Playtime starts now: The top computer games for Christmas 2015

 
City A.M. Reporter
Mafia 3
Cologne's annual Gamescom unveils details on the hit titles we'll all be playing this Christmas and beyond.

MAFIA 3

The latest entry into the Mafia franchise switches the action to 60s New Orleans, where you play Lincoln Clay, a mixed-race army vet who gets tied up with the mob. The game not only allows you to build up a criminal empire, including recruiting lieutenants to do your dirty work – it also explores the pervasive racism of the time, which resonates especially loudly given the racial tensions in America today. Judging by the CGI trailer, this will be a violent but thoughtful gangster epic.
• PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One; 2016

MIRROR’S EDGE

Gameplay footage of the new Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst caught our attention, with an extended clip showing unbelievably fast-paced parkour action. Protagonist Faith leaps through vents, runs across walls, kicks through doors, shimmies up pipes and generally scuttles about the place without so much as a pause for breath. The game forgoes the guns of its predecessor, relying on stealth and agility, combining elements of Assassins Creed and Splinter Cell. If you weren’t already excited about this game, you should be now.
• PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One; February 2016

NEED FOR SPEED

The new Need for Speed was one of nine titles showcased by gaming titan Electronic Arts at this year’s Gamescom. EA has incorporated real world motoring icons into the game narrative: Magnus Walker, Ken Block, Nakai-san, Morohoshi-san and many more have lent their names. Fans will also be given the opportunity to design a real car, which will be showcased in Las Vegas.
• PS4 and Xbox; November 2015

GARDEN WARFARE 2

PopCap Games followed up the phenomenal success of PC/mobile game Plants Vs Zombies with the third person online shooter game Garden Warfare. In Garden Warfare 2, Dr Zomboss still reigns supreme over Suburbia but you get to choose whether you want to fight for what’s yours as a plant or as an invading zombie. PopCap also promises six new classes of character, free content and better offline gaming.
• Xbox One, PS4 and PC; Spring 2016

QUANTUM BREAK

Microsoft’s hard-hitting third-person shooter finally has a release date following years of delays. Writers employed the services of a CERN theoretical physicist to assist with the game narrative, in which an American university bungles a time travel experiment with disastrous consequences. Think Interstellar but with more guns and even more science. Originally scheduled for release in 2014, here’s hoping Microsoft has made the extra time count.
• Xbox One; April 2016

STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT

As fans eagerly anticipate the JJ Abrahms’ star-studded Star Wars reboot, gamers can look forward to piloting the Millennium Falcon itself. EA Games’ new title will coincide with the film’s Christmas release and it yesterday unveiled a new trailer demonstrating Fighter Squadron Mode gameplay. It’s a chaotic aerial battle that allows up to 20 players to command the cockpits of some of the most iconic aircraft in the Star Wars galaxy.
• Xbox One, PS4 and PC; November 2015

HALO 5: GUARDIANS

Microsoft plans to go all out for the launch of Halo 5: Guardians this autumn by releasing a limited edition Halo-themed, 1TB console and controller for the event. It also released a new trailer so gamers could see what two new multiplayer modes would look like on the much-anticipated Xbox One exclusive – Warzones will be a 24-player battleground while Arena will be a four-a-side combat scenario.
• Xbox One; October 27 2015

CRACKDOWN 3

The team behind Crackdown describe it as the “perfect sandbox”, allowing you to explore a dystopian futuristic city on foot or in a variety of vehicles. You’re a law enforcement officer tasked with bringing down a criminal underworld; so far so cliché. The point of differentiation is what developers have called a 100 per cent destructible environment, allowing you to bring entire buildings crashing down around you, all while dozens of other players are doing the same thing. • Xbox One; 2016