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What We Played #41

The one where dawn is a graphical revelation.

Okay, so the PS Vita’s out in the wild in the West now and you know what that means? It means there are some great bargains to be had if you fancy seeing what its inspiration, the PlayStation Portable, has to offer.

That’s exactly what Chris did at the end of last week, grabbing himself a bargain-priced PSP and a shed-load of great games “for less than a couple of pounds each”. He’s been busy playing through GTA Vice City Stories, GT PSP, Burnout Legends and SSX On Tour and still has UMDs containing awesome games like LittleBigPlanet, GTA Liberty City Stories and Chinatown Wars, Ready at Dawn’s amazing God of War games “and much, much more still to play”.

There’s been little in the last month or so that’s tempted Chris to fire up his trusty PS3 but the chance given by Motorstorm RC’s Cross-play and asynchronous multi-player racing to be the fastest arrow on everyone else’s screen proved too much of a temptation. Unfortunately when I heard from him an “impossibly slow download speed” meant he was still waiting to play it.

In another example of savvy shopping Josh has picked up some of last year’s PS3 big hitters for around a tenner each. He’s playing through Infamous 2 and LittleBigPlanet 2 “both of which are really good and really didn’t get enough praise”. Having not long completed the first Infamous the improvements made in the sequel are readily apparent and flat surfaces everywhere need to be on their guard as LBP2 has reawakened Josh’s sticker-obsessiveness.

Word to the wise; don't let Josh borrow your laptop.
Away from his console he’s got into playing League of Legends with some friends. “It manages to strike a great balance between how accessible the basic design is and how tough it can actually be to win a game”. While he’s really enjoying playing, like many multi-player experiences he says that it is at its best if you can manage to corral two full teams of friends together.

Alex has been playing through Journey for review and that’s all we can say about it until 4PM UK time on Monday when the review goes live. Also tightly embargoed until Monday are Peter’s thoughts on the new SSX. Fortunately there’s nothing stopping him telling us about his PS Vita gaming.

Top Darts and Hustle Kings proved pleasant surprises, their limited subject matter leaving them free of distractions form their core experiences and the short duration of a game of darts or pool making them eminently suitable for portable gaming.

Of all the PS Vita games Peter says “MotorStorm RC is undoubtedly the best of the bunch though”.

It’s so compelling, trying to beat other people’s times. I do get a little frustrated by it though. I’m not proud of this but for a split second, I actually considered deleting Gazo69 and Nofi from my PSN friends list because they were destroying my times so much!

Speaking of compelling, I couldn’t actually get Tuffcub to put down his PS Vita long enough to tell me what he’s playing on it. Dan meanwhile has been playing “a bucket load of WipEout 2048, finally beating the 2050 challenge”. The intense racing hasn’t left him unscathed though as he claims it’s aged him ten years!

Then he played a “hammock full of Asphalt Injection”, which for those of you who haven’t read his review he summarises as “an average racer elevated slightly by some cool Vita control methods”. That was in turn followed by a not particularly enjoyable “crate’s worth of Syndicate”, a game that unfortunately squandered the potential it had.  All of which begs the question which is biggest, a bucket, hammock or crate?

UFC Undisputed 3 is one of two games that has been keeping Aran busy. Having played through it for review he says it’s the “best MMA game available on the market”, singling out the fighting system and need to prepare for each new opponent for special praise. He’s finding the online matches a tough challenge though.

The second game he’s been “playing/watching” is Metal Gear Solid 4. A big fan of 2 & 3 it has taken a while for him to finally get to 4 and he’s enjoying it so far, “the opening especially gave me goosebumps”.

My own gaming has been fairly varied this week with some Gratuitous Space Battles mixed up with some empire building in Sid Meier’s Civilisation 5. Then of course there’s my new PS Vita which hasn’t been spending much time ensconced within its case due to excessive play.

I’m still only part way through the assortment of games I’ve got for it with only Little Deviants, Ridge Racer, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Super Stardust Delta, WipEout 2048 and Motorstorm RC getting some screen time. I would have played more but for Motorstorm RC; whether racing against your own or someone else’s (especially Peter’s) arrow there’s almost always someone to beat and it becomes dangerously un-put-downable.

My PS3 ‘gaming’ has been largely in the hands of my Gran Turismo 5 B-Speccers this week as they’ve been racking up some serious endurance miles, most recently in the Le Mans 24-hour race. Obviously I wasn’t going to watch them for 24 hours so I was just checking in on them from time to time.

While they were encouraged towards a good first few laps that saw them into the lead my poor pit strategy saw them a lap down and in third about seven hours in. A tweak to the strategy soon had them gaining ground again and the next time I checked in with them they were in the lead and six laps up.

This isn't a GT5 screenshot but the game can come surprisingly close.
This happened to coincide with the breaking of dawn at the circuit. I have to say that despite GT5’s numerous graphical flaws there were a few laps where some of the camera shots were essentially indistinguishable from real Le Mans footage.

With no bright sunlight casting horrifically blocky shadows and it being light enough to make out the car’s details, while at the same still being dark enough that the headlights and brake lights light the trackside, GT5 did look spectacular.

The best shot was my 787B’s silhouette, perforated by it’s rear lights, stark against the rising sun as it passed under the Dunlop bridge at the end of the pit straight. One of those times when you wish there was an ‘insta-screenshot’ button on the Dualshock 3.

Where has your own gaming taken you this week? Hands up if you couldn’t resist a shiny new PS Vita.

  1. Eldave0
    Since: Aug 2008

    Finished off Catherine and played through Shank2 during the first half of the week then it’s been nothing but Vita since yesterday.

    Uncharted seems very good so far, focussing less on pushing me down narrow corridors to show me something visually spectacular (i.e. Uncharted 3) and more on what made the first game excellent :) Been mopping up some trophies in Welcome Park too, with just the tricky ‘complete in one minute’ trophy left to go.
    Fingers crossed my £5 PSN discount for Escape Plan arrives this weekend so I can give that a try too :)

    Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 13:25.
  2. SpikeyMikey23
    Since: Jul 2009

    MW3….. and Motorstorm RC! (finally, I can write something here that isnt just MW3)

    Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 13:37.
  3. Jones81
    Since: Mar 2010

    Hi All a little off topic but does anyone know if you can download psp games available on the store straight to the Vita?, I dont I can resist buying one next week when I get paid.

    Either gonna get a vita or a 3DS

    Ps been playing Kingdoms of Amalur (superb game), and Battlefield 3 campaign which I’m really impressed with.

    Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 13:41.
    • Eldave0
      Since: Aug 2008

      The PSN store on the vita has a PSP section so yes I believe you can. Speaking as someone who has both, I think the Vita is a better bit of kit (looks excellent) but I would imagine the games on 3DS will be better in the long run

      Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 14:18.
    • colossalblue
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      lots of the PSP games are available on the store to the Vita but it’s not all of them. Best to check if the one you want is there first: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2012/02/09/how-to-download-psp-titles-to-ps-vita/
      They’re adding more all the time, apparently.

      Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 14:50.
      • Jones81
        Since: Mar 2010

        Ok thanks guys, being able to play psp games on it like all FF’s is definitely an added incentive. I’m gonna be in debt for it but think it’ll be worth it lol

        I just hope that if there is a price cut early adopters will be compensated like Nintendo did with the 3DS

        Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 14:59.
  4. tonyyeb
    Since: Aug 2010

    Motorstorm RC, restart, Motorstorm RC, restart, Motorstorm RC!!!

    Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 13:50.
    • Youles
      Since: Feb 2011

      Hmm, this sounds familiar.

      Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 14:06.
    • colmshan1990
      Since: Apr 2009

      You forgot the AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!! :P

      Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 14:26.
  5. Taylor Made
    Since: Oct 2011

    what’s this joke about motorstorm RC, is it slow or something I never did get it, I opted for house of the dead 3 lo, it was worth the £3 something

    Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 14:39.
    • colmshan1990
      Since: Apr 2009

      No joke- it’s just a fantastic racer.
      Seeing everyone elses times just that little faster than you can get very frustrating though.

      Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 14:49.
      • Taylor Made
        Since: Oct 2011

        Oh lol am missing out, I want to get this game but I also want get Mass effect 3 so I guess I have to trade in ME2 & uncharted drake’s fortune to make that cash

        Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 14:57.
  6. MayContainEvil
    Since: Feb 2011

    I started another ME2 insanity playthrough and another Skyrim character, an Argonian this time. I look so badass.

    I also played some Peace Walker from my MGS Collection, which I quite liked until I got stuck on a boss battle – I keep running out of ammo. I also wore the cool t-shirt the collectors edition came with, which is also badass.

    I also tried to play BF3 online but my connection here is too laggy so I gave up.

    Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 14:57.
  7. MICKY17
    Since: Dec 2008

    As I finally platted Skyrim early in the week, I’ve been trophy hunting on BF3 MP and have fallen back in love with it. No Vita for me though, lack of funds unfortunately :(

    Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 17:24.
  8. TheDemocrodile
    Since: May 2010

    Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress, Towns and Crusader Kings 2 for me this week, Indie games + Paradox strategy makes me a happy man.

    Comment posted on 24/02/2012 at 20:00.
  9. aerobes
    Since: Aug 2009

    A bit of allsorts really but MAG is in the machine right now.

    Comment posted on 25/02/2012 at 17:29.
  10. zb100
    Since: Aug 2008

    Quick nudge – something about Journey & SSX embargo?

    Comment posted on 27/02/2012 at 21:46.

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