Thunderbolt logo

What We’re Playing – July 22nd

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!

Donkey Kong Country Returns
Sean Kelley

screenshot

If the Wii truly has no games then I have no idea what to call Donkey Kong Country Returns; it’s simple and to some extent mindless, but it scratches that pure platforming itch in a way no other recent game has done. What’s also impressive is Retro’s ability to create a game that feels very much in tune with Rare’s work on the Country franchise, way back on the Super NES. However, working within those constraints, Retro has miraculously created something very much its own, building their own lexicon within the well-worn Donkey Kong structure. So, this weekend, when I want to bust a few jungle skulls, I’ll be powering on the Wii – those bananas aren’t going to rescue themselves.

Formula 1 2010
Stuart Edwards

screenshot

Ten months after release, F1 2010 is still the only game that can lure me into switching on a console for an extended period of time. Whilst I’m a biased petrol-head at heart, the team at Codemasters deserve recognition for their first effort in the refreshed series. Racing games have a tendency to lose their initial charms as you fully learn a circuit, but all nineteen in F1 2010 live and breathe in the same unpredictable way as they do so in the sport itself. An aquaplaned Monte Carlo is unrecognisable from its dry alter-ego. While it’s conceptually difficult to quite imagine a storm brewing over Bahrain or Abu Dhabi, the delicately balanced physics simply make the game a joy to invest your time in. F1 2010 raised the bar for what gamers can expect from a racing game and although your enjoyment will peak early, its plateau will hold steady until the yearly sequel.

Saints Row 2
Nick Vracar

screenshot

The city of Stillwater must be a desert town, considering the mirages it casts along the freeway. In the distance, cars change on you. A sports car may become a taxi, a taxi might shift into a semi-truck and then that semi-truck might disappear entirely, leaving the leader of the Saints on an open road without a car for miles. This does become a little bit of a problem when someone wants you to steal the sports car, only to see it morph or vanish into thin air. At the very least, if I can’t steal the proper vehicle due to mirage related distortions, I can always turn around and blow stuff up.

Saints Row 2 is still a fun game, regardless of little oddities like this. Saints Row 3 is looking fantastic, I’m just hoping that the engine doesn’t hold onto the bugs of its predecessors.

The author of this fine article

is the Deputy Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in December 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @shaneryantb.

Gentle persuasion

You should check out our podcast.