Guitar Hero Live
Wii U, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One (£69.99 - £79.99)
This recreates the festival experience, with onstage POV footage dynamically changing as you play. Hit bum notes, and crowd and bandmates will voice their disdain. A new sixth button on the guitar controller adds depth, making for more note combinations. Online, bthe game offers new songs via Spotify-like streaming. It’s more in line with how we consume music in 2015, but you can’t buy and keep your favourite tracks. Overall, it’s a notable departure from the series, with the twists breathing much needed life into the genre, reclaiming the pure dumb fun of wielding a plastic guitar.
Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide
PC, Mac (£29.99)
As the name suggests, Rising Tide is centred around exploiting the oceans. The expansion adds a smattering of new factions and biomes to Beyond Earth, Sid Meier’s flawed second foray into space, and the new moveable, floating cities are well executed. Where it excels, though, is the subtler way that it addresses its parent game’s shortcomings. A mix-and-match approach makes the rigid Affinities system more fluid, while balancing Fear and Respect adds depth to hitherto insipid diplomacy. A far more nuanced and satisfying experience.
PS4, Xbox One, PC (£49.99)
The fifth full instalment from BigBen Interactive proves to be a tricky beast to master - as rallying should be. A short trip to the Rally School will give you the basic skills needed to compete in the Junior Rally Championship, because that’s where you are heading before playing with the big boys. The most challenging aspect comes in managing your car. The gameplay is very realistic, but then that’s always WRC’s strong point.
Jack De Menezes