3) Rayman Legends
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Genre: 2D Platformer
Available For: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U & Playstation Vita
Release Date: US – September 3rd/ EU – August 29th
Fans will be glad to see Rayman Legends released into the wild. Originally intended to be a Wii U launch title in 2012, the fifth fully-fledged iteration in the iconic series has suffered a series of delays since it was announced, which has subsequently resulted in Legends going multi-platform. Nevertheless, gamers will be able to take control of the beloved cel-shaded adventurer sooner rather than later.
Billed as a follow-up to last year’s excellent Rayman Origins, players can take control of the titular hero, Globox and the Teensies. Also, Rayman Legends will introduce a new playable character in Barbara. Though the decision to go multi-platform was met with negativity, Ubisoft have tried to appease Wii U owners by making the online challenge mode free on the Nintendo eShop. Additionally, the publisher’s CEO has defended the decision and has stated that the end experience will feel ‘much more complete’.
Having fallen in love with Origins on the Playstation Vita, I’m looking forward to playing Ubisoft’s sequel on the handheld. The polished visuals and character animations blossom on the OLED screen, plus, Vita owners will have access to five platform exclusive levels that will utilise the console’s back touchpad. Rayman has always been a delightful platformer, and even though Nintendo fans would have liked their hands on the game sooner, here’s hoping that Rayman Legends will be worth the wait when it hits stores this August.
4) Grand Theft Auto V
Developer: Rockstar Games
Genre: Open World Sandbox
Available For: Playstation 3 & Xbox 360 – a PC release remains unconfirmed.
Release Date: September 17th
Within the industry there are a select few titles that transcend the ‘video game’ label and appeal to a much more widespread audience. Call of Duty and versatile titans such as Mario and Zelda, for example, are the evergreen pillars of the business that can be enjoyed by dedicated and casual gamers alike. And since its inception in 1997, Grand Theft Auto has indisputably become one of these prominent franchises with an inherent universal quality – heck, it’s so famous even your grandmother is conscious of Rockstar’s behemoth.
Putting the hyperbole aside, however, let’s focus on the forthcoming Grand Theft Auto V. For a series renown for establishing the sandbox genre, Rockstar have, in many ways, torn up the rulebook for GTA V. For the first time in the franchise, players will be table to take control of more than one protagonist – namely Franklin, Michael and Trevor – in order to lay claim to the greater Los Santos area. The gameplay experience will be tailored to accommodate this trio of characters, and players will be able to switch between the three perspectives via an instantaneous, Google maps-styled camera movement.
In terms of visuals, Rockstar have clearly harnessed every element under the hood of the current-gen systems; for Grand Theft Auto V is rendered expertly. More impressively, though, is the granular detail on display in the surrounding environment, which is made possible by the game’s extensive draw distance. Toting a map that out-scales Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas combined; the fifth numerical entry in Rockstar’s series is undeniably colossal.
With Grand Theft Auto V adjacent to it this September, it’s highly unlikely that your current-gen console will collect dust anytime soon.
Hype-O-Meter: Are you kidding?…10/10
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