Watcha been playing 008

Well, after 2 months, I’ve decided that I just do not have enough time/motivation to write full reviews of all the stuff I am playing. The previous seven entries will eventually end up here, but for now, just some short comments about the newest (for me) stuff:

  • Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise (Xbox 360)

    I loved the first Viva Pinata back in 2006 and was very happy when the sequel came out on September 5th. So far, Rare did not disappoint me. Some annoyances of the first game were fixed, namely non-resident Pinata often not picking up the stuff they need to become resident, an improved notification system and directing Pinatas works better. Of course, there’s also some new content in terms of Pinata, plants and stuff you can put in your garden. There are toys for your resident Pinatas now and traps to catch some in the desert and artic. Highly recommended for anyone who liked the first, but stay away if that was not for you, as it essentially is still the same game.

  • Star Wars: Force Unleashed (PS3)

    Running for 49,- EUR in Saturn and Media Markt, I had to pick this up on Friday. The game is set between episodes III and IV, covering the story of Darth Vader’s secret apprentice (you!). The game looks quite nice and gives you a bunch of force powers at your fingertips. At the beginning, you will mostly use Force Grip, a kind of telekinesis. You can throw around rocks, stormtroopers and even Tie fighters. And in the very first mission, you play Darth Vader. Unfortunately, the novelty of the force powers wears off quite quickly, at least for me. The second level also doesn’t look that nice anymore and adds some random jump and running in a very confusing setting with robots powered by the FORCE! This second level bored me so much that I stopped at this point and chose to play some more Viva instead. This is obviously not a final verdict, look forward to more on this next week.

  • Metal Slug 7 (DS)

    I have been a Metal Slug fan for more than half of my life, after playing it in some Spanish or Italian arcade when I was 12 or so. During recent years, I have put quite a lot of time into the Metal Slug Anthology for PSP, which had Ad Hoc multiplayer. Unfortunately, this new DS incarnation of the series does not have any multiplayer at all. In addition to that, it barely is a DS game, mostly not using the second screen or its touch capabilities. All in all, you still get the good old Metal Slug 2D shooter gameplay and nice graphics, but the game definately lacks original ideas or content. It mostly is the same as previous episodes, leaving the series in stagnation for about 3 or 4 sequels already. Without multiplayer, I can really only recommend this to people who are either new to Metal Slug or absolutely have to play every new game of the series. While I enjoyed it, it really seemed like a missed opportunity of bringing something fresh to it on a new platform.

  • Fracture (PS3; demo version)

    Fracture is yet another game with a generic space marine. Or is it? The title’s marketing bullet point number one is terrain deformation using various weapons. What this means? You carry around a weapon which allows you to lower (L1) or raise (R1) the terrain. The game also carries around some nice physics, which are beautifully showcased in the tutorial in front of the demo. Unfortunately, when the real demo level begins, it all comes down to a sub-par third-person shooter experience with generic enemies, ugly terrain textures and shooting mechanics that seem like Gears of War never saw the light of the day. Seriously, Day 1 (the development studio of the title), did you really have to put your nice ideas and physics into such a mediocre shooting experience with unoriginal design and a completely pointless storyline?

  • Numba (iPhone)

    Puzzler with a math twist for 2,99 EUR in the AppStore. Listen to this week’s Games und So for an overview of what this game is (in German). If that is too cumbersome, just buy it if you have any interest in puzzle games.

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