What We Played #28

With Thanksgiving having now passed into memory for another year the pace of new releases is slackening. That means we all get the chance to go back and spend some quality time with games that we might have temporarily put aside to play the next big thing.

Tuffcub has been sampling from a veritable smörgåsbord of digital delights over the last week including The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Resistance 3, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Killzone 3, Soul Calibur 5, PixelJunk Shooter and DC Universe Online. He actually mentions Killzone 3 twice in his list as in his own words “it’s fab and I’m good at it”.

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A relatively recent arrival to portable PlayStation gaming, his PSP still gets a regular workout. Two minis titles, BreakQuest and A Space Shooter For 2 Bucks have satiated his hunger for gaming on the hoof. The latter apparently “becomes infinitely easier when you discover there is a shop to buy power-ups”.

With reviewing consuming much of his gaming time Peter has mainly been playing Saints Row: The Third and Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call. Use of colourful language and the presence or not of semi-flaccid ‘baseball bats’ aren’t the differences that he chooses to highlight.

Layton is a plodding, cerebral stroll of a game and Saints Row is a colourful explosion of manic humour and frenzied gameplay. Unfortunately, Layton delivers more of the same whereas Saints Row, while thematically similar to previous games, tries to improve or increase in every way.

[drop]Which do you think Peter found more fun? When not reviewing he’s been trying to make room in his schedule for some Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted 3. Trying and failing due to the “utterly superb” Super Mario 3D Land which he describes as “just about as close to a perfect platformer as we’ve had recently”.

“The controls are as tight as Mario always is”, he continues, “but the level design and the way the game is built around the use of 3D, depth and the power-ups in this one is what makes it really brilliant”. While Nintendo are often criticised for just releasing the same games on every one of their consoles it does look like the latest outing of everyone’s favourite plumber is once again the reason to get onboard with their latest hardware.

On his self-confessed “biggest gaming binge of the year” Jim has been gobbling up many of the year’s big titles. Uncharted 3, Skyrim, CoD: Modern Warfare 3, Batman: Arkham City, AC: Revelations and L.A. Noire have all found themselves served up on shiny plastic platters. Just two of those have received the bulk of his attention though, the first being MW3 where the various tweaks and balances to the online multiplayer leave him feeling that it’s a return to form for the series after not being convinced by the changes in MW2.

When L.A. Noire released earlier this year it turned out to be something of Marmite title with much of the discussion, including in the comments to these posts, being centred upon the game’s repetitive nature and the hit-and-miss nature of trying to work out if your suspect is lying in the interview. Six months on what did Jim’s sleuthing uncover?

I’m quite the buff when it comes to detective games. Being a keen fan of Ace Attorney and more recently, Ghost Trick, I couldn’t wait to see how LA Noire played out. Much to my amazement, despite the mostly gleaming reviews and mass hype, it isn’t really that good. Sure, it’s one of the best looking games of the year, surveying crime scenes and taking evidence being given a nice interactive touch, but when it comes to interviews and interrogations (which were marked as the highlight) LA Noire falls apart. Determining whether someone is telling the truth or not becomes a 3-way guessing game; although there is logic behind my accusations and I present related evidence, I always seem to be falling flat on my face, LA Noire forcing me to use facial tells instead of referring to my actual case notes. Ridiculous!

Hands up all those who suspect Aran has played little other than Skyrim. Hmmm, almost unanimous, and you’re right of course. Like many of us playing the game he’s finding that remaining focused on the main story quests rarely happens for long. Skyrim just throws so many side quests and undiscovered locations at you there is always something to do other than what you are supposed to be doing. Not that that’s a bad thing when the real starring character of the game, the land of Skyrim itself, is such a compelling place to explore.

Glitch of the Week comes courtesy of Aran killing someone for sitting in a chair. His victim’s body proceeded to fall through the chair and perform the Havok-physics-convulsion dance, the only dance less likely than The Running Man to help you pull in Home. During the week he has managed to lay the hammer down on the armour-crafting anvil a few times and pick up MW3 to dish out some head trauma in the Mosh Pit. While “fun” it never keeps him away from Tamriel’s frozen north for too long.

[videoyoutube]Josh’s poorly PS3, which has taken to permanently running a fever, has left his PC to satisfy his gaming hunger. After a playing a few hours of “the ever-amazing” GTA: Vice City he is now looking for “a decent Vice City mod for GTA IV”. He’s also played through Plants vs. Zombies and managed to spend almost ten minutes with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion before it crashed on him. Even that wasn’t enough for him, so he returned to Minecraft following its 1.0 release finding that there’s “much more in it” compared to the 0.7 release he last spent significant time with.

After picking up August’s big title, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, for just £12 on Amazon it’s all Toby has been playing. “So far so good; the augmentations and apparent depth of choice make for an engaging and immersive videogame”, he says, “but it remains to be seen whether the stealth can be consistent enough to stop me from throwing my Dualshock in rage”.

There seems to be a general consensus among those of us who have played both titles that Nathan Drake’s latest outing doesn’t quite reach the same heights that Among Thieves attained. Kris has just completed his run through the entire trilogy and has this to say:

To be honest I didn’t like it as much as the series’ second outing. Perhaps it’s the fact that some of the set pieces are exceptionally similar to those in Uncharted 2 that grates on me a little. I don’t want to spoil anything for anybody, but there are two pieces from Uncharted 2 that are re-used twice in Uncharted 3 with the context tweaked, and it becomes startlingly obvious. It’s not that they’re bad, in fact they’re still amazing, but it gives a distinct feeling of “I’ve done this before.”

The story is strong, but still feels a bit vague at points, and I maintain that the story in the first was the strongest. Your goal felt a lot more defined and meaningful, whereas in 2 and 3 the ultimate goal just feels like a bit of a MacGuffin. Sure, the characterisation in the later titles is a lot better, and 3 teases some really interesting stuff as well as showing relationships in a new light, but the actual overarcing plot feels weaker.

That leaves him looking for the next big PS3-exclusive he should sample. Metal Gear Solid 4 is definitely on the list but do you have any other recommendations?

Can you help out Josh or Kris? What have you been playing now the releases are slowing down?

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19 Comments

  1. you know now i think about it L.A. Noire was terrible…

    • I am personally finding it hard to find the desire to return to it – New releases like Batman & BF3 obviously don’t help of course, but dare i say i just find everything in La Noire a bit dull.

  2. Absolutely bugger all! Damn work and life getting in the way of my gaming this week. I will however be trying out the Dead Island DLC tonight, and Platinuming it along with MW3. So hopefully next week I will have something different to mention, which will probably be going back to finish Battlefield 3!!

    I may buckle like a belt and get Skyrim, I’m jealous of all the talk and hype which I can’t be involved in, even though I clearly don’t have room for it in my busy schedule!

  3. Saints Row 3-just fun on so many levels, caught myself laughing out loud so much. Definitely a GoTY contender. Need a co op partner though! :)
    Skyrim-hammered it to bits, also a brilliant game. Glad I got it day one on my birthday, somehow manages to better Oblivion! 70 hours and counting.
    Battlefield 3-one more trophy then I have the plat, just need to unlock all co op weapons. Scuba Steve is an awesome partner to have, brilliant guy.
    Black Ops Zombies-with Lurch and the gang, brilliant people, will never meet a nicer bunch!
    Chime: Super Deluxe-love this game, great fun. Definitely recommend it to anyone.

  4. I promised I’d work on Assassins Creed II for my wife. Mistake, what a drag that game is. Still, a promise is a promise.

  5. Skyrim and BF3 all the way!!!!

    • Speaking of which, are you around later this evening?

  6. I have been playing nothing but TES:O but i may take a break from it soon as i find myself rushing through it a bit. :S I decided to see how many guards it would take to kill me. An hour later, i had a bounty of over 50thousand septims. I also lost two hours playtime as i got backed into a corner fighting a nercomanuer adept and a nercomanuer who both kept summoning a ghost and a zombie.

    I ended up braking my silver shortsword, ran out of arrows, barely managed to heal myself in between attacks. After half an hour, i used the Nordic Frost greater power to kill the adept. I managed to level up twice after that fight. :O

    Josh, try youtubing a VC mod as i think i have seen the one that you are after. I can’t remeber what it was called though.

    Kris, play MGS4, then download GOW3 demo. I found the GOW collection a bit boring to be honest. I think Infamous 1&2 may be up your alley as both are done in the style of comic books.

  7. Last weekend I completed the single player campaign on MW3, Infamous: Festival of Blood, and LA Noire. With the latter, I agree that the interviewing processes proved very frustrating, sometimes I found them quite illogical (ooh, Star Trek terminology!). I certainly recommend Kris tries out Metal Gear Solid 4. I’d never played any before so did a little research, well, read magazine articles on the previous instalments, and found the game to be brilliant.

  8. Pretty much mostly Skyrim again this week, although over the last few days I’ve been playing Rayman Origins.

  9. Nothing! But my new 320gb PS3 slim arrived today with Uncharted 3, Battlefield 3 and some random Blu Ray. Not bad for £229 from Tesco!

  10. Just been playing Saints Row The Third! fun on so many levels there’s quite alot to do reminds me so much of GTA San Andreas!! and played a little bit of MW3 getting quite good at it aswell averaging 20 kills per match and dying only a few times! really enjoying it this year

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