Features & News
What are we playing? (Sept 2014)
September 29, 2014, Author: Andy Corrigan
Hey guys, it’s that time of the month where our staff tell you about what they’ve been playing. It’s a shorter read this time as a lot of us attempt clear our backlogs, ready for the upcoming silly season.
So just what have we been playing?
Andy Corrigan (Editor in Chief) – Minecraft
I’ve tried Minecraft twice briefly before – once on PC and once on Xbox 360 – and it never quite clicked in the way it did for others. I think the sheer size and scope always seemed too daunting, as did the task of acquiring the materials required to do anything remotely interesting. Fast forward a few years, and after succumbing to the hype of the spontaneous release on PS4/Xbox One, it’s that very size and scope that’s got me utterly hooked right now. I just didn’t realise many different facets there were.
I’ve had it two weeks, and I reckon I’ve put over 100 hours in already and, unwittingly, I’ve managed to get my wife hooked to the same degree too. I’ve played practically every day and whether I’m just spending my nights mining endlessly for materials, tackling the world’s hidden dungeons or mineshafts, or just building ridiculous looking buildings (see the above video for evidence), it’s become my go-to when I just want to mong-out and relax.
Elliot Rogers (Staff Writer) – Destiny
I have been playing a heap of Destiny. I’ve been a fan of Halo as long as I can remember, so instantly fell in love with Bungie’s latest title. It plays brilliantly, the shooting mechanics are excellent and I am having a blast in the Crucible. Currently at Level 20, I still have the urge to get out there and get my first piece of Legendary gear.
The FIFA 15 demo has also been taking up a lot of my time. As an enormous football fan, I cannot wait for the latest instalment to lead my title winning team out at White Hart Lane.
Simon Weatherall (Site Manager) – Tales of Xillia 2
This month I’ve been exploring Tales of Xillia 2, which I am also reviewing. Being a massive fan of the first Tales of Xillia, I instantly fell in love with the characters and I’m relishing the chance to revisit the game world with new areas, new characters and a fresh story. So far I have been pretty gripped and even my son has taken to watching me play.
One area that is annoying, is a slight change in direction for the main protagonists. In the first game both main characters were fully voiced and expecting the second game to be a similar deal, I have been disappointed that the new top dog, Ludger, is only partial voiced. This pretty much involves him grunting, saying 1-2 word answers or just having a blank look on his face, even though the rest of the heroes are fully voiced. Weird.
Aside from this slight bugbear, I have no real complaints, although its early days and I am only 18 hours in so far. I’m pretty sure I will find things wrong with it as I usually do, but whether this will affect my overall opinion or not, only time will tell.
Phil Ubee (Contributor) – Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood
As hard as I try, I cannot stop playing Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, which is pure, classic platform fun, and was recently free on Xbox Live for Gold Members – what more could you want? There are some devilish puzzles here that manage to frustrate at times, but nothing that hampers the flow or fun. Highly recommended!
Andy Buick (Features Editor) – Murasaki Baby
I recently bought Murasaki Baby for PS Vita to take on holiday with me. It’s a game I’ve had my eye on for a while, especially after trying it at Rezzed earlier this year, and although it’s very short (it only took me 2-3 hours to get through), it’s a brilliantly weird offering and another of those few titles that would only work on Vita as it uses both the front and back touch screens.
The art style is strange in a ‘Tim Burton’ way, managing to be at times endearing, and at times a little freaky. This fits perfectly, though, as you guide the titular baby through a strange and wonderful land, quite literally by the hand, changing the backdrop for different effects as you go.
It’s a difficult game to describe, and one that’s perhaps better experienced. It’s clearly attempting to be thought-provoking in the manner of something like Journey, or perhaps even Tearaway, but while it does elicit some emotion it isn’t quite as successful as either of those titles. Plus being, in the main, touchscreen only, it results in some contortion and the odd moment of frustration.
James Sheppard (Reviews Editor) – Velocity 2X
There’s only one thing better than a brilliant video game, and that’s a brilliant video game which is free. For that reason, Velocity 2X has been my game of choice for this month after releasing in the latest roster of PlayStation Plus goodies. Whereas I’m not the biggest fan of space shmups, I do love a good auto-run platformer. Placing a space shooter into this format while mixing it with standard platforming is a stroke of genius.
The bitesize levels are unchallenging in their own right, but beating them in the strict time limit, collecting all gems and attaining the target score is a task that requires complete precision at lightning-quick speed. I can’t comment on the later levels, but the earlier stages are masterfully balanced, with a perfect run just tantalisingly within reach, to the point that you’ll refuse to stop spamming the ‘retry’ button until you manage it.
Finally, it’s impossible to talk about Velocity 2X without discussing the superb visual design. The screen explodes with gloriously animated sci-fi environments and effects that almost threaten to harm your run as you stare in awe at them. You only get what you pay for? Not in this case.