This week, Call of Duty: Ghosts provides thrills and spills on Xbox 360, while Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag hits the high seas on PS3 and Mario and Sonic head off to the 2014 Winter Olympics on Wii U. Meanwhile, Anomaly 2 and Thor: The Dark World deliver out of this world action on iOS
Call of Duty: Ghosts | Xbox 360 | Shooter | £39.99
Call of Duty: Ghosts ushers in the next generation of the FPS franchise, and manages to deliver an excellent and familiar experience with enough additions to single and multiplayer gameplay to genuinely feel like an advancement of the series. Set in an alternate Call of Duty universe, the all-new storyline centres around brothers Logan and Hesh (and their dog Riley), who must tackle a South American uprising threatening to take a stranglehold of US territory as it pushes north. As is customary for the series, the single player campaign delivers a number of explosive, memorable shooter set pieces, while also mixing up gameplay from pure run-and- gun to include alternative missions underwater, in the air and, yes, viewed through the eyes of the dog. It’s fast-paced engaging stuff and an excellent prelude to the overhauled multiplayer mode. Here, huge upgrades are immediately apparent through unprecedented customisation options (9,000 possible combinations), bigger maps and also seven new game modes. Ghosts is a package bursting with arresting action content and another essential purchase for shooter fans.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag | PS3 | Action | £39.99
Setting sail for the golden age of piracy, Assassin’s Creed’s fourth outing throws caution to the wind, replacing intricate ancient cityscapes for sprawling seas and tropical isles. It’s a bracing and refreshing change of pace as you tackle the lawless Caribbean Republic in 1715, where pirates rule the waters. And the simply stunning environment just begs to be explored on your terms, which is where Black Flag really comes into its own. The single player campaign may not be the series’ finest storytelling hour or twelve, but the freedom afforded to discover the wealth of activities elsewhere means the game takes on truly epic proportions - you can lose hours in engrossing side-quests and general exploration before eventually changing course for the main mission prompt. It’s surely every gamer’s latent ambition to be a real-life pirate and live out the life of sun, sea and all-round illegal activity, and Black Flag brings this to life like never before.
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games | Wii U | Sports | £29.99
Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast or you don’t know your skeleton from your bobsleigh, you can still go for gold in the cold with Mario & Sonic’s interpretation of the upcoming winter games. Featuring 16 different Olympic Events and eight Dream Events set in their colourful world, you’ll join your favourite characters for fun-filled competition in individual and team events, as well as a new online competition mode, Worldwide VS. Whether you’re Speed Skating, Alpine Skiing or Snowboard Slopestyling you’ll require a good level of skill to succeed, and it’s nice to be rewarded with a host of juicy unlockable content. As with many mini-game titles, some events hit the spot while others fall a bit flat, but the Wii U’s GamePad comes into its own on numerous occasions and helps to deliver unique fantasy sports fun for all the family this winter.
Anomaly 2 | iPhone/iPad | Action/Strategy | £2.99
Anomaly 2 marks the arrival of the next generation of tower attack titles, combining a truly gargantuan single-player campaign, fully-fledged online multiplayer, and graphics the likes of which you really won’t have ever seen on a mobile device. Still need convincing to part with three hard-earned pounds? Well, not only do you get super-polished presentation in the palm of your hands, but also the expansion of this genre on a jaw-dropping scale, where stunning special effects bring every battle to life. With so many battle options available, you’ll use your strategic skills against other human opponents by building alien towers or sending in your troops to tear them down in online attack vs defence multiplayer skirmishes via the online Game Center. Reclaiming Earth from an Alien invasion has never been straightforward, and new transformable troops now present over one million tactical combinations to wear down the enemy’s gauntlet. Now, that should keep you busy for a while...
Thor: The Dark World | iPhone/iPad | Action | FREE
What’s not to love about growing a mullet, popping on a cape and crawling through dungeons while dispatching elves with your mighty hammer? Absolutely nothing, if you’re mad on Marvel. Here, Thor steps into a mobile third-person action-fest to give a timely boost to the comic-book content currently doing the rounds. Complementing the recent movie release, you’ll join forces with Asgard’s legendary warrior roster as you strive to restore order to the Nine Worlds. A whopping 90 quick-hit missions await, with a variety of challenges and objectives laid before you, which will require the might and magic of the other Asgardians you train and fight alongside, including Sif, Heimdall and the Warriors Three. Throw in 10 powerful hammer upgrades for your good self and you can see that The Dark World will certainly lighten the mood on your mobile or tablet, thanks to great graphics and some good old-fashioned epic combat.