It’s been a beautiful bank holiday weekend; unless you happened to be by the seaside, like Graham and I. Storm force winds provided waves that threatend to wash away our 7 year old guest reviewer Noah away, before he had a chance to submit copy for his review of LEGO The Hobbit. Thankfully we all made it back in one piece and he’s going to make his deadline. Time once again then for The Codec Moments’ Week Spot, where the team tell you about the games they’ve been playing this week, which they actually had to pay for…
Roger: South Park The Stick of Truth (PS3), Angry Birds (PS3) and Dead Nation (PS Vita)
This has been a busy week for me and not a lot of time was dedicated to free time. There were a few minutes here and there and I feel that they were well spent. Most of my time spent (which was not much) was with Dead Nation on Vita. Feeling a bit more comfortable with the controls, I decided to give it another go and almost cleared the first level by myself on Grim. If I had more time I would have been more inclined to finish it, but considering my schedule, I decided it best to return to finish at another time. I was nearing the end of the last checkpoint and did not have the opportunity to retrace all of the lost progress after I died. I happily intend to return to Dead Nation as it is one of my favorite twin-stick shooters in recent memory.
This week I received a call from a good friend. He pleaded with me to get back into South Park: The Stick of Truth. He and his wife had just finished the game and the impression that it left on them was substantial. Keep in mind that this friend is primarily a WOW player, seeing him dedicate time to another game was intriguing and hearing him rave about it was all of the encouragement I needed to hop back in. If South Park encouraged my primarily WOW friend to play it to completion, it must be good.
As far as casual gaming was concerned, I did play a lot of Angry Birds on PS3. Having recently played it on Wii, I was able to find the game used for PS3 for a great deal and decided to start playing it where I can earn Trophies and enjoy HD graphics. Angry Birds is special. It does what it does very well and is complex. It is accessible enough that anyone’s mother can pick it up, yet challenging enough to take dedicated gamers a long time to 3 Star some of the more complex levels. It is a game that can be enjoyed in bits and pieces and I was able to spend a bit of time in it. Things got better when I discovered custom soundtracks could be played on my PlayStation while playing the game. A newly discovered band by the name of Battle Beast has been on repeat on my phone for the past two weeks, and needless to say the amazing metal riffs gave me all the incentive I needed to plug away level after level of Angry Birds for a decent amount of time.
Highlights: I bought a new TV. It’s no 4K, but it is an upgrade in size and features so it’s good for me! Wow, those colors are crisp!
Lowlights: Having not played Dark Souls for the past two weeks. I feel that I have gone completely hollow and will never be able to return to Drangleic. Maybe one day…
Graham: MotoGP 13 (PS Vita), Hotline Miami (PS Vita), LEGO The Hobbit (PS4) and Smash Hit (iOS)
My week’s gaming exploits have centred mostly around playing LEGO The Hobbit, which I am reviewing for Codec Moments this week. It is the first LEGO game I have played on the PS4, so I was eager to see if it enhanced the gaming experience, or if it is a last gen game on a current gen platform… find out tomorrow.
I am still engaged on a mission of loving my Vita, after my recent opinion piece about how it didn’t meet my high standards. As such I have completed my first season in MotoGP 13 and was crowned Moto3 champion (125cc class) and have now moved up to the Moto2 class (250cc). This game is proving pretty easy and I would have liked to have fast tracked to the full MotoGP class, but it is extending the interest level at least for now.
Like an expectant father I am waiting for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number to be pushed, kicking and screaming, into the world later this year. To prepare I have started to work my way through the original again. This was my game of the year and second time around, it still hooks you and won’t let go.
To kill some time when I only have my iPad air to hand and need to look like I am still working, I have downloaded Smash Hit. It is a scrolling ball and smash type game that sees you progress through the level by smashing glass type objects as you go. You get more balls the more you smash, so you have to be accurate and sparing of your balls (ooh Matron).
Highlights: Hotline Miami is still awesome!
Lowlights: My iMac doesn’t recognise ‘iPad’ as a word…
This week, around compulsively trying to one-up myself on Super Stardust HD, I’ve actually had a fair amount of time to play an assortment of games. Although, truth be told, I’ve not really been in the mindset to commit myself to anything due to the agitation of downloading Ni No Kuni (more like No, No, KuNoooooooo!) off the playstation store at what I can only estimate is about 2mb per hour, an issue confined to my PS3 alone. That’s a long time when considering that the total download is in the area of 22gb (I started last Thursday and, at the time of writing this, have 4gb to go)!
So, to keep myself entertained during this time I have played what few games are at my disposal that don’t put the active download into the dreaded “pending” status – and a few that do.
I’ve been attempting a clean – no killing – run of Dishonored which is a welcome challenge due to the extremely limited options of non-lethal takedowns. I also spent a few hours with Hitman: Absolution, not attempting to be as considerate on the “no murder” policy and have been extremely disappointed by Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
But the game I want to talk about the most right now is The Wolf Among Us… I figured this would be a great little title, fitting to the bar set by Telltale’s first Walking Dead season, but I had no idea how even calling it “Great” would be an understatement. Due to the easter sale I managed to pick up the season pass for just under £6 and with it, the first three episodes which were played in quick succession. Having played this made me want to kick myself for all the times I overlooked it at the comic book shop. The premise alone would have reeled me in, had I just picked up the first volume and had a scan of the back cover.
However, every cloud, yada yada, I have the whole series to look forward to when I am able to pick up the complete set and a fantastic episodical game series to go with and, I don’t doubt, compliment it.
I don’t want to drop any spoilers as, it being episodical, even talking about stuff that is old news to those who are up to date is a spoiler for those who aren’t, or those who are waiting for the series to be complete before diving in. What I will say is, if for any reason you’re on the fence or perhaps thinking that it’s not going to be “as good” as the walking dead, I have this to say. Just take the plunge. I don’t know how long the easter sale is going to be on for, but as it stands you can pick it up on the PS3 for the same price I did and it’s extremely different from what TWD was…and, as I said to a friend earlier in the week, “Worth more than I paid for it!”
Highlights: 80 million on SSHD!
Lowlights: Spent so long downloading a game, I’m not as interested in playing it as I was when I started.
Well after being locked in my office editing audio all of last week, I had some brief respite and actually managed to play some games over the Easter weekend, before being locked back in my office to edit the next Codec Call in time for Saturday…
Having been away at the seaside, I got some quality time on the Vita and I have to say how impressed I am with Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. I thought that the 2.5 D aspect would bother me and that it would ruin the combat, but it translates really well and the combat is almost as satisfying and complex as I found it to be in Arkham Asylum and City. The only downside are that the predator sections don’t feel as well implemented; even with just a few armed enemies it often becomes a brawl on the ground, when you’d rather be swooping from the shadows. I picked Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate up in the Playstation Easter Sale for better than half price, along with another contender for ‘World’s Longest Game Title 2013’, PixelJunk Monsters Ulitmate HD. PJMUHD adds all the DLC of the original and trophies, meaning it was a pleasure to play. I’ve not danced on a turret to upgrade it, since my PSP Go was confined to a drawer.
Speaking of ‘Go’ (terrible segue, I know), I also played Hitman Go on the recommendation of the Prof and Brian. The game looks amazing and somehow captures the true spirit of Hitman, as a boardgame… I don’t need to say any more, just get it.
Finally I got some time on the PS4 and played Mercenary Kings whilst I downloaded Trials Fusion. As an Xbox 360 convert, I’ve always wanted Trials HD to come to Playstation and now RedLynx have made it happen! Trials Fusion is as much fun as HD ever was and the backdrops are great to look at too (certainly mixing it up more too). What really pleased me though is the social aspect, I spent a while last night beating Matt’s times on the first few levels just to start another time trials war, the like of which we haven’t seen since MotorStorm RC. What’s more is I beat his times whilst in the bath; Trials Fusion is perfect for the Vita’s remote play function so I’m sure I’ll be spending a lot of time with this over the next few months!
Highlights: Trials Fusion on Vita rmote play.
Lowlights: Mercenary Kings… I’m just not that into it.
Matt: Broken Sword 5 (Steam), Trials Fusion (PS4) and Skyrim (PS3)
I’ve spent a lot of time gaming over the last week, but two of the three games I’ve been focussed on have been slated for review over the next few days, so it would just be repeating myself if I put anything in now. Suffice to say I’ve been enjoying a return to point and click adventuring with Broken Sword 5 and massive frustration in the pursuit of perfection with Trials Fusion.
Really though, my gaming this week, particularly during the dull bits of the Easter weekend, has been spent returning to the world of Skyrim. After reading a piece on Good Friday over on Eurogamer, the desire to re-buy the game and continue playing hit me and I was powerless to refuse. Heading into my local GAME store and grabbing it (and all the DLC) for the price of a couple of lattes was only a bonus. I genuinely thought if I got the DLC packs I’d be straight into them and adding to my already earned platinum, but I forgot about the distractions. I’ve spent around 8 hours in the world since I returned , it took a little while to get back in the swing of things, but the rest of the time has been about tying up loose ends. Dragonborn and Dawnguard are both there tempting me but I’ve not been anywhere near them, there’s just too many other things to finish off.
To be able to pick up a game 18 months after last playing because you thought you’d done nearly everything it had to offer, then find there’s a tonne of content still waiting for you is a fantastic feeling. It even helps you overlook the long loading times and occasional glitchy animation. There’s also the delight in seeing some of the emergent events that happen, things that aren’t scripted like a dragon attacking a lone troll on a road, bandits raiding a caravan, or just wandering and stumbling across a vampire lair complete with hellhounds. It’s been fantastic to go back and I’m not planning on leaving any time soon.
Highlights: Finally finding all the Crimson bloody Nirnroots in Blackreach!
Lowlights: Vita connection lag whilst remote playing Trials Fusion.