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...
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!
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...
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.
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...
Some games are born brilliant, some are born bad, but there's nothing more aggravating than a game that manages to fall short of true greatness. Over the last few years we've seen our fair share of titles with wonderful ideas and clear potential, yet managed to squander their lofty promises. Perhaps they didn't capitalise on their unique features or left potential untapped, maybe they tripped over in terms of production values and testing, often they just made one critical error that ruined what should have been a superlative experience.
So it's high time we took a look at some of the main offenders of recent years. While all of these games are still well worth playing, they all share one thing in common: they could easily have been so much more.
Close... but no cigar.
By far the most current game on my list, Ghost Games' debut makes all the right moves and all the right noises. It's fantastic drift-heavy arcade fun, providing a range of ridiculous supercars to rag around an enormous playground on both sides of the law. To top it off, AllDrive promised to merge singleplayer and multiplayer into a single experience, bringing players together into insane hectic sessions whether racing together or working on their own goals.Click here to read more...
Sci-Fi fans should seriously consider dropping £2.56 on this sweet little BundleStars offering. It contains... deep breath... Sword of the Stars II Enhanced Edition, Project Freedom, Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space, SpaceChem, SpaceChem: 63 Corvi DLC (add-on), Really Big Sky, Planets Under Attack, Data Jammers: FastForward and Ion Assault.
Again: £2.56. This is a seriously good deal, especially since you'll get Steam codes for the lot.
Wow. Christmas present buyers take note: for less than a ton, you can grab a Nintendo 2DS handheld with one of this year's hottest games. The wedge-shaped portable console is compatable with 3DS and DS games, though doesn't have stereoscopic 3D or a hinge in the middle. A less practical option than the 3DS, but so cheap, so very very cheap.
Thanks to Kais @ HUKD!
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: Turn 10
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
For many Xbox One owners, Forza 5 is "next-gen," the game that definitely marks the end of one era and the start of the next.
It really is a thing of beauty; the diamond-sharp, crystal-crisp action more drool-inducingly gorgeous than the orange McLaren P1 on the screen. Sure, the off-track detail isn't quite as impressive as those early showcase builds, but we're still able to pick out individual blades of grass as we barrel past at insane speeds, and ogle the tiniest reflections in the bonnet or the inside of the windscreen. It's stunning, £429 stunning.
Forza 5 is built on racing pedigree too. Turn 10's series is famed for its sweet spot between accessibility and ruthless simulation, offering a range of scalable assists and a rewind function to let everyone find their automotive happy place. For me, it's chucking a BMW M3 sideways through the streets of Prague with a braking-only racing line and automatic gearbox. For others, it will be cut-throat authenticity in a track special or F1 car, carefully managing tyres and collisions to stay out of the pit lane. Every vehicle is unique and treated with reverence, regardless of its age or horsepower, meaning that there's a niche for everyone.
You can find it, whatever it is... though getting there might take a little more time than you're used to.Click here to read more...
While we wait for PopCap to do the right thing and develop Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank 2 - Tank Harder, at least we'll be able to play Peggle 2 to tide us over. Call us immature if you like, call us childish if you must, but we're probably more excited about this peg-busting sequel than any other Christmas release on the books.
It's out on Xbox One next week, but to whet your appetite, we've got a whole mess of videos below showing off the masters in action.Click here to read more...
This isn't really a case of "wow, it's cheap," rather it's a case of "wow, it's in stock." ShopTo are currently selling the PS4 and PS Vita together so that early adopters can crack on with remote play from the get-go - effectively you'll get the PS4 at RRP and the Vita for £150. Not too bad, but unless you're absolutely champing at the bit to get one as a present, waiting until next year will be the best way of saving money.
Thanks to kevykat @ HUKD!
Super Mario 3D World | Toys R US | £39.89
Voucher Code: 990808201990
So this is pretty much the best game of Christmas 2013, then. It's also the cheapest price we've seen for this Wii U wonderhorse, so be sure to plug in voucher code 990808201990 before checking out. Thanks to Hayter27 @ HUKD!
The PS Vita is a seriously impressive handheld, and it's falling in price all the time. This latest deal allows you to buy it with two of its best games for less than £140 - that's 3DS money - and even get the 3G model into the bargain too. Note that you'll probably want to source a beefier memory card though, since 4GB will fill up fast.
To find this deal, scroll down to the special offers. Thanks to RikkiT @ HUKD!
The Humble Jumbo Bundle is a mighty fine bargain whether you beat the minimum or the average.
You can pay what you want for... wait for it... Natural Selection 2, Sanctum 2 and Magicka with all its DLC. This is already superb.
But the real action begins when you beat the average, with Orcs Must Die! 2 Complete, Garry's Mod and Serious Sam 3: BFE thrown into the mix - and soundtracks too. It's a case of quality over quantity this time, and frankly, it's a massive saving no matter how you slice it. Thanks to Kingsworth @ HUKD!
Following its November 22nd launch, I've been thoroughly enjoying the Xbox One as both a console and an entertainment centre. A seriously solid launch lineup, alongside a surprising degree of convenience and downright fun provided by Kinect, makes it a seriously nifty bit of living room kit I'm thrilled to own.
But it's not finished yet. "A fairly strong start, but one that needs to be built upon and soon," I wrote in our full Xbox One review.
The Xbox One is very much a work in progress, with numerous features either missing or in need of serious improvement. Various aspects of the interface and user experience require ironing out in swift patches - to the extent where the community have rallied around a new feedback site to voice their constructive criticism. Microsoft is apparently taking this feedback to heart, and hopefully plan to use their much-vaunted cloud service to deliver some quick updates in the very near future.
So with both references to our exhaustive hardware review and Xboxfeedback.com, it's time to discuss what we want from the first few rounds of patches, and partake in some constructive criticism of our own.
The Xbox One controller can squeeze an enormous amount of active play time out of a single set of Duracells, thanks in part to Kinect's effortless power-saving mode. But on the flip-side, there's no way to tell how much juice you have left short of digging out a battery tester.
Just... why? Come on, this is pretty basic stuff. While you're at it, Microsoft, cloud-based thumbstick inversion settings might be a good idea.Click here to read more...