Despite the odd lull in gameplay, repetitive objective or feeling as though there's too much scale weighing you down – Shadow of War is completely inspirational in the way it's attempting to further narrative storytelling in videogames. The overarching storyline involving Talion is an engrossing one yet that almost becomes a sub-plot in itself – second to the mini meta-narratives you'll create amongst the factions of Orcs and Warchiefs you meet along the way. The voice acting and motion capture performances are really solid and the presentation is glossy and big-budget; it's as close to actually being in Middle-Earth as you're ever going to get. I'm about as swept up in this game as a Drake riding off into a fiery sunset; fantastic.
Currently, I'm unconvinced by Pro Evolution Soccer 2018. It has all the trademarks of what a great footballing game should be, but sloppy presentation, jerky in-game transitions, poor commentary and a lack of exciting multiplayer modes leave this one still trailing FIFA's dust.
Overall, episode 1 of Life is Strange: Before the Storm isn't the strongest entry in the saga – but it's far too early to judge. I'm hoping centering the story on Chloe isn't a poor choice on Deck Nine's behalf, there must be a story to tell without meandering around old locations and looking at random objects strewn across the floor. They've established some great roots here, now they must build on them to take gamers on an emotional rollercoaster.
I'm a fairly casual gamer and enjoy first-person experiences that pose a challenge and tell a great story. While most of this is achieved in Dishonoured 2 - I feel the storytelling aspects left me feel a little lacking. There are huge bouts of exposition and lore to read - things that could be 'shown' rather than 'told' are extremely present and get repetitive quick. With the sheer amount of action taking place I never felt I really had time to read passages of books and pages of notes - and since this isn't a game like Elder Scrolls Online which rewards you for reading, it doesn't feel warranted here. Everything else is absolutely on point - from the excellent levels to intelligent enemies, it's a pleasure wielding your abilities to demolish anyone in your path and restore yourself to your rightful throne.
Overall, FIFA 17 takes enough steps forward to warrant its place in your gaming library this year. Occasionally EA can deliver a lackluster experience and take its position as the ringleader of football sims for granted – but with the addition of The Journey and a more refined gameplay style, FIFA 17 will satiate any footie fantasies you have for the next 12 months. Don’t be put off by FIFA’s overtly British aesthetic (Alex Hunter’s tale takes place strictly in England – and the Premier League will default itself to most of your settings), it’s a game that can be enjoyed by everyone. Just don’t be like me and take it far too seriously, otherwise you’re due to shell out some money for controllers broken out of rage…
Overall, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens delivers more value for your money than any of the previous installments to date. The set pieces are bigger than ever and there's far more varied content to keep you occupied rather than the repetitive puzzle solving formula. Easily my favourite of these 'modern' LEGO games.