Papo & Yo (PS3): COMPLETED!

I renewed my PS+ subscription and upgraded my (full) PS3 hard drive, so picked this up for a rental. Thought I’d give it a try as I’d heard good things, but had no idea what it was about or the type of game it was.

As it turned out, it was a sort of platform puzzler where the events of the game are actually some sort of dream (or something) metaphor, where the main character has what appears to be an alcoholic father who has killed someone by running them over. Or something. That’s what it seemed to me, anyway.

It’s set in what appears to be a deserted Rio de Janeiro shanty town, with chalk cogs, keys and other items that you can activate to open areas, move buildings and make other absurd things happen. Your dad is seen as a lazy, but benign monster, who you convince to move around by tempting him with coconuts, and using his fat belly as a trampoline when he falls asleep.

Sometimes, the puzzles will involve giant frogs, which you can pick up and throw against walls to get rid of them. Or let the monster eat them which will cause him to turn into a flaming demon who hunts you down and flings you round like a ragdoll. The frogs are obviously a metaphor for drink, you see.

None of the puzzles were especially difficult, but some were a bit frustrating due to the difficulty of making some of the platforming jumps. Could I not quite make the jump because I was doing it wrong, or was it that I shouldn’t be able to make the jump and I need to find a different route? It wasn’t always clear. Some platforms which appear to be reachable are actually behind an invisible wall, and twice I fell down between two walls and was unable to escape. There was a puzzle early on which stumped me, because somehow not enough coconuts had spawned, so the monster wouldn’t go to sleep. Reloading fixed it though.

Papo & Yo was a short game, clocking in at under three hours, but was interesting and arty. In many ways, it reminded me of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. It’s definitely worth a play, but you need to ignore some of the roughness and dodgy collision detection. Thankfully they don’t detract too much from the experience. Might want to bring some tissues with you, though.

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD (PS3): COMPLETED!

It seemed very hurried towards the end. Years were skipped. Very little story exposition happened. Events just occurred in quick succession, and I realised how linear this Assassin’s Creed game actually was.

I’d started to suspect a twist at the end, and by the end of Sequence 7-ish I’d realised what it was. The ending threw me, until (spoiler), and the Citizen E thing happened.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad game, but it’s probably the worst Assassin’s Creed title in a long while. Even without the boats. It’s just a shame that it was so short, so linear, and so disjointed, as the actual assassining was enjoyable. The PS3 pad didn’t help either, I suppose.

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD (PS3)

On the PS3, you say? Am I mad, you ask? Yes, and possibly yes. In my defence, I had a load of PSN credit and it was on sale. And I’d been playing and enjoying Assassin’s Creed IV. So it made a bit of sense.

Currently, I’m about half way through the game (just returned from Mexico, for those in the know), and I’ve noticed that the game seems about half finished. No, those are two different things. What I mean is, it’s ugly and broken and they forgot to include a load of stuff. Missions are disjointed, with little reason or backstory (bar the odd loading screen info box). There are so many bugs where events don’t trigger or targets vanish completely, making progression impossible and a reload necessary. The graphics are muddy and blurry, like this is a Wii version of an Xbox 360 game.

Yes, I know it’s a port of a Vita game, but it’s supposedly an enhanced port with HD graphics. What they seem to have done is upscaled everything and applied a blur filter. Aveline’s three personas are unnecessary and stupid, and making one of her first missions literally a trip to buy a dress from a shop? Team AC don’t like women, do they?

Still, there aren’t any boat bits (well, no driving boats anyway, unless a canoe counts) and I love the modified return of the rope darts. I can’t really cope with the PS3 pad though, especially QTEs (this is not a new issue for me, though) and holding up on the stick for more than three seconds physically hurts. I’ll be glad when it’s all over, frankly.

Katamari Forever (PS3): COMPLETED!

tumblr_n5dd6ic09d1svmpf2o1_1280I’ve completed this before, but only in one game mode – “Forever”. Randomly, my daughter asked me to play it again a few days ago (I didn’t even know she knew about it – she was two years old when I last put it on!) and I got a bit hooked again and played through it in Katamari Drive mode.

Which is basically the same game as before, only you move a lot faster.

This makes open levels with lots of things to collect a lot easier, and cramped levels (and those where you have to avoid certain objects) nigh on impossible. Still, I managed it and it was lots of fun because it is Katamari and Katamari is always fun and best and aces.

Lovely. Oh! And *PS3 GAME KLAXON*

PixelJunk Monsters (PS3): COMPLETED!

Last time I completed a PS3 game, I asked “Now, what do I spend my remaining £3.80-ish on?”. Well, here’s the answer – PixelJunk Monsters. And, since it was really cheap, I got Hungry Giraffe too. And still have 22p left for Sony to steal.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing Monsters off and on. Usually one level at a time, and usually this takes about 20-30 minutes. And you know what? It’s the best Tower Defence game I’ve ever played. I don’t know what makes it the best, but it’s really simple, I like the slightly wonky graphical style, and it’s nice to have a Tower Defence game with a definite end.

There’s one level I simply can’t do (you only have four trees – with each tree a starting point for a tower) so constantly have to sell and buy towers to fit the incoming swarms. No matter how hard I try, I can’t do it. Not that it matters, as there’s more than one route to the end on the game map, and I opened up all the big stone gate things without it.

Not much else to say, really. It’s just very nice. And yes, I am 5 or 6 years late to the party as that’s how old it is. Tch.

Thomas Was Alone (PS3): COMPLETED!

Here’s something unusual – a PS3 game. A completed PS3 game at that. Haven’t had that in months!

Thomas Was Alone was something I did want to play. I thought about getting it on Steam, but then I remembered – I don’t play PC games – so waited until a console release. Sadly, it only hit the PS3 (and Vita, I think), rather than any console I actually use, so I left it. Until I realised I had just over six quid in my PSN account and Thomas Was Alone went on sale for about £2.39 or something.

And I wanted to spend my PSN “cash” before Sony stole it again (if you don’t spend it after a certain amount of time, Sony just take it from you – already had that happen once), of course.

So Thomas Was Bought, played, enjoyed, and completed.

There are two main parts to the game. The first is the puzzle platforming bit. Thomas, a rectangle, and various other rectangles with different names and various physical “powers” (able to jump higher, double jump, have reversed gravity, act as a trampoline, etc.) have to reach matching rectangular door “portals” across about 80 levels of platforming. The graphics are plain, the puzzles mostly simple, and sound effects are almost nonexistent. It’s not a bad game, just there’s no depth and very little challenge.

But there’s another part to the game. The running narration of the progress, feelings and story behind all these little rectangles. They all have distinct personalities, egos and fears. Not a single part of the narration affects how the game plays at all, but the funny characters that it draws out of the shapes you control adds a massive layer of purpose to the game, elevating it above the “drab puzzle platformer” it appears to be.

It’s short, and I spent between two and three hours on it, but it’s definitely well worth playing. And best of all, it uses the d-pad and a single button on the PS3 controller (plus L1/R1 to swap shape) so it’s even enjoyable to control for those of us who hate the Dual Shock 3. Lovely.

Now, what do I spend my remaining £3.80-ish on?

Tokyo Jungle (PS3)

Progress!

After $hlmun attempts, I finally unlocked Beagle with my Cat. For the first time, I managed to get as far as the Beagle Boss without being eaten by some animal bigger and hungrier than me, and took him down. Hurrah!

I also succeeded in unlocking the Rabbit by touching the Rabbit Boss with a chick. A chick! What a useless animal.

With the Beagle, I’ve been merrily slaughtering the Retriever population of Shibuya, but have yet to encounter the Retriever Boss and survive. Most of the time I stumble into a den of crocodiles or something and die there, rather than get killed by the Boss itself.

I did manage to kill a horse, a buffalo and a bear with my little Snoopy though! 🙂

Tokyo Jungle (PS3)

Now see here: I’m not happy about this being a PS3 exclusive, and worse – download only, but in times like this, I have no choice. Sure, I have to brave the PS3 controller, and yeah, it took three days to download on my terrible connection, but having seen it at Eurogamer it was a NEED.

And it is totally nuts. It’s set in Tokyo after an as-yet unknown event whereby humankind were wiped out. You take control of an animal (to start with, a deer or a pomeranian) and have to survive: Eat, drink, fight, reproduce. Basic stuff.

Of course, it isn’t so simple as other animals are roaming the Tokyo wastes. Smaller ones that you can avoid or take down. Larger ones that want to kill you. Areas get polluted and slowly kill you. Food runs scarce, or just runs away. It’s a jungle out there.

So far, I’ve played as both carnivores (pomeranian, alley cat) and herbivores (deer, chick). The main difference between the two types is that carnivores have to hunt prey to eat, whereas herbivores eat plants. And run away a lot. Each game has run more or less the same way: I’ve been merrily, well, surviving, and after some reproducing and eating and hiding, I run into an area filled with lions/sabre toothed tigers/hyenas/panthers/velociraptors and in the process of running away get stuck in a dead end and my dog/car/deer/chick gets eaten. Bah.

Then I play again. It’s horribly addictive.

3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)

Well looky this. Another PS3 game. My PS3 must think it’s Christmas or something. Little does it know I’m euthenising it come Boxing Day. Ho ho ho! Not really.

If you’ve ever seen anything about 3D Dot Game Heroes, you’ll have noticed it bears more than a passing resemblance to Zelda. Albeit in fancy 3D block pixel form, anyway. Surely it doesn’t play like Zelda though? That would be a bit brazen.

Oh. It plays like Zelda too, and not just a bit: EVERYTHING is Zelda. The sound effects. The music. The plot. The baddies. The overworld. The dungeons. The weapons. Sure, some of the save features are a bit different, and of course the graphical style isn’t quite Zelda (although there have been many different styles in the Zelda series so it could just be another one…), but it’s Zelda in everything but name.

I even nearly called my hero “Link”.

It’s not just a clone of Zelda either. It even references Zelda directly in dialogue. The king gives you a sword, telling you it’s dangerous to go alone. A man in a cave says “it’s a secret to everybody!”, and so on. Brazen. Brazen!

There’s non-Zelda humour too, like in another cave where all the From Software (the game’s developers) folks hang out. There are also numerous references to Demon’s Souls, and how hard it is.

Of course, I’ve actually been playing it as well. I’ve got two pieces of Triforce^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HOrb of Light (or whatever), and am near the dungeon where the third is hiding. It’s been great so far, if a little easy.

Stuff wot I are bin playing recently

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.

 

Journey (PS3): COMPLETED!

Never before have I played a game to completion, without any clue as to what the hell I’m supposed to be doing for pretty much the entire duration. And I certainly didn’t expect it to only take an hour to do so. Still – it was an experience, f’shaw.

Here be spoilers:

You start off on a sand dune. You’re some sort of girl (possibly) wearing a scarf. There’s a mountain in the distance which you have to walk to. On the way, you find some flying pieces of rag, which power up your scarf and make you able to jump and glide until the Magic Scarf Energy runs out – after which you need to charge it up again. I think. I’m not entirely sure.

There are what seem like ancient ruins. Sometimes things trigger if you press the Shout A Glyph button near them. There are glowing things that make your scarf longer. Every so often there’s a sort of altar or something which you sit in front of and Kaonashi from Spirited Away appears, nods at you and you get some sort of tapestry story telling you vaguely about the next bit of the game. Probably.

Along the way, other players who you cannot communicate with appear, and you can walk with them. If you walk closely to each other, you recharge your scarves. Apart from that, they seem to serve little purpose.

There are bit of rag, rug, carpet and scarf everywhere. When you “arouse” them by Glyphshouting, they do stuff. Some become creatures, some become bridges, and others just sway or let you jump up them.

You progress through different areas “solving” incredibly simple puzzles, mainly by (again) Glyphshouting at… things. There are a couple of snowboarding sections in the game too, for reasons I don’t understand. Eventually you reach the foot of the mountain and there’s snow and wind and you almost die whilst walking very, very slowly up it.

Then you complete it, and get sent back to the beginning ready to do it all again.

An utterly incomprehensible game, and for that reason I’m going to rate it six and a goose quarks out of lime.

Yakuza 3 (PS3): COMPLETED!

With just over 30 hours on the clock, and still lots of side missions, exploring, and so on to do, I completed Yakuza 3. It was really quite easy, but most excellent.

I seem to have accumulated a massive pile of, well, stuff. Comfy soles. Platinum Nails. Assorted drinks, tools, bits of junk, and cuddly toys. Also some rare gems and what could be bits of weapons. Have I used any of them? No.

In fact, apart from mission-based items and worms for fishing with, I’ve used just three of the million pieces of tat I’ve scooped up in the time I was playing, and they were all healing drinks. Two of them were used on the end boss. Exactly why do I need all these things? And why did I collect them all so voraciously? Stupid game.

But not stupid really. It was very, very good. It made me want a Shenmue 3 all the more as well, as this is blatantly an evolution of the gameplay found there. Will I go back to it and play more though? I’d like to think so, but with a billion other games needing urgent attention, I suspect I won’t. I will certainly be getting hold of Yakuza 4, however.

Noby Noby Boy (PS3)

“Play pilly game, Daddy”

Yes – another game I was made to play. And no, I still have literally no idea what you’re supposed to do in it. But I was instructed to eat balls and flowers and plants and bikes and goats and everything. So I did.

Does anyone know how you’re supposed to play? My daughter was quite happy with how I was doing, but I’m sure I’m missing something.

Yakuza 3 (PS3)

Forgive me if I was wrong, but I was expecting Yakuza 3 to be a violent look at the Japanese mafia families, and missions would be lots of punching, fighting, and so on. Perhaps with some nasty plot twists involving betrayal and murder. And blood.

In fact, the stories of the first two games (which I haven’t played, but are included in video form in this game) would imply that I would be correct to assume Yakuza 3 would be all of those things.

So why, then, having played 10 hours so far, have I spent most of my time doing the following:

Playing golf. Fishing. Running after cats and dogs. Collecting lost locker keys. Shopping for clothes for a 10 year old boy. Playing baseball. Sifting through items that have washed ashore on the beach. Looking for lost children. Delivering noodles. Buying milk. Playing hide-and-seek. And many more non-Yakuza-centric tasks, a number of which involve the orphanage my character seems to have ended up running, following the events of Yakuza 2. Popular career choice for retired gangsters, perhaps.

I have, of course, punched some faces, and kicked some faces, and stamped on some faces, but somehow even though that makes up some of the story, somehow I’ve been sidetracked into all the other stuff. The billions of side stories which don’t seem to have any bearing on anything. Like finding a matching liondog for a couple reliving their honeymoon. And trying to catch a tuna for a man who wants a big fish but can’t keep the bream he’s been sold as the fishmonger wants it back. Or solving the mystery of a locker which talks. Yes, really.

Most disturbing, was the event where me, as owner of an orphanage remember, had to peruse the shady backstreets of Tokyo looking for a schoolgirl, so I could take pictures of her with my mobile phone, and then upload them to my blog. Kazuma is a massive perv.

In amongst all this nonsense, I’ve actually found a story to follow. A sort of friend has been shot by a guy who should be dead, at the same time the head of the Yakuza clan I used to be head of was also shot by the same dead man, only hundreds of miles away. So I (finally) made it to Tokyo to find out what is going on, where I was nearly shot by a helicopter gunship, then had to run away from the police (who have flashing red lights on their heads) before incomprehensibly bumping into an old friend and then set off to a local “couples” hotel (which I was only allowed entry to by faking I was gay) where I had to kick doors down exposing amorous (and bizarre fetish) couples searching for a Yakuza family patriarch to punch in the face, before finally fighting said fat man in a bathroom while he wore only a towel.

Wow. Just wow.

To sum up: game is UTTER NONSENSE, yet somehow AWESOME.

Back to the Future: Episode 5 (PS3): COMPLETED!

And done!

Very good it all was too. The ending, just like the ending of the first film, sets up for a second series, so I hope Telltale are planning one.

I won’t go into any other details as it’s too spoileriffic!