What We’re Playing – July 8th
The weekend is upon us and it’s time to play some videogames. Here are a few games that we’ll be playing away from the office this weekend. What’s on your agenda? Share what you’re playing!
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
A succession of lengthy train journeys usually begins with a trip to my local GAME store. PSP titles are at rock-bottom prices at the moment and I managed to pick up a copy of Vice City Stories for the same price as a magazine and a cup of coffee. As the train rattled along I quickly fell back into the swing of things. Blasting around in taxis with ‘I Want to Know What Love is’ booming out of the radio is as essential as ever, but something felt very wrong, something had changed – It wasn’t 2002 any more. The highlight of the original Vice City was its ability to draw the gamer into the fiction; perhaps I’m more cynical now, but I felt like an outsider on a museum tour rather than a denizen of the fictional city. The trip down memory lane was not as pleasurable as I had expected, and as my train drew into the station I realised it would be impossible for me to rekindle my love for the old VC. Maybe I had become reliant on off-the-shoulder camera angles and solid cover mechanics, but Vice City Stories felt awkward and stiff; like putting on an old pair of slippers that you thought were comfortable, but turn out to be made of limestone and sandpaper. Like the haircuts, the politics and the television shows, Vice City Stories is just another element of the eighties that really should have been left in the past.
It’s been a hectic few days and I’d planned to sit down on Friday night with a mug of Horlicks, some ginger biscuits and Shining Force on the iPhone. Then i gave Neuroshima Hex a try and plans have now changed. A video game conversion of the best selling board game, it feels right at home on an iOS system.
Set on a nineteen piece board, it’s tactically deep. And there’s no surprise to see your grand design crumble at the rotation of a single enemy unit. This saves me the displeasure of finding less socially eloquent chaps to play against, because now I can lay down my units in a virtual world. One that doesn’t perspire self-defeat.
Taking advantage of my free month of PlayStation Plus, I recently downloaded the PlayStation classic, MediEvil. I never owned an original PlayStation so I missed out on Dan Fortesque’s original romp, but the unique art style always appealed to me. Although MediEvil is heavily dated, there’s something refreshing about playing something so antiquated; there’s no Trophies for me to worry about, no overly difficult control scheme to learn and the abysmal early 3D camera – attempts – to take care of itself. All I have to do so far is run around, arbitrarily slash at the undead and deliver a color coated stone slab to the appropriately ominous like-colored hand, which grants me access to the next area. I think I’ll stick MediEvil out for at least a few more stages, it’s relaxing and it’s a rare chance with today’s game to check my brain at the door.