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  1. Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC Step into the boots of Geralt of Riviera, the silver fox and protagonist (not hero) of this fantasy world filled with monsters and surrounded by parallel dimensions. Geralt is a Witcher, a person who has endured ruthless mental and physical conditioning and partaken in mysterious rituals, making him a skilled fighter, tracker, and bullsh*t senser. The people you encounter throughout the game both revile and require him. As a result, you can choose to be as much of a jerk back to them as you'd like (because they need you), and take on as many (or as little) side quests as you fancy. Whether you pick up a Witcher Quest from a town notice board that requires you to slay some infernal beasty, or embark on a treasure quest that will reward you with some sick swag, how you choose to play the 80+ hours of The Witcher 3 is entirely up to you. Couple this freedom of choice with excellent writing, tough (but fun) combat, and a great score, and you've got the best RPG you can play right now. PROS Relentlessly beautiful vistas Reading about horrifying ghosts and monsters Playing cards with blacksmiths Sailing between the isles of Skellige CONS Frustrating and punishing combat Frame rate optimisation is ongoing... gamesradar.com
  2. Available on: PlayStation Now, Xbox One (backwards compatible), PC I really don’t blame The Courier for going on their rampage. Someone just shot them in the head, they survived, and now they want answers. But with all of Fallout: New Vegas’ land available to explore right from the beginning, that can wait. Not really a surprise considering it’s also one of the best open world gamesaround. You might even decide that finding the person who shot you in the head is the last thing you want, your survival instinct telling you that you had probably best stay away. Join one of the many fierce factions, try to become the Savior of the Damned by boosting your good karma, or simply create your own goals. Collect all the teddy bears in the land. Clear Quarry Junction from its, er…pest problem. It’s up to you. PROS The companion system Hours and hours of sidequest-age V.A.T.S. goresplosions CONS Crashes Excessive loading screens Eating radroach meat. It's still gross. gamesradar.com
  3. Available on: Nintendo Switch Link is a blank canvas. A wonderful, quiet blank canvas that you can turn into stealthy Sheikah, a fully-armoured knight, or someone who runs around in their underwear throwing chickens at Moblins. Link’s personality is so malleable that you can do whatever you want in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and it just feels right, as despite the apocalypse that’s on the way people have their own business to be getting on with and let you do exactly the same. From spotting the tip of a new tower in the distance to navigating on of the mysterious maze’s on the edge of the map, your surroundings are so intriguing that the world practically begs you to get distracted, fitting perfectly into the idea that Link has woken up after decades in slumber and just can’t stay still. PROS A vast world you’ll want to explore Climbing and gliding makes navigation a treat Physics reinvigorate combat and puzzles Refreshingly jank-free for a game this size CONS Frame rate stumbles during intensive moments Main dungeons aren’t Nintendo’s best ever Seeing your favourite weapon shatter into a billion tiny pieces gamesradar.com
  4. Available on Xbox One (backwards compatibility) and PC In this sequel, BioWare takes the foundation laid in Mass Effect (Commander Shepherd must navigate space racism and the potential predetermined destruction of the universe alongside a motley crew of aliens) and builds a beautiful shiny space house on top of it. Oh, and it chucks out the goddamn Mako maneuvering. There's a completely redesigned combat system that evokes the duck and cover style of the Gears games, as opposed to the original's failed attempt to create a smooth third-person shooter/RPG wheel hybrid. Add in Shepherd's special skills and your squad's unique abilities and you've got dynamic gameplay that lets you choose a personal fighting style. The game's comfortable place as the space meat in the middle of the "introducing you to this world" (Mass Effect 1) and "destroying this world" (Mass Effect 3) sandwich gives the plot some breathing room. Into that breathing room steps the most incredible cast of characters, potentially ever. The romance options actually hurt your feelings, the background stories tug at your heartstrings, the ideological arguments between your friends paralyze you when it comes time to make a choice. Sure, RPGs are good at evoking emotion and forcing you to make game time decisions, but the sheer magnitude of how much Mass Effect 2 makes you care is a rare achievement. PROS Finely crafted story characters and dialog Ramped up action with better controls Continuing your story with an imported character CONS The mining minigame is a pile of ass Helmet-head intrudes on key scenes Armor and equipment management is too refined gamesradar.com
  5. Available on: Xbox One, PC Sometimes, RPGs can feel a bit unapproachable. If you're not a lover of the game type, you might feel daunted by a title that requires meticulousness or an endless supply of patience or a seemingly endless supply of choice. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a game that appeals to hardcore RPG players and those who may have been hesitant to join the ranks. Set 4,000 years before the movies' events, you are tasked with training in the ways of the Force under the tutelage of the Jedi. The game lets you pick from three character classes at the start of the game, and choose if your character will align with the dark side or the light side of the Force. The game is a Star Wars fan's Eden as it manages to capture that magical, space fantastical essence of the films while imbuing the entire experience with choice. There's incredible voice-acting, accessible gameplay, and sparkling supporting characters. Plus, you get to swing a karking lightsaber. PROS Fantastic Star Wars story Superb voice acting Dark or Light - your moral choices decide CONS Or just pick an allegiance at the end Minigames can be frustrating Item collecting can be redundant gamesradar.com
  6. Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC Action-RPG doesn’t get much more action-y than Dark Souls 3. Wield whatever weapon you like, deck yourself in the armour, and go to town on the creatures standing in your way. New shield and weapon skills bulk out how much you can tweak your combat, letting you unleash special attacks and delve even more into the character-building side of things. Encouraging exploration through its intertwined map, shortcuts and alternate routes that were invisible on your first every single fight will keep you on your toes and - more importantly - switching out weapons to suit the next abomination you’ll be facing. You might not see the Ashen One’s face a whole lot, but who needs words when you’ve got to fight off hordes of bloodthirsty monsters? PROS The stylistic mixture of Bloodborne and Dark Souls 1 The sly hints about the events of previous games The enhancements to melee combat CONS The plunging frame-rate during bossfights The lack of real novelty gamesradar.com
  7. Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC The Nemesis system is back in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, it sure as hell puts the role-playing into RPG. Cultivating a powerful hatred of that goddamn Torz the Flesh Glutton - or whatever your Nemesis happens to be called - won’t seem possible on your first encounter, but after they kill you and start to rise through the ranks you’ll soon find yourself fantasising about taking down that vile imposter every single time you boot up the game. Sure, playing the Ranger Talion as a sneaky stabber or the kind of Ranger who goes in sword swinging is kinda fun too, but what makes Shadow of War one of the best RPG games is the way it encourages you to manage your followers. You can send them to be spies, or sow seeds of discontent if you leave them to die in battle. There are so many options even Sauron himself would be overwhelmed. PROS A great looking world to explore Combat is fun to play and unlock CONS Tonal clashes Almost too much to do gamesradar.com
  8. Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC Just in case the title didn’t make it obvious, in Monster Hunter: World you hunt monsters. But although the main prize is the Diablos armour set or just the thrill of the hunt itself, how you take down those beasts is what you’ll be obsessing over as soon as you face your first Great Jagras. Experimenting with different weapons will take up your first handful of hours, and then once you develop an attachment to a particular implement you start to realise the crafting potential with all those bits and bobs dropped by your (now dead) quarries. The other half of the game opens up with this epiphany, so prepare yourself for some micro-management levels of tweaking and optimising before you go out into the wild to perfect your character for the fight they’re about to face. PROS More accessible and approachable than any Monster Hunter yet A gorgeous game with lush, living ecologies and diverse monsters Series best combat, harvesting and crafting CONS Hunting for rare parts can get repetitive/grindy gamesradar.com
  9. Available on: PS4, PC Hacking and slashing with all the fury of the wronged android is pretty fun as it is, but when you take advantage of the fact that those nuts and bolts that make up your body mean you can pick and choose which chips are installed in that mind of yours, then the game starts to run as smoothly as a well-oiled machine. Swap them in and out to suit the enemies you’re coming up against, and take full advantage of the four weapons at your disposal to create devastating combos, and when things get really desperate - or if you just want to keep your distance - your floating support unit (called Pod) can pepper your foes with bullets or lasers. Encompassing both hack-n-slash and shoot-em-up genres, Nier: Automata’s story is enthralling enough to make you go through it all over again to get those extra endings. PROS An amazing, addictive soundtrack Combat is smooth and awe-inspiring The "true" ending is both powerful and brilliant Masterful blend of hack-n-slash and shoot-em-up genres Crazy customization options via the plug-in system CONS Plot threads don't always satisfy RPG elements feel watered down gamesradar.com
  10. Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC Another RPG game with royal blood coursing through its veins, Final Fantasy 15 puts you in the shoes of Noctis as he adventures across the land of Eos with his buddies. The power of friendship isn’t just so you can fill all the seats in your car, though: bespectacled Ignis learns new recipes as you dedicate more time to exploration, during combat your pals back up your attacks with perfectly-timed combo strikes, Prompto’s photography skills improve alongside the selfies he takes, and Gladiolus’ survival abilities scales with the distance you travel during the day. As you’re responsible for Noctis’ growth and the well-being of your chums, this RPG game is saturated with heart. Prepare yourself for the distinct possibility of getting over attached to those virtual characters. PROS A fascinating world with humanity to spare Four of the best video game friends you could ask for Breathtaking combat brings party dynamics to the fore CONS Story is Final Fantasy nonsense and all but requires outside viewing to understand Supporting characters and villains aren't as fleshed out Second half is kind of a mess gamesradar.com
  11. davidtrump

    NHL 19

    Confession time. This year we decided against carrying an NHL 19 review, unsure of the game’s critical potential or the size of its fan base. Upon reflection, following two months’ non-stop pretend hockey: we were wrong. Because however niche it appears from a global audience perspective, this is a game every sports fan, casual or hardcore, should buy immediately and play endlessly. Or at least until next August. Myriad positives earn it top spot. A staggering array of changeable settings make it accessible whatever your past stick-swinging experience. Be A Pro, the series’ traditional create-a-player offering, becomes unmissable via World Of CHEL, a collection of four riotous on- and offline modes. Franchise perfectly balances off-rink excellence with on-rink drama. Outdoor matches delight. Gameplay, graphics, presentation: it sings in the snow on every front. Making for the best sports game of the year, and one of this decade’s finest. Really, truly pucking great. gamesradar.com
  12. While Football Manager’s colossal world has reached the point of overwhelming more casual players, its former stablemate – Sports Interactive published OOTP from 2005 to 2007 – continues to deftly balance depth and accessibility. Weeks pass in a single evening as you whistle through matches making key decisions on pitch counts, base stealing and every other facet of baseball. Leagues can be started from as far back as 1900, with real pros and draft classes, and everything editable as you see fit. And like the great FMs of yesteryear, you can happily lose days to negotiating key trades and enticing free agents. It’s the best sports sim you’ve never played. gamesradar.com
  13. If Triple H is the king of kings, consider this the shock of shocks. Many, myself included, lost all hope in Yuke’s and Visual Concepts when WWE 2K18 played reasonably on release – yet somehow got demonstrably worse each time it was patched. Yet WWE 2K19 is this year’s unlikeliest of comeback kids, with Universe mode finally delivering month after month of pay-per-view enjoyment, and the retooled-from-scratch MyCareer unleashing all manner of amusement both in the ring and backstage. A behemoth in every possible sense. gamesradar.com
  14. davidtrump


    When Love And Hate Collide: a huge hit for Def Leppard two decades ago which could have been looped to introduce any, or every, entry in the FIFA series since. No sports game is more popular, or maligned; and while FIFA 19 has its faults (go away, Squad Battles’ comeback AI), there’s plenty of footballing goodness to enjoy too. FUT – already the genre’s standout mode – is bolstered by the ingenious Division Rivals mechanic, kick-off matches against mates are transformed by the addition of house rules, and The Journey: Champions delivers an appropriate, glorious farewell to Alex Hunter. You can stop booing at your laptop/tablet/phone screen now. gamesradar.com
  15. When analysing the best sports games of 2016 I tabbed Rocket League for world domination. Its success since speaks for itself, and throws up the question of which sports game is ‘the next Rocket League’. Laser – no relation – feels like a natural heir. Meshing the maddest bits of Speedball 2 with Tron by way of Gladiators’ Atlaspheres, its multiplayer matches see you trying to score goals while collecting power-ups and dodging/redirecting lasers. It’s exactly as madcap and breathless as that last sentence, with an outrageously good bleep-bloop soundtrack that feels concurrently 1980s and 2080s. Vinyl release next year, please? gamesradar.com
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