Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Last year's Assassin's Creed Origins gave Ubisoft's open-world historical actions series a welcome shot in the arm – and while we were worried about Odyssey reviving the franchise's annualised approach, it only builds upon the fun.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey shifts the action to Ancient Greece as you control one of two heroes with newly-extensive character progression alongside the fantastic combat. It also adds role-playing elements and sees the compelling return of sailing alongside the stealth climbing and killing. It's a little grindy in spots, but overall Odyssey is a vast journey worth taking.
Brilliantly, infuriatingly, delightfully difficult - not a combination you’d normally expect, but this fantastic retro throwback manages it. Cuphead is part boss rush, part run-and-gun side scrolling shooter, a love letter to both 16-bit classics like Gunstar Heroes, and the hand-drawn animation style of the 1930s.
Think Steamboat Mickey meets Dynamite Heddy, where every creature has wide eyes and can’t stay in one place without bopping along to a vaudeville tune - anthropomorphic dinner sets included. The music, art and animation create something truly special, but it's the way learn patterns and adapt your play style to progress past increasingly tougher bosses that gives that warm fuzzy feeling every time you pick up the controller.
Sure, everyone's talking about Fortnite now, but Overwatch remains a must-play multiplayer smash - and Blizzard's shooter shows no signs of slowing down. With continual tweaks, gradual new hero additions and a huge esports component, now's the time to climb aboard.
Even with a colourful and cartoonish look, Overwatch delivers some of the most satisfyingly intense combat available today, with the team-based battles finding the sweet spot between frantic blasting and smart, strategic team play.
Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter fans are a hardcore collective of sorts, and the series never really found a wide following outside of Japan – until now, that is. Capcom took all the fun things about the old games, chiseled away the rough exterior, and made a game that's much more accessible and inviting than ever before.
Of course, it's still all about teaming up to battle enormous monsters with outsized weapons, and that's still a blast. But compared to the past games, Monster Hunter World feels much less obtuse, plus it's significantly larger and dramatically prettier thanks to current-gen consoles. If you've ever been curious, now's the time to jump on.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Call of Duty fell into a pretty reliable pattern over the years, which started to feel predictable – but Black Ops 4 makes the biggest changes the series has seen in ages. The biggest? There's no cinematic single-player campaign in sight. Seriously, it's gone.
That shift towards a purely multiplayer framework suits the talents of developer Treyarch, and the end result is a package that doesn't feel damaged or diminished by the move. Black Ops 4's multiplayer is expectedly strong, with some smart tweaks in the mix, and the co-op Zombies mode is as fun as ever. But it's the new Blackout battle royale mode that really stands out, putting a solid Call of Duty stamp on the trendy genre.