Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on December 2013

While the Xbox One and PS4 have been released in most regions, Japan has to wait until the first quarter of 2014 until the next generation consoles come this way. Not to worry, Metropolis chooses some solid stocking stuffer contenders available in Tokyo stores now .

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

All the piracy without the scurvy

© 2013 Ubisoft Entertainment

Partly set during the 1700s, play as the fame-hungry aspiring pirate and dashing rogue Edward Kennway as he crosses swords with the British and Spanish naval forces alongside legendary real life historical characters such as Edward “Blackbeard” Thatch, Benjamin Hornigold and Charles Vane.

Offering a classic mix of all-out close combat, athletic free-running and stealth, those familiar with the previous titles will also be happy to see a far more open, sand-box environment set in the Caribbean, visiting such locales as Havana, Kingston and the Bahamas, where you are free to plunder ships, loot wrecks with the use of the diving-bell and take part in thrilling naval battles as the captain of your own pirate ship, the Jackdaw.

The fourth game in the epic tale also brings back many of the puzzles to decipher, unlocking further information on the Templar conspiracy, and collectables to find through the treasure map mechanic of the third game. And if that isn’t enough, there is also a rather solid multi-player mode to satisfy those with a competitive, if somewhat murderous, streak.
Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbo x One, PS3, PS4, Wii U, PC

The Wolf Among Us

Warping childhood Disney memories

Telltale Games - © 2013 Telltale, Inc.

Based on Fables, the comic book series written by Bill Willingham, and developed by Telltale Games, the studio responsible for the critically acclaimed The Walking Dead games, comes a gritty, fairy tale murder mystery. Step into the well-worn shoes of Bigby Wolf (a now reformed Big Bad Wolf) the misunderstood sheriff of Fabletown, a secretive district of Manhattan that has become the home of many characters of fairy tale lore, as he investigates the grizzly murder of one of its inhabitants.

This is interactive story telling at its finest, offering a fresh spin on the relationships and dynamics of iconic characters in a way you’ve never seen them before.

Once again, the familiar gameplay mechanic from The Walking Dead games makes an appearance, and much like it, The Wolf Among Us is an episodic offering where choices and moral dilemmas make a continuing impact on the story and the relationships of its characters.

Though not particularly heavy on puzzles, this game  tests your reflexes and yanks brutally at your emotions with its many turns and twists of the plot.

A much shorter game due to its episodic style, expect the following episode to be released some time at the end of this year.

Platforms: PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, iOS

Bioshock Infinite

Alternate history in a city in the sky

© 2002-2013 Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Developed by Irrational Games.

Set in an alternate 1912 during the “American Exceptionalism,” travel to Columbia, a prosperous yet surreal city perched in the clouds, as Booker Dewitt, a former Pinkerton agent sent to retrieve an imprisoned girl by the name of Elizabeth, to pay back old gambling debts.

As straightforward as this may sound, things never go so smoothly. The true ugliness of the times rears its head on occasion, as themes of inequality, racism and the hard line between the wealthy industrialists and the impoverished working class set the scene for revolution amongst the people.

Offering a rich, compelling storyline, its subtle mix of first-person gun play, exploration and plot-twists will leave you slack-jawed—this is one experience for veteran gamers that’s impossible to pass up. With a list of fascinating characters that guide the story along and deeply emotional revelations, expect an experience that never quite lets up and delivers wave after wave of adventure and unforgettable storytelling.

The first storyline-based downloadable content, Burial At Sea, is also currently available to purchase online, offering players the chance to revisit the iconic underwater city of the first two games, Rapture, with two extra hours of gameplay, updated enemies and new tools to dispatch them. To fully enjoy the additional content, complete the main game first, as the DLC contains major storyline spoilers.

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Other Recommendations

1. Batman: Arkham Origins. PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U

2. Call of Duty: Ghosts. PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U

3. Injustice: Gods Among Us. PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Wii U

4. Battlefield 4. PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

5. Need For Speed Rivals. PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One