Games I’ve Played Recently


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Roundup time!

Kirby and the Amazing Mirror (3DS)

Actually, the GBA version I got as part of the 3DS Ambassador thing. I thought I’d played it before, but I don’t actually remember any of it. It’s very confusing, as there’s no linear progression from level to level (like in Kirby’s Dream Land) or a map where you can replay previous levels (like in Kirby’s Adventure). Instead, there’s a complicated map system where you have to find different exits to access other levels, with occasional mirrors that are found which then leave a permanent link from the main “room” of the game to parts of the map. I suppose it’s a little bit how games like Metroid work, but the map is useless at telling you where you need to go, and it’s too easy to get stuck in a one-way route and have to redo miles of the game before you can try to find another route. I’m sort of enjoying it, but it doesn’t work well with quick bursts of play.

Skyrim (360)

Not progressed much since last time I posted about this, but I have agreed to do some Thieves Guild work (which involves roughing up some locals for money) so started that. I also slaughtered loads of people in the Ratway. I didn’t want to, but they attacked me and things just spiralled into badness. Also: my Flame Atronach is awesome.

VVVVVV (3DS)

Having completed the main game, I was going to go back and collect some more trinkets. However, I got a bit sidetracked with the plethora of other game modes and alternative maps, and so went off and did some of those instead. I also stumbled across some of the “accessibility modes” in the options, so have set the game speed to 60% which makes some of the really hard sections a lot easier. I suppose it’s cheating, but meh – whatdahyahgonnado?

Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

There was a patch for this in the week, so I decided to give it another try online. Had some great games with randoms, and I didn’t even come last most of the time. Unsurprisingly, not a single person chose to play the now-fixed (thanks to the patch) Wuhu Loop track, which certainly made it more varied. I think I was suffering from nasty lag though, as some of the other racers appeared to be invincible to my shells, or seemed to get blown up randomly even though nothing seemed to hit them. That’s my connection though, not the game.

Skylanders (360)

I’ll post more about this another time, but it arrived today and my daughter thinks it’s amazing. I enjoyed the half and hour or so I played it for too, so could be a hit. Glad I got it for about £19 though, not the £60 or whatever it was when it came out last year.

Rayman Origins (Demo) (3DS)

Oh! It looks so lovely!

Stuff wot I are bin playing recently


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Another round-up post, I’m afraid!

Batman: Arkham City (PC)

Despite the hassle it is to set up (all those cables and adapters and begging Windows to let audio go out the HDMI port please), and the fact it’s a PC game, I’m still enjoying it. It feels like driving a car when you know one of the wheels is going to fall off at some point. You enjoy the ride, but are on edge that at some point you could well end up in a ditch on your roof.

I’m also finding that, even though the world is clearly much more open than in Arkham Asylum, and obviously massively bigger, the game feels much more linear and is apparently just a set of fetch quests. There’s no real Metroidvania-ness like in the original either. That said, it is still utterly compelling to play, and I’m really enjoying it. I just feel that if it was on the 360 I’d be enjoying it even more!

In terms of progress, I’ve just completed the terrible, terrible trials bit given to me by Ra’s al Ghul (the only bad bit of the game so far, really).

The Sims 3 (3DS)

Look. It was £8 in Sainsburys. We shall say no more.

Except that it’s still fun setting fire to your house, calling the fireman, waiting for him to enter the house, then getting rid of all the doors.

Super Pokémon Rumble (3DS)

Still shallow. Still fun. Getting a little bit hard now, too. Especially since I was defeated by a boss, and thought – no way can I beat him. Only to find that you’re not supposed to yet and it’s all part of the story.

Motorstorm RC (PS3)

Pretty much the only thing I play on my PS3. It’s awesome. Not done all the tracks yet, but every now and then I sit down and clear a few. It’s getting pretty difficult now though, with a good half an hour on one of the tracks spent not even clearing bronze, let alone anything better!

Zen Pinball (3DS)

I haven’t played this in a while, but have got back into it this week. I’ve purposefully avoided the Shamen table (which was my favourite) to try and improve my scores elsewhere, and have focussed mainly on Excalibur. I think I may have passed a point where I know how to actually play the table now, so I expect great things. Or not.

The Legend of Zelda (3DS)

DAH DAH DAH DAAAAAAH!!

I have no idea why I picked this up last night, but I did. And got as far as the first piece of triforce. It’s lovely.

Rhythm Thief (Demo) (3DS)

I think I may actually use up the number-of-plays limit on this demo. It’s utterly fantastic. It’s like a mix of Space Channel 5, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! and Rhythm Heaven, with a sort of Moonwalker/Smooth Criminal vibe. Really, really want the full game. And it’s by Sega?! Hell has frozen over.

 

Sonic Generations Demo (360)


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There was a demo for this a few months ago. It wasn’t very good. It was “classic” Sonic in a re-imagined Green Hill Zone, ruined by awful physics, jerky scrolling and not being able to see anything as the graphics were too “busy”. Oh, and Sonic was about one tenth the size he should have been in relation to all the other objects and baddies.

This demo improves on the previous one greatly, by fixing much was wrong with the physics (although they’re still not correct), and then makes it over fourteen billion times worse by not fixing anything else, and adding speaking Chaos who you can’t kill, feed into a mincer, or set on fire, and being quite frankly, insulting.

Then it added a “modern” Sonic Green Hill Zone level, which, like most “modern” Sonic games was a test of how long you could hold the same direction for whilst sometimes pressing a button to jump, duck, or activate the real-life Childhood Memory Eraser. The latter of which sadly doesn’t exist. Instead, grinding rails, having no control over Sonic for large portions of the level, and being unable to see what is coming in those sections where you do have some control, all combine to form the greatest Sonic gaming experience since, oooh, Sonic The Hedgehog: Stabby Eyeball Adventure.

Still. There’s always the 3DS version, right?

Lego Harry Potter Demo (360)


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Torn. Very torn.

You see, Lego games are some of the BEST. THINGS. EVAR. However, Harry Potter and Harry Potter Related Things are some of the WORST. THINGS. EVAR. So Lego Harry Potter is an irresistible force meeting an immovable object, innit?

I don’t know. It was OK. But I hated it. And I loved the Legoness. And having idiot wizard children and beardman and a rubbish dog was stupid. But smashing things and collecting studs was great. But it was Harry Potter and I wanted to smash my TV instead. Gah!

You know I’ll buy it.

Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 Demo (360)


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As much as I liked the previous C&C games on the PC, and the best RTS game ever made ever Dune II, I can’t get on with them on consoles. The controls have never fitted a controller, and I found the C&C 3 demo last year too fiddly and complicated.

Since this is based on the same engine, I expected the same problems. And, yes, I struggled my way through the training and the demo Russian mission. I enjoyed it, and I’m liking the huge number of people who used to be famous that litter the cut scenes, but I do wonder if I’d eventually manage to control the game or would I become too frustrated and give up?

I haven’t really played a decent RTS game in years, as I’ve not played PC games in years, but maybe I should stick with something like this?

Super Demotastic Game Demo Roundup (360)


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Since Fallout 3 and A Kingdom for Keflings, I’ve not really made a proper start on any other games. I’ve downloaded a played a fair few demos this week, however:

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?
Apparently not, as I failed at £25,000. Even though my 5th Grader helper didn’t get the answer either, so therefore she was as thick as me. The question was about baseball, so it isn’t surprising I didn’t know what the answer was. And what is a 5th Grader anyway? Round these parts, it could be considered a 7 year old.

That Stupid Dog Music Community Game
Dear god, no. This is the worst game ever made ever.

The Tower Assault Community Game
Actually pretty good. It’s just a shame the trial is only 4 minutes, as it takes almost that long to get the game into full flow.

Meteos Wars
I loved Meteos on the DS, and this is the same. Only there’s no stylus control, so instead of being fast, fluid and fun, it’s awkward, fiddly and crap.

Power Up Forever
Yet another twin-stick top-down shooter. And not especially good either, truth be told.

Sonic Unleashed Demo (360)


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Oh Sega, how I once loved thee. Your happy Sonic games with their speed and platformingness and fun. Why hast thou forsaken me with this swill?

Sonic Unleashed, like other recent Sonic games, is crap. Well, the demo is crap at least. Really crap. And there isn’t even a werehog stage to play, and the werehog stages haven’t exactly been top of reviewers’ lists of Ace Things About Sonic Unleashed.

It’s like they took all the worst bits of all the Sonic games since the Dreamcast days, and stuck them all in one game. Without any of the good bits.

There’s the rubbish rail grinding bits from Sonic Adventure 2. There’s the “hold right and press nothing else” bits from Sonic Rush (only with the tricks that build up your tension gauge removed). There’s ryet another annoying furry. There’s the doesn’t-work-properly running into-the-screen nonsense of Sonic and the Secret Rings. And there’s the you-can’t-see-far-enough-ahead-so-die bits from the Sonic Advance titles. And hidden bottomless pits!

Seriously – it’s like a compilation disc of “Sonic’s Worstest Moments”. I’m amazed it doesn’t have Nick Hancock doing a voice-over or something.

Are Sega listening to what people are asking for in a Sonic game, and simply laughing and ignoring them? Fuck off, Sega.

Naruto: The Broken Bond Demo (360)


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WHAT

This is the most disjointed, bizarre, and nonsensical game I’ve played since 2DO on the Saturn. There’s running, platforming, puzzling, first person flying, side-on fighting, QTEs galore and tag team action. It’s very, very odd. And wrongness.

Scene It! Not Ripping off Buzz at All (360)


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Well, the demo of the new Scene It gives a horrifying glimpse into the world of Xbox Avatars. It also seems to cover a better range of films than the previous game, although some of the quiz rounds (the crossword one in particular) are totally baffling.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Demo (360)


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It’s not a Banjo-Kazooie game. It’s not a proper platformer, you have none of the abilities that made Banjo-Kazooie different to other platformers of it’s day, and it plays like a confused mess.

Sorry, Rare, but once again you seem to have forgotten how to make games. Either you do a Banjo platformer, or you do Nuts & Bolts sans Banjo and Kazooie. What you’ve got here is a mishmash of illfitting game elements, in Banjo paint. You’ve alienated those people who were looking forward to a new Banjo game, and you’ve alienated those people looking for something new who weren’t fans of the Banjo series. So basically, you’ve aimed Nuts & Bolts at nobody.

And please stop using that awful wax-graphics filter in your games! It was crap in Perfect Dark Zero, it was crap in Kameo, and it’s crap here.

Tomb Raider Underground Demo (360)


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I thought Tomb Raider Legend looked impressive, but this is head and shoulders above it. More than that even. It looks amazing. And it plays really well too. It’s fluid, varied, well animated, and gorgeous – and that’s just completing the demo.

I’d be very likely to buy it, but I can wait. The last two Tomb Raider games I’ve bought were at bargain prices only a few months after release, so I fully expect this to do the same.

Assorted Xbox Demos (360)


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Demo catchup time again:

PDC Darts
Crap. But with amazing northern loons doing “commentary”.

NBA ’09
Crap. You can’t even shove. And there’s no BOOMSHAKALAKA.

Beat ‘N Groovy
Impossible to control and crap. Why is the green “note” X? And the blue one the d-pad? What?

Crazy Mouse
Awful. Worse than crap.

Age of Booty
OK, but looks like it’ll be a bit tedious. It’s like a RTS only with no S.

Mega Man 9 Demo (360)


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Yes, I know I bought the Wii version this morning. I just thought I’d try it and see how it fares on the 360.

Of course, it’s virtually identical. I’m glad I did buy the Wii version though, as the 360’s pad isn’t designed for digital control – the dpad is in the wrong place, and the stick has too much dead-area. As well as that, the added XBLA bits on the menu break the retro-game illusion too.

The Giant Xbox 360 Demo Update (360)


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I played quite a few Xbox 360 demos at the weekend. Some thoughts:

Mercenaries 2
I found this too hard. I admit I wasn’t trying very hard, but it did seem impossibly difficult. The explosions were nice though. Except when my jeep was what was exploding. Oh, and respawning enemies in this sort of game == badness.

RocketBowl
Dire. No, it really is.

Domino Master
Meh.

Feeding Frenzy 2
Rubbish.

Fracture
Space Marinezzzzzzzzz… Yeah, the raising and lowering land was great. But this isn’t Doshin the Giant, and as a result every “puzzle” that required them seemed contrived. As a shooter, it’s dull as anything.

Samurai Shodown 2
Aces, but marred by the 360’s pad. The stick feels wrong and the d-pad just is wrong.

Shotest Shogi
Never really understood Shogi, but soon had it sorted. Then ran out of moves. I think I’d buy it for 400 points, but at 800 it’s too much for something I’d not play much.

Pure Demo (360)


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I’m actually rather impressed! It looks great, controls pretty well, and was fun to play! Quite a surprise, actually. I’m not sure I want to buy it, but if I see it really cheap I’d certainly be tempted.