This week, Battlefield 4 explodes onto Xbox 360, WWE 2K14 limbers up in lycra on PS3 and Football Manager 2014 goes for goal on PC. Elsewhere, Echo Prime and Dead Trigger 2 provide some heart-pounding action on iOS
Battlefield 4 | Xbox 360 | Shooter | £39.99
Battlefield 4 is a truly spectacular military blockbuster. It delivers destruction on an unrivalled scale, fuelled by the finest game engines on offer. If the buildings are shielding your enemy, blow them away. Such is the freedom that you’re afforded in these explosive environments, your campaign or multiplayer battles can be played out according to your strengths. Lead an assault from the back of a gun boat or dominate the air-space above - it’s up to you. And, beyond the now legendary multiplayer which improves events further, the intense, dramatic character-driven campaign provides a complete FPS package, that kicks off with the evacuation of American VIPs from Shanghai and follows your squad’s struggle to find its way home. Visually stunning and unbelievably atmospheric on the audio front, Battlefield 4 revels in the fact that you can change the landscape - and your in-game progress - in real-time. It’s intense, immersive, and likely to stay in your console’s disc drive for quite some time.
WWE 2K14 | PS3 | Wrestling | £34.99
WWE’s gaming success has been carefully transferred to 2K Games, following on from last year’s fantastic WWE ‘13. And fans hoping for more garish, lycra-laden grapple-fests will be delighted to hear that 2K14 delivers one of the most electrifying, authentic and comprehensive WWE experiences to date. The top performer is probably the single-player campaign, which features iconic WrestleMania matches and an unparalleled roster spanning three decades of WWE history. The attention to detail is awesome - even the 80s and 90s bouts have a grainier camera filter applied to mimic the pre-HD era - and fans of Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and co will keep you coming back for more. Little has changed when it comes to the control mechanics, but this is no bad thing as you’ll be able to jump straight into the ring and dish out some jaw-dropping finishers on your poor opponents. Facial representations could be smoother here and there, but that’s a small criticism for a comprehensive title that lets you almost smell the sweat from your big, brash battles. Whether that’s actually a good thing or not, is up to you to decide.
Football Manager 2014 | PC/Mac | Football Management | £29.99
A firm fixture in the gaming diary for football fans is the annual release of the leading simulator. Though advances in recent years have been more evolution than revolution, the Football Manager franchise always plays to its strengths of awesome player and game world accuracy, incredible detail and the all-important accessibility for newcomers to the series. The full game offers frustrated would-be ‘gaffers’ the opportunity to lose themselves in the game engine’s granular glory, while Classic mode is perfectly suited to those who’d rather just integrate into their lives, instead of dedicate every moment to the pursuit of virtual silverware. A re-vamped transfer module and host of new ‘real world’ transfer clauses have been added, such as the facility to loan a player back to the club he has just been bought from, while negotiations can now be navigated via the tried and tested system or a new ‘live’ system, similar to that employed in contract negotiations. Even more small tweaks here and there continue to refresh and refine the experience, proving Football Manager will be scooping the plaudits for as long as Sir Alex Ferguson.
Echo Prime | iPad/iPhone | Action | £2.99
It’s testament to game developers and touchscreen technology alike that action hack’n’slash affairs can still deliver a rush of gaming adrenalin and explosive gratification, especially when at first glance you feel like you’ve seen it all before. Despite a pedestrian start, Echo Prime pulls you in with varied third-person combat mechanics that force you to mix close and long-range combat with a host of special abilities. These abilities are assimilated through traditional levelling up as you progress through a series of deep-space sorties in your role as an intergalactic peacekeeper. Whether you’re slashing your sword or pulling the trigger on your pistol for ranged attacks, the multiple-enemy combos come thick and fast, served with a huge slice of gaming satisfaction thanks to slick tap and swipe controls. It may not be the ground-breaking, but it’s very well executed, and deserving of a place in your futuristic combat collection.
Dead Trigger 2 | iPad/iPhone | Action | FREE
The zombies just keep coming on iOS, as Dead Trigger 2 places all manner of undead atrocities in your sights, simply asking you to blast them to smithereens in this satisfyingly solid FPS. You don’t even have to pull the trigger for the most part, as touchscreen controls activate movement around each mission that brings the enemies into view. After that, the firing of weapons is automatic, so it’s all about the aiming, but with ammo top-ups few and far between, itchy fingers need not apply. Additional trials offer further opportunities to gather more cash and experience to boost your ridiculous arsenal of weapons, which includes combat chickens. Yes, you did read that correctly. And it perhaps aptly surmises the insane action that awaits, action which looks good, plays well and should make a serious dent in the 23 million downloads that the developers Madfinger enjoyed for the original game - especially when it’s free to play.