Often in strategy titles there is the want for more. More building types, more resource types, more of everything. Anno 1800 has all of that depth from the very beginning with so many types of buildings there is an amazing balancing act to make. With chains of production to make, such as potato farms which supply schnapps brewers, there is plenty of thinking to be done. This is a game many would refer to as a time sink, yet it is one I'd happily pour hours into. The futuristic titles had lost their way somewhat, but Anno 1800 firmly steers the series back on track!
The levels are once again only available when past the Femington hospital, though unlike the Bigfoot DLC the challenge posed makes this more sensical – with this being the first time I had struggled to keep a hospital profitable. Simply put, if you are looking to extend the base game's awesomeness and have a new challenge then Pebberley Island is the location you should travel to!
Many of the positives of the orignal have been captured and bundled with a host of improvements, yet The Division 2 still feels like more of the same. Taken on face value this might sound negative but as the original helped the hours pass by, and the sequel matches this, and you start to realise this is another great game from Ubisoft. Built on the core shooter gameplay, the cover based combat is fast paced and explosive – without being too over the top.
Comparison aside, Anthem can be a fairly chilled game to play with friends, despite explosions big enough to fill screens, and this is 100% the way to play the game. The constant challenges to defend areas or collects things are made less of a chore with a competent ally. Also, having a friend to cooperatively combo with helps push all of the over the top fun to the surface. The niggles are still there and present but it is much easier to forgive when not solo. With all the glorious map there to fly around, the vast ways to cause explosions and cooperative play, Anthem is well worth playing, especially once the roadmapped content starts to come online.
Far Cry New Dawn offers a solid gaming experience, full of vivid slightly familiar landscapes, a fun range of weapons and an appropriately crazy pair of sisters to go up against. Hours of entertainment are packed in whether you've visited Hope County before the nukes went off or not, with the easter eggs really great touches for fans of the series. However, New Dawn and the transformation of Hope County offered more hope on what the game could be. More could have been changed and surprisingly, given the epic craziness that was Blood Dragon, the insane dial hasn't been cranked up enough.
Simply put, Catastronauts is like Overcooked in space. It has a similar, rather cartoony, art style and same hectic gameplay. The only real difference is gone are chopping boards and pans, with players are instead onboard various spacecraft which are under attack. In a similar way to Overcooked players constantly feel under pressure and as if they don't have enough hands to juggle the required jobs, but that just makes the experience entertaining. If the theme captures you more this could beat out Overcooked, otherwise it needs a tad more content to make the game out of this world.
Overall, Insurgency Sandstorm is a worthy successor, and a great option if you're looking for a more thoughtful shooter. The progression system doesn't interfere with the gameplay but gives you some nice little rewards to help keep people invested. The biggest weakness is the lack of singleplayer content, but if you've got an interest in modern shooters and a few friends to bring along then Insurgency Sandstorm is a pretty good choice of shooter. Insurgency Sandstorm is available now on Steam for with console versions planned to be released next year.
For those looking for a fun assassin game Hitman 2 is for you. The game not only does little to stop you attempting the level your way but is happy enough to guide you through one of the many available paths if you so wish. Whether you want to slowly and stealthily learn the routes of the targets and take them out with “accidents” or straight up silverballer them to the face, the choice is left to you. The individual missions are crying out for multiple players, though even from one playthrough you'll get one solid experience, and one that is different from everyone else.
Battlefield V hits the right notes of war being a bloody affair, with gritty hard fought battles. The maps present real contrast from one another, with each favoring different styles of play. Playing as part of a decent squad can see you noticeably affect the outcome of a battle, and one that is full of period weaponry that still pack a punch. Grand Operations is considered by DICE and EA as this installments crowning multiplayer achievement and as the game is currently missing the new standard of a Battle Royale mode this is the case. At the moment in time, the game has a few niggles bug wise but still presents a strong experience – one that will hopefully improve with a couple of minor patches and the promised future content.
Whether swapping NPC conversations for other players works is a bit subjective, though the change is not as severe a detriment to the experience as expected. While the roots of Fallout 76 are firmly in Fallout 4 the final gameplay experience is quite different and so there's no guarantee that fans of that game will enjoy it. Fallout 76 is worthy of recommendation with two caveats. You have to go in expecting a light multiplayer survival game in an interesting setting, rather than a deep story-focused role-playing game. On top of this, Fallout 76 is a game that really is better with friends, as that is the real replacement for the NPC dialogue in the world – if you're going in as a solo player you might come away dissatisfied.
When the weakest part of a game is the gameplay often it is enough to see the game instantly hitting the bargain bins or at least strongly criticised. Forgotton Anne manages to break that logic by featuring a compelling, deep and questioning storyline and jaw-dropping presentation that makes the mediocre puzzles worth muddling through. Taking around seven hours to complete the game isn't super long and a few hours of that time can be attributed to journeying across the 2D screen. If you appreciate the art style this doesn't feel like wasted time, instead time for indulging and enjoying the world. A world that is the perfect mixture of the believable and bizarre. Forgotton Anne might not be for everyone but those drawn in by the art and the promise of a story won't be disappointed.
Between the story quests and the easy to acquire side objectives there is plenty of hours available for gamers to get their teeth into. Something that is surely only going to rocket upwards once the Online element arrives. Even without that, and the slight issues, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game worth playing. For the sense of being that outlaw character, riding around the stunning map and having choice of what to do, this is a worthy sequel. You will spend a lot of time going from A to B, even doing little tasks, but these are easy compromises to make for the full Western experience.
Treyarch has once again taken the Call of Duty to the next level, by adding something completely different – much like they did with Zombies. Call of Duty Black Ops 4 has taken bits from a lot of other popular games. Be it the instant hit Blackout, from the rise in popularity of battle royal, or Heist mode where you gain income each round but must purchase weaponry, akin to Counter Strike Global Offensive. Treyarch seems to have been happy to do this and experiment with features like a tweaked health system. It has paid off, despite there not being the storyline to play, there is more than ever to keep gamers hooked and playing Call of Duty for the next year!
Full of wonderful dream like miniature island locations and some slightly head scratching puzzles, The Gardens Between is exactly what I wanted from the title. It offers a laid back approach to puzzle games, which doesn't artificially slap on time based goals. Given the time manipulation theme it is almost awkward to say that time can slip away from you when playing, trying to complete just that one more island. Overall, this is a stunning little puzzle title that deserves some love!
Victor Vran is an RPG designed with players like myself in mind, those whom like the idea of an intriguing world but with no class based limitations on what they can and can't do. It's fun for 5 minutes tearing your way through enemies, chaining attacks together, yet suddenly hours have past and you'll still be happily swinging a mighty warhammer. The environments fit the style and steampunk theme of the game, though some do fade into the background – being somewhat unremarkable. Nevertheless, for the fun that is on offer Zagoravia is a city worth venturing in!
Two Point Hospital nails so many aspects that it makes it easy to call it a worthy spiritual successor of Theme Hospital. There's no doubt that gamers will be sinking hours into the title, with there always being one more challenge to complete and another issue that needs solving. Patients and staff aren't just wandering sprites, each come with traits that make them react differently, and not always in a helpful way! This is all rounded off by the comedic elements; which are perfect for turning what could be a depressing serious tycoon game into a light hearted entertaining experience, which is impossible not to love.