What have I picked up?
PS+ Decembers Games:
- Injustice Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition (PS4);
- Secret Ponchos (PS4);
- Hitman HD Collection (PS3) includes (Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman: Blood Money & Hitman Contracts);
- Deadly Premontition (The Directors Cut) (PS3);
- Titan Attacks (PS3 / PS4 / PSVita);
- Frozen Horizon (PSVita)
Review Copies: None
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4) – Won via Twitter contest;
- Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare (PS4);
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PSVita);
- Mirrors Edge (PS3) Already own on disc.
What Have I played?
I started my month by revisiting Sly 4: Thieves in Time on PS3 having started it in 3D I’m determined to finish it. I’m feeling it’s a bit of a drag though. Looks fantastic, plays really well but feels a little bloated in comparison to Sly2. Which was my favourite of the first three games, when I played it as part of the HD Remastered Collection on PS3. Sadly it’s not drawn me in as much as I want it to, due to the excessive amount of collectables. It looks fantastic and the story seems ok but I’m not in a rush to complete it. I am determined to have it finished before the end of my challenge though. Rating: Undecided
Steamworld Dig (PS4 & PSVita)
I’d heard Colm Sheridan talk about this game during his Year of Shame Challenge last year and he seemed really compelled by it. I was not initially taken by it and found the robot digging in to rock a little tedious and slow. That was until I realised I could hold O button down to dig and things started to speed up as I started to collect upgrades and understand the intricacies of the very simplistic controls. With very few enemies to deal with and a constant need to dig, fill up with minerals, return to surface to cash them in and repeat. I’m really taken by it, way more than I expected to be. Sadly there’s no Cross Save between PS4 & PSVita versions, as the developers Image and Form Studios confirmed via Twitter. What they did point out is that there are two trophy lists, which resulted in me replaying the game the day after completion on the PSVita. The visual style is reminiscent of 16 bit era games with a very SNES style look to it. With simple controls, a nicely progressing story, pretty animations, visuals, sound effects and music, with a decent level of challenge. Really glad it came as part of PS+ as I would have missed out on unearthing this little gem of a game. Rating: Can I Dig It? Yes You Can
Surprise, surprise, another month with me playing Bungie‘s First Person MMO. I won’t bark on about it but I did make my first attempt at completing the Vault of Glass Raid with 5 competent Guardians and me. I felt seriously underpowered and out gunned but the idea of the raid is sound. Just as with the rest of the game it’s very grindy, at least this has a little variety including picking up a magical shield gubbins. We gave up on the final section as it was getting too late but I did pick up my first Rare Gun. I also had a productive trophy hunting night with Gaz & Graham, including finally grabbing the 3 Of A Kind trophy in the Crucible and purchasing an Exotic piece of Armour from Xur, by spunking my Strange coins on a Sexy gold chest plate. I’m sure I’ll be playing more come December 9th when I will be playing in Destiny’s Dark Belows.
Rating: Fun with friends
Max Payne 3 (PS3)
The winner of the “What game should I clear from my Pile of Shame this month” via Twitter vote and the winner was Maximum Pain in the arse the third. What an utter pile of dross! From it’s opening it looked very GTA5 graphics wise until the excess and overwhelming use of video editing, with defocusing, blurring, multiple images kicked in. I could understand if this was used to set the scene of the alcoholic grieving ex-cop now working private security in South America but it is used to the complete extreme. Which meant I was only willing to play for short periods, as it felt like a migraine in progress. If there ever was an example of the latin phrase Ad Nauseum this games visuals sum it up perfectly. Controls wise it wasn’t too bad and will be very familiar to those who have played previous Max Payne games on PS2, with an ability to do slow-mo shots and bullet dodge. My biggest issue is the shooting, as the size of the reticule when aiming is about four pixels wide, changing from white to red when over an enemy target. The games allows for three types of aim assistance, full lock, soft lock and free aim. I started the game on Medium difficulty and with Soft cock enabled, I wasn’t expecting to see the failed screen quite so much or prepared for the lack of melee combat, when you run out of bullets. It’s very gun-ho in it’s approach with only two points I can recall where stealth was even an option, as didn’t go well. The weapons felt powerful and you can collect hidden golden gun parts as you progress and Clues which add exposition to an already bloated and predictable story. The progression of the story is alright, if the vomit inducing visual effects had been toned down it would have looked very pretty. Disappointingly for a Rockstar production, the game feels devoid of building any empathy for the lead character. Setting him up as an anti-hero that is plainly dislikeable and generally abhorrent, with no saving graces and just leaves a trail of bodies looking like a large amount of Swish cheese has been thrown about a dirty abattoir. The theme is so damn deliberately dark, with an overly graphic slow-mo bullet penetration on last kill of the enemy wave that becomes monotonous. Sadly this game doesn’t have anything redeeming about it unlike Spec Ops: The Line. The check pointing is so badly placed in parts requiring repeatedly replaying the same scene over and over until you manage to make it through. This can be interesting / frustrating and force you to approach the situation differently, but quite often completion is more luck than judgement. Some of the set-pieces were a forced slow-mo sequence is trigger were quite nice like the homage to the first games with sliding on a trolley shooting snipers through a window or leaping from a crashing ship. Sadly the single player left me feeling empty and gave me no incentive to replay for trophies or even attempt the Multi-player.
Rating: Pass the painkillers I’ve got a headache coming on.
DmC (Devil May Cry) (PS3)
Ninja Theory‘s reboot of Dante the demon hunter, hack & slash style game from PS2, was a runner up in last month’s vote losing out to Vanquish. I can safely say that after the horrible depressing mess of Max Payne 3 the prologue and first level of DmC genuinely made me smile and I found the game fun to play. Looking and feeling very much like God Of War meets Bayonetta rejecting from the old locked camera of the PS2 games to a 3rd person view, helps the game greatly. The reimaging of Dante as a grungy womanising badass, hasn’t harmed the game with a him metaphorically flicking the bird at people who complained about such a drastic change of look. I quite like it, along with how pretty the visuals are from the weird and wonderful world of Limbo were normal gravitation rules seem to be out of the window, to the grotesque beasties that spawn for Dante to whack & shoot. The controls feel very familiar to the original Devil May Cry games allowing for insane combos by mixing it up between blades and guns. The additional weapons open up as you progress through the story, allowing for more powerful and varied combos, as well as the ability to navigate the world in newer ways.
Rating: TbD (To be Decided)
Titan Attacks (PS3 / PS4 / PSVita)
This is the only Curve Studios published game I didn’t actually own until it was added with Decembers PS+ content. It’s a Neo-retro Space Invaders clone with quite a few clever modernisations, such as the ability to buy power-ups, extra-shields etc after each level with the cash you’ve achieved. There’s a multiplier system for not getting hit which increases your points haul and various enemy types with different attack patterns and even boss battles. Some of the Invaders from Space attack in that familiar moving from left to right descending to get closer to running in to you, speeding up as there are fewer on screen. There are some interesting touches such, having the ability to gain smart bombs, extras from destroying Flying Saucer whizzing by at the top of the screen, there’s also a tough bonus mission requiring destroying all the flying saucers. The Neon graphics look rather nice with a familiar old-skool vibe. The game plays remarkably well and is quite addictive over the 5 levels you need to clear before the game loops back round. I’ve managed to get all but one trophy which I keep digging at to try and 100% by completely upgrading the ship.
Rating: Like an 80’s arcade machine set to Free-play.
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition (PS4)
It should really be called DC Comics: Immortal Kombat, as it’s basically Mortal Kombat set within the comic universe and featuring the Super heroes beating ten bells out of each other (without actually killing them). So don’t expect any Fatalities but do expect some insane juggles, combos and fantastically special moves. There’s a story which I played through, completing in pretty much two sittings, featuring a parallel worlds theme that works very well. The game has you playing a three fights with each of the hero characters per chapter, until it’s conclusion. The animations and settings are very nice looking, my only niggle is the cut-scenes actually look worse than in game visuals, which are silky smooth and detailed. I’m expecting this is due to the PS4 / XB1 versions being up-ports of last gen versions. It plays exceptionally well and I’ve always been more of a Mortal Kombat player than a Street Fighter fan. I’m still to master the game but dinged off a fair few trophies as I played through the story and attempted some of the plethora of other features and game modes. I can see myself getting hooked on attempting to beat my online friends in the near future.
PlayStation All-stars Battle Royale (PSVita)
Basically it’s Super Smash Brothers on PlayStation up to four people fighting to score by destroying your opponents. Having never played Super Smash Bros I can’t compare it but I can say after playing Injustice this feels very woolly and weak. The introduction is very stylised and shows off the mass of playable Sony [specific and other] gaming icons. After finishing the tutorial, I played through the story with Kratos, the controls feel simple but don’t feel like they are connecting all the time. The multiple platforms in levels are just stupid but I can see why they’re there. The backgrounds and character animations are true to the games they come from it just feels utterly vacuous. I may try and ding through a few of the trophies but considering I’ve got this in my Pile Of Shame on PS3, so I’m not looking forward to doing it all again.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (PS4)
From the rather disturbed mind of one of the makers of Super Meatboy, comes a Smash TV style twin-stick pixel graphics shooter and boy is it terrifically disturbed. Rather than guns you go about killing enemies with the tears of the eponymously titled lead. Working through randomly generated monsters and dungeons, with the aim of killing your abusive mother. From the cartoony piles of excrement to the conjoined twins boss battles, the game looks horrendous in entirely the right way, and plays really well as you collects random powers to improve Isaac in his fight against the inner demons. I haven’t made it through to any of the many endings but I’m starting to get the knack of it and found that using the buttons better than the sticks for shooting, and it played exceptionally well via Remote-Play whilst the girlfriend had the TV taken over with Strictly. I keep chipping away at it but have no idea how far into it I am, it’s addictive like crack with every play feeling different and power-ups / collectables being as randomly awarded as the enemies and areas.
How has this month gone?
Games wise I’ve managed to hold off requesting any review codes but there has been quite a few I’ve been tempted by. I may request some of them in the New Year but with baby due date rapidly approaching and me being busy helping feather the nest. I didn’t feel it was fair to request any, that I may not be able to review. I’ve not finished as many games as I’d have like but at least I’ve managed to get a few started in my pile. Sadly I’ve not finished as many as I’d have hoped but with Max Payne 3 as the exception I’ve enjoyed everything else I’ve played. Really enjoyed the Titan Attacks and SteamWorld Dig more than I expected which is always a lovely surprise.
What have I missed out on?
Argh, the silly season of video games were all the bigger publishers try to cram their new releases in to the shopping window before Xmas. It’s really hurt this month with two Assassin’s Creed games launching but mercifully the problems with Assassin’s Creed: Unity have made me glad I’ve missed it. I should be able to pick it up when my Year of Shame is complete and hopefully they’ve sorted out the bugs. Farcry 4 has been another game that I have been desperate to play given how incredible Farcry 3 was. Watching Daz doing his live stream taking a base and chatting through his play-through was amazing and the first game to really hurt that I’m not playing. The other big hitter is Grand Theft Auto 5, which I reviewed and loved on PS3 but all the PS4Share images, YouTube videos and streams are making me want to jump back in to the wacky world of Los Santos. There have also been some crazy sales with games like Shadow of Mordor & Alien: Isolation being dropped to £25 each, which had I not been doing a Year of Shame I would have bought in a heartbeat. There’s also seeing The Last of Us: Remastered digital edition in The 12 Deals of Xmas on PSN for under £20 which is a price I would’ve double dipped on. I’ve had Wolfenstein in my hand with a ticket price of £20 and resisted, as well as seeing Metro Redux for £15, but given one of these two in this pack is already in my Pile of Shame I’ve held off.
How have I felt?
As you can probably gather from the list of games that have been tempting me to the dark side it’s been a rough month, thankfully the content from PS+ has been excellent and kept me away from making any hasty purchases. Regardless of the fact, I’ve got a £25 Tesco voucher burning a hole through my wallet. I also started the month by winning a copy of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on PS4 but I’m still awaiting that being delivered, sadly.
Sales have previously been my downfall, certain games I have on my Must Buy list but will have a ticket price I’m willing to drop the cash on. Another major issue has been the fact that people who bought the Assassin’s Creed: Unity Season Pass have been given a free game as compensation for Assassin’s Creed: Unity being FUBAR, which could have netted me Farcry 4, The Crew or one of many others that Ubisoft were giving away as reparations. I was so damn tempted to just buy a Season Pass for the free game but it would have gone against the rules of my Year of Shame. Frustratingly I’ve bought the last three Assassin’s Creed game’s Season Passes with varying pleasure but hey ho.
The biggest bonus came from EA giving three games away as part of Sony PlayStation Experience to celebrate 20 years of PlayStation. A shrewd gesture that was well received, given the fact that EA are often seen as the Ultimate Evil Corporation. Quite a few people missed out due to the fact that it only lasted the weekend and was advertised that widely, unless you’re active on Social Media.
By the numbers
Games acquired: 10 (+1 awaiting)
Games played: 9
Games Completed: 4
Trophies achieved: 76
Platinums achieved: 0
Trophy total: 5674
- Year of Shame Challenge Announcement
- Year of Shame Challenge 1st Month Done
- Year of Shame Challenge 2nd Month Done