What We’re Playing – January 6th
The weekend is upon us and it’s time to play some videogames. Here are a few games we’ve been playing away from the office this week. What’s on your agenda? Share what you’re playing!
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
No, I didn’t buy Enslaved, and yes, I feel terrible about it. I’m finally playing it and not so surprisingly liking it just as much as I expected to. In 2011 I finally got around to playing Ninja Theory’s freshman effort, Heavenly Sword, a game stronger in concept than in execution. Ninja Theory clearly has a knack for creating unique and believable characters, a talent I greatly appreciate, but like Heavenly Sword, Enslaved isn’t quite there gameplay wise – I’m not solely referring to glowy handholds. That aside, Enslaved is a wholly refreshing, invigorating experience. New York City is a chronically overused locale in video games and Ninja Theory has turned it into a distant, futuristic, alien-like world. Having lived there I immediately recognized their rendition of historic Grand Central Terminal, but it was all new to me again with a unique story. What makes this new version of the ‘concrete jungle’ so fascinating is Monkey and Trip’s ignorance of the world that existed before. Their journey isn’t solely one of survival, but one into our present day – something we know all too well.
We tend to forgive sequels for sticking to formulas so long as it’s bigger in scale than its predecessor. Resistance 3 is a curious step backwards from the massive sixty-player firefights and battles with skyscraper-sized monsters in the main campaign. Instead, we’re treated to by-the-numbers multiplayer modes (scaled back to only sixteen players) and a bleak look at how humanity is barely surviving the Chimeran onslaught. Most of the weaponry returns from the previous game, but luckily is a great arsenal and being able to upgrade weapons which unlock new abilities adds a refreshing wrinkle to gameplay.
Resistance 3 is by no means a bad game, but as a big-budget sequel and an end to a trilogy, it leaves much to be desired. At least it doesn’t embarrass itself at every turn like Killzone 3. It’s a bit of a shame the series had to end now that I was beginning to warm up to the new lead: Joe Capelli. He’s a relatable guy who just wants to get back to his wife and kids but has to slog through Hell to save humanity first, so he easily has more charisma than that soulless husk Nathan Hale ever was.
Patapon is by far the most infuriating game I have ever played on the PSP. The hours I’ve spent agonising and fretting about my army of aggressive little eyeballs has slowly trickled into the hundreds, and I still can’t seem to get the little twerps to do what I want. You see, I have no rhythm… at all, not a drop, not even a modicum. I can’t even tap my foot in time to a metronome. With all the will in the world, I can’t get my men to follow my simple commands; they just stand there, staring at me with panic stricken confusion. No combo, no momentum, no hope.
Anyone who has played Patapon will know how unique the experience was. Much like LocoRoco, its charm and design became legendary, however, Patapon was far more difficult than its globular cousin; garnering notoriety for its outrageous difficulty spikes. The game was well received and spawned two accomplished, if not repetitious, sequels. Patapon became one of my favourite games on the PSP and I still load it up to this day, praying that my sense of rhythm has materialised. However, as I watch another of my spearmen disappear down the gullet of an enemy dinosaur, I can only conclude that it hasn’t and never will. Shame.