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Top Games of 2020


I know, I know, the start of this new decade has barely begun and we’re already wishing away the months until the release dates of some incredibly sought-after titles finally arrive. Of course, with so many games on offer, which ones are truly worth your excitement as you count down the days? Well, we’ve done the research for you in the form of our certifiable top picks for 2020.

FF7 Remake (PS4)
Yes, it will have been well over two decades since Square’s seminal PlayStation RPG Final Fantasy VII was first released, but that hasn’t quelled the excitement over this remake. Unlike many re-releases, they’ve completely remade the game from the ground up, including the option to ditch the turn-based battle system for a real-time one similar to that found in Final Fantasy XV. Though various trailers have drip-fed information over the past years, we’ll still need to sit down with the real thing to see if they’re managed to recapture the magic of Cloud and co’s story. (April 2020)

Half-Life: Alyx (PC)
Valve don’t do things by half measures, and despite being hounded by gamers to release a sequel to Half Life 2, there was nothing but silence from the creators of Steam for what seems like an eternity. And then, completely out of the blue, they announced a new addition to the Freeman story – in the form of a new Virtual Reality (VR) game called Half-Life: Alyx. VR games are still in their infancy, and despite a few decent attempts, no one has really pulled of great use of VR, great graphics, great gameplay and great story all in one game. This may be Valve’s time to shine (again)! (March 2020)

Cyberpunk 2077 (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
When CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt became the break-out mega smash of 2015, fans were eagerly salivating over the next release from the Polish studio. And while it isn’t a fantasy adventure, the first person sci-fi game has been the talk of the town with its incredible graphics, expansive open world, and even the addition of Keanu Reeves as a main character. (April 2020)

Last of Us Part II (PS4)
It’s been quite some time since we last journeyed through a post-apocalyptic USA with Joel and Ellie, but the anticipation for this follow up hasn’t died down at all – unlike the monstrous fungal Infected you encounter! But it’s not just the same old story, there’s new mechanics and enemies, as well as finally some clarity on the original game’s ending. (May 2020)

Marvel’s Avengers (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
Ok ok, it may not have the original likeness and voices from the Marvel cinematic universe cast you’ve all grown to love and adore over the years, but don’t let that stop you enjoying getting to throw Mjolnir, zoom around in an Iron Man suit, or wield Captain America’s trademark shield. (September 2020)

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
The cult White Wolf RPG series returns over 15 years later with a sequel that aficionados had long since given up on. One of the geniuses behind the 2004 RPG, Brian Mitsoda, is back and we’re extremely excited to see what tricks he’s got up his sleeves. The original game had an incredibly witty and funny script, with inspired mechanics, but was a bit lacking in the battle/fighting system, so hopefully they’ll remedy that this time around. (Q2/3 2020)

Bayonetta 3 (Switch)
The maestros at PlatinumGames seem to be able to do no wrong recently, with hits like Nier:Automata and Astral Chain under their belt, so their latest entry in the Bayonetta series is definitely going to be one to beat in the slash ’em up genre. With more campy action fun than you can shake a high heeled shoe at, Bayonetta’s return is going to be something special. (TBC 2020)

Hollow Knight: Silksong (PC/Switch)
What was originally conceived as a DLC/add-on to the original Metroidvania gem Hollow Knight has now become a fully-fledged sequel in its own right. With its unique art style returning, the follow up takes Hornet on an expansive adventure with a story you’ll no doubt be hooked on from the start. (TBC 2020)

Ooblets (PC/Xbox One)
This charming indie game collects up all your favourites and chucks them in a digital blender that you won’t be able to put down. Ooblets takes Harvest Moon (yay!), Pokemon (woo!) and Animal Crossing (OMG!) with a sweet adventure that lets you farm, collect adorable creatures and mosey about socialising with your fellow villagers. And it’s all been created by just two people, yes, just two! (TBC 2020)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (Switch)
The sequel to undoubtedly one of the greatest ever launch titles for a console, Breath of the Wild 2 has some big shoes to fill, but we’re hopeful it’ll astound us just like the prior game did back in 2017. While information is sparse, it seems the game will re-use the original world, but with addition of lots of new areas, story and mechanics. The trailers suggest a darker tone than the original, with some definite nods to the 2006 Wii Classic of Twilight Princess – an underrated classic in our opinion (TBC late 2020)

five ways to reduce solo holiday costs

Reduce the cost of your solo trip with these five tips.

Keep an eye on the exchange rates. When you buy your travel money can make all the difference in the current tumultuous market. Being clued up on important political dates and when a currency is performing particularly well can mean the difference in hundreds of pounds worth of extra currency.

Choose your currency provider wisely. Prepaid currency cards are simpler and usually better value for money. However, be careful that the one you choose doesn’t come with any unfair additional fees, such as ATM fees, transfer fees or transaction fees.

Don’t be fussy with dates and times, if you can help it. The beauty of travelling alone is that there is no need to work to anyone else’s schedule. If you are fine with travelling on a cheaper day or at unsociable hours, make sure you take advantage of the savings on offer here.

Use comparison sites for everything. Many people use comparison sites for hotels and flights. However, you can find sites that compare the best deals for transfers, excursions and travel insurance, saving you money at every point.

Prioritise what’s important to you. Without the need to appease a travelling companion, you are free to choose what you spend your money on. Whether you prefer staying in luxury or eating the best food, allocate your spending according to your preferences.

Favourite Games of 2019

It’s that wonderful time of the year again when you finally can put your controller, mouse or joystick down, breathe a sigh of relief, and marvel at the past twelve glorious months of gaming. With an ever increasing catalogue of games on physical and digital shelves, we’ve waded through them all to give you the lowdown on our highlights (and what you might have missed) for 2019.

Death Stranding
Be blown away by one of the best A-list casts in gaming you’ve ever seen and get lost in the baffling near-future world from Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima. If you boil it down to its basics, it may well be a delivery quest game, but the stunning visuals, sublime soundtrack and decent mechanics all make it a worthwhile trek.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
While it may be getting praise for being the first single player Star Wars game in what feels like an eternity, this latest Lucasfilm entry is pretty impressive as a standalone game itself. It takes Dark-Souls/Sekiro-esque combat and campfire save spots coupled with Uncharted climbing and jumps and stirs in extra Star Wars to brilliant effect.

The Other Worlds
Finally, the dream team behind classic RPGs Fallout 1 and 2, Leonard Boyarsky and Tim Cain return to create a stunning sci-fi adventure game, which also draws from the Western-influenced Fallout: New Vegas. A compelling story, with great characters and with lots of choices and consequences is just the icing on the cake.

Disco Elysium
Playing a drunk, washed-up and rather bonkers detective in a murder mystery which philosophises about everything from gender to communism may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure as hell one us over. An incredibly written script, with so much freedom to role play and take different routes, may have topped this game to being our favourite of 2019.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From Software (of Dark Souls and Bloodbourne fame) returns with a superb adventure game retaining the tactical complexity of its previous games, but adding a swift, more playful movement style with greater scope for exploration. Its difficulty may be a shock to the system at first, but learn the tactics and moves and you’ll be cutting through 16th century Japan’s soldiers and monsters in no time.

Untitled Goose Game
JUST BUY THIS GAME! Ok, that’s not a great description, but any words won’t be able to do justice to the great white-winged social menace that is the goose and star of this game. The simple premise is you play a happy-go-lucky goose who has to make the lives of a small English village a nightmare whether its stealing from markets, making kids cry or breaking everything in sight. The breakout indie hit of 2019.

Fire Emblem Three Houses
The long-awaited Fire Emblem series finally arrives on the Nintendo Switch, and boy, it does not disappoint. It’s new emphasis on exploring the school is a welcome addition, and the relationship building is better than ever, with you finding yourself really caring for your scrappy bunch of students as they progress from novices to experts. The tactical battles are compelling and challenging, while the ability to play essentially three different houses dramatically adds to the replayability.

Astral Chain
The studio who brought us the incredible NieR:Automata continues to impress with the sci-fi battle/adventure experience that is Astral Chain. The vivid character and environment art and pumping soundtrack perfectly complements the mind blowing action, which is no surprise considering the creators’ past work on NieR and Bayonetta.

Devil May Cry 5
After the controversial Devil May Cry (DmC) reboot, many had reservations about the future of Capcom’s slash em’ up, but never fear, all our worries were vanquished with the release of Devil May Cry 5. Taking place in a post apocalyptic London-esque setting, the ability to play as three different characters, each with markedly different styles, mixes up the fun and makes for rather enjoyable journey to hell and back.

Rebels Without A Cause – characters who have rebelled against the system

this feature takes a look at cinema’s greatest characters who have rebelled against the system.


Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)


The original and best, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is the big screen tale of the original gansta; Robin Hood (played by Kevin Costner), whose tale of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is known the world over. Having been imprisoned in Jerusalem, Robin returns home to find his father dead, his home in ruins and the malicious Sheriff of Nottingham (played by the late Alan Rickman, who earned a Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for the role) terrorising the town. Joining forces with Little John and his band of outlaws, Robin leads the charge to defy the Sheriff and save the good people of Nottingham. The film proved to be the second highest grossing of that year and has stood the test of time to become a cult classic. The film also reached dizzying heights of notoriety due to its theme song, the Oscar nominated (and wedding favourite) ‘Everything I do, I do it for you’ by Bryan Adams. The song spent 16 consecutive weeks as the UK number one – one of the longest in chart history.


Catch Me If You Can (2002)


Catch Me If You Can serves a dual purpose on this list; showcasing a rebel of the highest order who merrily exploits the system, and offering a chance to watch vintage Leo at his scene-stealing best. The film is based on the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr (played by DiCaprio), a teenage criminal who conned millions of dollars out of various US companies before the age of 19; posing as a Pan Am pilot, doctor and parish prosecutor on his path to banking obscene amounts of cash. In fact, the real life Abagnale Jr. proved so good at defrauding the system that following his capture and punishment, the FBI turned to him to help them catch similar menaces to society. The film earned plaudits with both audiences and the industry, earning supporting actor Christopher Walken a BAFTA win and Oscar nomination in the process.


V for Vendetta (2006)


 A classic good versus evil story in an atypical setting, V for Vendetta is a dystopian thriller with heavy political undertones. Although released over 10 years ago, the film provides an unsettling allegory for government oppression – and interestingly, is set in 2020 where – amongst other locations – the US system has broken down. Stepping away from the political implications, the film features an iconic central character; V (played by Hugo Weaving), whose first job as no. 1 vigilante is to rescue Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), an employee of the state run British Television Network, from her oppressors. V goes on to become a figurehead for the oppressed, distributing Guy Fawkes masks and setting a plot to blow up Parliament into motion. The impact of V’s character has extended beyond the film, with the stylised Guy Fawkes mask (created by illustrator David Lloyd) becoming a symbol of wider protest; being used in recent times by the online ‘hacktivist’ group, Anonymous.  


Tower Heist (2011)


Earning a place on this list if not for quality but for ultimate rebel points is 2011’s Tower Heist. With shades of Robin Hood, the central characters unite to steal back money that their boss took from them. The plot follows Josh Kovaks (Ben Stiller), Charlie Gibbs (Casey Affleck) and Enrique Dev’reaux (Michael Peňa), employees of an exclusive apartment building who lose their pensions at the hands of a rich businessman owner. Together with criminal Slide (Eddie Murphy) and others, this motley band of renegades plots to break into the businessman’s apartment to steal back their hard-earned cash, whilst trying to avoid the FBI.


Now You See Me (2013)


On first glance it’s hard to see how a group of illusionists can be classed as ‘rebels’, but J. Daniel Atlas (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and his accomplices are not any ordinary magicians… Atlas and his fellow illusionists’ performance steal the show in more ways than one, as the quartet performs bank heists during their performances and showers their audiences with the stolen money. Another classic Robin Hood-esque plot, were it not for shrewd FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent); a pair the ‘Prince of Thieves’ certainly didn’t have to contend with. Starring Isla Fisher, Dave Franco and Woody Harrelson as the remaining three members of the Four Horsemen, Now You See Me is a modern take on the classic rebellion stereotype, offering four slick professionals whose act is well rehearsed and even better executed – role models to wannabe rebels everywhere. 


The Hunger Games (2012 – 2015)


It is no secret that The Hunger Games heroine, Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) has become a silver screen symbol of bravery and fighting for what is morally right, rather than the boundaries dictated by the world she lives in. Katniss begins The Hunger Games quadruplet of films as an innocent bystander, swept up in the ramifications of an unfair world. However as the narrative develops, Katniss’ moral compass pulls ever harder; and by the third instalment, The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1, Katniss has become the face of the revolution. Not only does Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss prove a defiant and determined leader of her world, the character has had wider implications of providing a strong female role model to a generation of girls; encouraging them to use their own minds and not follow the crowd.


Tom Hanks Retrospective – Best Tom Hanks Movies

With two Academy Awards, a filmography that has grossed over 8.5 billion dollars, and arguably one of the most loveable faces on the faces of the planet, Tom Hanks has certainly had a career that most actors would give arm for.  In order to truly appreciate the man himself, we’re taking a look back at some of his most iconic roles, and be assured that narrowing it down to this list was no easy task.


Big (1988)

Before the days of the multiple prestigious awards coming out of his ears, Mr. Hanks was making hearts around the world melt as a child who was magically turned into a grown man overnight. Still living with 13-year-old’s mentality, Josh (Hanks) decides to hide out in New York City until he can figure out what to do next. He lucks into a job with a major toy company run by kid-at-heart McMillan (Robert Loggia) and falls in love with fellow employee Susan (Elizabeth Perkins). But still a kid, he becomes desperate to go back to being scruffy teenager. Hanks brought his trademark wit and playfulness to the film, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else being able to play a giant keyboard with his feet as well as he does. 


Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Steven Spielberg’s legendary WWII epic may be known primarily for its extremely intense and disturbing 24-minute long battle sequence on the beaches of Normandy, but at the films heart is a very grounded and relatable performance from Mr. Hanks. The film follows a group of soldiers led by Captain Miller (Hanks), who have been charged with the task of saving a young soldier fighting in France by the name of (you guessed it) Private Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in battle, and bring him home to his family. The film won five  Oscars in total but what was most notable about the ceremony was that it missed out on ‘Best Picture’ to Shakespeare In Love, which is still remembered as one of the biggest Oscar upsets in history. The film has proven to stand the test of time though, with Hank’s performance being one of the best of his career.


Toy Story (1995), Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010)

After all of Pixar’s success, awards and rave reviews for their many delightful films, the standard set by incredible moving and nostalgic Toy Story series still sets the bar. Hanks voices the charming cowboy doll Woody, who is seen as a leader of sorts for a group of toys who come to life when no one is looking. But when their owner Andy get’s a new action figure for his birthday in the shape of Buzz Lightyear, he starts to lose his place as the ‘favourite toy’. It’s hard to imagine that Toy Story was so innovative in its field when it was released in 1995, but with every summer holiday now coming with a flurry of animated films, Hanks and co. paved the way for many childhoods of the future. As much as we’re assured otherwise, we still can’t completely trust that Action Men and Barbies don’t come to life when we leave the room…


Forest Gump (1994)

They say a career is never complete without a role that encourages millions of people around the world to impersonate nearly every line from the film in a ridiculous voice. If that’s true then Hanks has managed to complete that task with the title role in Robert Zemeckis’s film Forest Gump. The films follows Gump, a special child not quite like everyone else, from a young age right through to becoming a father, as he finds himself in many troubling and often enlightening times through 1960’s America, with the film acting as a strong critique of US History. Hanks gives a heart breaking performance that ended up winning him an Oscar, showing the importance of some much needed innocence in the world during a time of so much chaos and darkness. 


Captain Philips (2013)

With Paul Greengrass’s high-seas thriller Captain Phillips, the film needed a hero that instead of being muscle-bound and born with superpowers, was above all else brave and relatable, and Hanks fits that bill perfectly. Based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates, the film not only works as an gripping and tense modern day action-thriller, but also successfully attempts to dissect deeper themes of poverty and globalisation. The film is worth watching for the truly heartbreaking final scene that is enough to make even the most stubborn Somali pirate break down into floods of tears. 


Cast Away (2000)

This intense drama about one man’s struggles to survive after being shipwrecked on a desert island can be summed up in one word: WILSON! Hanks manages to keep our full attention in a film that features only him for 90% of the film, along with a brilliantly understated performance from his volley ball friend. Of all the films Hanks has done in his career this is probably the most intense of them all, showing incredible determination to save himself from the island and get back home. In Cast Away, Hanks made us laugh, cry and learn how to appreciate the modern day dentist, a magnificently rounded performance. 

Shazam Movie Review

Shazam! No, we’re not talking the music discovery app, but the DC comic hero with a giant lightning bolt on his chest that we’d honestly had never heard of before. But don’t let that get in the way of enjoying one of the most fun superhero films to grace our screens in ages. Shazam doesn’t take itself too seriously and that is an essential part of its charm.

Zachary Levi is the standout star as Billy’s superhero alter-ego with bucket-loads of the geeky charisma he nailed perfectly in Chuck, while Billy’s wise-cracking best buddy is played brilliantly by Jack Dylan Grazer, channelling a young Seth Cohen. They work brilliantly together, particularly in the scenes where Billy stumbles through discovering his superpowers. The whole ensemble foster family start off rather simple and don’t have too many lines, but the family scenes have a simple warmth to them that pays off towards the finale act.

Shazam! might be filled with superhero cliches, but the film embraces them rather than tries to do anything edgy. There are some pitfalls, the CGI baddie monsters are rather dull and copypasted from other DC/Marvel films, and the villain doesn’t really inspire you to really want to see get beaten at the end. Overall, a fun, light-hearted take on the superhero story, that is well aware that it’s not high-art and has some real laugh-out-loud moments.


There is only so much the internet can teach us. Professional traders have the type of inside knowledge, strategies and expertise that can only be learned on the trading floor.
Financial Markets Online co-founders, James Bentley and Samuel Fuller, are experienced traders who train up everyday people in the world of online trading. Today, they’re sharing 5 hot trading tips that’ll ensure you don’t get burned.

1. Work alongside another professional – having a mentor or working alongside someone with more experience than you, is an invaluable aid when you’re at the beginning of your trading career. It will help you build confidence, understanding and avoid common pitfalls that new traders often make.

2. Join a community – join a professional course and you’ll find a group of like-minded and active traders
committed to success through continuously improving their professional skills. You’ll become part of a community and will have access to experts who will be able to share insight and strategies, based on live streaming data and analysis.

3. Find a mentor – a good mentor will oversee your trading and be on hand to advise, encourage and, critically, also deter you. They can help you create a plan, develop your own set of rules and support you in staying disciplined enough to stick to them. This can be the difference between making money and losing it.

4. Capitalise on the sales side – trading and investing both involve seeking profit in the stock market, but
they pursue that goal in different ways. Investing is about buying stocks for long-term gain, but you can achieve short-term profit by selling stocks, with a focus on share prices.

5. Go for a walk – a clear head is a calm and focused head and the key to making good trades and
decisions. So, when the pressure starts to build, take a walk around the block and give yourself an opportunity to think things through in terms of strategy and what’s in the best interests of your trading and the positions you currently have. You’ll be amazed what comes to mind when you step away from the charts for a few minutes.
More on James Bentley & Samuel Fuller

9 of the Most Visited World Heritage Sites

Worldwide celebrations will mark International Monuments and Sites Day, traditionally known as World #HeritageDay. Launching in 1983 with 12 sites, there are now an incredible 1092 sites in more than 150 countries. Here’s 9 of the most visited heritage sites visitors from around the globe are flocking to in their millions.

Great Wall of China

Of the 53 listed heritage sites in China, the most famous is the Great Wall of China. Officially the longest wall in the world, it measures a staggering 13,171 miles. Completed in 1878, it comprises of many sections of wall, fortresses, horse tracks, watch towers and shelters and has a unique and impressive style which has stood tall through the dynasties. Recognised as the world’s largest military structure in 1644 the monument is a must-see attraction for tourists from all over the world and a revered national symbol.

Palace of the Winds

One of the most beautiful examples of Indian architecture, Hawa Mahal is situated in Jaipur, “The Pink City”, Rajasthan. Dating back to 1799, the five-storey pyramidal shaped monument was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. Also known as Palace of the Winds, it is a gem in the Rajasthani crown. With an astonishing 953 windows, the original purpose was for royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below, when obeying the strict rules of ‘purdah’. Built of red and pink sandstone it is one of the most famous ancient monuments in the country.

Angkor Wat (Temple)

The Cambodian Angkor Wat temple complex was firmly put on the tourist trail in 2001 as the setting for the action-packed Tomb Radar film. But it was almost 10 years earlier it was awarded UNESCO status and declared Cambodia’s first heritage site. As one of the largest religious monuments worldwide, the spectacular site covers 162.6 hectares. Awe-inspiring and vividly detailed, it is built out of sandstone blocks quarried from the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen, More than 3000 heavenly nymphs are carved into its walls of the main temple; a sacred religious mausoleum. Ornately decorated with beautiful ancient structures this unique landmark, surrounded by a 190m wide moat, is a monument of national pride, is featured on the nation’s flag and the prime attraction for visitors to the country.

Grand Canyon National Park

Proclaimed a national park in 1919, the Grand Canyon is one of the principal visitor attractions in the USA. The 277-mile long and a mile deep canyon, bearing the same name can be explored by hiking down a corridor trail, taking a leisurely stroll along one of the rims or enjoying the immense landscape from one of the many vantage points, all nothing short of impressive. In 1908, the then president of the USA Teddy Roosevelt proclaimed the Grand Canyon to be a national monument. Celebrating its 100-year anniversary this year, the Grand Canyon receives close to five million visitors annually, as people flock to see this natural phenomenon and are of immense beauty.


Stonehenge is a famous prehistoric monument based in Wiltshire, England and is one of the wonders of the world. It was built in several stages by Neolithic farmers approximately 5000 years ago out of sarsen stone and bluestones, with each sarsen stone weighing around 25 tons and measuring a staggering 13 meters high. The history of Stonehenge is a fascinating one due to the sophistication of its architecture and the only surviving linteled stone circle in the world. The ancient landscape that surrounds Stonehenge is beautiful and peaceful and allows all visitors to explore and experience the everyday Neolithic life.

Table Mountain

Undoubtedly, South Africa’s most famous landmark, Table Mountain offers spectacular views of the city of Cape Town below. Taking its name from the fact that it has a flat top, which is thought to have been created around 300 million years ago during an ice age, Table Mountain is a key tourist attraction in South Afirca and is especially popular amongst hikers, with the highest point being 3,563 feet above sea level. As one of the seven wonders of the world, Table Mountain is a natural heritage that belongs to the people of South Africa and with the beauty that it gives, there is no wonder why.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Known for the magical surroundings, Bavaria is home to one of the world’s most famous fairytale castles; the Neuschwanstein Castle. Situated on top of a rugged hill, surrounded by magnificent views, the castle was constructed by King Ludwig II in 1869 and was finished in 1880. The architecture of the exterior is described as breath-taking and one that is never forgotten. The Marienbrucke, the bridge over the Pollat gorge allows the public to see the natural elegance of the surroundings in which the castle was built.

Trevi Fountain

Situated in the heart of Italy’s capital, the Trevi Fountain is a spectacular masterpiece. Designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi, the Trevi Fountain is the largest baroque fountain in Rome measuring at an impressive 26.3 meters high. The fountain was built in front of the Palazzo Poli, a Roman palace however the central part of the palace was demolished in 1730 to provide enough space for the fountain. The centre piece within the fountain is that of the Greek Sea God, Oceanus accompanied by Sea Horses and Tritons. Each day thousands of visitors flock to this iconic Italian monument to follow tradition, tossing a coin into the fountain, securing their return trip.

Alhambra Palace

Located on top of the hill, on the left bank of the river Darro and with a stunning view over the entire city sits the palace, the Alhambra. Constructed as a small fortress in Granada, Spain in 889 AD, it was rebuilt in the mid 13th century and expanded to include the palace. The Alhambra was named because of the reddish colour to its walls, and in Arabic, al-Hamra translates to Red Castle. With its magnificent architecture, it is understandable as to why it was the crown jewel of the Emirate of Granada.

Our Favourite 2018 Games

As the horizon on the open world that was 2018 finally dawns, it’s time to sit round the camp fire, rejuvenate some hit points and wonder what the year was all about. We’re talking the best computer games to grace our screens of course! Here’s what we decided, after much deliberation, a few arguments and a some liquid lubrication.

1. Marvel’s Spider-Man. Super hero games aren’t always known for being the greatest, so our spider senses were understandably tingling when this new series dropped in front of us, but how wrong we were. This is probably the most fun you can have with a controller this year and it’s all done to movement – this game has the most fun way of bounding around a city we’ve had the pleasure to encounter, and throw in some superb Spidey quips, over the top baddies, and we’re all set.

2. Into The Breach. From the creators of the indie space gem FTL comes a ridiculously addictive tactical turn-based game where you guide giant robot mechs across a randomly generated set of maps to defend earth from impending doom…well, creepy aliens called the Vek. It may have a simple premise and retro graphics, but this is a thoroughly modern take on the genre that will have you on the edge of your seat.

3. Red Dead Redemption II. Like a super smoky charcoal fired scotch – we hated this game at first with its slow introduction, even slower controls and muddy plotting, but after a few tipples, we grew to love Arthur and his compelling adventures in the stunningly recreated Old West and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t shed a few tears when we reached the end of his tale.

4. Tetris Effect. This take on the timeless block sorting classic is so brilliant we can’t shout about it enough. While the shapes hurtle ever quicker towards the screen, you’re bombarded with what can only be described as a vivid, ever-changing visual art piece that feels like you’ve been blasted out of a cannon into another universe, while headphones pump out glorious electronica. The VR mode takes it to another level, so much so that you’re even more likely to lose hours upon hours in this art puzzle perfection.

5. Monster Hunter: World. This series is all about Monsters. You track them, you fight them and you craft their bits into better armour and weapons so you can fight even bigger enemies…if you don’t get killed in the process of course. All this while being assisted by a cat-like buddies called Palicoes, which may be the cutest felines in console history. Being able to climb the monster as you try to hack it to bits may be the most morbidly fun thing you’ll do all year. And did we mention the cats??

6. Moonlighter. This charming pixel-style action game focused around a shopkeeper who ‘moonlights’ as an adventurer is a breath of fresh air amid RPGs full-to-bursting with unnecessary plot, over-the-top visuals and clichéd characters. The feedback loop may be simple – you take your sword and shield to go loot dungeons in the style of Zelda, while using the proceeds to pimp both your equipment and your store – but we couldn’t put this game down.

7. Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Getting a Jigglypuff to smack Mario in his smug moustached face may be all you need to know about the latest entry in the Smash series. But if that’s not enough to persuade you, a ridiculously large single player mode, over 75 characters pulled from every inch of console history and more classic soundtracks then you can shake a Super Scope at should more than suffice.

8. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It may the 11th title in the series, but Ubisoft still isn’t letting up. Not content with sticking to the same formula, they’ve dived headfirst into the giant open world and quest-style of games like the Witcher 3, and boy do they pull it off. Aside from the appeal of being able to explore Ancient Greece and the Aegean in groundbreakingly detailed realism, the Exploration Mode – where you have to talk to NPCs and explore the environment to discover quests and progress is something to behold – finally allows you to escape the dreaded map markers and pins that plague open-world games and ruin immersion.

9. Celeste. Yes, it’s a 2D platformer with retro graphics that could probably run on a toaster. But don’t let that put you off. Celeste takes all those platformer tropes of old, puts them in a blender and comes out with something fresh and exciting. The level design never feels old and pushes you forward in excitement, the controls are a joy to use and the music is something else, so good that you’ll be queuing up the soundtrack on all your playlists.

10. God of War. It’s been half a decade since a true Kratos adventure was released upon us and we can all agree that’s far too long for our liking. And this time, they’ve ditched the Greek mythos for Norse legends, overhauled the camera and controls, and given Mr K a magic axe which can be throw around like Mjolnir – all bold moves that more than pay off. The addition of Kratos’ son Atreus adds more depth to both the gameplay and the story, which was often a tad OTT in the previous entries.

top five European nature breaks to consider for 2019

Plitvice National Park, Croatia
16 lakes all leading into one another through a series of breath-taking waterfalls make this location a must-see for all nature enthusiasts. If crystal clear waters and lush greenery are what you like to see through your camera lens, Plitvice National Park is an essential Croatia experience.

Lake Bled, Slovenia
The waters of Lake Bled glitter emerald green and are beautifully still, allowing holidaymakers to quietly row across to visit the temple of the ancient Slavic goddess of love. If this wasn’t enough, castles are built into cliff faces and gorges run through Triglavski National Park, only a stone’s throw from the lake.

La Gomera, Spain
An often-overlooked Canary Island, La Gomera is left largely untouched allowing nature to flourish all across the volcanic hills. Perfect for hiking trails and awe-inspiring views, a photographer with an eye for dramatic landscapes would feel at home here.

Bigar Waterfall, Romania
Known as “the miracle from the Minis Canyon”, this natural marvel is in the Caras-Severin County of Romania, a region filled with mountains, greenery and hot springs perfect for nature photography.

The Azores, Portugal
These Portuguese islands are characterised by dramatic landscapes, blue hydrangeas and deep blue lakes to match. Greens and blues will fill the camera lens of any avid photographer as they hike to the tallest of peaks and photograph the rolling hills and still lakes.