Recession gaming: Get 50 hours of extra play time from games you already own
18th Jan 2013 | 16:23
After the raft of new releases in the run up to Christmas, January can feel pretty quiet on the gaming front. And in these Dickensian times, forking out for new titles isn't getting easier.
Luckily you've got us: we've added hours onto the biggest games of last year by bringing you whole new scenarios and cheeky new metagames. So dust off
FAR CRY 3
Challenge: Take down every outpost without firing a single shot
With sniper rifles, machine guns, RPGs and more at your disposal, it's easy to 'go loud' when facing a group of enemies and quickly turn the tropical island into a blazing warzone. However, for more of a satisfying challenge you can channel the spirit of John Rambo circa First Blood and try taking down outposts without firing a single bullet.
Armed with just the recurve bow and machete, your objective is to terminate all enemies from the outpost without being detected and raising the alarm. You'll need to stake the camp out first to locate your targets, then plan your approach using arrows and melee takedowns whilst sneaking through the undergrowth to silently eliminate them all.
A successful raid will be indicated by a 1500XP award once the outpost is liberated, but if you're spotted at any point your cover has been blown and you should fast travel to another location then return for another attempt. If you've already taken over all outposts there are still locations you can use where enemies spawn, such as the pirate's cove at X: 365 Y: 700, or you can start a new save file to get all the outposts back.
Challenge: Kill all three Boyle sisters without raising the alarm
For one of the best-known missions in Dishonored, you need to infiltrate a swanky masquerade ball hosted by the Boyle sisters and identify which is your target before assassinating them. For a trickier twist on this, try to eliminate any of the sisters stealthily and escape from Boyle Mansion without alerting anyone.
To help with this challenge, each of the sisters has a different personality that affects their behaviour and responses when you speak to them. To reveal this information you need to gain access to their individual rooms on the upper floor and read the diaries found there.
Armed with this knowledge you can then tailor your conversations with each sister to lure them to a more secluded area before taking them out. With all three disposed of and no alarms raised you can simply stroll away from the mansion, and the game will still count this as a successful mission due to the process of elimination.
Challenge: Role play as a simple man, chef, giant hunter or become a collector
With a huge open-ended RPG like Skyrim there's almost limitless scope for roleplaying, so pick your own set of rules and create a new game from it. As we showed with our Rags to Riches series, being a simple man and living off the land while trying to earn some honest gold can still lead to all sorts of adventures.
You may decide to become a renowned chef, travelling the land to gather various meats and vegetables then using recipes to cook them up and sell the created foods to innkeepers. Or how about becoming a famous Giant hunter, systematically tracking down all of their camps and defeating them to protect the local populace.
You could even set yourself a more obscure goal of collecting a certain type of item, as all objects remain persistent throughout the world. Why not try filling your home with piles of shiny silverware, or creating the largest collection of cheese wheels Tamriel has ever seen - the possibilities are endless.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 2
Challenge: Play Michael Myers and Tomahawk Dodgeball with your friends
If you can put together a group of like-minded friends to play with in private matches, there are a number of custom games you can try out to provide a change from the usual run and gunning of multiplayer. Select a game type such as Search and Destroy where players don't respawn, so there is a distinct winner in each round.
In Michael Myers, named after the knife-wielding murderer from the Halloween films, one player is on their own and must hunt down everyone from the other team using just their knife melee attack. The players on the opposing side must remain unarmed and keep running away, with play continuing until they are all eliminated or the time limit is reached.
Another entertaining game is Tomahawk Dodgeball, which is ideally played in a small area of the map with a wall at each end. Split the two teams evenly, line up at either end of the dodgeball 'court' and get your tomahawks ready. At an agreed signal start the match and fling your hatchets at each other, picking up opponents' tomahawks to continue your attacking moves while dodging the flurry of incoming picks. Games are fast and furious, with the last man standing winning the round for their team.
Challenge: Clear every enemy from the cornfields without being detected
The online Contracts mode provides an almost limitless supply of new assassination missions to keep you occupied, but these are capped at a maximum of three specified targets. If you want to think bigger than this you'll need to take on a challenge of your own creation.
Why not try this on for size? During the Cornfield section of the Attack of the Saints mission you have to eliminate the remaining three members of the female assassin squad, but if you extend this to dispatching ALL of the guards as well without being spotted then you have a real challenge on your hands.
You'll need all of your cunning to remain hidden within the fields of corn, though snagging the scarecrow outfit can considerably help with remaining undetected. Only by studying enemy patrols and throwing distraction items to move them into position will you have any chance of taking everyone down before you get busted.
Challenge: Beat all the Stat Awards and escape from your valet
With the main story completed there are still 30 different Stat Awards you can work towards achieving Gold on, from surviving police chases and shooting cops to landing freerunning attacks and disarming enemies. As these stats are linked up with friends also playing the game, you can challenge each other on any of them - why not see who can drive for the longest without crashing or kill the most enemies in a single play session.
Another fun activity you can try out is to get yourself a fast car, then phone up the valet and ask them to deliver another vehicle from the garage. Wait until he arrives then speed off down the road before he can get out of the car, which will cause him to take off in pursuit. He'll doggedly give chase until making the delivery, so see how far you can get or how long you can hold him off before he eventually catches up with you.
Challenge: Jump a Mongoose from base to base
Multiplayer matches in Halo have always provided a great playground for setting up fun and interesting challenges, and a recurring theme that features in these is trying to pull off the biggest vehicle jump possible. In Halo 4 there's a great opportunity for this, for which you need to set up a game on the Ragnarok map with invulnerable players, vehicles that can't be destroyed and unlimited sticky detonators.
By attaching a number of sticky bombs to one of the Mongoose ATVs then triggering them it's possible to launch the vehicle (complete with driver) for a considerable distance. Be wary though that bombs cannot stick to each other and will be repelled if you hit one already in place, so space them out or you'll find them bouncing back towards you!
The ultimate challenge here is to drive a Mongoose into your base, load it up with explosives then detonate them just after rolling through the Man Cannon, which will send you rocketing across the map towards the opposite base. Actually landing the vehicle within the other base will take a lot of practise, skill and luck, but it'll make one heck of a replay if you pull it off.
MAX PAYNE 3
Challenge: Use shoot-dodge to kick back and relax in style
Poor old Max has had a hard life, what with his family being slain and his mind gradually deteriorating. Things don't get much better for him in this latest offering, and with the constant shootouts inevitably taking their toll he sometimes just needs to sit down and chill out for a bit.
Thankfully by manipulating the shoot-dodge mechanic you can not only give Max a long-overdue break, but do it in style. By either jumping backwards or (for extra finesse) diving forward and twisting round in mid-air using shoot-dodge you can land Max in a chair, then leave him to kick back and relax.
It might not sound like much but you'd be surprised how much fun you can have with this, be it a big leather sofa in a nightclub, a grimy bed in a Brazilian favela or a sun lounger on the deck of a luxury yacht. Don't forget you can pause the game at any point then use the right stick to move the camera and admire your handiwork.
ASSASSIN'S CREED III
Challenge: Become a huntsman and track down every animal
Away from the main storyline, you can head out into the Frontier and turn your well-honed assassin skills against the fauna found in the wilderness. The Frontier is split into 12 regions, with each containing four distinct animal types to hunt. By highlighting a region on the Hunting map you'll see icons in the top right of the screen, which are initially blank then gradually fill in as Connor discovers and kills each animal.
The challenge here is to live the life of a hunter, travelling to each region and securing a pristine pelt from every type of animal found there until you reveal all of the icons. For added authenticity use only bait and snares for smaller prey and the bow and arrow against predators, or for a greater challenge try and take down every creature using just the hidden blade.
Once you've completed your collection of animals there's still plenty more to be done by joining the Hunting Society, whose cabins can be found at the northeast tip of Troy's Wood and the east edge of Black Creek. They provide a further three tiers of hunting challenges to undertake plus individual missions to hunt rare animals, which should keep you going for some time.
SAINT'S ROW THE THIRD
Challenge: Launch cars and gang members from your penthouse helipad
There are already plenty of tongue in cheek Challenges to tackle within the game, and ones such as streaking and vehicle surfing that give you a time for each attempt can be repeated as often as you like to try and beat your best effort or take on your friends' records.
You can also have lots of fun with your penthouse suite, as the lift going up to it is big enough to fit an Emu compact car. Once you take one to the top floor you can drive around the swimming pool to reach the helipad then see how far you can launch yourself in it. If you have a co-op partner you can extend this by activating the no car damage cheat (add cheat from your phone and type 'vroom') then getting them to cover the vehicle's roof with satchel charges. Drive off the roof with them in the passenger seat, at which point blasting the charges can launch you hundreds of metres down the road.
Another game you can play on the penthouse roof with a co-op partner is gang member skeet shooting. Equip a scoped weapon, grab one of your gang members as a human shield then drag them to the edge of the helipad and turn to face the pool. Your co-op partner should stand on the helipad steps and equip the Sonic Boom weapon, then use it to launch the hapless gang member into the air after you throw them in their direction. Spin around and try to shoot them out of the sky before they disappear from view, before switching roles to see who's the sharpest shooter.