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.
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.
Galactic Civilizations 3 is a constantly rewarding experience, a colossal box of toys with which you can create some truly memorable stories. It's the embodiment of the 'just one more click' cliché, a game that can have you jumping on intending for a few turns, only for you to come to your senses hours later, eyes bleary and unfocused, but that new armada of elerium-shielded warships ready to roll over your unsuspecting enemies.
Magicka 2 offers a smoother, more comfortable experience than its predecessor, but that doesn't mean the series has lost its signature charm. It's still insane, madcap fun, that somehow manages to make an absolutely unintuitive control system into a strength rather than a weakness. Played as a drop-in multiplayer game, it's an entertaining, amusing hack and slash. With a group of friends, it's an absolute riot.
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.
There's already a decent roster of maps, ready-made cities, building designs and more to download, and the game's not even hit the shelves yet. It's a sign that Colossal Order cottons on to the reason people like these city-building games; they want freedom, not restriction, streamlined, easy to use systems, not needless complexity. In that sense, Cities: Skylines is a resounding success. In summary - here's the city-builder you've been waiting for. Enjoy.
There's still work to be done – the end-game still fizzles out unspectacularly, and it's disappointing that each world's exotic alien lifeforms still act as little more than troublesome barbarians – but Rising Tide is an excellent first step on the road towards a better Beyond Earth.
Jump into an online game and you'll have a great time, but with one or two friends at your side, Vermintide is a serious contender for the best multiplayer experience of the year. This one's going to stick around for a good, long while.
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.
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.
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.
There are some balance issues to tweak, and the game's performance could stand to be smoothed out a little – I occasionally experienced some odd end-of-map FPS stutter – but those are relatively minor imperfections. Dirty Bomb is well worth your time already, and I'm excited to see what Splash Damage has in store as the game continues to develop.
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.