Always Sometimes Monsters isn't the first game to get clever with morality. It's not the first game that's had a few grey areas. It also isn't about either of those. It's about perspective. It's about empathy. It's about who we are and why we do what we do. That narrative is one of contradiction and hypocrisy, because that's what real people are about.
Total War: Warhammer II is a hybrid turn-based strategy and real-time tactics game that stands among the best of both. Its emphasis on campaign pacing, fantastical battles, and complex battlefield tactics easily positions itself as an all-time great.
As someone that simply waits and arranges the location of towers, I felt as if I was incidental. Any other character in the game could just as easily have replaced me, and the plot would remain largely the same. Still, there's something special about waiting. About that patience. As I saw wave after wave of alien soldiers ground to shreds by my turrets, I was sad. I wasn't out for blood. I wasn't revelling in the destruction of my enemies. I was defending myself. I was waiting.
Cloudbuilt succeeds remarkably in proving that how a game feels and what you do within it can tell stories all on their own. The monologues contextualise the gameplay, and knowing that Demi is pushing through her own recovery maps cleanly onto the difficult jumps, complicated wall-runs and well-placed shots. Cloudbuilt is a game in which you'll die a lot, and that's not an accident. Demi's progress is slow and painful. Yours will be too, but that in itself carries meaning. Sometimes the quiet, narrow victories are the most meaningful.
If you'd like to pick up just one of the new factions, that'll only run you 10 pounds, and with that you can start playing one of the best World War 2 strategy games ever made... alongside its near-perfect predecessor, of course.