The Settlers: New Allies has some degree of pedigree coming from Anno 1800's Ubisoft Blue Byte, but it's, unfortunately, a dismal strategy affair, confused, anaemic, and achingly dull.
This remake of 2008's urgent sci-fi horror from Visceral Games resists big changes in favour of some laser-focused improvements
Lacking the sharpness needed by both shooters and comedy, High on Life is a low point in the gaming calendar.
Ixion elegantly balances the dynamic play of a colony simulation with a grand, meticulously directed sci-fi narrative. Its perilous journey through a cold and dangerous universe is vivid and engrossing, although its complex routines occasionally obstruct its storytelling ambitions.
"As Darktide's levels aren't grouped into acts, it's much harder for Fatshark to tell coherent stories across them"
An extraordinarily detailed economy and range of interlinking systems make Victoria 3 a grand strategy to rival some of Paradox's best.
Asobo's medieval adventure sequel is bigger, bleaker and more battle-scarred, but suffers from uneven storytelling
There's a decent space sim buried within Dual Universe, but you'll need to do a lot of digging to find it.
Bounding Box delivers an anachronistic high-wire act, and the perhaps the best shooter outright since Doom Eternal.
The Outsiders' impressive debut combines the gunplay of Doom with the musical button-mashing of Guitar Hero
Build knight schools and wizard academies in this imaginative college life sim, an endearing follow-up to Two Point Hospital
Insomniac's Spider-Man is as loveable as ever, even if the surrounding game can't quite live up to him.
A tough yet rewarding turn-based tactics game with a supernatural twist on the western theme.
Crossfire: Legion is a perfectly adequate RTS capable of generating some spectacular player-driven action, but it's so keen to be the next Starcraft that it skips right past much of what made Starcraft great in the first place.
Through its invasion mechanic, Sniper Elite 5 achieves the ultimate goal of any sniping game, to capture the tension and drama of Jude Law and Ed Harris squaring off in Enemy at the Gates. If, like me, you watched that film when you were too young to do so, and thought "I wish there was a game that let me do that", rather than the more balanced "wow, war is terrible," then Sniper Elite 5 is that game, just without the Russian setting or Rachel Weisz. Couple that with eight superbly flexible sandboxes and the most imaginative interactive representation of the second world war in at least a decade, and you've got yourself one of the most entertaining games of the year.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong offers an impressively flexible story, but that can't save it from its mediocre writing and scattershot game design.
Galactic Civilizations 4 is a vast and dependable grand space strategy. But there's little here that radical, and expect to meet it halfway.
Excellent combat and a stunning sense of scale help steer Lost Ark through its more tired MMO conventions.
It may not be a radical change, but it's still one of the best management experiences around.
CoD's multiplayer is as dependable as ever, but Vanguard's campaign and Zombies mode fail to capitalise on what could be interesting ideas.