WHILE to most Gen-Xers the year 2024 sounds like it’s been plucked from The Jetsons, I can only imagine how disappointed my 1980s self would be at middle-aged Neil driving a car that’s barely roadworthy, never mind airborne.
At least videogames are keeping the side up, and though GTA VI won’t be showing its criminal hand until 2025, there’s still plenty for gamers to dine out on next year.
On the hardware front, Nintendo’s Switch 2 will finally see the light of day, battling a redesign of the Series X and a more powerful PS5 Pro.
So as 2023 dribbles to its conclusion, it’s time to cast a bead over a couple of corkers that have me most excited about ploughing through another bloody year...
Still Wakes The Deep
NEARLY a decade since The Chinese Room released BAFTA-winning pot-boiler Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, the Brighton developers are returning to period sci-fi with a Caledonian chiller set aboard a North Sea oil rig in 1975 that’s set to spill onto consoles early next year.
When the Beira D rig’s roughnecks drill into something not of this earth, the consequences are a lot worse than some greasy gulls, as Glaswegian electrician Caz McLeary finds himself “fighting for his life through a vicious storm, perilous surroundings and the dark, freezing North Sea waters.”
A horror yarn that replaces Rapture’s little England plummery with grim-up-North types, its blue collar crew - hailing from Scotland, Liverpool and Belfast - are as crude as the black stuff they’re drilling for.
The oil rig setting presents a laundry list of terrors - supernatural evil, claustrophobia, Scousers – while the developers have plumbed the marine setting for all its horror potential, with Caz crawling through gaps and flooded rooms in a 70s throwback that’ll have you soiling yer breeks.
Peppering the thrills with politics and class warfare, it’s the closest thing you’ll get to a horror directed by Ken Loach.
HOT on the high-kicking heels of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat’s shiny new instalments, January sees Tekken unleash its eighth entry.
And while it’s no way to judge a book, Tekken 8 has one beautiful cover. Ignoring last-gen consoles, the first fighting game built with Unreal Engine 5 runs at a rock solid 60fps, with tight controls and nippy loading speeds, as players choose from 32 fighters at launch, including at least four newcomers.
Using advanced AI, Ghost Battles let gamers fight either themselves or the digital doubles of Tekken pros and producers. Best of all, the whole shebang pays homage to the franchise’s coin-op roots, with a series of arcades to pump virtual quarters into, each stuffed with mentors and characters quick to drop some Tekken trivia.
And, if you can’t wait until the January 25 launch date, there’s a free PS5 and Xbox demo available now.