What We’re Playing – August 2011
It’s September? WHAT?!? Where the hell did the year go?
As the days get shorter and colder we can take comfort in the fact that we’ve got a brilliant selection of games coming in the next few months to see us through the rest of the year. For now though we’re frantically playing through our back catalogue while also playing a brilliant game about a guy who has technological induced superpowers and wears shades during the night.
With Gears 3 and FIFA 12 on the way this month you can be sure the team will have plenty to talk about once October rolls around. See you then!
Another month has flown us by, which means we a fast approaching the release of Gears of War 3. Having now played a sample of all the modes I can safely say that fans will be happy with the final piece to the trilogy and gamers who are apprehensive about the style of gameplay of the franchise will be pleasantly surprised by the gameplay of Gears 3.
This month I picked up Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper, albeit some clunky movement controls, this game is a cracker. With a great mix of thoughtful and enjoyable puzzles, some of which will have you baffled for some time and a ‘killer’ storyline, if you haven’t picked this up yet then do so – especially as you can track it down now for around £10.
With the release of Brink Agents of Change DLC I also took a step back onto the Ark. I really enjoyed this game first time round and stepping back into the shoes of my created characters gave me that same enjoyment, satisfaction and addiction – I just wish people would work with me when attacking the objectives rather than running in like a complete dick Rambo style. If you enjoyed the gameplay and teamwork of objective based gameplay like Shadowrun or Singuality then do checkout Brink.
Saving the best to last I also picked up Deus EX – along with most of the team it seems. It released while I was away in Seattle attending HaloFest and PAX so I haven’t played quite as much as I would have liked. What I have experienced is incredible, mixing action, story and stealth instantly giving me that association that Deus Ex’s Adam Jensen is Sam Fisher meets Commander Shepard. The game is full of choices and morales and I’m already looking forward to playing the game through again as a total arse and making violent, aggressive decisions.
August is a strange month for video games as it signals the end of the summer games drought where we should all have been outside and enjoying the weather (When we were actually still inside craving new games to play) and heralds the Christmas blockbuster months where gaming’s heavyweights attack your wallets from September onwards. I’ve hardly touched my Xbox at all this month, I started out with a bang from the tail end of July where I was playing and reviewing Cars 2, Call of Juarez, From Dust and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet in rapid succession and then…….nothing. Aside from briefly playing Shadow Complex to find bonuses, my Xbox remained dormant and powerless while I ventured outside and enjoyed some sunshine. I even had a week away from work and took a break from everything where I played even less Xbox and went to the beach, watched a lot of Dexter and caught up on the movies I missed at the cinema, but mostly I drank a lot of beer in that time. In the back on my mind though, it was time very well spent as this August contained a treasure I’ve been waiting to pick up for the past 8 years.
Deus Ex Human Revolution is a stunning masterpiece of a game, which is all the more a relief after Invisible War stabbed me in the heart. The level of choice is almost overwhelming to begin with and you worry that you may get lost or miss things. Then you realise that’s exactly what Eidos want you to do, they want you to lose yourself in this world they have created and craft your own unique experience that will be different to your friends as you’ve tailor-made it to suit your play style. Want to go in guns blazing, probably a good idea to build up your armour and aiming augmentations, stealthier players will be more interested in the camouflage and hacking upgrades, ah the hacking, a fantastic little mini game in its own right. While dated character models and canned animations may take a bit of the sheen away from the immersion, the world of Deus Ex looks gorgeous, all black and gold like a fanciful version of Tron. The soundtrack too is utterly fantastic and pitches itself right between Blade Runner and Tron Legacy while nodding towards vintage John Carpenter here and there. The story itself is quite fascinating given that we’re already some way to using bio genetic augmentations in the here and now and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the story plays out. It would be nice if Jensen was a more empathetic character, though its early days yet, he sounds like he’s attended Christian Bale’s school of voice acting and growls through most of his dialogue, hopefully he’ll open up as a character. Deus Ex Human Revolution is already my front-runner not only for GOTY 2011 but one of my favourite games of all time alongside Zelda and Resident Evil. It’s now up to Gears of War and Arkham City to take it on………Good luck !
After a summer short of retail releases I’ve been pinned down to Battlefield 1943 after being spurred on by some Battlefield 3 gameplay footage. There may be a lack of maps, but the game is never short of fun and enjoyable gameplay. Whether it’s jumping into a plane and having a dog fight with an opponent or hoping in a tank for some devastating action, you’re never spoilt for choice. A few more classes and weapons would do it some good, but for an arcade game I’m relatively satisfied with what you get for your money.
The other game I’ve been playing a lot of is Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a world of augmented humans now walk the world and it’s become something more of a fashion statement, but evolved into a weapon and a reason for rioting. You play as Adam Jenson, a hired special security agent for Sarif Industries. Most of you will be aware of the high review scores received for the game and I would have to agree with them, other than the 10/10s. There’s a great selection of missions and weapons and the storyline is strong and powerful. I guess you could say the summer drought of good retail games have given Deus Ex strong sales, but it is as good as the reviewers say.
The game I’m most anticipating is Dead Island, which is due out on September 9th. A couple of early gameplay videos have been leaked online, which is a shame, but from what I’ve seen of the developer walkthrough videos it looks like a good blend of Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising. Hopefully the game will offer more side missions and places to explore and loot for zombie-killing tools. It also has four-player co-op, so you can aid one another in a struggle for survival on this tropical paradise.
I haven’t been playing a huge amount as I’ve been enjoying the good weather and been out and about a lot.
I did however rent Captain America and The Green Lantern for a short time as I wanted my summer blockbuster film tie in-game fix! Really enjoyed Captain America. It felt like a much easier and more linear Batman: Arkham Asylum but it was an ideal game to relax into during a lazy August weekend. Plenty of achievements also kept the achievement addict in me happy. The Green Lantern was pretty rubbish though. I didn’t actually complete it in the end as it was so tedious. Just like so many other film tie in games with no hint of imagination to it. Shame as the concept could have been used quite well.
Otherwise I’ve just been dabbling a bit with DiRT3 again and completing the latest L.A Noire DLC. Nothing hugely time-consuming!
Quick! Wash me off. I got all dirty, muddy and dusty. It’s all the sliding around I’ve been doing in DiRT 3. I absolutely adore the series and stupid puns aside; it’s managed to keep my Xbox 360 clear of anything else. I’m not the biggest fan of the Gymkhana sections and while landrush does my head in on occasion, it’s generally a fantastic game.
It improves on everything found in the second game. It’s also one of the most satisfying games to play – it’s effortless. You can become skilled at DiRT 3 with minimal practice, yet still feel hours away from mastering it. Highly recommended, especially as a slow-burning Summer drought game.
Other than the occasional game on FIFA 11 I haven’t really touched my Xbox this month which is mainly due to my internet being down for a while and a family holiday. I will always find time for a bit of FIFA though as I am a massive football fan. FIFA 11 may not be perfect but it’s the best football game available in my opinion and FIFA 12 only looks better which is why I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Every time a new bit of information is released for FIFA 12 I just get more excited about it and I can’t wait to try the career mode in FIFA 12, as it looks like EA really put a lot of time and effort into improving it this year. Something I will always do on FIFA games, until EA stop including it, is the Ultimate Team mode. It has added something a little different to FIFA games in recent years and is the mode I usually find myself spending the most time on.
Joining FIFA 12 on the list of games I’m looking forward to are Battlefield 3 and Saints Row: The Third.