Plus XP

The Next Level In Gaming

Contributed by Travis and Simon

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With the unveiling of the PS4 and imminent announcement of the Xbox 720, it seems now is the time to play through any games in the current generation you may have missed, or simply never got around to. We here at Plus XP are going to offer our suggestions for titles you should consider playing before the next generation dawns, starting with competitive multiplayer Arcade games.

Worms Series (Available on PS3 and Xbox 360)

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Worms and Team 17 seem to be immortal. First created in 1995, Worms optimised the fun spirit that games should be played in. No trolling, no rage-induced messages after you get killed, just a bit of fun. Worms, Worms 2: Armageddon, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem and Worms: Revolution all hold true to that same sense of relaxing, enjoyable entertainment. Whether you play by yourself, conquering the challenges one by one, or whether you play with friends, Worms never fails to make you smile.

Even with 19 separate titles, each has its own personality. Many companies would’ve struggled to continue on the quirky path Team 17 had decided upon, but instead Worms became even more fun to play. The introduction of new worms voices, new maps and the fantastic variation of new weapons, like the super sheep and holy hand grenade, allows Worms to keep going strong.

So many people have access to Worms, whether on PC or on their phone, so why not on Xbox? You can play for fun with your friends locally or competitively with people via Xbox Live. If you want a game that supplies humour and a good laugh, there a few better places to go than Worms. Just watch out for the water – some things never change.

Awesomenauts (Available on PS3 and Xbox 360)

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Awesomenauts is a multiplayer battle arena-style game with platformer elements. It pits three against three in competitive games, with eight characters to choose to play as; from Leon, a French chameleon who can go invisible, to Yuri, a Russian monkey with a jetpack to boot.

The title epitomises the game’s good aspects: it’s doesn’t take itself too seriously, it has a unique personality and, most importantly, it’s fun. From the overall look of the game to the characters having their own individual theme-tunes when you play them, there is a light-hearted and enjoyable tone permeating Awesomenauts. And it looks good. The maps are bright and vibrant, giving life to the two-dimensional, platformer style. The characters look crisp and distinct, their colourful outfits and abilities adding to the atmosphere of the game.

Another bonus is that it’s easy on newcomers. The gameplay is simple: for instance, it doesn’t take long to figure out that attacking a turret alone is suicide and that, at the beginning of each game, it is more efficient to kill droids to level up rather than trying to kill the opposing team’s players. Though there is a learning curve which rewards those who put time into the game.

The major downside is that the developer, Ronimo Games, don’t have the financial capabilities to patch the Arcade version, and is focussing its attention on the PC version as a result. Still, even the original console version of Awesomenauts is worth attention.

WipEout HD (Available on PS3)

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A testament to the thrill of break-neck speeds, WipEout is another series which has stood the test of time, spawning sequels on the PSP and being re-mastered for the current generation to enjoy.

What makes WipEout HD a great game to play years after its initial release is the coming together of a modern console’s capabilities and the great gameplay of an older game. With the improved capacity of the PS3 at its disposal, WipEout HD plays and feels smoother than ever before, managing to fully convey the sense of speed the series has long strived to attain. The frenetic twists and turns blend seamlessly together as the speedometer races past the speed of sound; don’t be surprised if you feel your hair blowing in the wind as you race to beat friends online. Not to mention the game looks great. The sci-fi aesthetics are given fresh life with the re-mastered visuals, all of which complements the imaginative level designs which traverse tracks going through futuristic cities and even up into the sky.

The main criticism of WipEout HD would perhaps be that it doesn’t offer much more than the two games available on the PlayStation Portable did – which is true, to an extent. However, for those who haven’t given this classic a try, it’s well worth a shot.

Doritos Crash Course (Available on Xbox 360)

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Ever wanted to run your avatar through an obstacle course in Europe, the USA or Japan? Well, now you can with Doritos Crash Course. This platformer takes your created avatar and drops them at the start of a brightly coloured course filled with giant hammers, swing ropes and moving platforms. You must run, jump and climb against the clock to reach your destination.

As you progress, the levels get tougher and tougher. Timing is of the essence: jump too soon and you have to start the section all over again. Of course, you can just chicken out if it gets too tough (literally) where you can jump forward to next section, though it may not be worth the judgement from your friends. Play against your friends, on or offline, or play by yourself and attempt to beat your own time and set records for others to try to beat.

There are three sections with five courses in each and two DLCs adding a total of ten more courses. Doritos Crash Course is a lot of fun and, most importantly, it’s free. So what are you waiting for? This game is definitely worth the effort of using the Xbox search engine. Whether it’s for five minutes or fifty, a good bit of free gaming never goes amiss.

Trials Evolution (Available on Xbox 360)

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It’s hard not to love a game which has you expertly landing a motorbike after you’ve been flung high into the sky, perhaps performing a few backflips on the way down. Whether you’re trying to get that gold medal time or racing to beat your friends to the finish line, the pace doesn’t let up for an instant. Aided by regular checkpoints and a great variation of tracks on offer, the gameplay is fast, but also doesn’t get stale.

What sets Trials further apart is the intelligence of the difficulty curve. The starting levels are fun, but aren’t too much of a challenge. For the later levels, however, to say they are unforgiving would be a colossal understatement. They will teach you patience as you strive to master the unique physics imbedded in the game, and test your sanity as you constantly hammer B to go back to the last checkpoint. But this is all part of its cruel, addictive appeal.

Trials Evolution stands tall as a single player game, but the multiplayer modes and the ability to create tracks add that extra something which will make people come back to play it again (and again [and again]).

Guardians of Middle-Earth (Available on PS3 & Xbox 360)

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Set in the world of The Hobbit, Guardians of Middle-Earth (Gome) is the console’s answer to the PC’s League of Legends (LOL) and Defence of the Ancients 2 (DOTA2). Like other MOBAs, your objective is to destroy your opponent’s base, fighting through enemy turrets and creeps to get there. Gome lets you take control of a huge range to guardians, from Gandalf to Sauron, Bilbo to Gollum, each with their own set of abilities.

Gome is tactical and strategic: make one wrong move and you’ll be swarmed, especially in single-lane battles. Before the fight you can build your own loadout, combining relics and gems to give you an edge in-game. As you kill creeps and enemy guardians, and destroy towers, you gain XP, taking you to a maximum level 14. With each level, you gain access to more of your loadout, unlocking your chosen gems and relics. The slower pace of the game allows retreats, meaning more emphasis is applied to timing and coordinated use of abilities; it is the application of these abilities that makes Gome so entertaining. Games traditionally last around 20 minutes, yet that time seems to fly by if you and your team are battling well. With over 30 guardians to choose from, it is very unlikely you’ll ever get bored.

However, there are a few negatives. Connection issues are common; it will take at least a minute and a half to even get in to a game. Then, once you begin, lag and disconnects are commonplace. Also, unless you’re playing with friends, it is likely that the outcome of the game could depend more on how good your team is, than how good you are individually. You may be holding your lane well, but you teammates may have died multiple times and lost several towers. In this case your opponents will have a huge level advantage over you, meaning greater access to their loadouts and thus they will be doing much more damage.

Despite these issues however, Gome, remains a very entertaining game. If you can get past the connection issues, the customisation and variety will keep bringing you back. With individual challenges for each character and an in-game currency giving you access to better gems and relics, you’ll find yourself playing Gome for hours and hours, without even realising it.

So, there’re six suggestions to help keep your Xbox 360 and PS3 running long into the night. Tell us your recommendations in the comments below, and look out for future articles about games that will remind your current console retirement is still a long way off.

- Travis and Simon

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Plus XP Contributors On April - 12 - 2013

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