8 things to watch out for this week

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1. Far Cry 5’s flavour of crazy gets real as it takes on a Montana religious cult

It’s time to run away from fire and honey badgers all over again in the latest installment of Far Cry’s brand of ‘oh crap, what have I got myself into this time’. Far Cry 5 is continuing it’s improvisational style of gun-powered problem solving but this time in an American setting that’s disturbingly not all that far fetched - a midwestern religious cult at odds with the government. This time you’ll be liberating outposts and fighting bad men in and around a fictional Montana, which give the series usual brand of crazy a veneer of realism it doesn’t usually have. Placing all that open world world chaos in a far more down to Earth and familiar location has far more impact than you might think once you’re spraying machine gun fire through trailer parks or landing your stolen chopper in a cornfield. Leon Hurley

What: Far Cry 5
Where: PS4, PC, Xbox One
When: March 27 

2. Pacific Rim Uprising is out, but it seems to forget what gave the first one its heart 

Giant robots fighting giant glowy monsters. Many probably find it easy to dismiss Pacific Rim’s core premise as only being fit for teenage boys (and I have a four-letter word for them), but thanks to Guillermo Del Toro being at the helm, the first movie had a certain tongue-in-cheek vibe. Down in the lab a Kaiju fanboy butts heads with a tightly-strung scientist; on the deliriously colourful streets of Hong Kong Hannibal Chau’s (played by Ron Perlman, of course) flamboyant criminal underground office lies waiting; all while cocky Jaeger pilots strut their stuff in the rambunctious dinner hall. These distinctive quirks makes Pacific Rim much more than just a monster movie. It wasn’t all about ‘fighting for the greater good’: at its heart Pacific Rim knew it was a spectacle. The premise was ridiculous, but it knew it and pushed the boat as far out as possible. Pacific Rim Uprising, on the other hand, looks like it takes itself too seriously. And with giant robots fighting giant glowy monsters without a hint of self-mockery, that could be its biggest mistake. Zoe Delahunty-Light

What: Pacific Rim: Uprising
Where: Cinemas
When: 23 March 2018

3. Reflect on RTS history (and get free stuff) for StarCraft's 20th anniversary

Even the most hardcore real-time strategy fan couldn't have predicted how impactful StarCraft would be when it launched on March 31, 1998. But after two decades of conflict and comradery between the Terran, Zerg, and Protoss races, it's clear that Blizzard's sci-fi RTS is a godfather of the genre that's still thriving to this day. To celebrate the game that paved the way for esports as we know it, Blizzard is rolling out a bevy of fun rewards across all its games, most of which will be freely awarded simply for logging in. My personal highlights are the Sarah Kerrigan skin for Overwatch's Widowmaker and the three packs for this week's StarCraft-themed Tavern Brawl in Hearthstone, but they're all neat treats that'll tap directly into your nostalgia synapses. Once you've claimed your bonuses, I wholeheartedly recommend dipping into some archived GSL streams to appreciate the greatness of pro-level StarCraft and bear witness to the most perfect, optimized unit micro imaginable. Lucas Sullivan

What: StarCraft 20th Anniversary
Where: All Blizzard games
When: Now until April 3

4. Spielberg returns to his sci-fi origins with Ready Player One

Think Steven Spielberg and you probably think Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Jurassic Park, but the director’s work of late has been more historical than fantastical. This is no criticism - Lincoln, Bridge of Spies, and The Post are all superb films - but if you’re yearning for the days when Spielberg would make you feel all warm and fuzzy about aliens, robots, or dinosaurs then you’ll be pleased to know that his latest movie Ready Player One hits cinemas this week and it sees his triumphant return to sci-fi. Based on the book by Ernest Cline of the same name, it’s set in a dystopian world where everyone lives, works, and does pretty much everything else in a VR world called the OASIS. This virtual paradise is at risk though as an evil corporation is trying to take ownership of the OASIS and make everyone pay to access it, which is the worst thing Wade Watts and his online friends can imagine. Cue an epic adventure to save the day! Lauren O’Callaghan

What: Ready Player One
Where: Cinemas
When: March 29 in the US and March 30 in the UK

5. Spend time in a magical world that's fit for a king with Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Say goodbye to the real world with the most delightful thing to come out of Japan since Snoopybabe the cat.  The paintbox colors and whimsical creatures of the JRPG are just the pretty icing on a cake of crazy addictive combat, strategy and city building mechanics. It'll have you awake and crazed and 2am trying to finish just one more quest, to start just one more research project, and I'll come to bed when I'm ready you're not even my real dad. Cancel any plans you have for the next couple of weeks, perhaps order a special cushion so your buttocks don't develop bedsores, and get ready to lose your mind in the best way possible. Rachel Weber

What: Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Where: PS4, PC

When: March 23

6. The Terror premieres on AMC on March 26, bringing some of the smartest slow-burn horror of the year

Have you heard of The Terror? It’s based on the best-selling novel by Dan Simmons, and tells the story of two crews of Victorian explorers looking to map a trade route through the Arctic circle. Sounds a bit dry? Things really kick off when the ships get stranded in the pack-ice and something unnatural starts picking off members of the crew in suitably gruesome ways. While the horror here really is the draw, the sharp, sporadic scares very reminiscent of Exec Producer Ridley Scott’s opus - Alien - it’s the engaging performances of the cast and the bleak-but-beautiful shots of the endless Arctic that really elevate the show. You genuinely feel the tension, the failing optimism, and eventually the (ahem) terror as British Imperialism comes face-to-face with forces it can’t bully. The result is (ironically) one of the hottest shows of 2018. Andy Hartup

What: The Terror episodes 1+2
Where: AMC (US) / BT TV (UK)
When: March 26 (US) / April 24 (UK)

7. A Way Out does co-op gaming in a way that's never been done before

It doesn't matter whether you're trying to chisel a toilet off the wall while the other player keeps watch for patrolling guards, shimmying up a wall gap back to back, splashing fish to each other in a lake or simply playing Connect Four, A Way Out treats co-op in a way that's never been done before. It's not a story that you play through with a friend, it's one shared experience that needs both of you to play out. From the simplest interactions to the way the camera shifts focus in splitscreen, every little detail has been treated in a way that makes it fun for both of you. If you love playing co-op with a friend, great action adventures and a little bit of silliness, you'll be doing yourself - and your pals - a disservice by not checking out A Way Out. 

What: A Way Out
Where: Xbox One, PS4 and PC
When: March 23

8. After The Good Place, Santa Clarita Diet is your next brilliant, darkly clever sitcom

Santa Clarita Diet was quietly one of the best shows of 2017. The blackest of black comedies – about a bored suburban mum who accidentally becomes one of the flesh-eating undead – is one of the sharpest, most likably character-driven sitcoms of recent years. Also, it has buckets of comedy gore. Taking a much smarter angle than most recent zombie media – comedic or not – Santa Clarita’s central curse turns Drew Barrymore’s Sheila not into a slavering, mindless corpse, but rather maintains her sentience while imbuing humanised versions of undead behaviour. i.e. A steady erosion of impulse control, a growing degree of selfish narcissism, and an insatiable desire for live, human meat. Partnered by long-suffering husband Joel – played with glorious, deadpan exasperation by a never-better Timothy Olyphant – Sheila’s first season arc alone is a hoot. But now there’s a second season too. So get on it, and let’s see if Santa Clarita Diet can emulate the slow-burn, season two lift-off of The Good Place. It deserves to. David Houghton

What: Santa Clarita Diet season 2
Where: Netflix
When: March 23