I really hate tearing down games because nobody sets out to purposefully make a bad game and people put passion and effort into Nobunaga's Ambition: Taishi, but not only does this game fail on its own merits, the fact that this is the 15th entry in an acclaimed series makes it even more disappointing. The way it tries to hide its lack of depth is almost insulting, and not even a decent character system can save it.
Yoku's Island Express brought something to the table few games, even among those I enjoyed, have managed to recently - a true sense of freshness. It really is unlike most games on the market, and it manages to grow beyond this defining gimmick, nailing almost every other aspect. Between the fantastic gameplay, lovely presentation and endearing characters, minor faults like excessive backtracking and a somewhat flat main storyline are negligible.
Forgotton Anne is a wholly unique and evocative experience. While it delivers on the selling point of the beautiful hand-drawn anime art style, it backs it up with fantastic story and engaging gameplay. This is truly something special we have here, something that must be explored by anyone who can get their hands on the game.
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire is as close to the perfect RPG as one can get. The fantastic setting, grand story, exceptional writing and voice acting, engaging combat all coalesce into an exemplar of its kind. This is the game that sets the bar. This is the game that needs to be aspired to.
Tempest Citadel is a charming, story-driven title that channels some of the best elements of non-starship based Sci-Fi. With great writing and characters, a depth of customization and plenty of game mechanics in spite of being hands-off with combat (which could have been a disaster, but is implemented wonderfully) come together to form one of the best gaming experiences of the year so far.
Exorder is a technically sound game save for optimization issues, but fails to present a personality of its own or stand out from the crowd with any unique or creative aspects. With poor visuals, bland gameplay and a barely existent storyline coupled with the mobile-game feel leave a sour taste in one's mouth after playing.
Don't let my lengthy rant about the overarching lore fool you - Curse of the Pharaohs is a fantastic, content-rich DLC which takes what already worked well, added a few twists and turns, and gave us more of it. This is a solid ~15-20 hours of content if you're a completionist and explorer with some unique and otherwise underrepresented settings.
Motorbike Garage Mechanic Simulator is polished and incredibly detailed, and manages to be enjoyable even for non-enthusiasts. While a few things are missing, it's still a more than competent game which is both entertaining and relaxing.
SYMMETRY takes masterful atmosphere aided by great art and sound, and plugs it all into overly simple yet unfairly difficult gameplay strung around a story that starts in an interesting manner but goes nowhere meaningful. There is a whole lot of potential on display here that gets left out in the cold.