Even though the year is half-way over (give one or two months), I’ve managed to play some good games. Here’s a list of 10 so far with some mini reviews (in no particular order).
#10 – Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (PS3)
This was a game I had been wanting to play for a while, so when it was on sale and I was given a discount I seized the opportunity. Having played the Tomb Raider HD Trilogy again not too long ago, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was a huge jump. Not only were the controls different (there was no lock-on but you could aim with the analogue stick) but it was top down perspective. The puzzles returned and I’ll admit they were easier to figure out compared to previous Tomb Raider games, but damn did I feel smart for figuring them out (I only had to use a guide a few times). The story follows Lara exploring a tomb and coming across a demon called Xolotl. With the help of Totec, LC must seal Xolotl into the Mirror of Smoke before sunrise. I also really enjoyed the opening scene with the animated sketches flipping through a journal. For a spin-off, it did a good job.
#9 – LittleBigPlanet 1 & 2 (PS3)
I had played LittleBigPlanet on a friend’s PSP previously, so after the announcement of LittleBigPlanet 3, I decided it was time to get my hands on them. The first game follows Sackboy as he tries to save LittleBigPlanet from The Collector – a rogue Creator Curator. Despite being released in 2008 (not long after the PS3 console) as an indie game, it was incredibly sophisticated – the analogue sticks were able to control Sackboy’s arms and tilting the control made him turn his head. With any puzzle platformer, the game as it continued got progressively harder and harder (I really struggled with the Tundra World) but it was satisfying after completing a level. And how could you not enjoy listening to Stephen Fry narrating the story?
LittleBigPlanet 2 as a sequel changed the game a fair bit. Despite having a similar storyline (the inhabitants of Craft World are kidnapped by the Negativitron so it’s up to Sackboy and his friends to save the world), weapons such as the Grabinator and the Creatinator. Compared to the first game, I found LBP 2 much harder to start off with, but more enjoyable. I loved the characters (along with their voice acting) and the way that LBP 2 felt more…’polished’ for lack of a better term. I loved both games for their perspective in the game – you play as a voiceless, tiny hero with no special abilities in a giant, creative world for you to explore.
#8 – Borderlands 1 & 2 (PS3)
I must admit that I did avoid Borderlands when it came out because I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I understood that it was a first-person shooter that was humorous, but I didn’t think the humour would appeal to me – I thought it would be the kind of humour that talks about bodily fluids and just try too hard. Oh, but how wrong I was and glad for it.
As mentioned, Borderlands is a FPS combined with RPG elements (Role Playing Game). The first Borderlands allows you to choose as The Berserker (Brick); The Siren (Lilith); The Hunter (Mordecai) or The Soldier (Roland) who choose to move to a planet called Pandora in the search for a better life (this is also set in the distant future). After encountering Pandora’s inhabitants and environments, rumours of a treasure cove known as The Vault emerge and it is up to you to find it. With the aid of other characters such as The Angel, Dr. Zed, Claptrap and Marcus, the player is supplied with guns, ammos, grenades, shields, vehicles and health. As with any RPG, side-missions are available to help the player level up and endure boss fights.
When I played Borderlands 2 after completing the first one, I was stunned at the changes not only to the gameplay and layouts but to the weapons and the humour. Borderlands in terms of it’s humour was tame compared to 2. Borderlands 2 follows a similar storyline to the previous one – a company called Hyperion’s boss Hnadsome Jack claims that he opened The Vault, destroyed the alien creature (which I struggled with a lot) and that he saved Pandora. So naturally, when more Vault Hunters are sent to kill him, Pandora is once again in trouble. Once again, the player can choose who to play as from The Commando (Axel); The Siren (Maya); The Gunzerker (Salvador) and The Assassin (Zer0) with additional DLC characters The Mechromancer (Gaige) and The Psycho (Krieg).
Story-wise, I enjoyed Borderlands 2 much more because of the amount of great characters and emotional plots (I won’t spoil it but there were at times when I felt hopeless and thought I wouldn’t be able to defeat Handsome Jack) however it took me a while to get used to the new layout and I didn’t really approve of the gun designs for some of them. I did struggle a lot more with Borderlands 2, but the (seemingly) endless list of side-missions made up for it. The only critique I would give these games is that is there is no way of dodging oncoming attacks. But I’m looking forward to playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (clever title) and replaying the first games as different classes (I chose The Siren for both).
#7 – InFAMOUS: Second Son (PS4)
I decided to catch up and buy myself a PS4! I had never played the previous InFAMOUS games but I knew they were some form of superhero-type game. The game follows Deslin Rowe (voiced by Troy Baker, one of my favourite video gaming voicing actors) a teenager who makes trouble follow him everywhere. One day, after running form the police, he rescues an escaped Conduit (someone who has superpowers) and unwillingly absorbs them himself. He is ambushed by the Head of the D.U.P (Department of Unified Protection) and with his brother, Reggie (who’s also the sheriff), track down Augustine to save their community. During his journey, Deslin makes contact with other Conduits such as Hank, Fetch and Eugene and absorbs their powers too.
This was my first time playing a PS4 game so I was stunned by the visuals, not only because of the engine but because the game looked like it was really taking place in Seattle. Like all games, I struggled in some parts but I enjoyed the story and also how the way you played the game impacted the story, i.e. if you chose to be a Hero, the story follows a ‘good route’ but if you chose to follow the ‘bad route’, it impacts the game negatively (I don’t know how as I chose the good route).
With the combination of amazing graphics, good game mechanics, parkour elements and a good storyline, I enjoyed this game, even if some parts were a bit repetitive.
#6 – InFAMOUS: First Light (PS4)
This game is claimed to be a DLC from Second Son (I still don’t really believe that, even for the price I bought it at) that follows Fetch and her story of how she integrates into Second Son (essentially like a pre-sequel). While I felt this game was much more emotional compared to Second Son, it was much shorter (but not quite as repetitive) and you could only use Neon powers compared to Deslin’s abilities of using multiple powers. But it definitely helped me understand Fetch much more with her state of mind in Second Son. I highly recommend playing First Light after playing Second Son (love the titles too).
#5 – P.T. Demo (PS4)
Now, if you’re a gamer like myself, you probably would have heard about the P.T. Demo so I won’t drabble on abut it. But for those who don’t, the P.T. Demo (playable teaser) was Konami’s idea to revamp the Silent Hill franchise. You start off in a first-person view and you have to navigate through looped corridors, finding snippets of the supposedly plot of the game. I won’t spoil it but jump scares do happen and with the amazing atmosphere, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I was so scared that I didn’t complete the demo (and before anyone calls me a pussy, I was also stuck on the last part with the telephone). It makes me sad that Konami have now cancelled it and taken the demo off the PS Store. I liked where the story was going (even though it was weird and made my skin crawl in some parts) and had it been released, I definitely would have played it, even though horror games aren’t really my thing.
R.I.P. P.T. Demo for Silent Hills. At least there is a Minecraft Adventure Map available.
#4 – Pokémon Shuffle (3DS)
This game is basically Candy Crush with a Pokémon skin (and none of the original sound effects). You have to match three of more pokémon heads in order to attack the enemy pokémon with a limited amount of moves (or time limit for bonus stages). pokémon stats are also taken into effect, i.e. water pokémon create more damage against fire pokémon, and you are able to capture the defeated pokémon depending on how well you fought in battle. It’s a cute, quick little game that can become easily frustrating but enjoyable to any pokémon fan, past or present.
#3 – Heavenly Sword (PS3)
After following Rhianna Pratchett’s career after Tomb Raider, I found out about Heavenly Sword. You can play as the protagonist Nariko and her younger sister Kai. The game follows Noriko and her clan as they protect the most powerful sword, the Heavenly Sword. Despite it’s great power, it hold a great curse – it absorbs the life of the wielder. I thought it would be a simple hack-and-slash game, but it also includes quick-time events (QTEs) and puzzle solving (some of it extremely frustrating), which I was glad about, otherwise I would have gotten bored of it easily. The SIXAXIS of the control also helped with ‘Aftertouch’ – by tilting the control, you can control projectiles, such as arrows and cannon balls. This added an element of difficulty but also to the game mechanics. However, I did find some of the boss fights being strung out for too long and Kai not really having any abilities apart from dodging and firing arrows (long range only really worked). But it you enjoy controlling a strong female character with a long of emotional baggage (not that that’s a bad thing), that I suggest checking Heavenly Sword out. Just don’t watch the movie.
#2 Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (PS4)
What a surprise – another Tomb Raider game! From Guardian of the Light, the Temple of Osiris didn’t change much apart from the story, enemies and puzzles. Oh, and it’s multiplayer. But I enjoyed Temple of Osiris much more not because I’m a sucker of Egypt and I enjoyed the story (Lara and her fellow researcher Carter become cursed and help the Egyptian Gods Isis and Horus piece back together Osiris in order to stop Set from taking over the world) but for the amazing boss fight at the end. Trust me, you forget about the somewhat repetitive tombs and not-as-creative puzzles when you have to help Osiris defeat Set. This is a spoiler-free zone, but you have to check it on YouTube or play the game yourself. It made me feel that even though I was controlling human Lara Croft, I could still defeat these powerful legends of Gods. Honestly, no words can describe it – it has to be something you experience with your own eyes.
#1 – Agario (PC)
As you probably guessed, I like to keep up with the kids and play a lot of the more popular games. There’s not much to say about Agario apart from that you play as a small, colourful dot who zooms around and asborbs smaller dots to grow bigger. The bigger you get, the easier it is to eat other players and get to the top of the leader board. It’s very addictive and you can even play it through your Facebook amount. I will warn you that will want to play again and again to get better each time and soon enough, many hours have passed.
So, what am I playing now?
I’m currently playing Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U. Much like Heavenly Sword, I thought it was a simple hack-and-slash game, but I was wrong. If you don’t know, it is a game developed by Koie Temco who developed Dynasty Warriors (which I played a little bit of before this) which is pretty much a Legend of Zelda skinned Dynasty Warriors game but with more plot. The story follows Link, a knight-in-training for Hyrule, who defending the castle after a mysterious witch called Cia attacks it. Many well-known Zelda characters make appearances, such as Shiek, Impa and Darunia, along with original characters, such as Lana (who I love and wish I could see her in more Zelda official games, but I don’t think that will happen). While the gameplay mainly consists of attacks enemies, defeating bosses and opening Fairy Foundations, you do need to keep an eye on your bases and make sure that they are not taken over, otherwise it’s game over. So far, I’ve played the majority of the game and I think I’ve nearly completed it but for a simple game, it is long but not too dragged out. If you’ve been looking for a strategy-induced, hack-and-slash Zelda game, then Hyrule Warriors is for you. And don’t worry if you don’t have a Wii U – Hyrule Warriors Legends is coming out on 3DS next year.
Thank-you for reading, hope you enjoyed!