I hope you all had a great Christmas/Yule/Dies Natalis Solis Invicti/Winter-een-mas/Other*. For a number of us gaming has taken something of a backseat as we’ve focused on other hobbies, activities or simply spending most of our time with friends and family.
Dan has taken a break from gaming to catch up with some reading. He first set about consuming The Boys’ Volume 9, “which is just as good as ever”, before turning to The Hunger Games to further satiate his appetite. The latter is apparently “amazeballs” and left Dan wondering “how the Hell did I miss it when it was released in 2009”.
As for myself, I think I’ve managed about an hour of Skyrim as I’ve been spinning up on various Blu-ray movies instead of games on my PS3. I started with the extended versions of The Two Towers and Return Of The King having watched Fellowship a few weeks back. I prefer the second and third books as things seen to get more interesting once the fellowship has been broken and Eowyn’s always been a favourite character of mine so I enjoy the corresponding films more too.[drop2]Then there was Ghost In The Shell 2.0 which isn’t to be confused with the sequel but is instead a re-mastered version of the original. The re-done soundtrack is great but I’m really not convinced by the new visuals. Finally, I’m working my way through Star Wars: The Clone Wars Seasons 1-3. Aside from those episodes with Jar-Jar in them and despite George Lucas’ involvement as Executive Director they’re actually pretty good and with each episode being around 20 minutes long they’re great for filling a few spare moments.
A little late, but still welcome, to the Plant Vs. Zombies party is Toby. As a pick-up-and-play game that can be played for just a few minutes here and there he’s found that it has really suited the festive period. “I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t yet played it to pick it up”, he says, “either as an App or PSN [or XBLA or PC] title, though I’ve got the former because the PSN can prove to be very expensive”.
Tuffcub has unsurprisingly been playing Killzone 3. When not shooting Higgs/ISA scum in the face he is still persevering with the “tiresome and boring” Batman: Arkham City and has also managed to find the time for some Final Fantasy XIII, God Of War III, Magic Orbz, some multiplayer Blur and…
…Jurassic Park. I got a free copy thanks to PS+ and it’s utterly brilliant. And completely terrible. It’s a series of quick time events with the odd pause to do some basic investigation so barely registers as a game; the acting is awful, it judders and jerks and freezes like pensioner without a winter fuel allowance and the music cuts all over the shop.
Despite all that I ploughed through all four episodes and when it’s good, it could rival Uncharted for set pieces, most notably the final scene in which you character is relentlessly pursued through a maze of shipping containers by a T-Rex. It’s just begging for 3D for when the T-rex bursts out of the screen.
Another scene in the first episode has the battle we all want to see – T-Rex vs Triceratops and your character is right in the middle and episode four adds something new to the franchise, namely aquatic dinosaurs.
It is the most shoddy game I have played in a very long time, but it was free and I really did enjoy it.
Playing through a couple of the year’s three-quels was Aran. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception gets the thumbs up for continuing the series’ cinematic quality, humour and action while adding more Sully, Aran’s preferred sidekick. Saints Row The Third is apparently “complete madness” but in a good way. “The opening missions are so ridiculous it’s awesome”, Aran tells us, “I’ve had a ton of fun so far”.
Still working his way through the pre-Crimbo backlog is Jim. First up he decided to help Mary Poppins out with the Space Orkz problem in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. Having spent three days wading through dead Orkz he found that “despite being a slow-starter” the game “really picked up towards the second half”.
I also managed to beat Resistance 3; I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay, especially the weapon upgrade system. The online is head and shoulders above previous titles in the series too, though when it came to the plot it seemed as if Insomniac were ditching the franchise altogether. The ending itself is pretty mediocre despite ending on a nice set piece with plenty of questions left unanswered.
He has the courage to call Portal 2 “a fun little game” having found like me that the game inevitably falls short of the hype. “The fanboy madness and the Portal quotations that litter the Internet make the game sound better than it is”. Lastly Jim managed to also tick Killzone 3 off his list. While he “really didn’t connect with the online multiplayer” in contrast “the gritty campaign offered plenty of thrills”.
How was your Christmas? Have you been playing your way through a pile of new games?
*Delete as appropriate.