Family video games – Christmas 2014 buyer’s guide

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2014 has seen the video game business continue to go from strength to strength.  With consoles such as Sony’s Playstation 4 having sold over 15 million units more and more family homes are making use of these to provide family entertainment.

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Video games provide a great activity for children and their families to enjoy sharing at home but many are not suitable for younger gamers.  Despite various aged certification on game boxes children are frequently being exposed to games that are not suitable for them to play.  What games are children allowed to play and which ones are they likely to want to play?

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Assassins Creed Unity and Rogue

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The Assassins Creed series has steadily been bringing out new titles since 2007.  They have become some of my favourite games and are possibly the longest running series of games that I have brought and played through every release.

This year though the series splits it’s releases into two titles, both being released at the same time; Unity for PC, Playstation 4 and the Xbox One and Rogue for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

Both games look absolutely amazing and continue the long running battle between the Assassins and the Templars.

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Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

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With Christmas approaching it only seems right to begin highlighting entertainment products that will be popular this festive season.

One of those products is Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.

Is it something you should pick up as a gift for someone this Christmas?

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Diablo 3 review

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Diablo 3 is a beast of a game.  I mean this of course in the nicest possible way.  I haven’t played either of the previous Diablo games but was aware of them before Diablo 3 came along.diablo33

The game is best described as an action role playing game or if your not video game savvy a game where you control a character who roams around killing creatures and in doing so becomes more powerful.  Being more powerful then allows you to kill more challenging creatures and so the gameplay loop continues.  That gameplay loop is key here because Diablo 3 is incredibly addictive thanks to that tight rotation of getting more and more powerful and therefore being able to take on more and taking on more allows you to get more powerful.

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Using Valiant Hearts as a teaching resource

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Valiant Hearts is a superb puzzle game set during the First World War. The game follows the lives of a collection of characters in different circumstances who are all caught up in the conflict, but this is far from your normal wargame.

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This year will see schools around the country give some serious time to teaching children all about the First World War. It’s Centenary and the New Curriculum fit the topic perfectly.

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Review: Spelunky

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Spelunky is an incredible procedurally generated platformer that sees you travelling further and further underground in an attempt to find valuable treasures.

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The gameplay feels like a modern day Mario-esque platformer in levels lifted from Indiana Jones.  You control an explorer who is trying to find the secrets of a tomb.  Every time you play the game the levels are created uniquely for you and that play through can never be repeated again.  That means that when you make a mistake you don’t get to go back in time to a previous save to try it again.

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Shadow of Mordor review

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Following years of fairly unimpressive Lord of the Rings inspired games, Shadow of Mordor arrives, ready to not only prove that games set in Middle Earth can be amazing, but that open world games can offer more structured and interesting gameplay than we’ve seen recently.

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Shadow of Mordor is set during Sauron’s return to Mordor as he builds his armies and prepares for his assault on Middle Earth as he attempts to retrieve the One Ring.  The game focuses on a ranger (just like Aragon), Talion, as he attempts to gain revenge for the murder of his wife, son and his own at the hands of The Black Hand of Sauron.

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