What We’re Playing – Week 5

It’s already been a great start to February in terms of gaming. Dante’s Inferno is finally here, as is Mass Effect 2. Amazingly, however, it’s been a couple of high-profile demos that are the highlight of the week.

First came the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 multiplayer map for PS3 fans to drool over, and then – after some tomfoolery with broken web-sites and flagrant cheating – a taste of Heavy Rain was gifted to the tenacious few. Expect to see all of the above get a mention below within the annals of what we’re currently playing.

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Next week brings BioShock 2 and Star Ocean: The Last Hope – International to our shelves. I wonder what games will feature here in seven day’s time?

Nofi:

It’s been all about VectorTD for me this week. Since I got the game (available for £2.49 via the PSN Store) it’s taken over my life – seriously, it’s at least two hours worth a night – it’s utterly compulsive and probably the most addictive game I’ve ever played. It’s literally perfect – you can micromanage to levels unseen of with other Tower Defense genre games or you can just throw all your cash down on new towers and hope it sticks – the choice is yours, and the game will let you decide because it’s versatile and flexible enough – very open ended.

However, personally, I prefer to watch over every single last tower, carefully adjusting the aim and strength for each wave, selling off stuff I don’t need and getting ready for the next batch. The penultimate wave, 49/50, usually wipes out any remaining lives I might have had, but the very last level just needs some TLC to get through it – I won’t spoil the surprise but you probably won’t beat level 50 on your first attempt. So, yeah, I’m still only on the first couple of maps, but I literally can’t get enough of this game – VectorTD – buy it now, for PS3 or PSP it really doesn’t matter.

Gastos84:

My PS3 is back! Praise the Gods. The first game entered into my console in over two weeks was Darksiders. I had heard mixed views about this game so I went in with an open mind but, so far, I haven’t been overly impressed. I have only played the first hour or so but I’m getting very bored of pressing square over and over again. I will return to it and see if it gets any better.

After Darksiders came the ModNation Racer beta, and I absolutely love it. It has been very temperamental for me so I haven’t been able to manage a decent amount of actual racing but I love the creation side of it. Tracks are so easy to make, tweak and perfect, and even the character customisation – a tool I’m not normally fussed about – is drawing me in.

Oh and I downloaded the Broken Sword Director’s Cut for my iPhone. I loved Broken Sword so much when I was younger, and it hasn’t disappointed. You can’t beat a good point and click adventure when you just want to relax.

Zuler:

Just really played MAG this week, it’s quite an addictive game. About Level 19 now…

ColossalBlue:

I spent the first half of the week playing nothing but Mass Effect 2. Everyone can check out the review if they want to know what I thought of it, but suffices to say: it’s brilliant.

I also got Fallout 3 GotY edition on the same day so when I’d finished reviewing I had a quick spin on some of the DLC on that. I loved Fallout 3, I bought it on the PC then on the PS3 so I could play it from the sofa. I got my first (and still only) Platinum trophy and then traded it in. Then two weeks ago I re-bought it with the idea of downloading the DLC which turned out to be crazily overpriced on the store, so rather than spend the £40 to get that downloaded, I bought the GotY edition for £24. That’s four times for one game. Madness.

I bought a new PSP 3000 on Thursday night (my 1000 got sold before Christmas) with a few platinum games, and I’ll be picking up some Minis and some cheap UMDs. At the time of writing I haven’t really played much on it but I will be getting some hours in with it this week because I’m going on a trip which will hopefully mean my entry to next week’s What We’re Playing is very exciting indeed!

I’ve been playing ModNation Racers a bit, mostly just messing with track designs and having fun racing round tracks designed by TSA legends Burtens and Gastos.

I also downloaded the app update for the iPhone’s Trenches. Some new game modes making it even more pick up ‘n’ play.

Lorcan:

As usual, I continued my Pokemon adventure this week in Pokemon Platinum and will soon have all of the original Pokemon. All I need is a Mew, the starters and, strangely enough, a Caterpie, Weedle and Ekans..

On the bigger screen however, I’ve been playing Metal Gear Solid 4 again (though there were significantly less tears than last time). It’s been a dreadfully emotional day as I completed that and my exchange student watched the final episode of Battlestar Galactica. If someone else watches the finale of Dexter season 4, then that’s everything from the past ten years that’s ever made me cry, all in one room, in one day! Too much for one man to handle …

To butch up again, I got a mate over and we played Resident Evil 5 together. I’d like to add that Iwas Chris the Tank and he was Sheva the Woman. We’re doing it on professional however, and after blitzing the tribal village and the oil refinery, we got stuck on the horrendous sea beast. It’s frustrating because thirty ‘YOU ARE DEAD!!”s later, and we can neither kill it, nor work out who’s driving the boat.

ColinBarr66:

This week I’ve, as always, been playing Killzone 2 in the Monday Boot Camp and in a surprise party match which consisted of nine others repeatedly killing me with rockets. I’m sure the guys were just showing their love in their own unique way, thanks guys. I also had an extremely tough match in the final of the Man on Man tournament against Spooferbarnabas, definitely one of the closest matches I’ve ever played and in the end the right man won.

Spent a few hours on MAG mid-week with a few TSA clan members and was very impressed with the teamwork and communication. Not put in as many hours as I would like but here’s hoping for next week.

Also got the chance to play some offline multiplayer on Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 2, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 and TNA iMPACT! Had great fun playing these with friends over the weekend, surprising how enjoyable repeatedly beating Murdo is.

Gamoc:

Well I finally got my PS3 replaced on Wednesday, so I’ve been mostly wearing no pants – no, wait, I mean, mostly playing on that. Quite a lot of inFamous and Rag Doll Kung Fu, with a bit of Red Faction: Guerrilla and Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars on the side. All great games.

I forgot how hilarious RDKF is – the amount of times people were hit in the face by their own dodgeball bouncing off the platform in front of them, I found it too difficult not to laugh every time, even when it happened to me. Not to mention the amusing Kung Fu sounds. Such a brilliant game.

thomas_lord:

A short one this week. I have mainly been playing Modern Warfare 2 online and that’s about it. I have been thoroughly enjoying it, desperately trying to improve my terrible statistics. When I have not been shooting people over the Internet, there have been plenty of competitive games of FIFA 10 in our household over the past seven days. I seem to be the worst of all my housemates so next week I need to brush up to avoid losing.

djhsecondnature:

This week I’ve spent a lot of time on two iPhone games. The first being Angry Birds where the premise is to slingshot a variety of angry birds at some green pigs. Why, I’m unsure. Secondly is the highly popular Canabalt game.

In addition to that I’ve had several goes on the Heavy Rain Demo. Having already played the demo available at the Eurogamer Expo many times over, I was interested as to how the PSN released demo would differ. You control both of the same characters in both the older Gamescom code and the newer released code, however the scenarios are completely different. Based on the demo, the tense environment is portrayed fantastically, the control system really flourishes and the diverse scenarios available are incredibly exciting. With three playthroughs under my belt already, there are a great variety of possibilities. If the full game delivers on what the demo promises, Quantic Dream will have opened up a brand new narrative for the video games industry.

Kovacs:

With the reality of commuting now on my horizon, I decided to pick up some new PSP games; titles I’ve been meaning to get around to getting but just never seemed to find the time. LittleBIGPlanet on the PSP is absolutely fantastic. Literally so much from the PS3 version has survived the condensation on its handheld format that I’m in constant amazement at what the guys over at SCE Cambridge (with a lot of help from Media Molecule) have managed to pull off. The gameplay is just as infectious, the music is spot on and, if there are features not found in the PSP version that are in its bigger brother, I’m not missing them. Highly recommended.

Next up was Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. I’d heard amazing things about this title on the DS, and though I knew some of the tactile features had to be obviously tweaked for the PSP version, the bump up in graphics apparently was enough to keep this in the must-have category. They weren’t kidding. It’s so deliciously GTA; from the humour and the style, to how the driving handles so fantastically. Its presentation is also top knotch.

I also picked up Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines but I’ve literally only checked that the UMB loads. I did the tutorial, and apart from the fact that I can’t help but think Altair runs like one of the Lego characters from any of the numerous games from that popular series, it seems polished and interesting. The developers have tried hard to get around the fact that there isn’t a second analogue stick to facilitate moving the camera and introduced a novel compromise. And though it still feels a little weird, I’m assuming I’ll get the hang of it.

More PSP goodness with Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Once again, not much time with it but it’s definitely got that telltale Silent Hill vibe going on. Interestingly, the game insinuates that it performs some sort of psychological profiling in order to get under your skin more during the actual game. It opens with a therapy session where you must fill in a questionnaire so an inquisitive shrink can “get to know you better.” Bordering on ‘invasion of privacy’, you’re asked if you’ve ever cheated on a girlfriend/boyfriend. Top tip guys and gals: do play Silent Hill: Shattered Memories – just don’t let your partner anywhere near your PSP when you are doing so.

With all this time devoted to handheld gaming, I had very little time to give my PS3. When I was playing with the big dog, I was immersed in MAG. I’ll be revisiting Zipper’s massive online game soon so I don’t want to give much away but I will say this: I’ve never come across a game that is so schizophrenic. Not because of the game itself per se, more due to how the level of enjoyment received is so dependent on the luck of the draw. Get a squad of like-minded, headset-sporting tacticians who want to work together and come in for the Big Win™? There’s no other game like it. Get a bunch of squabbling, immature, self-centred communication-shunning morons? There’s also no other game like it. But not in a good way.

I also got a chance to try out both of the big demos of the week. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is definitely going to feature in my ever-growing collection soon, if the demo is anything to go by. Loved the feel of it, how the sniper rifle requires reloading after every shot, and the frenetic bedlam when a base has been taken by the enemy.

Despite telling myself I wouldn’t in order to keep the experience ‘pure’, I managed to get my hands on a Heavy Rain demo code and quickly ravaged the limited amount of content on offer. My initial impression is that we’ve got a new milestone in gaming on our hands. That said, I can also predict that some people will absolutely detest this game. Not me though. I always gravitate towards the different, the unique, the daring. And Heavy Rain is all three of these things … and a lot more besides.

CaptainMurdo:

My poison of choice this week has been Modern Warfare 2. I’ve started unlocking the specific gun callsigns, which look great and I’m focusing on a certain two over the next few days. I managed to join a few TSAians for some games online as well, giving me a good chance to try out my new Turtle Beach P21. It really is amazing!

As I’m sure most people have, I got the Heavy Rain demo from Precinct 52 but I’ve yet to play it. I don’t want the story to be spoiled at all.

As for offline multiplayer, I played TNA Impact and one of the WWE games (not sure which one) [ed: it was WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010] with Colin. They are always a good laugh.

cc_star:

Been looking forward to Dante’s Inferno for quite a while, as I really love the whole God Of War series, it’s probably my favourite franchise.

First thing Friday morning I joined the surprising queue in GAME armed with a couple of trade-ins and my reward card to pick up a copy. For some reason I was far more excited than usual and couldn’t wait to get home to try it out. Shortly after firing it up and completing the tutorial (which was the actual demo) I was amazed at just how immense the game was. The action came thick, fast and was always jaw dropping. The visuals are amongst the best on the PlayStation 3 and the audio fits in perfectly with each circle of hell. The journey from Limbo to Heresy, via Lust, Gluttony, Greed and Wrath is always astonishing. The gameplay is spot-on, the combat has that perfect indescribable ‘weight’ to it. If you’re a fan of ‘hack ‘n’ slashers’ then you owe it to yourself to play Dante’s Inferno. It is currently the best example of the genre.

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