Oh Far Cry. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I make it about four by now. Yeah, four ways.
The Far Cry franchise has perhaps been Ubisoft's most consistently strong property, peaking with the phenomenal Far Cry 3 in 2012. Now Far Cry 4 is here, and we're pleased to say that we're not the only ones who think it's a bit great.
We'd already delved into the rich environments of fictional Kyrat to explore the "anecdote factory" and the animals that live within it. But this week the verdicts rolled in, and reviews have been strong across the board, with praise for Ubisoft's choice of location and the sheer vastness and variety it offers - even if the narrative is a tad weak.
CVG said: "The strength of the world and its systems alone makes this one of the year's best games and one whose enormous potential for experimentation means you'll playing it well into 2015. By taking things to the Himalayas, Ubisoft Montreal has managed to skilfully weave an attractive partnership of awe-inspiring landscape and exhilarating, surprising action."
While GamesRadar concluded: "Far Cry 3 remains the series' peak, but Far Cry 4 is a lovely-looking, accomplished offering that suffers from lacklustre writing and an odd lack of purpose."
Crossing the streams
It's a sad fact that we may never get another F-Zero game. But thanks to Nintendo's steady move into the DLC business, we can now at least pretend.
Mario Kart got a big serving of downloadable loveliness this week, introducing new racers, new vehicles and new maps. Not only does the new content pay fan service to F-Zero by bringing back the famous Mute City track, it also unlocks Link (yes, the one of Legend of Zelda fame) as a playable racer. It feels a bit wrong to cross the streams like this, but yet, it also feels so right.
Also making a triumphant return in the raft of new tracks is Yoshi Circuit, which debuted back in Mario Kart Double Dash. Then there's Excitebike Arena, which uses randomly-generated jumps to make for a different experience every time.
Overall, it's an excellent bundle, and it only costs you £7/7.99. It's worth it just to see Link driving the Blue Falcon down a massive dragon.
Cause we said so
Just Cause 3 is coming, and it's coming in 2015.
The big reveal was made by Game Informer this week, and the best news of all is that it won't be free-to-play or contain any micro-transaction, as earlier leaked screenshots had suggested.
Avalanche Studios' open-world shooter will come to PS4, Xbox One and PC and will see returning protagonist Rico Rodriguez going up against a nasty dictatorship in his fictional home of Medici. There'll be grappling and wing suiting aplenty, and a 400 square mile map to run riot in. NICE.
Just Cause 3, Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain, The Witcher 3, Batman: Arkham Knight - 2015 may be the year that finally defines "next gen".
Happy Birthday to the PS4
Speaking of which, the PS4 has turned one year old, and we're in the mood to celebrate this. So we've taken the opportunity to look back at the past 12 months of PlayStation 4 and the best games so far, offer some helpful tips and tricks, and assess whether the console has lived up to the hype.
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