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!”
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?