Xbox Sales: TA Team Picks (July 29th)

By Luke Albigés,
Another week, another bunch of brilliant bargains hand-picked by the TA news crew. What manner of great stuff will the team recommend this week? Read on and find out...

Heidi

Heidi — Far Cry Primal Apex Edition


Far Cry Primal is by far my favourite game in the series. Heading back to the Stone Age to tame sabre-toothed tigers is an awesome premise, and one which Far Cry Primal gets exactly right. You play as Takkar, the only survivor of his hunting group, who makes his way to the Oros valley. Starting from nothing and building yourself up is always fun in games like this, and the goal of reuniting the Wenja tribe and conquering Oros is an irresistible draw. Takkar is a skilled animal tamer, and one of the best parts of Far Cry Primal is exploring the world to collect as many big wild beasties as possible, from wolves and jaguars to leopards and cave lions. Takkar also has an owl, which could easily take Kassandra’s Ikaros in a fight; once you’ve learned all of its skills, you can tag enemies, perform dive attacks, drop bombs, and send in your animal pals to cause some serious caveman chaos. I had so much fun with Far Cry Primal, and at 67% off, it’s more than worth investing in — especially since this is the Apex Edition, which adds three extra missions, a new weapon, and some resource packs.
Far Cry Primal - Apex Edition

Far Cry Primal - Apex Edition

The award-winning Far Cry franchise returns with its innovative open world gameplay, bringing together massive beasts, breathtaking environments, and unpredictable savage encounters. Welcome to the Stone Age, a time of danger and adventure, when giant mammoths and saber-toothed tigers ruled the Earth, and humanity is struggling to climb the food chain. As the last survivor of your hunting group, you will have to rise above extinction and unite your tribe.



Kes

Kes — Sine Mora EX


There are big games out in force during this sale. I was tempted to talk about Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Tomb Raider (thanks, Tom), or Dragon Age: Inquisition. But nah, I’ve gone for Sine Mora EX for the cost of a cup of coffee. This side-scrolling shmup, originally released back in 2012, has a surprisingly captivating story about an alternate anthropomorphic society which mostly runs in text with Hungarian voicework, but don’t let that freak you out. You control a plane in a 2D sky or ocean that is set within a 3D world. The result is a tight, exciting, and captivating game that will have you plugging in the hours with a smile on your face.

I’m currently on my first run, but I know there are a lot more to come. There are six worlds. The three I have seen are stunning: like, I’m-actually-beaming-with-excitement kinds of cool. The art direction is a timeless combination of unique and stylised. The game controls tightly, with frenetic shooting and perfect hit calibration. There are score counters, level timers, and it is all built to be a perfect, understandable loop with arcade-like roots. Also: there is time travel and a time war to contextualise everything you do. This gives you an excuse to slow down the action for a limited time as the screen fills with bullets. In truth, it is the bosses that have my fingers twitching. Huge battles with transforming artillery trains and barrage submarines are matched by metal octopus watchtowers that make you want to see what is around every innovative corner… and it is always so much more. I’m just so excited by it all that sometimes it is easy to forget the basic controls are solid and the game is a simple combination of two-weapon shooting.

The only negatives so far are the music — which sounds a bit like screensaver music to me — and the achievement list, which actually requires a tremendous amount of time and graft despite the fact that the game levels are occasionally only minutes long. But don’t let that dissuade you. This game has special sauce enticingly lathered all over its arcade-style know-how.
Sine Mora EX

Sine Mora EX

Sine Mora is a side-scrolling shoot'em up that provides a unique challenge, where time is the ultimate factor. Mixing classic shooter sensibilities with contemporary presentation, Sine Mora is a gorgeous shoot'em up offering both a Story Mode that weaves an over-the-top tale and an Arcade Mode that provides deep, satisfying gameplay to challenge fans of the genre.



Luke

Luke — Castlevania Anniversary Collection


Writing up that big ol' Xbox soundtracks article last week (and planning out the community-powered follow-up piece) got me digging through a ton of retro game tunes and having a great time, so I'm gonna kick it old-school this week. Castlevania Anniversary Collection brings together eight classic titles from the early years of Konami's hit series, all the way from its 8-bit origins up to the tail end of the 16-bit era. Sadly, that does mean the package stops just short of some absolute series highlights like Dracula X and Symphony of the Night, but it's still a great compilation whether you're picking it up as a history lesson or a dose of nostalgia. There are a couple of games on here that should probably have just stayed dead, though. The original Game Boy release is garbage, although obtuse oddity Simon's Quest, while not a great game in its own right, does at least serve as an eye-opening look back at how developers were experimenting with open world adventure games way back in the Eighties.

But the good stuff... oh man, the good stuff. The NES original is a true classic, III was great after I got over the fact that I had somehow never played it before, and while Super Castlevania IV's innovative sprite work isn't quite as mind-blowing today as it was at launch, it's still a fantastic game, as is Bloodlines. Even the second Game Boy game is way better than the first, but the icing on the cake here (beyond the neat digital book of artwork, interviews, and more) is the first ever release of Famicom spin-off Kid Dracula outside of Japan, and it's even localised! These games have never been particularly easy, mind, so the achievement list — which tasks you with completing all of them, multiple times in a couple of cases — might give you a bit of a fright.
Castlevania Anniversary Collection

Castlevania Anniversary Collection

"The Konami Castlevania Collection traces the origins of the historic vampire franchise. "



Sean

Sean — Lonely Mountains: Downhill - Eldfjall Island


Lonely Mountains: Downhill is a little gem of a game — especially if you’re an Xbox Game Pass subscriber as it’s included with your subscription. If you’re not on board the Game Pass train, then Lonely Mountains: Downhill is something you should definitely pick up, specifically the Eldfjall Island edition, as it includes a DLC expansion for just a few pennies more. The third-person biking game has you hurtling down the side of mountainside trails with the goals of beating time limits to unlock new bikes and customisation options, all while trying not to crash handlebars-first into a tree or a rock. While that might sound like quite a stressful time, the game is oddly serene and calming. Some challenges require you to complete a trail without crashing a certain number of times, which means you can afford to be a little slower and take in your surroundings. One of my favourite things about Lonely Mountains: Downhill is the sound design — you can hear the wind softly whipping past, a bounty of birds tweeting in the trees, and the soft crunch of gravel as you slowly turn around the corner of a sharp switchback — it’s really relaxing and provides a soothing soundtrack to the game’s slower sections. The achievements are pretty tough, so if you’re a completionist, just bear in mind that you’re going to be in for a bit of a rough ride.
Lonely Mountains: Downhill - Eldfjall Island

Lonely Mountains: Downhill - Eldfjall Island

Pack your raincoat and bring your beloved bike to the volcanic island of Eldfjall - the largest Lonely Mountain yet.

Features:
4 new trails with new challenges and resting spots await you
New special effects: ride through the thunderstorm or find your way down an erupting volcano.
Satisfy your inner viking and unlock unique outfits, helmets, and paint jobs
Upgrade your existing outfits with the new pro helmet
Complete your fashion style with new unlockable backpacks
Make your name famous on the leaderboards

Eldfjall - a new Lonely Mountain for you to explore!



Tom

Tom — Tomb Raider Definitive Edition


The game that started the most recent trilogy of Tomb Raider games and even inspired an attempt at a new movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed as well. Lara Croft returns all fresh-faced and ready for adventure in this reboot from Crystal Dynamics, and she brings with her a whole dose of excitement. Tomb Raider Definitive Edition focuses heavily on the combat aspect of Lara’s adventures, this time going head-to-head with a cult of lunatics on a remote island. Personally, I found this iteration of the classic titles to be extremely nostalgic, although I did miss locking the butler in the walk-in freezer, for those with enough years behind them to recall that pointless endeavour. I’m already hitting my word count at this point, so just bear in mind that grabbing Tomb Raider Definitive Edition for an 85% discount is a smashing deal, if only for the solid visuals, interesting story, and enjoyable combat. Although the trilogy became better with each new title, you can’t very well work your way through a series of games but miss the first one, can you?
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

The Definitive Edition of the critically acclaimed action-adventure has been rebuilt for next-gen consoles, featuring an obsessively detailed Lara and a stunningly lifelike world. Endure high-octane combat, customize weapons and gear, and overcome grueling environments to survive Lara’s first adventure.



Any of these deals take your fancy? Let us know below!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Hey, I'm Luke! I've been playing games since way back in the 8-bit days, and have spent the last 15+ years writing and talking about them professionally for anyone and everyone who would let me. Monster Hunter fanatic, wearer of many fine hats, and always up for a raid.