Total War: Attila is undoubtedly a welcome addition to this 15-year-old franchise and it's a relief to find it stable at launch, but there is clearly room for further optimisation. It's a credit to The Creative Assembly that it is still experimenting and tweaking its systems to achieve the right balance of complexity and challenge, even if a few too many of its concepts fall the wrong side of the frustration/satisfaction divide for a little too long. Still, you need only be mindful of the advertised difficulty level of each of the factions in order to triumph and, through extended play, the excitement suggested by all that early potential does, eventually, come to fruition.
One of the delights of settling down to a turn-based tactical RPG is poking around to understand how its systems combine and then utilising those systems in imaginative and tactically satisfying ways. In this regard, Blackguards 2 delivers. Eventually. The writing and presentation are serviceable rather than spectacular but there's a decent level of scope for customisation and engaging combat if you can push past its trudging opening hours. Cassia and co's deep-seated issues and baggage make them an entertaining bunch and while they won't set your world alight, they eventually prove capable of providing many hours of surprisingly amiable companionship.
As it stands, Warhammer Quest falls somewhere between offering a compelling experience for brand new players and delivering the heady hit of nostalgia that old hands crave. It's worth a look, but it's hard to recommend this PC version over its tablet counterpart.
The Talos Principle is a game of challenges and conundrums and philosophical wonderings, filled with logic puzzles and cerebral mysteries. Its chunky mechanical processes are underpinned by a compelling breadcrumb-trail narrative that tackles the intangible notion of humanity and consciousness. Consequently, despite playing a robot that interacts with computer terminals and takes instruction from a disembodied voice in the sky, it exudes personality and charm; its mechanical precision complementing its aesthetic qualities. For an experience bereft of human contact it boasts a very big heart indeed.
There's no question that Ardennes Assault is a worthwhile addition to the Company of Heroes war chest and one that rewards investment and exploration with a tactically satisfying campaign. That said, such is the obtuse nature of its presentation of key concepts and even basic controls that new recruits should deduct a whole mark from that number below.
Evidently, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments isn't about rights and wrongs so much as it is about interpretation and judgement. Being right all the time is a fitting tribute to Homes' monstrous ego, and it's also an interesting premise for a detective game - a more effective one than it might initially seem. However, the lack of character development and some lacklustre supporting players result in a feeling of detachment from a game that only excels if you are invested in it. That's a shame, because there was potential for Crimes and Punishments to be a truly great detective game, instead of just a mechanically sound one.
Tropico 5 features a number of improvements to its long-standing formula and there's a lot here to like. The humour and in-fighting of your aides provides a lighter tone missing from other management sims, and there's a degree of satisfaction to be found progressing through the distinct eras. It also looks more vibrant than any previous entry. It works well for now, then, but Tropico 5 is clearly more concerned with introducing new concepts atop the old than it is with overhauling its base mechanics. Looking ahead to the future, this long-running series would benefit from having the fires of revolution lit beneath it.
Child of Light stands as a wonderfully realised venture into unfamiliar territory for Ubisoft - and a welcome reminder that the industry's major players still have the creative flair to push beyond the lucrative safe ground that they so often favour to create well-crafted, highly-polished gems such as this.