Beyond best-in-setting and best-in-franchise, Total War: Three Kingdoms is a game that instantly contends for best of the year, or best in its genre. The setting and franchise here give it high expectations, and Three Kingdoms surpasses those expectations at almost every level.
Steel Division: Normandy '44 succeeds both at being an entertaining real-time tactics game and a compelling simulation of historical combat, which is a remarkable combination. Not to get ahead of things, but playing this excellent World War II game makes it hard not to get excited about the potential of Steel Division: Stalingrad '42 or Rome '43. Future games or expansions might even smooth out Normandy ‘44's small drawbacks, specifically its occasionally overwhelming amount of detail and lack of context to its huge number of options, but its successes wildly outweigh its failures.
If one of your favorite things in RPGs is finding a new location, and reveling in the rush of new quests and characters and dialogues and battles, then Torment: Tides of Numenara does that better than just about anything. It's disappointing, although not surprising, that Torment can't maintain that energy for a full game, especially with a rushed ending. But that's a small price to pay for a wildly creative and clever role-playing game.
Stellaris is filled with good ideas, and it's not difficult to see the outline of a great space strategy game where those ideas could come together. But beyond the early game, it's only compelling in bits and pieces – it turns into a largely uneventful slog after that. Paradox has developed a reputation of major upgrades to their games for years after launch, and Stellaris is going to need all that love and more to reach its potential.
There are a lot of good ideas in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada, and it certainly looks like a great tactical space combat game. But it struggles to build that into a coherent whole, making it tough to recommend unless you’re willing to utterly dedicate yourself to fully comprehending the inaccessible systems of its combat.