In the immortal words of Will Smith, it’s “Summer Summer Summer Summertime”. While the staff here at Power Up Gaming are not allowed outdoors to enjoy the glorious rays of the sun, we are allowed to crack open the windows of our perspex cages while we blast away at the latest and greatest video games. Good times are ahead!
Regardless, here are the games with which our summer of gaming has begun.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, heroes in an average game, turtle power? I’ve been playing TMNT Mutants in Manhattan this week, and I have not been having a good time. When all three of my AI allies were jumping around in some random corner, while I was fighting with courage and valor, I definitely wasn’t having a good time. Nevertheless, I persevered even when The Witcher 3 Blood and Wine became available.
In case you haven’t realised from other reviews, TMNT is not a great game. The combat is simultaneously erratic and simple, the basic story drags uncontrollably, and the game is full of bugs that are extremely irritating. It hurts to say this, for I only recently became a fan of Platinum Games. Bayonetta 2 and Metal Gear Rising are my favourite hack-and-slash titles: they have combat that’s exhilarating, precise, and, most importantly fun!
I do have some positives to say about the title, but they are dwarfed by the negatives. My full review of it will be up soon. However, since my time with the turtles is over, I’m finally going to be cleansing my palette with Blood and Wine, and I don’t mean the bodily substance and the drink.
I can’t imagine there was a huge demand for a remastered version of Dead Island, but here it is. As someone who passed on the game back in 2011 due to the lukewarm reception it received, I figured now was the time to either nut up or shut up with this re-release.
So far, despite being warned that it might be a bit crap, I haven’t found it too bad. Perhaps this is because I’m coming off of Zombi, but I’m appreciating the visuals and enjoying spending time outside. I assume that the engine from Dying Light is running the show here, but it is rather pretty to look at. I’m not sure if the combat will grind me down further into the campaign, but I’ll be producing a review in due course where I’ll lay out my opinions in full.
I’ve also been putting some serious time into Infamous: Second Son, since it was dirt cheap on the PS Store recently. I’m almost finished with it and, while I think I preferred the first Infamous, I’ve quite enjoyed my time with this one. The campaign isn’t that long, and all of the collectables and general busywork that open world games have is densely packed in and easy to achieve. All in all, I’m very pleased with it.
This week I have played an eclectic mix of gaming treats. First, I went back to Ratchet and Clank to get the platinum trophy. My 77th, but who says I’m counting?
Things were going well until I got to a particular bastard called “Faster than a Speeding Amoeboid”, which requires you to beat the Gold Rilgar Hoverboard Cup in under 1 minute and 35 seconds. I must have spent well over two hours attempting this trophy, and kept hitting around 1.38 every bloody time; sometimes I would start, hit an exploding box and then just restart because I knew that my clumsiness had cost me valuable seconds.
Eventually, it got to a point where I was looking around the room for things to smash every time I failed: anger is a powerful thing.
You know those little moments in your life? Those little moments where everything feels like lava, and you just want to quench it with each part of your being? I was in that state. Then I beat the time and moved on with my life.
I then completed Day of the Tentacle Remastered. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it as good as the other Tim Schafer adventure games, due to its more simplistic plot and less-than varied locations. Also, the fact that the villains are tentacles is a bit unsettling.
Finally, I finally dipped my toe in The Walking Dead: Michonne. I’ve only finished two episodes so far, but it’s certainly the weakest of Telltale’s zombie offerings. While Michonne is a great character, and is also well-acted, I just find it difficult getting to grips with prequels. They lack suspense, something which is of the utmost importance in a series where shocking deaths are paramount.
Michonne is safe from harm. I wish she wasn’t.
Although I would love to say that I’ve playing this great indie game that everyone needs to know about, the reality is that Overwatch has officially taken over my life. As I am writing this, I have a video from professional Overwatch player A_Seagull playing in the background. On the way home from work, I listened to an Overwatch podcast. And when I’m done writing this, I’ll be turning on my Xbox to fire up the game. I might have a problem guys and gals.
It’s tough to put into words exactly why I enjoy the game so much. I’ve always loved the FPS genre, particularly the online multiplayer aspect, which I believe heavily contributes to my infatuation. Overwatch borrows a lot from other games, especially previous shooters, and brings it all together in a great package. For example, Pharah, a character in the game, is essentially always holding a Quake 3 rocket launcher.
Blizzard has said themselves that they’ve taken inspiration from past shooters and developers even going so far as to sight influences regarding the game’s engine and code. Normally this would come across as a downside as it seems every other big shooter has mimicked the COD formula, but it seems every detail has been combed over ensuring that the game provides a polished and refreshing take on the genre. It’s a great feeling to really get into a new character and discover new mechanics that I hadn’t even noticed prior to that experience demonstrating a good amount of depth to the gameplay.
Look for our review of Overwatch in the near future.
The past few weeks have seen me jettisoned into the air in a scramble to soak in the sights of a handful of North America’s most famous (read: dirtiest) cities. Tragically, I have been forced to replace the steely embrace of my PS4 with the sights and sounds of airport after airport. My trusty New 3DS XL (which I invested in only last year for just this occasion) has been left to console my grieving heart as I navigate my way through the saddened crowds, worn-down workers and disgustingly overpriced food that breathe that “kill me now” vibe into your average airport.
Among bouts of Pokemon, Shovel Knight and New Super Mario Bros. 2, I have come to rely on one game to consistently rejuvenate my drained soul: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. I mean, talk about late to the party; this is probably the gaming equivalent of me loudly proclaiming “hey, have you heard this new tune, Party Rock, it’s a right banger!” For years I’ve seen site after site and person after person dub A Link Between Worlds the best game on 3Ds. But the fact is that the top-down-Zelda-3Ds-fever has finally caught me, and I can’t stop rocking to it.
At the most ridiculous of hours, I’ve found myself compelled to sacrifice precious air-time-naps in favour of chipping away at just one more dungeon, and then another – and then maybe just one more. A Link Between Worlds has hooked its quirky talons in me well and good. A simple, streamlined interface makes raiding dungeons a joy. Puzzles can often prove surprisingly tricky, but their solutions never feel cheap or random.
Although my travel-buddy may well have dubbed the game’s titular wall-merging mechanic “the stupidest thing she has ever seen,” I’ve found this central hook to be a blast. Though this mechanic forces you to think about the environments you encounter in entirely different ways, it’s surprisingly intuitive. The way Nintendo have so seamlessly woven this fancy new (or, should I say, by now, old) feature into their classic puzzle-formula is quite the feat. All of this is without even mentioning that everything in A Link Between Worlds is executed in truly beautiful fashion. Seriously, I didn’t know a 3DS game could look this good. The charming animations and luscious colour palettes of both Hyrule and Lorule have made for a much needed escape from the tin-can aesthetics of the dingy air plane cockpits I’ve found myself imprisoned in of late.
There are a hundred more brilliant things I could say about A Link Between Worlds but, for the sake of brevity, I’ll end it with this: A Link Between Worlds has done the impossible – making the flying experience something I actually look forward to. This time I think I must have truly lost it.
I’ve abandoned all possibility of becoming a Pokemon Master, as The Witcher 3 has taken over virtually every minute of screen time I get. Since last week, my 10 hours has somehow turned into 50 hours and I can’t remember putting this much time into a game – so quickly – since Fable 2.
Aside from an hour I had with The Witcher 2 a couple of years back, Wild Hunt is my first time with the franchise. This game looks fantastic, has a compelling storyline, a huge world covered in multiple terrains and lots of quests. No…wait… hundreds of quests. With the dangerously addictive nature of Gwent ever-present, the length of the game’s Secondary Quests and Treasure Hunts is something to behold.
Even so, that’s one of the few things I’ve found frustrating about Geralt’s adventures so far. You’ll be trying to complete the main objective of a quest and after an hour of work, all of a sudden, it diverges into two separate quests, with the rewards temporarily denied. With that said, Wild Hunt does a hell of a lot of things better than a similar game which comes to mind – Dragon Age: Inquisition.
This isn’t a perfect game but if I wasn’t allowed to play another game for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t be disappointed; content and enjoyment isn’t exactly in short supply.
Being the gentle, forgiving soul that I am (hundreds of profanity-drenched hours of playing shooters notwithstanding) I decided to give Cities: Skylines another chance this week. I grew up practically glued to the earlier SimCity games, after all, so by all rights I should love Skylines. But I just… don’t, and I’m not sure why.
All the ingredients for a great city builder seem to be there. Things start simple, and as you grow your city you have to provide more services and deal with more problems (traffic, chief among them). There’s no one perfect strategy, as every advantage comes with a cost. This is the game we all wanted the newest SimCity to be, so why does it feel more like work than leisure?
The simplest answer is that Cities: Skylines lacks character. SimCity 3000 delighted me not just with its city building, but with its timelessly jazzy soundtrack, the strong and varied personalities of its advisors, and its endlessly amusing jokes and news snippets scrolling across the bottom of the screen. Tropico 4 had me obsessed in the space of about half an hour with its tongue-in-cheek humour, different factions and their caricatured representatives, and lively music. Even the punishing Banished keeps me coming back now and then for the feeling of serenity it brings (both through the scenery and again, its gorgeous soundtrack), even as my town starves through a harsh winter.
Cities: Skylines, however, has music so forgettable I forget it’s even there, and the only other quirk is the Chirper social media that annoyingly pops up several times per minute with the people’s demands and an occasional hashtag joke. Without character, the game becomes nothing more than its mechanics which, while certainly impressive, aren’t engaging enough to keep me playing on their own.