Games: Next generation builds on the past
Monster Hunter Generations (3DS), 4 Stars, Age: 7+
There's something primal about Monster Hunter. It defaults to a comforting routine of roaming the land, slaying beasts and filleting them for materials to upgrade your weapons, which enables you tackle even bigger beasts. Rinse and repeat.
Generations follows this cycle faithfully, shucking off any pretence of a meaningful story to focus on its ever-escalating series of boss fights. Franchise fans crave the epic half-hour battles with 50ft dinosaurs and Generations delivers in spades, with a raft of monsters new and old, set amid staggeringly pretty landscapes.
Concessions to newcomers include a range of easily triggered special moves that are part of wider tactical enhancements to the combat. But newbies still face Monster Hunter's legendarily steep learning curve, with the interplay of its complex, sprawling systems largely unexplained and left to YouTubers.
Bonus points to the developers for allowing you to play as the nimble feline companions, who supply a refreshing change of pace in addition to their usual role as comic diversion.
Monster Hunter remains an acquired taste but if you've been curious about the series, Generations is a great place to start.
7 Days To Die (PS4/XO/PC), 2 Stars, Age: 18+
"Minecraft meets Day-Z" goes the elevator pitch for 7DTD, mixing complex crafting and construction with zombie survival horror. Despite this interesting premise, originality is in short supply from the off and the post-apocalypse world has little to recommend it visually or thematically.
Crafting proves unnecessarily fussy thanks to an arcane interface, while combat feels clunky and imprecise. But the staggering quantity of technical hitches is what renders 7DTD dead on arrival.
Dino Dini's Kickoff Revival (PS4), 2 Stars, Age: 3+
Last seen in 1989, this exhumation of a famously difficult football sim ends up out of place in this era. The retro 16-bit graphics pose no barrier; instead, the problem lies with the wilfully awkward control system.
An annoying reliance on one button for all moves is topped only by the antsy behaviour of the ball, making the beautiful game of football more like a drunken ping-pong match.