What We’re Playing - March 16
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.
I’m a few hours into Syndicate’s single-player campaign and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. Despite its mixed reviews (and possibly my better judgment) I decided to take the plunge and lay down 35 bones on it based on its looks, the promise of its co-op and my feelings towards Starbreeze Studios.
I’ve had an affable relationship with the Swedish developer ever since The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. They’ve always nailed story and atmosphere but, despite their dedication to the first person view point, they’ve never been particularly great at the whole shooter thing. Syndicate is their most gun-heavy game to date, and it feels responsive and tight, like you would expect a modern shooter to feel. Switching from target to target and popping heads is done with aplomb - and wub wub dub step -although it still has some strange occurrences. Shotguns are particularly, and disappointingly, underpowered; while a mini-gun you can pick up at multiple points lays waste to hordes of enemies at the drop of a hat - all the while running on unlimited ammunition. It’s an odd balance.
I’m interested to see where it takes me, though. While its cyber-punk dystopia isn’t quite as impressive as Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s, it certainly has its moments. And the whole hacking component is a nonchalant joy, allowing you to hack away enemy shields, destroy turrets and manipulate cover all at the touch of a button.
And there’s still that co-op to look forward to as well.
There are 30 seconds left in the third session of qualifying at Monaco and I have enough time for one final flying lap. Sebastian Vettel has set a 1.13.474 to claim provisional pole. I have a Logitech Driving Force GT wheel, a McLaren MP4-26 to drive and a growing knowledge of the Monte Carlo circuit. And I will…take…pole.
I approach the first corner at just over 250km/h and hit the brake before steering right and accelerating into the straight. Heading up the main straight, utilising my KERS power boost to climb the elevation, I make easy work of the Massenet and Casino corners. I approach the end of the first sector…I’m 0.2s up on Vettel’s time!
But disaster strikes at the hotel hairpin…I don’t apply enough left-turn and understeer into the barrier! It’s a glancing blow and I can carry on but it has probably cost me the quarter-second I had on Vettel. I open my adjustable rear wing in the famous Monaco tunnel, making my car slightly faster and yet slightly less stable…but I keep in controland take the slow-speed Nouvelle chicane with ease.
I take turns 12, 13 and 14 at good speed and head toward the end of sector 2…I’m 0.12s down on Vettel. By now the session has ended and I am the last car on track. This final sector has to count. I grip my Logitech wheel and stare at the track lying ahead of me. I know the final corner has caused me problems and I focus on nailing the braking zone and my gear selections. I take Rascasse well, angling my car to the right but slightly off the racing line. A quick spurt of KERS and I approach Anthony Noghes…looking for each apex through the chicane…nailed! I turn on my DRS wing and use the rest of my KERS…I approach the start/finish line…
I cross it…
I have pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix. And I loved every bloody minute of it.
Twisted Metal: Black
One of the bonuses of buying a new copy of the PlayStation 3 Twisted Metal is that it comes with a downloadable copy of the PS2 classic Twisted Metal: Black. After spending so much time with both, it feels like it should be the other way around. I suddenly question why Eat, Sleep, Play even bothered cobbling together a current-gen version of Twisted Metal rather than upscaling this work of art with some fancier graphics, and possibly online play. At the very least, the results couldn’t be any worse than Twisted Metal’s current server fiasco. Psychotic drivers in muscle cars from Hell, massive destructible levels with pedestrians begging to be run over, and tons of unlockables to stave off boredom…why did I ever trade this masterpiece in?