Well it’s been a while since the last one, so welcome to an instalment of Games We’ve Been Playing Recently.
This is where we comment on a particular game that we’ve been playing recently, be it bad, good, or just a bit ‘meh?’ Not going to be full reviews, but just might give you an idea as to if it’s a game you might like.
So lets get on with it shall we?
Payday 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC): For lack of a better description, Payday 2 is a single player/co-op heist simulator. And it’s amazing. You play as one of 4 expert bank robbers who are contracted to pull off daring and elaborate heists, rob the bank? Raid the jewellery store? Sneak into the museum and steal art? infiltrate a laboratory and steal a prototype jet engine? It’s all here!
Payday 2 is one hell of a game, if you have a group of friends with mics it’s one of the most rewarding co-op experiences, if you’re a fan of games like Left 4 Dead, you will love this.
Also, each time you replay, things change, the patrols of guards, locations of the goods, the type of goods (is it money or gold day at the bank)? The level up system is very engaging and it allows for instant re-specing of abilities without losing progress/money. Payday 2’s intensity comes from the fact that the longer the heist goes on for, the greater the reward and greater the threat from the police.
You and your friends will be yelling “BULLDOZER!” as you see the juganaught of policemen charging at you with a shotgun.
I strongly recommend you pick up and try this game, though it is played best with friends and mics, however I can’t deny how epic it feels to do a heist solo without being detected by security.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition (Wii U): after the recent release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 at the movies, my love for Spidey re-kindled and I decided to go back and try and pick up the game based on the first movie, hearing it wasn’t too bad and knowing it would go cheap now.
Honestly, the game wasn’t anything special for me. The open world was nice, but noticeable pop-in, dead looking streets and blocky buildings just bored me. The swinging was okay but felt floaty and weightless and it was difficult to be precise. Web rush helped that, but the concept itself felt a little broken and took away my need to wall crawl or navigate – just push web rush, and it’s done! The combat was ripped straight from the Arkham games, which isn’t bad in itself but it felt less flowing and refined, plus at times it was difficult to know when to dodge.
On top of all this, the story was a bit of a bore with some mediocre character models and voice acting that didn’t sound all that great. Spidey’s voice here just doesn’t fit for me and he obnoxiously yells the same yells and phrases over and over when swinging and fighting which only deepens that. If you can pick it up cheap it could be worth a play for Spidey fans, but if you can get Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions cheaper, that’s probably a better option, fan or casual.
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U): What’s this? A staff writer for a Sonic fansite playing a Mario game… for FUN?! Blasphemy! I guess I’d better make my way to the bunker if I want to escape the inevitable angry mob hunting me down with their torches and pitchforks…! But really, on a more serious note, I’ve always been a huge fan of the Super Mario series, and this latest entry on the Wii U is undoubtedly one of the plumber’s finest. I beat the majority of what it has to offer last year upon its release but have only recently gone back to play through it all over again to get 100% completion – which essentially meant playing through the entire thing several more times with each of the unique characters on offer.
You’d think having to replay the same handful of stages time after time would grow tiresome, but no – Nintendo’s pulled out all the stops here to make sure 3D World consists of only the most creative Mario level designs, with plenty of ingenious moments as well as punishing platforming challenges. Those last couple of levels really pushed me to my limits… but I managed it in the end, and I feel all the more proud of my achievement as a result!
And let’s not forget just how impressive the game’s presentation is – gorgeous visuals, vibrant designs, and one of the best soundtracks my ears have ever had the pleasure of hearing (and one I now listen to on constant repeat, thanks to Club Nintendo!). It’s a game that’s a sheer joy to play through, be it for the first, second, third, fourth, or even fifth time! Wahoo!
The Pinball Arcade (Playstation 3): If you were to ask me what my absolute favorite game in the arcades was when growing up, it would undoubtedly be pinball. The game has mesmerised me for many, many years. So it’s probably without surprise that The Pinball Arcade is probably the game that I have open the most whenever I’m not tearing through Sonic stages.
The game essentially is one massive collection of pinball tables from all the great pinball manufacturers of the day. Bally, Stern, Gottlieb and Williams are all accounted for in this collection, which aims on recreating their games down to the smallest of details, all the way down to perfect ROM emulation of each table’s solid state data. With Farsight Technologies (the devs behind the game) continually releasing new table packs for the game, there’s more than enough pinball to go around for everyone.
Most recently, The PS3 version of The Pinball Arcade received the long-awaited ‘Mega-Patch’. With this update, all the tables look a lot prettier, the physics have been tidied up and a lot of the tables play a helluva lot better than they used to. I implore ANYONE who’s gotten the smallest bit of enjoyment from a round of pinball to at least try this game. It made me fall in love with the silver ball all over again, and for someone who already loved the game to begin with, is saying an awful lot.
Now… let’s work on beating that 1.6 billion high score on Terminator 2 I set late last week…
Kirby: Triple Deluxe (Nintendo 3DS): It’s more than you think, it’s got maximum pink! Following on from its January release in Japan, the latest efforts from Nintendo subsidiary HAL Laboratory has finally begun to grace the West, and I was more than eager to get my hands on this game the moment May 2nd swung by. The game’s eponymous hero wakes up one morning, only to find that his home had been transported way above the clouds! What darkness lurks within the pristine sky kingdom of Floralia? What does that manipulating magician, Taranza, hope to accomplish by kidnapping Dream Land’s own King Dedede? What adorable little hats will Kirby don through his unique copy ability this time around!? WAS THIS GAME WORTH THE WAIT?
Triple Deluxe is a spring breeze of a game (and hey, there’s no wrong in easy so long as it’s quality!), although those who seek greater challenges might want to look elsewhere, lest they are willing to take on the significantly greater challenges the post-game has in store. Nonetheless, the latest Kirby is simple, cute, and quality fun with a ton of things to keep you busy! If Story Mode isn’t enough to suit your fancy, there’s also the rhythm game madness that is Dedede Drum Rush, and the Smash Bros.-inspired Kirby Fighters!
Gameplay-wise, it’s about the exact same as Return to Dream Land on the Wii, so those who loved the former definitely oughta get a kick out of this — easy to pick up controls paired with a wide arsenal of powers to spice up your own playthrough (like the all new Beetle and Archer abilities!). Hypernova Kirby is another pretty satisfying ability to unleash, where the Star Warrior’s already voracious appetite gets amplified to environmentally unfriendly degrees.
Topped off with yet another gorgeous soundtrack put together by Jun Ishikawa and Hirokazu Ando (if there’s anything I play more than a game, it’s that game’s OST), an Extra Mode fit for a king among other fun distractions, collectable and Streetpass-able keychains based off of the franchise’s history, and a wonderfully woven world to explore as thoroughly as possible, Kirby: Triple Deluxe is a complete and utter joy of a game. To folks who aren’t put off by easy vidya, who’ve been fans of the series for a while, or who’ve been waiting for an entry point into another of Nintendo’s biggest names, this is a must-have for your 3DS library!
Fur Fighters: Viggo’s Revenge (Playstation 2): Going way back in my gaming collection for this one. An updated port of the Dreamcast game simply called Fur Fighters, I bought this from the local Comet store in 2002 (when it had a small video game section) for £10. And it was a tenner well spent for me.
The gameplay is pretty unique, and I don’t think there’s another game with quite the genre mash-up. Primarily it’s a third person shooter, but it also has platformer and puzzle game elements thrown in there so acing the game isn’t done through brute force alone. Part of this involves switching between six characters to rescue babies using their individual skills. You have Roofus who can dig in holes (basically a teleport), Juliette who can climb scratched walls, Bungalow who can jump higher, Chang who can fit into small gaps, Rico who can swim underwater, and Tweek who can glide ala Spyro (and is my favourite of the bunch). Depending on your skill level, the control configuration can be altered to your preference, with advanced being the default (I am not an advanced shooter player so I go with beginner 1).
But what makes this game stick with me so fondly isn’t simply that it plays good, it’s how lovingly crafted every other detail in this game is. Each world is strongly stylised and fun to explore, packed with memorable set pieces and references (some of which add otherwise unsaid traits to your own characters). The main cast are strongly characterised and quickly endear themselves to you, which makes their plight of rescuing their children and mutated spouses (mother in one case) resonate that much more. Even the minor cast get some funny lines in. Each world only has one music track in it, but the music team made it work by having six versions of that one track so that it ends up dynamic and different when you’re busy switching between characters (for example, Roofus’ version of New Quack City and Juliette’s version of New Quack City have numerous differences in instrumentation and melody).
All this combined makes for a game I love to come back and play to completion. It’s pretty hard to find nowadays, but it should at least be cheap. Viggo’s Revenge, compared to the original, has an extra level, slightly different collectible locations, cel-shaded graphics and and full voice work (and honestly, it’s funny to hear Roofus deliver serious rousing speeches with a thick Scottish accent). Still a strange one!
Dust: An Elysian Tail (Windows/Mac/Linux/XBLA): This is a game with a development time of four years, with the visual design and coding done by one person. You start out without any memory responding to a talking sword and aided by a winged furry… thing, and begin your epic quest through the beautiful landscape, setting all right with the world. The developer behind the the game spent four years coding and doing the art for this game by himself, and when you start it up, you know that is time well spent. The art is extremely beautiful, the characters are well-designed, and the controls flow well whether you use a keyboard and mouse or a game pad. At under $15, it’s a great game and has good replay value, so get it already.
So what games have you been playing recently? Any recommendations, let us know in the comments.