The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition is as essential now as it was seven years ago. Whether you're looking to play the game for the first time or have been waiting for this free upgrade (and bonus quest) before revisiting, then this is the perfect time to start. It's a masterpiece and still stands at the top of its genre.
Gungrave G.O.R.E is a decent game. It's not the best shooter, but it is often very entertaining if just for the spectacle. It has a few issues, mostly in level design, and the story isn't particularly memorable, but there's plenty of fun to be had in chainsawing your enemies with a transforming coffin.
Dying Light 2: Bloody Ties distills all the highlights and flaws of the main game. If you want a little more story and a bunch of new timed trials to tackle, it's only £8, but it won't change your mind about the game. If you originally came to Dying Light 2 for zombies and are disappointed, this won't change your mind, and if you're here because you want to fight like a gladiator in an arena, this definitely isn't the place for you.
I adore so much of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, from being able to play as an undead lich, to how the story adapts to that choice like you're playing through an incredibly detailed dark fantasy book. That's why I'm almost devastated by the game's lack of polish. It's unbalanced, there's bugs that forced regular restarts, and the console UI isn't suited to managing a crusade, which isn't as interesting as kingdom management. If this is your kind of game, you're better off trying to play on PC. Otherwise, you can join me in enjoying the game despite itself, or play Kingmaker until this has had some significant patches.
Steelrising's Parisian setting and tireless robotic enemies help it to stand out from the growing Soulslike crowd, though its mechanical heart still ticks with the same carefully crafted and unforgiving style of combat. If you want a Soulslike with a bit of a difference, or maybe one that's got an assist mode to help ease you into the genre, Steelrising is well worth considering.
Whether having to stare at the ground for extended periods of time, shoot what should've been a hit but inexplicably doesn't leave any blood behind, or even just getting around with an unsteady frame rate and graphical glitches, there's something here to disappoint everybody. Perhaps if you are hardcore into trophy hunting you could extract a droplet of enjoyment out of Way of the Hunter, but doing so will be an uphill battle against the game itself.
Spellforce 3 Reforced is a relatively successful combination of two genres. Though each of them separately might be a bit too simplified to please die hard fans of them, they complement each other well. They also tell an interesting story in a world that's pretty interesting, even if it isn't that novel. If you're in need of an RTS/RPG on console, you could do much worse than Spellforce 3. If you've got a PC though, you're probably better off playing on there.
Remote Life is a great shmup that's as creative as it is tense and challenging. The story and art direction are dark and grim, with more presence than is strictly necessary, but enhances the game's aethestic. If old school shooters are your thing then Remote life is one to check out.
Nobody Saves the World is a funny, inventive, but repetitive action RPG. It's fun to explore the class customisation, but that comes after repeatedly grinding dungeons to level up new forms. You'll have to ensure you really enjoy silly jokes and cooking up custom classes, which are definitely the game's biggest strength.
Moss: Book 2 expands and improves on its predecessor in every way. Whether it's the emotional attachment you develop with Quill, the surprising twists the story goes through, or the inventiveness of the combat and puzzles, Moss: Book 2 is creative in a way that delights at every turn. If you've got PSVR, it's pretty much essential.
The core game’s design is showing its age at this point. Many missions are fun activities sandwiched between needlessly lengthy driving sessions. Seriously, the number of times if makes you drive between Sandy Shores and the main city of Los Santos is ridiculous, or having to follow a plane for a full ten minutes for no real reason before getting to board it. It would feel like padding if this wasn’t already a long game without them. In spite of this, the story and characters can carry you through the rougher parts so you can enjoy the heists and the witty arguments along the way.
FAR: Changing Tides is a mysterious, intriguing game. It builds off the inventive mechanics of managing a ship, the adventure you face taking on a vaguely unsettling tone at times. It's also fairly short – I finished it in about five hours – but that means it also doesn't try and stretch out its ideas until it outstays its welcome. This is an original and artistic game that deserves a little appreciation.
Pagan: Control is… pretty good. It’s just a bit underwhelming as it retreads the formula from the first DLC, albeit with a different villain to play as that might be more or less to your liking. The roguelite idea seemed to make sense in Vaas’ insane mind, but just doing it again here diminishes some of that novelty. It’s like one good idea is being stretched across more than one DLC.
After the Fall is a fun co-op zombie shooter in VR, but with a lack of content at launch, awkwardly randomised attachment unlocks, and constantly separating parties between levels, it's not without issues. I really want to love After the Fall and, honestly, I would be at peace with all of its flaws if it had more content.
Solar Ash is one of the best games of the year. It looks gorgeous, its story is pretty unique and surprising, and its set-piece moments get really intense, as you might expect from skating along the back of a black goo and bone dragon. It's a nice surprise to end the year with that any "skating combined with combat and gigantic monsters" enthusiasts, which is definitely already a thing.
Winds and Leaves has potential, but the waggle-to-walk controls, the constant jaggedness and morphing vegetation on PSVR, and the detached climbing mechanic cover up most of it. provided you're at peace with the issues it has, It can be a relaxing and meditative experience, but there are better options out there.
Far Cry 6 feels like a sequel that was made because there needed to be a sequel, that's making changes because it needs to show progress. The previous three numbered games in the series felt like they had their own identity and tried to offer more and more options to the player, but Far Cry 6 is a lateral move towards something that isn't quite the Far Cry I originally loved.
Diablo 2: Resurrected is a great remake of a real classic. It looks and feels just how I remember it from playing in the early 2000s, but with cooler lighting and sharper graphics. It has a few control issues with when using a controller, but it's still a must-play for anyone who used to play it and misses it, and a strong recommendation to anyone else who likes action RPGs, dark and grim atmospheres, or who just wants to experience a treasure from the now distant past.
There's fun to be had with MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, but it's probably not for everyone. If the management aspect of the game appeals to you almost as much as using a giant mech to launch a salvo of missiles at a large skyscraper-sized enemy, then you'll likely enjoy MechWarrior 5. There's lots of repetition in the gameplay, but it's tempered a little by the changes it goes through as a result of your growing mercenary outfit. It's rewarding if you put the time in, but it's a shame there's no matchmaking to help alleviate the repetition.
Recompile definitely isn't a perfect game – its combat and platforming have issues and it's easy to miss important things – but if you put the effort in, it's a rewarding and enjoyable experience with stunning visual and audio design and an interesting storyline.