Features & News

What are we playing? (Aug 2014)

September 4, 2014, Author: Andy Corrigan

Yes, yes, I know, it’s no longer August, and that this is labelled as the August edition of ‘What are we playing?’, but there are a handful of very good reasons why it’s a little late. Well… basically… okay… it’s completely my fault. Happy now?

Without much further ado, please hit ‘Read More’ to find out what we’re playing right now!

Andy Buick (Features Editor) – All the Nintendo games!

“I’ve just bought a Wii U and went a little crazy on the game front, buying Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Wind Waker HD, and ZombiU.

I have to say, what a brilliant console, especially using the Gamepad when the TV isn’t free, which is undoubtedly better than remote play with the Vita [until you get more than a few feet away from the console – Andy C).

Has any other console had such a strong list of games so early in its life too? Super Mario 3D World in particular is an absolute joy to play, although I have to admit I was sold from the moment the words Cat and Mario were put together.”

James Sheppard (Reviews Editor) – Final Fantasy X

“It’s good to finally settle unfinished business. About ten years ago, my younger self became captivated by Final Fantasy X. As a former Nintendo fanboy I was quite new to 3D JRPGs, and it simply blew me away with the wonderful visuals, fascinating world and characters. For reasons I can’t remember, however, I got stuck on the snowy peaks of Mt. Gagazet and gave up after being unable to progress any further.

Fast-forward to now, and the superb HD Remaster on Vita has let me return to the lands of Spira once more. I decided to put Persona 4 on hold for now, and instead FFX has been my game of choice for the daily commute. Unlike first-person shooters, for example, JRPGs haven’t evolved wildly within the last ten to fifteen years and, as such, it still feels relevant today with a fresh lick of paint. A few shonky character models and animations betray its roots somewhat, but it’s otherwise a joy to play.

What’s better is that after over 30 hours I’m now literally about to ascend Mt. Gagazet for the second time, ten years later. This time – I’m determined – I’m going to beat it.”

Andy Corrigan (Editor in Chief) – Fire Emblem: Awakening

“I have to admit, I’m still caning Ultra Street Fighter IV pretty heavily (review still to come), but I have been playing another game this last month, Fire Emblem: Awakening.

Traditionally, I’m far from the biggest fan of Strategy RPGs. I mean I enjoyed Pokémon Conquest, I have an on-off relationship with the three-way publisher effort Project X Zone, but I rarely feel compelled to put the time in, even with something as highly rated as Final Fantasy Tactics.

Fire Emblem: Awakening, however, has been one of those rare cases thanks to addictive, quick-fire levelling, satisfying customisation options and a brilliant cast of characters in spite of an average story.

There’s also no one right way to play it. In my case, I found the battles were so much fun that I ended up over-grinding, making the campaign a walkover. The downside to this was that I nearly missed an important mechanic; one where your troops can form relationships by battling together, get married and produce children who can also join your cause because of the time-travelling plot device.

Still, it’s an unlikely punt for me, but one I’m happy to have taken.”

Stephen King (Podcast Co-Host) – Rogue Legacy

“Last week I picked up Rogue Legacy on Vita; which as it turns out means I have it on PS3 too!

Rogue Legacy is a 2D platform roguelike in the same vein as Spelunky. I haven’t found an occasion where I need a certain weapon to progress yet, but the difficulty ramp seems to cover for that rather nicely.

The idea is that you crawl your way through a randomly generated castle with your hero. If you die, then that hero stays dead and one of their children takes on the mantle.

One of the most interesting things about Rogue Legacy is the trait system. Essentially this means that your new hero can exhibit certain characteristics: colorblind (the game plays in grayscale), short sighted (partial screen blurring) and even ADHD.

Since this is a crossbuy title I have been enjoying playing the Vita version on the bus and on lunch at work, but when I get home I have the save sync and then fire it up on the PS3. This is the first time I have taken the plunge into crossbuy/save games, and I have to say the experience has been super so far!”

Matt Parker (News Editor) – Hohokum

“I’m currently playing Hohokum. I say ‘playing’ but a more accurate term would be ‘floating about in an aimless and blissful haze of colour and noise’.

It’s odd to say, but Hohokum is the perfect game for anyone looking to nod off. It’s beautiful, weird and doesn’t take much brain power to float around the many weird and wonderful levels. Just don’t go in expecting to get the high-score or be ‘good’ at it.”

Josué Cardona (Staff Writer) – Various

“I’m currently enjoying both Azure Striker Gunvolt and Mighty Gunvolt on the 3DS and getting very excited about Mighty Number 9. On the console side I’m working on the Infamous: First Light platinum and enjoying every minute. I loved Second Son and this has a better main character, the best power, and omits the binary morality system.

I keep going back to Hohokum, PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate, and Rogue Legacy on PS4. I just hit level 140 in Rogue Legacy and I’ve still only beat one boss! Please note: I will stop playing all of these once Destiny arrives next week.”

Jade Sayers (Staff Writer) – Super Star Kartz

“This month I’ve been getting platinum trophy withdrawal, so I decided to delve into the world of DreamWorks’ Super Star Kartz. Imagine Mario Kart, but with DreamWorks characters and notably less charm.

If you put it on mute it’s not so bad, but with sound you’ll find the repetitive narration of the characters to be particularly grating (or you will if you’re as easily wound up, as I am). Handling-wise, it’s okay once you learn the ropes, drifting is key to winning races, but the graphics are questionable at best and it feels very repetitive, even after two races.

It might be a long slog to the platinum, especially with collectibles to find, and I wish I could say I was even vaguely enjoying it, but I don’t want to lie to you. I wonder why I picked a racing game, when that’s my most avoided genre.”