This week, The Last of Us lets rip on PS3, Animal Crossing turns over a New Leaf on Nintendo 3DS and Rugby Challenge 2: The Lions Tour Edition scrums down on Xbox 360
The Last of Us | Platform: PS3 | Genre: Action | Price: £39.99
So we all know what the new PS4 looks like now. Not just in terms of the box itself but a host of launch titles too. And, to be honest, The Last of Us could probably have fitted comfortably into that category, such is the quality of story-telling, voice acting, graphical performance and all-round exhilaration you’ll experience on this rollercoaster ride.
Lead character Joel’s trek across a country ravaged by a pandemic twenty years ago, in tow with another survivor, 14-year-old Ellie, is brilliantly bleak and regularly brutal. This no-nonsense approach to the subject matter inspires an extra level of concern for your characters - they’re human and can easily be killed. As such, a trigger happy take on combat should be substituted for stealth and use of your glorious surroundings to mastermind a myriad ways of moving on. There are echoes of the Uncharted series, which ensures The Last of Us is on a premium gaming platform from the off, but Joel and co outdo Drake in almost every department, making this the PS3’s finest and near-final moment before it’s 4 to the floor.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf | Nintendo 3DS | Adventure / RPG | £29.99
Prepare to lose your real life, as the world of Animal Crossing comes calling once again, supercharged with more cute characters and quaint quests than you can imagine. This time, as mayor of your village, you’ll be able to build it from the ground up - not just decorating your house, but assembling every last detail to deliver a completely personalised action adventure experience. With no points or levels, just a myriad of sights and sounds, places and activities, it’s up to you how your New Leaf life plays out, and hundreds of hours later there’s likely to still be a lot left that you want to achieve. Whether you’re fishing, hanging out at a coffee shop or visiting a tropical island, nowhere else has a game truly been more about what you and you alone make of it - and that personalisation props up almost all the fun you’ll have. Yes, your real life will suffer as a result, but don’t worry, there’s a virtual community to hook up with online, too. See you in a few years...
Rugby Challenge 2: Lions Tour Edition | Xbox 360 | Rugby | £49.99
The British and Irish Lions’ tour down under has begun pretty well, with a 50-point mauling of the Barbarians and a hard-fought win against the Queensland Reds. Should things go a bit squiffy in the weeks that follow, you’ll still have the opportunity to set the record straight in the console world, with this sequel to the enjoyable Jonah Lomu’s Rugby Challenge. Fully licensed, RC2 offers more content, more authenticity and gets closer to the action than ever before, including a host of new gameplay features. The addition of quick taps, quick line-outs, mauls from line-outs, interceptions, and number 8 scrum pick-ups all bring more dynamism and tactical depth to the solid gameplay engine, while levels of customisation remain ridiculously detailed. Over 110 teams and 50 stadia are packed into the one disc, making this the most complete rugby union experience to date. All we need now to complete the summer is our real-life rugby heroes to run riot in Oz.
Dumb Ways To Die | iPhone / iPad | Arcade | FREE
Gaming is big business, so it’s no surprise that fewer and fewer developers find an opportunity to take themselves less seriously - or give anything away for free. Here, Metro’s corporate safety video to end all others doubles up as an addictive melange of mini-games, all requiring you to take speedy action on screen to avoid a grisly death. Whether you’re flicking piranhas away from your privates, pulling passengers away from the edge of a train track or battling a swarm of wasps about to sting your face, each challenge is simple and humorous with a crisp and colourful minimalism to the game design. The more you complete, the faster they get, and when you’ve earned enough points you’ll unlock an absolutely brilliant musical video featuring all the characters from the game, plus the sensible safety message, of course. A victory for viral video game content.
Kingdom Rush Frontiers | iPhone / iPad | Tower Defence | £1.99
The original Kingdom Rush presented smartphone owners with one of the most enjoyable and challenging tower defence titles seen on the small screen. Strategically positioning your archers, mages, barracks and big bombers around battle maps to dispose of the increasingly aggressive enemy became a totally engrossing way to while away the daily commute. And now it’s back, and better than ever with some excellent new gameplay additions. Top billing goes to the new ‘hero’ characters, a singular tower of strength you can deploy around the battlefield during each level, building his/her experience through in-game fisticuffs, then upgrading their abilities between stages. It’s a canny touch that also acts as a much needed last gasp attempt to stay in certain tough stages and brings a whole new layer of tactical skill to proceedings. Put simply, Kingdom Rush’s defence of its tower defence title is never in doubt.