So long January. You were… actually, pretty OK. Capcom's fabulous Monster Hunter World took the edge off winter's longest month, and the next wave of big games, movies and TV releases are already upon us. In the week ahead, you can look forward to Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and (maybe) Cloverfield 3 in a deluge of Super Bowl 2018 trailers, a new PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds rival hitting Steam (that's basically The Hunger Games), and the much anticipated Altered Carbon finally dropping on Netflix. Here's our pick of the games, movies and TV shows to watch out for this week.
SOS: The Ultimate Escape’s PUBG-meets-Uncharted reality TV show flavoured battle royale is your new obsession
SOS: The Ultimate Escape is one of those games that’s weird to describe but instantly clicks when you see it in action. 16 people are dropped on an island and can fight or team up to take on monsters, and each other, to recover relics. The twist is that the rescue chopper at the end will only take people who have a relic, meaning that alliances are fragile and betrayals common. What makes this really stand out, though, is its flawless reality TV show presentation. Each match starts with Love Island style character intros where you get to shout a soundbite at the camera as your character gets their moment of fame. While people who’ve previously met online appear together, to create a ‘previously on…’ moment. And it doesn’t stop there: if you die in the game you can spectate and vote on what happens - both to influence equipment drops, and with emoticons to show how you feel about what’s going on. It’s currently on Steam Early Access but expect to see it everywhere soon. Leon Hurley
What: SOS: The Ultimate Escape
Where: Steam Early Access
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Can Altered Carbon successfully blend Blade Runner and Westworld to cement the burgeoning cyberpunk renaissance?
It’s a shame that cyberpunk ceased influencing mainstream fiction around the end of the ‘90s. Product of its time it might have been (full of existential fears about then-new digital technology and rising corporate control, populated by edgy, coolguy, counterculture heroes in perpetual shades), but the genre’s ideas and concerns have never been more relevant. In fact maybe that’s why it dropped out of favour in the first place. The idea of dehumanising, online infiltration of everyday life in a world controlled by clandestine corporate machinations no longer feels fantastical. In fact it might be a bit too late for it to be a cautionary tale. Either way, between the bleak beauty of Blade Runner 2049, the existential cyberstress of Westworld, the (admittedly crap) live-action Ghost In The Shell, and the upcoming video game adaptation of the classic Cyberpunk 2077 tabletop game from the studio behind The Witcher, the genre is trying to restate its relevance with some stubbornness. It hasn’t quite reached the momentum for a full-scale comeback yet, but if Netflix’s amazing-looking Altered Carbon is as good (and successful) as we hope it will be, things could change very quickly. Because what more effective medium to influence tastes than binge-watched, streaming TV? And in fact, what cosier realisation of Cyberpunk concerns themselves? David Houghton
What: Altered Carbon
When: February 2
- Watch the very cool (and very NSFW) trailer for Altered Carbon - Netflix's answer to Westworld
- Netflix's Altered Carbon is Blade Runner meets Black Mirror with Westworld’s morality thrown in - and it's your new TV obsession
- "Gorgeous visuals and a genius core premise" - Critical round-up of Netflix Original, Altered Carbon
Monster Hunter World’s Horizon Zero Dawn Palico armor is the kind of cooperation we need right now
Stalking your quarry through thick, lush vegetation; priming a balanced mixture of weapons to take it down swiftly; studying its attack pattern to time your strike just right...am I describing Monster Hunter World or Horizon: Zero Dawn? The two RPGs are similarly matched in their love of turning the tables on dangerous predators, so perhaps it’s no surprise that a Watcher doesn’t look out of place in Monster Hunter World. Now you can make your Palico look just like the Watchers hunted by Aloy herself thanks to The Lessons of the Wild quest. But this cooperation boils down to much more than just a nifty set of clothes. Having two massive games work together on a single quest that celebrates the RPGs’ common ground is an antidote to the toxicity that’s all too familiar in gaming. It reminds us it’s possible to celebrate all the franchises we love, rather than defining ourselves by taking a side. Hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future. Because the All-Mother knows that the gaming world could do with a little bit of love every now and again. Zoe Delahunty-Light
What: The Lessons of the Wild Horizon Zero Dawn Palico armor quest
Where: Monster Hunter World
When: Until February 8
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Shadow of the Colossus’ stomps back better than ever on PS4
It’s one of PlayStation’s most beloved classics, and back for a third return, this time on PS4. Unlike the previous PS3 HD remaster however, this version of Fumito Ueda’s atmospheric monster battler has been completely pulled apart and rebuilt. It’s created in part from the original Shadow of the Colossus’ code and assets but has had a modern refit, creating something that feels utterly modern to play. That’s in part thanks to the reconfigured controls (which hadn’t aged well from the original PS2 days). There’s also a 4K or 60FPS option to choose from on PS4 Pro, letting you choose between resolution and smoothness when you play. And there’s also a brilliant photo mode to capture the moment in all it’s updated beauty. It feels like a new game; perfect to revisit old memories, or to experience its ethereal and mysterious quest to kill 16 giant beasts for the first time. Leon Hurley
What: Shadow of the Colossus
When: February 6
- Shadow of the Colossus has a Last Guardian Easter egg - here's how to find it
- Fumito Ueda has changes he'd like the Shadow of the Colossus remake to have, but he's not saying what
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The Super Bowl is about to deliver a whole buffet of amazing new trailers
Even if you have no interest whatsoever in the Super Bowl itself - more excited about Superb Owls instead? - you’ll care about what happens when the battle between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles cuts to the ad breaks on Sunday. The Super Bowl is the most expensive advertising opportunity of all time that now sees studios throw out millions of dollars for mere seconds of advertising. This year is no different and rumoured to have trailers for the next Cloverfield movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Incredibles 2 and, oh yes, the small matter of new footage from Avengers: Infinity War. Ooft. Whatever is revealed, you won’t want to miss it, and don’t worry if you’re in the UK and planning to be asleep, we’ll have all the Super Bowl trailers right here for when you wake up. Louise Blain
What: Super Bowl trailers
Where: The Super Bowl will air on NBC in the US and BBC and Sky Sports Main Event in the UK
When: 4 February at 6:30pm EST/11:30pm GMT
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Catch up with one of 2017’s best indie games as it lands on Switch. Just don’t forget your rebellious streak.
With Night in the Woods finally arriving on Switch, it’s a great time to catch up on one of 2017’s best indie games. On the surface it’s a point-and-click adventure where cute, humanoid, animals exist in a colourful world, with some rhythm action moments, platforming and other gameplay tropes thrown in for good measure. But underneath there’s a story where said cute animals - especially protagonist cat Mae - talk as freely and easily about committing crimes, burning down houses and discovering body parts on the street as they do about a new movie. There’s a sub-current of mental health issues, about identity and about failure too, and it’s all incredibly brilliant - whatever level you view it on. If you’ve missed out on Night in the Woods so far, grab it now on Switch (complete with the brand new Weird Autumn DLC and Solstice content too). Just be prepared, the scariest monster in the dark woods is you.
What: Night in the Woods
Where: Nintendo Switch eShop (also on PC, Mac, PS4)
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Helen Mirren and a real life mystery house share the spotlight in this week's hot new horror movie
Haunted houses might have been overshadowed by torture porn and killer clowns lately, but this latest risky real estate story is based on a very real mansion in San Jose, California. The home of the inventor of the Winchester rifle, it was built with decoy doors and strange architecture to confuse angry ghosts. Boss bitch Mirren stars as the widow Sarah Winchester, with Everest star Jason Clarke as psychiatrist sent to evaluate her. Could this mark a renaissance for the haunted house movie? If any pile of bricks can make it happen, it's the Winchester Mystery House.
Where: Movie Theaters
When: February 2
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Will Battalion 1944 help rekindle a love of old-school WW2 shooters?
If you missed it the first time around, Battalion 1944 was another Kickstarter success story that garnered triple its funding target back in 2016. And as of February 1st, it's finally launched in Steam Early Access, delivering multiplayer with the kind of ultra-fast pace and straightforward gunplay typical of classic World War 2 shooters. If some of your fondest FPS memories trace back to the tight arenas of Call of Duty 2 and the historically accurate weapons in Medal of Honor, Battalion 1944 should be a treat. But I'm very curious to see if it can find a mainstream audience with players who've only known FPSes in a post-Modern Warfare world. For me, Battalion's simplistic graphics have a lot of nostalgic charm, but even with the Unreal Engine 4 backing them, they're a bit homely by modern standards. Still yet, gameplay is king, and what I've played of Battalion 1944 so far already shows a lot of promise. Between this and Call of Duty: WW2, it just feels right to be back in the Allies vs. Axis trenches again. Lucas Sullivan
What: Battalion 1944
Where: Steam Early Access