TA Team Picks (May 6th)


This week’s Xbox sales have once again seen discounts applied to numerous games across Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC, so the TA news team has had a good rummage through it all to offer you our top picks.

Sometimes there are just too many games on offer during the Xbox sales, making it difficult to decide which ones we’d like to add to our collection. Whether it’s a recent blockbuster on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, a PC exclusive, or a classic Xbox 360 game, the decision can be a hard one to make. To help you out, we’ve had a look through the games on offer to suggest titles we enjoy playing from our personal collections. Here’s what we’ve found.

We’re doing things a little differently this time due to only Luke and Tom being available to sale-dive this week. With the sales including Deals with Gold, ID@Xbox Deep Discounts, and the Golden Week sale, we’ve suggested a second title, or titles, alongside our usual game pick.

Discounts from the bargain bin

Luke

Luke — N++

If you enjoy punishing platformers, N++ should probably already be in your library. But if it isn’t, you may be glad to see it at 60% off in the ID@Xbox sale, which is the lowest it’s been and an absolute bargain for an excellent and challenging game with thousands of hand-crafted levels. Like its Xbox Live Arcade predecessor, N++ is a minimalist momentum-based platformer with no visual clutter whatsoever to distract you from the task at hand — guiding your little ninja dude to the exit while dodging mines, missiles, lasers, enemies, and a whole lot more. It looks deceptively simple, but once you start getting into the trickier stages, you’ll need pinpoint precision and full system knowledge of the game, weaving through hazards with perfect strings of wall kicks, using inclines to either serve as kickers to increase jump height or as buffers to cushion landings and prevent dying to fall damage, and even coordinating your approach with other players as you tackle some of the game’s ingenious multiplayer stages.

Each level beyond the most basic obstacle courses has a puzzle aspect to it, requiring you to work out how to combine your basic traversal abilities with whatever lies in store, whether that be figuring out what order switches need to be hit in, learning timings or cycles for sets of moving hazards, and even manipulating threats in creative ways to carve a path through each deathtrap. In co-op, this goes even further, and it’s not uncommon for one player to have to race to switches to open new paths for the other before death catches up with them, or even for someone to have to take a bullet for their buddy so that at least one of you can escape. And should the thousands of levels provided not be enough, there’s also a nifty level editor with which to craft and share your own, or you can check out the many other community creations. At around a tenth of a penny per level at this price for the base game alone, it’s fair to say that the superb N++ is a pretty good deal.

N++ (NPLUSPLUS)

N++ (NPLUSPLUS)

This is the long-awaited sequel to the legendary N+, rewritten from scratch to be bigger, better, and more beautiful in every way.
N++ is a fast-paced, momentum-based platformer about darting around obstacles, narrowly evading enemies and collecting gold in a beautiful minimalist landscape.

Luke

Luke — Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139…

I loved Nier back in the day when I played Yoko Taro’s crazy genre-straddling adventure on Xbox 360, and I’ve been meaning to pick up this remaster for a while so a new low of 60% off in the Golden Week sale seems as good a time as any. I’ve also long been curious about the differences between this and Nier Gestalt, the version that was released simply as Nier in the west where you play as Yonah’s father rather than her brother, as well as the changes made to add some ties to Automata in this remaster. Some of the issues with the original game, particularly the clunky combat, are addressed here by bringing in key Platinum figures who helped make Automata feel so damn good, giving this remaster a more modern feel in line with the latest game, which won the franchise a ton of new fans. The soundtrack is once again incredible, and while I’m likely not going to get around to playing this properly until I’ve put more of a dent in Sunbreak, I’m very much looking forward to getting stuck into Nier Replicant soon.

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…

The prequel of the critically-acclaimed masterpiece NieR:Automata, receives a modern upgrade. The protagonist is a kind young man living in a remote village. In order to save his sister Yonah, who fell terminally ill to the Black Scrawl, he sets out with Grimoire Weiss, a strange talking tome, to search for the “Sealed verses”.

Tom

Tom — Chernobylite

I fell in love with Chernobylite from the moment I began exploring its beautiful world when it launched in 2021. It’s a survival horror FPS that uses environmental and audio effects to create a state of tension when you’re exploring the stunning Chernobyl landscape, instead of relying on the presence of a horrific creature trying to kill you. What makes this post-apocalyptic adventure stand out the most to me, is the fact that everything in the game has been 3D-scanned from the real Exclusion Zone, which allows Chernobylite to feel grounded in reality — even with the strange creatures plaguing the area. We play as a scientist who returns to the zone in search of his missing fiancé, only to uncover a plot that sees us moving through space and time as we slowly piece together exactly what happened when the Chernobyl Power Plant exploded, and the dastardly motives of those involved. If you’re looking forward to playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 but want something to fill the gap while you wait, Chernobylite is a perfect game to get lost in for a few hours, offering large, beautiful zones to explore, entertaining characters to meet, a base to customise as your own, and a story that feels original. It’s currently on sale for £12.49 / $14.99 / €14.99, which is half the usual asking price and an easy recommendation for me to make — it’s worth every penny of its full price!

If you haven’t read it already, I spoke with the teams behind Chernobylite to discuss their experience building a game based on the real-world Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the creative director’s memories of the real-world disaster, and how the game is helping to support people who still live with the zone itself. I had a great time speaking with them all, and it remains a career highlight of mine. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Chernobylite

Chernobylite

Chernobylite is a sci-fi survival horror RPG with challenging combat and a unique crafting mechanic. Set in the hyper-realistic, 3D-scanned wasteland of Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone, explore a non-linear storyline in your search to uncover the truth.

Tom

Tom — We Were Here trilogy

For my second pick, I’m technically going with three games, but only because they’re fantastic to play with a friend and are on sale for fantastic prices. I recently worked through all four We Were Here games with my brother, and we had so many good times with them. They follow explorers who find themselves lost in the Arctic and stumble upon a castle holding a dark secret. They’re strictly co-up games filled with numerous puzzles as you attempt to escape the predicament each pair of explorers finds themselves in, and even after you’ve made it through the hazards, one of you inevitably needs to snuff it so the other one can live — these are games that will truly show you where you stand with your loved ones. For me, I’m pretty sure my brother would survive any encounter we might find ourselves in, while I act like a sacrificial lamb. Right now, you can pick up We Were Here (if you don’t already own it from when it was a Games with Gold title) for £0.33 / $0.39 / €0.39, We Were Here Too for £1.69 / $1.99 / €1.99, and We Were Here Together for £3.75 / $4.54 / €4.54. While you won’t have the fourth instalment, that’s still three fantastic games for less than six quid — an absolute bargain!

We Were Here

We Were Here

Lost in a frozen wasteland and split up from your partner inside an abandoned castle, the only possession you have left is a walkie-talkie with a familiar voice on the other end. Can the two of you find your way out in time?

We Were Here is the pilot episode in a series of cooperative standalone puzzle adventures. Two players are trapped inside an abandoned castle, with Player One confined to a small secluded part of the castle as Player Two roams the halls trying to find Player One. Every room challenges your wits and ability to communicate clearly, using only your voice.

Are you ready to find out how well you and your friends work together? If you like living on the edge, try playing it with a complete stranger!

VideoChums said: “…if you want something truly innovative, play this.”

PLAY MORE WE WERE HERE GAMES!
If you enjoy We Were Here, don’t forget to check out the later entries in the series: We Were Here Too, We Were Here Together, and coming soon… We Were Here Forever!

We Were Here Too

We Were Here Too

As your final hour approaches, a large structure looms up in the distance, towering above the relentless storm. Discover the truth behind this dark castle in a communication-based, cooperative puzzle adventure.

We Were Here Together

We Were Here Together

As we explore these frozen wastes, misfortune strikes once again. Through the fierce blizzard, a flare lights the sky, followed by a cry for help over the radio – broken, dying… No one else can come to their rescue. Can we make it back – together?

Will you be adding any of these awesome games to your collection, or have you found something else to recommend to us? Drop a comment below and let us know!



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