It’s that time of the week when we expose our Week Spot and share with you what the Codec Moments Team and friends have been playing this week! This week we’re joined by special guest Cevyn Scott, our long time PSN friend harking back to the great days of Resistance on the PS3. He disappeared for a while into the World of Warcraft and we’re pleased to see him return from the Warcraft wilderness, to join in the new generation of consoles. The question is, will they keep him invested, or will the lure of the PC be too great? If you want to get in touch with Cevyn, you can reach him at Facebook.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me well enough that I find military shooters to be the peach melba of video games. That is that I tend only to partake in them when I have indulged in the other more favourable flavours. This is largely due to my tendancy to burn through campaigns and storyline in a matter of days (or in some cases hours) and be left with what is often the tedium of meta content and online multiplayer. With that said (and little more to do in ACIV than sing ‘The Worst Old Ship’ with the crew of the Jackdaw for hours as we sail from island to island on the quest for animus fragments), this week I have mostly been playing Call Of Duty: Ghosts. I’ve been one of those ‘on the fence’ types when it comes to this franchise since around the time the first Black Ops was released. Hardly holding any level of contempt towards the series but not running out at the first opportunity to get each new instalment, either. Being that since World At War, I’ve been predominantly PC, I generally did the obligatory campaign playthrough, faffed around in the multiplayer for around 30 hours and then moved on to whatever indie title had my attention at that given time. However, now that I’m taking a sabbatical from PC gaming and integrating myself back into consoles by picking up a PS4 at launch, I find myself with more time with fewer titles.
I confess, the campaign to Ghosts is probably my favourite to date. It resembles more of what I consider story and plot and less of what I consider army jargon and excuses to jump from exciting set piece A to astonishing set piece B. That’s not to say it’s innocent of the latter, but it’s presented in a more aesthetically pleasing way… at least for me. I could grouse about certain thematic indiscretions but that would be nitpicking. I enjoyed it. Enough to warrant the £60 I paid for it.
On the multiplayer side of things, where I have naturally spent the bulk of my time, I have finally figured out a comfortable set up in the Remington R5, which appears to be the only gun in the game that doesn’t make me feel like Michael J Fox during an earthquake trying to write the complete works of Shakespeare on the head of a pin. Since this discovery I have actually been coming out with positive KDR’s, which is unlike me. In truth, I’ve been having a lot more fun than I recall having with the game since the first Modern Warfare but, inversely, it has more grinding and mind numbingly dull challenges than I recall a Call of Duty ever having.
In an attempt to take a break from the monotony of Call of Duty I have been playing, and thoroughly enjoying, Resogun. This is one of those simple games that really hooks me in quickly and deeply. As a bonus however, this one happens to have a unique twist that actually ramps up the challenge in an area I feel I have grown irritatingly proficient. I’ve mastered Geometry Wars, Beat Hazard and Super Stardust but the turntable style rotation is both a welcome perspective of the shmup and a unique enough approach to make me feel completely green to the genre. Favouring agility I opt for Nemesis over Ferox and Phobos as I have always been a ‘try and squeeze out, rather than spending a bomb’ kind of player, but the pressing matter of the multiplier being on a strict time limit has me using my bombs to either keep that alive or to drive those rapidly absconding keepers out of existence before I lose another potential weapon upgrade.
Highlights: Being the MVP in a HC TDM.
This week I’ve managed to finish 3 games, one of them after 3 bottles of wine, which says a lot about the length and difficulty of some of the campaigns out there. But first up, I’ve played very little ACIV, only managing about half an hour or so on Sunday. It’s good, and I’m going to spend some quality time with it during the Xmas break. The only thing I’ve not liked is hitting a bug that stopped me from progressing and left my vessel stranded with only barrels of fire to push off the stern whilst being attacked from the other 3 sides. At least it fixed itself once it had killed me off.
I finished up the Battlefield 4 campaign at the beginning of the week, opting to not start any multiplayer in case it wiped my progress even though apparently that issue has now been patched, but I wasn’t risking it. It’s a decent story focussing on the realism of war and trying to make an emotional connection between the player and the supporting NPCs which falls a little short of its goal (other than me exclaiming at the TV “it’s Omar from the wire!”). However, the levels are lengthy and require some strategic thinking and planning to get smoothly through them, and it doesn’t get too frustrating with the grenade spamming. Why most shooters think that the only way to make things difficult is to grenade spam is beyond me, see Killzone Shadow Fall for some tips fellas! I particularly like the scoring mechanism and live leaderboard to keep tabs on your friends that promotes more playthroughs, it’s subtle and you don’t notice it unless you pause, but it makes things a bit competitive. I’ve set one for the Codec Moments team for the last level, we’ll update on that next week.
Next I moved to Call of Duty Ghosts on the PS3 after being set the challenge by Andy for the fastest I could complete it on my first playthrough. 4 hours 28 minutes from start to finish including all cutscenes and being very nicely drunk for the last two levels. I’m in the opposite camp to Cevyn with this. There are some good levels and the story is a good attempt to move things away from real world situations and open up the scenarios, but it is essentially a hand-holding corridor shooter with a fancy sky box and the desire to milk every last penny out of its fans. The story would have held its own if it didn’t cop out at the very last minute (in a distinctly incongruous way) and blatantly went “you’ll pay for episodic games like The Walking Dead, so here’s ours”. The difference is TWD charges you £16 for a thoughtful and well structured 5 episodes of decisions that craft your story; CoD charges you £55 (Activisions RRP) per game to make all your decisions and nearly play the game for you. I swear there are levels you can get through without even firing a shot if you don’t feel like it. I’m not even going to get into the arcade-style multiplayer, Battlefield it is not.
Finally this week I’ve finished Contrast on the PS4. I’ve enjoyed the vibe and different puzzle nature of it, though it’s another short game. It’s a bit buggy too, the final level trophies didn’t ding for me and the controls can be a bit fiddly jumping in and out of shadows. The environments are nicely detailed and the play of light to create paths is well done, it put me in mind of Echochrome 2, but with a considered story and French setting. It also stopped all my trophy syncing for two days until I Googled a workaround. Top tip here, if you get the error code that stops syncronisation then don’t follow the advice that says delete your profile! There’s a much simpler trick to sorting the problem out but it does mean some manual pushing of trophy data via the notifications menu, and gaining a trophy in the game that has the problem.
Highlights: Top score on the final level of Battlefield 4 (for now).
Lowlights: CoD Ghosts multiplayer – laggy, small maps, unbalanced teams and graphically poor (on the PS3 at least).
Roger: Castlevania Symphony (PS Vita) and Terraria (PS Vita)
As is true with all droughts, when the rain finally comes it is very welcome. This week I have had a chance to finally play some games. As a person who is relatively new to gaming in the scheme of things, several of my friends who are also older have been a positive influence to me toward classic games. So I downloaded Castlevania Symphony of the Night and put it on my Vita. I was surprised, never had I thought that I could so easily get into this older style of game. I found it easily accessible, fun and equally challenging. It gives me a strong respect for the Metroid-vania style of games that are largely popular and for good reason. I am going to do my part as a gamer, complete this gem and chalk one down.
The other game that consumed large quantities of time was Terraria on Vita. If you haven’t played it think of a 2d Minecraft with an insane amount of content. I have tunnelled to the depths of earth and built a large mansion and just been having a grand old time. That pretty much completes my gaming repertoire for the week except I did watch my friend play Contrast on PS4 and it looks very unique and artful. The idea of shifting into a shadow mode to climb shadows like platforms or watch shadow cutscenes is genius. I look forward to playing it soon. Until next time!
Highlights: Enjoying a gaming classic that I’d missed.
I have had very little time for gaming this week as work has been crazy busy and my diverse little family decided to spend Christmas day flung to the four corners of the globe, so we’ve done several Christmases this weekend!
When I did briefly play it was the usual dose of Battlefield 4 (99.99%) and a touch of Blacklight: Retribution (0.01%). Blacklight: Retribution is a free to play, first person shooter on the PS4. Now it is fair to say that I don’t have the best internet connection in the world, but it copes with most things… Blacklight however has more lagging than Plumb Centre. I saved a video of some lagging and glitching from my brief session, let me talk you through it. Firstly I empty half a clip into the enemy, then the other half into the wall; then they kill me from behind another wall, whilst seemingly travelling in the opposite direction on their invisible skateboard. Heck, I’m not even mad; that’s amazing
I also got a chance to play LEGO Marvel Superheroes with my 9 year old nephew on the Wii U; this is a great game that seems to have so much variety and depth. It really is a shining example of how games can help not only kid’s motor skills (hand-eye coordination, dexterity) but also cognitive skills by using subtle logic problems, such as working out which characters skills are required to access certain areas or defeat certain baddies; skills my nephew has in abundance, alongside an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Marvel Universe. We played co-op with me able to use the Wii U controller as a second screen and him using the TV, which is a nice touch and should be added to the remote play functionality of PS Vita and PS4!
Higlights: LEGO Marvel Superheroes and embedding that video from Facebook into this post!
Lowlights: Having to play Blacklight: Retribution to capture that video.
This week I have been dedicating most of my time to BF4 multiplayer on the PS4, after my initial thoughts that the multiplayer was easier than BF3 I am in a position where that is no longer the case. With 3 children my gaming time is a little limited, so when you are playing games that reward you for the more time you spend on them you find yourself at a disadvantage. Yes a bad workman always blames his tools but you must say that having a better arsenal at your disposal gives you a better chance of success. Getting used to the levels and knowing what class of soldier to have and what load out is also key; this again comes with game time. I am enjoying it although it can feel a little tedious to get through the early ranks especially when the new PS4 system frequently tells you how good your mates are compared to you! Matt has set a Codec Moments challenge this week so I intend to have a bash at that and try not to disgrace myself too much.
I have also been back to the PS3 this week as PS Plus has given me a chance to play Grid 2. This is a title I avoided when it was first released due to the issues one of the Codec Moments team was experiencing with the game. I loved the first one and it still is one of the only racing games I completed. Grid 2 seems to have continued with the winning formula but I will report over the next few weeks as I play it more. It is worth mentioning that Grid 2 was only released earlier this year and has made its way to PS Plus in record time, I don’t think it is a ‘straight to DVD title’ so well done PlayStation for offering this game for free.
Highlight – 4 Place in a conquest game.
Lowlight – Getting shot in the back on a regular basis.
Join us after Christmas for the next Codec Moment’s Week spot and let us know what you’ve been playing if you’d like to be a guest!