The best games in the city building genre are time machines. A player should be able to run the game, begin building their metropolis and suddenly realise that they’ve lost an evening and gained an urban sprawl. Islanders manages to do this in a way most city builders don’t. It turns the whole process of building your city into a puzzle in and of itself.
Life is Strange 2 had a tough act to follow. The first season was an adventure game based around time travel and decision making with “intensely” loved female teen characters. This is a road trip story starring two Hispanic brothers where the main draw is that the younger of the two must be looked after and taught by the older of the two. For the most part in Episode 1, it’s impressive how well the transition goes.
An atmospheric blend of brawling combat action game and conversation based adventure game, Vampyr is the latest title from Dontnod Entertainment and Focus Home Interactive. Not a perfect game, but one worth your time even if you’re not fascinated by the gothic.
On a boat, off the coast of Dubrovnik, there is an alien. First contact for humanity is beginning. It’s up to the player to decide what happens next. The newest game from Bithell Games is a more complex and interesting Text Adventure than you initially might think.
Four Heroes. Around a thousand enemies. One of the most satisfying co-operative experiences of the year. Vermintide 2 is a blast of a game.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a fascinating adventure game that navigates themes of Grief, Teenage Friendship and finding your place in a changing world, all with the signature charm and attitude that’s come to be known of Life is Strange.
PUBG as a game shouldn’t work. It’s a multiplayer only game that requires around 100 players for a match. It looks bland as white rice. There’s fundamentally no narrative, no story. To start a game is to commit to a single 30 minute time sink where 99 players are going to lose. This game should have empty servers, critical panning and a bunch of postmortems to dissect exactly how bad of an idea it is. Yet it’s easily one of the most engrossing games I’ve played in a long time. Somehow PUBG is a highly compelling game that’s sucked up most of my year.
Shadow of War is a game that demands the player’s attention. It is brash and loud, hurrying the player along a path of constant engagement Not a moment goes by without a prompt or an icon or a mission or an encounter with enemies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’ve had a great deal of fun playing, but it is utterly exhausting.
Even to this day, I’m still kind of stunned that Machine Games Wolfenstein: The New Order is quite this well written and designed as a game. Wolfenstein is the literal grandaddy of shooting games. You are B.J Blascowicz. A man with a gun, shooting from the first person.You shoot Nazis. Till there are no more. Sometimes the Nazis have magic, sometimes super science, sometimes both. You shoot them till they fall over.
Rust is an online only, always active survival game where your player character is random and fixed and the world is full of other players who want to ruin your day. Yet it’s a game that I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into, and it is fascinating to play.