Sunday, 20 December 2015

Massive Attack

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Everything we currently know about Mass Effect: Andromeda, the franchise’s debut game for Xbox One

In classical mythology, Andromeda was a pretty lady who had to be fed to a giant sea monster after her dad annoyed the gods. She was spared this fate when the hero Perseus came by on a winged horse. Typical Ancient Greek playboy behaviour, that. Now, imagine that Andromeda is actually a trillion stars arranged in a rough spiral, that the monster is some sort of angry extraterrestrial species, that Perseus is a refugee from the Milky Way galaxy, and that the winged horse is a tricked-out spaceship. Congratulations: you've basically just thought of the elevator pitch for Mass Effect: Andromeda.

BioWare has yet to reveal much about the first Mass Effect game for Xbox One, but it has dropped hints aplenty in addition to some fetching concept artworks, and it's obviously possible to extrapolate from the events of Mass Effect 3. Polish off those calibrations and join us for a rundown. Beware major series spoilers.

Crackdown 3

Crackdown 3

Reagent Games builds skyscrapers up to the cloud, then topples the lot

Shocking plot twists aside, the Crackdown series has always been defined by its focus on freedom. Each game sees you leaping about the city like a superhero, becoming ever stronger, faster and more likely to harm the innocent as you dismantle criminal networks by going on a series of decreasingly discriminate rampages. Crackdown 3 continues this tradition, but ups the ante by handing you the keys to two entirely different cities in which to run riot: one that offers a fresh twist on the narrative-driven sandbox and the kind of familiarly robust buildings that will happily take a volley of rockets and stay standing; and another especially laid out for online multiplayer that raises the roof (potentially all of them] with cloud-powered physics that render every piece of it entirely destructible.

Street Fighter V

Street Fighter V

A true fighting evolution, and this time everyone’s invited

Capcom could have simply refreshed the fighting roster and polished up the visuals. That, for many, would have been enough. Capcom could have just added some new moves and tuned up the overall gameplay. That too, for a lot of players, would have been enough. But for a developer like Capcom – one that, if it didn’t invent the one-on-one fighting game, certainly honed its execution into an art form – that wouldn’t have been good enough. Not even close.

And so Street Fighter V isn’t an incremental update, or a polished improvement. It’s an exhilarating, across-the-board clean sweep, which resets, rebuilds and revitalises everything you thought you knew about modern Street Fighter. And, rather wonderfully, everything you thought you knew about Capcom, too.