Editor's Note: Welcome to the second installment of Currently Playing, our monthly feature about what's hot, what's not, and what's on the horizon in gaming. Here to give their impressions and opinions of the latest and greatest that the PlayStation ecosystem has to offer are ChrisValentine, Larrydavidsavatar, Nagflar, and myself.
What I’ve Been
SkippingPlaying: Pro Evolution Soccer 2014
Where to begin? Well, I kindly wrote you the guide for it, with major thanks to neospoon who was my co-writer, ground worker, trophy go-getter, glitch finder… Sod it, he basically did everything, and I then rewrote parts and made it look a bit prettier... once I’d finished crying about just how tedious Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 is.
The game itself isn’t actually that bad, apart from how the majority of teams and players are unlicensed, which means that team names and players are fictional, along with their kits, their emblems, etc. Which brings me neatly on to the “Edit” menu. What’s the point of a game if you can edit your team and all of your players to be the best in the World and make everyone else rubbish? For trophies, it’s ridiculously easy to get the platinum, as long as you don’t mind pressing “Skip Match” almost endlessly with a perfect edited team. That’s once you get past the loading times (which get horrendous the further into the game you go) and pointless menus between matches...
Now, the actual game plays pretty fluidly, and is easy to just pick up and start scoring scorching goals from outside the box, although a number of times my player would be running with the ball and then the ball would just stop dead and the player would keep running, for no reason whatsoever - this was rather annoying, to say the least... For the most part, playing PES 2014 is enjoyable, with decent visuals and good audio (the crowd will get repetitive quickly, though).
After doing the guide, I’m now bored of it, so it will be a game to play drunk with my friends, unless I delete it once I finally get the platinum. On second thought... yeah, it’s getting Red Carded and deleted!
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 is available for every conceivable platform (yep, even PS2/PSP). For PlayStation 3 gamers, Pro Evo 2014 is currently available as part of the Instant Game Collection for European PlayStation Plus subscribers, and is coming to the North American IGC this month.
What I’m Crapping Myself About: Outlast - Whistleblower DLC
If you’ve silently wept with fear whilst playing Outlast, then you’ll be equally excited for (or nervously waiting) the upcoming Outlast DLC: Whistleblower.
This time around, you’ll be playing as Waylon Park, the software engineer for Murkoff that emailed journalists, including Miles (the journalist that you play as in Outlast). This means that we’ll be living the nightmare as it starts to take shape, knowing full well what’s going to happen, and we’ll also get to see the outcome of the Mount Massive Asylum's story, past where Miles… Yeah…
The dead bodies everywhere in Outlast? We could be seeing how they ended up there, during the time where everyone starts going crazy and “medicated,” and that’s enough to make me want to size myself up for some adult diapers once again…
Outlast: Whistleblower will be available digitally on May 6th in North America, and on May 7th in Europe.
What's In My Disc Tray: Need For Speed Rivals
I loved Need For Speed Most Wanted (2012). It was a fantastic open-world arcade racer with great cars, a kick-ass soundtrack, gorgeous visuals, and some fun and challenging races. I had hoped that Need For Speed Rivals would be cut of a similar cloth. Spoiler alert: it's not.
Rivals allows you to play as both sides in the ongoing war between the Cops and the Racers. You're free to switch between the two at almost any time, but unless you're going for the Platinum, there's really no reason to ever stop being a Racer. See, as a Cop, it's your duty to be a party-pooper: you drive around, probably eating donuts (the windows are tinted, but who do they really think they're fooling), and when you come across a Racer, it's your job to chase them down, and repeatedly bump into them until their car shits itself.
Being a Racer is much more fun. You have a large open world to explore, full of empty desert highways, winding mountain roads, and conveniently incomplete structures from which to launch yourself; there are pre-established race events for you to participate in, but you can also, at any time, track down one of the dozens of AI or player-controlled racers that populate your world and challenge them to an impromptu race. There's something liberating about belting down a freeway at 200km/h with Krazy Kat's Pompeii remix blaring in your ears, weaving among traffic while the fuzz pathetically attempt to hump your bumper.
Sadly, the game is weighed down by its unnecessary structuring, which forces you to perform mundane and inconvenient challenges in order to facilitate the illusion of progression, which is forced upon you by the ridiculous narrative that attempts to tie the whole game together.
Unless you're really desperate for a racing game, or just want something to play on your shiny new $500 console, stay away from Need For Speed Rivals.
Update: As I'm preparing to publish this, I'm als playing through the early stages of Child of Light, and it truly is all that I hoped for, and then some. The presentation is beautiful, the story and characters are charming, the combat is old-school yet refined, and it's only $15! Do yourself a favour and pick up this wonderful Platforming RPG, now!
Need For Speed Rivals is available now both digitally and at retail.
Child of Light is available digitally for both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. For those in EU/AUS regions, Child of Light is Cross-buy, and there is a special retail edition. Child of Light is NOT Cross-buy in North America.
Who Watches The Watch_Dogs? Not me.
Historically speaking, May has never been a strong month for new releases, and 2014 is no exception. The reason why? Well your guess is as good as mine, but I’d be willing to bet good money that the lacklustre launch line-up for this month is in no small way thanks to Watch_Dogs – a game with almost a full year’s worth of marketing, and consumer and industry hype which promises to be the first true multi-platform next generation experience.
Chances are you’ve already made up your mind about Watch_Dogs – the time between now and May 27 will either be spent making sure you’ve saved up enough money to pay off your pre-order, or desperately wishing everyone would shut the fuck up about Watch_Dogs. Personally, I’m going to pass it over - in part because it’s a game that really needs to be played on a next-gen console to be fully appreciated, and I don’t yet have one; but also because, quite frankly, the extensive delays, the trailer graphics debacle, and my own general cynicism have lead me to develop certain reservations about what Ubisoft have promised, and whether they can actually deliver on those promises.
So if you, like me, have no immediate interest in becoming a high-tech anti-hero vigilante, loose on the streets of Chicago, here’s what else is on offer in May:
From French developer Spiders comes their first foray into big retail releases: Bound by Flame - a medieval high-fantasy action RPG that appears to play like Kingdoms of Amalur, but which conceptually seems quite similar to inFamous or Soul Sacrifice. You see, you play as a warrior possessed by a flame demon, and throughout the game you will be tested and tempted into sacrificing your humanity and forsaking your heroic abilities in order to wield the terrifying dark powers of blah blah blah... The details aren’t particularly important. What does matter is that Bound by Flame looks like a lot of fun to play, has a robust and dynamic combat system, and, most importantly, there's lots and lots of loot! I'm not saying this is a day-1 purchase, but it's a game worth keeping your eye on.
If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, then perhaps Transistor will. I’ve written about it previously, so I’ll be brief: Bastion was a fantastic game; the guys who made Bastion made Transistor; it’s really pretty; you should play it.
Bound by Flame will be available digitally and at retail for both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 on May 9.
Transistor will be available digitally on May 20, exclusively on PlayStation 4.
What Game Am I'm Into This Month? Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
I'm on a journey to a magical kingdom this month; a place full of strange, anthropomorphic characters and sugar-fueled midgets. Naturally, this means I couldn't take my home consoles away with me, but there is a saviour, known as 'Vita', ever ready to maintain my gaming connections in this new realm. And the game that's taking up my time? Why, it's sneaky platforming sequel, Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time!
Perfectly dissected into small chunks of level-based goodness, packed with a variety of fun minigames, and featuring the charm and humour synonymous with the stealthy Raccoon's series, Thieves In Time is a nice throwback to the platforming past that will garner much enjoyment for young and old alike. Sorry, I think the magic of this kingdom has seeped into my critique; that, or the beer.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is out now on PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3 in both retail and digital formats. It is currently part of the European Instant Game Collection for PlayStation Plus subscribers.
What Seems Tantalising In The Near Future? Wolfenstein: The New Order
Wolfenstein is a name with many fond memories for me. Return To Castle Wolfenstein was a mainstay in my heavier PC gaming days, but the series' quality levels have been muddied a bit since then. Happily, Wolfenstein: The New Order is about to arrive, and not only does it look fun to play again, early reports seem to suggest it's got a pretty good story, too.
Chicago-based hacking titles will always take second spot to destroying Occult-obsessed Nazis in my eyes. Most things do, actually.
Oh, and the gory icing on this delicious Nazi cake? Entry to the upcoming Doom Beta is included in the box!
Wolfenstein: The New Order will be available from May 20th on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in both retail and digital formats.
What I'm Drooling At Right Now : Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is one of the many recent indie titles being released all over the gaming world, full of pretentiousness and awesomeness in equal doses, featuring minimalistic gameplay with the intent of making it an enjoyable and easy-to-play game for anyone who gives it a chance. On that front, as well as the artsy graphics and backgrounds one, Brothers is pretty much the same as most other indie titles, but what really separates it from the rest is the amount of heart put into it, as well as its story, which relies on pretty much nothing but exposition to tell its tale in quite a wonderful way.
Brothers may be one of those 3 hour (if not less) games people tend to overlook because it offers little replayablity and content, but don't let yourself be fooled, for just like Journey a couple of years ago, those short hours will offer enough action for you to feel a wide array of emotions as you struggle through the game's (relatively) vast scenarios with nothing but two boys full of determination and amazing climbing skills in a quest to save their only relative left: their father.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is available digitally, and was previously included in the Instant Game Collection for both North American and European PlayStation Plus subscribers.
What I Will Be Drooling At : WATCH_DOGS.
Editor's Note: Someone get this man a bucket!
When Watch_Dogs was first announced back at E3 2012, it looked promising, showcasing great graphics, an interesting concept and some very edgy gameplay. As time flew by, the release date kept being pushed back and there was even some controversy regarding some of the technical aspects of the game being downgraded, but now we are closing in to its release date and the hype that took gamers by surprise all across the world is nowhere near subsiding.
With details such as the game's length surfacing not long ago, most of us have started thinking the release date fiasco must've been worth it, for playing the game to its fullest is said to take at least 50 hours, and with the addition of not another run-of-the-mill multiplayer mode that promises to diversify your single-player experience in ways which are yet to be fully explained or showcased, there's no reason for you to think the game won't keep you entertained for quite a while.
That said, the game's shaping up to be the first "true" next-gen game on consoles (whatever that means is up to you; I for one consider that to mean the game runs at 60FPS and 1080p all the time), so it's probably a good idea to buy it for that $500 Sony product that's been collecting dust near your TV ever since you finished Infamous: Second Son a day after buying it, and even if you don't own one of those devices, it's also being released on the PS3, so you've got no excuses to not give the game a try.
Watch_Dogs releases world wide on May 27 on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and will be available digitally and at retail.
That's it from us this month. As always, if you're interested in contributing, send a PM to myself or one of the other Editorial Staff, and don't forget to tell us what you're playing or looking forward to this month in the comments below.