Foals latest album, What Went Down, does not really do justice to a band that have slowly grown over the last five years and does not reach the standard of previous releases.
Their two previous albums earned them Mercury Music Prize nominations but this one – their fourth – is unlikely to garner such praise.
One of the main problems with What Went Down is that you really sense the lack of new ideas on show from a band that are celebrating 10 years together and perhaps the real issue here is a lack of inspiration. What Foals really need is a crisis or drama to shake things up a little.
This isn’t an album that offends but it is one that’s crying out for something to spark it into life.
What Went Down is out now on CD and digital download.
Fast & Furious 7 (12)
I never thought I would say it but the seventh instalment of the Fast & Furious series is actually the best of the lot – although that doesn’t say much when one considers the quality of the movies that preceded it.
Putting all that to one side, the key challenge that F&F7 had to deal with was the death of one of its main stars, Paul Walker, midway through filming.
What is delivered on screen is an exciting, if completely illogical romp that packs every minute of its considerable 137 minutes with high velocity action that fans of the franchise have come to expect.
It also concludes on a fairly poignant note and if nothing else shows that sometimes Hollywood has a heart to match its finances.
Fast & Furious 7 is out now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.
A Royal Night Out (12)
It is VE Day and the two young princesses Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) are unhappy at being locked away in a "ghastly mausoleum" (that is to say, Buckingham Palace) when the rest of Britain is celebrating. They somehow persuade their parents (a stuttering Rupert Everett as George VI about to give his king's speech and a clucking Emily Watson as Queen Elizabeth) to allow them out to celebrate "incognito" with the rest of the London crowds.
It’s all pure fantasy and the reality of the situation is far removed from what is portrayed here on screen but in parts it is quite a fun departure.
Their travels take them from nightclubs to knocking shops, from the fountains of Trafalgar Square to Chelsea Barracks. Their drinks are spiked. They encounter spivs (among them the splendid Roger Allam), bus drivers, prostitutes, nightclub heavies and plenty of leering officers but throughout they are never in any real danger and it all plays out as genial piece of fluff.
A Royal Night Out is now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.
While video chatting one night, six high school friends receive a Skype message from a classmate who killed herself a year earlier. At first they think it's a prank, but when the girl starts revealing the friends' darkest secrets, they realize they are dealing with something out of this world, something that wants them dead.
Horror has been done to death so it takes something fairly unusual and unique to still make me take notice.
Unfriended taps into the social media obsession of the exact demographic it’s aiming for as an audience and it delivers a competent thriller that many 18-25 year olds will be able to identify with.
That’s not to say it will be lost to the rest of us because anyone who has ever used modern technology will be able to immediately relate to the premise.
For a genre that is saturated in poor releases, Unfriended is a cut above the rest, in more ways than one!
Unfriended is out now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.
Until Dawn (18)
When 8 friends become trapped on a remote mountain getaway gone wrong, things quickly turn sinister and they start to suspect they aren’t alone. Gripped by fear and with tensions in the group running high, you’ll be forced to make snap decisions that could mean life or death for everyone involved. Every choice you make while playing, as each of the eight friends – even the seemingly trivial ones – will carve out your own unique story.
With its immersive world, branching narrative, and lifelike character work, Until Dawn will have players on the edge of their seats while pounding them with jump scares and a bone-chilling soundtrack. Having previously worked on ports and smaller titles for Sony, Supermassive Games have shown that they can play with the big boys and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
I played Until Dawn pretty much non-stop through it’s nine-plus hours and found it to be an intuitive and engaging game that really submersed me in the feeling of tension each of the characters was clearly experiencing. It’s clever stuff at times and though there are a finite number of endings, you will feel compelled to come back for more.
Until Dawn is the perfect example of how cinema and gaming are drawing ever closer together, helping to deliver a seamless and unique form of entertainment that is a great showcase for the PS4 and next gen technology.
Until Dawn is out now exclusively on PS4.
Metal Gear Solid 5
Following on from the prologue METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES, METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN concludes the METAL GEAR SOLID V experience by following the story of the protagonist of the series, Big Boss (a.k.a. Snake). The METAL GEAR SOLID V experience is Creator and Director Hideo Kojima's first time incorporating open world gameplay to the groundbreaking METAL GEAR franchise.
Massive, complex, challenging, deep, ambitious and innovative, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is more than a mere video game.
Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain is a truly excellent piece of software and a game that represents a high point of the series. As an example of what can be done with the latest generation of consoles this is a reference that other creators should look to.
It expands and enriches Metal Gear Solid without compromising the qualities that make the series so beloved. Despite the huge scope, Hollywood talent, and technical flashiness, there’s a subtlety to the Phantom Pain that’s captured the imagination.
If you only buy one game this month then make it The Phantom Pain.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Mad Max (18)
Movie tie titles often fall flat when it comes to the console world but Mad Max bucks the trend with an outstanding piece of open world software.
You get the chance to be Mad Max and become the iconic post-apocalyptic warrior, crafting and upgrading Max's equipment and weapons to survive by combining melee combat, gunplay and tactical techniques. Gamers must make difficult decisions as they work towards the goal of escaping The Wasteland.
Along the way you get to explore the gritty, dynamic world and brave the treacherous landscapes, hostile weather patterns and deadly gangs of marauders.
Every scrap that's scavenged is important and can be utilized to upgrade and enhance equipment, weapons and vehicles. Gamers raid enemy encampments to gain access to valuable resources.
Graphically, whatever console you own you’re in for a treat and there was a lot about this game that reminded me of the equally impressive Shadow of Mordor.
We are quite fortunate to be able to review three excellent titles in one week and Mad Max makes it a trilogy of fabulous games for you to own.
Mad Max is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
George R Vaughan
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