Heidi — Overcooked! 2
Overcooked returns with a brand-new helping of chaotic cooking action! Journey back to the Onion Kingdom and assemble your team of chefs in classic couch co-op or online play for up to four players. Hold onto your aprons … it’s time to save the world (again!)
Overcooked! 2 is available on Xbox Game Pass, but it’s more than worth it to buy and keep. In fact, at 50% off, the much greater cost to you will be any friendships which don’t survive the fire of Overcooked! 2’s utter chaos. Pick your cooking partner wisely — you’ll need someone who can keep a cool head while plummeting to earth in a deflating hot air balloon while the entire kitchen is literally on fire. Failing that, someone who doesn’t panic, lose their head entirely, and start flinging potatoes in all directions will be your best bet for kitchen success… not that I’ve ever been guilty of that, of course. Anyway, moving on. With a ridiculous range of chaotic kitchens and a whole host of increasingly difficult recipes to cook in them, Overcooked! 2 is a steal at this bargain price.
Kes — Battlefield V
Enter mankind’s greatest conflict with Battlefield™ V as the series goes back to its roots in a never-before-seen portrayal of World War 2. Take on all-out multiplayer across the world, single player War Stories, and Firestorm – Battle Royale, reimagined for Battlefield.
I see you there, primed and ready to tell me about how Battlefield V is a shadow, a husk, and a brittle imitation of the other games in the series. But, if you would be so kind, let me diffuse the challenging tone of that bold opening line by stating: I agree with you. Bad Company 2 had better destruction. The damage model rings hollow in BFV. Things blow up, but the restrictive damage systems never organically open up new spaces. Instead of changing the landscape, everything just gets flatter. The Vietnam expansion had a better setting and tone. BFV is WWII: no more, no less. No Hueys fly overhead playing that song while you crawl through a rice paddy, down a rabbit hole, but then have to run back to your squad because all your grand plans are literally on fire. Battlefield 3 refined the chaos to a tee after a rocky launch. In the more recent game, events occasionally just play themselves to a standstill. In fairness, when you get that final push to an objective with less than 50 tickets, the elation of success is still there. Battlefield 4 had map verticality and variation that has yet to be replicated in the series. The Naval Strike expansion introduced one of the best game modes of all time: Carrier Assault. BFV is standard Battlefield: standard game modes, some underused new features like a building mechanic, and quite frankly features worse gunplay than other entries. This section is overlong, so let’s just pretend I made some salient, smart, and informed comparisons to Hardline and Battlefield 1.
So, why even buy it at all? Because it is still a Battlefield game. It just has that magic sauce. It’s kind of like tabasco; when you add it to the right thing, it sizzles. The game has had a lot of surgery since its launch. The Pacific theatre maps are of staggering quality compared to the base game: trees, foliage, water, and small muddy mounds create tense confrontations. The tanks are really scary in this environment, requiring a team of assault players to take just one of the metal beasts down as they burst through the treeline. Planes screech overhead. They don’t contribute, but they look wicked and sound epic. Small shanty towns are the perfect territories for objective areas: just defensible enough without becoming unassailable mollusc shells. At times, it does perfectly replicate the perfect push-and-pull momentum of a great Battlefield game. And for 75% off? Worthwhile, I’d say. Also, the Battlefield 6 reveal is coming next week, so getting your boots strapped back on will give you a better inclination of the major changes that are rumoured to be coming to the series. Now, if you will excuse me: the top of my house has been blown off by an idiot with a panzer, two of my squadmates were killed in a tragic motorbike/anti-tank mine incident, the other fell off a bridge, and I must avenge them all.
Luke — Please, Don’t Touch Anything
The rest of the team will tell you that I need no invitation to talk about obscure retro games, and the wonderful Please, Don’t Touch Anything gives me an opportunity to mention one of my very favourites. Panic! came out in the early Nineties for Sega CD, and remains one of the strangest games I’ve ever played — each ‘level’ is just a selection of buttons, with each triggering a different short animated skit before taking you to a new scene, effectively forming an abstract maze of ‘correct’ choices to navigate. Everything about it is just plain dumb, and I love it so much.
Imagine my excitement, then, when I discovered that a similarly daft and masterfully obtuse experience exists on Xbox. Please, Don’t Touch Anything couldn’t be simpler in its setup — you’re left alone in a small room with a big red button and given just one instruction (any guesses?) to follow. Playing by the rules will get you just one of the game’s 30 endings, however, and as soon as you do the one thing you were told not to do, all hell breaks loose. Every interaction takes you further and further down the nonsensical rabbit hole, with new panels flipping around, extra buttons appearing, and all manner of dials, levers, switches, and other strange doohickeys popping out of the console (the in-game one, not the Xbox — that would be a bit much). Some are puzzles, others red herrings, a few offer items that can be used around the rest of the room, and select interactions lead to amusing ending sequences after which the room is reset so you can fiddle with things anew and see what else you can discover.
Please, Don’t Touch Anything plays out almost like an escape room in the way its many puzzles and gadgets are ingeniously woven together, as well as in the sheer density of stuff crammed into the room to make you overthink every decision. I’m enjoying taking my time with the game and just tinkering with everything to see what happens, but if you’re only in it for the Gamerscore, you can grab all of the achievements in just a few hours with the help of TuKraZe’s awesome walkthrough — I’ll likely use it to mop up at some point, but the game absolutely deserves to be played blind at first in order to experience the full extent of its creativity. For less than a fiver (its lowest price to date), you can’t go wrong with this mind-melting oddity.
Sean — No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky is a science fiction game about exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated universe.
I was one of many that happily jumped on the hype train and preordered No Man’s Sky many, many moons ago when it was announced. After a few days, I requested a refund from Amazon and got my £50 (or whatever it cost back then) back. Since then, Hello Games’ Sean Murray has been on a redemption arc unlike any other. The game has seen a plethora of massive updates, all of which have added more and more features, functionality and things to do — they’ve also all been completely free. I’ve dipped in and out of the game in recent years on PC and can confidently say the No Man’s Sky from 2016 is not the same beast as it is today. Now, there’s co-op, base building, co-op base building, freighters, spooky derelict freighters, organic ships that can be hatched from eggs, companions, flying companions that you can ride, mech suits, land vehicles, numerous visual improvements, more variety to planets and animals, and much, much more.
No Man’s Sky was added into the Xbox Game Pass library on June 11th last year, and while it’s not in the latest batch of games that are leaving the service, it’s possible No Man’s Sky could still leave in the near future. The price of $29.99/£19.99/€24.99 may be a bit on the expensive side for some, but considering how much content is included in the game these days, I think it’s a great deal.
Tom — Dragon Age: Inquisition Game of the Year Edition
Discover the ultimate version of Dragon Age: Inquisition which includes all DLC and add-ons.
Explore the epic adventure that has been awarded over 130 Game of the Year awards. Take your place as the Inquisitor and lead a team of heroes to save Thedas from the brink of chaos.
The Dragon Age series has secured itself as one of the greatest RPG franchises to date, and the third instalment is no exception. Sure, there are some that would say Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t the best that the series has to offer, but the first title is tough to beat when placed against most other games of its ilk. I absolutely loved my time with Inquisition, from the beautiful world to the deep lore, and it has a tremendous sense of scale… no amount of time spent in it would be wasted. The greatest rewards the game has to offer are in its lore, and those that take the time to interact and listen to the inhabitants of Thedas will gain the most from this richly detailed world — it’s not to be rushed, but instead enjoyed at a steady pace.
Dragon Age: Inquisition offers great combat, deep character customisation, and branching dialogue options that can change the story, giving you complete control over your experience with it. I would highly recommend that everyone gives this game a go, especially as the Game of the Year Edition is 60% off at the moment. That means you’ll be able to access the base game and all three DLC packs that offer you well over 100 hours of playtime. Great, now I’m itching to go and play the game again… back to Thedas I go!
Anything there take your fancy? Any choice selections of your own to share from this week’s admittedly meagre sale selection? Let us know!