This week, we begin our Christmas countdown towards the top console title of 2016, featuring 10 to 6. Ho, ho, ho!
10. Title: NBA 2K17
Back on court to slam dunk the competition
The NBA 2K franchise returned for another true-to-life basketball experience, this time featuring some curve-ball additions, like the inclusion of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry as a playable character! Gimmicks aside, though, it’s another packed collection of awesome on-court action and the 2017 roster features another ream of improvements to game modes. MyGM and MyLeague introduce a number of new customisation modes, and the level of depth at which you can tinker during the dynamic playthrough of a regular season is astonishing. As you’d expect, the graphical polish is incredible - from improvements in player hair and uniforms to stunning shoe accuracy thanks to 3D-scanning technology during development. But does it play well? Of course it does! With the controller in your hands, you’ll unearth a wealth of ridiculous tricks at your disposal, as the series continues to power forward as the undisputed king of the court. It’s arguably the best simulation of any sport on any console.
9. Title: Dishonored 2
Platform: Xbox One
A stunning supernatural stealth-action sequel
What a pre-Christmas treat this was - the chance to reprise your role as a supernatural assassin in Dishonored 2! Playing as Empress Emily Kaldwin or the royal protector, Corvo Attano, you must forge your way through a world where mysticism and industry collide, putting paid to the otherworldly usurper that has seized the throne. You’re armed with a pack of incredibly powerful new abilities that challenge you to play out a story of stealth, brutal combat, or a blend of both. How you combine your character’s unique powers, weapons and gadgets to eliminate your enemies is up to you, and your choices will lead to some intriguing outcomes through each of the game’s hand-crafted missions. The level design is awe-inspiring at times - not least the clockwork mansion around half-way through. The graphical attention to detail, character skill-trees and overall stealth-action make it a worthy successor and a console title well worth diving into this Christmas.
8. Title: Gears Of War 4
Platform: Xbox One
The sharpest of shooters eases into top gear
And so, a new saga began. After narrowly escaping an attack on their village, JD Fenix and his friends, Kait and Del, set out to rescue the ones they love and discover the source of a monstrous new enemy. It’s difficult to imagine more fearsome foes than those we’ve encountered in the Gears Of War games to date, but the gradual build up of darkness, tension and horrifying encounters through this gripping storyline sets a new benchmark beyond the Locusts. It also heavily hints at a bigger threat in the wider world while hurling you into the gorgeous, gory cover-based shooter scenarios you should already know and love. While there is a disc full of new content to consume, there’s so much familiarity in the overall construction of Gears Of War 4 - from its stunning presentation to its combat mechanics - but that’s no bad things when you’re talking about one of the finest franchises of this generation. Seriously, a stonking campaign extended by the incredibly addictive online modes all stack up to deliver one of the must-have titles of 2016.
7. Title: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Platform: Xbox One
Mankind creates a marvel of an RPG adventure
The action of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided takes place in 2029, a couple of years after the events of Human Revolution and the infamous ‘Aug Incident’ in Panchaea. Amidst this emotional turmoil, various factions now try to manipulate the public by twisting public opinion of augmentation to advance their own agenda and hide the truth of what really occurred. Here, Adam Jensen once again enters the Deus Ex world to discover the real story in the player’s own way, within this incredible open city (Prague). The level of detail is staggering, as are the myriad ways to play through the many missions and side missions. Stealth, heavy combat, considered conversation with the many in-game characters - they’re all ways to make good headway in the game, each providing very different outcomes. This is Human Revolution cranked up into hyperdrive and the near-future RPG setting has never looked better. Everything is so believable, almost too much so, but that’ll ensure gamers find plenty to ponder during multiple play-throughs.
6. Title: Titanfall 2
Platform: Xbox One
A simply monstrous mechanical shooter
The original Titanfall delivered crazy action combat at two levels - man on man and then machine on machine. This sequel upped the ante with a crafted experience that explores this unique bond between man and machine. Playable offline, the single player campaign in Titanfall 2 lets you step out onto The Frontier as a Militia rifleman with aspirations of becoming an elite Pilot. Stranded behind enemy lines and facing overwhelming odds, you must team up with a veteran Titan to uphold a mission you were never meant to carry out. Meanwhile, in multiplayer, the gameplay continues to evolve, providing a more robust experience that delivers expanded depth and variety including six new monster Titans, deeper Pilot abilities, more customisation options, and a robust progression system that is sure to satisfy fans. Super-slick controls, gorgeous graphics and a required level of tactical intelligence ensures action shooter fans will be celebrating a sequel that aimed high and hit the heights they would have hoped for when it was first unveiled.
WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT?
The cold winter weather often prompts us into future holiday planning and, while this may not be one for 2017, it’s well worth keeping on your travelling bucket list. Super Nintendo World will be added to the list of attractions at Universal Studios in Orlando, Hollywood and Japan, with the first themed zone opening in Osaka ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Japanese Super Nintendo World development will come at a huge cost - estimated at 430 million US dollars - but there’s no doubt there’ll be a stampede of Mario fans flocking to queue for the chance to live out their fantasies in a life-size Mushroom Kingdom!
Meanwhile in the charts this week, Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare stormed to the top of the Christmas tree not long before the big day, knocking FIFA 17 into second spot. Battlefield 1 also climbed one place from four to three, while Dead Rising 4 was the highest new entry at five.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare
2. FIFA 17
3. Battlefield 1
4. Final Fantasy XV
5. Dead Rising 4
6. Watch Dogs 2
7. The Last Guardian
8. Pokemon Sun
9. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Special Edition
10. Pokemon Moon
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2016 UKIE Ltd