Posted by Ben at 17:40
You might have noticed that the site has been very quiet over the last few weeks. you might even have wondered why. You're probably thinking that there was some life-event that occurred and shook things up, perhaps, you might even figure that the World Cup has been eating in to our time, why not.

But this is what I've really been doing. Trapped in a groundhog day of bleak desolation. Reading on-screen instructions and acting on them, only to have to repeat the same moments over and over and over and over.

I've been playing Deadlight

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Posted by Ben at 09:48
We've had a couple of weeks off. I'll be honest, while we could point to a lack of news to post, it's really more to do with laziness. At some point we're going to have some Game of the Year stuff up, although probably not until next week. I am going to have a feature up about some games you might have missed from the year (indie stuff, not Tearaway, although Tearaway is great and I've a half-finished review to go up at some point).

Moving on, here's a bit of what I've played in the past couple of weeks

Bravely Default, the plan is to play enough of it to review it in time for the American release, y'know, for all those sweet hits. I've put 20 hours in to it though and really enjoyed. It follows a very traditional formula of working your way through a dungeon until you get to a boss, random battles and all, so it's not quite the reinvention of the Jrpg it's sometimes made out to be, but it's very good with some great new ideas. The combat system for example, not exactly a revolution but it has some novel ideas with the ability to go in to debt to attack more often. Then there's the village repairing stuff, a way to get more weapons and items made available to you.

I also went back to The Puppeteer. I'd enjoyed the first hour so much that I wanted to make a point to go back to it to see if The Puppeteer was one of my games of the year. It isn't quite, unfortunately it reverts to being a bit of a standard platformer. It still has the scissor mechanics, but you end up with an ice level, a fire level, a water level, and so on. Again, it's a decent game, I'm glad I went back to it, but it's harshly dealt with by not making the GOTY lists, even if more people probably should have played it. If you did miss it, then this is really the season to pick it up, especially if you have kids that can watch you play it
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Posted by Duane at 03:20
You know how many gamers with families complain that having kids takes time away from games playing? Well, oddly I've found it to be the opposite case. Thats not to say I've got more time than normal and I'm not helping out, just that since my second child arrived my games playing has becoming seemingly more focused. The past couple of weeks then, sinces its arrival on PS+, I've took to playing Catherine.

I own it on disc, and indeed have been playing it via that medium, but restarted as part of the group thing I've mentioned in the past (when playing Alpha Protocol) and have now made it further than my previous playthrough.

Unsurprisingly, considering its developer, I'm really enjoying it, although the subject material does become rather uncomfortable at times but thats a discussion for another time (i.e. another article to add to the pile of unfinished ones currently littering my desktop).
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Posted by Mark at 16:40
Minecraft. Lots and lots of Minecraft.

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Posted by Duane at 17:24
Recently I and a few others have started a "game a month" kind of affair where we choose a slightly older and rather cheap game that some of us may have missed out on first time round to all play and discuss as a group. Kind of like a book club.

March's title was Alpha Protocol, a rather odd, definetly incomplete "stealth RPG" that I intend to cover in a larger article later in the week. Upon completing it however, I felt the urge to return to something that does stealth right (in my opinion) and dug out Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, booting up the save file for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty that I'd started nearly a year ago.

I'd played through the game previously near its original PlayStation 2 launch and enjoyed it back then, but its odd to return to it now and still find it rather fresh and exciting. It's often labelled as the weakest installment in the series, but dismissing that for a moment (again, as I wish to discuss this in a future article) I'm amazed at some of the things that a 12 year old game does that alot of modern games don't even bother trying to do.
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Posted by Ben at 19:27
I'll gloss over some of what I've played this past week as it's been reviewed, but I have returned to Sleeping Dogs for some of the dlc I've missed. Year of the Snake is pretty good, it's got a bit of humour, a mix of styles, but more importantly, a decent amount of content. The same can't be said for the Wheels of Fury dlc, not that it's bad, but it's short. There was also Tupsu, which is ok, no better than that in my opinion

Another Android game is 10000000, a match 3 puzzle game cum rpg. It's very addictive, it's hard to say quite how good it is, but it is very hard to stop playing it. I do recommend it, hopefully there'll be a review by the end of the week

Mostly though I've been playing The Darkness 2, which is actually pretty good, although hard to play for long periods. I'm not entirely sure why, I think it's that the missions are enough of a chunk, with a defined end, I think it just encourages me to stop. It's quite an interesting game though, I just wish it'd let you go wild once in a while rather than wince from gunshots
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Posted by Mark at 18:11
My main game of late has been Virtue's Last Reward.


I'm not a story-game person myself- I feel that's probably more Ben's thing, certainly Duane's- but it's been difficult not to want to play through this, despite- on a 'game' level at least, not being much good.

The 'game' elements of VLR consists of monotonously tapping through dialogue until you reach a puzzle room. After which, it's more monotapping until you reach a Prisoner's Dilemma game, and round and round it goes.

It's certainly more 'game'-y than Lux Pain, which is another Rising Star Games-published visual novel which has appeared in WWP before (albeit mocking its godawful translation rather than giving it much critique as a videogame) simply by virtue (hoho!) of these puzzle rooms, which call to mind the Crimson Room flash games as opposed to the whack-a-mole like games in LP.

While the puzzle rooms are enjoyable, the game suffers for encouraging you to go down all the story paths, by seemingly presenting each change in story branch as deja vu, and also blocking progression down certain routes until another route is exhausted.

This means that, for each story path, you have to tap through many of the same broad plot points over and over in a basically identical manner.

One character who may or may not be murdered based on which timeline you're in will continue to be killed at the exact same point in the exact same way- and you'll have to tap through everyone being shocked about it and accusing one another of killing them.

With your only input on the matter to be the broad story path chosen and not a specific action relating to the murder victim, this makes fully completing the game- and experiencing its story- laborious. More 'game' in between puzzle rooms would have made a great difference here.

However, it may also take away what makes VLR different enough to work.

Visual novels are far enough away from what we generally consider 'games' that you change your expectations and forgive the lack of involvement.

This isn't something that strictly flies with Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit. While it manages to be amusing for the most part in both gameplay and in its humour- certainly the minigames and ridiculous death animations for the mini-bosses can raise a smile- the game suffers in both departments for being slightly longer than its ideas.

From a distance, the game looks a lot like a Metroidvania, featuring as it does an openish two-dimensional platform world with routes arbitrarily blocked off by the absence of some ability gained later in the game.

However, you soon find that mini-bosses which were clever breaks from standard gameplay start to repeat all too soon, as do their death mingames/animation sequences (which are much too long to be sat through more than once) and the 'new' ablities are just bigger versions of the your old ones.

As such, it's rare they offer any new way to traverse the levels or represent a new technique for a later (mini) boss.

Coupled with the unexciting platforming, with the poorly-spaced checkpoints often immediately before some deeply empty area, miles away from anything, despite the game's humour, it's hard to recommend it over the more straight-laced exmples of Metroidvania-age, like Metroid or Shadow Complex.

Well, that's been my week. How's yours been?
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Posted by Ben at 15:19
Once everyone, including (no, especially) me, stops posting interesting articles I have a Paper Mario Sticker Star review to go up. Not that it wont be interesting, but at this point it's already several months past the point of relevancy that another few days wont hurt it

Spoiler alert, I don't think Paper Mario Sticker Star is very good. It's a great idea, and it looks really nice, even the 3D works brilliantly, but the further in to the game I got the more and more I resented playing it. It's a shame because I quite like that Nintendo uses these types of games to try new things

I've also been playing the excellent so far Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which is absolute nonsense and all the better for it. I've not played a huge amount of it so far, and while I like what I've played, you can kind of see that it's a game that's been rescued. There's not a lot of meat there, you get a handful of enemies, certainly less than you'd get in most Platinum games.

Still, promising stuff, I dare say I'll be spending the day with it tomorrow
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Posted by Duane at 09:39
We decided amongst us that we'd bring "What We're Playing" back this year, what we didn't decide is when. I've decided to do it today thus moving it from our previous Wednesday slot to Mondays purely because most people get to play games at the weekend or may have bought something new.

Due to family reasons (my second daughter was born just over a week ago) my gaming has been a little sporadic. So whilst I've managed to fit in the odd hour of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch here and there, I've struggled to progress through Dead Space 3.

In regards to the latter title, I'm finding it an odd experience. I absolutely adored the original Dead Space and found its sequel a bit of a mixed bag, I don't want to go too far as my intention is to have reviewed it by the end of the week, but I'm not entirely sure what direction Visceral are trying to take it at the point that I'm at in the game.

Lastly, I've dabbled in a bit of Halo 4, having the odd round of multiplayer here and there and doing some of the Spartan Ops missions, the games "Challenges" keep me coming back, however, I've still not finished off the campaign on any difficulty.
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I think it does some things well. I think there are still some areas where, as a customer, I'd like to see it improve.

Handbags! Gabe Newell, in an admittedly-quite-creatively-edited-by-us quote, passes judgement on EA's Origin system. [CVG]
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