What We Played #36

Mobile gaming, whether on dedicated handhelds or smartphones has been quite popular among the TSA crowd this week. That’s not a particularly unusual situation but the fact that Nintendo’s 3DS doesn’t get a mention is. Instead the handheld console du jour has been a certain soon-to-be-released-outside-of-Japan model from Sony.

Dan managed to get hold of Alex’s PS Vita and games – having pried it from his cold, dead hands – on a short-term loan. “WipEout 2048 is just as good as Al says”, he tells me, “with a soundtrack that gets the heart racing every time”. While still having faith that it’ll all turn out okay in the end, Dan notes that the MotorStorm RC demo “isn’t brilliant” as it’s limited to just a single vehicle and short track.


Like many of us he is somewhat bemused that ModNation Racers: Road Trip lacks online racing but that aside it “handles well and looks great”. Happily he is able to report that the PS Vita’s version of perennial PSN favourite Super Stardust, acquiring a Delta suffix for its PS Vita outing, “looks and plays just as you might hope”. Lastly one of the handheld’s new IPs Gravity Rush gets a tentative thumbs up for having “some intriguing ideas, despite a fairly slow demo”.  Putting down his Alex’s PS Vita for a few moments Dan has spent some time with The Darkness II.  “It’s very impressive, with much improved Darkness powers. Quad-weilding never gets old!”

[drop2]Someone else leaving their paw prints over a PS Vita’s radiant 5” screen is Peter, having imported a couple of PS Vita versions of established IPs. First up is the “really good” Uncharted: Golden Abyss. “It tacks on some control stuff like having to cut things down with screen swipes and balance on beams with the tilt controls”, the latter being familiar to players of Drake’s Fortune, “but that is forgivable when weighed against the excellent aiming controls this time around”.

The second established franchise is Everybody’s Golf 6 which goes by the name Minna No Golf 6 in Japan. While Peter says “it’s the same classic franchise it’s always been” the fact he’s playing an imported copy has proved somewhat problematic. “It’s loads of fun but I have difficulty navigating the Japanese menus and can’t help feeling like I’m missing something!” Peter’s also managed to spend a little time with Football Manager Handheld 12 on his iPhone but has found that “the lack of deep tactical options means that I can’t play it the same way I play the PC game and subsequently, I’m not very good”.

Shifting away from those members of staff who’ve been fiddling with a Vita, Chris has found himself at something of a loose end gaming-wise following the closure of Starhawk’s private beta, turning to his Android  phonefor comfort:

I recently grabbed ChuChu Rocket! for free from GetJar. I love the game from my Dreamcast days, but find the touch screen implementation of smartphones to be the title’s natural home. I cannot stop playing, it’s been a long time since a game kept me hooked for ‘just one more go’ until the early hours on a school night, but ChuChu Rocket! does just that.

The rest of us have been making sure that the larger gaming experiences on our consoles and PCs haven’t been overlooked. Aran has finally managed to tick off all the chapters of Uncharted: Drake’s Deception’s story, the last few apparently “really toyed with [his] emotions, confusion, sadness, relief, happiness all making their presence known”. He commends Naughty Dog on once again telling a great story populated with great characters despite occasionally feeling like he “was being pushed to experience the next big event”. Some post-campaign co-op with a couple of randoms turned out to be a success, Aran’s mic-lessness not hampering the team’s performance. “Gamers, more of this real cooperation please”, Aran concludes.

A couple of us have been entirely predictable in our gaming once more. Toby has returned to his old stomping ground of FIFA Ultimate Team, taking a short break from Saints Row: The Third until he’s “managed to win an online tournament”. As for myself I’ve not had much gaming time this past week but what little I have had has been devoted to Star Wars: The Old Republic and Gran Turismo 5. And Blair?

I’ve finally got around to getting into Zelda: Skyward Sword properly. And what can I say? Well, it’s incredible and I wish I had played it sooner. The level design is unmatched, with some of the best mechanics and dungeons I’ve ever seen; the combat works brilliantly; the score is food for the ears; the puzzles are great; the sidequests are brilliant and a good change for Zelda; and the boss fights are simply amazing, some have left me in awe. I love it.

Whilst I was wary at first, thinking this wouldn’t match other games in the series, I’ve played it for hours and hours each day and it’s one of the best Zelda titles, and definitely one of the best of last year. I wish I had played more before Game of the Year came around – it’d definitely be in my top three. Now, back to playing it.

Another TSAer late to the Mass Effect 2 party, like Dan was the other week, is Jim. While calling the game a “masterpiece” he found it not to be without flaws. “Though many complained about the shift away from RPG elements in favour of the cover-based shooting, I personally think BioWare didn’t go far enough”, a somewhat contentious view to be sure. “Animations and cover swapping can be a real pain at times”, he continues, “game-freezing also being an issue to a Skyrim extent”. Fortunately, despite all that, the narrative and core gameplay are engaging enough to keep him returning for more.

A number of Free2Play betas have also been getting a workout on Jim’s PC; Tribes Ascend, Super Monday Night Combat and Warhammer Online: Heroes of Wrath. While acknowledging that they all have their own strengths it is SMNC that has consumed the largest share of his time. While he cannot tell us much about the game he describes it as being “in essence a DOTA shooter, packed with vibrant colour, good humour, and a good spread in terms of customisation”.

That’s what we’ve been playing, how about you?



  1. OMG – so much this week (as the wife and child were away)! Friday night started with my first TSA Meet….BF3 which was fun once it got going!! I think I kindly contributed to davidsmalls’ K:D ratio!

    Then some Rage, big thanks to Crazy_Del for helping me complete all the co-op missions and getting all the co-op trophies in 1 sitting. Think it only took us from 11pm to 1:30am with only a pair of restarts!

    Over the weekend I played some MW3 (got my 2nd MOAB with a nice 27 killstreak)! I also got 100% trophies on the uber frustrating GTi Club + Rally Cote D-Azur. I obtained both online trophies for Sonic 2. I played some Bioshock 2 and have started my Hard playthrough (fortunately I have all other SP trophies so I can just blast my way through it quickly). I also started the long MP slog to level 40 (or maybe 50) and picked up the other MP trophies.…looking forward to tonight’s meet)!! I also went back to try the Portal 2 DLC which just seemed to be all the old co-op levels, in a Time Trial mode, which was a little disappointing. But it was free. I was hoping for something new but have knocked it on the head for now. I helped a mate get some Black Ops zombie trophies too after getting my 100% the week before! There’s always time for some zombies. And I had a couple of Might & Magic Clash of Heroes multiplayer games.

    Then Sunday night I started my Resistance 3 co-op & Superhuman playthrough with Origami Killer (who’s bloody good btw)….great fun co-op, and I much prefer the look and feel of the earlier levels!

  2. Mainly Skyward Sword for me this week. Beautiful game and just a joy to play.
    Otherwise I tried out the Darkness 2 and RE Revelations Demos, both of which are simply excellent.
    Should be playing a few rounds of Mario Kart 7 tonight in a mini ‘download play’ tournament. I’m sure beers and takeout will be involved :)

  3. I bought the rest of the F:NV DLC this week and have been playing nothing but Fallout New Vegas. I’m slowly going through the quests and plan on playing Lonesome Road last. :) Also, i never buy item pack but i got GRA and it adds a lot of weapons to the game as well as new ammo types and mods for the GRA versions of the weapons that were in the vanilla game. :) Although the unique weapons are very expensive in game. :O

    I wouldn’t reccomend doing Lonesome Road at low levels unless you want to find out why Deathclaws are called Deathclaws as well as a load of high level enemies.

    • You weren’t tempted to see if it worked out cheaper buying the F:NV Ultimate Edition when it’s released on February 10th? I’ve seen it around for £25 but haven’t really shopped for it yet.

      The UE contains F:NV plus Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, Lonesome Road, Courier’s Stash and Gun Runners’ Arsenal which I think is everything.

      • I bought the first 3 DLCs at some point last year and had a spare tenner. So i wouldn’t have been saving that much. :) I don’t care about Courier’s stash as it makes the begining of the game much easier then it should be. Plus, i have no income atm so the UE is not an option for me. Surpisingly, Lonesome Road only took an hour to download. :O

    • Well I started Fallout 3 again, I don’t know what it is about that game, but it really draws me in, preferred it to NV for a few reasons too. Cannot wait for the next.

      • Agreed, I love Fallout 3 and thought New Vegas was a huge disappointment.

        Hope we get a Fallout MMO now that the rights are free from Interplay.

      • I came into the Fallout world with New Vegas which I loved. Which then made me get Fallout 3. To be honest New Vegas edges it for me. I prefer the setting :) Both fantastic games though.

      • And you got stuck as you didn’t know how to change the diffculty thus resulting in me trying to help you via PSN for 30 minutes before you noticed it, Origami Killer.

        I prefer New Vegas over 3. But i hate those f***** cazadors!

  4. WipEout 2048 is certainly sounding like Vita’s best launch game atm. Have any of the Vita owners tried F1 2011 yet?

  5. Killzone 3. Obv.

    • I still haven’t picked this up, still worth it?

  6. Completed Uncharted 3 on Crushing and have all trophies except the co-op one. Will get that tomorrow. So then I can sell the three Uncharteds as I’ve completed them all and not overly keen on online.

    Next week, SR the 3rd, plus others.

  7. Skyrim, Dark Souls & WipEout HD Fury for me.
    That said, given up on Skyrim until something’s done about that lag issue.

    • In that case, you might find some news that will please you today! :)

  8. Only managed to play a few short sessions of Fruit Ninja this week as I’ve been ridiculously busy with work this week. I don’t think I’ll manage to clock any serious gaming time until Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes out…

  9. This week i picked up Outland in the jan sale on PSN and finished another playthrough of Trine.

  10. Late to the party on this one (having *shamefully* only recently dicovered it) but I have only been playing Angry Birds this week. Half my office is now involved in the “Can we obtain 3 stars on all Angry Birds, Seasons and Rio levels?” campaign.
    The answer – No!

Comments are now closed for this post.