Tag Archives: ps3

Valkyria Chronicles

media_sc_lg_06I recently completed this game on the PS3 and wanted to write a short post about it.  It’s such an unusual game, and yet I enjoyed it a huge amount.  The game is a mixture of anime, first-person shooter, turn-based strategy and roleplaying game, without really being any of those things fully.  The game story unfolds through the use of animated stories about a bunch of central characters who have become involved in a war.  Various chapters open up as the story develops, and each of those chapters has a number of battles.   The stories aren’t interactive, you watch and listen.  But the characters are interesting and the plot engaging.

When you get to a battle, you take control of a squad of troops who you can equip (and you can research new equipment), and train (to improve levels and gain new abilities) and then run through the fight.  The battle itself is a mix of first-person and turn based.  You pick a character to control from a turn-like map, you then control that character directly in first-person mode, running them through the battle dodging bullets.  When you want to engage the enemy you switch to a control system that stops time and lets you aim at a single target, at which point you fire your weapon and then return to real time.  You cycle through your squad, moving them and engaging the enemy over a number of rounds to achieve your objective.  When you do, you’re rewarded with more story and more chapters.

media_sc_lg_09That’s an ugly description of a beautiful game.  The artwork is superb, the characters quirky and amusing and the game play truly engaging.  If you have a PS3 this is a must buy – and it’s been out long enough now that you should be able to pick it up quite cheaply.

Dead Space

I’m really enjoying games on the PlayStation.  I have to say that it’s a much more engaging activity than playing similar games on a PC with the keyboard.  I didn’t realise how much I disliked playing things like Bioshock with the keyboard vs the PS3 controller (only the demo, but it still stands true).  After enjoying Resident Evil 5 (and still going back to it now and then to play through on a harder setting), I thought I’d give Dead Space a go.  I really wanted to play Left 4 Dead after hearing good things but it’s not available on the PS3 and due to my comments a second ago I won’t be getting it for the PC.  On a side note, this is one area where Microsoft and all the major console manufacturers really piss me off, but I may save that for another post (unless I already moaned about it in the past).

So anyway, saw Dead Space second hand and had seen a review on TV which looked cool, and some clips on the web so picked it up.  It’s superb.  The gameplay is engaging and the graphics are well done, but what really sets this game apart as an experience is the sound and music.  Oh. My. God.  The sound drags you in and sticks you in the middle of the game, ramping the tension and excitement levels through the roof.  We’ve got an as-cheap-as-you-can-get surround sound system, with badly located speakers, but the game still managed to freak me out completely.  The range of ambient sounds is huge, and they really fit the locations down to a tee.  When you’re walking down a badly lit corridor and you hear something scuttle overhead in the air ducts, you really, really, want to look up in the real world.

You can hear things bumping into others things, items being dropped, canisters being knocked over, foot steps, squelches and any number of ambient noises which really make you feel like the experience is that much more real.  The music is excellent and the non-ambient sound effects are pretty impressive too.   The most accomplished element of the sound though for me is when you’re character is in a vacuum.  Ok, vacuum’s should transfer no sound, but total silence wouldn’t be much fun.  The quiet whump whump whump of the pulse rifle instead of the regular gun noise was just so excellent.  The vacuum noises just increased the sense of claustrophobia that the rest of the game imposes.

Overall it was really enjoyable, and although the actual story is weak in places the action was engaging and the slightly different approach to combat made it more interesting (headshots are not your friend in Dead Space).  The sound made sure the game went from ‘fun’ to ‘adrenaline fuelled fun’.  If you like survival horror, sci-fi horror, survival sci-fi horror, shooting dead things, and being scared to go to the toilet on your own, Dead Space is for you.

Short controlled bursts

Is Aliens one of the most quotable movies of all time, or is it just my imagination?  What makes it so quotable?  Is it that I spend a lot of my time moving around in tight spaces armed with a pulse rifle?  Is it because I long to join the Space Marines and wake up in my underwear after an extended sleep?  Probably not.  But the film does have lots of excellent short quotes for nearly every occasion (that involves shooting things).

I played Dead Space on the PS3 today, it’s fun (in a scary OMG what’s that moving over there OMG it’s going to eat my face) kind of way.  One of the weapons is a Pulse Rifle.  I said today at least three times, short controlled bursts, to remind myself how best to use the weapon.

As if,

  1. it’s a real weapon
  2. I actually know how to use one
  3. I was shooting real aliens

It’s funny really.  The funniest moment of course was 10 seconds after reminding myself to use short controlled bursts, a necromorph jumped out of an overhead vent and landed on me and I unloaded a full 50 round clip into it in one continuous long uncontrolled burst.

Resident Evil 5

Despite not being very good at ‘shooters’, I picked up a second hand copy of Resident Evil 5 for the PS3.  I’m playing it on the easiest level it has and it’s fun, certainly engaging.  I was frustrated by the first ‘boss’ encounter which seemed to auto-kill me every time I tried until I worked out I had to get out of the room, but after that it’s been entertaining.

The only major downside is probably because I’m playing it on easy, which means my inventory gets full quickly because I don’t chew through healing stuff (don’t get me wrong, I suck enough that I die and I still need to use the healing things, but I’m not using them so quickly that they don’t sit in my inventory for ages).  Also, I know I’m not making effective use of grenades, which is why I usually end up selling them by the bucket load.

One thing I do like a lot, even though it’s not entirely visible to me, is that the game adapts the difficulty even withing the set difficulty levels, based on how well you’re doing.  So if you die a lot, the enemies get a little easier and if you’re doing really well and not getting hit, they get a little tougher.

There are enough checkpoints to avoid too much frustration of re-doing stages, and there’s a checkpoint before any moment which can lead to sudden death.  There’s also a good range of different styles of game play.  A lot of it is moving around carefully and killing the bad guys, there’s some out-right grenade your way out of a mess, some cut scenes which rely on you hitting the right buttons when prompted to avoid deadly danger, different kinds of boss fights and some nice tactical elements.  My favourite moment so far, was entering an area filled with zombie-soliders in tactical gear, and watching them come into the room in single file like you see SWAT / military types in movies do.  You have to hide behind crates and pop around while they reload to take them out, moving your way through the room.  It was such a different style to the early crazy-zombie encounters and very refreshing.  I really enjoyed that.

I also like the way you can stop at any point, restart the game, but keep your gear.  For someone as inept as me, this gives me the chance to build up some decent weapons (by upgrading them), and then trying the game on a harder setting (like, normal) without getting immediately wasted.

All-in-all, I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying it, I was looking for something with a more roleplaying element, and when the shop didn’t have anything I sort of picked up RE5 expecting to be frustrated.  But it’s proven to be engaging, entertaining and fun.

PS3 Squared

We bought a second controller for the PS3 today (took back some games we had for the Wii, got £24 for them, and used that to aid in the purchase of the controller, and bought our Tesco groceries with the £25 we had in Tesco vouchers, and used the £25 we saved on the controller, and Lego Indiana Jones).  We’ve spent about 4 hours playing LittleBigPlanet two player and I’ve not laughed and cried so hard in years.

Lego Indiana Jones is fun two player, but it’s also more high-stress than LBP – which is just fun and crazy and stomach-achingly funny at times.