10. X-COM 2: War of the Chosen
X-COM 2 sees you lead an insurrection against an alien occupation in a world where you failed in your past life as UFO goalie. War of the Chosen only escalates the action, introducing a quartet of powerful adversaries who can threaten to throw even the most routine engagements off the rails.
If Enemy Unknown breathed new life into a classic, X-COM 2 and its expansion, War of the Chosen, pushes that formula to new and exciting extremes.
9. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
While it's easy to see the DNA of Ninja Theory’s past titles like DMC, Heavenly Blade and Enslaved present in the rhythmic combat system that ties Hellblade together, the tone of the game veers closer to outright horror than the developer has ever gone before.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice lays bare the ugly trauma of violence and isn’t so much a game you play as one you experience. The narrative, mechanical and aesthetic intensity here make for a harrowing journey into the soul of its protagonist.
8. Green Hell
If you’ve ever wondered how hard it would be to survive for 24 hours in the Amazon rainforest, then this is a must-play. Green Hell places you there without any food or equipment and no help from the outside world. To survive, you will need to learn actual survival techniques to build shelter, make tools and craft weapons to hunt and defend yourself.
Green Hell is a challenging game; the jungle will constantly send problems your way, including wild animals, tropical sicknesses and bad weather. But, the graphics are impressive and the gameplay is highly enjoyable.
7. Starcraft 2
While the fervor around esports predated and eventually outlasted Starcraft 2, it can’t be underestimated how much of an impact this particular game’s competitive community had on what was to come after it.
Countless streamers, casters, tournament organisers, analysts and players were brought together by the gravity of Blizzard’s long overdue space opera sequel. Rolled out as a trilogy over a period of five years, the consolidated Starcraft 2 experience includes three expansive story-driven campaigns (of varying quality but consistent variety), a rich and strategic multiplayer component and a powerful custom mapmaking toolkit.
6. Gloria Victis
There have been lots of MMORPGs that feature territorial control but none more high stakes than Gloria Victis. Set in a medieval world, you can play against non-player characters to progress your skills or join in the open world PVP combat to fight enemies, raid bases or lay siege to castles.
PVP battles for territorial control can be epic, involving hundreds of people and you will easily develop a sense of camaraderie with players from your selected nation. It also features an advanced crafting system and player-driven economy. You can loot and be looted too, which can be both fun and also devastating.
5. They Are Billions
Hold off the zombie swarms in this very addictive real-time strategy by Numantian Games. Set in a post-apocalyptic, steampunk world, you must build defences in a last-ditch effort to stop billions of infected trying to annihilate your colony.
We rate the 48 single-player missions very highly. The graphics and sound effects are of the highest calibre and make for entirely engrossing gameplay. There are also 90 technologies to unlock as you evolve your colonies, which appeals to us technology buffs. It’s not easy, but we’ve never felt so proud unlocking Steam rewards as we have with this game.
Multiplayer is where this Viking-themed game really shines, offering players the chance to team up with 10 others to build epic bases, battle all manner of beasts and share a strong cup of Viking mead.
The game is set in a low-fantasy Viking purgatory and we love the simple but charming graphics. Exploring the range of "biome" environments reveals plenty to like about the game. Bees will sting you if you get too close and trees can squash you if you aren’t standing on the right side of them when they fall. Building is reminiscent of games like The Forest, with so many options to choose from, you will undoubtedly spend hours doing it.
3. Microsoft Flight Simulator
If you play just one flight simulator in your life, then let it be Microsoft Flight Simulator. This game lets you fly 20 different aircraft from light planes, to large commercial jumbo jets. The environments you will fly in are incredibly detailed – from the jagged stone temple peaks of Cambodia’s Anchor Watt, to the beautiful turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, what you see as you fly around will amaze you every flight you take. That’s partly because Microsoft has incorporated an incredible amount of environmental features into this game – including 37 thousand airports, 1.5 billion buildings, 2 trillion trees, mountains, roads, rivers and more.
Flying the planes is a real thrill. The cockpits are incredibly realistic, featuring real-world instrumentation that will allow you to hone your piloting skills in a way that’s not too different from if you were actually taking flight lessons. Microsoft Flight Simulator also allows you to customise and scale the level of flight assistance you require, allowing you to progress from beginner to pro at your own pace and test your skills over time.
2. Metro Exodus
So good are the visuals in Metro Exodus that it has become one of the games we use to benchmark new release gaming laptops. Like previous games in the Metro franchise, Metro Exodus is a first person shooter. You are tasked with fleeing the ruins of the Moscow Metro and then must journey across a post-apocalyptic Russia in search of a new life.
Gameplay is a mixture of combat and stealth. As such, this is not the kind of game you can play by running headfirst into combat with guns blazing. Instead, you will need to understand how to conceal yourself and pick your opportunities to fight. Because of this, the combat feels fresh and exciting each time you engage the enemy. One of the things we love about this game is the vast and incredibly detailed in-game environments. Plus, levels are non-linear giving you plenty of scope to personalise your experience.
1. The Ascent
The Ascent is a cyberpunk-themed action role-playing game developed by indie game studio Neon Giant. Games featuring cyberpunk have really made a resurgence, with games like Cyberpunk 2077 attracting a big following. This game has the right mix of cyberpunk aesthetics and captivating gameplay to be one of the best.
You play as a worker enslaved by The Ascent Group, a powerful mega corporation that owns just about everyone on your hone world Veles. The Ascent Group has collapsed creating an environment of anarchy. Individuals, syndicates and rival organisations have started battling it out for power. You must stop rival factions from seizing control using everything at your disposal, including an arsenal of weapons.
Gameplay is played from a top-down perspective and includes a twin-shooter ability that allows you to target enemies both up close and far away. The game’s developers have portrayed the grimy, dystopian cyberpunk world exceptionally well. The environment is open-world allowing you to explore and interact with the many weird environments you will discover. You can also upgrade your character's skills and abilities as you go along. Ascent can be played single-player and local co-op and online with up to four players.