Game Face

Get Your Game Face On

FIFA 18

The franchise that just keeps getting bigger and more comprehensive is back for another outing, allowing gamers to take control of their favourite teams and players, score incredible goals and celebrate incredible finishing animations that bring pure joy back to the living room.

The latest incarnation of FIFA feels like a new step in a fresh direction for the series, even though it is more of a refinement than a full-blown evolution.

The story mode has been given an extra boost for season two as we continue the journey of central character Alex Hunter, an engaging mechanism that allows players to explore the deeper elements of the game.

With new controls that offer better crossing options, improvements to the gameplay through Real Player Motion Technology and an all-new animation system that unlocks the next level of responsiveness and player personality, this is the best version of the game so far.

Now Cristiano Ronaldo and other top players feel and move exactly like they do on the real pitch. From tiki-taka to high press, whilst new Team Styles put the most recognised tactics of the world's best clubs on the pitch.

Graphically, FIFA 18 looks better than ever and the player models and stadium rendering truly adds to the experience. Although we might argue that PES is the purist choice, there is still something lacking when the team names and strips are missing and it certainly gives EA the edge with look and feel.

The continued inclusion of women’s national teams is another exclusive highlight for the franchise, expanding the number to 15 but perhaps not doing as much as it could do to highlight this increasingly popular area of the game. It would be good to see a larger selection of teams and an extension into the league clubs but at least they are on the right track.

All in all, with an improved tempo that offers a better all-round experience and a host of options, this is another highlight release and certain to be a success once again.  

FIFA 18 is out now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch & PC.

The Evil Within 2

With Halloween just around the corner, new title The Evil Within 2, comes at just the right time to deliver a host of thrills and scares.

In the sequel to the 2014 original, you take control of Detective Sebastian Castellanos. When given a chance to save his daughter, Castellanos must enter a world filled with nightmares in an effort to discover the dark origins of a once-idyllic town and bring her back.

Set three years after the events at Beacon Mental Hospital, Castellanos continues to be haunted by the terrible experiences of his past. The horror he faced inside the STEM machine have left him in a wretched state.  

However, his chance for redemption comes in the shape of his former partner, Julie Kidman, who is now an agent for an organisation called Mobius and with her help, he sets out on a journey to rescuce his daughter, Lily.

When one thinks of survival horror the focus is unsurprisingly often drawn towards major franchises such as the hugely successful Resident Evil series but The Evil Within clearly seeks to offer its own alternative through the work of games genius, Shinji Mikami.

Ominous and often unsettling, this isn’t a game for the squeamish or easily scared. You move in a constant state of anxiety as you negotiate shadowy corridors never quite sure what lurks around the next corner.

The tension is relentless, drawing you from haunted mansions to murky woods, populated by hungry demons, set on your destruction.  

Graphically impressive, with atmospheric audio to match, this is an intense gaming experience, which might not match the gory heights and levels of suspense found in the recent Resident Evil 7 release but comes close.

Overall, The Evil Within is an uncompromising nightmare that challenges and unsettles from start to finish and features just the right level of unpredictability to make it an essential purchase to keep you company as those long nights settle in.

The Evil Within 2 is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Sequel to the critically-acclaimed, Shadow of Mordor, which claimed more than 50 industry awards, in this high-energy sequel, players wield the new Ring of Power and confront the deadliest of enemies, including Sauron and his Nazgul, in a momentous battle for Middle-earth.

Giving you the opportunity to experience an epic open world that is brought to life by the Nemesis System, you are tasked with forging a new Ring of Power and setting out to conquer Fortresses in massive battles as you seek to dominate Mordor with your personal orc army.

Go behind enemy lines to forge your army, conquer Fortresses and dominate Mordor from within. Experience how the award-winning Nemesis System creates unique personal stories with every enemy and follower, and confront the full power of the Dark Lord Sauron and his Ringwraiths in this epic new story of Middle-earth. In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, nothing will be forgotten.

Looking beyond the marketing and strong brand association we can happily say that this sequel lives up to the hype and manages to meet the aspirations fans of the original will no doubt have for it.

Another graphical tour de force – especially for PS4 Pro and Xbox One X users who are really in for a treat – followers of the first game will be able to dive right back in as the controls have not been significantly altered.

It might not have the “WOW” factor that the first game delivered but be in no doubt, this is a great follow up that is even bigger than the original and should keep fans happily gaming well into the New Year as they seek to uncover all its secrets.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.