From the art to the music to the story to the tactical gameplay, and even to how they're all woven together so artfully, Pyre is an adventure that excels in every area of its design other than limiting its multiplayer to local only. It's an epic journey that made me feel thrilled, devastated, and awed, and its tense moments had me tugging my collar both in and out of its fast-paced mystical sports arenas. With an emotionally charged ending that saw so much I'd striven for come to fruition, but was still tinged with tragedy and melancholy even when I did almost everything right, I won't be able to get Pyre out of my head for a long time. This is Supergiant's best work to date, and that's saying something.
Starbound excels as a crafting and exploration game, as a 2D platformer with varied and engaging combat, and as a Zelda-esque story RPG with a detailed world and memorable alien cultures to interact with. The sheer volume of different kinds of locations to discover, items to craft and build great structures with, and flashy ways to vanquish aliens prevent any part of the experience from getting boring quickly.
I feel like a broken record saying this is the best Total War game so far, since I've felt that way about each major release since Attila. But it really is true: Creative Assembly's designers are honing their campaign and faction design consistently from game to game, and that progression is clearly on display in Total War Warhammer 2.
Subnautica is a template for what open-world survival games should strive to be. It’s fantastical, fresh, and frightening from surface to seabed, with a story that kept on surprising me and a cast of sea monsters that quite literally haunted my dreams.