This week, Tom Clancy’s The Division locks and loads on Xbox One, Hitman sets its sights on PS4 and The Heavy Rain and Beyond Collection also lands on the same system.
Elsewhere, Into Light and Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers provide an interesting mix of dark puzzling and pulsating platform action on smartphone and tablet
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Title: Tom Clancy’s The Division
Platform: Xbox One
Marvel at this multiplayer shooter supremacy
There’s a hell of a lot of hype for The Division to live up to. Early beta access provided a tantalising glimpse of an online team RPG shooter set to blaze a new trail on next-gen consoles and PC. Overall, it really does deliver, with a typically tight Tom Clancy story about a horrific virus ripping through your world setting the pace for your gameplay. Graphically, it’s simply awesome - the city of New York is astoundingly realistic, as are the characters you’ll encounter along the way. Whilst the third-person perspective does knock the edge off your immersion in this incredibly believable environment, it does the trick when it comes to commanding your agent around the concrete battlefields. And playing with a pal is when things really crank up a notch. The loot to gather, the laughter, the ludicrous possibilities from a tactical point of view - this is when The Division really comes into its own. And this release is just the start, as DLC and three expansions are on the horizon, too. Get in on the act now, and wave goodbye to real life for a bit.
Earn yourself an A+ in assassination
Hitman is back in a big way, after a four-year hiatus, empowering you to perform contract hits on high-profile targets in exotic locations around the globe. From Paris and the sunny coast of Italy, to the dust and hustle of the markets in Marrakech, this is stealth action at its finest as the gameplay lets you take out targets in vast sandbox levels with complete freedom of approach. Where you go, when you attack and who you kill is at your discretion. And all of these downright despicable activities can be carried out in a gloriously constructed playground, where you’re limited only by your imagination in devising weird and wonderful ways to plan, attack and execute. Sizing up the space and appraising opportunities is almost as much fun as seeing them come off, and there’s no shortage of content to contemplate either, as this Hitman will be delivered in an episodic manner, with new territories unlocked every few weeks. The cue-ball-bonced Agent 47 is back on form, and this is one contract you simply can’t turn down.
Title: Heavy Rain/Beyond: Two Souls Collection
Emotion-driven double act get a moderate makeover
Two PS3 heavy hitters from years gone by get the remastering treatment for PS4, here. Bundled together to offer some serious value for gamers, the joy that you get from this collection will largely be driven by whether your played either (or neither) title first time out. Graphical updates aside, which are decent in Beyond, but less discernible in Heavy Rain, both games drive at the “emotive gaming” genre, where dialogue and everyday interactions replace pulling out a gun and shooting everything in sight. This was a groundbreaking move six years ago, and Heavy Rain still has its heartstring-pulling moments across the four characters you’ll control during the story. Beyond: Two Souls is, at times, a fantastic sci-fi tale, too, but both are slightly showing their age and the scripts that we may have first thought were so sharp and slick in this shocking new game construct are actually much, much cheesier second time around. If you’ve yet to play these games, though, you really should. They are both interesting and engrossing adventures, but as with gaming’s film counterparts, they’ve got to be pretty special to survive a second viewing.
Title: Into Light
Explore the darkness through brilliantly bright puzzles
A gloomy environment and devious puzzles await once you head into the darkness in Into Light. Escaping the bomb blasts of raging conflict, you’re sent down to the tunnels where your first discovery is a locked gate. From that point onwards, your brain had better click into gear, as Into Light thrusts wave upon wave of word or magical door challenges. The former also helps to construct a narrative around you in this labyrinthine game environment aided by the interjections of an odd magician who has promised to help you find a way home if you help him, too. The magical door puzzles are equally engaging, requiring a particular combination of light spinning until everything’s in the correct position to release the lock. The creepy setting, atmospheric audio and strong graphical style do give Into Light a certain mesmeric quality, where you’ll start to get that “just one more door” feeling. And, while you’ll begin to get a hunch that what lies on the other side is more of the same, there are enough twists and turns to keep you pushing on through to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Title: Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers
Action runner app socks it to the competition
This may well be the first game ever to have a hero character who is actually a sock. But don’t let that blast of cotton-tubed controversy dampen your spirits when shelling out four quid for this side-scrolling action-runner-platformer. It’s totally worth it, as Lost Socks delivers a devilishly difficult challenge for hardcore gamers within a brilliantly animated fantasy world. There may only be four virtual buttons - jump, dash, primary weapon and secondary weapon - but you’ll find yourself wrestling for the right combinations as the obstacles come at you thick and fast in each level. Using your memory to master what’s on the horizon is key, as it will not only aid your standard progress through each section of the game, but also up your chances of pulling in three stars for your performance. That kind of skill will be rewarded with an excellent array of unlocks and upgrades, which all feel like they play in meaningful part in getting you through the latter stages. Yes for the same price as this app you could buy yourself a nice pair of fresh, funky footwear. But let’s be honest, you know which one of the two is going to be more fun and stink less later.
WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT?
Disney not your thing? Sick of Harry Potter, too? Well, it looks like gamers’ theme park dreams could come true in the next few years, after it was revealed that a Nintendo Land theme park zone has begun construction on the site of Universal Studios in Tokyo. According to Japanese news group Sankei, this real-life Super Mario World is aiming to be open for business in 2020, the same year that Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games. Now the rumours can begin as to what will be featured in Nintendo Land. Zelda’s a given, surely? And dare we dream of a real-sized Mario Kart track?
Meanwhile in the charts this week, Far Cry Primal kept a hold of top spot for another week, closely followed by Zelda’s Twilight Princess, which debuted at two. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 dropped a place to three, while FIFA 16 also fell two places from three to five.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. Far Cry Primal
2. The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess HD
3. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
5. FIFA 16
6. LEGO Marvel Avengers
7. Grand Theft Auto V
8. Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls Collection
9. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Siege
10. Forza Motorsport 6
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2015 UKIE Ltd