What We Played #35

Before the year is out some would have us believe that either the world will end or it will undergo some form of spiritual transformation. Now I’m a natural skeptic so I say poppycock. Of course it is some loose interpretations of the implications of a Mayan calendar reaching the point where it count of days resets to zero that have led to these book- and lecture-selling ‘prophecies’.

By some accounts the Maya used as many as seventeen different calendars so why this one, the so-called Long Count calendar, should be particularly special is beyond me and most of the planet’s sane population. All I’m pretty sure that will happen is that another ancient civilisation will be the popular one next year once the Mayans have been ‘proven’ wrong.

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Naturally though you can be sure someone will just claim we got we dates slightly wrong and for a small fee they’ll help us understand our error and prepare for the rescheduled end of the world/spiritual awakening.

[drop]Unfortunately the probability that the world will end on December 21st 2012 is non-zero. There are undiscovered asteroids, comets, etc., out there and one of them will have the Earth’s name on it; an impact is inevitable we just don’t know when.

Equally the destruction could be entirely terrestrial in origin, whether by our own hands as the Doomsday Clock ticks ever closer to midnight or as a result of a natural disaster such as the overdue eruption of the the Yellowstone super-volcano.

Why all the doom and gloom? It’s the perfect excuse to point out that when your gaming time is limited either by the imminent destruction of the planet or more mundane concerns that you should make the most of it.

That is something Peter has been failing to do this week. In what could be the first month of the last year of life on Earth he has found himself reviewing the “fairly poor” Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Special Editions. How can such a situation be rescued? By going back to finish playing through Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception which has been bereft of attention since shortly after release.

The imminent destruction of all life on Earth has also had Dan reaching out to Drake for help. In this case it is Drake’s pocket-sized adventure Uncharted: Golden Abyss which features stunning vistas not unlike those the Mayans themselves may have witnessed.

In Dan’s case rather than some snake-oil prophecy that threatened the destruction of Earth it is the ancient machine race known as the Reapers. He turned to Drake to fill the void left behind after he had completed the main story in Mass Effect 2. “It’s such a fantastic game I’m actually glad I only played it now”, he says, “as a longer wait for Mass Effect 3 might have killed me”.

Being one of the lucky few to already have his mitts on a PlayStation Vita he’s not only been using it to give Drake another run through the jungle, he’s also been playing Virtua Tennis 4. “The graphical effects are stunning, at times it’s hard to differentiate it from the PS3 version”, he tells me, needlessly building more excitement as we inch towards the European and U.S. release dates.

Saints Row: The Third is still getting a good thrashing with a semi-flaccid phallic bat on the team’s consoles. In alphabetical order, Aran, Blair, Toby and Tuffcub have all been going hard at it. Blair has now completed it and confidently declares it “excellent, action-packed and fun throughout”, while Aran is just mopping up the few remaining pieces of virtual silverware as he quests for the elusive Platinum.

Toby’s still “thoroughly engrossed” in the game, saying that while “it might not be the tightest of titles where shooting is concerned” he can’t resist its siren call for long and keeps finding himself returning to it. Tuffcub on the other hand says he’s not really been playing the game as such, rather he’s “been trying on new outfits as I have designed my character to look like me so the game functions like a virtual wardrobe”. Quite.

In terms of the other games they’ve been playing, Aran is playing through Warlock of Firetop Mountain for review while Blair returned to spend a bit more time with Rayman Origins which had been neglected since he reviewed it: “It’s absolutely amazing and I can’t recommend it enough; though the bonus missions I’m attempting are quite hard”.

Tuffcub’s “been doing a bit of Zumba and, obviously, Killzone 3”. He also delivers a word of caution, though I should caution those of you with a delicate constitution or unsullied mind (can that be said of any TSA reader?) that you should pretend the post ends here and head straight for the comments section.

I do have a word of warning regarding A Space Shooter For $2 which I have – and there is no delicate way of putting this – been playing whilst in the toilets at work on my PSP. The levels last a few minutes so are the perfect length.

However I don’t recommend following my example as yesterday one of my earphones fell out and I suddenly realised that everyone else would be hearing two minutes of fast, rhythmic pounding (as hammered the X button) concluded with a grunt of satisfaction.

[drop2]You were warned. As for myself, I’ve been playing lots more of Star Wars: The Old Republic and thoroughly enjoying it. Jenn’s been happily reunited with her ship now and is merrily flying about the galaxy sticking her missiles into the nearest Imperial exhaust ports. For a brief spell about a week ago while the SWTOR servers were down I returned to PC tower defense favourite Defense Grid: The Awakening for comfort. Killing aliens with cannon shells and beams of coherent light just never gets old.

I’ve also been taking my PSP out and about with me on my travels where Gran Turismo PSP and the Telegraph Crosswords minis title have been proving great time fillers. The only action my PS3 has seen this week has been a couple of hours of online Gran Turismo 5 where the currently broken track voting in shuffle races proved somewhat irritating but is otherwise still great fun with a track full of friends who’re only slightly more likely to run you off the road than the AI.

What have you played during the first full What We Played week of the first month of what may be the Earth’s last year?

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31 Comments

  1. By the looks of things on Twitter, like me everyone has been playing GT5!

  2. Will be joining you in The Old Republic fairly soon, Greg!

    For me, whenever I’ve managed to fit in any game-time it’s been Mass Effect 2 (the PS3 version of course.) A little for the first hour, especially having starting and left it last year, it picks up fast. Currently I’m playing on Insanity which isn’t actually as hard as I thought, actually making the game a hell of a lot more fun as I have to rely on different power/weapon types to stay alive. I was so into it I even downloaded “The Arrival” which, if memory serves me right, is only £4 at the moment.

  3. LOL Tuffcub. Only on TSA would I be able to read something like that at 9am on a Friday :)

    Bit of a mix again this week really. Finally got round to making a start on RE: Darkside Chronicles, which is great apart from having the worst camera angles I’ve ever seen in a rail-shooter.

    Outside of that I played a few rounds of Mario Kart 7 online, scored a few more ‘S’ ranks on RE Mercenaries.

    My local GAME finally got some more copies of Skyward Sword (first batch since Xmas!) so I snagged a copy yesterday and made a start last night. I’m only 2 hours in so far and can already tell its going to be awesome experience :)

    • Blimey, that’s a fairly long wait since Christmas. I miss Zelda games. Probably the only franchise I miss, being a PS3 owner. Not even any Xbox games like Gears or Halo that I’m fussed about. Just Zelda. I have a DS just so I can play Link’s Awakening, Minish Cap, 4 Swords etc, all the old ones! Some of the dungeon puzzles are excellent, and actually pretty complicated at times – particularly when you have to fall from the floor above!

      • Lol tell me about it. On the plus side I got the game and guide together for under £35 yesterday so the wait was worth it I guess :) They are definately great games, especially when it comes to sound design. The copy of SS I got yesterday was the limited edition and came with a CD filled with Zelda tracks. So awesome :)
        I’m really enjoying 4 swords at the mo. 3DS owners can download it for free to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series. Its definately a lot easier playing it with friends over wireless than it was back on the GBA using link cables ;D

      • That is a good deal! So you did get your free 3DS games then? Didn’t you sell or replace your system so you weren’t sure if you were gonna get those free games?

      • Fraid not :( Turns out I needed to register the system which I didn’t too. I’d linked it to my Club Nintendo account which I was hoping would be sufficient but apparently not. Ahh well, it looked like a great collection but I’ve got more than enough to play to worry about it too much hehe

      • Oh well, can’t be helped I suppose. And new Resi Evil this week?? *gasp*

      • *no (not new)

      • Lol, I played plenty but abbreviated it to RE in my first post. It’s what us hardcore fans do… ;D

      • Oh what an idiot I am, sorry! I don’t keep up with all the various different console versions, oops! I see you had an ample fix of it then! :)

      • Lol yeah managed to squeeze a few hours in. Oooo I forgot one, I played the FFXIII-2 demo last night too. The demo alone was 10x better than XIII lol. Really good and may end up picking it up when it reaches the £30 price point :)

  4. Skyrim, still Skrim, still absorbed! Though I have dabbled in a touch of EA Active 2 to try and get one of a couple of trophies left for the Plat and I’ve played a whole lot of the superb Mario 3D land on the tube. One thing I have noticed is that there is finally a use for those little scroats who catch the same train as me on their return journies from school – the amount of Streetpass hits I’ve had in the last forninght is phenomenal – gifting me with sweet sweet powerups each time.

    • Lol I found that in Cambridge yesterday. When the schools finished for the day I was suddenly bombarded with street pass hits. Easily 15, if not more. Plenty of puzzle pieces for me! Mwhaha! Even managed to score a purple DK piece. 3 to go :D

  5. Rage – only played about 5-6 hours but loving it. So much better than Boringlands (in my opinion). Graphics are amazing, vehicles are fun and responsive, and the shooting is as responsive and smooth as proper FPS. However it could probably do with a stronger main story and character development like Fallout. I wish I had started it back in October when I was playing a whole load of sequels – it’s always good to play a new IP.

    Also played some Might & Magic Clash of Heroes online; some more MW3 multiplayer (find I get bored of it so much sooner than MW2, I think because of the maps – damn I miss Estate and Favela. But it’s great for short blasts); Black Ops zombies and Dead Island – both to get 1 last trophy for me and a mate respectively.

    Also been messing about with the CoD Elite App, which is really good and works better than the console App or full version of Elite!

    • As much as I didn’t really get into Rage (I think I’m just FPS’d out to be honest) I agree its definately better than Borderlands. I know a lot of people love that game but I have picked it up twice in the past and just couldn’t see the appeal personally.

      • I guess not everyone is going to enjoy it! It’s definitely not perfect (lack of story, not a fully free roam/open wasteland, no character development, slight texture issues), but still a decent game. I think the TSA review score of 8/10 was pretty fair. I was a bit disappointed that the online modes didn’t include a straight racing mode, but I guess that’s inkeeping with the campaign vehicle modes, and keeps the game different from actual racing games.

  6. I’m going to stop reading these features out of pure jealousy if more of you get a PS Vita by the way.

    • Like you’d play anything other than Skyrim anyway ;p

  7. Finally Platinumed Up, Played some Skylanders (but wish it was Skyrim) and started playing through some of the Jurassic Park The game episodes.

  8. Pretty much the same as last week for me – A bit of AC Revelations, a little BF3, a little Uncharted 2 (which I still need to finish so that I can move onto 3) & a lot of Saints Row. Oh & I finally got around to completing Portal 2. Haven’t tried the co-op courses yet, but am guessing you would need a partner with good communication skills to go through it with, as some could probably be pretty brain bending.

  9. Trying to plat ACR this week (only 1 trophy left) and then it’s back to Skyrim I go.

  10. I’ve been playing Deus Ex:Human Revolution. I’ve been using stealth and have only killed one guy.(I punched through a wall and didn’t realise that there is no way to avoid killing someone if they are standing by said wall). I think i’m nearing the end of it. The boss fights are disappointing and bloody easy as hell. The first boss, took me a few minutes. The second boss, i beat within 2 minutes. I was expecting a longer fight. All i did was use a gas mine, threw a EMP grenade and then threw 2 frags as well as shooting her whilst she was being electrocuted.

    Plus, some of the scenery is bloody fantastic. Although i wish that we could visit it instead of it being just scenery.

    • What difficulty are you playing on? I’ve only played up to the first boss and a few side missions after and it’s feels like I have played it for hours.

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