Game Face

Game Face

Call of Duty: World War II
Returning to its roots with Call of Duty: WWII – Activision and developers, Sledgehammer Games have delivered a truly breath-taking experience that seeks to redefine World War II for a new generation of gamers. Landing in Normandy on D-Day, players must battle across Europe, traversing iconic locations in history’s most monumental war as they seek to destroy the Nazi war machine.

As someone who can clearly remember the first Call of Duty – which amazingly came out in 2003 – the latest incarnation of the game takes us back to where it all started and in doing so, reinvigorates a franchise that had lost its way slightly with the futuristic, modern warfare approach.

In fact, what we have here are three separate games that cater for all needs. Whether you want an exhilarating single player campaign, a robust multiplayer one or are more taken by the Nazi Zombie mode, you are treated to a trilogy of brilliant gaming experiences that make this one of the highlight titles in the series so far.

The campaign mode in particular is a real treat, that whilst not too long (depending on your ability, estimates are putting it around the 6-7-hour mark), is brilliantly visualised and offers so much more than just a point and shoot exercise. There’s real tension in some of the missions and in many cases success is measured as much by thought and stealth as it is by brute force and weaponry.

Multiplayer is the usual frantic experience it has always been and for many is the main reason for purchasing the game but – though it probably puts me in the minority – I’ve never been a consistent fan. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table and does exactly what fans would expect so die-hard gamers will not be disappointed.

Where the game has really come on is with the Nazi Zombies mode, which is easily the best incarnation of its type to date and offers split screen as well as online multiplayer, with you and up to three others battling against wave upon wave of increasing undead hordes. It’s fast, furious and a great deal of fun.

Graphically, this is impressive and anyone playing on the Xbox One X will benefit from a level of detail and performance that puts all other console versions to shame. Quite simply, in parts, it is gorgeous to look at and I can honestly say it has to be one of the most beautifully looking games yet envisioned on the current crop of gaming machines. If you have a suitably enabled 4K TV, you are in for a real treat.

On the audio front COD WWII is no slouch either and hooked up to a beefy sound system you’ll immediately start to feel you’re smack in the heart of the battle, with bullet’s whistling by your ears and explosions rocking you to the very core.

If you’re wondering whether to invest or may have felt the series has become a little tired of late then this latest edition should rekindle your love affair with COD and could also bring a whole new audience to the battlefield.

Call of Duty: World War II is out now on Xbox, PS4 and PC.

Rayman Legends Definitive Edition
Rayman is a pretty ubiquitous title that has made its way onto almost every console and now finds a new home on the Nintendo Switch. As winner of multiple artistic and musical achievements, the Rayman Legends Definitive Edition offers title-starved Switch owners the opportunity to indulge in the most comprehensive version of the game.

With fantastic graphics and brilliant audio, this title is as fresh and engaging as when it was first released and on the Switch, feels like it has discovered its natural home.

The basic premise of the story sees our hero, Rayman, along with companion Globox and the Teensies, investigating an enchanted forest, where they come across a mysterious structure, filled with a series of captivating paintings. As they look closer, they discover that each painting appears to have a story to tell about a mythical world. Suddenly, they are drawn into a painting of a medieval land and their adventure begins in earnest.

Taking control of the gang, you run, jump and fight your way through a succession of colourful environments either in single player or multiplayer modes, spanning over 100 maps.

It might not quite measure up to the inventiveness and depth of Mario Odyssey but it remains an excellent title that will appeal to all ages, especially younger audiences.

In a world of violent shoot-em ups, complex RPGs and huge sports franchises, Rayman Legends is a game that harks back to a time of more harmless fun, standing out as a unique experience that you can pick up and play without little investment other than a healthy sense of imagination.

Rayman Legends Definitive Edition is out now on Nintendo Switch.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole
South Park: The Fractured but Whole empowers players to delve into the tender, crime-ridden underbelly of South Park with Coon and Friends. This dedicated group of crime fighters was formed by Eric Cartman, whose superhero alter ego, The Coon, is half man, half raccoon. As The New Kid, players join Mysterion, Toolshed, Human Kite, Mosquito, Mint Berry Crunch and a group of others to battle the forces of evil while Coon strives to make his team some of the most beloved superheroes in history.

Consistently comical and always courting controversy, it may lack the edgy bite of the TV show but you can still be in no doubt of where its heart lies. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were involved in every step of the development of the game and fans of the series will be immediately at home with the anarchic feel of this video game. 

The plot is bridged by strong combat and exploration excursions and the game moves at a good pace, drifting from amusing developments through to the outright absurd. In doing so it also serves both hardened fans and more casual viewers, meaning you don’t need to know that much about the show to enjoy the game.

Whether it can convince those outside of the core fan base remains debatable but if you the get the opportunity, seek this one out. You won’t be disappointed.

Never has a video game made me intentionally laugh so much in recent years.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole is out now on PS4 and Xbox.

Farming Simumlator Switch Edition
At first glance this might not be a title many would associate with gaming, let alone Nintendo’s latest handheld device but looks can be deceiving and any franchise that has been around for this long must be doing something right.

In Farming Simulator, you take on the challenges of the modern farmer, exploring a huge open world including a detailed North American environment, loaded with farming activities, over hundreds of acres of land.

This allows you to drive more than 250 authentic farming vehicles and equipment from over 75 manufacturers, including brands such as Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra. Harvest many types of crops, tend to your livestock, take part in forestry work, and sell your products to expand and invest in your farm. Transport your goods in trucks and trailers, or load and drive trains to reach your destination.

Anyone who loves simulation games - empire building, world creation or even city management – will immediately warm to this title, although I readily admit it may not appeal to the mainstream.

However, if you feel this is going to be a causal and easy-going experience then this is probably not the game for you because the level of intense realism and complexity of the title will prove too overwhelming for most players.

Overall, Giants Software has done a credible job at making the whole concept feel realistic – whether that plays to a large enough audience is another question – and delivers something a little different to a console desperately in need of more software.

Farming Simumlator Switch Edition is out now on Nintendo Switch.

Monopoly Nintendo Switch
Monopoly is a game with a history that precedes consoles but since the first games machines became available there was always a version of this classic available. The latest version comes to Nintendo Switch, brought to life with a 3D city at the center of the board that lives and evolves as you play.

You own a miniature world that will interact with your progression throughout the game and celebrate your achievements. In an effort to update the experience, you can now play the title the way you want - you can change the rules or adapt them to your playing style. You can even take and display photos at key moments for an amplified social gaming experience.

There isn’t much that needs to be said about the core game but it does beg the question of why you would seek to replicate it on a handheld. One of the great attributes of the board game is the social aspect and that feels to have been abandoned with the implementation of technology.

In truth, the price of the title would make it more logical to spend your money on the actual board game. It’s much cheaper, more engaging and a lot more fun.

It’s little more than a curiosity at the end of the day and one with a price tag that makes it a little hard to recommend.

Monopoly Nintendo Switch is out now.

George R Vaughan