Tuque Games must have rolled a natural 20 on their saving throw, because none of Dark Alliance's faults are able to bring the action-RPG down. It's a solid cooperative dungeon crawler that's positively dripping with D&D's iconic Companions of the Hall setting and lore. The combat may take some getting used to, and putting your party together is more fiddly than it needs to be, yet Dark Alliance remains an entertaining adventure from beginning to end.
Necromunda: Hired Gun does have redeeming qualities. The movement is great, the gunplay feels good, and the environmental design is stellar. There's simply a legion of issues on both the design and technical fronts working overtime to hold it back. If you are willing to overlook Hired Gun's many problems and massive amounts of jank you'll likely have a great time blasting gangers to bloody bits. But, I won't fault you for waiting on a sale or sequel instead.
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is an unfinished expansion with some cool ideas in need of a lot of additional iteration and work. As it currently stands the Elite Dangerous PC community is beta testing Odyssey for the inevitable console launch, despite the expansion being advertised as a finished product. Unless they don't mind paying to play in a glorified beta, commanders should stick with Horizons until the dust settles.
If you are still enjoying Valhalla then Wrath of the Druids is worth a gander. Hopefully the Siege of Paris expansion breaks the mold a little, but for now this first expansion acts as a serviceable excuse to revisit Assassin's Creed Valhalla, if nothing more than to tour about 9th century Ireland.
Subnautica: Below Zero doesn't reach the same heights as the first game, but it's proof Unknown World's 2018 survival game wasn't a fluke. The act of exploring a mysterious underwater world whilst trying to survive is nearly as captivating in Below Zero as it was then. I'm still not a fan of the survival genre, yet I loved every moment I spent with Subnautica: Below Zero. I may know most of the tricks by now, but that didn't make the experience any less magical.
Despite some flaws, Evil Genius 2 is a doomsday device built to dominate your free time. It's addictive, easy to understand lair building and retro Spy-Fi aesthetic will pull you in and not let go, even after hundreds of hours. It's a shame the titular Geniuses don't feel all that distinct, and that the otherwise stellar UI has some annoying issues, but that won't stop Evil Genius 2 from taking over your world. It feels oh-so-good to be oh-so-bad.
Bravely Default II doesn't do all that much to differentiate itself from the games that came before it. How you'll feel about that will depend on what you want out of the game: do you want something that is familiar and comforting, or a title that innovates on a decades-old formula? If you're here for the former you'll absolutely enjoy your time with Bravely Default II, even if some of its failings start to grate on you. If you wanted the latter then the excellent combat, art, and music will help you overlook Bravely Default II's otherwise tired tale.
A small helping of issues are not enough to derail Nerve, though they do keep it from greatness. What's on offer is worth playing if you're a fan of games that encourage "one more attempt", though there will be moments you'll walk away more annoyed than satisfied. The lurid, psychedelic art style and pumping soundtrack nearly elevate Nerve to similar heights as its inspirations, but it'll need a little more tuning under the hood before it reaches those same lofty precipices.
Post-launch support will ultimately determine Shadowlands' fate, but as it currently stands World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is a fantastic expansion that once again proves why Blizzard's 16 year old juggernaut remains the king of the MMORPG genre. While we may be touring Azeroth's afterlife ourselves, it's clear World of Warcraft won't be sauntered off into the great beyond any time soon.
Assassin's Creed: Valhalla takes all the previous systems introduced in Origins and Odyssey, and streamlines them into a more focused experience. The game may have some flaws, and it's a shame to see the combat remains mediocre after all these years, yet Valhalla is easily the best entry in the recent trilogy. Grab your axes and shields: it's time to go a-viking!
Amnesia: Rebirth won't dramatically shift the modern horror landscape like its predecessor did ten years ago, yet it's an excellent addition to the genre nonetheless. It's an excellent marriage SOMA's narrative sensibilities with The Dark Descent's more terrifying pacing, capable of standing out in the now crowded market. It won't replace SOMA as my all-time favorite horror game, but it's up there.
Aquanox: Deep Descent works well enough to justify its existence. Performance is fine, gameplay is fine, story is fine, length and price are fine - Aquanox is just fine. It won't wow a lot of people, but the people it does impress will be enamored by it. And, you know what, sometimes that's all you want out of a video game.
If you are new to the Torchlight franchise then Torchlight III is an excellent jumping on point. At $30 it's a great binge game to play with friends while we all wait on the next-gen onslaught that's just around the corner. But, if you're a hardcore ARPG fan looking for something deeper then you may be better served elsewhere, namely by Torchlight II.
Despite its often less-than-subtle nods to Nintendo's Breath of the Wild, Genshin Impact does enough differently to stand apart. Throw in punchier combat, a more traditional story packed with interesting characters, and an outstanding score and Genshin Impact easily sits among the upper echelon of games released this year. Hopefully miHoYo relaxes the stamina system and gacha rates soon, because Teyvat is a world absolutely worth revisting. They're just making it difficult for anyone but gacha fans to find the motivation to hold on.
The Outer Worlds: Peril On Gorgon is story DLC done right. It builds and expands on the existing world while providing a fun, meaty new narrative for fans to dig into. It doesn't address all of the issues players had with The Outer Worlds at launch, but that doesn't stop Peril On Gorgon from being a worthy addition to Obsidian's spacefaring RPG.
Crusader Kings III's near perfect marriage of robust grand strategy with compelling roleplaying means both fans of wargames and storytelling aficionados will find something to love in its medieval world of politics and intrigue, whether that's crunching numbers to efficiently conquer the known world, or rolling with the punches as they scheme their way into the annals of history.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition could have been a success had it simply nailed the multiplayer, but cumbersome limitations make it difficult to enjoy with friends. Overall the Remastered Edition is a prettier, yet lesser experience all these years later, so unless you're itching for that sweet hit of nostalgia and don't mind playing with strangers, it's perhaps best to sit this journey out.
As a conclusion to Remnant: From the Ashes narrative, Subject 2923 is mediocre, but more than makes up for this fault by introducing a wealth of lore for purists, a solid new biome with a fantastic variety of secrets to discover, and exceptional new boss battles. The story may not be the greatest, yet Subject 2923 manages to conclude Remnant with a bang, not a whimper.