GAMES: Embrace the dark side

Diablo III
Diablo III

This week, Diablo III delivers devilish amusement on Xbox 360, Killer Is Dead comes to life on PS3 and Killzone Mercenary makes its move on PS Vita. Call of Duty: Black Ops II unleashes its Game of the Year Edition on PS3 and Terraria offers up an incredible indie adventure on iOS

Diablo III | Xbox 360 | Action / RPG | £34.99

The Diablo series has never dabbled on consoles before, but this third iteration makes a triumphant debut on Xbox 360, banishing the premise of point and click adventuring, thanks to an all-new control system for console gamers. This, among a host of other features, shows how much care has gone into the redesign of the title from the PC original. And it delivers graphically, in gameplay and, of course, in the online multiplayer entertainment stakes, as you embark on a perilous quest to save the world of Sanctuary from the corrupting forces of the Burning Hells. Pulse-pounding combat with hordes of monsters and challenging bosses feel like second nature on the system. As you grow in experience and ability, acquire artefacts of power and meet other key characters who’ll join you battle, you’ll realise what the desktop big deal was all about. Die-hard fans jumping from PC to console systems may find some of the smaller game omissions not to their taste, but for everyone else, Diablo III is a devilish blast.

92%

Killer Is Dead | PS3 | Action | £34.99

The action genre is so densely populated it’s a challenge to present gamers with something that assaults their senses and presents a new perspective on hacking and slashing. Killer Is Dead brandishes its blade and swipes away the dead wood around it, offering up a refreshing new world to explore. You delve into the role of Mondo Zappa, an executioner who wields his Japanese sword in his right hand and brandishes interchangeable weapons in his artificial left arm. The disposal of numerous heinous criminals scattered around the world, and beyond, is your sole aim, and though the combat options available aren’t revolutionary, it’s played out in super-slick fashion with excellent stylised graphics complementing the out-there narrative. By the end, you’re left wanting more, but are also acutely aware of the areas that could have been better. Definitely a franchise we’d like to see even more of, though.

79%

Killzone Mercenary | PS Vita | Shooter | £24.99

First person shooters that have managed to faithfully recreate the bigger console experience are relatively few and far between. The scaled down screens-size and shift in control mechanics can often hamper the fluidity of what was once a fantastic FPS on the big screen. Killzone: Mercenary bucks that trend though, providing a new perspective on the Killzone Universe, while delivering in terms of relentless all-action gameplay. As a freelance gun for hire, you’re free to formulate your own tactics and choose your own weapons, so long as you get the job done across the nine-mission single player campaign, and additional 27 secondary Contracts mode objectives. Multiplayer is delivered with similar verve, supplementing the slightly light one-player content bundle, with half a dozen diverse maps that also reflect the dark, rich Killzone environments that we’ve come to know and love. For gaming on the go, this is about as good as shooters get.

88%

Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Game of the Year Edition | PS3 | Shooter | £39.99

Black Ops 2 was a mega release at the back end of last year, and now seems destined to thrust an additional battalion of shooter hungry players into the 21st Century Cold War. Here, technology and weapons have merged to create a new generation of warfare, and a diabolical new villain, Raul Menendez, who hijacks the US military infrastructure to advance his own agenda. So, you must take control of the power of near-future technology and next-gen robotics to pull the world back from the brink of annihilation. In delivering this challenge to PS3s around the world, Black Ops 2 also registers a mammoth amount of shooter content with almost endless gameplay options across single and multi-player modes. The futuristic tone adds a new twist to proceedings and, while the visuals may be starting to show the game engine’s age, this is arguably Call of Duty’s finest hour, further bolstered by The Game of the Year Edition’s addition of the Revolution Map DLC into the bundle.

91%

Terraria | iPhone / iPad | Action / Adventure | £2.99

Make no mistake, Terraria is a land of adventure, mystery and one that’s yours to shape, to defend and to enjoy. Your options appear limitless as first - playing to the whims of action gamers with an itchy trigger finger, master builders, collectors or explorers. There’s something for everyone here. But to get the most from this indie sandbox adventure game, it’s the exploration of seemingly randomly generated landscapes boasting vast and vibrant worlds that’ll give you the biggest buzz. Crafting offers the opportunity to mine to your heart’s content and make weapons to fight off a variety of enemies or plunder accessories, money and other useful things. Build a house, a fort, or even a castle. Or adopt a nomadic life, constantly wondering what lies further west or east. This port from PC isn’t without its glitches on iOS, and the omission of multiplayer is a shame, but overall this is one small-screen title that is BIG on content, always encouraging you to dig that little bit deeper...

80%