Thursday has rolled around again and it’s time for the team to delve into their sacks and pull out what they’ve been playing in the Codec Moments Week Spot.
Roger – Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PS4), Sniper Elite III (PS4), Sleeping Dogs (PS3), Shovel Knight (3DS)
Not only has this past week been filled to the brim with gaming, I finally had a good excuse to lay down my Dual Shock 3, dust off the trusty PS4 and give it some much needed attention. To get the PS3 out of the way first, the only thing that I played on it was Sleeping Dogs. I had recently watched the movie “Big Trouble in Little China” for the first time, and I was strongly driven to delve into the world of Sleeping Dogs. I’ve had the game for some time and have never played it, so I figured now was better than never. Like many games I have started, I always seem to pick the most inopportune times, and sure enough, Sniper Elite III came out and I had to give it a go. I was a big fan of SE:V2 when it came out so I knew I had to get this game one way or another. I am absolutely loving my time with it so far, and save for a few multiplayer issues, it appears to be much better than its predecessor. Stay tuned for a review in the near future.
Next up is Valiant Hearts. I heard nothing of this game until I stumbled upon a trailer for it in my YouTube feed. It immediately caught my eye with its gritty and stylistic art design. The music that played along was emotional and the gameplay shown looked challenging and fresh. When Cev reviewed the game for the site, I was sold. I am so far a few levels in and it is an entertaining and educating process. The historical facts that are littered in this world are engaging, and I am finding myself learning new things about WWI that I either never knew or forgot over the years. I love history and it is really nice to play a war-themed game without running and gunning shooting things. The puzzles are just difficult enough that a small grin appears on your face once you solve them and get the answer. I look forward to sinking more time into that soon.
I can’t believe that I almost forgot the highlight of this week. I had recently heard massive amounts of praise from a friend and from one of my favorite podcasts in regards to Shovel Knight. A modernized 2D Platforming RPG with an incredibly retro feel and sound, Shovel Knight is a game that is meant for most everyone. The developers have created a challenging, yet addicting game that is deeply rooted in nostalgic goodness, yet at the same time has learned from many gaming advances over the years. Each level in the world is laid out in the likes of Mario 2, and the sound track is wonderful.
Highlight: Shovel Knight. Oh, and slow motion bullet cams from SE3; so satisfying!
Lowlight: Absolutely Nothing!
Cev did a number on all of us with his Valiant Hearts review and I, like Roger, have picked it and played about half of it in the last week. I like the style that blends something almost cute with what was a horrific conflict, and you end up learning so much about a period of history that tends to get overlooked in favour (if that’s the right word to use here) of WWII. Timing the release with the 100 year commemoration is obvious, but was also unexpected, and Ubisoft Montpelier have done a great job here. I’ll be finishing the rest of the game pretty soon. Why haven’t I got all the way through it already you might ask, well…
…Sniper Elite III. I also had a soft spot for Sniper Elite: V2 on the PS3, and much co-op goodness was had between me and Andy, so it was inevitable I’d be buying the latest installment, and not only because it supports the largest independent development studio in the UK. What can I say about it? I’ve had a lot of fun, and squeamish moments, stealthing about and sniping in slow motion through the large open levels. Roger’s review will be up soon, so I’ll not steal his thunder, but if you watch the short video below you’ll get an idea of what it’s like (warning: do not watch if you’re offended by x-ray detail of bullet penetrations).
Next on the list was WATCH_DOGS, and no, I’ve not finished it yet. I am on the last act though and there’s some new content landed courtesy of the season pass so I’m intending spending more time on it over the weekend. Ranked up there with not a lot of time spent on them, but for very different reasons are Strider and Doki Doki Universe which have arrived through the July PS plus offering. It was late at night when I put Doki Doki on and I think I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, there’s a lot of reading to do. I like the style and the odd premise, and Balloon, I just need to be more awake to enjoy it. On the other hand, I doubt I’ll be spending any more time with Strider, it’s definitely not my cup of tea, and other than a graphical overhaul, not really an improvement on the 80’s Spectrum version I had as a child. I expect more from my PS4 given the pedigree with Resogun, Stick it to the Man, Outlast, and PixelJunk Shooter, and I’m almost as infuriated by this poor excuse for a game appearing on there than I was with NeoGeo games appearing on my PS3. Almost. We’re 30 years on, leave it in the past people, or at the very least, make an effort to do something that doesn’t feel like a coin-op reject.
I also played more Hitman GO and furthered my career on GRID Autosport which I’m liking more each time I play (even if it doesn’t look very nice when things get busy). My honourable mention this week goes to Share Factory because I’ve spent more time tinkering with what it can do, and the simplicity is great. Still lots of potential in this little program and I hope they keep supporting it over time. It really could do with a copy clip function though.
Highlight: Having a week off work and making two 348 metre headshots in a row – take that sneaky enemy snipers!
Lowlight: Leaving a Google+ community due to Nazi-type moderation (ironically over a video of Nazi’s being shot in slow motion).
I was absent from last week’s Week Spot not as it was reported due to an emotional football related illness, but my job is slowly taking over my life and no one is safe. Without boring you to within an inch of your life I work for an architectural lighting company and every so often we are called upon to design lighting schemes for projects. It requires you to go a bit Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen and as such I have been busy creating the outside… …inside! I know! Mind. Blown.
Whilst I have been away acting a little too camp for comfort, the guys have been putting me to shame with their gaming exploits. For me the last week involved a drunken evening where me and a few friends trying to show each other how England should have played using FIFA 14 and FIFA World Cup Brazil to showcase our skills and tactics. We ended up deciding that a mazy run from the keeper from his own goal line was not recommended, or getting the entire back 4 sent off.
I am slowly drawing to the end of WATCH_DOGS, I have enjoyed the story and I am looking forward to the conclusion. The hacking is becoming boring now (within the story) to the point where I am going in all grenade launcher happy on most missions. I just hope it holds enough interest post campaign for me to continue with the multiplayer aspects.
Highlight: T Bones traps in WATCH_DOGS.
Lowlight: Think my train is about to crash.
Cev – Payday 2 (PC), Sniper Elite V2 (PC), Lots of other sequels (PC)
This past week has been somewhat hectic. Between the steam sale, doing some work around the house, discovering Orange is the New Black, and realising the error of my ways in dismissing Sniper Elite V2 until it was recently made available on Steam for free (for a, now past, 24 hour period I’m afraid), I’ve barely had the time to put mind elsewhere.
The Steam summer sale is over now (thank God!) and, aside from the clearly rigged event to accompany it, I’ve had a pretty decent haul of games that I’m slowly, but surely, making my way through. Highlights include Far Cry 3 and Blood Dragon (the latter of which I’ve wanted to get my grubby little mitts on for a while… it’s underwhelming), Sid Meier’s Civilization 5 (which was gifted to me by a friend… it’s massively overwhelming), and Payday 2 which, from my experience with it, is massively underrated. These as well as Dust: An Elysian Tale, The Swapper, System Shock 2, Torchlight 2, Plague Inc: Evolved, Shadowrun Returns and… you get the point. Plenty to keep me going for the weeks to come… though of course the PlayStation Plus update went live recently, so there’s a few more titles to bolster the already bloated selection!
I really want to talk about Sniper Elite, though. For years I brushed this aside based solely on the fact that the first one put me off by being what I at the time considered a Conflict ripoff with a drastically limited pool of weaponry. I carried that same disinterest with me to the sequel and refused to give it the time of day, and as a result have lost pretty much the past two days to a fantastic little game that, level design aside, is extremely enjoyable. There’s something immensely satisfying about finding a headshot so easy that you begin to aim for particular parts of the face for an extra challenge!
I’m glad I finally got over myself and gave it try, albeit now that it’s too late to actually pay for it… but there’s always Sniper Elite 3! Consider this a cautionary tale, folks! Don’t rule anything out until you’ve given it a fair shot… through the eye… from two hundred metres away.
Highlight: Spoilt for choice with new games!
Lowlight: Can’t stand the smell of paint!
Andy – Sniper Elite III (PS4)
This week I have sadly had no time for gaming, other than about 15 minutes of Sniper Elite III on the PlayStation 4. The game doesn’t disappoint with gruesome kill cams and satisfying sniping, combined with improved enemy AI that will hunt for you, but still allows you to slip away undetected if you’re quick smart. This ghosting leads to an exhilarating game of cat and mouse, where the mouse has a sniper rifle and a selection of booby traps.
Mostly this week I’ve been learning about what happens during labour, the birth process and how to look after a baby when you bring it home. One thing I’ve taken away from games over the years is that any concept, no matter how complicated (i.e. sniping, telepathy, hacking and how to upgrade my tower’s defence via the medium of dance) can usually be taught through a quick tutorial… after 16 hours of parenting classes, I’m not so sure that this is the case; in fact, thinking back to when I learned to drive makes me think that there may be more subtle nuances to the real world than I care to admit.
Highlight: Headshot through the lens of a pair of binoculars.
Lowlight: Nappy changing practice.