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What We Played #85: Far Cry 3, Nintendo Land, Wonderbook: Book of Spells

The one during which Christmas happened.

What We PlayedI hope you all had a good Christmas and that Santa / St Nicholas / Sinterklaas / Pere Noel / Christindl / Grandfather Frost / Shengdan Laoren* was very generous and brought you all that you wanted. Or at the very least some of what you wanted.

Aran decided to get into the Christmas spirit by indulging in a spot of zombie-dodging courtesy of Telltale’s Walking Dead Episode 1 which he picked up for free. As a result, he’s discovered what we’ve all know for a while:

It’s a brilliant game that throws tough decisions at you, deeper choices than good or bad. I’m getting the rest of the episodes because I’m a fan of the style and story. I also think more games should look at the episodic approach.

He’s also been enjoying Far Cry 3, finding it is better than 2. He is especially glad that there is “no silly malaria or regenerating outposts”. Indeed, he goes as far as calling the game’s Rook Island “a dangerous gaming paradise.”

The fact that you don’t start off as a super soldier from the start appeals greatly to him and he’s spent a lot of time exploring and hunting to gather crafting items to improve his equipment. The random encounters and the situations that develop as a result are also singled out for praise:

I was staking out an outpost and watched as a pack of rabid dogs ran in making the pirates panic. Eventually the dogs had taken out most of the pirates allowing me to clear up and take control of the outpost. These random occurrences make this game.

Far Cry 3

Free time over Christmas has given Tuffcub the opportunity to make a dent in his gaming backlog. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon gets an “Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear”. While Starhawk’s single player campaign fairs better as he says he’s “liking it lots”.

Far Cry 3 gets a “great game but they horribly misjudged the story”:

Apparently what happens in the game is a fantastical version of events, hence the Alice In Wonderland quote at the start. White jock dude who is thick as pigshit becomes killing machine and saves the black tribespeople! Haha!! Course that would never happen! Except it doesn’t play like that, it just plays like thick white kid is being worshipped by the natives and it’s really quite offensive. Such a shame.

He’s tried playing some more Batman: Arkham City but only managed half an hour before giving up as he found it “still dull as dishwater”. Having accidentally practised some finish gate dodging in Need For Speed: The Run he found the end of the road and then “spent ten minutes racing all over the landscape to see how far I could go”.

And he’s still not reached level 50 in Skyrim. *snigger*

Nintendo Land continues to entertain Peter and his nephews, though it’s Minecraft Pocket Edition that is proving a particularly popular hit with his 3-year-old nephew. “He thinks it’s hilarious to push you in the water and then take your phone so you drown” says Peter trying not to sound to put out by the shenanigans.

Maybe Peter will finish a medieval feast hall in this version of Minecraft...
The multiplayer aspect of the game and just how well it works is what is impressing Peter himself. “You can join any active game that’s visible on the same wifi network”, he says and adds “it works across iOS and Android.” Something that I wish was more common.

Family feuds are not uncommon over Christmas and in the Chapman family this year it’s taken the form of a leader board battle going on between a couple of his nephews and his wife on Fruit Ninja. He’s not gotten himself “involved in that just yet…”

Chris is another who has been been playing Far Cry 3. While he has been “really enjoying it” he’s found that he suffers from “really bad motion sickness whilst playing it” and as a result he resigned himself to trading it in.

Watching his daughter play Wonderbook: Book Of Spells proved not to be the spellbinding experience that he had hoped for as “she found it really boring after about 15 minutes” but to her credit stuck with it “until it just became too repetitive”. Chris doubts she’ll return to it.

It seems to me like yet another PS Move tech demo stretched out into a full game and its wafer thin concept doesn’t really do enough to keep anyone interested beyond a tutorial. It also carries the Pottermore licence which disappoints those wanting a Harry, Ron or Hermione experience. Book Of Spells uncomfortably handles this as JK Rowling looks to line her pockets beyond her main Warner Bros deal.

He concludes that like his copy of Far Cry 3, “Book Of Spells will also be getting traded” so it has not been a great gaming Christmas for him.

Dan is slowly having his soul stolen by Jetpack Joyride on his PS Vita as he tries to get every trophy. The addition of PlayStation Plus to PS Vita has seen Dan’s Sony handheld getting a lot more love than it’s seen of late. “Mortal Kombat looks and plays great, but I’m not sure about Knytt Stories yet…”

Lastly this week we get to Blair who took some encouragement to put down his Wii U Gamepad long enough to let me know what he’s been playing on it before distractions on other consoles like Black Ops 2 online and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale diverted his attention.

He thinks that ZombiU “is really great” being a proper survival horror game. He doesn’t find the GamePad features to be gimmicks, “in fact they’re really well implemented” he says. Nintendo Land is also proving “really good fun too”, especially when his family and friends have joined in.

But so far his favourite Wii U ‘game’ has been the Rayman Legends demo. “It plays brilliantly, better than Origins” he tells me before adding that “the co-op is really fun”. Somewhat enthusiastically he says it’s already in the running for his GOTY 2013 and that “Castle Rock is one of the best platforming levels ever”.

So what have you played in between bouts of mince pie eating and refereeing, or even instigating, family fueds?

*Other regional variations are available.

  1. aerobes
    Since: Aug 2009

    Final Fantasy Theatrhythm. Bliss.

    Comment posted on 28/12/2012 at 16:17.
  2. Origami Killer
    Since: May 2010

    Far Cry 3 for me. It’s stunning! Only played a few hours and it’s close to becoming my favorite game of this gen. The island is beautiful and at the same time perilous and the combat is just a joy.
    I was casually trying to hunt a deer and was startled by a pack of dogs which proceeded to attack me. Just as I managed to get away a Tiger jumped out and attacked me too. As an escape method I ran into the water thinking i’d be safe, that was until a shark came and got a piece of me. Made me realize that it;s not just the pirates I should be keeping my eye out for.

    Comment posted on 28/12/2012 at 16:42.
  3. LTG Davey
    Since: Aug 2008

    Not a huge amount of gaming for me again this week really.
    Picked up a copy of Nintendoland for a house party which went down a treat. Really enjoyable and a nice range of minigames to keep even the most drunken people entertained :D
    Other than that my Mrs and I finished off Mario Bros U, collecting all the hidden star coins. 25 hours play time in total which seems good for a Mario game. I also fired up Hitman Absolution (my xmas pressie) for all of 2 minutes before being dragged away to the in-laws so I can’t say I’ve seen anything other than the title screen yet – its a good menu screen I guess…. :)

    Comment posted on 28/12/2012 at 18:14.
  4. blast71
    Since: May 2012

    With me living in the past, i’m blowing shit up in Just Cause 2, & shooting arabs(I think – haven’t payed much attention to the story) in Medal of Honor(sic) 2010.
    Loving both games, especially impressed with Medal of Honor, was expecting a poor-mans cod, but it matches the last couple of cods (single player) campaigns

    Comment posted on 28/12/2012 at 20:20.
  5. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    I had my Vita with me but not much opportunity to use it over xmas. I tried playing NFS MW, good visuals and handling but finding it terribly convoluted just to enter a race. Apart from that i just had time for a few goes of the delightful Dynogems and Angry Birds minis.

    Comment posted on 29/12/2012 at 13:52.
  6. element666
    Since: Mar 2012

    I’ve finally managed to get some gaming in.
    I’ve been playing hitman absolution which I am loving,so many ways to do things!
    Also been playing ps all stars battle royale,which I’m playing more on the vita as it’s much more suited to pick up an play,also been playing a bit of MK vita which I’m also enjoying :-)

    Comment posted on 29/12/2012 at 17:03.

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