Guild Wars 2 is the latest attempt in gaming’s ongoing quest to topple World of Warcraft. While evolution rather than revolution is the order of the day, almost everything this game does gets it right.
Most importantly, unlike nearly every other MMO, there are no monthly subscriptions. You buy the game once for access in perpetuity, and ArenaNet makes its money through optional in-game microtransactions – none of which tip the competitive balance in favour of paying customers.
Meanwhile, tedious genre staples are buffed to a new shine throughout. There’s no tedious level-grind to the late-game: the game rewards you with decent experience and loot for doing absolutely anything, from questing and crafting to exploring or even helping others. And that’s before you get to the WvWvW – huge, two-week tournaments in which three servers-worth of players do pitched battle.
GW2 is not without its problems, but most game-breaking bugs have been squashed by a proactive development team, who communicate effectively through Twitter and Reddit. In all, it looks like a game that will keep serious players and newbies entertained for months.
By Tom Mendelsohn
Ever played Guitar Hero and felt guilty that it was a plastic guitar, complete with cheerfully coloured buttons, you’d dedicated whole chunks of your life to mastering? Well, feel guilty no longer, as Rocksmith offers a solution in the shape of a specially designed USB guitar lead which sees you TV become an amp, with the co-benefit of letting your console detect the frequency of the note you’re playing.
Included songs are the expected mix of rock from past and present, but the beauty is the carefully pitched difficulty which automatically adjusts depending on the skill of the player until (hopefully) you’re playing the whole song note-for-note. A guitarist’s guide’s worth of tutorials completes the package to teach everything from basic chords, to techniques like hammer-ons, pull-offs and bends while there are even min-games on hand to help new players learn fret positions, etc.
A most impressive package which gives what you put in and only suffers through the odd moment of inaccuracy in its pick-ups which can be a tad galling at times.
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Ubisoft San Francisco
Just Dance 4
Just Dance returns, bringing with it an all new collection of cheesy pop songs to strut your stuff to encompassing everything from One Direction to Barry White. The new ‘Battle Mode’ which pits friends against each other in dance-offs makes for a fun variation on the standard formula, while various multiplayer modes test the moves of your entire crew.
The Wii version tested is beginning to show its age however, particularly when compared to the Xbox 360 Kinect’s motion capture boogieing options, making it fun as ever for parties but not the show-stopper it once was.
Format: Wii (also on Xbox 360, PS3)