What We’re Playing – Week 3

An eclectic array of games on display for our third week of What We’re Playing – a chance for us here at The Sixth Axis to share what games are getting our attention over the last seven days. It’s been a big week for gaming, with the ModNation Racers exclusive beta getting unleashed into the wild while big titles such as Bayonetta and Darksiders now have had time to bed in. Are we still playing them? Or has their lustre started to fade with time?



This week has been lacking in any console action due to the Station being in a box somewhere. Instead I’ve turned to my iPhone to provide me with a gaming fix. Peggle, Scrabble, Audio Puzzle and Sheep! Granted they aren’t exactly high-tech but boy are they are addictive. Peggle wins hands down as the most infectious game ever!


I just got Bayonetta, MAG and Brütal Legend this weekend, and Darksiders on Saturday. Bayonetta, I must say, is one helluva crazy woman! “Do you want to touch me?” Err… that’s her taunt. I wonder what enemies do if you taunt them in battle… the action is pretty over-the-top too. The load times that are only in the PS3 version are a proper pain, but they aren’t that bad as everyone makes it out to be. Pausing and picking up a new item (not registered in your ‘database’) takes a few seconds, but as Nofi mentioned, it takes up to 30 seconds for it to load if you’ve missed one of those annoying quick-time events during a cutscene.

Brütal Legend is seriously amazing. Tim Schafer has done a magnificent job with this game, and his vision of making every second of the game look suitable for a Metal album cover has certainly been achieved. I still haven’t reached the RTS battles yet, I hope they aren’t that bad as everyone tells me. I can’t play MAG yet (I believe I have to wait till Tuesday) and I’ll be starting Darksiders soon. I’m in for one fun week…


Secret of Monkey Island : Special Edition (iPod Touch). Yep, I’m still playing it due to its ongoing laughter fuel. The fact that it helps you out if you’re really stuck is a great feature, as it stops the player from getting bored and giving up. If I get stuck, I shake the iPod, and continue playing for another thirty minutes. Can’t stop! Help!


Same as last week for me. Not had much time to play anything :(


Neither of my home consoles have seen much love because of my new puppy, Duncan, but I have been getting back into portable gaming. I did manage to squeeze in some Modern Warfare 2 though. Starting with the PSP, I booted up LittleBigPlanet to try out all of those community levels I downloaded last week. Some are very good, some need a little work. The story levels are, of course, excellent and LBP is perfect for the PSP. Hopefully ModNation Racers will appear too. The minis are great for short bursts, with my favourite two being Fieldrunners and Cubixx. I discovered this week that I’d lost my DS charger so headed into the town to get one. After charging, I gave Pokemon Platinum a go just to see where I had left Sinnoh but I’m going to properly play it this week. And for anyone who has an iPhone, check out Traffic Rush. I think it is still free and it is very addictive.


I’ve been putting serious time into FIFA 10 this week, it’s probably the best example of a game I’ve encountered which is simultaneously the most enjoyable and the most frustrating. The referees seem really cheap sometimes and the advantage rule was better implemented in my primary school league twenty years ago.

I’ve also done a bit more Forza 3, it continues to be fantastic. I found the stats page which tells you how long you’ve played each section for and I think I’d spent just as much time in the livery designer as I have on the track.

Finally, I’ve been dipping in and out of Halo: ODST, which is a fairly standard shooter. The only really remarkable thing it does is make Nathan Fillion look like a chump. Oh, and the ModNation Racers beta too, I should mention that. It’s awesome, basically. The creation system is unmatched in its simplicity but the driving will hopefully be a little less rigid in the full release.


I’ve played a tiny bit of Darksiders and Pixeljunk Shooter on the downstairs PS3, and a versus on Left 4 Dead 2 on my 360 (after having to piss more money away on some bloody Gold), but mostly Modern Warfare 2 again. I desperately miss my PS3 [sad face].


This week I started Army of Two : The 40th Day with Murdo, and unlike the PSP version, it’s brilliant. Definitely the best co-op experience I have ever had. Unfortunately I spend most of my time reviving Murdo when he continually runs out in to an open battle without thinking. I mean how big an idiot must you be to do tha- oh wait that was me. Anyway, the moral choices work really well, choosing the seemingly positive option quite often leads to a negative outcome like accidentally releasing a murdering psychopath. The best part of the game has to be the back-to-back shooting missions, there is no other way to describe these parts other than bloody awesome.

I’ve also continued my pursuit of the DiRT 2 platinum, the only thing stopping me is two online trophies which are a pain as it appears everyone online just wants crash to into each other. Had a few hours on Modern Warfare 2 with Murdo, too. It was good fun and is the first time I’ve played it in a few weeks but doesn’t match up anywhere near Killzone 2 in my opinion. I would have played Killzone 2 more this week if the clan tournament system hadn’t broken but still had a few games in our Monday Boot Camp and my Man on Man fixture.


This week I made it my goal to catch all of the roaming legendary Pokemon in Pokemon Platinum. I succeeded in catching Articuno and Cresselia, however, before I could catch Zapdos and Moltres, my PS3 returned! It was a great moment and after much excitement, I had completed Uncharted 2, Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time and I’m now well on my way to finishing Modern Warfare 2 having missed all of their releases when I was away. Uncharted 2 was fantastic, however, when I had finished it I couldn’t help but feel that too much had been given away in its trailers and that it had lost a lot of its impact as a result.

Ratchet and Clank was a disappointment for me unfortunately because it didn’t feel very epic, a lot of the weapons were repeats of previous game’s ones and the levels were much smaller and less exciting than the other games’. The whole game just felt like a massive step down from the previous titles and no amount of space exploration could save that. Though I must say that it was much funnier than any of the others in the series.

Fortunately though, I’m loving Modern Warfare 2. I didn’t like the first one, I hated World at War, so didn’t have much expectations for this, but it’s much longer than I was anticipating, has had some really good moments and is a lot of fun overall. I do think that the story could have been handled much better though.


Flash, ah-ha! That’s right, this week I’ve spent some time adventuring into the wonderful world of Flash gaming, something I don’t do nearly enough. The pick of the week is surely the demo of VVVVVV, a brilliant, frenetic game that’s a clear throwback to the days of the Spectrum and C64 right down to the loading screen. The only controls you have are left right and ‘flip’, which is to turn upside down and walk on the platform above you, even if it’s several screens away. I’ve played games with this mechanic before, but none are as good as VVVVVV.

I’ve also made time for the superb Fancy Pants Adventures (Parts 1 and 2) which may be the greatest flash title ever crafted by mankind. It seems to be just a pretty standard platformer (and it is), but there’s something about the title that just grabs hold of you and keeps you playing, a quality missing from a lot of console games I’ve played recently.

Speaking of console gaming… well I haven’t done any really. It’s a well known fact, one that greatly amuses colossalblue, that I don’t really play a lot of games. I’ve briefly dipped my toe back into the single player of Modern Warfare 2, but it’s yet to convince me of its brilliance. Perhaps I should play the online, but I think I might be too far behind everyone else to play for more than a few seconds without dying. My sealed copy of Assassin’s Creed II is still sitting on top of my TV, calling out to me, telling me I should abandon work, family and friends and simply allow myself to be absorbed by Renaissance Italy. I fear it like a recovering alcoholic fears the glass of beer that someone’s just placed in front of them. If you never hear from me again assume that the game has fully devoured me.


Well, in the words of Jesse from The Fast Show, this week, I ‘ave been mostly eating cheese. But, in-between some Port Salut and Gorgonzola, I have also been playing a bit on my PS3. First things first, I have been honing my skills on Guitar Hero 5 for my review. It’s very good, but not great. The downside to playing lots of music games recently is that my little finger is giving up the ghost.

In more positive news, I had a blast playing GRiD for the first time in too long for Sunday evenings TSA Meet. My horrible internet connection prevented me from partaking in the first two races and therefore ineligible for championship points, however I’m very much looking forward to a similar challenge in the future.

Finally, in what was my last week of exams for Semester A at university, I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours online with a few friends playing Modern Warfare 2. Mainly Team Deathmatch and Domination. My ratio is appallingly bad, especially after playing a lot of Domination, but it’s having fun that counts and when you are with 5 friends all with headsets, nothing gets close.


Dragon Age: Origins – Still can’t get enough of adventuring in Ferelden.  Third play-through underway. And Left 4 Dead – Trying and often failing to survive the zombie apocalypse with friends is still great fun.


Killzone 2 – I’ve probably played Killzone 2 more than any other game in my entire life. Still love it to bits, and now I’m part of the TSA Clan it’s even better. The really odd thing is I’m not usually a fan of FPS games – or any good at them for that matter, I find most of them (COD for example) way to twitchy.

Sega Megadrive Ultimate Collection – Keep dipping in for a bit of retro action now and then, some of the games I have never played before such as Sonic Spinball are rather fab.

Cubase, Acid & Soundforge – Not games technically, but it’s what I’ve been using most nights.


Despite a hectic week circumventing airport strikes and the usual time-vortex that is travelling in general, I managed to get a good amount of gaming done. Now that Killzone 2 is well and truly dusted (for now, I’ll go back and pick up the trophies I’m missing some other time. Elite is so harrowing it pretty much puts you off returning to Helghan for a while), I got stuck into Bayonetta. I’m enjoying it – despite its obvious flaws – and though I can’t for the life of me see how anyone could give it full marks in a review, I’m revelling in Kamiya-san’s deft design and superbly orchestrated action sequences.

I also played a lot of MAG last week, considering that was the whole point of attending the MAG event in London on Wednesday. I’ll keep my impressions of the game to myself until my review goes live but, regardless of my thoughts on MAG, beating Zipper Interactive at their own game (literally) in Domination will go down as a highlight of 2010 for me gaming wise.

Though I can’t talk about it in any detail, I am at least allowed mention that I got my hands dirty with Rebellion’s new Aliens Vs. Predator game. Apart from that, I spent a couple of hours with ModNation Racers and, despite the abhorrent loading times, I think it’s spectacular. There are obviously areas that they need to work on, but that’s the nature of a beta. I expect big things for United Front’s game later this year.

On the plane home I played Ultimate Hangover And Fatigue Manager™, which is just what I deserve for spending the entire night (and early morning) consuming vast amounts of alcohol with the guys from Zipper Interactive. Who said Americans can’t drink?


This week I’ve been enjoying Army of Two: 40th Day.  It’s much better than the first game and a lot more fun than the likes of Gears Of War.  It’s not terribly deep, but it’s a giggle, and although the two main protagonists have zero charisma and a terrible aim, it’s still a reasonable story to play through, albeit a slightly hammy one.

Apart from that I’ve been catching up with some XBLA games offline – Braid, Rez, Jetpac (still brilliant) and having lots of fun with some new PSP Minis, the likes of Cubixx and VectorTD show everyone else exactly how a Mini should be.  I’ve also been working on my own game, too, more about that soon hopefully…


ModNation Racers Beta! This is a superb piece of software. I think it really starts to hammer home the Play, Create, Share message even more than LBP did. Mostly, because the create side is tightly focussed, that it’s easy to create stuff that wouldn’t seem out of place in the retail version.

The art style and audio creates a brilliant world to play in, and that’s what it is: Play. I think this will be massive when it’s launched. GotY candidate even? Maybe…


This week I’ve been most playing the pretty awesome Time Gentlemen Please! and Machinarium. Both are a refreshing take on retro style comedy adventure games and I recommend everyone try out the free demos. I can only hope that the geniuses (genii?) behind both of these games turns their attention to the PSN at some point in the future.