The Mario and Sonic Olympic series have always been a popular seller at Christmas and ideal family entertainment. Games included are snowboarding, skating, hockey, curling, skiing and more. The Dream Events are back too, adding a bit of zany video game flair to the events and let's face it, with the Winter Olympics, they need all the help they can get. ShopTo are the cheapest around by £7, so this is ideal if you're planning on putting a Wii U under the tree at Christmas.
Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII at HotUkDeals.
Tesco have the Xbox One FIFA 14 bundle in stock today. It costs more than the original Day 1 edition, but this is still the cheapest option out there if you don't want to buy a massive bundle. Delivery is free if you opt for click and collect, £3 standard 3-5 days or £5.96 for next day (orders on Saturday would only arrive on Monday though). FIFA 14 is included as a download code. Don't forget to check out Jon's extensive review of the console's cool features via the link above. For all the Xbox One news, deals and reviews click here.
Thanks to Cuki999 at HotUkDeals.
Current-gen is now last-gen. We'd love to move on, but we can't help wonder whether we've still got some unfinished business, a nagging feeling at the back of our minds.
In fact, thinking about it, there are a number of things that we were promised years ago, yet still haven't materialised despite the arrival of the Xbox One and PS4. Some are games that fizzled out of existence or sublimated into vapourware, others are features that were never implemented, many have been cancelled outright and more are just heartbreaking teases that dangled painfully out of reach... where they'll likely stay for months and years to come.
So here are a few things that went missing in action last generation. Let's kick things off with an old chestnut...
A first-person stealth game set during the cold war? Developed by Rockstar? Announced in 2007 and unveiled at Sony's E3 2009 press conference, Agent sounded too good to be true.
And it was. As the years slipped by, Agent continually popped up in trademark renewals and CVs, but is still far too stealthy for its own good. Will we see it on PS4? Perhaps, but don't hold your breath because you might end up asphyxiating.Click here to read more...
We're coming to the end of the Staff Picks part of our Best of Generation season (the Top 50 runs next week), but let's take a moment to look forward. We've celebrated some of the finest titles and moments from the past seven years or so, but how has that shaped our vision of the future? Ladies and gents, it's time to get stuck into our personal hopes and wishes for this next generation of games consoles...
I've said it before a thousand times, but just once more for the road: graphics mean nothing without the gameplay to back it up. Given the choice, you'll find me playing an innovative boutique or indie title rather than a shiny AAA shooter. All day long. This new generation promises devastatingly handsome games, but also needs to push forward in terms of systemic, dynamic worlds to explore, advanced AI, bigger contiguous playgrounds and genuinely new things to see and do.
I'm reminded of the beginning of Generation 6, when I first played Rainbow Six: Vegas and Gears Of War and thought, “wow, this is the start of something amazing.” It was to some extent, but sadly, business is business. In a strive to conform to focus testing and market forces, we saw any number of games apeing the biggest hitters, rather than running with new and unique ideas – to the extent where it was occasionally difficult to find a major new IP that didn't resemble a cover-based shooter or, erm, Call Of Duty a while ago. All too often, we saw the biggest studios iterate rather than innovate, falling back rather than pushing forward.
Don't get me wrong, the PC and emergent console download marketplaces have stalwartly delivered bountiful new and interesting games to enjoy; revolutionary experiences to sink our teeth into. We've definitely enjoyed plenty of exceptional triple-A titles too, many of which have attempted to push boundaries. And that's what I want from the next console generation: a desire to push the envelope, to push those boundaries even further in gameplay terms.
Wouldn't it be nice if, when new games are announced, we find ourselves saying, “wow, that branching dialogue looks amazing,” or “whoa, that learning and evolving AI is really exciting” rather than just “gosh, doesn't that look pretty?” With luck, Project Spark and Watch Dogs are going to make this happen, and really be the start of something truly amazing.
Actually, scratch all that pretentious nonsense. Give me a decent Crackdown and Rainbow Six sequel and I'll be happy as Larry. Perhaps take a look at those RRPs while you're at it.Click here to read more...
Final Fantasy VIII | Greenman Gaming | £8.99 (save £1.99)
Voucher Code: GMG20-CV2W4-DSYBT
Final Fantasy VIII is now available on PC as a new version with an optional magic booster (free, not a microtransaction) and a full version of Chocobo World. Though I personally felt that playing it was more like an Excel spreadsheet than an RPG (thanks, Drawing and Junction system), I'm definitely in the minority, since most players definitely enjoyed the storyline and characters. Greenman Gaming will save you nearly £2 with their GMG20-CV2W4-DSYBT voucher - be aware that you'll get a Steam code.
There are a couple of caveats, though. If you have a PS3 or Vita, you can buy the original game for £7.99 on PSN. Secondly, the soundtrack has been crunched into a nasty primitive MIDI format. Thirdly, it appears that you'll need a Square Enix account and... wait for it... a constant internet connection to play. Yay. Thanks to joobyplease @ HUKD!
Call Of Duty: Ghosts isn't as forward-thinking as we'd have liked (especially in terms of its nonsensical campaign, which Black Ops II somewhat puts to shame), but there's no denying that its mental multiplayer is still great fun. SimplyCDKeys will email you a PC Steam key for a shade under £20, which is a decent saving if you're looking to get involved. Thanks to imdurc @ HUKD!
The PS4 may be out, but the PS3 isn't going anywhere - as evidenced by Polyphony Digital bringing another huge racing sequel to the platform. Gran Turismo 6 is set to feature a huge number of cars, authentic handling... well, you know what to expect, but there's also a lunar rover. Apparently premium currency packs will be available to fast-track your way to the better cars, though we've never been adverse to a little GT grind. Simply Games will save you a fiver. Thanks to missgem @ HUKD!
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed) | Xbox One
Developers: Visual Concepts
Publishers: 2K Sports
The generation jump has, by and large, seen much of the same again in the short while since the Xbox One and PS4's releases. We've had a dearth of truly essential exclusives on both sides, coupled with generation-bridging third party extravagances that, though shinier on next-gen tech, are largely feature-complete and cheaper on old machines. What this had meant is that it feels as though we're still awaiting a number of studios to really commit to the future consoles and truly elevate their games to the next level.
Thankfully, Visual Concepts are on the ball. Sorry for the puns.
NBA 2K14 arrives on PS4 and Xbox One in markedly different form to the game that greeted PS3 and Xbox 360 owners. Instead of being a slightly tuned up version of NBA 2K13, what we have here is a title that has been resolutely overhauled both on and off of the court to striking effect. It hasn't all gone entirely swimmingly, but what we do have here is a truly next-gen title that shows great promise.
If you watched my initial impression video for NBA 2K14 on PS4, you'll no doubt have borne witness to my excited reaction to the player models and exceptionally fluid animations. Visual Concepts have always been excellent at player capture and recreating the spinning, Eurostepping balletic grace of a player such as Kobe or D-Wade. Creating a zippy point guard and giving him a devastating, Iverson-esque crossover has long been a delight. But here, on machines with more power and memory, the animations and level of physical detail on the players have been ramped up to an impressive degree. There's a solidity and physicality to proceedings that is very welcome, aided by an on-court soundscape that has been recaptured and given wider variety and impact.Click here to read more...
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Zoo Tycoon isn't your typical console launch title.
It's an oasis of calm and entry-level accountancy in a cacophony of tyre smoke and bullets, a sim designed for all the family. And a Kinectimals sequel. Frontier Developments have created an odd little title that seems to be at odds with itself, hectic micro-management one moment and making faces at chimpanzees with Kinect the next. As such, Zoo Tycoon attempts the impossible: finding common ground between fans of simulations and casual players who just want to make a fun little zoo and play with its inhabitants.
Whether that middle ground actually exists is up for debate, but Zoo Tycoon still manages to be a charming compromise that anyone with a love of animals - or just a playful spirit- will enjoy regardless of age or ability.Click here to read more...
The last console generation gave us all manner of things we now take for granted, including the concept of downloadable content.
For many gamers, DLC has become a dirty acronym. How could it not be? Too many unscrupulous publishers have used it as an excuse to withhold content to ransom, or make players shell out silly money for features that, a decade ago, were included in the price of admission.
It's a crying shame, though, because DLC is actually one of the best and most forward-thinking advances of the last eight years. When developers strive to create meaningful and worthwhile extra content, DLC can enhance, extend and enrich our games - if not our lives. So to that end, here are the ten most outstanding DLC packs and expansions of the previous generation... and why they set a superb example going into the new one.
Burnout Paradise had a legendary post-launch DLC campaign. From free motorbikes to zany hotseat multiplayer, one of the very best (the best? Discuss) racing games of the generation became even better over time.
Especially when Big Surf Island arrived. This massive new playground was wide, tall and rammed full of crazy stuff to do; keeping Paradise in our disc drives for months.Click here to read more...
In our penultimate roundtable considering the best and worst of the passing console generation, we take a look at some of our personal highlights from the last seven years.
Okay, I’m sure we can all agree that there have been some let-downs in regards to this particular topic, and yes, we’re still waiting for that Double Fine project, but the fact that over the last few years we as gamers have actively engaged with the crowdfunding of games is something that is absolutely a highlight for me. After all, thanks sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo we’ve had the chance to bring games to life that would have normally never have seen the light of day, or would have taken years to emerge in a much smaller capacity.
After all, what kind of publisher would have taken the risk on Chris Averline to make a new RPG? Who would have provided funds for Ragnar Tornquist to continue his critically acclaimed adventure series? Hell, who would have seriously considered giving $1 million dollars to Chris Roberts to make a space sim game, let alone $30 million? Of course, Project Eternity, Dreamfall Chapters, and Star Citizen are some of the more well-known success stories, but smaller games, such as the highly-addictive FTL: Faster Than Light, have been developed and gone on to make some serious money thanks to crowd-funding. The whole thing has also allowed many of us to directly converse with some of our heroes from the industry, both online and in person – something we never really would have had the chance to in such an open manner through a publisher.
But these are just the games – we’ve had hardware projects reach and exceed their goals through crowd-funding, the most notable of which being the utterly delicious Oculus Rift. Sure, other hardware hopefuls like the Ouya may have not reached their potential once in the hands of backers and consumers, but we’ve also had products like the GameStick and the Raspberry Pi providing cheap and exciting alternatives to big budget consoles. As this craze has shown, not every idea put forth with be a golden one, and at the end of the day it’s a rather big risk for everyone involved, but it has given gamers the chance to see games they desperately want being made with a great deal of openness, and that’s why it has been a highlight for me.Click here to read more...
Microsoft took an age to reveal the extent of their support for independent developers on Xbox One, but after a few awkward and embarrassing weeks, they finally unveiled the ID@Xbox scheme that gives indie studios large and small the opportunity to get onto the platform - with every console capable of functioning as a dev kit.
Developers from "more than fifty" countries have now signed up to the scheme, from Canadian Capy Games to Japanese Comcept, Dutch Vlambeer, German Crytek and British Born Ready Games and Team 17. Double Fine rubs shoulders with tiny teams like Zeboyd Studios and one-man outfits such as Jamie Fristrom's Happion Labs, who's working on a crazy gravity defying platformer.
FINALLY. Microsoft were the driving force behind getting indie games into the living room last generation, so it's about time they got involved.
Let's take a look at Xbox One's upcoming indie champions: both in terms of what they've previously developed, what they've confirmed and what they're probably working on.Click here to read more...
There's only one thing better than the reckless unbridled innovation you see at Game Jams, and that's being able to play the games afterwards. We can do exactly that today thanks to Skybound's Walking Dead: All Out War event that challenged over a hundred entrants to use the zombie and survival theme as a jumping off point for more imaginative concepts.
The winners are now available to peruse and play, a bizarre combination of "emotional journeys," shooters and "a holy war between Robo-diablo and an army of Robo-Jesuses." There's also Tiger vs Zombies, which frankly was long overdue. Quality is assured, since the whole thing was judged by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman.
Those that want to get their smackdown on can now do so for £20 thanks to this deal from GAME. Overall it means you can save around £10, which is a bit of a bargain for a game that hasn't been out that long.
It might not be as instantly gratifying as some of the older entries in the series, but the fact 2K14 goes for more of a fun factor this time around instead of a focus on "simulation" makes this year's instalment one of the better WWE games in recent years. With plenty of modes to get through, and the usual creation options to mess about with, it actually be worth a look at this price. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds | Simply Games | £29.85
I suppose you could technically describe the 3DS' latest masterpiece as a link to the past, since it's a follow-up and sequel to that ancient classic. That was in the past. It links to... you know what, never mind. This excellent adventure has some great puzzles, uses 3D brilliantly and looks gorgeous - very much a Christmas present worth unwrapping. Especially since you can save a fair few quid with this cheap deal. Thanks to notty786 @ HUKD!
If you've got a Toys R Us close by, you might be able to save a little extra thanks to a great spot from dmp69.
Developer: Ghost Games
Need For Speed: Rivals ought to be the best racing game on PS4 and Xbox One. On paper it already is: an enormous open world where street racers challenge each other to reckless head-to-head showdowns, all as the police strive to shut them down hard and fast with an insane range of gorgeous tricked-out supercars. It's a fun factory, a powerslide paradise, underpinned by the AllDrive system that brings players together into a single seamless session on both sides of the law. Ghost Games have the pedigree to pull it off, consisting primarily of Criterion veterans, but the reality match the mission statement?
Everything nearly works as intended, it's almost brilliant, but unfortunately you can feel the limitations of the PS3 and Xbox 360 holding Rivals back where it counts.Click here to read more...