What We Played #83: Nintendo Land, Vanquish, Surge

What We Played

I got a new TV a few weeks ago and while I didn’t buy it because of its 3D capabilities, it does support the medium. I’m sceptical of 3D movies in the home and the only 3D Blu-ray I have, Thor, hasn’t done anything to alleviate my scepticism. It doesn’t help that Thor is an example of post-production conversion to 3D lending it a very pop-up book look. Any recommendations for truly stunning 3D films to try?

When it comes to 3D gaming though I’m more open to the idea so I went hunting through my collection for 3D capable games to see what I could find. First up was Housemarque’s stunning twin-stick shooter Super Stardust HD. It’s a fantastic game anyway and remarkably the 3D presentation just feels so natural. I can’t think of a better word for it. Boosting round the planet blasting the crap out of asteroids just works perfectly in 3D. I don’t think I’ll be able to play it in 2D again!


I tried WipEout HD next expecting to be blown away by that game’s 3D presentation but to my surprise I simply wasn’t. The menus are, without a doubt, very pretty in 3D but it seems to add nothing to the racing. I thought the psychedelic Zone mode might but no.

[drop2]Then it was on to Motorstorm: Apocalypse. The one word that springs to mind when it comes to the 3D presentation in this game is JAGGIES! And lots of them. Everywhere. And again the 3D was an unconvincing addition.

My expectations were that racing games would be the main beneficiaries of 3D but initial experiences haven’t borne that out. I’ve yet to try racing favourite GT5 in 3D but I’m approaching that with some trepidation now. I’m told Tumble is brilliant in 3D though so I look forward to trying that and will report back next week on how that goes.

Otherwise it’s been Mass Effect 3 on both the PS3 and Wii U, with the GamePad also getting plenty of exercise courtesy of trying to find my last few combos in Little Inferno and pick up some more golds in Puddle. Nintendo’s latest console is proving to be packed full of great ideas well executed.

Its charms are also rubbing off on Alex who’s been playing Nintendo Land which he suggests “is probably the best thing on the Wii U just now”:

It’s cool, because it looks like shit for the first hour or so and then BOOM it’s got you hooked and it’s actually fucking brilliant. It’s really hard, too, and there’s loads to it, including lots of secret game modes.

The Wii U is great, especially the GamePad only games, but Nintendo Land is something else. Slick, quick and super addictive.

Nintendo Land Attraction IconsIn between bouts of desperately trying to get all his work done before Christmas Peter has been playing Far Cry 3. He’s making his way through the main story deliberately slowly because “I don’t want it to be over, it’s just so good to play around in the world”. He tells me that he thinks that the story missions “might be the weakest part” with the game’s world itself “just so full of stories that make themselves, anything forced in it feels less joyful”.

He’s also squeezed in some Wii U play with his 4 nephews aged between 3 and 9:

They’re ridiculously impressed with it, specifically New Super Mario Bros and Nintendo Land. It’s amazing to see that kind of unadulterated enthusiasm about it because so much of the reaction to videogames that I take in revolves around cynicism, negativity and conflict – usually from jaded old games “journalists” who think they know it all about games. Seeing kids just react to it without the urge to pick it apart is so inspiring.

Elsewhere Aran is finding that the more he plays Metro 2033 the more he likes it. While a “very sombre game”, the fitting “atmosphere and the amount of detail that has been put into the game and story is excellent”. He says that it is one of the best shooters he’s played.

In his ongoing Just Cause 2 adventures he stumbled across “a fighter jet so naturally I had to blow things up, the most spectacular being the oil rig”. Just how deliberate that was is open to question as he “was chased by enemy fighters so I had to bail out. My jet continued onwards until crashing into the rig. Huge explosion followed.”  Wonder if the rig owners would be sued for damages if that happened?

[drop]Chris has been playing Vanquish, courtesy of its recent appearance as part of PlayStation Plus’ Instant Game Collection. Despite really liking it when he rented it on release he never got around to buying it because of other games released around the same time.

Now he’s “loving it all over again” thanks to PS+. “Loving it might be understating it a little actually as it’s the most fun I’ve had gaming for what seems like years, easily on of my favourite games this generation.” While not a big hit at the time, as a Japanese take on the shooter formula, it did garner some praise for being a little bit different. If you haven’t got PS+ it could well be worth dipping into a nearby bargain bin for.

Last up this week, Dan has been playing Surge, FuturLab’s latest game, “and boy is it addictive!!” The latest in a string of great little games, including the outstanding Velocity, “these guys keep producing quality content”. He’s also been playing Stranger’s Wrath on the Vita but is “not sure how much I’m allowed to say on that though (big smily face)”. Typical.

What’s being consuming your own gaming time this week?



  1. Not a huge variety for me this week. Spent the bulk of my game playing time collecting star coins on Mario Bros U, something made much easier with the Mrs using the gamepad in boost mode.
    Other than that I played a bit of Far Cry 3 at a mates house (definitely not for me, so disappointed with it) and also checked out the Rayman Legends demo (which is brilliant).

    • I thought FarCry 3 looked pretty bland at EuroGamer Expo, wasn’t impressed at all – not saying it’s bad, just didn’t look any better than Dead Island that was out a year ago, possibly longer. Everyone else seems to be enjoying it though.

      • Yeah, its certainly not a bad game but its very repetitive and nothing we haven’t really seen before.
        Was hoping for a game to truly reinvent the FPS genre (after all, thats sort of what its been marketed as) but, nah, nothing special.

  2. For 3D – Try Sky3D
    Its non-movie schedule is far, far better than movies – my daughter watches some of the concerts they have on – and I’m a big convert to their documentaries, in particular the nature stuff like David Attenborough’s docs, there’s a new series coming up over Christmas.

    Sport is ok too, with a sense of depth rather than movie-style gimmicks, but in generaly Sky’s 3D programming is a fine example of 3D whilst movies are some of the worst examples of 3D I’ve seen, and I never bother with them.

    • On the gaming front I’ve not played too much 3D

      SSHD was great, GT5 was fine although I did have more fun playing around with its photo mode in 3D. MS:A goes full-on 3D, but I find all the flying stuff a bit gimmicky, like a poor 3D movie.

      Tumble is without doubt the best example of 3D in gaming, it’s a real game change which makes it all the more bizarre that Sony hasn’t followed it up or brought it’s 3D manipulation into other games in any way to really ram home the advantage of 3D with PSMove

      • The Ryder Cup was fab in 3D. Especially the shots from behind the golfers looking down the fairways. It also helped give a much better feeling for the undulations on the course.

  3. Nothing much just been playing dishonored, loving this game but I’m the worst sneaking person ever lol. Played some vice city after Forrest insist its the best GTA, after having played it, I’m sorry Forrest S.A remains Loco essay lol.

    Vita trying plat uncharted!

    Loving God of war beta some dude called sixalexis keeps beating me though

  4. I got BT Infinity fibre optic broadband this week, so I’ve been enjoying downloads at 34Mbps, which is nice.

    I platinumed FIFA 13 in the early hours this morning.

    I’ve just (about 5 minutes ago) completed and Aced LBP on Vita – I just need to do 3 of the arcade games and 100% bubbles for the platinum.

    My wife helped me complete 3 more story levels on Impossible on Dead Space: Extraction.

    Played Blops2 (TSA Meet) on Monday, it was the most laggy meet to date, sadly. It’s Double XP this weekend so I should go up the final 3 levels to get the Prestige trophy.

    • Congrats on the fifa plat, Virgin is the way forward lol I had BT before I guess location can affect your speeds.

      • Cheers mate!

        Did you speed fluctuate much, mine seems to go from 20Mb-36Mb, it’s a bit odd! Either way is bloody fast downloading :)

  5. I have been playing Dragon Age Origins which is my all time favorite RPG of this generation. I’ve finally gotten over DA2 as i no longer think of it when it play DAO which has ruined it for me everytime i tried to play DAO. And without a PSN connection, the DLC start points don’t show up apart from Shale but overall, my experience has remained untarnished.

    I’m a female City Elf. The class i’ve chosen is Rogue and i’ve elected to have her as a dual wielding one to harrass enemies whilst the tank takes on the majority of the group. I’m starting to use posion making more due to me playing it on normal and it is quite a challenge. Also using herbalism and plan to sell any excess lyruim potions i create as i think a potent one can fetch up to 1 soveriegn.(1 gold which is a lot in DAO).

    I’ve finished Broken Circle and elected to save the mages by killing Uldred only as well as any demon that tried to stop me and have saved Redcliffe. Haven’t done that many sidequests at the moment and i’m only 20 hours. Have recruited Barkspawn(the Marbari you helped at Ostagar if you gave the flower to the hound trainer),Sten, Leilana and Zevran. Alistar is my warden’s love interest and did his personal quest and discovered brand new dialog. In fact, i’m discovering new thing and i’ve have probably played 300 hours in total as well as owning it for over 2-3 years. I’m currently doing the Urn Of Sacred Ashes and then will do some side quests to take a break from the main quest as well as level up the characters i don’t use often. Will most likely do the dwarves last due to it being a high level area geared towards level 15 onwards.

    If you love RPGs, get DAO as you won’t regret it. It is Bioware’s love letter to the traditional fantasy RPGs and is excellent. If you hate DAO and love DA2, please chuck yourself out of the nearest window. :-p

    Am hoping that Dragon Age 3 will be Dragon Age Origins with a few tweaks as well as some new and hopefully creative idaes thrown into it that are decent instead of Dragon Effect 3 as DA2 was basically Mass Effect with a Dragon Age skin and half arsed. Will not be happy about the tacked on MP though unless it’s Co-op only and we control a NPC character in the team as i would be okay with it if it’s just 4 player Co-op. But knowing EA, it will be the usually tacked on MP with the usual EA bullshit.

    I should be getting Far Cry 3 next saturday as i should have the spare cash and i already like Vaas. That is excellent writing if i like a villian before i even own the game. He is Villian of the year in my books. In fact, he may be one of my top ten favorite villains in gaming. :O Have heard that the UI can’t be turned off, if that is the case, i will be a little bit annoyed as i had planned on switching it off to make it more tense and even fun. May give away the online code as i will have no use for it. :)

  6. I’ve been playing Playstation All Stars despite the somewhat poor sales, I’m actually enjoying it although the story mode seems quite short.

  7. Not much at all for me this week. Blops 2 meet on monday was horrendously laggy. I blam Youles’ 0.36Mbps connection :P

    I managed half a level of Vanquish before swiftly deleting it from my hard drive. The game is utter, utter gash! Just a bit more LBPV and thats been all Ive played. My week has mainly been spent recording my huge vinyl collection to my external hard drive. 3 days of recording, 40 vinyls out of about 2500 done and then I realize Cubase has been recording in dual mono instead of stereo. I cried a little

    • Hey, it was laggy before I arrived, and it’ll be everyone else’s poor-mans connections holding mine back! :p

      • Haha, your such a connection toff now! :P

      • Oh yeah, I’ll be telling everyone about my internet speed, expect to see it written in your Christmas card somewhere ;)

      • Lol, you should run one of those connection speed tests and put a screenshot of the result in your xmas cards.
        Some people do that sort of thing with baby scan photos, etc so why not a speed test result ;)

      • Oh no. please don’t encourage him :P

      • Nice idea – funnily enough my wife and I went for our 12-week baby scan this week too, lol! I’d better get down the printers sharpish!

  8. This week has been quite varied in terms of games, I finished my first playthrough of Epic Mickey 2, got my platinum for Far Cry 3, started playing F1 Race Stars and Big Sky Infinity and also had a quick blast of Surge.

  9. Nothing, tis parteh season!

  10. This week I got the platinum for the worst luck/slash series of events.
    Absolutely the pits.
    Therefore no gaming this week as I cant even concentrate on that :(

    • Oh shit, what happened mate? Hope you’re ok

      • What didn’t happen,lol.
        Some idiot drove into my car and made it a right mess, found out I got no job in 2 weeks time,a death in the family which is particularly hard as its an 18 month old,and just to top it off,my girlfriend of 4 years has left me. :(
        unbelievable really

      • My God, that is awful mate. I’m so sorry, particularly regarding the family, how terribly cruel.
        I hope you find work and that the third parties insurance company pays up quickly.
        You should also buy a Euro Millions lottery ticket for this evening, if anyone deserves some luck this week, it’s you!

      • Holy fuck mate! So sorry to hear that!

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