The Codec Moments’ Week Spot

Codec Moments Week Spot

It’s the Codec Moments’ Week Spot, where our team again describe their week in gaming!

Cev – Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes (PS4), Super Mario Brothers 3 (NES), Ultramarine Screen of Fear (PC)

Ugh… Great start, luke-warm middle, poor end.  Let’s do this.

When you last heard from me I was delighted to inform you all that my pc was back to it’s former glory.  Gone were the days where I knew any forms of stress, be it running a game or having too many applications open at any one given time, would cause my entire system to defecate on itself as a way of saying it would appreciate my not doing that again.  After a clean install of my operating system, as well as of course a formatting of the hard drive, I was left pretty much in the state of euphoria you saw me in in the last Week Spot.  Relishing in the delights of purposefully leaving chrome open while I listened to music, while playing League of Legends, while downloading Diablo 3, while running an anti-virus scan.  Ok, that’s clearly hyperbole, but amazingly not by a great deal.  Everything barring the virus scan is perfectly doable… watching a video on youtube in full screen however. *Psycho shower scene sound effect*

Super Mario Bros 3

Anyway, the point is that, between reviewing Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes, writing a LOT and fixing this problem, I’ve been left with very little game time.  In fact, other than MGS, the only game of note I could mention that I have had enough time to warrant saying I “actually played” and didn’t just dabble in for a couple of minutes is Super Mario Brothers 3… does that need any introduction?  Really?  OK, one of the best games ever made and only 8-bits were needed.  Incredibly fun, unbelievably varied, family friendly, but also welcoming to the hardcore “glutton for punishment” side of most gamer’s personalities, and the replay value continues to exist over 20 years after its release.  It’s fantastic and if you’ve not played it, it’s probably because you’re five years old.  In which case, you should be playing this more than I should.

Happy spring, folks.

Highlights: Tanooki, obviously.

Lowlights: So… tired…


Matt – Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes (PS4), Pixeljunk Monsters Ultimate HD (PS Vita), LEGO Lord of the Rings (PS Vita), Near (PS Vita)

This week I’ve been travelling with work to Hong Kong and China which gave me two issues: One is not being able to play inFAMOUS Second Son on release, the other is what long flights and car journeys was going to do to my gaming life.  At least the Vita was able to solve one of these problems.

First up, and a bit sneakily, I got to play MGSV Ground Zeroes before posting the review copy off to Cev.  I wasn’t expecting a disc release on PS4 so the envelope through my front door was a nice surprise on Friday evening.  It may have only taken 100 minutes to finish the main story path, but it’s been 5 years since a new game and I loved every minute of it.  Initially disappointed by YouTube footage of the environments, I’m glad they look a lot better in real life, and the animation is smooth and realistic giving Snake a greater degree of freedom than before.  Check out the review for Cev’s thoughts, and there’s one thing I’ll echo here… it’s not Snake without Hayter.

On the portable side of gaming I’ve been able to play PixelJunk Monsters at 40,000 feet and perfect clear some of the stages I’d not done yet.  The sublime and simple controls combined with the straightforward but tactical gameplay make it my favourite tower defense game by far.  I still hate the giant indestructible bees though.

PJM Ultimate HD

Mostly this trip trip I’ve been fulfilling the promise to myself that I would complete LEGO Lord of the Rings, and I have done.  Great little Vita game, though there are a few faffy jumping bits where the perspective lets you down.  I get the feeling there are a few pieces missing versus the console cousin, it all ends a bit abruptly with major movie scenes missing as playable sections, but it doesn’t detract too much from the portable experience.  I’ve started going back through to find all the secrets and bonuses that I couldn’t access from pure story mode which is giving it the longevity you’d expect from Travellers Tales.

One last thing to mention, being a new country for me to visit I decided to use Near to find out what game goodies I could get, turns out nothing for the games I own.  What was weird though is the distance calculation since my last Near update.  My home to Hong Kong is (give or take) 6,500 miles, Near thinks I’ve gone 24,000 km.  Not sure on the logic with that, might be time to update the app Sony.

Highlights: USB power in airline seats.

Lowlights: No PS4.


Andy – Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition (PS4), The Simpsons Tapped Out (iOS), Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes

I’ve not been fortunate enough to visit HK and China like Matt, however I did find myself in Lisbon this week with nothing to play but The Simpsons Tapped Out on my iPhone.  The latest update added an Irish Bar for St. Patrick’s Day, with a quest that found Homer talking to the Ghost of Liver past after indulging in a little too much craic.  This game continues to impress me with frequent updates, free content and a really witty sense of humour that often riffs on the ’free-to-play from evil EA’ perception that persists.

I’ve played quite a bit of Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition on the PlayStation 4 this week, which has been rather satisfying.  Matt and I played a lot of this in coop on the PS3 and it’s nice to have it available for the PS4, but I’m pleased that it was freebie with PS+ rather than something I paid for (yes I know I have paid for PS+, but with all the features and content it offers across the three platforms, I’ll forgive the occaisional HD remake).  The game does look nicer than the PS3 version, but honestly there isn’t a great deal in it as far as I’m concerned.  The addition of the DLC is great though and the Arcade Modes are really good fun, especially with a friend!

MGS Ground Zeroes 06

Finally, I managed to play about 20 minutes of Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes at lunchtime between meetings… honestly, it was just long enough to actually take control of snake and look through a pair of binoculars after the introductory cutscene.  The game looks amazing, best thing I’ve seen on the PS4 so far, it just feels wrong that Big Boss has become Big Bauer.

Highlights:  Remembering I could stamp on health packs for a cash boost in Dead Nation.

Lowlight:  Kept you waiting, huh?


Graham – Fifa 14 (PS4), Far Cry 3 (PS3)

For those reading my week spot entry over the next few weeks you will think I have been living on Mars for quite a while.  You are almost correct, due to my recent move I have finally opened the box marked ‘Graham’s computer crap’.  This was the box that my better half lovingly created about a month before we moved and packed all but one of my physical games for the PS4.  Therefore I will be mostly playing Fifa 14 and Killzone Shadowfall over the next couple of weeks.

I only got my PS3 and PS4 up and running again this week so I have been concentrating getting my poor first season as Tottenham on Fifa 14 back on track.  Needless to say this didn’t work and I ended up 6th, pretty much inline with how the real team are playing at the moment!  I did manage to pick up the Portugal job at the same time as running a domestic team and ended up winning the World Cup and beating Argentina 6-1 on the way.  I am sweating on a couple of transfer deals at the moment whilst looking forward to the next season.

Far Cry 3

I have also picked up Far Cry 3 again, which is in my pile of shame.   I saw some You Tube gameplay videos of it and realized I still needed to complete it and return the disc to Andy.  I hope to dispatch this in short order and move on to Borderlands 2, which is another outstanding game that passed me by first time around.

I had also designed a man den in my new house for gaming and sport watching complete with bar.  I have the den with a TV and the consoles but the bar has turned into a shabby chic dresser.  Somehow I blinked and Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen snuck in and f’d it all up!

Highlight – Fifa World Cup winning manager to go on the CV.

Lowlight – My den is more WO-man den.


Roger – Dark Souls II (PS3), South Park The Stick of Truth (PS3).

Hello everyone, long time no see, or so to speak.  I was absent from last weeks’ spot but my leave was not of my own accord.  You see I had started to become hollow, and out of shame and a lack of Human Effigy’s I was unable to join in with the rest of the COMO team.  But alas, I have returned and more alive than ever!  There is just something really special about Dark Souls 2.  The way it makes you feel after you have triumphed after dying over and over, and the way the game can cheer you up when thinking about it during a long day at work.  Saying it out loud does sound pretty nerdy, but what the hell, games are played to have fun.  I believe one of the things that is helping DSII to be so special for me is the sense of adventure and discovery.  Not knowing what is ahead or lying in ambush around the next corner is exhilarating.  Although I loved playing the original with two friends, there really is no comparison to exploring and conquering Dark Souls by yourself.  Don’t get me wrong, I still spend plenty of time assisting other players and invading the occasional person, but after doing or attempting it myself first, the reward is that much greater.  Dark Souls II is easily my GOTY contender so far.

Dark Souls II Feature

During the last two weeks I have only played South Park twice.  I have played for about 3 hours each Sunday and have had quite a good time.  The humor is spot on and the gameplay is fun.  The mild turn based RPG mechanics are funny enough and basic enough to help me grasp it.  I am rather new to turn based RPG’s and South Park has done a great job bringing me into the fold.  After this I feel that I will be ready to give Persona 4 Golden another shot.  But all in all my time was consumed with Dark Souls.  Clocking in 24 hours in the last two weeks and yet it feels as though I have only scratched the surface.  Till next time, have a good week!

Highlights: Playing Dark Souls II and getting the Collector’s edition – the figurine and steel case are amazing for any gaming/fantasy fan.

Lowlights. Having a Old Knight in Heide’s Tower fall of the cliff – the Old Knight that carries 1 of only 5 Sublime Bone Dust’s in the entire game, you know, the item that upgrades your Estus Flasks… yeah, that Knight was the one that fell… that ONE.


Let us know what you’ve been playing in the comments or via Facebook and Twitter!

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Former DJ, now a freelance scientist, writer, gamer and father.

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