Games of the week
Dirt Rally 2.0
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Mud, glorious mud from the grittiest racer around
Dirt Rally 2.0 will punish you and make you feel stupid. And you'll love it. There are few other games where the handling is so finely tuned, and the cars so intuitive to drive, that your mistakes are merely milestones in development – as you grapple with the risk/reward balance of Dirt Rally 2.0's learning curve and hone your fishtailing, left-foot breaking, hairpin turning skills. It's the feel of it all that makes it work, the way the game gives valuable feedback to your actions. That's not even to mention the incredible co-driver instructions, brilliant car damage and atmospheric, densely detailed stages. It's obviously best with a full steering wheel set-up, but pad control is still exquisitely good.
Skip to the end: A responsive, rapid and really challenging racer.
Devil May Cry 5
Platform: Xbox One, PS4
If the words 'Devil May Cry' conjure fond memories of stylish, crunching combat and outlandish characters, then you already know what to do. Go out and buy DMC5. This is a true series high point, even as good as the golden early years of the demon-smashing PS2 original, and the old pizzazz is spiced up with new flourishes – most recognisably the Deadpool-influenced cutscenes, although it's a shame DMC5 can't emulate Wade Wilson's wit. If you're new to the party, however, be aware that DMC is unabashedly outmoded, with linear levels, restricted fight zones and a convoluted plot that makes no allowance for unfamiliarity. Yes, Devil May Cry 5 is the epitome of fan service. But what lucky, lucky fans.
Skip to the end: The formula is old but the results are better than ever.
Forgive the ropy visuals in Shieldwall Chronicles, because this sort of intricate tactical wargame doesn't come around very often in mobile gaming. Here you'll find expansive detail, rather than curtailed strategy designed for bite-sized sessions. Careful planning is needed to get the most out of your handpicked mercenary band of six warriors, who come from an impressive roster of 30 characters including mages and knights, archers and mythical beasts. Disappointing, then, that the interface design is also unattractive – icons are difficult to interpret, and useful info like which enemies are targetable and why, simply isn't made clear. But Shieldwall Chronicles is an engaging adventure (though nigh impossible on small screens) with a solid campaign and replayable skirmishes for extra value.
Skip to the end: Basic looking but well constructed strategy adventure.
Sky Gamblers – Afterburner
Genre: Flight sim
Sky Gamblers – Afterburner embraces an arcade approach to flight simulation. Evasion buttons instantly trigger manoeuvres like loop-the-loops to escape a locked-on enemy, there's a special view to 'ride' your missiles to their target, and a cinematic camera, all but unusable in combat, that makes every dogfight look amazing. Action-orientated controls are fluid and responsive, which is a feature most valuable in the chaos of a multiplayer deathmatch, where hostiles criss-cross around you. The campaign, too, wastes no time in getting to the good stuff. But when your weapons feels so puny and the audio impact – of explosions, gunfire or speed – is so weak, Sky Gamblers loses its exciting flair and ends up just another poor Ace Combat clone.
Skip to the end: Thrilling aerial antics let down by flimsy sound.