of the clutter. I like Wasteland 2, I really do, but I can't help but think it's not quite the masterpiece we were promised.
If you're yet to try out Company of Heroes, which is one of the best multiplayer RTS experiences currently available, this is a great opportunity to do so. Just bear in mind that aside from skirmishes you won't get any singleplayer options.
Fives games in and the Tropico series has really found its feet, creating a cheery and relaxing ambience that sets it quite apart from other city-builders out there. From the music to the bright and colourful graphics and the irreverent wit of your various staff, it's got a very unique character that makes the simple gameplay very addictive.
Not without flaws then, but it's a game still capable of providing you with some epic cinematic showdowns, particularly in those new 8v8 multiplayer matches. If you like your war games expansive and unforgiving, and don't mind overcoming some lingering issues with awkward presentation and excessive micromanagement, Men of War: Assault Squad 2 provides an exciting and singular war gaming experience.
Child of Light is like a blast from the past, capturing the essence of a classic JRPG from the genre's heyday and refining it with a fresh coat of modern polish. The art design and audio is gorgeous, the combat is simple and fun, with no ultra-complicated busywork to get in the way, and the characters are charming. It's a brief visit, and one that suffers from an occasionally repetitive formula, but the beautiful art, smart battle system and endearing storytelling make it absolutely worth your time.