This big day has nearly arrived! Here’s hoping one of the year’s best five console crackers has made it into your home for the festive season!
5. Title: Dark Souls III
Genre: Action / RPG
A fabulous potential finale to RPG royalty
Prepare to die - a lot - but also love every minute of Dark Souls III. The latest chapter in the critically acclaimed series returned this year, with its trademark sword and sorcery combat and impeccable action RPG gameplay. Not to mention an incredibly detailed world you’ll love losing yourself in. The game certainly pushes a deeper sense of role-playing than previous iterations, with some key additions that provide players with a set of tools and in-game options to customise their personal experience. Skills, a new addition to the combat mechanics, add attack modifiers to each weapon type, allowing players an increased tactical advantage in combat. You can also equip your character with a wide variety of armour sets, medieval weaponry, as well as harness powerful sorceries and miracles as you develop your own personal style of play. And you’ll need them all to survive the often-brutal enemy encounters throughout. This game will suck you in, make you lovingly explore every last inch of its gorgeous environment, and then punch you back with some of the hardest of hardcore game experiences around. But that pain only makes your subsequent success all the sweeter.
4. Title: Battlefield 1
Platform: Xbox One
A WWI present for shooter fans
This is one triple-A title that came too early to hold off buying or playing until Christmas, but if you did manage to exercise some self-restraint, now’s the time to indulge. Here, the single-player War Stories set the tone for a truly incredible recreation of the WWI environs, treated with a level of sensitivity and emotion EA has to be applauded for. And it paved the way for a multiplayer experience that Battlefield fans will revel in, as intuitive destruction and dynamic weather ensure no battle is ever the same. Through your actions, the pristine world around you changes into a battle-scarred landscape before your eyes, changing the world forever, while the dynamic weather forces you to adapt your tactics. The difference in playing the same map on a bright day, in heavy fog or rain, has to be seen to be believed. The addition of horses, primitive planes and tanks certainly refresh the action from previous games, and this is by far the best release from the franchise for a long time.
3. Title: Overwatch
Genre: Action / Shooter
A shooter that’s much more than one to watch - it’s one to buy now
Overwatch launched on consoles this summer, delivering a highly stylised team-based shooter set on earth in the near future. Every match presents an intense multiplayer showdown pitting a diverse cast of soldiers, mercenaries, scientists, adventurers, and oddities against each other in an epic, globe-spanning conflict. More than 20 playable characters, that can be switched on the fly during matches, offer a rich mix of individual skills and weapon sets to master. This versatility in play-styles presents an incredible amount of tactical depth in the frantic skirmishes that ensue in these online multiplayer matches, further augmented by the superb map design. The number of game modes may be on the slim side, but that only serves to sharpen your focus on the task in hand, and the game expertly balances the accessibility of quick pick-up-and-play sessions with the strategically-focused multi-hour binges you’ll more than likely upgrade to once you’ve got your teeth into the awesome action Overwatch has to offer.
2. Title: Forza Horizon 3
Platform: Xbox One
As real as racing gets - down under
The ridiculously successful Forza racing franchise is off to Australia and you’re now in charge of the Horizon Festival. In the land of Oz, you can customise everything, hire and fire your friends, and explore the antipodean environment in over 350 of the world’s greatest cars. As the ultimate celebration of cars, music, and freedom of the open road, the new Horizon Blueprint feature gives you the power to create your own unique experience and instantly share your custom gameplay. You can even hire friends to star in your festival and win you more fans. If they’re not winning you fans, fire them. From Danger Sign Jumps and Convoys to Drift Zones and Showcase events that pit you against a fleet of speedboats or a giant zeppelin, the staggering selection of game modes not only delivers from a choice perspective, but also when it comes to showcasing car handling. Put simply, it’s brilliant, and integral in making Horizon 3 a contender for the very best racer on the market. It’s beautiful, too, and the incredibly realistic vehicles and Australian vistas prove the power of the Xbox One. It only serves to increase the urge you’ll have to explore every corner of this massive open world.
1. Title: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
A fine, fitting end to the Nathan Drake nexus
The Uncharted series’ incredible rise from low-key entry to the action genre to must-have summer blockbuster on Sony’s PS4, is testament to its single-mindedness in delivering an experience that beautifully blurs the lines between movie-style spectacle and immersive gaming. The fourth and final instalment is a fitting tribute to all of the above, as A Thief’s End hauls lead character Nate out of retirement to embark on a hunt for pirate treasure with his long lost brother, Sam. The brilliant voice-acting interplay between these two provides a rock solid narrative hook, aided and abetted by delicate refinements to a game engine that has thrived on its core mechanics of environmental challenges and frenzied enemy combat for nearly 10 years. A loosening of level linearity will be welcomed by gamers hungry for Nate to embrace a more open-world approach, but it’s tight enough to ensure that, when one of the franchise’s many stunning set-pieces comes calling, you’re more than happy to be pushed down the required path. It’s difficult to find fault with A Thief’s End, as it’s everything any action gamer could possibly want - jaw-dropping visuals, intense gun-fights, and the constant feeling of childhood Indiana Jones-style adventure. We’re still annoyed Nate won’t be making a fabulous fifth outing...
WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT?
We’ve already wondered at the brick-built worlds of Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings, Jurassic Park and many more, but now Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment has announced the a LEGO sandbox game - LEGO Worlds - will be coming to consoles and PC just a few weeks into the new year. The game, which is scheduled for release at the end of February 2017, LEGO Worlds will also allow players to build their creations brick-by-brick or by dropping in complete pre-built LEGO structures, as well as paint and shape their landscape using the game’s in-depth tools.
Meanwhile in the charts this week, Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare claimed the Christmas number one spot, thanks to a surge in sales ahead of the festive period. It’s the seventh Call Of Duty to hold top spot over Christmas, this year fending off the challenges from FIFA 17 and Battlefield 1, which finished second and third respectively.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare
2. FIFA 17
3. Battlefield 1
4. Watch Dogs 2
5. Grand Theft Auto V
6. Final Fantasy XV
7. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Special Edition
8. Dishonored 2
10. Mafia III
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2016 UKIE Ltd