While the next-gen gaming war might not have officially kicked off in the Middle East, those grey market importers can be thanked for the Xbox Ones already going on sale across the UAE. Before Sony’s PS4 lands, here are the best Microsoft exclusives you can already start getting your teeth into, assuming you don’t mind the markup.
Forza Motorsport 5
This is undoubtedly the Xbox One’s visual showstopper, a stunning demonstration of the machine’s capabilities. It’s difficult not to be wowed in the opening moments as searing strings accompany scenes from international racetracks and exquisite shots of some of the world’s finest cars. Just don’t be put off by the Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s less-than-dulcet tones. Aside from the aesthetic OMGs, the game is among the finest racing simulations around. The most notable development is Drivator, which creates digital opponents based on your driving skills and tendencies, so even if you’re racing against the computer, it feels like it’s another real-life person.
Ryse: Son of Rome
Swords and sandals get their most visually stunning video game outing yet in this violent third-person combat set in ancient Rome. You play Marius Titus, a general seeking vengeance against barbarians who murdered his family. Use your sword and shield to hack and deflect, while giving commands to your infantry – via Kinect if you like – as you battle through wave after wave of enemy attack, forming tight tortoise formations or performing outlandish executions as you go. The looks, perhaps, outweigh the gameplay, which can get somewhat repetitive, but if you’re after a historic bloodbath, look no further than Ryse.
Dead Rising 3
There’s one thing you’ll instantly notice in the third instalment of Capcom’s comical appreciation of George Romero’s zombie films (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead): the sheer number of zombies on the screen at one time. New technology has clearly upped the undead count significantly and as the protagonist Nick Ramos, you must take them out – ideally using the plethora of weaponry scattered across the fictional open-world city of Los Peridos. Use almost anything on hand to bludgeon, hack or blow up your flesh-eating foes, shouting into the Kinect to get their attention if needed. Aside from customising your own arsenal, there’s also a number of changeable vehicles to plough through the hordes.
Don’t be put off by the name, this isn’t about locking elephants in tiny cages. Unlike the ridiculous horsepower or extreme violence of the other titles, Zoo Tycoon gives a more relaxed, family-friendly face to the Xbox One – but is just as playable. Build your own animal sanctuary, arranging various business factors such as price, staff and advertising, before moving on to the more fun aspect of actually interacting with the animals yourself via the Kinect. As you make more money, you can expand and improve the zoo, eventually working towards the long-term goal of returning the animals to the wild. Isn’t that sweet.
This reboot of the once much- beloved Rare classic is the Xbox One’s first fighter and comes free to play (although you’ll have to fork out if you want more than one character to control). Blending the gore of Mortal Kombat and the technical finesse of Street Fighter, Killer Instinct’s key form lies in its unique automatic combos and combo breakers. Know the right response buttons and you’ll know how to inflict some serious damage. Its controller-mashing joy will raise a few eyebrows of nostalgia among those who remember the original.
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