Time flies when you’re having fun, or when you’ve not got enough time to really play anything. It’s been slim pickings for most of the team in this Week Spot, but at least they’ve been good slim pickings. The only thing we’re missing this week is Graham, since England got knocked out of the World Cup he’s gone into a period of mourning mixed with a desire to bite peoples shoulders. If you see him out and about dressed all in black and looking sad, DON’T offer your condolences and try to hug him.
Roger – God of War (PS Vita), Dark Souls II (PS3) and Boss Monster (Board Game)
There have been many games this week that I would have loved to sit down and really sink my time into, but the chance never came around. Most time playing this week has been enjoyed in little bursts here or there. My sister came to visit this week and while she got herself caught up on season two of The Walking Dead, I sat there a booted up some God of War from the Vita GoW collection. Going through and hunting down every last collectible is just as tedious as the last time around, but it is also just as much fun. GoW on the Vita is an excellent version of this wonderful franchise and is great for those on the go or for those whose sisters have commandeered the television screen.
About halfway through my day off I decided that enough was enough. It was time to get back to Dark Souls II. Although it feels like a couple of months since I had last played, in no time at all I found myself at home, rummaging through this dark and dreary world. Since my character in game is a DEX build, I thought I would try to obtain the Blacksteel Katana from one of the Alonne Knights in the Iron Keep. Having donned all of my item discovering gear, I set off on a grinding quest for the ever-elusive rare drop. Finally after much effort and several sets of their amour, I finally got lucky and got two drops of the rare sword. After leveling both to 10, I set out to see how my dual wielding prowess would pay off. I sadly regret leveling both. I feel more comfortable playing with the standard “sword and board” style, and not having a shield in my other hand just felt strange. I will give it some more time but I think I might switch things up a bit.
Onto the more nerdy side of things, for a friend’s birthday, a few of us got together to try some board games. While some of them were hard to learn, I did find the game “Boss Monster” to be rather enjoyable. A NES themed game where you are the boss, and your goal is to create dungeons that will kill a hero before they can get to you and hurt you. First person to collect 10 hero souls is the winner. Time flew and before we knew it, it was 4:30 in the morning and time for this party-pooper to hit the sack. Other than that, I was going to spend some time with the Battlefield Hardline beta as well as Valiant Hearts. My colleague Cev was rather fond of it in his review, and I decided to give it a purchase. Stay tuned next week for my talk about each of those games. Peace!
Highlights: Successfully grinding and receiving two Blacksteel Katanas, rare drops are no match for me!
Lowlights: Not being able to stay up past 4:30 am and truck on with the rest of my friends.
Andy – WATCH_DOGS (PS4)
Sadly all I’ve played this week is about an hour of WATCH_DOGS and 30 seconds of Pixel Junk Shooter Ultimate. That game looks great and the controls are slick, so it’d be nice to play some more when time permits. What’s kept me busy this week is thinking up fiendish questions for our Metal Gear Solid quiz (come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough) and my weekend consisted of an intensive session on ‘Paving Simulator’ with the ‘Multiple Trips to B&Q for More Sharp Sand’ mod running. I’m still no further than I was in the story of WATCH_DOGS, which I guess is testament to how engrossing all the side missions are.
Speaking of testaments, we’ve recorded a podcast around the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V, which should be out over the weekend (the podcast, not MGS V), and things get a biblical… in a good way.
Highlights: I have a short path outside my garden shed.
Lowlights: I have a massive blister from digging.
Matt – GRID Autosport (PS3)
Another week flies by and my intentions of finishing WATCH_DOGS evaporated like spilled petrol on a hot day. My gaming time this week was spent with GRID Autosport instead. You can read the review to get my full impressions, so I figured I’d drop some things here that I didn’t put in there.
I really struggled with the game to begin with, the move back to PS3 after the gorgeous games that are on the PS4 was jarring to the say the least, and I think my eyes had to adapt to the jaggies and inconsistent framerate before I could fully appreciate what I’ve been playing. There’s frustration when you have no choice but to start from the back of the grid because there’s no qualifying option; anger when you get barged into spins by the other drivers; disappointment in how poor your team mate is; horror when you get a puncture overtaking an erratic driver on the last lap of a tight race, knowing that it’s lose the points or restart and do it all again; elation when you overtake 5 cars on one corner alone; air-punching triumph when you absolutely nail a drift run and score double everyone else; smugness when you don’t setup your car up but still put in the fastest lap; and pure pleasure when it all clicks and you realise it is a great racing game. Would I change the score? No, because I think it’s a fair score for what the game is, but I recommend it if your in the mood for a new driving game. Just make sure you’ve got the time to put in.
Will I finish WATCH_DOGS before next week when Sniper Elite III is due out and there’s a co-op campaign? Time will tell, check back in 7 days and find out.
Highlights: Being in the top 1% of RaceNet challenge scores in GRID Autosport.
Lowlights: Realising there were only a handful of people who’d attempted the RaceNet challenges.
Cev – Valiant Hearts (PC), Mark Of The Ninja (PC) and Torchlight 2 (PC)
Earlier this week, yesterday in fact, I made a comment on Twitter stating that I feel like I have been striking platformer gold recently, and that can be put on the back of two games, Valiant Hearts being one of them. The review can be found on here and the first chapter in its entirety can be found below! (do not watch if you plan to play)
Given that both the review and the first chapter are right here, there’s little more I can say about it beyond the fact that I LOVE IT!
The other title comes courtesy of Klei Entertainment of Shank, Eets and Don’t Starve fame. It’s probably one of the most deep and surprisingly encompassing platformers I’ve ever had the good fortune to play. It’s called Mark Of The Ninja and, many people would say, it’s one of the first games to truly get not only stealth games, but also ninjas right. I don’t know how much of that I’m on side with, being that stealth games are probably my favourite kind, and I know full well there are some great ones out there, but part of me agrees that the ninja side of things is perhaps a somewhat appropriate statement. By my knowledge ninja’s were never supposed to be about hacking their way through hordes of enemies ala Ninja Gaiden or synchronized assassination like in Tenchu (note: not saying I do not like these games). Mark of the ninja however, stresses the point that you’re actually doing the right thing when you pass enemies undetected. You can kill your way through the game, naturally, but your arsenal of gadgetry implores you to do otherwise. That in conjunction with the fact that combat is incredibly twitchy and dangerous enough to negatively reinforce the idea that if you’re going to be killing, don’t do it out in the open. It won’t end well for you.
It’s truly a fantastic game (that really should have come to the PS3 – or perhaps now, the PS4) and is available on 360 and PC. While the Steam summer sale is active – until the 30th June – you can pick it up for a lot less than it is worth. Consider this a recommendation. It’s also unlikely to be very stressful on low end systems, however don’t take my word on it.
Highlights: Valiant Hearts…Valiant Hearts, Valiant Hearts Valiant Hearts…VALIANT HEARTS!
Lowlights: Took 24 hours to upload that video to YouTube!
We’ll be back with more gaming activities next week. Until then why don’t you let us know what you’ve been playing and what your highlights and lowlights have been. You can reach us via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, email, or in the comments below.