Xbox sales: TA Team Picks (October 21st)

Tom West - October 21st 2021

The TA news team is back with another collection of gaming goodies from the recent Xbox sales, and it's a beautiful mix of mind-bending, rubber-burning, blade-wielding, beast-snapping goodness. Kes is promoting erratic driving behaviour, Luke has us using our brains (the monster), Heidi is offering up another colourful adventure, and Sean and Tom are murdering people with pointy objects. It's a fun little selection from an otherwise difficult sale to choose from, but we came through nonetheless.

Heidi — Beasts of Maravilla Island

Beasts of Maravilla Island looks to be a prime pick from these latest sales. It’s the first time the game’s been on sale since it launched back in July, and 25% off seems like a bargain. I’ve had my eye on this one since it was announced — you play as a wildlife photographer charged with documenting the mysterious creatures found on the island, like the otter-crocodile and the bird-monkey. You interact with them, learn their behaviours, and photograph them in their natural habitat with the hope of rekindling humanity’s belief in magic. In amongst taking photos and observing these creatures, you’ll also be solving puzzles. Altogether, it looks like a charming escape into a magical world mixed together with relaxing gameplay and magical elements. Ideal, no? If you’re looking for something a little more chilled, Beasts of Maravilla Island might be up your street, especially at 25% off.
Beasts of Maravilla Island

Beasts of Maravilla Island is a 3D adventure game where you take on the role of a young wildlife photographer who traverses Maravilla Island's magical ecosystems to discover extraordinary creatures, learn their behaviors, and, most importantly, photograph their majesty.

Kes — Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is without a doubt one of the best modern arcade racers. The concept is straight from the playground. Racers try to one-up each other in various events, speeding through Seacrest County like there are no limits. That mistake is quickly rectified by the cops, who are responsible for trying to take down racers using special abilities like helicopters, spike strips, and roadblocks. Naturally, there are the traditional races and time trials just like most racing games, but it’s the Hot Pursuit events that will rev your engine. You see, Criterion headed up development on the 2010 original, giving Hot Pursuit the destructive, carriage-filled chaos of Burnout combined with the licenced car models that Need for Speed has always been associated with. Every failure glorious and every success a bum-clenching good time. Every ‘accident’ with a rival racer has an explosive conclusion, and it's all underlined by a sensational handling model. Other incidental stuff helps round out the experience, like a worldie soundtrack. That being said, the remaster doesn’t look perfect. However, a higher resolution and better FPS now means that you can probably see the game as a 2016/17 mid-gen title. So, burn the rubber and splosh the dosh — this is worth your time.
Need for Speed™ Hot Pursuit Remastered

Feel the thrill of the chase and the rush of escape behind the wheels of the world’s hottest high-performance cars in Need for Speed™ Hot Pursuit Remastered. Unleash a savage sense of speed in heart-pumping, socially competitive racing experience.

Luke — Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise

It’s not a very good disguise though, is it? I mean, it’s patently obvious at a glance that Agent A is a puzzle game, and a surprisingly enjoyable one it is, too. The current 90% deep discount means it’s basically a quid for a play-at-home secret agent-themed escape room, which is amazing value. Via a simple point-and-click interface, you’ll explore the secret hideout of rival agent Ruby La Rouge, solving the devious puzzles she has left for you by piecing together clues and items strewn about the fancy place. While it can occasionally descend into an old-school adventure game ‘pixel hunt’ as you scour each screen for that one key interactive object you’re missing, many of the puzzles are actually pretty smart. The game likes to present you with seemingly obvious solutions, only to have you adapt them in interesting ways rather than applying them directly, so you get that burst of problem-solving satisfaction twice — once for working out the answer, and again when you finally figure out how to apply it.

Better yet, Agent A is also a pretty quick completion and has a fun list to work through, with a host of achievements which themselves serve as meta-puzzles (some even have hints in their descriptions, which is cute). You can probably get the main game and most of the achievements done in 3-4 hours, but there’s a speedrun achievement for beating the full game in under 120 minutes which will likely be the last to mop up. It’s a pretty generous time limit once you know puzzle solutions, to be honest, and I’d recommend against blasting through with a guide first run to try and get it all done in one go — give your grey matter a bit of exercise rather than doing this great little puzzle game dirty like that.

Agent A: A puzzle in disguise

A suave secret agent adventure game. Your mission (should you choose to accept) is to infiltrate enemy spy Ruby La Rouge’s secret hideaway and put a stop to her evil plans!

Sean — Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy

This week’s sale is a bit of a dud for me, but one bundle has caught my eye: Assassin’s Creed Chronicles trilogy. I haven’t played any of the Chronicles games, and I know they weren’t the most well-received, but surely for just $7.49/£5.99/€7.49 (its lowest ever price, by the way), it’s worth picking up? I’ve always loved the idea of a 2.5D Assassin’s Creed, but what really interests me with these three games are the exotic locations. India, China, and Russia are all countries with rich and fascinating histories, and if there is one thing that the AC series does well, it’s transporting you back in time to a different period, so exploring China in the 1500s or Russia after the October Revolution in 1918 seems like a win in my book. The achievements across the three games look like a right pain to complete. All three achievement lists feature difficulty-specific ones, and a couple have speedrun achievements, which are not my bag at all. Still, for just six of my English pounds and the allure of playing as an assassin on the streets of India, I think the trilogy will be my prime pick-up this week.
Assassin's Creed Chronicles – Trilogy

Expand your Assassin’s Creed experience and discover the forgotten stories of three remarkable Assassins in brand-new settings with fresh 2.5D stealth gameplay: • Experience the thrill of being an Assassin in three exciting & original chronicles • Live the adventures of three cult Assassins: Shao Jun, Arbaaz and Orelov • Dive into stunning and stylized living environments

Tom — Assassin’s Creed III Remastered

Sure, Assassin’s Creed III isn’t most people’s choice for their favourite entry into the series, but I’m not most people, so it’s mine. When this game first dropped onto the Xbox 360, I played the hell out of it and mopped up all of the achievements without ever hoping to get it over and done with. There was something about exploring the Frontier during the American Revolution as Edward Kenway’s half-Mohawk grandson, Ratonhnhaké:ton (or Conner), that gripped me completely. It’s the freedom of running across battle-torn fields to sink my hidden blades into the closest Redcoat, then climbing into a cannonball-blasted tree to make my timely escape as I was pursued by a group of unfriendly brutes that just gave it a feeling that I hadn’t experienced before in the series. More than the action, though, it’s Connor’s struggle between his half-Mohawk, half-English heritage that is the main selling point of the game, for me at least. Taking control of a young man stuck right in the middle of a bloody conflict, confused about his part in it all, and angry at the injustices of everything happening around him is an interesting and eye-opening experience. Assassin’s Creed III Remastered is currently in the sale with a lovely 60% chopped off its price, which should be reason enough to give it a go and take down some Redcoats.
Assassin's Creed® III Remastered

Assassin's Creed® III Remastered is included for free in Assassin's Creed® Odyssey Season Pass. Relive the American Revolution or experience it for the first time in Assassin's Creed® III Remastered, with enhanced graphics and improved gameplay mechanics. Also includes Assassin's Creed Liberation remastered and all solo DLC content.

Is there anything here that also caught your eye? Or is there another option screaming for your attention? Let us know in the comments!