Heidi — Alba: A Wildlife Adventure
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure for Xbox is without a doubt one of the best things to have happened in 2021. If you’re looking for something totally atmospheric, wholesomely peaceful, and just a really lovely experience, you can’t go wrong with Alba: A Wildlife Adventure. Alba is visiting her grandparents on a Mediterranean island when the opportunity to take an active role in conservation arises. Alba was ready to just enjoy exploring the island and observing its creatures, when this opportunity to save the island and its wildlife pitched her into collecting signatures for a petition, rebuilding bird feeders, collecting rubbish, saving animals trapped in oil or plastic, taking photos of the animals, and raising awareness about the unique creatures that live on the island. It’s a magical game, and it seems that its sense of childhood adventure is so strong because the devs based the island on their own childhood summers, adding a tinge of nostalgia to the experience. Alba offers up a great message for what just one person can do to better the world around them, and watching the countryside recover and come alive as Alba works to save it never ceases to be satisfying. Add to that the fact that for every copy of the game that gets sold or downloaded, a tree is planted, and it’s hard to think of reasons why you wouldn’t want to get Alba: A Wildlife Adventure.
Small actions can make a big difference. Join Alba, a young activist, as she sets out to save her beautiful island and its wildlife.
Kes — Assassin’s Creed Unity
Assassin’s Creed: Unity deservedly got slated all those years ago. It was broken and ran as well as the gangrenous faces that would randomly pop into frame looked. It was also a quite safe Assassin’s Creed release in a time of the new Xbox One generation after the mightily different cross-gen Black Flag. That left it feeling stale as a yearly release. Time, though, can be kind (especially to Tom Hardy, have you seen his greying hair?). Most of the bugs have been ironed out and it runs pretty darn well. We have also just had three monster-sized Assassin’s Creed experiences that have become, as much as I like bits of them, too big for their own good. Heading back to the sublimely designed streets of Paris with its packed atmosphere and maddeningly perfect architecture for actual parkour is the original Assassin’s Creed fans dream.
In fact, I’ve grown so fond of this one in retrospect, it is now my sixth favourite Assassin’s Creed game — above Origins in seventh and just behind Valhalla in fifth. It is kind of gorgeous to look at and does the best city-creed gameplay outside of Brotherhood and ACII. You kind of just flow with Paris, using a simplified and more reliable up/down parkour system to glide through the city in ways that had been very tricky to do before. The black box missions that are the big send off to each chapter are, frankly, a highlight of the entire series. They allow you to choose a myriad of ways of getting to your target, requiring you to chain together your style of play with the context at hand. The massive crowds are also a godsend. Not for your console performance, it has to be said, but it provides a surreal immersion that I hadn’t felt in a video game before. The story is still a mixed bag and the Ubi collectable overload is on full display, for sure, but both have good bits. I really think Unity is worth your time, especially if you are playing on Series X|S. Give it a go at a bargain price and help rewrite the history books!
Assassin’s Creed® Unity tells the story of Arno, a young man who embarks upon an extraordinary journey to expose the true powers behind the French Revolution. In the brand new co-op mode, you and your friends will also be thrown in the middle of a ruthless struggle for the fate of a nation. Rely on communication, coordination, and your diverse skills to become true Master Assassins.
Sean — Far Cry Instincts Predator
I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for Far Cry Instincts Predator to go on sale. Sure, I probably could have picked up a second-hand copy from somewhere like eBay for the same price, but I really dislike physical media, so getting that notification from TA telling me that it had finally gone on sale made me jump with joy. Far Cry Instincts Predator was one of the first games I bought with my Xbox 360 back in the day, and if I remember correctly, it was the first game I ever played online on a console. Far Cry Instincts Predator is a bit of a weird beast — it combines both Far Cry Instincts (which is a remake of the first Far Cry) and its sequel Far Cry Instincts Evolution, both of which launched on the original Xbox back in the mid-2000s. You play as Jack Carver, a former arms dealer who is forced to flee the United States to Micronesia. Long story short, Carver gets captured on a remote island and becomes a test subject where he is injected with a serum that allows him to unlock hidden animal traits, such as increased speed, super strength, and night vision — he basically becomes a naff version of the alien Predator from the films. I had so much fun just stalking enemies through dense jungles and tropical rainforests, and I can’t wait to get stuck back in. However, I think the part of the game I enjoyed the most was creating maps with my pals. We’d spend hours building different multiplayer maps together and then playing them for days on end until we got bored and started a new one.
It’s been 14 years since I last played Far Cry Instincts Predator, and I know that nostalgia is probably blurring my overall perception of how good the game actually is, but for just $5.99/£3.59/€4.49, it’s a god damn bargain.
Based on Ubisoft’s award-winning franchise, Far Cry Instincts Predator™ includes two games in one—all new Far Cry Instincts Predator content, as well as the original Far Cry Instincts™ game.
Tom — Lego: The Hobbit
When it comes to the cross-over between beloved IPs and children’s toys, Lego is definitely one of the most prominent figures that can get it right, and the video games, well, they’re pretty darn fun to play through. Lego: The Hobbit is another title that copies and pastes the exact same formula that has made the series so successful, except this time we’re heading to Middle Earth instead of a “galaxy far, far, away” or the Wizarding World. It’s a simple concept: recreate the movies with block people, add comedic dialogue, get players to collect studs (coins), allow players to unlock a multitude of characters — bish, bash, bosh. It’s a fantastic concept that allows the customer to know exactly what they’re getting into from the moment they pick up the game.
Lego: The Hobbit follows in the footsteps of the other games, throwing in drop-in, drop-out co-op action, family-friendly takes on the first two Hobbit films, and a reasonably simple, yet lengthy achievement list to work through. If you’ve enjoyed the other games from Lego, then I’d highly recommend you give Lego: The Hobbit a shot because it really is a great addition to any Lego fan’s collection — and with the current 75% discount, now is the time to experience it, whether you’re a fan of the movies or not!
The interactive game of LEGO The Hobbit allows gamers to play along with their favorite scenes from the films.
Will you be picking up any of these beauties? Or will something else be making its way to your collection? Let us know in the comments!