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Games of the week – Microsoft Flight Simulator, Through the Darkest of Times, Peaky Blinders: Mastermind and UFC 4


By Features Reporter

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Microsoft Flight Simulator. Picture: PA Photo/Handout
Microsoft Flight Simulator. Picture: PA Photo/Handout

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Platform: PC (Xbox One later)

Genre: Simulation

Price: Xbox Game Pass on PC / From £59.99

Breathtaking new heights

Microsoft’s latest version of Flight Simulator has landed at a time when most of us are avoiding travel, offering a blissfully virtual look at the world from above. To this end, the timing couldn’t be any better – and 37 years after its first outing, this simulation title looks more stunning and detailed than ever before, partnering with a number of real flight-based data firms to make the experience as life-like as possible. These range from real-time air traffic around you, to real-time weather. We tried everything from major capital cities to remote islands, and each time there is something truly satisfying about taking up the pilot seat. There are so many options, it can seem a bit daunting at first, but you will learn with time. As if the world wasn’t enough to explore in itself, there are also challenges and even a global scoreboard.

Skip to the end: No compromises are made in this high flying simulation favourite, giving us all a much needed chance to break free and even learn a thing or two along the way.

Score: 10/10

Through The Darkest Of Times. Picture: PA Photo/Handout
Through The Darkest Of Times. Picture: PA Photo/Handout

Through the Darkest of Times

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

Genre: Strategy

Price: £13.49

Historic hard-hitter

The build up to World War II and Hitler’s rise to power hits hard in this historical resistance strategy game, which sees you take control of an anti-Nazi group in 1930s Berlin. Through the Darkest of Times is a text and dialogue deep story of a harrowing period, making it an often uncomfortable but important journey. The strategic decisions you make for the group are crucial to your success – even if we know the overall outcome in reality. It’s about assigning members based on their skills for maximum results, from picking one to gather funds, to selecting another who will go to get leaflets printed. And your decisions have consequences for the rest of the game. Despite feeling repetitive as you go on, Through the Darkest of Times is a very well thought out experience given its low cost.

Skip to the end: Strong story-driven title with careful decision making at the heart from beginning to end.

Score: 8/10

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind. Picture: PA Photo/Handout
Peaky Blinders: Mastermind. Picture: PA Photo/Handout

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

Genre: Puzzle

Price: £24.99

Missed opportunity

The hit BBC period crime drama gets a puzzling twist, which takes place before the events of season one. Fans of the series might be a bit disappointed by the lack of familiar voices – as this is entirely text-based – and the story itself doesn’t really add anything significant either. But at least the graphics are pretty impressive. There are 10 missions to complete, each featuring a number of objectives that must be completed within a certain time limit by one of the six characters. The game doesn’t really get interesting until the latter half, which seems like a lost opportunity.

Skip to the end: Peaky Blinders: Mastermind lacks the sort of action one might expect from its TV counterpart, with inane challenges to start and only really shining towards the end.

Score: 5/10

UFC 4. Picture: PA Photo/Handout
UFC 4. Picture: PA Photo/Handout

UFC 4

Platform: PlayStation 4

Genre: Sports

Price: £49.99

The fight is on

With tweaked controls to make the complexity of mixed martial arts combat accessible to even complete newcomers, UFC 4 does a very good job of offering something for everyone. There’s also a solid career mode and other features designed to keep hardcore UFC fans happy, but the new grapple assist mode in-fight really helps MMA amateurs get into the action quickly, even if they’re not experts of ground transitions and submissions. The result is a very enjoyable fighting game that offers plenty of scope for enjoyment even if it hasn’t come on great strides visually compared to previous generations.

Skip to the end: With new combat assist controls and submission mini-games, even UFC newbies can get the buzz of feeling like Conor McGregor inside the Octagon.

Score: 7/10



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