Article written by Greg Aldridge.
Published on 20/01/2012 at 01:00 PM.
Mobile gaming, whether on dedicated handhelds or smartphones has been quite popular among the TSA crowd this week. Thatâ€™s not a particularly unusual situation but the fact that Nintendo’s 3DS doesnâ€™t get a mention is. Instead the handheld console du jour has been a certain soon-to-be-released-outside-of-Japan model from Sony.
Dan managed to get hold of Alexâ€™s PS Vita and games – having pried it from his cold, dead hands – on a short-term loan. â€śWipEout 2048 is just as good as Al saysâ€ť, he tells me, â€świth a soundtrack that gets the heart racing every timeâ€ť. While still having faith that itâ€™ll all turn out okay in the end, Dan notes that the MotorStorm RC demo â€śisnâ€™t brilliantâ€ť as itâ€™s limited to just a single vehicle and short track.
Like many of us he is somewhat bemused that ModNation Racers: Road Trip lacks online racing but that aside it â€śhandles well and looks greatâ€ť. Happily he is able to report that the PS Vitaâ€™s version of perennial PSN favourite Super Stardust, acquiring a Delta suffix for its PS Vita outing, â€ślooks and plays just as you might hopeâ€ť. Lastly one of the handheldâ€™s new IPs Gravity Rush gets a tentative thumbs up for having â€śsome intriguing ideas, despite a fairly slow demoâ€ť.Â Putting down
his Alex’s PS Vita for a few moments Dan has spent some time with The Darkness II.Â “It’s very impressive, with much improved Darkness powers. Quad-weilding never gets old!”
Super Stardust Delta. It's super (and very explody).
The second established franchise is Everybodyâ€™s Golf 6 which goes by the name Minna No Golf 6 in Japan. While Peter says â€śitâ€™s the same classic franchise itâ€™s always beenâ€ť the fact heâ€™s playing an imported copy has proved somewhat problematic. â€śItâ€™s loads of fun but I have difficulty navigating the Japanese menus and can’t help feeling like I’m missing something!â€ť Peterâ€™s also managed to spend a little time with Football Manager Handheld 12 on his iPhone but has found that â€śthe lack of deep tactical options means that I can’t play it the same way I play the PC game and subsequently, I’m not very goodâ€ť.
Shifting away from those members of staff who’ve been fiddling with a Vita, Chris has found himself at something of a loose end gaming-wise following the closure of Starhawkâ€™s private beta,Â turning to his Android Â phonefor comfort:
I recently grabbed ChuChu Rocket! for free from GetJar. I love the game from my Dreamcast days, but find the touch screen implementation of smartphones to be the title’s natural home. I cannot stop playing, it’s been a long time since a game kept me hooked for ‘just one more go’ until the early hours on a school night, but ChuChu Rocket! does just that.
The rest of us have been making sure that the larger gaming experiences on our consoles and PCs havenâ€™t been overlooked. Aran has finally managed to tick off all the chapters of Uncharted: Drakeâ€™s Deceptionâ€™s story, the last few apparently â€śreally toyed with [his] emotions, confusion, sadness, relief, happiness all making their presence knownâ€ť. He commends Naughty Dog on once again telling a great story populated with great characters despite occasionally feeling like he â€śwas being pushed to experience the next big eventâ€ť. Some post-campaign co-op with a couple of randoms turned out to be a success, Aranâ€™s mic-lessness not hampering the teamâ€™s performance. â€śGamers, more of this real cooperation pleaseâ€ť, Aran concludes.
A couple of us have been entirely predictable in our gaming once more. Toby has returned to his old stomping ground of FIFA Ultimate Team, taking a short break from Saints Row: The Third until heâ€™s â€śmanaged to win an online tournamentâ€ť. As for myself Iâ€™ve not had much gaming time this past week but what little I have had has been devoted to Star Wars: The Old Republic and Gran Turismo 5. And Blair?
I’ve finally got around to getting into Zelda: Skyward Sword properly. And what can I say? Well, it’s incredible and I wish I had played it sooner. The level design is unmatched, with some of the best mechanics and dungeons I’ve ever seen; the combat works brilliantly; the score is food for the ears; the puzzles are great; the sidequests are brilliant and a good change for Zelda; and the boss fights are simply amazing, some have left me in awe. I love it.
Whilst I was wary at first, thinking this wouldn’t match other games in the series, I’ve played it for hours and hours each day and it’s one of the best Zelda titles, and definitely one of the best of last year. I wish I had played more before Game of the Year came around – it’d definitely be in my top three. Now, back to playing it.
Another TSAer late to the Mass Effect 2 party, like Dan was the other week, is Jim. While calling the game a â€śmasterpieceâ€ť he found it not to be without flaws. â€śThough many complained about the shift away from RPG elements in favour of the cover-based shooting, I personally think BioWare didn’t go far enoughâ€ť, a somewhat contentious view to be sure. â€śAnimations and cover swapping can be a real pain at timesâ€ť, he continues, â€śgame-freezing also being an issue to a Skyrim extentâ€ť. Fortunately, despite all that, the narrative and core gameplay are engaging enough to keep him returning for more.
A number of Free2Play betas have also been getting a workout on Jimâ€™s PC; Tribes Ascend, Super Monday Night Combat and Warhammer Online: Heroes of Wrath. While acknowledging that they all have their own strengths it is SMNC that has consumed the largest share of his time. While he cannot tell us much about the game he describes it as being â€śin essence a DOTA shooter, packed with vibrant colour, good humour, and a good spread in terms of customisationâ€ť.
Thatâ€™s what weâ€™ve been playing, how about you?