GAMES: Grand in every sense of the word

Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V

The wait is finally over, this week Grand Theft Auto V takes a bow on the PS3 stage. Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 and Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny also share the dubious honour of same-week releases on Xbox 360 and PC respectively

Grand Theft Auto V | PS3 | Action | £34.99

A thousand words wouldn’t do this game justice, let alone a hundred or so. Put simply, Rockstar (and the media) have been making all the right noises about GTA V delivering the ultimate sandbox gaming experience, and in this instance, it more than delivers. Its ambition is matched by its execution, as you dive into a staggeringly vast world offering everything from carefully planned heist action to a set of tennis and a spot of yoga on a mountain top. Pulling on everything that has been great about Rockstar’s previous hit titles, the gameplay, driving mechanics, graphics, customisation and sense of humour explodes across every inch of the metropolis and its surrounding countryside areas. Set aside dozens of hours to fully explore the single player campaign, then revel in the fact that online promises even more. It’s the finest game of this generation, and a suitable way to sign-off on PS3, before it pops back up on PS4...


Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 | Xbox 360 | Football | £34.99

This year’s Premier League season may prove to be the most open for many a year, but the console contest is always played out between two contenders - FIFA and Pro Evolution. Both have experienced their rises and falls over the past decade or so, but with FIFA firmly at the top of this mini-league, Pro Evolution needed a squad overhaul. And it gets one, marking a new beginning for the series, as enhanced physics and control mechanisms inject new life into the action on the pitch, from ball control to body movement. Graphical detail is markedly improved, too, allied to extra signature animations for all your favourite players. There’s even Heart, where team support and individual and collective effort can help shape the outcome of any game, however lost your sporting cause may seem. That generally sums up Pro Evolution’s resurgence - back from the brink, and alive and kicking once again.


Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny | PC | Adventure | £12.99

You don’t get many games coming out of Germany these days, yet Blade of Destiny is one title to hail from here, representing a one-to-one remake of the 1992 original which was well received by the previous generation of role-players. Sadly, time can be cruel in the gaming world and, though trumpeted as a remake, Blade of Destiny proves to be just as stuck in the past as the first outing, offering a downright broken gameplay experience to anyone foolish enough to shell out a tenner or so for it. RPGs these days are sophisticated beyond belief, but Realms of Arkania has done little, if anything to advance the series, and nostalgic authenticity will struggle to hold the attention of those brought up on a diet of Final Fantasy and Elder Scrolls. Even the translation dies off at one point, as German words flood back into the dialogue between the nonsensical characters. Budget expired, credibility eradicated, game over. Avoid at all costs.


Boom! Tanks | iPad/iPhone | Action | FREE

How about adding a tank to your roll call of vehicles on your drive? Big, heavy, and likely to win any stand-off at the traffic lights - and that’s before you’ve even had the chance to pimp it up and take on all comers in this action simulation from Codemasters. It’s presented incredibly well and boasts stonking audio - well worth a go with headphones. Taking your tank into battle couldn’t be simpler, rolling around and firing off an awesome array of weaponry throughout three hefty campaigns, set across the North African deserts, green fields of Europe and frozen Siberian tundra. Whether you opt for authentic upgrades such as camouflages, or just go wild with the paint cans and forget about any kind of stealth, casual gamers can find plenty of fun to be had. Those who get hooked may find it’s a high price to pay for all the bells and whistles, but if it’s big guns and even bigger explosions you’re after on the small screen, then Boom! Tanks could be worth a try.


Where’s My Water? 2 | iPad/iPhone | Puzzle | FREE (to download)

The original Where’s My Water? was a tour de force of fluid fun, challenging you to guide your precious liquid through a host of deviously designed puzzles, avoiding explosives, other corrosive liquids and the numerous pitfalls placed across dozens of levels. Here the same premise returns, but with a sinister addition - in-app payments to keep your energy bar intact. Yes, you can wait for it to refill over time before retrying, but any momentum and love you may have garnered for the game is crudely interrupted either way. It’s still enjoyable when you’re in the thick of a tricky level, and there are some nice new additions to the problems you must overcome. But that can’t distract from the fact that the game has become a bona fide money-making machine over and above an entertaining touchscreen puzzle experience. It’s a shame, because that alligator had real potential, but many may find his second outing too high a price to pay just to see it through to the slightly bitter end.