Stuff I’ve been playing recently

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Or the “can’t be bothered with lots of posts” post. Woo!

Super Mario World (Wii U)

Bought this on the Wii U VC as an upgrade to the Wii VC version I have. It is, as it always was, fantastic. But much harder than I recall. Losing it in my old age! I have managed to clear the forest though, so I’m what, half way? A bit further than half way? Something like that.

Kirby’s Adventure (Wii U)

Oh no! 50Hz! I have no way of telling! Good job someone else pointed it out so I could be angry! That aside, Kirby’s Adventure is also still excellent fun. Yeah, it’s one of the easiest games in all creation (well, except for Where’s Waldo on the Megadrive, obviously), but that matters this much: not at all. Just about to complete Butter Building.

Crimson Shroud (3DS)

I have no idea what I’m doing. Still. At three hours in I’d have hoped I’d at least understand the game by now, but I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m supposed to be doing, so I’m aimlessly wandering round all the locations I’ve been in already in the hope I’ll stumble across the next bit I’m supposed to do. I like the game, and the combat is lovely, I’m just… lost.

Zen Pinball 2 (Wii U)

I bought some more tables as they were on offer. I’ve tried them all (some of which I already have on the 3DS or the 360), and none of them are bad. The Avengers table is probably my favourite though. The high score tables seem oddly empty amongst my friends though, even though some I’m sure have some of the tables. One guy even shows up twice on one table, with one of his scores being identical to mine – which I find highly unlikely. Server issues, maybe.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U)

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I’ve had this for a little while now, but for some reason I’ve not made any posts about it. I’d decided to buy the game, expensive as it was (£50!) directly from the Nintendo eShop. I thought it would benefit from always being installed rather than having to find the disc when I wanted to play, and given how much time I ploughed into the Wii version (Monster Hunter Tri) I thought £50 was still going to be value for money.

Either that or I had a funny five minutes.

Sure, I’m generally against the prices of eShop “retail” games, but the cheapest boxed copy I could find at the time was £44, so it wasn’t a massive saving. Then I found, just 24 hours after buying it, that Game did download vouchers for £42.99. Ah well, you live and learn.

How is the game, then? Well, excellent. I had two major issues with the Wii original – the controls (specifically the item selection during battle), and the inability to get certain items unless you played online. MH3U fixes both those problems, with item quick-select on the gamepad, and optional online. As much as I enjoyed it before, it’s far, far more accessible now. Which is A Good Thing.

That’s not all that’s new, though. Capcom have added some new monsters, areas and weapons too. I still went with a Great Sword though, same as before. I did consider trying something else, but only the Great Sword seemed “right” to me. I’m playing as a woman this time though, not that it really makes a difference.

Something I didn’t realise would matter so much is the improvement in the game’s graphics. They’re so much clearer that they make the game substantially easier. Enemies in the distance are more distinct – so you can see their “tells” better, and “gathering” areas (for mushrooms, mining, etc.) are far easier to spot. I even found two “secret” routes in the Deserted Island that I hadn’t seen before simply due to blur.

At the moment, I’m nearing how far in I got with the Wii game. I’ve not reached Tundra yet, but I’m way ahead in the sword improvement and armourcraft stakes – having full sets of both Rhenoplos and Jaggi armour. I never managed a full set of anything in MHT. I’ve not had a go at Barroth yet either, but I have defeated a Great Wroggi and several Arzuros – neither of which were in MHT.

I’m currently trying for full Ludroth armour, and mopping up a few remaining 2* quests and the rest of the 3* quests. Around 20 hours on the clock!

Lego City Undercover (Wii U)


100% Complete! Just 61 hours! Phew! I’m not really sure why there’s a big lock symbol in the middle of the bottom row, though. It’s supposed to show I’ve completed all of the Free Run challenges (which I have done), but sometimes it comes up with a lock and sometimes it doesn’t. I suspect it’s a bug.

Anyway. What an utterly fantastic game. So much so I’ve plugged another five hours in since completing it!

Lego City Undercover (Wii U)


This is progress. All red bricks got, 400/450 gold bricks got, and 8 of the 15 main “levels” 100%ed. Almost 52 hours on the clock.

The important question is, even though there’s no story left and I’m basically just wandering round looking for things, is it still fun? Hell yes. It doesn’t get dull or repetitive. There are still loads of funny things, like conversations I stumbled across and places I hadn’t been. There’s just so much to see and do – every corner of the game has something to discover.

Lego City Undercover (Wii U): COMPLETED!

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The story is done! The day has been saved! There’s still many, many hours of game left as I’m only about 35% finished!

I won’t say much about the ending, because, well, spoilers. What I must say, however, is that it was actually genuinely properly epic. Like nothing before from any other Lego game. For a short time, there’s some of the usual funny silly stuff, then a fight between you in a giant robot suit and Rex Fury riding a robot dinosaur, but after that there’s a bit of dramatic from-space skyfalling which is absolutely fantastic. The music, the Earth below you, and the countdown timer all combine to bring something to a Lego game that no other Lego game has even approached.

It outdoes Halo and Gears of War and Dead Space. No, really.

And that was it! Now to begin the post-game mop-up.

Lego City Undercover (Wii U)

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I think I’m getting close to the end of the story now. Sure, I’m still “only” 23-ish hours in and 34-ish percent done, but the story missions are coming to a climax. Not least that I think there are 15 of them and I’ve done 13 or 14.

The game is still amazing fun, and still keeps giving new stuff even this late in the plot. Only a couple of game hours ago I got the final “character” ability (the construction worker), but today I got a jetpack – which has opened up a load more areas I can reach. And still I can’t pull open those things with the glowing orange handle so I know there’s more to come.

The construction worker level was fantastic, and the foreman on the building site was hilarious. He’s clearly Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he sounds just like him. Oh yes, and he keeps coming out with Arnie catchphrases and shoe-horns Arnie film titles into every conversation. It’s very silly.

After that I had to steal a huge telescope, and infiltrate a secret base, where it went a bit Goldeneye and I got a UFO. Yes, a UFO.

Lego City Undercover (Wii U)

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I’m a big fan of Lego games. A massive fan. I own nearly all of them, and of those I own I’ve 100%ed all bar two. People moan that they’re repetitive and shallow, but that really doesn’t matter as they’re fun, funny, and fantastic at rubbing the OCD Collector Receptors.

This game marks the first one I’ve bought on a console besides the Xbox 360. For several reasons – it’s nice to have new games on a new console, it uses the Wii U’s controller in interesting ways, but most importantly, it’s Wii U exclusive.

It’s also the only mainstream Lego game (of this style) not to have a major licence, aside from Lego itself, attached. No Star Wars or Batman or Indiana Jones here – it only has the Lego City sets to work with. You’d think that would be enough to put you off, but actually, it’s great. Instead of being restrictive, it’s freeing. It can be anything, without having to be structured around a film or comic. This adds variety, but also allows the story and dialogue to be completely new, unexpected, and bizarre. Which it is.

But that’s nothing compared to what Traveller’s Tales have done with the formula. Despite the different themes of each previous Lego game, they’re all pretty much the same – several levels per “chapter”, sometimes broken up with a boss fight or a vehicle sections, and usually with some sort of “hub” between levels. The hubs, Lego Batman 2 aside, were pretty small in scope. They had a few hidden items, characters, or bricks which you could find with some of your abilities, and in some cases had puzzles and stuff like bonus levels to complete too, but they hubs made up a tiny part of the overall game.

Lego City turns that upside down and makes the hub the focus, with levels more like short missions within it. I say short, but they’re not really. They just happen to be tiny in comparison to the open world of the rest of the game. Lego City itself is a huge GTA-in-Lego style area, with obvious nods to New York, San Francisco, Venice, London, and Miami (or should I say, Vice City!), with other areas in between, like a farm, some docks, and an airport. Oh yeah, this game got helicopters and ting.

Outside of the “normal” Lego levels, there’s so much to do. Places to explore, things to smash, cars to steal, bricks to collect, puzzles to solve, people to find, secrets to stumble across, conversations to overhear, Super Builds (big objects like ramps and stuff) to build, pigs to chase, and – oh yeah – criminals to catch. None of which is even part of the story.

The story! There’s a story! And, being all new, it’s not one you’ve heard. It’s silly, it’s all over the place, and it’s full of puns, lunacy, tropes, cliches and utter nonsense, and it’s all brilliant. Besides the game being more fun than it’s probably legal to have with your clothes still on (even when, or perhaps, especially if, you’re not playing it “properly”), the script is genuinely laugh-out-loud hilarious. It’s frequently littered with groan-worthy (in a good way) jokes and film and TV references, and some of the set pieces – in particular those containing your sidekick Honey – are utterly ridiculous. If the game doesn’t win a BAFTA or something for the script and humour then something is wrong with the world.

At the moment, I’m 18 hours in, having played it almost every day for over a week, but am only 20% complete with everything necessary to do. Sure, I’m pretty close to the end in terms of the story (I assume, given the counters for things I need to collect), but frankly the story is incidental to the playground of Lego City and I’m probably having more fun find all its secrets than working through the levels and checkpoints.

Highlights so far have been Honey crashing the police truck (“Waffles?!”), Honey and the farmer talking about combine harvesters, the giant robot T-Rex skeleton ride, and building a rollercoaster.

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed (Wii U)

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I decided I would push on with replaying all the events on 2 or 3 star.

This consisted mainly of me playing events on 3 star, failing $hlmun times, then having to play it on 2 star (failing not quite as many times), before repeating the sequence on another event. And doing this lots.

Net gain? I now have 68 stars. I need 95 to get onto the next tier in the World Tour.

Thankfully, I can see I’ll open a few more events (that I haven’t even got one star for yet) at 70 stars, and some more at 80, so hopefully I can get to 95 without replaying many more events.

However, I heard two terrible facts this week regarding this game:

  1. There’s another unavoidable gate later in the game that needs 145 stars (!), and
  2. There’s a 4 Star difficulty setting unlockable.

Oh my.


Assassin’s Creed III (Wii U): COMPLETED!

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Well, I’m glad I didn’t spoil the ending for myself before getting to it at least. Not nearly as bad as people had made out though. There may be spoilers to follow…

I didn’t like the final two “boss” fights. Haytham’s was complete rubbish and different to any other fight in the game, and Charles Lee’s was basically a chase followed by a cutscene. You don’t actually get to properly assassinate either of them – it’s done for you by the game.

There’s no way I’m going back to the game to do everything it suggests I can do. I’m not going hunting, collecting things for the homestead, doing naval battles, collecting feathers or doing any liberation missions or assassination contracts. Unlike similar things in previous games, all these things seem completely superfluous to the narrative. Sure, they weren’t essential before, but they’re an unnecessary chore here – not a fun character and/or money building task.

Speaking of money, there is literally no point to it in Assassin’s Creed III. You gain enough from simply following the story to unlock all of the extra weapons like rope darts and poison, and you never need to restock any as people you kill replenish them easily enough. As a result, I ended the game having only spent about £2000 on such unlockables, with a good £70,000 still in my pocket. At least in other AC games you could buy better swords and things, but here you don’t even need a sword and I never used one, intentionally at least (there’s a bug where you sometimes automatically get equipped with one for no reason), at any point in the game.

What I did do, however, following the end of the game, was find all the pivot points to get the “animus hacks”. Which was fun for a bit, although Fast Travel stopped working again so I had to go everywhere à pied. Sadly, these hacks were not as fantastic as they sounded (invincible, unlimited ammo, fast reload) as when applied you can’t save your game. Tch.

Overall thoughts on Assassin’s Creed III? Yeah, it’s aight.

Assassin’s Creed III (Wii U)

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And so the neck-stabbing continues.

Well, I say that, but in fact it doesn’t. One major issue I have with this version of Assassin’s Creed is that you have no way of telling when you’re supposed to press Y to assassinate anyone. You have to guess, whereas previously it would appear as a prompt on-screen. Which means that most of the time you either miss, or worse, miss and everyone notices you.

As a result, picking off guards one by one is rarely possible, and you instead have to go for the all-out fight. That’s fine, as the fighting is excellent (I especially like the slow-mo attack reversals), but it’s not usually the best option. Far better to wipe out as many redcoats as possible in secret first – especially if they’re the harder to kill types who you don’t really want to take on in open combat. Yet another reason why it doesn’t feel like Assassin’s Creed.

So yeah, less neck-and-back stabbing, more chest and face slicing. Mmm.

Plotwise, I’ve just met up with Daddy and am “bonding” with him. We did some missions together and did a terrible naval battle thing. He berated me a lot, and I told him he was a bad man. Then we stabbed all the men.

F-Zero (Wii U): COMPLETED!

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Now here’s a thing. I’m not a fan of F-Zero. I never completed it (or ever really played it that much) on the SNES, didn’t like the N64 version, and F-Zero GX was pretty meh.  Yes, I know! Everyone else loves them! Not me.

Having said that, I was somewhat drawn in. The controls are rubbish (mainly because I keep trying to press L to drift round corners) and the cars are too floaty. They don’t steer properly (as in, they don’t turn) until you get hit ever so slightly and then suddenly you’re 100 degrees round. The jump on White City II was impossible until MiiVerse helped – you press down to jump further? What? That’s not in the manual (really – it isn’t).

But I won all the races and now it’s over. It wasn’t as bad as I thought at first, but I don’t think I’ll ever play it again.

Assassin’s Creed III (Wii U)

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I played this for a couple of hours a few weeks ago, as I snapped it up for a tenner. I didn’t want to play it much more as I was still in the middle of Batman: Arkham City, and they’re reasonably similar game styles (hide-and-seek-and-punch), but the controls are very different, so going from one game to the other was going to be confusing.

With Batman out of the way last week, I was back to Assassin’s Creed III.

Now, there has been much said about the game. Disappointment in the direction, the lack of freedom in the assassinations, the lack of proper assassinations, the bugs, Connor being a dull character, etc. etc. Of course, I have my own thoughts.

Firstly, bugs. Lots of bugs. A few of the silly variety (like guards getting stuck on windows on roofs), a few of the annoying variety (like when I ran up a tree and then for no reason the camera flipped 90 degrees and I leapt off, clipped through a cliff wall, and fell into nothingness), but mostly of the JUST NO variety (like the game crashes every hour or so, and most times when I’m loading it up). Still, I can live with that for now – after all, I’ve played Assassin’s Creed games before, so they’re hardly one of III’s new features.

At the moment, I’ve played through Haytham Kenway’s section, been child Connor, and have just officially joined the Brotherhood. I was really quite disappointed they purposefully forwent the ceremony and the branding on the finger thing. Shame. Connor isn’t quite the dull character many have made him out to be – he’s just a bit wet and naïve. At least at the moment. The story is pulling me in, although several times now the characters seem to just know things without being told. How did Achilles know Connor was Haytham’s son, for example? Cut scenes are disjointed, and dialogue is stunted, almost like there’s bits missing or I’ve pressed the “skip scene” button – it doesn’t help create a believable coherent world, anyway. Yes, it’s only a game, and so on. But still.

What was good, and what I didn’t see coming at all, was the reveal that Haytham…

[spoiler]was a Templar[/spoiler]

I mean, well done Ubisoft. That was a stroke of genius. You told the story so well up until then that I didn’t even consider it, and nothing was said that suggested it. I actually said, out loud, in sync with Desmond in the game, “Wait, what?!”.

Other aspects of the game I like include (to my surprise) the hunting. At the moment, it’s completely pointless, but it’s a fun distraction. The actual Assassining around Boston is as good as ever too, although the roads are wider than they were in Rome or Constantinople, so jumping from one side to the other doesn’t happen so much making rooftop chases a bit of a pain.

What I don’t like, aside from bugs and cutscenes, include driving the ship (and the first naval battle), it taking forever to get anywhere (although Connor now has a horse, so that’ll help), the snow (you move sooooooo slooooowly in it), and all the “building up the homestead” stuff. In Assassin’s Creed II this seemed to benefit you, and was achieved mostly as a side effect of other things you were doing, but here it’s just a chore. Currently, of course. Everything is subject to change at this early (ten hours-ish) stage. Oh yes, and reloading your pistol. If Altaïr could have an almost-instantly-reloading pistol 600 years prior, seems odd that Haytham and Connor can’t.

The main thing I’m getting from the game, though, is this: it simply isn’t Assassin’s Creed (yet). It’s one part Skyrim, one part Red Dead Redemption, with Assassin’s Creed undertones. I’m sort of OK with that right now, but I think those expecting “more Assassin’s Creed” are probably those not enjoying the game all that much.

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed (Wii U)

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Firstly, shush. It’s not a proper Sonic game even by Sega’s standards. It’s a racing game that has Sonic in it. Big difference. In fact, I’m making a protest by not playing as Sonic or any of his idiot chums, instead working my way through Grand Prix mode as former Sega poster boy Alex Kidd.

Alex Kidd who has grown up to be quite an angry, violent young man. I’m sure it’s down to how his parents (Mr and Mrs Sega) dumped him at a young age. In one battle race, the commentator shouted “YOU HIT AMY!” to which Alex responded “I’M GREAT!”. You big man, Alex! Also, the amount of swearing that comes from his filthy mouth when he bumps into rocks and stuff is quite 15 certificate. PEGI 7? I think not.

But what about the game? Is it good?

Oh yes, it is. It’s very good. The best thing Sonic has been in since… ooh, Sonic Rush? Yes – lets randomly pick that. But Sonic is just in it, remember. This is not a Sonic game. After all, Sonic doesn’t need a car.

He might need a boat though. Or an aeroplane. As both those are present in the game, hence the title Transformed. Your car periodically morphs into a different vehicle depending on the bit of the course you’re on. You know, just like in Mario Kart. Oh no! I said Mario Kart! And I was doing so well.

Progress so far as been mainly one starring all the available events in GP mode, unlocking what I’m able to in the process, and reaching an impasse – I need (I think) 90 stars to get through to what seems to be the final event, but since I’ve only been one (and occasionally two) starring everything, I’ve scraped a meagre 46 together. Bumholes.

And so begins the replaying of virtually every event, only on a harder setting. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? At the moment… myuhnuh?

Batman: Arkham City (Wii U)

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Completed: More.

As in, I competed the Harley’s Revenge story. It was DLC in other versions of the game, and if I’d bought it as a separate purchase I’d count it as a separate completion (like I did with Fallout New Vegas and Bioshock 2 DLC), but as it’s on the disc, I’m not sure I can do that here. Either way, it’s done.

It was pretty short, and the actual map you play on was tiny (and reused over and over and over), but at least it wasn’t the Steel Mill again (well, aside from a short bit as previously mentioned). Harley was a complete pushover at the end, and the bomb defusing against the clock was annoying as you didn’t really know where they were and the “detector” to tell you wasn’t a lot of help.

Still, it was fun, and although playing as Robin was sadly over too quickly it was well worth playing.

Batman: Arkham City (Wii U): COMPLETED!

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Well, look at that. It turns out the final 15% of the main story takes less than 20 minutes to do. I literally just had to make it to a cinema, then have two fights inside with the end of game boss. Two very, very easy fights. I have to say, the difficulty, and quantity, of the “big” fights in Arkham City both fall way short of those in Arkham Asylum. I think there’s only been one I didn’t beat first time.

So, yeah. Done.

That slight downer aside, I did really enjoy the game. It’s not as Metroidvania-y as Asylum was, and considering the size of the map you seem to spend half your time in the same few locations (particularly the Steel Mill and Museum), but it is still lots of fun. Finding ways to take out all the baddies in a room or area, in secret, is still the “big win” for the game, and the combat is truly glorious.

After finishing the main story, and trying to stay awake during the 76 minutes of credits at the end, I played the next chapter with Catwoman, finding (in the Museum… again) Two-Face and taking him down. Now she has to take down random guys across the city, but I’m not sure if that’s just a side mission now I’m done, or actually something that needs to be done to “finish” her story.

I also made a start on the used-to-be-DLC but is-included-in-the-Wii-U-version epilogue story – Harley’s Revenge. After a quick jaunt as Robin (who is pretty awesome with his sticks and shield), you play as Batman for a bit again. In the Steel Mill. Again. Sigh. It’s great, but there’s so much map you could use! It also plays host to another blood trace detective mode scan trail thing too, which I’m sure happened a lot more in the first game. Detective Mode in Arkham City is very much underused in the main story (and possibly side missions – I’ve not done many), which is a bit of a shame.