Look, a lot of games come out each year. More games were released this year over last. A lot’s changed in this decade in gaming. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly harder to find the time to play them for review, or play anything else for fun. So yes, there’s going to be glaring omissions and other oddities, but at least understand there’s just a lot of fucking games right now. And a lot of them are good. So let’s kick this thing off!
The last time we saw a story-based MechWarrior game was MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries, back in 2002. After nearly two decades, we finally have a new game. Developer Piranha Games is no stranger to the franchise, having made and maintained MechWarrior Online since its release in 2013 — rest assured, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries in very capable hands. Command your own mercenaries to take on any mission you desire, and build-up a crew to be revered or feared as you shape your reputation within the Inner Sphere. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is a gorgeous romp through the BattleTech universe.
The Sniper Ghost Warrior series has been decently received, with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 being incredibly ambitious that fell short of expectations. CI Games seemingly took that to heart because Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts is an improvement in every aspect. Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts maintains scale and returns to linearity with a better focus on its strengths. I’m happy to report that Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts is the best entry to date, and is poised to give the series new life.
This PowerA FUSION Pro Wired Controller is impressive as hell. It’s a premium controller that offers everything that Microsoft’s official Elite controller does, but at the cost of being wired. And honestly, that’s not a bad thing. PowerA has a competitively priced and is a feature-for-feature matching to Xbox’s Elite controller (save for being wired), which makes this accessory a necessity for ownership of this premium controller.
The PowerA FUSION Wired Fightpad for Xbox One is a lightweight, simplified controller intended for fighting games. It has some additional uses in other genres, but this is a controller for a specific purpose and not one that’ll become your “daily driver”, unless of course you only play arcade and fighting games. PowerA’s offering here is really well made and is a controller that’s great for gamers of all ages, and hand sizes. It’s the controller you didn’t know you needed.
House of Golf is the epitome of what you see is what you get. Developer Atomicom offers a bite-sized game that provides a challenge whether solo, or in hotseat multiplayer. While you can see everything the game has to offer in an hour, there’s so much more to do, unlock, and share with others. House of Golf is a game you’ll be returning to often, thanks to its approachability and replayability.
Ghost Games returns with their fourth Need For Speed entry, and it resembles a mix of prior games like Underground, ProStreet, and 2005’s Most Wanted. Now, Need For Speed Heat lays the melodrama of cops vs racers on rather thick, but the dichotomy of day & night is what takes center stage. It feels like the game is running on all cylinders this time, and is such a triumph for the series. Need For Speed Heat is the most exciting racing game of 2019.
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings remains the best reviewed Age of Empires game in the series history. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition celebrates the 20th anniversary of its release with a whole host of improvements, an expansion with new civilization, Ultra HD graphics up to 4K resolution, and a complete modernization of the gameplay. This is a “definitive edition” that lives up to the name. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is a game that’s aged like a fine wine.
It’s been 7 years since the original Unity of Command came to Steam, and it remains a gem of an indie title. Unity of Command II retains the gem quality its predecessor was, but it’s a more polished and refined. Make no mistake, it’s no easier than the original, but it is exactly what you’d want out of a sequel. This is a game for grognards, and non-grognards alike. Unity of Command II is developed by 2×2 Games in part with Croteam, another Croatian developer to make one of the most rewarding and challenging strategy games once again.
Robert Kirkman is synonymous with The Walking Dead, but his other successes include the Thief of Thieves comic book series. It’s since been made as a video game that’s been released onto other platforms, and now Thief of Thieves: Season One has finally come to the Switch. Unfortunately though, this version will steal your enjoyment of it, thanks in part to its performance and technical issues. Thief of Thieves: Season One is a game worth playing, if you can deal with the problems it has or by avoiding the Switch version entirely.