I hope weâ€™ve not seen the end of the hot weather as the Summer of Arcade also comes to an end on XBL this week. Donâ€™t be sad though as youâ€™ve still got until August 31st to download the 5 summer titles and get up to mighty 1200MP back!
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light â€“ 1200MP
Laraâ€™s back and sheâ€™s in great shape. This isometric action-adventure starts predictably with Miss Croft discovering yet another ancient artifact called the Smoke Mirror and then being forced to hand over said artifact to a big bunch of ruff mercenaries who have sneaked around following her. Careless Lara. Especially as the mirror then smashes, unleashing the evil demon Xolotl. Enter new best friend Totec, a Mayan guardian who also awakes from eternal slumber as the mirror breaks and now has to help Lara save the world from Xolotl. The only way theyâ€™ll get by is through working together and this game is delightfully designed to do just this. Harmoniously equipped, Laraâ€™s grappling hook allows her to use Totec as an anchor, she can save him from falling or assist him by making him trot across gaping chasms via a tightrope whereas his shield will protect Lara from arrows whilst his spear when stuck in the wall can give her a boost to high ledges. This wouldnâ€™t feel like a Tomb Raider game without hoards of baddies to fight off or tricky puzzles to overcome and this has plenty. In single player the puzzles are tweaked slightly so that theyâ€™re solvable without the need for the other players skills but very satisfyingly, all the puzzles are so well thought out, you get pleasure playing in both modes. Making the most of the partnership, in co-op mode both Laraâ€™s and Totecâ€™s skills and abilities are needed to get through which is great fun. Multiple solutions to puzzles means you and your friend can both suggest how you make your way through the lavish jungle ruins or volcanic lava pits (wouldnâ€™t be a Lara game without lava) and is hugely rewarding. A brilliantly beautiful and well thought out return to form, Lara is the worth every Microsoft Point and then some. Without question, this is my recommendation of the week.
Elsewhere to buy:
The Outfit – Â£14.99
This is an action, adventure, shooter, strategy simulation game that as the genre description has just demonstrated, is a jack of all trades and master of none. You can choose to play one of three equally macho squaddies whom all have their own preference for destruction; Deuce Williams (voiced by T2s and X-Files star Robert Patrick) excels at hand to hand combat but is also rather nifty with a bazooka, J.D. Tyler (voiced by Star Wars and God of Warâ€™s celebrity T.C. Carson) is good at blowing up enemy vehicles and is proficient with a rifle whilst flamethrower Tommy Mac (voiced by Ron Perlman of Halo and Fallout and Hellboy fame) also uses tear gas to break down enemies. 12 missions of average scenery, basic strategy and destruction later, there will be lots of Naziâ€™s dead and along with your gaming spirit. Completing missions earns you Field Units to spend on upgrades and though the â€˜Destruction On Demandâ€™ feature allows you to order in tanks, jeeps and countless other combat vehicles and drop them wherever you need them, overall, this title lacks some wow factor and just doesnâ€™t deliver the full on WWII explosive experience it promises. Will appeal to shooting fans more than straegy and simulation fans but even then, only if youâ€™ve nothing else to play.
MotoGP 08 – Â£14.99
Zoom around 18 different tracks including the famous â€œCorkscrewâ€ at turn 8 on the Laguna Seca course in this zippy racing title. Newcomers to motorcycling will find the easy handling level well within their capabilities whilst seasoned pros will have their skills tested on either the advanced or simulation options as the bikes physics are excellent. Hitting the correct acceleration out of corners and choosing the best racing line is all-important and will sort the men from the boys. Battle well known biking names and customize your bike in career mode or check out the 50 different events in Challenge mode for ultimate riding pleasure.
Add-Ons now and its show time:
â€Hold Onâ€ by Wilson Phillips
â€Kiss From a Roseâ€ by Seal
Both of the above power ballads are 160MP each.
Guitar Hero 5
â€Beverly Hillsâ€ by Weezer
â€Pork and Beansâ€ by Weezer
â€Island In the Sunâ€ by Weezer
Available individually at 160MP each or as a lovely track pack bundle for just 440MP.
Things on Wheels
ToW â€“ Cars â€“ 160MP
Calling all achievement hunters! You get a brand new achievement and 3 new cars including â€œNamurâ€, â€œPatriotâ€ and my particular favourite â€œCold Sweatâ€. Tear it up and mind the track traps.
Finally, Indie Games and after last weeks dismal affair, this week thereâ€™s some brilliant creativity, flair and good value game play back – hurrah:
Blaster and Morion â€“ 80MP
Looking better than your average Indie game, this is a twin stick shooter with 7 psychedelic levels to blast your way through. Give those violently evil, rock-looking baddies with bright red eyes and spiky heads a taste of your laser but be warned, if your gun overheats youâ€™re in trouble and it could be game overâ€¦
Spatial Rift â€“ 80MP
Fabulous to look at with a great soundtrack, explore deep space and fight aliens in a very well presented strategy spaceship shooter. With single player campaign, survival mode and online play (with or against friends), you get a lot of game for your tiny MPs here plus it also delivers on the aesthetic and fun factors. Command a fleet of ships and coordinate electrifying neon rounds of fire at the extraterrestrial enemy. Definitely has an arcade feel to it but with lots of attention to detail, has its sights firmly on the big time. A must for all sci-fi and strategy fans.
Clover: A Curious Tale â€“ 400MP
Moving from PC to XBLIG, Clover is a side-scrolling platform puzzler bursting with medieval charm and wit. You play Sam who after the sad loss of his mother, must collect items and converse with the well-voiced cast of Characters in order seek out the truth behind a bizarre series of events. Amazing artwork and a solid plot (including multiple endings, side quests and unlockables) combined with unobvious puzzles, a great soundtrack and script, Clover has a depth and quality rarely seen from Indie games and should suit all tastes â€“ buy it now!
Excellence all round this week with some cracking titles to draw the Summer of Arcade to an end. Forget hitting the beach and BBQâ€™s, the best time is to be had here.