Summer has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere bringing with it characteristically changeable weather in the U.K. and a wallet-crippling sale on Steam. For those of you who live downhill from the Equator, don’t worry; while our days are getting warmer they are also already getting shorter as the Sun (the nuclear fireball, not the tabloid) responds to pressure from the pro-polar bear lobby.
It is the time of year when some gamers are lured away from their home consoles to the strangely brightly lit outside world. One of those gamers is our own Toby who has left TSA Towers for a spell and is making the most of the British summer by indulging in a bit of
puddle Doodle Jumping.
He is not alone in his home console-abandonment. Josh is also out and about in the world with only his netbook and phone for technological company. He is a bit late to the game(s) as he’s playing Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies.
As if that admission was not bad enough he tried to justify only just having got to those games as they only came out on Windows Phone last month. A Windows Phone? What kind of horrific punishment is that? I almost feel like arranging a collection so we can club together to get him a ‘Droid-based communicator. Almost…
I suspected Chris was also away on his hols when he mentioned that he’d been having a challenging time driving his VW Camper van around. Then he started talking about hammerheads and I began to wonder just how far afield he’d gone before he mentioned Gambon and it all fell into place. With his copy of Shift 2 still AWOL he’s picked up both Motorstorm: Apocalypse and Gran Turismo 5 for some racing action.
Like Pacific Rift before it he’s finding that Apocalypse falls far short of the racing experience of the “excellent” original Motorstorm. Chris says it is an exciting game despite “inconsistent” handling and those irritating “innocuously small pieces of scenery [that] cause fatal collisions”. GT5 though is a different story entirely:
[drop2]He’s also been dabbling with the Uncharted 3 but is not overly enamoured of it, likening it to little more than “an Uncharted 2 map-pack” which has not yet revealed any evolution in gameplay. He has at least got further than Tuffcub who has been frustrated in his attempts to play Uncharted 3 “as it would never find a match”. Having only recently picked up a PSP our TC has also been playing The Flying Hamster which contrasts strongly with his other PSP plaything White Knight Chronicles Origins.
I’ve been less than complimentary about GT ever since GT4:P bored the socks off me, odd because I found GT3 A-Spec to be a practically perfect game. I tried GT5 when my brother grabbed a copy in the days before it was officially released and found it a relatively inaccessible, sterile affair that left me cold after an hour or so.
However after more time with it, I’m over the moon to say I was wrong and it really could be one of the greatest games ever made. I’ve played it almost solidly (sorry Eucadians) since picking it up on Friday and apart from a rather unwieldy menu system and user interface the action is perfect.
It is not unusual to hear the odd disturbing thing as you pass TC’s room in the Towers. This week it was hearing the phrase “Alright you primitive screwheads, listen up! You see this? This… is my boomstick!” as I passed the door, closely followed by “Hail to the king, baby”. For a few worrisome moments I feared he might be the latest team member to suffer at the controls of Duke Nukem Forever. Once I realised he was just playing the quote-laden Army of Darkness: Defence on his iPod I was able to relax somewhat.
At the opposite end of the “how much are you enjoying Uncharted 3” scale to Chris and Tuffcub we find Jim who has been playing it enough to have reached level 25 and is just hunting down one last treasure so he can score his final unlock; Sully’s fedora. No word yet on whether he’s found Sully’s missing moustache. Jim’s also been playing White Knight Chronicles II for TSA’s review. Then there’s his relapse into an old addiction…
I’ve decided to get back into World of Warcraft. I can’t remember why I abandoned Azeroth in the first place, though since my departure a lot has changed, even more so now that I have installed the Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm expansions. Stepping foot in the great halls of Ironforge once again brought back an overwhelming sense of excitement that’s hard to top, even with blockbuster first person shooters and action games flying left, right and centre.
Blair has also, much to Tuffcub’s chagrin, been getting some hands-on time with the “mostly superb” Uncharted 3. He’s also found time to play through the “very good” Shadows of the Damned. “The humour, whilst a bit cringe-worthy, is definitely hilarious and the tone is spot-on.”
He has obviously not chosen to spend any of this week’s summer outside as he has managed to summon some more console-time to play Darksiders having only just reached it in his Pile-O-Games™. He’s finding it quite enjoyable so far but some of that may be down to the fact he is seeing the influence of Zelda in the game. And no, a miracle has not occurred, he is still playing through The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, though he’s now on his Master Quest playthrough with its “very confusing” mirror mode.
If Hyrule Field were a central multiplayer hub where all the world’s Links could meet up to play a symphony on their Ocarinas Blair would by now have bumped into Alex, who is also on his own Master Quest which is proving to be tougher than expected. Alex’s iDevices have also been subjected to some finger-swiping recently as he’s bought a couple of iOS games; Pocket Academy and, in order to participate in the TSA leaderboard, 1000 Heroz. He’s not spending all his time on handhelds though:
[drop]Dan has discovered one of his favourite games of the year so far in Solatorobo: Red the Hunter. He has found very little that is praiseworthy in the “undeniably pretty” Resident Evil Revelations demo though, reporting that “the character controls like a boat, and the gun was about as much use as an inflatable dart board”. Guess he’s never found himself lost overboard in high seas with nothing but an inflatable dartboard…
On consoles, I’m playing through FEAR 3 for the review, and I’m actually enjoying it more than I anticipated – it’s creepy (especially the music) and I for one like the cover-based shooting. Hardly original or groundbreaking, but a decent enough game to warrant a playthrough.
Thinking of darts, imagine the fun you could have if you smuggled a pocket-sized Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device into your local pub. With a small orange portal located on the ceiling above whoever was most annoying that evening, you could wait until a dart is thrown before quickly slapping a blue portal on the dart board. Alternatively you could slip one under the beer the barman is just about to put down on the bar or hide one in a pocket of the pool table.
Kris has been experimenting with such creative thinking as he puzzles his way through “Portal with added Stephen Merchant”, known more widely as Portal 2. Finally I have found someone who shares my own view of the game: “Not bad, but not feeling as new or fresh as I’d like”. As punishment for not finding Portal 2 absolutely magical Kris has been made to play Marvel vs Capcom 3.
I’m not sure humans are meant to play that game. I mean in simple mode I can kind of manage it, but it feels super limited. In normal mode it’s like some kind of nightmare sent to punish me for not playing enough fighters.
You’re absolutely right Kris, normal humans aren’t meant to be good at fighting games. That’s why we’ve got our own Delriach to look after that genre. Can you guess what he’s been playing?
I’ve been playing Mortal Kombat 9 a lot. Even more now that Kenshi is out. It’s always interesting learning the ins and outs of a new character. Hopefully [you] found my hands on article interesting. I did have to make some changes after I noticed a few things, but that’s understandable since everyone is still learning the character. If NetherRealm added basic functionality to the practice mode I wouldn’t have as much of a problem.
As an antidote to the konstant kombat he has been showing his adoration for the classic Sonic games by playing through Sonic 3 and Knuckles, which he says never gets old or boring. Finally, words cannot adequately convey how jealous I am of the fact he has been playing one other game this week:
I also messed around with the Journey beta. Who knew sand could look that amazing? I don’t want to say too much about the beta, but I will say that it gives off a vibe of brilliance that you don’t experience very often. It’s similar to what I felt when I played Shadow of the Colossus for the first time.
The only journeying that I’ve been doing myself is criss-crossing Hyrule Field as I’ve been playing some non-Master Quest Zelda when I get a spare hour or so to help recover from having spent far too many soul-less hours playing Dungeon Siege III online with randoms for our review. Seriously, if you’re considering it, don’t. Played with friends either locally or online it’s a way to pass the time, but you will get more enjoyment if you dig out your old copies of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Diablo or even the first two Dungeon Siege games. They’re all much better.
What about you all? Please don’t tell me you’ve been playing the Journey beta too…