Who needs New Years Resolutions anyway? A sensible one for me to make would have been “stop playing 12 games at the same time”, but no such vow was made and here I am yet again with multiple games on the go. I’ve been trekking through New Vegas since it was released, and still haven’t seen everything in the wasteland. I bought Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and the GTA 4 collection during the amazing Steam christmas sales – I have barely touched the former, but i did finally play through the latter – after starting Niko Bellic’s story 3 times in the past, I have at long last seen how it ends and I utterly loved it. Meanwhile, Singularity is proving to be a fun mish-mash of various modern shooter ideas rolled together to create something new. And then there’s that quaint MMO expansion that a few people are playing lately. Apparantly it has a dragon in it…
Activision have been a total arse lately. Now they have their Call of Duty juggernaut raking in billions each year, they’ve neglected some of their other studios. Sadly, Raven software are one of their current victims. The studio, who have a string of quality FPS games in their back catalog, released Singularity last year and it flopped because nobody has heard of it. There was virtually no marketing behind this game, and yet Activision still have the nerve to be “disappointed” with its poor sales figures. Raven even had to make redundancies, and I think the way Activision have treated one of their longest-running studios is disgraceful.
It’s a real shame because this game is actually very good. If Half Life 2, Bioshock and Wolfenstein had a kid, it would probably look a bit like Singularity. Set on a remote Russian island where all sorts of crazy experiments were going on, you play a time-hopping soldier sent to straighten things out. The best feature is the unique weapon called the Time Manipulation Device (TMD) – its a hand-held device that lets you alter certain objects’ age in the world. Find some crumbled stairs hindering your progress? A quick zap with the TMD and it’ll magically restore before your eyes, allowing you to proceed. You can also zap enemies to rapidly age them into dust, which is always entertainingly sick. Its a solid FPS, with good pacing, a few clever puzzles and enough intrigue to keep me hooked. I hope to review it later this week.
Grand Theft Auto 4
Yeah, a bit late to this party, but the fact Steam were giving away the excellent GTA 4 complete pack – which comes with Liberty City Stories, the 2 DLC add-ons – for just £6, I couldn’t resist. I’ve actually bought GTA 4 three times now, on two different systems (absurd, I know) but have up until last week never managed to finish it. So, last week I blitzed through the singleplayer story, never answering a single phone call from any of Niko’s friends, and barely doing any of the side missions. Part of me didn’t like this, but since I’d already seen the majority of the game twice before I decided enough was enough. Anyway, aside from the game looking slightly less impressive as it did 4 years ago, the gameplay is as excellent as it always was, and it was a great reminder of what Rockstar do best. The radio stations, the huge variety of cars, the PHYSICS, and a story which is as hilarious as it is darkly depressing, GTA 4 is a modern masterpiece of gaming. Now, I should try to finish the add-ons before 2016…
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
The latest expansion to WoW is pretty damn impressive. Deathwing, the biggest, most badass dragon you’ve ever seen has ripped Azeroth apart, and the result is a vastly more compelling MMO experience. I’ve yet to make it to the high level areas, but have so far been levelling up a new Worgen Hunter through all the old classic zones. Blizzard have completely changed the way questing works, most noticably how fast you are able to level up. Back in the ‘vanilla’ days, it took me about 6 months to reach level 40. You can experience the same content now in less than a week if you wanted, and still have just as much fun doing it. ‘Phased’ questing means that you can witness grand changes happening to the world around you because of your actions and everything feels more alive and dynamic. WoW became a second home to me once, but now that everything has become more casual, I can play it guilt-free knowing that even if I only have an hour or so spare, I know I’m gonna see something cool.