Features & News

What are we playing? (July 2014)

July 31, 2014, Author: Andy Corrigan

Has it really been a month already? It has?! Well, a month is a long time when you’re a gamer; we can cram so many epic adventures in a relatively short space of time. So what adventure are the team partaking in right now?

Matt Parker (News Editor) – Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I’ve had this game since it came out but I didn’t really ‘get it’.

Now, for some reason, I’m going into my village and pulling up weeds like a mad-man. I have no idea why. I’ve been finding tons of bugs and handing them over to Blathers. I’ve got my avatar wearing a samurai outfit along with a hockey mask. It makes him really stand out amongst walking and talking sloths, bears and ducks.

Adding to my thoughts of ‘why am I playing this?’ is the fact that one of the main reasons to play Animal Crossing is to enjoy it with friends, but no other bugger is playing it! Still, Tom Nook wants that debt repaid and that’s a raccoon you don’t mess with.

So, if you’ll excuse me, these turnips won’t sell themselves…

Simon Weatherall (Site Manager) – Minecraft

For over a week now I have been playing nothing but Minecraft. Never in a million years did I think that this game would appeal to me. I have previously had a dabble on the mobile version but never for more than a few hours. I was eventually convinced by my children that purchasing the full game would be a worthy investment.

The missus decided that she wanted it also so, being a good sport, I purchased two copies. In less than five minutes we set about our Minecraft journey. We and the kids now have a massive castle and are currently creating another. It’s a long process, mining for the ore and gathering all the bits we need, but it’s well worth it.

There is so much to do and see and so much you can make, but it’s such a relaxing game that I don’t even mind the uneventful task of the mining itself. I think I will be on it for quite some time. Can’t wait for the Vita version.

Andy Buick (Features Editor) – Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse

Being of a certain age, I grew up playing LucasArts graphic adventures but never played Broken Sword. I was excited to discover they’d then been released on Android, and started making my way through the originals. Having loved those, when I saw that Broken Sword 5 was coming to Vita I had to get it right away, ordering both episodes from the off.

Basically, The Serpent’s Curse is a newer, prettier Broken Sword. It plays no differently at all to the re-releases on Android, which is both good and bad. It’s familiar in a warm, welcoming manner, but this also brings with it some small frustrations with slightly obscure puzzles now and then.

Sadly, it is also a little buggy in places. I’ve had moments where characters started shaking (presumably they weren’t meant to!), and also a moment or two where proceedings more or less ground to a halt, running so slowly playing on was almost impossible. Flawed but enjoyable then.

Stephen King (Podcast Co-Host) – Disco Zoo

Sooo… Disco Zoo is a mobile game from the same team that developed Tiny Tower, which I’ve never played, but have been assured of its quality.

In Disco Zoo the object is collect animals for your zoo. You do this by going on expeditions (square grids) and trying to find animals (tap out the pattern to find them). You go to different places; jungles, polar region, the noon and even the past to bring amazing creatures to your zoo.

I have found myself draining my phone’s battery to look after my digital animals, which is something I never expected when I downloaded it at random. I have probably put upwards of 15 hours into it over the course of a couple of weeks and, from this, you can probably tell that I think it is fantastic.

You are probably wondering where the ‘disco’ part comes in? Well, when your animals fall asleep, you can wake them all at once by having a disco party. This gets you double currency and keeps your animals awake for the duration of the disco – this is surely bordering on animal cruelty?!

Right now I am trying to save up for the eight hour mega disco and avoid spending actual money on this free game, although, I will probably drop some cash their way, since I have had so much fun.

James Sheppard (Reviews Editor) – Rocksmith 2014

A brand-new hobby has influenced the game I’ve been playing recently: learning guitar. I’m sure that all of us have tried Guitar Hero or Rock Band, but as fun as they were, jamming away on those colourful, Fisher Price guitars never got you anywhere meaningful other than being able to show off at house parties. Rocksmith 2014, on the other hand, feels similar, but with one major difference -you plug in a real electric guitar and actually play music.

Rocksmith 2014 is happy to hold your hand if you need it, with a range of tutorials spanning from how to hold your guitar and pick to advanced techniques like hammer-ons and pull-offs. Once you’ve mastered the basics you pick a song, and it eases you in gently with stripped-down versions of tracks, that automatically increases in complexity as you get the hang of them.

It’s a brilliant package that’s superbly polished and realised, with surprising accuracy (albeit perhaps a little too forgiving). As a learning tool it’s invaluable, but what surprised me is that Rocksmith 2014 is also just a fun game in its own right. I can’t recommend it enough to other budding guitarists.

Andy Corrigan (Editor in Chief) – Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition

I’ve got a couple of games on the go for review at this point, so I don’t want to talk about them just yet. Instead, the game I’ve been playing in-between for no other reason but fun has been Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition.

Why not Ultra Street Fighter IV? Because it’s not out yet digitally via PSN in Australia for no real reason whatsoever, so I have to wait until the physical release next month. Still, like a Stockholm Syndrome sufferer, I’ve gone back to the latest available version I can play.

Street Fighter, as I’ve written before, has been a constant in my life for nearly 23 years. Because of it, in times when I’ve got nothing to play (which is not very often these days), I default to dusting off my Qanba R4 fight stick and getting lost in a good fighter.

While I chop and change the given game depending how I feel at the time, Street Fighter especially is my happy place. I have so many fond memories of my misspent youth in front of arcade cabinets and, when depression ruled my life, Street Fighter IV alone kept me sane through the worst six months of my life.

Anyway, enough of that; its perfect blend of strategy and finesse is what has kept me occupied over the July release drought.

Alistair Cowan (Podcast Co-Host) – DOTA 2

What do you do in a month when you have no free time? Decide to play one of the hardest games to get into, that’s what. What with The International 4 being on this month there was a lot of press around DOTA 2, and this pushed me over the edge into giving it a go. I’ve had no experience with MOBAs before, unless you count other creep/tower games such as Monday Night Combat, but everything about it checks the boxes for what I enjoy.

I don’t have anywhere near the hours required to form an accurate opinion, and without the time or teammates to guide me through, who knows if I ever will; there is an awful lot to take in to play well. If I get a group together that doesn’t mind carrying a newbie every few weeks (at least I know some of the terms) then I could easily see this taking over all of my gaming time, so maybe it’s a good thing that this will never happen. Maybe I’ll just treat this as a spectator sport.

Jonn Blanchard (Staff Writer) – Civilization Revolution 2

Civilization Revolution 2 on iPad. I’ve always been a sucker for the Civilization games on the PC, so the prospect of playing a version during my commute into London was always going to be a winner. The game is fairly cut-down feature-wise, which makes sense given that it’s designed for a mobile device with a touch-screen, but enough of the formula exists to make it an absorbing experience.

There are bugs which can be annoying, but hopefully 2K respond quicker than they did with its predecessor; Revolution was plagued with bugs that lasted well into its life, eventually being replaced by this new one.

Even with the bugs and rather reduced complexity, however, this still makes for a very enjoyable travel companion. If you like some turn-based strategic empire building, and I do, it’s an easy recommendation.

Jade Sayers (Staff Writer) – Persona 4 Golden

My Persona 4 addiction took a dramatic turn this week. Not a day goes by when I don’t dabble with it, but as my in-game Valentine’s Day approached, I could sense trouble brewing between me and my four girlfriends. I’m not a bad person, honest.

Escaping unscathed and only having to endure the tears of two of the girls (sorry to Yukiko and Rise), I’m now nearing the end-game and my character, Hiro Nakamura (always reference Heroes wherever possible!), is set to leave Inaba on my next in-game day.

I’ve no doubt that once I’ve finished it, I’ll go back to it again and again. I’ve found everything about it to be thoroughly engaging and charming, and I can’t wait to jump straight back in to work on that platinum trophy.