With so many games on the horizon, the series is threatening to mimic sports franchises on an action-adventure level; the addictive same-old repackaged and resold back to you year-on-year. Mirage might promise a fresh oasis from afar, but get closer and it's the same formula, drier and less quenching than before.
Such letdowns underpin a game that I initially really liked and quickly grew weary of. There's fun to be had, and co-op may open up the enjoyment even more. But heed the warning; most of Atlas Fallen's positives are tapered by the sense it hates its players and isn't willing to give back on the effort put in.
It's no surprise that Forza Horizon puts itself right into the mix with 2021's Game of the Year contenders. Playground Games has been getting it right for a decade now. This is the definitive experience in the series so far, one that excels both on PC and the Xbox Series X. Minimal issues, such as server connectivity, fail to spoil the party that is just crammed with happiness and adventure.
FIFA and PES seem to have swapped shirts, with neither catering to the original audience they once set out to attract. Based on this year's offerings, though, it's PES that has the clearer direction of where it's headed. Perhaps most tellingly of all, PES 2015 is more satisfying in defeat than FIFA 15 is in victory.