TA Team Picks (February 11th)

The Xbox Sales return this week with a slew of discounts on games and DLC across Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC, and as such, the TA news team has had a rummage to find their recommended pickups.

We’re back, lovely people, with another round-up of our preferred pickups from this week’s Xbox sales. As always, discounts have been applied to numerous games and DLC on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC, so there is plenty to look through, and there are always the best free Xbox games to check out if nothing here in the sale takes your fancy. These picks give you a chance to see what we like to play in our downtime, so it’s usually a pretty varied bunch of games.

This week, however, we appear to have decided, albeit accidentally, that violence is the way forward. Heidi is away at the moment but almost certainly would have given Lord Winklebottom Investigates her seal of approval to even out the chaos somewhat, but alas, she is not here, so we three are going to war — Luke with the help of some screeching demonic tentacles, while Tom puts meat back on the menu in his quest for Orc flesh, and Sean… well apparently, of all the things he could have chosen from the bargain bin, he chose the bin. Banter time is done, though, for the horns of war are blaring…

Bargains from the Xbox sales


Luke — The Darkness & The Darkness II

I’m going to be a greedy boy and pick two games this week, because I wouldn’t want to have one without the other and they’re both fantastic in different ways. I picked up physical copies of The Darkness and sequel The Darkness II (both of which are back-compat 360 games) fairly recently for around the same price as this and while I’m yet to properly dive back into them, I’m very much looking forward to doing so. Choosing Mike Patton for the role of the titular Darkness was not only ingenious casting but led to a pair of perfect performances — growling, booming, screaming, arresting, rasping, and chilling in a way that I can’t imagine any other voice actor nailing so well across such a crazy range.

The first game from 2007 is much more narrative-heavy, as it naturally had to assume a lot of players wouldn’t be familiar with the comic on which the games were based, so we do the origin story dance and that’s fine, because it’s not something like those of Spider-Man or Batman which has been fed to us countless times in slightly different ways over the years. Sure, it has aged a fair bit, but it still seems to hold up relatively well, and the second game, which came out some five years later, fares even better thanks to a lot of improvements to gunplay and spectacle, so I can’t wait to find a gap in my schedule to double-dip The Darkness games… although the first game’s multiplayer achievements can absolutely do one.

The Darkness

The Darkness

On his 21st birthday, the destructive powers of a timeless force known as The Darkness awaken within Jackie Estacado, a hitman for the Franchetti crime family. Jackie must learn to fully command The Darkness so he can take back control of the Franchetti family which is ruled by his “Uncle” Paulie, a despicable man who is almost universally despised. But Jackie will quickly learn that The Darkness has a will of its own…

The Darkness II

The Darkness II

(Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB) The Darkness II is an intense first person shooter that puts you in the role of Jackie Estacado, don of a NY crime family and wielder of an ancient supernatural force of chaos known as The Darkness.


Sean — Pixel Gladiator

You read that right. My sales pick this week is the tower defence title Pixel Gladiator — cue: shock, horror, and repulsion from the people in the comments. Yes, it is an easy completion, but it’s not actually that bad of a game. Pixel Gladiator is a sci-fi-themed tower defence game that has you defending your base from all sorts of intergalactic meanies by building structures and turrets and by controlling a little space dude who is armed to the teeth with high-powered weaponry. Killing enemies nets you money that you can spend on upgrades for your weapons or your base — it’s all very simple, but things can get pretty chaotic in later levels, especially when you’re using a jetpack to jump between platforms. Sure, there are far better games in the genre that you can pick up, but at this week’s stupidly low price of $0.74/£0.62/€0.74, you can’t really go wrong here. Plus, there is the added bonus of some easy Gamerscore for your trouble. A completion here will only take a few hours, if that.

Pixel Gladiator

Pixel Gladiator

Distant future…
Brutal gladiatorial battles is a top-rated show, extremely popular all over the Universe. You’ve been sent to the abandoned planet as one of the participants of the show. Your goal is to survive as long as possible, fighting back deadly creatures in the focus of billions of viewers.

Kill your enemies to earn the money for weapons and upgrades. You are funded by your audience, so you have to keep yourself admired by slaughtering the monsters.

Take the challenge and come out victorious from a blood bath with ferocious beasts! Become a champion of the show, full of blood, pain and insensate cruelty. Morituri te salutant!

-Unique weapons and player upgrades
-Turrets and traps to maintain security offscreen
-Treacherous and deadly bosses
-Fight on cameras to gain more money


Tom — Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition

I’ve been playing the hell out of Hogwarts Legacy over the last week or so, and in many aspects, it shares similar gameplay elements to Monolith’s Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, such as an open world chock full of activities and target-based combat mechanics. So, with that in mind, I had to give this beast the attention it deserves — it’s also rocking a 70% discount, meaning you can pick up the base game and all of its DLC for a little over seven quid ($4.99/€8.99). It’s a great action-adventure game set in the realms created by J.R.R. Tolkien, and follows the story of Talion, a Gondorian Ranger bonded with the wraith of the Elven Lord Celebrimbor. It’s an action-heavy game that sees the pair avenging the deaths of their families by slaughtering the Orcs that inhabit the lands. Talion provides muscle and martial prowess, while Celebrimbor offers up otherworldly magic to manipulate their enemies. Combat rocks in this game, and it’s made all the more entertaining with the AI-powered Nemesis System, which allows boss and elite characters the ability to remember you from previous encounters, giving them the chance to adapt to your attacks. It’s a neat feature that gives the game a “living” feel to it.

As a bonus, if you end up enjoying this game, its sequel, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, is available via Xbox Game Pass, so you could hop right in for some more adventures without splashing any more cash. Now, gather your equipment; you have a ton of Orcs to slaughter!

Will you be adding any of these games to your library, or have you found another game worth highlighting when you battled through the sales? Drop a comment below and let us know!

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