What We Played #20

Gears, either automotive or servants of the Coalition of Ordered Governments defined my gaming this week. Gran Turismo 5 received its usual couple of hours of multiplayer exercise but I have managed to find a considerable amount of time for Epic’s latest.

Gears of War 3 feels like coming home to an improved version of the original Gears of War. It’s comfortable, familiar but better. And importantly far, far better than the disappointing Gears of War 2 whose sole redeeming feature was Horde mode.


It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it is about Gears 3 that Epic have got so right compared to the second game but I am very pleased that no time is spent ‘platforming’ your way though the belly of a worm shooting its hearts. Praise to the gods of game design for that one, though the jury is still out on 3’s final boss fight.

[drop]The story is of course nothing to write home about but is at least comparatively well written. The graphics have lost the plastic-y look from Gears 2 and look great though I’m not wholly convinced by their ever-so-slightly cell-shaded appearance.

The gameplay though is awesome. After an initial couple of hours to see whether it was better than Gears 2 I’ve made an awful lot of time this week for Gears 3. Enough time that I’ve been through the campaign one and two half times already as well as having battled up to wave 40 in Horde mode with a spectacularly under-strength ‘team’, mostly just three players and sometimes only two.

The one minor criticism of Horde mode is that it does not seem to scale the opposition to the number of players; I doubt very much that two of us will be able to progress any further without competent backup. I have not yet played much versus multiplayer but the little that I have played has convinced me that I’ll be playing this much more online than I did Gears 2.

Now firmly ensconced back in Blighty, Tuffcub has been having some modern-day retro-tastic fun with Renegade Ops likening it to one of home computing’s best two-player experiences.

If you have ever played Amiga classic SWIV then this is the game for you. Multiplayer jeep/helicopter action, massive weapons, even bigger explosions and voice acting straight from a 1980s kids cartoon. It’s so retro the ‘saving progress’ icon is a 3’5″ floppy disc, a detail that is probably lost on half the younglings who play it. Hopefully Sega are working on some DLC and a sequel, what a fantastic game.

[videoyoutube]Aran has been playing the Ace Combat Assault Horizon demo which he says is “fun” but suffers from a sometimes irritating camera and insufficient 3D structures in its predominantly 2D city scapes. However, “doing a barrel roll in a helicopter is amusing though”.

He took to fiddling with balls when he visited EGX finding that as a self-confessed non-fan of rugby that Rugby World Cup 2011 wasn’t his cup of tea. In a FIFA 11 tournament at the show he breezed through the first round before losing in the second to an extra time goal having failed to make the best of some chances earlier in the game.

Our other EGXer who had anything to say was Kris who “played a lot” at the show. He singles out three particular favourites. First up is the “incredibly enjoyable” Sonic Generations. While the demo a few months back suffered from the backgrounds being strangely uncomfortable to watch he is happy to report that the current version is “all kinds of amazing”.

Was there ever any doubt that comic-loving (as in DC and Marvel, not Phil Jupitus) Kris would like Batman: Arkham City? While the game leaves behind the claustrophobic confines of the Asylum, even the demo provided a satisfyingly “much greater feeling of freedom”. He’s also positively purring with delight at the addition of catwoman.

She’ll have to fight for his attentions against Ninja Gaiden 3 though which Kris admits to falling “a little bit in love with”. With its “incredibly paced” action he says that its “just brilliant” before countering that the combat “feels a little over-simplistic, particularly compared to what Batman manages with a single strike button”.

And you’ve been playing?



  1. Mercenaries 2 (jaaaaaysus!), though Deus Ex: Human Revolution finally arrived after frustratingly going missing in the post so I’ll be moving on to that soon. Nothing else unfortunately*.

    *This is a lie.

  2. Depends if we are counting the Eurogamer Expo! I so, I played a lot ;) BF3 (it’s rubbish btw imo), Uncharted 3, Saints Row 3, House of the Dead Overkill, Anarchy Reigns, Ghost Recon Future Solider and Resident Evil Revelations. If we aren’t counting the expo, then its been all about Resident Evil this week, switchin my time between 4 and Code Veronica.

    • That’s actually a good point, as saturday was still this week if we are looking from today!

      In that case, my list reads pretty similarly apart from it has less Uncharted, House of the Dead, Ghost Recon & Resident Evil & more Inversion, Need For Speed: The Run & Ninja Gaiden 3, which were all pretty good.

      Oh & i really enjoyed BF3.

      Apart from that, exactly the same! XD

      • XD assuming your list is 100% accurate, it means you tried SR3. What you think of it?

      • Well, i had never played a SR title before so i wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but suffice to say, i was kinda sold when i discovered i could beat peole to a pulp with a huge purple dildo! Not sure what that says about me tbh!

        The way it ‘jiggled’ as i ran was pure class too! :)

        But in all seriousness, it seemed like a decent romp – Didn’t try out any of the missions, but it seemed as fun (if not more) than GTA used to be. Which can only be a good thing.

      • Lol yea I really enjoyed it. Its pretty much what I imagined GTA4 was going to be like until they chose to go down the serious (read: incredibly boring) route. One of the few games I can’t wait to buy :D

      • Yeah, i know what you mean – I enjoyed GTA IV, but it was missing the ‘madcap’ element that i had become so accustomed to in previous games (III & Vice City especially).

        Me & my mate spent literally hours just terrorising the populace of GTA III – It was a great laugh. Just don’t tell the Metro i said that! :D

      • :D Have you seen some of the footage? I hadn’t really looked into the game at all until playing it at Eurogamer but I can safely say the game looks mental. The airplane shootout was particularly nuts!

  3. On Sunday going to dust off my PS2 and play Max Payne
    Recently played Gears of War 3, F1 2010, Battlefield 3

  4. Am I the only person that really enjoyed running around a giant worm chainsawing it’s hearts? I’m going to be very disappointed if there are no more giant things to run round in, tampering with organs
    , in Gears 3.

  5. F1 2011, Resistance 3, Dead Island and El Shaddai this week. All great games

  6. This week i’ve mostly been eating .. pollen in The Undergarden, various gases and liquids in PJS2, took a few bytes out of Arkedo Pixel, spilled Mercury Hg all down my front and topped it all off with some healing potions in Trine.

  7. If it’s anything like SWIV, I have to get Renegade Ops. prob one of my top 10 speccie games.

  8. Minecraft.

    do i really need to say any more than that?

    oh, if you insist.
    on your heads be it.

    i think it may be the most addictive game i’ve ever played.
    many games say you can play any way you want.
    but few, if any, live up to that promise like minecraft does.

    one thing i do like is, if you’re playing survival, you’re given nothing, everything you build comes from materials you mined yourself, with tools you made.

    if you want a house, and you do if you plan to survive the night, you need to punch trees to get logs, those you turn into wooden planks, you can build with those.
    or turn some into sticks and make a wooden pick.
    then you can mine stone which produces cobblestone.
    you can build with that or mine coal and cook it into smooth stone, which looks more like the stone you mined it from.
    you can also use the cobblestone to create stone tools, which are faster, more durable and required for mining iron.
    iron picks are in turn required to mine gold and diamond, and diamond is required for mining obsidian.
    next to bedrock, which is impossible to mine and forms the lowest level of the minecraft world, obsidian is the hardest material in the game.
    it’s created by pouring water over lava, and it take an age to mine with a diamond pick.
    it’s most important property is that it can be used to make a portal which leads to the nether.
    i’ve not managed to go there personally yet, but i’ve seen videos.
    and basically, it’s hell.
    rseas of lava, flying monsters called ghasts that fire eploding balls of fire at you and zombie pigmen.
    half zombie, half pig, but at least they seem to be relatively harmless unless you attack them.

    honestly, the sheer scope of what you can do in minecraft is a bit daunting at first.
    but after you’ve played for a while your imagination starts firing and you start thinking of the huge creations you’r going to build.
    and if you’re like me they’re bound to be beyond your skill to build.

    it does have it’s annoyances though, like spending ages finding some laval, making a bucket to get some water, carrying it back to the lava, using three of the four diamonds you managed to find to build a diamond pick.
    then after mining a dozen blocks of obsidian you get surprised by a lava flow behind one block and getting set on fire.
    then in a panic you forget to use the water you’ve got in your bucket to put yourself out before you die.
    because once you die, you lose everything you were carrying.

    you can recover your items, most of them anyway, if you get back to where you died quickly enough.
    of course that means you have to be able to find where you died again.
    with the size and depth of some of the caves in the game, that’s not always easy.

    but even with that, damn but i’m still having loads of fun.

    i can’t wait for the console versions though so i can play with a pad, i swaer i’ll end up with RSI if i keep playing this for much longer.

    and you couldn’t let me get away with just saying “minecraft could you? o_O

    • just wanted to add, i love the texture pack option built into the game.
      there are some great textures out there, there’s a great tron one with a cool looking derezz type effect for when you destroy block.
      goes great with the Quorra skin i found.

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