Xbox is once again discounting a host of titles this week, and as such, the TA news team had a dig through the list to each recommend a game. It's mostly a chilled-out week for choice picks, with a couple of light-hearted stories, a seafaring voyage, and one that plays with guns — there's always one! Check them out below...
Heidi — Celeste Celeste
is a real masterpiece of a game. It’s a gorgeous platformer, and its success lies in not just its beautifully colourful pixel world or in its excellent platforming challenges, but in the way it teaches you that you can
do it. No matter how hard a level is or how long it takes, you can do it — just like the game tells you, “just breathe. You can do this.” We play as Madeline, who’s attempting to climb to the top of Celeste Mountain and is grappling with her own mind and identity on the way. The fact that each death is followed by a near-instant respawn keeps frustration with the game’s difficulty down, and even if you die a lot
, the beautifully designed levels do a masterful job of holding your interest. It seems a little nuts that such a wonderful game can be bought for under £4 — if you’re yet to try Celeste, or are looking for a reason to rebuy and restart it, 75% off should give you more than enough incentive!
Help Madeline survive her inner demons on her journey to the top of Celeste Mountain, in this super-tight platformer from the creators of TowerFall. Brave hundreds of hand-crafted challenges, uncover devious secrets, and piece together the mystery of the mountain.
Luke — The Witness
I’m playing through Tunic at the moment, and it got me thinking fondly back to a lot of the other oblique and obtuse puzzles I’ve enjoyed cracking in games over the years. From the trial-and-error nonsense of Panic! back in the day to the mind-melting moments of Fez more recently, there have been plenty of such highlights, and Jonathan Blow’s beautiful The Witness is another game loaded with ingenious brain teasers. This open-ended and colourful collection of abstract puzzles was a Games with Gold title some four years ago so some of you likely already have it in your collection (or have already put your brain through the wringer in exchange for a set of The Witness achievements
, but if you haven’t, 75% off is a damn good deal for something in which you can get so very, very
lost as this.
Don’t let the on-site estimate of a 15-20-hour completion fool you into thinking you might not be getting value for money here — even the walkthrough ups that to 25-30 hours (and even that’s assuming you use the guide… I’d recommend saving it as a last resort and trying to power through with your own smarts to best enjoy The Witness), but those going in blind could find themselves trying to figure out unique new mechanics or tricky puzzles for hours at a time, and there are hundreds of the things. The way the game’s simple rules slowly warp, evolve, and expand as you press on through each themed area is incredible, and while there may not be a great deal in the way of story to back up the gameplay, the smart puzzles, lush environments, and genuine eureka moments all prove more than capable of carrying the experience on their own.
You wake up, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that will challenge and surprise you.
You don't remember who you are, and you don't remember how you got here, but there's one thing you can do: explore the island in hope of discovering clues, regaining your memory, and somehow finding your way home.
Sean — Far: Lone Sails
If you’ve played recent Game Pass addition Far: Changing Tides and you’re clambering for more of the same, why not pick up the first Far game, Far: Lone Sails? In Lone Sails, your goal is to pilot a vehicle that’s powered by wind and a small engine across a desolate world where civilisation has long since ended, and only echoes of the past remain. You will need to carefully balance the vessel’s engine systems, ensuring you have enough forward momentum to make it up steep hills and enough fuel to get to your destination, all while keeping an eye on the engine’s steam pressure gauge. It’s a delicate balancing act that requires a lot of your attention but not so much that you can’t enjoy the stunning, atmospheric, and bleak landscapes you’ll be travelling through. Occasionally, your progress will be impeded by obstacles in your path, and you’ll need to climb out of your vehicle and solve a few light puzzle elements — it’s a welcome break from the resource management and confines of your vessel’s tiny engine room. In terms of achievements, most of the Far: Lone Sails achievements
are pretty easy, and you’ll have the majority of its list unlocked in one or two sittings. The game only takes about four hours to play through from start to finish, but for the full 1,000G, you’re going to need to set aside roughly double that.
Far: Lone Sails offers a truly unique experience that I am yet to find anywhere else (other than with its sequel, of course), and it’s on sale this week for just $2.99/£2.49/€2.99, which I think is an absolute steal.
FAR: Lone Sails
Traverse a dried-out seabed littered with the remains of a decaying civilization. Keep your unique vessel going, overcome numerous obstacles and withstand the hazardous weather conditions. How far can you make it? What will you find?
Tom — Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
While there are some fantastic Tom Clancy games on offer this week, it’s Future Soldier that has my vote. It never quite reached the popularity of its Vegas counterparts, but Future Soldier was the highlight of many happy hours for me on Xbox 360. With a blend of the core Ghost Recon tactical gameplay and some slightly futuristic weaponry — that was either in use by military personnel or a prototype in 2012. Future Soldier offers a pretty cool co-op campaign, which focuses on stealth combat and tactical gameplay, and the multiplayer portion was awesome fun, but due to the age of the game, you’ll mostly find the servers to be ghost towns. That doesn’t mean you can’t grab all of the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier achievements
, though, because boosting sessions should still work, thanks to Ubisoft keeping the servers open, some ten years later. The game currently has a sweet 60% discount in this week’s Xbox sale, but you’ll need to purchase the three DLC packs separately if you fancy going for the completion.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier
Armed with the most advanced combat technology, the Ghosts are an untraceable unit of soldiers who track down the highest-value targets in the highest-risk conflict areas around the world.In the near future, 4 of these elite soldiers serve as the tip of the spear in a hidden war raging across the globe. As the Ghosts accomplish their objectives, they discover a far greater threat - one that could alter the international balance of power forever.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on our selections or any of the deals you would recommend to the community. Let us know down in the comments!