This week, Monster Hunter Generations draws its blade on Nintendo 3DS, MX vs. ATV: Supercross Encore hits full throttle on Xbox One and Pineview Drive opens its doors on PS4.
Elsewhere, Pokemon Go and Klocki land on smartphone and tablet
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Title: Monster Hunter Generations
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
A monster hit that keeps on growing
It’s time to take your killer instincts to new heights in another explosive beast-battling fun-fest that comes bursting out of the 3DS’s double screen. After 12 years of existence, 2016’s Generations edition marks one of the most significant evolutions of the Monster Hunter series, delivering the most customisable experience to date, as well as acting as a fitting tribute to the decade that’s gone before. Here, the addition of new gameplay mechanics such as Styles and Hunter Arts (special moves) give players a host of new tactical options to tinker with during their quest to defend each of the game’s four villages from the creatures that lurk in the lush world around them. Hundreds of quests await, featuring progressively stronger and more stunning scaly opponents. As you slay them, your rewards will allow you to return to base with booty that can be spent on upgrading your weapon and armoury set before embarking on the next more taxing challenge. The action is incredible, much more visceral than previous adventures, while the options for solo, local or online multiplayer present an abundance of content that long-time fans will dive straight into. Newbies must be aware that they’ll need to unearth the more tactical combat tutorials themselves as Generations shuns a spoon-feeding opening, but the feast laid out before you afterwards is well worth any early feelings of frustration.
Title: MX vs. ATV: Supercross Encore
Platform: Xbox One
A rough riding racer with one too many bumps in the road
It’s time to leap into those biking leathers and rip, jump and scrub your way to victory across over 35 tracks in the latest version of MX vs. ATV. Featuring a brand new Rhythm Racing mode, extra outdoor Nationals tracks, and exclusive Waypoint races in open world maps, no-one can argue that Supercross Encore doesn’t throw the kitchen sink at you when it comes to dirty, dusty racing content. To all intents and purposes, this is a remastered reboot of 2014’s PS3/Xbox 360 offering, and it certainly takes things forward from a visual styling point of view, as well as an updated interpretation of the game’s physics and how you keep a handle on the weight distribution of that hunk of revving metal that you’re throwing round the track. And unfortunately, that’s where the wheels start to fall off. The dual analogue stick approach to holding you and your bike in a gravitational sweet spot during outrageous jumps never quite clicks with the frenetic pace of the core racing experience and, as a result, face-first crashes occur far too often than they should. It’s a shame, as the series has delivered some fine racing action over the years, but one feels that franchise should spend some extended time in the garage for a full reboot now.
Title: Pineview Drive
Genre: Action & Shooter
A spot of horror house-hunting
An old abandoned mansion lies at the dead end of Pineview Drive. A troubled man (you) is standing at its gates, looking over the property. Twenty years ago you had visited this estate with your wife and during your stay, your beloved vanished without a trace - her mysterious disappearance never resolved. Time to go back, then, to relinquish the tormenting grip the house has had upon you, in an eerie adventure that makes no apology for playing up to all of the traditional horror tricks in the book. Your days spent in the house will be largely consumed by exploration of each and every room that may hold a clue to the disappearance of your wife. Keys must be found to unlock the next series of doors, and so the cycle continues, literally unlocking content until you reach the grisly end. It’s that gameplay loop that grates a little, but the thrills and spills that Pineview Drive delivers from a game playing sensory perspective make it all worth while. You’ll be scared out of your wits at times, and decidedly on edge throughout. This is credit to the creepy house itself, beautifully realised on PS4, as well as some stellar audio effects, that serve as a constant reminder that you’re unlikely to be alone, even if you can’t see anyone (or thing) else. A horror house-hunt you’ll remember for a long time.
Title: Pokemon Go
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
An astonishing combination of augmented and actual reality
If you’ve yet to hear about Pokemon Go, you’ve probably been hiding in a Pokemon ball over the last week or so. Bringing virtual and real worlds together in an astonishing augmented reality phenomenon, Pokemon Go has lifted gamers off the sofa and out onto the streets of the UK in search of those elusive and ever-so-cute creatures that first graced the gaming world way back in 1995. Two decades on and smartphone tech has seriously revived the franchise’s fortunes, overlaying virtual meeting points and training/battle Pokegyms onto real-world points of interest, encouraging players to go out and about to find, catch and train their own collection of Pokemon in search of neighbourhood domination of the local Pokegyms. Churches, parks and shopping centres will never be seen in the same light and, despite the relatively basic ‘flick to catch’ gameplay mechanic, the aspects of physical “treasure hunting”, completionism and character development deliver a level of addictiveness that will forge the short-term future of family entertainment, for those willing to let these imaginary animals into their lives. As the tagline goes, you’ve gotta catch ‘em all!
3D puzzler draws inspiration from the king of cubes
The latter stages of Klocki look like something cooked up by the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube, as you desperately try to match a complex pattern on a 3D shape of some description. What has brought you to this point is a relaxing and intuitive minimalist puzzler that gradually exposes you to a series of game moves and rules, laying the foundations for these later brain teasers. Essentially, you’re shuffling tiles with lines on them in order to join each line on each tile and create the end sequence. It sounds simple, and certainly is on the first few levels, but as the lines begin to twist, the overall shapes expand and tile-swapping options shrink, you’ll find yourself staring at a level for quite some time before the eureka moment that moves you onto the next. Klocki is all about that quiet thinking time. There are no time or move limits - it’s just you, the challenge and that brain in your bonce having a puzzling party. A great game to calm the commute with a slick design that provides a perfect level of polish to an already excellent concept.
WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT?
Nintendo may be basking in the success of the insanely popular Pokemon Go app, but there’s no let-up on the innovation front after the console giant announced it would be releasing an NES Classic Mini system. The £50 machine is a standalone small device that recreates the halcyon gaming days of the 1980s, packing 30 games into its specification, including Super Mario Bros 1-3, Zelda 1 and 2, plus Gradius, Mega Man 2, Castlevania - the list goes on. Gaming fans in the UK can expect to get their hands on this piece of hardware history in November this year, according to Amazon, ahead of the Christmas rush!
Meanwhile, in the charts this week, LEGO Star Wars kept up its intergalactic assault on the top 10, holding onto top spot for another seven days. Uncharted 4 climbed four places to two, while Monster Hunter Generations was the week’s top new entry at three.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
3. Monster Hunter Generations
5. Grand Theft Auto V
7. FIFA 16
8. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
9. Rocket League
10. Fallout 4
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2016 UKIE Ltd