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The Week Ahead - 16/11/07

Feature: A Galaxy of stars

This is the strongest week of the year so far, so lap it up while you can. Not just one potential game of the year in this week's list but three: Super Mario Galaxy, Assassins Creed and Crysis. Three different games on four different formats, all brilliant.

It's testament to the power and potency of next-generation hardware that we can enjoy such vastly different game experiences in a single week. None of these games were even conceivable just three years ago. Crysis has the kind of visual effects that make LSD obsolete, Super Mario Galaxy mind-bending 3D puzzles and a control scheme that constantly surprise while Assassins Creed impresses with its sense of a living, breathing world like no other before.

Enjoy.

The complete list of games released in the UK this week (16/11/07):

Assassin's Creed, PS3/360, Ubisoft
Bee Movie, DS/PC/Wii/PS2/360, Activision
Beowulf, PC/360, Ubisoft
Cars: Mater-National, 360, THQ
Catz, PS2, Ubisoft
Crysis, PC, EA
Dogz, PS2, Ubisoft
Disney's Enchanted, DS, Disney
Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire, Wii, D3Publisher
F.E.A.R. Presents Perseus Mandate, PC, Vivendi
F.E.A.R. Files: Extraction Point & Perseus Mandate, 360, Vivendi
High School Musical: Sing It!, Wii, Disney
International Cricket Captain 3, PS2/PSP, Empire
Jackass, PS2/PSP, Empire
Kengo Zero, 360, Eidos
Left or Right: Ambidextrous Challenge, DS, 505 Games
Lifesigns: Hospital Affairs, DS, JoWood
My Animal Centre: Australia, DS, Deep Silver
My Word Coach, Wii, Ubisoft
Pippa Funnell Rescue, Wii, Ubisoft
Rayman Raving Rabbids, DS/Wii, Ubisoft
Silent Hill: Origins, PSP, Konami
SimCity Societies, PC, EA
Star Wars Lego: The Complete Saga, DS/Wii, LucasArts
Super Mario Galaxy, Wii, Nintendo
Viva Pinata: Party Animals, 360, Microsoft
Viva Pinata, PC, Microsoft

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Mario Galaxy (Wii)
It's everything you hoped it would be. Read that again. It's everything you hoped it would be because this is the true spiritual successor to Mario 64 and brazenly trumps anything that Super Mario Sunshine tried to do. The controls are a joy, the structure is divine and the character, art work and sheer exuberance of the experience puts a huge grin on your face from beginning to end.

The best Mario games have all been about that fine combination of inventiveness and balance and Super Mario Galaxy doesn't disappoint. From the Monkey Ball inspired rolling levels to glorious, screen dominating bosses this is a theme park that you'll want to come back to time and time again. If you were waiting for an excuse to buy a Wii, this is it.

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Assassin's Creed (360/PS3)
Although Ubisoft's latest blockbuster has been getting Halo levels of praise and hype over the last 18 months we've actually seen little of the 'game' bar a few tech demos and glossy trailers. It's usually a bad sign when you don't get your hands on a controller and see if the reality matches the hype.

But now we've played a pre-review copy we can confidently say this is one of the most astonishing games to emerge in 2007. Set in the 12th century the main thrust of the game is to complete a series of assassinations, usually of a political nature. Hitman fans will lap this up and like IO's series there's always more than one way to skin a cat.

The game features incredible crowd dynamics with citizens reacting to your every movement, especially if you're the type to barge around the place, and the rooftop parkour element is absolutely breathtaking. Expect a full review soon.

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