Even taking its whiffs and missed opportunities into account, I’ve still loved every hour I’ve spent with Gathering Storm. It’s an expansion that may not stick its landing, but which should still be applauded and admired for the way it sets out to change the very world we play on, and succeeds.
I'm not angry at Kingdom Come, I'm just… disappointed. It was touted as this grand historical representation, an abandonment of fantasy for a true medieval setting, a game that would let us live the middle ages. But the game we got is just this busted, inconsistently ambitious RPG that shines in points, but falls apart in most others.
Rise & Fall gets its hooks in deep, showing that the enlarged game's greatest strength may not be its scale or its history, but the sense of togetherness it inspires, and the way it drags the player down to the surface of its gorgeous world.
Endless Space 2 is now one of the real standard-bearers in the 4X space. While some of its more direct elements come up short, its implementation of politics is a masterstroke, adding depth and complexity to part of a game that often feels like an arbitrary chore.
As an experiment in how far the boundaries of what constitutes an RTS can be pushed, I admire Dawn of War III for what it's tried. It may not have entirely pulled it off, but there aren't many games that play like this (WarCraft 3 fans, this one's for you), and there aren't many trying such interesting things with the way their factions are designed.