What We’re Playing – Week 2

It’s week two of What We’re Playing: an insightful glimpse into what games the staff here at The Sixth Axis are currently consuming. With big titles such as Bayonetta, Darksiders and Army of Two: 40th Day now on the stands, begging for attention, which of the staffers have taken up the call? And who are still playing through through their ever-mounting backlog?




This week I’ve been mostly controlling a tiny rodent as he makes his way across Europe in search of his perfect island retreat. I play Gremlin’s Auf Wiedersehen Monty every month or so, it’s one of my all time favourite games, and even now, 23 years after it was first released, it still gives me great pleasure leaping from platform to platform, country to country. Of course, I’ve now nailed down the perfect route through the game and can get through it pretty quickly, but this time I tried out the Commodore 64 version for comparison and had a good giggle at the 64’s complete inability to draw high resolution graphics (it’s essentially a port of the Speccy version). Those were platform wars, none of this ridiculous internet-fuelled console wars we bother ourselves with now.

Speaking of consoles, I’ve dipped my toes into EA’s latest Army of Two: 40th Day and had a quick go on Darksiders, but I actually want to get back to the Wii as I’ve bought loads of games for it recently but not had the chance to get started on most of them: Jack and Wiki, Metroid Prime 3 and Battalion Wars 2 are all still untouched and deserved of my attention at some point and hopefully I’ll get a minute to check the disks work, at least. I also want to restart Wind Waker, so in amongst all the current stuff I need to plough through, it’s nice to
know that if the TV explodes and takes my HD machines with it, I’ll still have a massive backlog of stuff to keep me occupied. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a football to deliver and I’ve just downed a bottle of cheap French wine…



Well, this week I discovered Zombie Horde mode in Trenches. It’s great, because killing Zombies is always a giggle.



I’ve finally finished God of War II this week. Honestly, I don’t think my hype levels could be any higher. The day I buy GoWIII could possibly be my best day ever. Also, made a little trip to Zombie Island in Borderlands. I’m coming for you Dr. Ned (who is really Dr. Zed)!



Well, like last week, I’ve been playing Modern Warfare 2 ritually. The callsigns and emblems really do add an extra drug to fuel the addiction, and I prestiged (the only time I will though). I’ve also been giving my PSP Go a lot more attention. Crash Bandicoot 3 seems a good enough reason to sneak out the ‘Go during school, and the new Army of Two: 40th Day demo for the PSP was a big surprise. It is very bad.

This week was also my final week in TSA’s own Killzone 2 tournament but let’s not go into too much detail. Army of Two: The 40th Day has just arrived for my PS3 so I’ll hopefully be giving that a go with Colin tonight (Sunday). And finally, my iPhone helped me through any journeys this week with the ever-lasting Peggle.



I’ve spent the entire week with Killzone 2 on Elite difficulty, and I am physically scarred because of it. Such has been the torment delivered by the hands of these crack-shot, near invulnerable, tireless super-soldiers that I’ve now crossed into blind and pure obsessiveness. At this point I’m not even enjoying playing it. But it’s a challenge to my gaming mettle and I must show the utmost temerity to see it to the end. I’m currently on the balcony, facing off Radec’s endless horde of bad-asses. It’s beyond extreme. I’ve even resorted to trawling the Internet for tips on how to survive the relentless assault. I’ve found little; other than testament that – up there with Beat Zico in Wipeout HD – Killzone 2’s Elite gold trophy is the most difficult to get.  It’s easily the hardest game I’ve ever played, and when I finish it (soon? please?), I plan on walking to the pub nearby and getting absolutely plastic drunk. I’m not kidding.

In need of a respite from the glowing eyes of Helghast hate (I’m literally seeing them in my sleep at this point), I also checked out the Dark Void demo. It was ok; a peculiar mixture of one part Uncharted, a good dollop of Warhawk along with a dash of jet-pack goodness for extra punch. The jet-pack flying is actually quite good; much better than the handling found in the likes of the Iron Man abomination. Whether or not the final game will offer enough to demand high review scores (or warrant a purchase) remains to be seen.

I’m also starting into Bayonetta. So far, so ok. It seems to run fine to me, but of course I’ve not compared it to a 360 version or even the Japanese PS3 edition reviewed here. Did the European PS3 version get some much needed tuning during the localisation process? We’re going to hook the pair of them into the mainframe and run some tests to see if this might be the case. (We’re also asking Sega as, you know, it’s just easier.)

[Update: I just had to mention that Radec is now dead by my hand after falling to a sniper’s bullet to the mush this morning. If you see Killzone 2 in my list of games being played next week, you have my permission to punch me in the face.]



Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter (XBLA) – Very disappointed so far, but hoping it will improve.

Pokemon Platinum (DS) – I just can’t put this game down. Most addictive game I’ve played in years.



A bit of Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer and few hours of Darksiders on the downstairs PS3, but I’ve mostly been playing the real life game in Portsmouth this week, hence my mysterious absence from TSA.



I’ve continued playing SSX3 through this week, but become addicted to the small apps on the iPod Touch. Silent Hill on the PSP still provides a small chill despite its slight aging in the graphics department, but it holds up well against even the latest PSP releases. As a child, I played The Curse of Monkey Island Demo on the PC and loved it, so I bought Escape from Monkey Island when I first got my PS2. Now, in the strangest means of playing a story, I’ve gone back to the first game, remade for the iPod Touch and Xbox 360. It’s amazing, and still contains the strongest humour in any video game I’ve ever played. How come even with devs’ fancy gaming know-how of the 21st century, they’ve never beaten, let alone matched, the humour of this game?



My PS3 is still dead. It should have been back this weekend, but unfortunately, Shetland is currently being assaulted by force 10 gales so nothings getting on or off the island, and that includes the beautiful beast I’ve been separated from for far too long a time. So, in no change from last week, I’ve been continuing my Pokemon Platinum journey. Over the last week I seemed to develop a bit of an OCD with regards to my in-game storage boxes for my caught pokemon, so on Wednesday I spent a good few hours sorting every pokemon I had so far into order so that I could fill in the gaps and eventually have a complete living pokedex. This means that for me to be satisfied with the game I not only have to catch every single pokemon, but I have to catch every single pokemon at the same time. This includes having all stages of an evolutionary line, again, at the same time. It’s a hefty task ahead of me, so you can expect pokemon to appear regularly in my paragraph from now on. But who doesn’t love a bit of pokemon action, eh?



This week my LoveFilm subscription has kicked in. First to land on my doormat was Lair, one of the early games on the PS3 and certainly not the best. I added it to my rental list because, even after all this time, Lair is one of a very rare breed – a Blu-ray game which fully supports Remote Play. I ended up mainly playing it on the PSP because the controls were better, and I could play it whilst the missus was watching Hollyoaks. But like nofi said in the TSA review eons ago, Lair is a rental at best.

Next to land on my doormat was Assassin’s Creed II. Disappointed. One of last year’s highest rated games does nothing for me. The graphics are abysmal, with shadows and textures popping up all over the place. The cut scenes are lengthy, terribly voice acted, along with zero lipsyncing and the kind of graphics that would look outdated on the PS2. However I’m more than capable of looking past a titles shortcomings if the playability is there and again IMO the title falls down. Yes, there are more mission types than in AC1 but they still involve doing exactly the same thing, and repeating the task ad-infinitum – go and see someone who gives you something to deliver/fetch or a target to kill… which sees you jumping across the rooftops, or a mixture of walking slowly and sprinting at street level completing the task and then doing exactly the same in reverse, and then repeat times a thousand or however many missions there are. I’m so glad I opted to purchase The Saboteur at the end of last year, because although the title is flawed (and in some parts very flawed) it has a kind of charm that has been lost in Ubisoft’s supposed finest.

I’ve also watched Taken and The Orphanage on Blu-ray, both were fantastic but for completely different reasons. Taken was the kind of 80’s action flick which typically sees one man take down a whole army, but the film was well done, well acted, pretty exciting and really enjoyable. The Orphanage, produced by Pans Labyrinth’s Guillermo del Toro, is a beautifully written, perfectly shot masterpiece. Awesome.



All I’ve really been playing this week is Killzone 2. The Man on Man tournament has certainly increased interest with the clan taking on three new members which has lead to clan matches throughout the week. My M.o.M fixture had me up against Murdo, who I managed to beat by a large margin, big surprise for me as I thought my lack of rifle skills would have eliminated me. Apart from Killzone I’ve been playing Peggle on my phone which is far too addictive, started Prince of Persia and am pursuing the DiRT 2 platinum. I don’t normally bother with trophies but having a “1” next to that platinum symbol on my trophy card for almost a year is starting to annoy me. Probably won’t get it as I have the attention spam of a – oh look Army of Two: 40th Day, pretty cover…



Well, this week heralded a new PlayStation 3 (250gb Slim) for me to replace my duff 60gb. I only got my hands on it on Friday, so I have mostly been downloading games and not playing them. However I did complete Flow for the second time. I haven’t touched it since I first got a PS3, back when it was the only decent game on PSN. Re-downloading it to the new system and now with added silverware seemed like a good excuse to re-visit. It hasn’t aged a bit and is still every bit as beautiful and unique as it ever was. Of course, since then there has been Flower, which I do prefer, but I still thoroughly enjoyed Flow again.