The Xbox One is finally in South Africa, but with quite a few games to choose from, where do you start? One of the advantages that South Africa has with the console launching so late after the initial US release, is that all the XBO games released in the last year are now ripe for purchase and playing. We have compiled a list of the some of the games that we think you should totally pick up on launch day.
Depending on which Xbox One bundle you opted to go for (with or without Kinect) you will probably get a copy of FIFA 15 and Dance Central Spotlight, or FIFA 15 and Forza 5 thrown in – but have a look at the ones below to supplement your collection.
Dead Rising 3
It can be argued that the Dead Rising franchise has done for zombies in video games what The Walking Dead has done for zombies in television.
Bottom line: it’s gory, it’s gruesome and it’s a lot of fun. You play as Nick Ramos, a mechanic, who is trapped in the fictional city of Los Perdidos just as the military seals it off from the outside after a zombie outbreak.
With no one getting in or out, Nick assembles a rag-tag of survivors and hatches an escape plan. Naturally things don’t go according to plan and the plot spirals out of control rather quickly. Unlike the previous games, here you can craft and combine almost anything on the fly into weapons that inflict serious zombie pain, including vehicles. Yes, Dead Rising 3 lets you combine vehicles into brand-new death-dealing monstrosities that are as much fun to drive as they are to look at.
Aside from the main plot, there are side-missions as well to keep you busy, more than 100 combo weapon blueprints to find and thousands of zombies to kill; there is actually an achievement to slay 100 004 (!) zombies. It follows the themes of survival and zombie-bashing of previous games, but the plot has been upgraded, the graphics are fantastically gory and weapon and vehicle combos offer tons of new-ish fun.
Although Forza 5 is included in the Xbox One Kinect bundle, it is still worth checking out if you bought the Kinect-less version.
The Forza franchise has been going for many years, and while there are other racing titles available on Xbox, this one is by far the most popular. Improving on four iterations for track racing, this fifth version has taken simulation racing to higher standards, improving on graphical capabilities, fine-tuning the controls and tweaking the mechanics to make for a more realistic racers.
Drawing on the individual strengths and weaknesses of more than a 100 cars, you will be able to feel the difference in handling, speed and traction of all the models while racing around some of the most iconic racing tracks in the world. If you are looking for the definitive racer on Xbox One with stunning graphics and realistic handling, this one offers you a front-row seat.
Forza Horizon 2
Forza 5 developer Turn 10 tried something new when it launched the first Forza Horizon game in 2011.
Taking racing off the track and putting it on the wild, open road, you got to race against others in a fictional Horizon Festival championship hosted in the desert and surroundings in Colorado. The format for the second title remains largely the same, but this time you get to race in the picturesque southern France and northern Italy.
Making use of the technology and knowledge from the previous title as well as Forza 5, Horizon 2 will have over 200 authentic cars – which will include the 2014 Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 and the LaFerrari. The game makes use of a dynamic weather system as well as a day-night cycle, which will be a first for the Forza franchise. It’s strictly speaking not really a launch title, but it should definitely be on your radar if you’re a fan of high-fidelity racers.
Kinect Sports Rivals
The Xbox would only be half the console it is if there wasn’t a Kinect sensor attached, waiting for your voice commands and gesture controls.
And what would it be without a launch title that is based purely on flailing your arms and skipping on one leg in your living room? Kinect Sports Rivals is the one for the Xbox One, and is it should appeal more to the younger generation but adults might also feel the urge to jump in on the action. At least, until they get tired which will probably be within minutes, if not seconds.
Making use of the Kinect’s gestured-based control scheme, this surprisingly fun game allows you to compete against many other players in various sports, like bowling, jet-ski racing, rock climbing and soccer. There isn’t much to the game in the sense of plot or progression, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable: it’s friendly competitive fun that can be played for hours by almost everyone.
If you really like the idea of tennis or target shooting in your lounge while smack-talking your opponent, then grab Kinect Sports Rivals.
Bungie, the makers of the hugely-successful Halo franchise teased us with images and an announcement of their latest venture Destiny, and when it finally released, gamers took to it in droves.
The futuristic quasi-MMO puts you in the space boots of a Guardian, tasked to save the universe and protect earth – the last home for the civilised. For the most part, Destiny will have you running around various planets, completing missions and taking out big bosses with a whole lot of shooting things in the face as the plot – such that it is – unfolds.
But the RPG elements keeps you on your toes, as there is always better loot in the form of armour and weapons to collect – which will naturally aid you in your quest to rid the galaxy of the Fallen and Vex. It was rumoured that Bungie forked out about $500 million for the game, not only to make it, but also to promote it.
The game features the voice talents of a host of well-known, most notably Peter Dinkage who plays as your Ghost, a little robotic companion that tags along for the campaign. The bulk of the always-online game is centred on the story-driven missions, which can be completed by yourself or with the help of some friends. And naturally there is a multiplayer element to it as well, as the title aims to blend competitive matches into the ranking up process.
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
The Diablo franchise has been a staple of many gamers for almost as long as gaming itself.
But when it was announced that the franchise will finally be making the leap from the traditional PC to the console, it would be an understatement to say that console gamers were ecstatic. The hugely-popular action-RPG puts gamers in the role of a Nephilim seeking to destroy the infamous Diablo, the demon around which the series has been based.
The console’s Ultimate Evil Edition was released with the Reaper of Souls expansion pack included, giving console gamers all the goodies that the PC players have enjoyed so far. And while Diablo has been predominantly a PC game, this version is so good that it feels like it was meant for the console.
What was previously unimaginable, namely the controls, mechanics and feel of the title just delivers stunningly. In terms of longevity, it is one of those rare console gamers that can literally go on forever, as even when you are complete with the story missions, you can still go demon-hunting for better loot and even earn a chance to open portals to different worlds.
It can be a bit of a grind, but that really is the nature of any RPG game, and with Blizzard constantly refining the game with patches and new content, prepare to play Diablo III for a long time indeed.
Ryse: Son of Rome
The Roman Empire has been a subject of many games in the past, both on console and on PC, but there aren’t a lot of titles that have done it right.
Sadly Ryse does nothing to challenge that assertion, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game, per se. On the contrary, it is actually quite enjoyable, but there are small elements that could possibly irritate gamers who are used to a bit more depth and technicality in their fighting.
The story naturally takes place during the height of the Roman reign, and you are put in the sandals of Captain Marius. The story is told a little bit backwards, as you start out protecting Emperor Nero from the invading hordes of barbarians as a Captain, but as Marius unravels his life story for the Emperor, the game’s plot evolves through a series of flashbacks, leading up to the point of the invasion.
The bulk of the fighting is done through a series of quick-time events, and it’s here where many felt it could have been improved. But it’s not all bad, as the QTEs work well for the purpose. The problem is that they become very repetitive, very quickly. But the game itself is a neat package that should keep you entertained for some time. If you can look past the possibility that the QTEs might not work for you, it’s definitely worth picking up.