Ultimately, Proxy Studios has stripped away some of the complexities commonly found within the 4X genre and distilled Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War to an Ork-infested blood-fest. It's a bold decision, and to some extent, it works. There's a reason why folks created the Nuclear Ghandi meme from the Civilization series; at the end of the day, it's fun to make guns, destroy opponents, complete research, and make bigger guns is fun. However, in Gladius' case, the guns don't come without a few hiccups. Performance issues, counterintuitive visual design, and lackluster sound are prevalent concerns. It makes for a strategy game that is so close to succeeding but falls short of something special. After spending roughly 30 hours with Gladius and getting familiar with each of the factions, I'm comfortable recommending the game to fans of the genre who are desperate for something new or for those looking for a 4X game they can enjoy at a more relaxed pace. What's more relaxing than smashing Space Marine skulls on a Saturday morning with a maxed-out Warboss? Waaaaaghhh!
Ultimately, LEGO The Incredibles isn't "totally wicked," but TT Games has created another charming LEGO game. Sure, the puzzles and quests are fairly mundane, and this isn't much different from the other LEGO games. At this point, it seems like everyone knows what to expect from a LEGO title, and they know why they're gravitating toward it. Thought-provoking narrative, branching dialogue trees, and complex side-quests aren't expected when booting up one of these games. Players are looking for charm, nostalgia, and pun-filled quips within a beloved universe, and in that regard, LEGO The Incredibles delivers. The game can be completed within 10-15 hours and has a decent-sized open world, 12 story missions, and tons of characters spread across various Pixar universes. LEGO The Incredibles offers just enough content to put a smile on your face without overstaying its welcome.
Minor issues aside, Grip: Combat Racing is a great experience for both veterans of arcade combat racers as well as those who are willing to learn the genre. The initial learning pains and massive difficulty spikes toward the end of the game may turn away newcomers, and the catch-up mechanics and sometimes questionable physics may dissuade veteran players. For all others, though, Grip is a wild ride that offers fantastic tracks that are exhilarating to race on at lightning-fast speeds.
Overall, Thronebreaker is a revolutionary game within the CCG genre, and I hope other companies take note. With a 40-hour story to support an engaging card game, there's nothing else quite like it, and its unique nature is to its overall benefit. It's made me realize how much I can and do enjoy card games when they're done right. I always loved the idea of CCGs, but it often takes a lot of time and grinding to get up to par with others. CD Projekt Red remedies this by slowly teaching the complexities of Gwent to the player with an engaging plot to keep players enthralled all the way through. It's time to take all my hard-earned rewards and experience gained in Thronebreaker and have my ego obliterated by a horde of Nekkers controlled by a 13-year-old kid — and I couldn't be more excited.
CrossCode shows that the size of a developer and its overall budget doesn't determine the quality of the game. AAA developers can sink all the money in the world into a title, and it may still lack that "special something." That isn't the case here. Radical Fish Games' CrossCode is a masterpiece action RPG by a small-scale studio, and it's damn-near perfect in nearly every way.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Insurgency: Sandstorm, and whenever the mood strikes for an intense, realistic shooter, this will probably be my game of choice. It isn't as punishing as something like Arma, but it still offers fantastic audio and a brutal TTK that forces the player to slow down, think about their steps, and use all the tools the game puts at their disposal. One can't go into this game hoping for a sleek experience. The technical side of the game is just as gritty as its combat. In the heat of an intense battle, your processor will also put out some heat. Hopefully, New World Interactive can devote some time toward the technical side of things and put as much care into that as it did the audio and gameplay. If the developer can fix those issues, Insurgency: Sandstorm would be one of the better competitive shooters available on Steam.
Overall, Trine 4 is a delightful game that's sure to satisfy anyone looking for a fun, light-hearted physics-based puzzle game. With roughly 10 hours of content, it's an easy recommendation if only to experience the game world's rich art design and clever puzzles. The puzzles aren't as complex as those found in Portal 2 or The Witness, but the variety of approaches is rewarding in its own way. For that reason alone, it's easy to recommend Trine 4, a game in a genre that rarely receives entries with this level of heart and soul in the art design department.
None of those points deter from my overall enjoyment of Phoenix Point, though. It's a fantastic game, and I'm excited to see what Gollup has in mind for DLC. I certainly plan to play more of this game and improve my tactics. At the moment, my only Phoenix-like revival skills lie in save scumming.