Oddly my favourite part might be the ship builder, which lets me customise the way my forces look on the map. You can build some very odd and broken stuff.
James: Lie to your friends via a quiz show, collaborate on grotesque town murals, place bets on bad arguments—the days of Pictionary and Cranium are over. No excuses to bail either. All you need to play is a screen and internet. Long live the board game, the board game is dead. Raids, poor weather and a multitude of other threats means a crisis is always looming. I love it. Samuel: Nice to see this on the list this year. Chris Livingston: The animation and imagery was beautiful and I loved taking a few moments here and there to just observe the world.
Jody: Bloodlines is one of few games that actually makes you feel cool. You get to hang out with sexy people and murder anyone in your way. Then you accidentally murder someone, or bump into a friend from your old life. Just make sure you play it with the fan patch. Jody: Top-down stealth set in feudal Japan. Shadow Tactics is a game of ninja stars and distracting tanuki, where you stab a guard and drag him back into a bush before a cherry blossom hits the ground.
You have mastered the art of invisibility, and nobody needs to know it took four quickloads to get right. Phil: A worthy successor to tactical stealth classics like Commandos and Desperados.
So much so that its creators are now working on Desperados 3. Tom: Make war with sad spaceships in one of the most beautiful RTS games ever made. The lasers, drive trails and spaceship designs are timeless, so the Remaster only had to touch up some textures.
It can melt your brain at times but the action is always spectacular. Great use of Adagio for Strings too. The brightly- coloured ships are pure Chris Foss, and watching thousands of them duking it out against vivid nebulas is absolutely thrilling to behold.
The campaign is also one of the best in the genre. Tyler: I always second guess myself on this one. But I always conclude that yes, it was very good. Just don't read anything about it. Its levels are immaculately designed, its tools make for excitingly tense encounters, and its community is still active and still building new mods and missions. Jody: The retro FPS has brought back secret areas, keycards, and doors that go pixelated when you smoosh against them.
It has crunchy demons, shootable knives, and death within seconds. It treats the FPS like an animal with one decent cut of meat, binning the rest. Jody: Cooking is stressful.
Developer Bethesda Game Studios. Car Combat. Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Sorrow of the Cthulhu Spawn. Gloriana can affect allies killed by death effects. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition. Epic RPG adventure with some violence, mild innuendo.
Overcooked puts you in a kitchen with your loved ones, who all have their own ideas about how long to let dirty dishes pile up. Arguments are inevitable. In the chaos of Overcooked, everyone is an idiot sandwich. Phil: A great test of any relationship. Joanna Nelius: In this adventure game you play as a teenage girl named Max, who must navigate an increasingly complex web of angst while making decisions that may or may not end in the entire destruction of her hometown.
This gut-wrenching, coming-of-age tale left me sobbing for my best friend by the end—and made me fall in love with branching narratives. This sells me on the excitement of the Warhammer fantasy universe better than anything else has. Even the magic flaming staffs feel powerful and hefty, and trying not to blow up as the Bright Wizard is a fun minigame in itself.
I still prefer killing Skaven to the tougher Chaos enemies, but the levels are larger, prettier and more ambitious than the original game. But those big, detailed, complex levels, and the sheer amount of ways to navigate them, make this a game that is somehow immune to the passage of time. Fraser: There are a lot of good stealth games that fall apart the moment you get spotted.
The game devolves into a less tense, less thrilling action game, maybe.
Not here. Invisible, Inc. Maybe your agent has an ability that can save them. You might simply be able to escape, ensuring your agents make it to the next mission. EVE Online players just keep finding new ways to screw one another over in the most wonderful ways. The last few years have seen long-standing empires implode, betrayals, and even a recent alien invasion that temporarily crippled all of its biggest player alliances. Bo Moore: While its popularity has waned some in the face of battle royales like Fortnite and Apex Legends, Overwatch remains one of the most accessible multiplayer hero shooters you can play.
Its enormous cast of 30 characters and still counting cater to just about any playstyle that takes your fancy. I hope it keeps growing. A great moment the other night: two fellow pirates held book pages in my face so I could use the symbol keys on them to decode a different page without flipping back and forth. I love the moments when we surprise each other, and Sea of Thieves is full of them. It just feels great. Much as I enjoyed building my own isolated megabase ringed by meat effigies one of a few items which can cheat death in this roguelike , the appeal of encountering strangers or working with a friend to stay alive in this gothy land is undeniable.
Which seems unlikely. Then Black Isle made Planescape: Torment with the same engine. It was a hour RPG, but also a thrown gauntlet. The plot made sense of the bit where you do sidequests in the middle and companions felt like they had real personalities. Samuel: Not my personal favourite Final Fantasy, but the one I think will resonate the most with PC players due to its flexibility in classes and programmable party members. Plus it still looks amazing.
The Zodiac Age update adds a fast- forward command that makes the grind more manageable. Without it I wonder if the game would make this list. If you like toying with character builds then this is a must-play. The Gambit AI system is genius too. Wes: The flavourful writing and voice acting puts almost every other game in the series to shame. But what I really love is that its world is all the same scale, with no abstract overworld map.
It makes the journey feel much more immersive. Chris: Am I the baddie? Frostpunk is beautiful, grim, and challenging, a game where saving lives can come at a cost so great you feel like a villain even when you succeed. From the zombie-slaying gloom of Ravenholm to the final strider battle at White Forest, few first-person shooters are as consistently entertaining.
It tells a great story too, but one that simmers away in the background, never getting in the way of the action. Andy: Our favourite trucking sim just keeps getting bigger and better. Now, thanks to the Beyond the Baltic Sea expansion, you can drive as far as Russia, which makes the sensation of being on a long road trip even stronger. The map is enormous and you can drive across it in real-time without any loading breaks. The handling is weighty and nuanced, and it occasionally looks stunning—particularly when your truck is being pounded by rain.
The idea of driving a truck might sound boring, but Euro Truck Simulator 2 is absolutely transfixing when you get into it. Phil: By all rights, driving a big lorry to Brussels to deliver some cabbages should not be a good time. And yet Euro Truck Simulator 2 is a beautifully meditative, relaxing game that keeps me coming back. My particular kink is driving at night, enjoying the melancholy loneliness of sparse motorways as I slowly make my way across the continent. Phil: This is a deceptively difficult top-down block-pushing puzzler about manipulating your surroundings.
Are you the wall?