Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark; Valiant Hearts: The Great War; Sniper Elite, gaming reviews

 

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Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

**

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, PC (£49.99)

Released ahead of the latest slice of cinematic Bay-hem, Rise of the Dark Spark is also a prequel to the War for Cybertron videogame series. While there are echoes of the latter's surprisingly fun Transformers universe, there are technical issues. It's also blocky and dull, with gun-metal grotesquery, woeful storytelling and absurdly large difficulty spikes. The actual transforming brings an extra dimension to firefights, but this is a sub-par game in the disguise of a decent one.

Oliver Cragg

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

****

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC (£11.99)

Inspired by real letters sent during the First World War, Valiant Hearts: The Great War follows the interlocking adventures of four characters. While the story is fictional (and over the top), the setting is painstakingly accurate. Animation is lively and evocative, and every corner is crammed with detail. Plus, the mixture of puzzles and platforming provides plenty of variation. The only downsides are that there's no save feature, and it's quite short at only 8 to 10 hours – but the open-ended conclusion suggests there may be more episodes planned. I certainly hope so.

Tom Doran

Sniper Elite

****

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC (£49.99)

In Sniper Elite 3, which is set on the North African Front in 1942, your soldier's shots are accompanied by gory X-ray breakdowns of bullets travelling through flesh. As you snipe your way through narrow mountain passes, sand dunes and marshland, realistic ballistics come into play, and wind direction and bullet drop affect your aim. Early adopters even get the chance to assassinate the journalist Charlie Brooker as part of the "Hunt the Grey Wolf" DLC. For sharpshooters, this should be in your sights.

Sam Gill

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