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STAYING IN or GOING OUT; Couch potato or gadabout town? We pick the best ways to enjoy yourself in the coming week.

GAME

ASSASSIN'S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG (18+) Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Out now

Climb into the britches of Assassin's Creed IV's suave swashbuckler Edward Kenway, plundering the ports and plantations of the 18th century Caribbean, playing the game like your own personal Master and Commander sim.

Black Flag elevates last year's optional naval battles into a core component of the gameplay and sets the action in an island-based open world. At its best, the combination of organic jungle settings and puzzles bring to mind the recent Tomb Raider reboot. Too often, though, missions rely on tedious tailing and eavesdropping But it is breathtakingly beautiful.

DAN SILVER

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DVD THIS IS THE END 15+. Out now Six pals - including Seth Rogan - get stuck in actor James Franco's house as the apocalypse hits. Wild, wacky and hilarious.

SINGLE LITTLE MIX Move Little Mix continue to move toward becoming the best girlband in the world. And this track off their new album Salute is thrilling. It is fun urban-pop with a unique Little Mix twist and a finale that deserves No.1.

GADGET KIDZPLAY WIRELESS ADVENTURE GAME PAD PS3, PS29.99 This officially licensed PlayStation 3 controller has been specifically designed with very young gamers in mind.

Not only have the buttons been reconfigured to fit small hands, but it also has durable, drop-proof rubber grips and even comes complete with an anti-microbial additive injected into the plastic to stop the spread of germs.

Parents looking to kickstart their kids' Skylanders habit need look no further, but be warned: Kidzplay's lack of a rechargeable battery means you'll need a sizeable stockpile of AAAs to keep tantrums at bay.

ALBUM LIVE LOUNGE 2013 BBC Radio One The must-have mix includes incredible live performances from Rudimental, Mumford & Sons, Ellie Goulding and more. Plus covers from the biggest stars. Love it.

GAME BATMAN ARKHAM ORIGINS Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 (16+), Out now Despite its more youthful antagonists and alternative timeline, Origins feels less like a prequel to the superlative Arkham City and more like a tribute act.

New developers WB Games Montreal mimic most of their predecessors' moves but often struggle to match, let alone improve, on them. The famed free-flowing combat system is more leaden this time around and the new gadgets less nuanced. An undercooked crime reconstruction mode looks nice but adds little.

Origins is saved by the star of the show: the previous two titles did such a great job of capturing the Caped Crusader's essence that even this more prosaic reading can't tarnish the thrill of being Batman once again. ??? DAN SILVER GIG ROBERT PLANT'S SENSATIONAL SHAPE SHIFTERS Manchester Apollo THE icon and his band take the audience on an exhilarating journey through Delta blues, psychedelia, Appalachian folk and African tribal music - but keeping the soul of Led Zeppelin at the core.

They manage to fuse all these new lines to exquisite effect, notably on songs such as Spoonful and the electrifying Fixing to Die.

At 65, Plant's voice is as powerful as ever. As he screams into Whole Lotta Love, age and time go out of the window. Sensational. LISA GRAY MUSIC BILLY JOEL Manchester Arena, then tour BILLY Joel is a charismatic storyteller, but he admitted to feeling a few nerves before his first UK gig in seven years. Joel has a string of hits to draw on and none disappointed. Piano Man was sung with the same gusto of 40 years ago before a roaring encore capped by Only The Good Die Young proved Joel is still a consummate showman.

DAVID LAFFERTY Book it now Singin' In The Rain (Various, November 13, 2013 - October 5, 2014) This acclaimed production of the classic musical set in the golden age of Hollywood, will play a Christmas and New Year season in Cardiff before touring the country. Maxwell Caulfield, of Emmerdale and Colbys fame, stars as studio boss R F Simpson, and support comes from ex Stepper Faye Tozer and Corrie favourite Vicky Binns. singinintherain.co .uk Natural History Museum Ice Rink, London (Until January 5, 2014) If you're looking for a Christmassy family outing, a trip to skate in the beautiful surroundings of Kensington's Natural History Museum is perfect. The rink is an impressive 1000 square metres, and for non skaters, there's a cafe bar and a fairground carousel. There's also special music nights, visit nhm.ac.uk for details and ticketmaster.co.uk John Bishop, Supersonic Tour (October 22 - December 20) The Liverpudlian funny man is well on the way to becoming a national treasure - while he fills huge venues with his hilariously funny routines, he remains down to earth and eminently likeable. He's rounding off 2013 with an arena tour seetickets.com and johnbishop online.com PLAY RAVING Hampstead Theatre Tamzin Outhwaite returns to Hampstead Theatre following her stint in critically acclaimed Di And Viv And Rose. Raving sees her character Briony, an anxiety-ridden mum, agree to a weekend away with slightly wet husband Keith (Barnaby Kay).

They've been invited to a remote cottage in Wales, hosted by Keith's school friend Ross (Robert Webb) and his perfect wife Rosy (Miranda and Waterloo Road's Sarah Hadland).

Already stressed about this enforced conviviality, Briony's nerves are frazzled when posh Charles and Serena hijack the weekend.

Deep secrets and insecurities quickly unravel at farcical speed. KAREN HYLAND PREVIEW GABRIELLE APLIN English Rain Tour The singer-songwriter is celebrating a great year on a nationwide tour. The 21-year-old, who topped the charts with The Power of Love, is bringing her powerful balladry to a city near you over the next two weeks. Book now. ticketmaster.com FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Leeds, November 6-21 A festival of everything cinematic from new releases to old classics, sci-fi & documentaries plus 'fanomenon' events dedicated to horror, anime and short films. Tickets from PS8. leedsfilm.com

CAPTION(S):

Holy combat: Batman's back

Awkward: Barnaby Kay and Tamzin Outhwaite

Piano man: Joel's still a showman
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2013
Words:1016
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