Like any public service provider I apologise for the late arrival of this post. It was not down to the vagaries of the British weather, which has been a little bit of most things this week, a drivers’ or a journalists’ strike. It is late simply because I have had zero free time this week due to working practically every waking hour.
Having no free time inevitably means that I myself have played almost nothing during the week, except to wind down on a couple of evenings with a little bit of tower building and the mass murder of thousands of aliens. Aliens who have committed no crime other than being attracted to shiny blue things. In that respect they are not really any different to any other gadget-freak who cannot resist the lure of a blue LED.
After a couple of months away from the awesome Defense Grid: The Awakening I could resist its siren song no longer and returned to play some more to take my mind off work. Getting a free map pack during the recent Steam Summer Camp also did nothing to strengthen my resolve. Is it wrong that I find watching a series of carefully arranged automated towers rapidly diminishing the health bars of any aliens that stray too close to them to be therapeutic and relaxing?
Someone who has not been relaxing so much with their games this week is Dan who is still “plodding along with” UFC Personal Trainer. Not only is it not relaxing in the sense of inducing exercise, it “has decided to glitch and mark me down as having missed some sessions”. If its aim is to encourage a rage which helps burn even more calories, it is working.
Fortunately for all of us there has been a counterpoint to Dan’s testing time with UFC. That counterpoint is Bastion, about which Dan is waxing lyrical to any who will give even the slightest pretence of listening. To paraphrase Gerard Kenny, Bastion is so good Dan’s played it twice, going back to play its New Game + mode after completing it, which given his limited gaming time between news posts is a rare occurrence for our News Ed.
Speaking of Eds, this week we extend a warm What We Played welcome to TSA’s new Assistant Features Ed, Jen, who I had best be kind to lest she ‘Ed’ this feature. It is a little known fact that Jen is the dark force behind Dan’s suffering with UFC. After “suffering very badly” with it herself, she ‘delegated’ the task of UFCing to Dan and instead took up the “gentler” EA Sports Active 2.
She reports that it’s doing the job “and half way through the second week, I can feel the improvement already! If nothing else, I’m less worn out by the end of each workout. Next stop, the Olympics… or maybe just UFC Personal Trainer sometime”. I’m sure that Dan would be only too happy to hand it back.[drop]Perhaps Dan will take some small consolation from the fact that Jen had to suffer her way through Transformers: Dark of the Moon which managed to illicit some surprising blue language during its more frustrating moments. Some respite was found playing Crackdown 2 which she’s “been playing co-operatively with a friend after many weeks of never getting round to it. Excellent fun running around causing chaos, ‘accidentally’ shooting your mate or lobbing a grenade in their general direction”. This week’s TSA Top Tip; if you’re in a supposedly co-op game with Jen, watch your back.
After a long week at work I find myself in need of a coffee. While I pop along to the biscuit-filled TSA kitchen to grind some beans that have recently passed through our resident civet (we initially tried to skimp on costs and tried Kitteh Koffee, but that was a stunningly distasteful mistake) I’ll let Alex tell you what he’s been up to:
Resistance 3, which is spiffingly good even though I think the first game still looks the best out of the trio. There’s something about R3 which I don’t really like, visually – it’s running at a low resolution (or so it seems) and everything’s a bit blurry and yet there’s still jaggies. It’s toying with me, taunting me, and I don’t really know how or why.
That said, it’s coming along brilliantly, and there’s not a FPS on the planet with better weapon mechanics. The game just flows and before long you’re mixing up your arsenal like a boss, taking down flying things with one gun and then filling close up Grims with facefulls of shot with just another flick of the stick. Awesome stuff.
Oh, and something called LIMBO…
Right, I’m back and even better, you’re still reading. I hope. Kris mentioned to me this week that he’d been playing through the “challenge tower” and for a moment I thought TSA might be getting an extension akin to The Crystal Maze. However, it turned out he had simply completed Mortal Kombat’s story mode and the challenge tower is just another part of the game.
Being something of a comic connoisseur Kris has been getting a little excited about everything Captain America lately. That excitement even led to him playing the Captain America flash game ‘cause he heard it was good. We are now waiting to hear from Kris whether it was…
In this week’s least surprising news we can exclusively reveal that Delriach has been playing… Mortal Kombat too. I know, I can hear your gasps of amazement even from here on the upper floors of TSA Towers. It seems he couldn’t resist entering another little tournament…
There was another tournament at Galloping Ghost Arcade, one with a lot more people. The competition was pretty fierce and I got to play against people that I haven’t seen in months. It was a lot of fun. We actually streamed the entire event and it’s now available on YouTube. I ended up placing 5th in the tournament. I got owned by a cheap new Cyrax combo that’s eventually going to be patched out. They told me that money was on the line and I got so nervous. Oh well. [Bonus link here to the Grand Final with Delriach commentating.]
Clearly still not Nintendo’d out after playing through Zelda, Blair has been playing the “joyous” Super Mario Galaxy 2 which he says is “easily one of the best 3D platformers I’ve played, as it’s just complete fun”. He dedicated 12 hours at the weekend to “completing” it, though the rest of us hardly consider a measly 71 out of a possible 242 stars to be completion.[drop2]As if Mario wasn’t enough platforming for one week, he has also been playing XBLA’s Ms ‘Splosion Man which is “more great platforming action”. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming review. He’s also been trying to like Halo: Reach before concluding that it is little more than “just a shooter” and he’s really not a fan of it. Duke Nukem Forever also got a try and while the microwaves in the early levels provided some amusement it wasn’t enough to encourage him back for another go yet.
Jim has spent much of the week playing “more than my fair share” of a little-known online RPG called World of Warcraft. Apparently his Goblin Shaman is now “climbing into his 30s” which I guess isn’t simply an age-related thing. After flying through Air Conflicts: Secret Wars he decided it was time to try and do something about his game backlog. The lucky winner pulled out of the sack was a sealed copy of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II:
Despite only taking an abysmal four and half hours to beat (whilst collecting every Holocron too!) it certainly has its moments. Toying around with Storm Troopers using Starkiller’s improved force powers never gets old, and I’m gearing up to go for a second run on “Unleashed” difficulty.
Using holidaying school children and other family members as a weak excuse for the reason behind it, he bought a copy of TV Superstars, the PS Move launch title. It’s “a real blast and a lot of fun” he said, before adding all too hastily, “especially if you have younger relatives or kids to play it with”. That’s a poor attempt to hide a guilty pleasure if ever I heard one.
Last but not least this week we have Tuffcub who has been playing nothing apart from Killzone 3. While Jen openly admits to trying to kill her co-op partner, Tuffcub has tried to place the blame for his failed attempts at team killing on a sweet little, food-loving, feline; Kitteh.
Allegedly, she has also been so keen to play Killzone 3 she has been wrestling the controller out of his hands, wrapping herself around the DS3 and biting it. These antics have supposedly not lead to the death of any of the opposition but an unsuspecting friendly medic nearly fell to a feline-thrown grenade. It certainly seems to be a week for poor excuses…
What have you been playing this week and/or are expecting to play this weekend? What excuses do you use when you ‘accidentally’ murder a friend in co-op or grenade your team’s medic?