UK Charts: Advanced Warfare kicks off 2015

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare kicks off the new year as it saw out the previous one – on top of the UK chart. It’s no surprise that FIFA 15 and GTAV are hot on COD’s heels – I’m sure all three titles would have featured heavily on Christmas lists!

Here’s how the rest of the chart shapes up for the week ending January 3rd.

Pos.  Title  Publisher  Last 
 Week 
1 Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare Activision 1
2 Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar 2
3 Fifa 15 EA Sports 3
4 Far Cry 4 Ubisoft 5
5 Assassin’s Creed: Unity Ubisoft 4
6 The Crew Ubisoft 6
7 Destiny Activision 11
8 Wwe 2k15 2K Sports 12
9 Driveclub Sony Computer Ent. 7
10 Minecraft: Xbox Edition Microsoft 8
11 Minecraft: Playstation Edition Sony Computer Ent. 9
12 Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Warner Bros. Interactive 10
13 Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor Warner Bros. Interactive 16
14 Forza Horizon 2 Microsoft 18
15 The Evil Within Bethesda Softworks 14
16 Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Nintendo
17 Littlebigplanet 3 Sony Computer Ent. 13
18 Halo: The Master Chief Collection Microsoft 19
19 Assassin’s Creed: Rogue Ubisoft 17
20 Super Smash Bros. Nintendo 20

 

Four Console companion apps and how to use them

Developers are constantly offering new and exciting second-screen experiences with their console games. Smartphones are quickly becoming an extension of everything we do, including gaming. Daily News reports that there are more smartphones activated every day than there are babies born worldwide and that 43 percent of all time spent on smartphones is dedicated to gaming. It was only inevitable that gaming would craft a bridge between the mobile experience and the console experience, and here is a look at just a few of the best companion apps out there.

Xbox Smartglass

Xbox SmartGlass allows you to sync your smartphone or other mobile device with your Xbox 360, bringing you a rich and interactive second-screen experience. Smartglass connects you with unique content and lets you interact with your favorite shows, games, and movies in a way that changes the remote control forever. You can navigate the Xbox menus, search your media catalog and control media, all from the Smartglass app, as well as track your game achievements, message Xbox friends and access your Xbox Live account. Smartglass gives you easy access to you Xbox dashboard, but it does require an Xbox membership to sign in. It is available for most Android smartphones and tablet devices.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity Companion App

The “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” companion app does everything that one might expect from an action-adventure game’s second-screen experience and more. For one, it offers a map of the Parisian cityscape that is much more interactive than the in-game map, allowing players to set waypoints in the game with the swipe of a finger.

In addition, it offers several in-app game experiences that translate directly to the console in-game experience. Glyph Puzzles are app games that are unlocked with each landmark discovered in the main game, and solving a Glyph Puzzle opens up a Nomad Mission to be played in-app. Nomad Missions are reminiscent of the Brotherhood missions from the “Assassin’s Creed 2” series of games, letting you send out your best Assassins to complete missions. Completed missions reward players in the main game with loot, experience, and more.

Watch_Dogs: ctOS Mobile

Almost an entire game unto itself, the “Watch_Dogs” companion app allows mobile players to connect and play live against any Watch_Dogs player logged on through their console or PC. Available for the many mobile devices and tablets, including the iPad Mini, the ctOS app lets mobile users control the city of Chicago as it becomes a battlefield. To really get the most out of the app, you’ll want to actually own a copy of the game so you can connect and challenge other players, but owning a copy of “Watch_Dogs” is not prerequisite to playing the competitive mobile app.

Battlefield 4 Commander and Battlelog

The “Battlefield 4” mobile app is much more than just a social media app. The Commander mode is an integral part of online gameplay that can radically shift the tide of battle. Available on Android and iOS devices, Battlefield’s Commander app takes you off the ground, out of the gunfire and sits you down in the Commander’s chair. Commanders are limited to one per side, and can drop ammo, gather information, give direction, communicate between squads and even fire a cruise missile into enemy ranks. Having a Commander on your side puts you at a powerful advantage against a disorganized force, so if you play with friends a lot it is almost a necessity that you download the free app on your second-screen device and take control of the battle.

Halo 5: Guardians – New Central Character and Collectors Edition’s

halo 5 ltd

343 Industries and Microsoft has recently announced both Limited and Collector’s Editions of this years biggest (likely) blockbuster – Halo 5: Guardians. In addition to the newly announced packages comes a character to be introduced into the Halo story, Spartan Locke!

Launching in fall 2015 exclusively on Xbox One, Halo 5: Guardians continues the story of the Master Chief, and introduces a brand new central character to the Halo universe – Spartan Locke. Peace is shattered when colony worlds are unexpectedly attacked. And when humanity’s greatest hero goes missing, Spartan Locke is tasked with hunting the Master Chief and solving a mystery that threatens the entire galaxy.

The editions and US estimated pricing is detailed below:

  • Standard Edition for $59.99 – Halo 5: Guardians plus an exclusive poster, only available to those who pre-order.
  • Limited Edition for $99.99 – Everything in the Standard Edition plus new digital content to enhance Spartan combat and exclusive items wrapped in a uniquely designed steel book.
  • Limited Collector’s Edition for $249.99 – Everything in the Limited Edition as well as additional content such as a commemorative numbered statue designed by 343 Industries. More details on the design to be shared at a later date.

The Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta is still available to gamers who own Halo: The Master Chief Collection and you can read our full thoughts on that here.

Overall, I feel that Halo 5: Guardians retains the essence of why I loved Halo 2’s multiplayer – and although it may come loaded with all the mod cons of many other shooters on the market: zoomable weapons, kill cams, jet pack boosts and the ability to mantle objects, it still feels distinctively Halo – tea bagging included!

Pier Solar and the Great Architects review

As ever, with the advent of a new generation of gaming technology, there is the temptation of revamping older titles and giving them a makeover that Nick Knowles would be proud of. Pier Solar and the Great Architects is such a title. With all that power at your disposal, the first instinct is to throttle it back. I’ve never understood why, but in some cases, I don’t care.

PierSolarBattle

Taking inspiration from the Sega Genesis classic of the same name then, Pier Solar starts off as faithfully as the original. You are Hoston, the main character, a young botanist whose father is gravely ill. Joining him on a quest to find a universal herbal cure is Alina; an adopted best friend, and Edessot; a genius at mechanics and electronics. Starting in Hoston’s home, it’s clear that his mother doesn’t want him to go into such a dangerous place as the caves, where the medicinal herb is found. Along the way you’ll have to face ambush from monsters, numerous side-quests and mini-games, all set in a 16-bit inspired graphical world.

These visuals are a symphony in 16-bit. Think souped-up Japanese handheld console and you might not be too far wide of the mark. There are a trio of setting for the graphics too, depending on your own personal tastes. I couldn’t really fault the graphics, knowing the origins of the game, it’s refreshing to see the developers, who also developed the original, use the technology to reproduce the environments with a smoother feel.

PierSolar

The audio too, is faithful to the original, if not a little repetitive and irritating. There are no speech samples in this version, which is quite disappointing. The developers obviously wanting to reproduce that original feel in every way. There are no footstep sounds, from the text appearing during the character interactions scrolls along to an irritating beepy noise, to the odd, almost 4-bit squelch that happens when you enter a building or the map is baffling. There were so many opportunities for these little imperfections to be addressed and improved upon to make this huge Japanese-style RPG even better, but I have to admit to being confused as to why the developers haven’t taken this opportunity. The clunky audio aside, the gameplay again, remains faithful to the genre. Wander around the village, the forest, the headquarters, the bridge and beyond and you’ll have the opportunity to meet and greet some of the locals. These guys, while a little standoffish, are usually friendly and will give you quests. One of the first you’ll get is to collect watermelon from the local farm. Hey, developers, I saw what you did there. Now, you’ll pick up little trinkets along the way, a dagger here, some herbs there. Keep an eye on these in your inventory by tapping Y or select. When the opportunity arises for you to do battle, you’ll probably be in the forest at the outset. The battles follow the tried and tested turn-based attack. If you’ve played the recent Rovio fare, Angry Birds EPIC, then you’ll know the type of gameplay you’ll face. To be honest, this didn’t grab me, and I know it’s not down to something new to take in, or an innovative control method. I think it’s just because I didn’t feel the game.

PierSolarDoc

You’re probably wondering what I mean. Let me explain. The initial story starts out well. You have a quest & some friends to help you. You get to help a farmer out, then a bounty hunter & then the story seems to peter out. There is a lot of aimless wandering around in this game. There’s a notebook that I’m presuming is designed to help you remember what you’re supposed to do as the temptation to click through the text without reading it properly is simply too great but the information you get in the notebook is scant to say the least. Even following the instructions here to the location in question, searching them thoroughly and coming up with nothing left me feeling somewhat deflated. I know I’m looking for something & I don’t expect to find it immediately, but I’ve no idea what to next. Running through the forest, with the controls as temperamental as they are, whilst running through random battle scenarios simply left me frustrated. I like role playing games, especially when there’s a sense of purpose about them which leads to a series of events, one after another, intertwined in the story with nothing incidental. Pier Solar falls somewhere in between in this, which is a shame. There will obviously be some fans of the original who will lap this up, I just hope that it doesn’t disappoint. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDNiJYZbXdA

Thanks to Xbox for supplying TiX with a download code

[rprogress value=71 text=”ThisisXbox Score 71%”] [xyz-ihs snippet=”XboxOne”][xyz-ihs snippet=”Pegi16″]

Giveaway: Xbox One digital copy of Assassin’s Creed Unity

Assassins-Creed-Unity

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone that entered and congrats to Lisa Aalderink from the Netherlands – you’ve bagged yourself a digital copy of Assassin’s Creed Unity courtesy of Games on Demand – we’ve passed them your details so they should be in touch soon!

 

Happy New Year everyone! To celebrate the start of 2015, we’ve teamed up with Games on Demand again to bring you another awesome giveaway. Our last giveaway for 12 months of Xbox Live Gold went down really well, especially for Chris Hare who nabbed the prize thanks to the expert drawing skills of the Rafflecopter computer.

Don’t worry if you missed out on the prize, Games on Demand currently have the cheapest online deal for 12 months of Xbox Live Gold – £26.80. You can also pay in Euros or Dollars if you live across the pond – does this make the deal the cheapest in your region? Let us know in the comments below!

Now on to January’s giveaway, a digital copy of Assassin’s Creed Unity! Don’t let Unity’s rocky start in life put you off… now that the majority of bugs have been fixed it’s certainly in my top three games of 2014! The code is region free so the giveaway is open to everyone (except TiX staff) no matter what part of the world you reside in.

To be in with a chance of winning, fill out the entry form on our swanky Rafflecopter plug-in and it will even select a winner when the giveaway ends at midnight on February 1st. Good luck and don’t forget to go and check out Games on Demand, they are adding more and more Xbox stock all the time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway