Ultimately, State of Decay 2 has proven a disappointment. Undead Labs laid the groundwork with the original, but it's failed to build upon this to any noticeable degree. It's a much prettier, just as buggy, State of Decay 1.5. To some, just having more may be enough, but it would've been nice to see them push the boat out just a little bit more. Perhaps they should've done that MMO zombie survival game after all...
For now, it's wholeheartedly recommended you dive in with a crew of friends, provided they're willing to take the long-term approach. The horizontal progression means players won't be punished for not playing, which could make Sea of Thieves fantastic to dip into as and when the content updates arrive.
For all the fervent hatred of Konami that forms the current gaming-hate-bandwagon of choice, based on its own merits, Metal Gear Survive isn't a terrible game. It's not a great one for sure, and certainly not near the pedigree we expect from a Metal Gear product, but it's a serviceable enough survival game that benefits greatly from layering in a few of The Phantom Pain's systems. It won't scratch that same itch of sneaky badassery that has made Snake a household name, and it's almost certainly not worth the full $40 / £35 asking price, but there's definitely fun to be had here even if it doesn't come close to troubling the series' heights.
The core of the game is sound, it just needs to be more upfront with the player about what it's doing. It's really frustrating for me because I keep booting it up and I keep playing it, but eventually tangled web of systems gets the better of me and I've got to close it in a rage.
Everything about Seven is just a bit of a shame. Fool's Theory has come so close, and in doing so proven itself the jack-of-all-trades, master of none. A game of this budget lives and dies on having one or two insanely unique or memorable standout features, and yet Seven lacks in this area. With the thousands upon thousands of games now at our fingertips, it's never been harder for devs to get noticed. None of Seven's particularly bad, it's just not especially memorable.
All in all, Steep: Road to the Olympics doesn't do much to upset the formula. There are tweaks and refinements, but at its core, this is the same uniquely playable game that delivers something nothing else quite manages. If the prospect of doing it all over again on a staggeringly beautiful new Japanese mountain appeals, then step up to the podium.
I could wax on about Assassin's Creed Origins for a long time. For all its foibles it's a staggering achievement, and most certainly the best the series has ever offered alongside Black Flag. Those who prefer the dense city networks of the original games may bounce off it a little, but for anyone even remotely interested in the prospect of The Witcher and Assassin's Creed crossing paths, this comes highly recommended.
The Evil Within 2 is definitively better than the original. An already great horror game has been refined and expanded, offering just the right balance between overwhelming oppressiveness and a satisfying fight for survival. It's another love letter to fans of Resident Evil 4.
Overall Observer is good at what it does, but it's not the sort of place I overly enjoyed being in. Rather than pelting headlong down the horror route, it straddles an awkward thriller line that didn't overly entice me. At no point was I desperate to boot it up and find out what happened next, no doubt partly due to the busy, often dizzying art style that made me feel like I was sat in the back of a hot car on a long journey. For those after a narrative driven, cyberpunk fix Observer certainly fills a hole though, provided you can deal with yet another take on technologies potential impact on humanity.
PES 2018 is Konami's classic back at its strongest on PC, and the small changes to the feel of the gameplay have genuine ramifications on the pitch. It might lack the big budget feel of FIFA, most keenly felt in the match atmosphere, commentary and the lack of TV-like production values, but it plays a damn fine game of football.
If you put plenty of time into Nidhogg and you're pining for something to freshen it up, Nidhogg 2 should do the trick. If you're new to the series and on the look out for an excellent party game then I see no reason to look further than the budget-priced original. By making the original so fantastic, Messhof has fallen on its own sword in making a sequel.
Which leaves me in a bit of a conundrum, and Sundered with a name that couldn't be apter. The core of Sundered is fundamentally flawed from the outset, and randomly generated levels are often a bugbear of mine. But layered on top of this is a fantastic, gorgeous action game with heaps to do. All told you're looking at a good 15-hour run through, and those whose thirst is still not quenched as the credits will no doubt be pleased that each playthrough is different. If the thought of eating a beautiful crunchy red apple appeals to you, and you don't mind the worms wriggling inside, Sundered might be worth a shot.
Superhot VR is still a joyous experience and one which I have to admit I enjoyed more than the original. It's the sort of game that once you come out of VR, you're dying to tell people what you've done. You actually feel like you've briefly lived in an action movie, and there can be no better argument for the power of VR. Superhot VR is impossibly cool, unbearably stylish, and horrendously addictive. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER.
All in all, Dirt 4 is an undeniably fantastic racing experience wrapped up in a dull procession of events known as a career mode. At its absolute best it can be a white-knuckle thrill ride that hardcore racing fans would do well to give a try, but those after a more consistently adrenaline-filled arcade experience may want to look elsewhere.
If you aren't overly familiar with some of the immersive sims that are out there right now, you'll be in for a heck of a ride. There are precious few games right now which do what Prey is trying to do, preserving the core single-player FPS experience for those who don't want to just blast everything in sight. I wouldn't say Prey is the thinking man's FPS, but it's certainly got plenty of substance. In the absence of BioShock 3, this is going to be as good as it gets.
So as I sit here drinking the last of my fine lager, pondering the meaning of existence, I wholeheartedly recommend you pour yourself a glass of Nier Automata too. PlatinumGames has had many high points throughout its 11-year existence, but never has it delivered something quite as mesmerising as Nier Automata, an action-RPG to be truly savoured.
If you've got the DOOM reboot then I heartily recommend you just go and play its Arcade Mode instead. This was added as a free update back in October last year, and it's everything you want from a score-attack shooter and then some. Failing that, and if you've never played Bulletstorm before, then it's worth a play-through should you spot it at a deep discount further down the line.