Xbox sales this week have offered up a selection of titles that stretch across multiple genres. The TA news team has gone into bargain-hunting mode and found the titles they think are worthy of your library.
For this week's selection of Xbox sale
bargains, we're travelling through time for a mythical mission of great import, a trial of constant rivalry, a journey across the open ocean, and a starlit adventure that's easy on the eyes but sticky on the hands. You heard.
Xbox sale bargains
Kes — Assassin's Creed: Origins
Assassin’s Creed: Origins marks the first of the new RPG era of the Ubisoft series by taking us to Egypt. Of the three RPG-lites — Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla — it is definitely the cleanest and most tightly constructed. We follow Bayek and his wife Aya as they come to terms with their son’s death by doing some murder. The core relationship between the two leads holds together an otherwise rocky narrative. The emotional bond between Aya and Bayek is complex and deeply sad, which gives Origins a totally unique tone compared to many of the other games. There is hope in revenge here — hope that Bayek and Aya can live together again, that they can find solace in their son’s death, and that they can bring about a better Egypt.
I’m aware this is a sales pick 'recommendation,’ but I need to get my angst into words, so hear me out. While Bayek is amazing and incredibly acted by Abubakar Salim, the focus on Aya would have honestly been better suited to the story given her vital role in the actual founding of the Assassin’s Creed. Instead, she is relegated to some sub-par missions that totally sideline the main narrative and yet — in terms of what she is up to — are fundamentally more interesting than said main narrative. The actual founding of the Assassins is a true disappointment here, too. The game just shoves in things with a lot of series history behind them and prays you understand the reference. The emotional weight of this story still climbs above the sub-par narrative structure and shady goings-on behind the scenes.
The real star of the show, though, is Egypt. It was the first time I realised just how many centuries culture had thrived by the Nile. We see famous pyramids falling into disrepair, huge deserts that give Bayek mirage trips, and small cities stuffed with hustle and bustle. This is a masterclass in how video games can transport you through time given enough detail and historical research. In fact, the guided history tours are a great tool that I love. Outside of that, the combat is good, the game still looks amazing, some of the activities are fun if you enjoy the normal Ubi shtick, and there are plenty of cool moments in the story. Also, the soundtrack is wonderful and the Assassin’s Creed: Origins achievements are easy. For the price, I think this offers a great experience and certainly one that is slicker than its successors.
Assassin's Creed® Origins
ASSASSIN’S CREED® ORIGINS IS A NEW BEGINNING
Ancient Egypt, a land of majesty and intrigue, is disappearing in a ruthless fight for power. Unveil dark secrets and forgotten myths as you go back to the one founding moment: The Origins of the Assassin’s Brotherhood.
Luke — Sid Meier's Pirates!
I'm surprised this one slipped through the net of our in-house pirate shill Kes, but that's fine because it gives me the opportunity to fly the flag for one of my favourite original Xbox games. Sid Meier (of Civilization fame) took a break from the usual straight-faced historical accuracy to deliver us this beautifully romanticised pirate adventure, letting us set sail in search of adventure and fortune as we set our sights on rising up the Top Ten Pirates leaderboard — which I dearly hope was a real thing back in those days — and take down legendary captains to become the most notorious scallywag on the high seas. The real beauty of the game lies not in its depth, but its breadth. Every part of pirate life is pretty straightforward (which meant it proved a good fit for controller users on console after first appearing on PC), but there's just so much variety to what you can get up to that the seafaring shenanigans never get old. A leisurely sailing trip segues into entertaining naval combat once you find a suitable mark (or get labelled as one by another ship), which can then evolve into simple but stylish swashbuckling if you choose to board the rival vessel. Overthrow their captain and the game shifts gear again, pushing your brain into Trading Mode as you ransack their cargo and fill your hold with whatever you think might fetch the best price. Or, if you didn't put too many holes in the ship, maybe you instead consider adding it to your fleet and inviting their crew to join your merry band of miscreants.
It doesn't end there, either. Sneak into enemy outposts under cover of night in stealth sections that aren't entirely terrible (a rare treat); go toe-to-toe with ground forces in tactical turn-based land battles; woo a governor's daughter and engage in a daft but amusing dancing mini-game. Everything is just so playful and mischievous, and it's great to fun to bounce between all these different activities as you make a name for yourself and start to rack up the booty. Considering it's closing in on 20 years old (which explains that potato-quality trailer), Sid Meier's Pirates! hasn't aged too badly, in part thanks to its stylised visuals and the inherent upgrades that supported OG Xbox games get on modern consoles. If you want to take your mind off achievements for a while and live your best pirate life, this is a great place to toss a few of your ill-gotten doubloons while this classic is on sale this week.
Sid Meier's Pirates!
An Xbox 360 hard drive is required to use this item. GAME-PLAY ALERT: The online multiplayer, leaderboards and voice features of this game are no longer supported. This game has been fully tested to successfully play on your Xbox 360 console. However, in some cases, you may see some minor irregularities with audio/video for brief periods. For more details, see www.xbox.com/xboxoriginals. Sid Meier's Pirates!® is the action-packed roleplaying game that lets you live the life of a pirate in the s…
Sean — Katamari Damacy Reroll
While Katamari Damacy Reroll is included with Xbox Game Pass, it’s a game that simply everyone must own. After The King of All Cosmos is “completely naughty” and breaks all the stars in the sky, he sends you, The Prince of All Cosmos, down to Earth to round up more stars. So, how do you do this? By rolling around a sticky Katamari ball and collecting all sorts of objects, of course! In each level, you are set a time limit and a size target for your Katamari. To reach this target, you have to roll your ball over smaller objects to absorb them and grow your Katamari. Things start off small, with you collecting things like matches, coins, and drawing pins, but before you know it, you’ll be picking up oil tankers, buildings, and mountains — it’s such a simple concept, and that’s why it’s so fun! Some will dislike dual-stick controls for manoeuvring the Katamari. They are a bit hard to get to grips with at first, but once you’ve got them down, you’ll be whizzing through the various levels at blistering speeds. The writing is also excellent — The King of All Cosmos is one of those characters you’ll never forget — and the soundtrack is just pure joy. As for the Katamari Damacy Reroll achievements
, they’re all pretty easy bar two: Present Hunter
and King of Katamari Damacy
. The latter of the two achievements there will take some serious dedication, but you all love hard achievements, right?
Katamari Damacy REROLL
The beloved roll-em-up game returns with fully updated graphics, completely recreated cutscenes and in full HD!
Tom — Soulcalibur VI
Recommending a fighting game isn't generally something you'll see me doing. It's not that there is anything wrong with the genre, it's just that I generally don't enjoy the gameplay outside of at-home tournaments with my family. Soulcalibur VI, though, is one that surprised me quite considerably, possibly due to the RPG-esque nature of its Libra of Soul mode. The overall gameplay is great fun and fairly easy to get the hang of, even if you're not overly adept at the genre, so you have the opportunity to enjoy the game's storyline. I think the big show-stealing feature, though, is its crazy character creator, which allows you to play through all portions of the game with whatever wacky specimen you decide to design. Whether you decide to create a stoic protector of humanity or a demonic monstrous creature (or Shrek), you're given the toolset to really make the game your own. The Soulcalibur VI achievements
are fairly straightforward, if a little time consuming, but the list pushes you to experience every aspect of the game. I've not got the completion yet due to it leaving Xbox Game Pass before I could finish it, so I think I'll grab it in the sale this week to finish it up. See you on the stage of history!
Bring more than your fists to the fight! SOULCALIBUR VI represents the latest entry in the premier weapons-based, head-to-head fighting series. The heroic 3D battles transpire in a beautiful and fluid world, with eye-popping graphics and visual appeal. Featuring all-new battle mechanics and characters, SOULCALIBUR VI marks a new era of the historic franchise. Welcome back to the stage of history!
Have you found anything here that you'd like to add to your library, or do you have a suggestion yourself? We'd love to know what you've found, so let us know down below!