What we are playing Archive

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What we are playing: May 12

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Kevin Plumtree – I’ve been fairly busy this week, but I did have time to finish Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on Veteran difficulty.  It was the easiest one in the series to date.  I also played my weekly game of Gears of War: Judgment to progress toward the Syrabite medal.

Nick Santangelo – Dove into some Mass Effect 3 DLC this week. I don’t bother picking up any DLC for most games, but I’m a huge Mass Effect fan, so I made an exception. With the Omega DLC in my  rearview, I’m now working my way through the Citadel DLC and loving it.

Shawn Ryan – I was close to the end in a bunch of different games, so decided to beat them in hopes I could start to clear my backlog. I finally finished Alan Wake, Crysis 3, and Halo 4. They all have their moments, but none of them stood out as must-own games. Playing them all right after beating BioShock the week before was probably a bad idea!

Chris Leggett – Like Nick, I revisited the Mass Effect universe and played through some of part three’s DLC. I finished Omega and Citadel, and I’ve just made a start on Leviathan. I’ve really enjoyed the return trip, and it’s reminded me that it easily has to be my favorite franchise of this gen.

Ryan Thompson – I played some Geometry Wars 2 as I took breaks from writing term papers — it’s good stuff!  I especially like the modes that restrict your firing capabilities, as the emphasis on dodging and positioning is a great deal of fun.

Christine Mitchell – I finally picked up Final Fantasy 13 and have been making my way through that this week. Enjoying the battle system but not so much the abundance of cut scenes.

Matthew Smail - Bah, it’s been an awful week of gaming for me! I just haven’t had time, what with personal and work issues keeping me busy. That said, I did have chance to spend maybe 10 minutes on the wonderful Ni No Kuni, and had a couple of nice easy games on Magic 2013, in preparation for the new game coming up in the next few months!

Your turn.

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What we are playing: April 28

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Nick Santangelo – I finally got around to playing The Behemoth’s BattleBlock Theater this week, and I’m questioning why I didn’t force myself to find time for it sooner. The levels through three chapters are short on length but high on fun factor. I’m not the type who ever feels the need to attempt to hunt down as many collectibles as possible, and yet I find myself going to extra mile to get my hands on as many gems (only three are needed to complete each level, but each level has extras) and balls of yarn as possible in BattleBlock Theater. I’m not sure why I need to have them, but I know that I do. Sometimes the game’s humor falls flat due to the vignettes between chapters dragging on for far too long, but the writing hits more than it misses. And I haven’t seen it get a lot of mention, but the score is fantastic.

Shawn Ryan – After holding out for a month, I played Bioshock Infinite with the free time I had this week. Awesome game. It is a little more shooter heavy than I was expecting, but it may just seem that way because I decided to start on 1999 mode. I beat it last night, and the ending… woah. Easily became a Game of the Year candidate, right next to Tomb Raider.

Scott Baker – In a dramatic irony fit for a Greek tragedy, my Xbox red-ringed the night before my last final of the semester. I was saving Bioshock Infinte, too. Luckily, I got it repaired and plan to dive into it this coming week. Instead, I spent some quality time with Journey and reflected on the hidden story of its serene world. That game reminds me of those perfect movies you can watch over and over again. Each time I play it, I feel something new.

Ryan Thompson – Played a bunch of Geometry Wars 2 this weekend, but not much else — it’s finals week, as I’m sure many of you are aware, and I’m busy writing term papers for the next week.

Christine Mitchell – Didn’t get much time for gaming this week but I picked up Far Cry 3 yesterday and I’m liking what I’ve seen. Looking forward to Blood Dragon now.

Chris Leggett – I’ve got a bunch of games competing for my limited time at the moment, but the one that tends to win out is Peace Walker from the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. I found it difficult to get into at first; it really felt like a watered-down handheld game at first, particularly playing it immediately after Metal Gear Solid 3. But the further I got into it, the deeper and more interesting I realized it was. I’ve also had a lot of fun with Injustice: Gods Among Us lately, and I might try my hand at the online competitive component later today if I get a chance.

Your turn.

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What we are playing: April 21

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Nick Santangelo – I didn’t get too much gaming in this week, but I continued chipping away at Saint’s Row 3 and had a pretty good time doing so. I bought BattleBlock Theater early in the week, but I wasn’t able to get around to actually playing it.

Brandin Tyrrel – There hasn’t been much time for games lately, but I was able to tear through a preview for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. Outside of that I got in a few games of Smite with Shawn and bugged John to ditch LoL and play a real MOBA. Still waiting…

Chris Leggett – I’m trying to catch up on my backlog from the recent Games on Demand sale, and I’ve just started playing Dead Island with a friend of mine over Xbox Live. I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying it. It has its issues, but the foundations are in place for a solid zombie game. Later tonight, some friends and I are getting together for an eight-player, double-elimination, random-character-draw Injustice: Gods Among Us tournament, which should be a lot of fun. We’re all going in blind so that the playing field is somewhat level.

Matthew Smail - Well, things have been a little hectic at home lately with Jen off work and fairly ill. That said, I have been able to play a little bit of Tomb Raider, a little BioShock Infinite and even some 3DS games like Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Fire Emblem. Both are great and it could even be time for me to ditch the Vita permanently – it just doesn’t seem as fun! Hopefully next week I’ll have more to say, but for now it’s safe to say my gaming pile is stacking up and up!!

Ryan Thompson – Turns out the challenge rooms on Bionic Commando: Rearmed are difficult!  There are a few of them I’m beyond five stars on, for beating the developer times.  Aside from that, I’ve gotten good mileage out of my Rock Band 3 keyboard, using the onboard MIDI connection to input musical notes into Finale on my computer.  The Pro guitar has the functionality also, if you’re one of the people that has the fancy instruments…

Scott Baker - I’ve been jumping around a bit, but I keep coming back to Resident Evil 4 HD. Aside from just wanting to unlock all the achievements, I have forgotten how much fun it is. Practically speaking, the game is a mechanical monster. The stiff controls and robotic motions should make the game awful, yet the combined design of AI, target-focused shooting, gun balancing, and looting puts it together perfectly. Add the ridiculous dialogue, and you’ve got Resident Evil.

Kevin Plumtree - I finished up the remaining Zombies achievements in Call of Duty: Black Ops, and started the campaign of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. I also played a tiny bit of Gears of War: Judgment, and began Wall-E (don’t judge!).

Christine Mitchell – I’ve been spending most of my gaming time in Terraria. I’ve don’t seem to be able find any good loot yet so I’m getting a bit annoyed with it now but it’s still very addictive.

Shawn Ryan – Being from the Boston area, I obviously didn’t play a lot this week. When events like this happen so close to home, it gives you a completely different perspective and outlook on life, so it was kind of hard to enjoy daily activities as freely as normal. The most comforting aspect of the entire thing is how together the community was. It sucks that it takes something like this to show such patriotism and comradery, but it’s also nice to be able to take that positive away from it. With that being said, I did game a little. I mostly played LEGO Pirates all week, but also squeezed in some Midway Arcade Origins. Also managed to hit a pretty big achievement mark.

Your turn.

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What we are playing: April 14

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Shawn Ryan – I found myself playing a lot of Rock Band this week. I went through a lot of the stuff I had packed away, saw the guitar, and decided to jump back into it. After such a long time away from it, it was nice to have fun playing it again. I also picked up Shadows of the Damned. While weird, it was enjoyable and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a competent shooter!

Scott Baker – I’ve been sneaking in bits of Transformers: War for Cybertron after Microsoft snuck it to a temporary $9.99 without a word of advertisement. It reminds me of the old sleeper hit Metal Arms: Glitch in the System for its third-person shooting. I’m loving the transforming mechanic, it’s so much fun to shift and zip away. The dialogue is classic Transformers, too. The only problem is my incompetent matchmade co-op buddies who can’t fight Hard mode. You’ve failed me yet again, Starscream!

Ryan Thompson – This is a big work week for my graduate school projects, so no Xbox gaming, unfortunately.  I will be playing a lot of Bionic Commando: Rearmed and Geometry Wars 2 when they go on sale early next week though, and am looking forward to it!

Kevin Plumtree - With the release of the Castle Map Pack, I jumped back into Halo 4‘s multiplayer for some matches and achievement hunting.  The new spaces have better flow and match dynamics than the previous map packs.  I also split some time between Gears of War 3 and Gears of War: Judgment, working on various ribbons and medals.  Finally, in a largely fruitless effort, I attempted to earn gold stars in some of Rock Band Blitz‘s harder songs.  As much as I enjoy that game and the series as a whole, I fully accept I am not very good at it!

Nick Santangelo – Mostly just continued playing Saint’s Row: The Third this week. It’s a fun game, though so far I prefer GTA IV. Later today I should be able to finally set up internet to my Xbox after a week without it at my new place. I’ve got 1200 MSP sitting around that’s reserved for BattleBlock Theater.

Your turn.

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What we are playing: April 7

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members  of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and  which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Kevin Plumtree – I picked up the Assassin’s Creed III season pass on sale and have subsequently caught up on the Tyranny of King Washington DLC.  While not stellar, I have enjoyed it and look forward to the final chapter later this month.  I have also put a lot of time into Gears of War: Judgment‘s multiplayer, especially OverRun mode.  I love playing as different classes and finding strategies specifically suited for each one.

Shawn Ryan - I was busy this week, so didn’t have a chance to play much. I did continue my journey through budget titles with Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, which is alright. I also finally picked up Mark of the Ninja during this week’s sale, and absolutely cannot wait to start it!

Ryan Thompson – I mentioned in my review that Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is excellent if the difficult platforming isn’t intimidating.  I love those types of games, and spent my week playing through the game and a few retro platformers like it.

Christine Mitchell – I finished up Tomb Raider this week and loved every minute of it.  I’ve now started on Terraria and while it’s quite overwhelming just now I’m looking forward to some epic adventuring.

Scott Baker – I got sucked back into the Borderlandsafter Gearbox pushed up the level cap. Ironically, I haven’t even started taking advantage of that, but I wanted to play some more of my ridiculously overpowered Anarchist Mechromancer. If you use Anarchy in conjunction with Close Enough, your dismal accuracy will be compensated for by your forgiving ricocheted bullets. Most of the time I don’t bother aiming and will just shoot the ground while everything dies around me. I even got a second wind once by killing a Loader I couldn’t see.

Nick Santangelo – I finished up BioShock Infinite this week. There’s a lot to be said for really letting experiences sink in  and not throwing superlatives around — to hell with all that. Irrational’s sequel is one of the best experiences I’ve had playing a game this generation. It lived up to the almost impossibly high hype and was worth the protracted wait. I also started playing Saint’s Row: The Third. It’s fun.

Nathan Bowring – I spent most of my week playing BattleBlock Theater, a game I’ve been anticipating for what feels like forever. Thankfully the game did not disappoint; I’ve been having a blast playing the co-op campaign, and the competitive mode are pretty good too. Also dove back into Minecraft to check out the new update, but have yet to find an End portal in my new world.

Your turn.

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What we are playing: March 31

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members  of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and  which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Shawn Ryan – I haven’t played too much this week, but I did finish up The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. I don’t think it’s as bad as reviews make it sound, but it isn’t worth the current retail value. I may even say I had some fun with it. I’ve also been slowly chipping away at Gears of War: Judgment.

Nick Santangelo - Any time I’ve had available for gaming this week has been fully dedicated to BioShock Infinite. From the very opening moments the game has been, as one would expect, superb. Though the combat is excellent, the worst part of the game is when Irrational puts a weapon in your hands and the killing begins. Despite the racial and class ugliness that lies beneath, so beautiful is the world of Columbia on the surface that you can hardly bring yourself to disturb the perceived serenity — you want to consume this world, not destroy it. And how about that church scene at the beginning? Wow.

Chris Leggett – First of all, I managed to finish Tomb Raider this week. I went in skeptical and came away won over. I had a lot of fun with this game, and I fervently believe that it’s a reboot for the better. Playing it after Tomb Raider Legend (also made by Crystal Dynamics) really highlights how far the franchise and the medium itself have come in seven years. After finishing that, I moved straight onto BioShock Infinite, which is absolutely stunning. I’ll second Nick’s comments about Columbia; it just might be the first game environment to make Rapture feel bland in comparison.

Kevin Plumtree – I’ve finished the Gears of War: Judgment campaign and am now fiddling with Survival mode. I enjoyed the story for what it was and the score-based atmosphere of the campaign, but I can’t help but feel a bit let down after the epic scope of Gears of War 3.

Scott Baker – I finished my Halo 4 run on Legendary. I would call it my favorite campaign since the original game because of the beautiful sense of discovery drawn by the pristine graphics. I really want to play it with my friends in co-op when I get the chance. I’m also building/composing/designing my own level in Sound Shapes as a project for a class. I’m lucky to have an open-minded teacher who acknowledges the creative value in it. We’ll just see if I can actually carry out my artistic vision…

Ryan Thompson - I finished Ninja Gaiden Black, and will be moving onward to a replay of the second game in anticipation of buying Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge when it goes on sale.  On the XBLA front, I played some Marble Blast Ultra — it’s one of my favorite arcade games, and unfortunately, you can’t get it anymore.

Nathan Bowring – Got Just Cause 2 during the Spring Sale – a game I’ve been meaning to pick up for a long time. The storytelling and dialogue is very cringe-worthy, but the gameplay is utterly amazing. Excessive amounts of explosion, destruction, and high-speed crashes makes it feel like a playable version of the craziest action movie ever. I’ve also been continuing my adventures through the Capital Wasteland in Fallout 3 while suffering major Buffout withdrawals.

Today wraps up a month of big releases. What March titles did you pick up?

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What we are playing: March 17

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members  of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and  which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Nick Santangelo – Finished off Tomb Raider this week. It was a fantastic game, and I didn’t run into any of the framerate issues many complained about, though half of Lara’s hair did disappear on more than one occasion. Also, I have never seen a game struggle so much to manage a two-monitor setup.

Steve Melton – Played through Mass Effect 3 again, this time with the Leviathan, Omega, and Extended Cut DLCs. Soooooo good. It was actually more fun the second time due to my uber-leveled characters. Time to finish the Citadel DLC. I also started playing through Quantum Conundrum. How did I miss out on this game for so long? It’s puzzly like Portal, but with lighter humor and cuter visuals.

Kevin Plumtree – I am working my way through the campaign in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and would love to jump into the multiplayer soon, even though I know I will not last two minutes!  The missions have been a lot of fun because each offers a different primary task instead of simply saying to destroy the enemy base.

Christine Mitchell – This week I worked on making my way through Tomb Raider and so far I’m loving every minute. I’m also still playing Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds which I played for review last week but am still enjoying.

Scott Baker – I finished Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath on my Vita, and it’s incredible how it holds up. Stranger’s bouncy speed is a thrill to control, and being able to mix and match live ammo keeps combat interesting. I’m also powering my way through challenges in Halo 4 because I want to unlock my first specialized class. I have to say, Binary Slayer is the best action sack gametype I’ve played in a long time.

Ryan Thompson – I started on StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and love the campaign thus far, though like Kevin, I am also a better observer than player of competitive play.  I’m still working on Tomb Raider, and will be playing a bunch of Final Fantasy VI this week in preparation for my upcoming research presentation on the popular RPG.

Matthew Smail - This week has been all about CoD: BLOPS2 and a little bit of Max Payne 3 for good measure. A pair of mediocre shooters really, but good for a laugh at least. Looking forward to a couple of XBLA games at the end of March, so roll ‘em on I say!

Your turn.

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What we are playing: March 10

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members  of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and  which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Ryan Thompson – I absolutely love Tomb Raider. It’s a reminder that the PR for a game doesn’t always speak to the game’s content… and it’s my first choice for a strong GOTY candidate. Looking forward to finishing it this week!

Nick Santangelo – I’ve mostly been playing Tomb Raider this week, and it’s fantastic so far. Though I’ve never enjoyed the series previously, I can confidently say that Lara’s latest is the best game to release so far in 2013. It also looks fantastic running at max settings with “fancy hair” turned on. Other than that, I messed around with Torchlight II and Orcs Must Die 2 a bit.

Chris Leggett – No Tomb Raider for me just yet – that’ll have to wait until next paycheck. But I’ve got plenty to keep me occupied in the meantime. First of all, I’m still in the very early stages of Skyrim, which is enough of a time sink on its own. Then I have my seven-game haul from the recent Games on Demand sale. Some of them are games I’ve already completed, but I also picked up Dead Island, El Shaddai and Tomb Raider Legend. But out of the whole lot, so far I’ve spent the most time replaying Halo 3, as I have a bit of a soft spot for that campaign.

Scott Baker - I was traveling this weekend, so I brought my Vita along with the handful of titles I picked up on sale. My favorite is Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, which was released on the original Xbox. There’s something magical about playing a console FPS on the Vita. I also managed to experience Journey, which continues to earn awards everywhere. I’m going to give it the “Giggles, Gazes, and Gasps” award for the emotions it elicited in me. I’ve never played a game so stirring and elating. I walked away smiling like a preteen after his first kiss.

Matthew Smail – Well, whilst everyone else has been enjoying the brutality of the new Tomb Raider, or the hit and miss launch of the new SimCity, I’ve just been catching up with a few old titles. Firstly, I completed Brink, Homefront and Red Faction: Guerrilla. What can I say? None were as bad as I had heard and to be honest, for the 4-8 hours they each lasted, I had fun. Next up, I’ve started Max Payne 3 – I loved the previous games, but this one isn’t quite clicking for me yet. It’s just another shooter so far, but I’ll let you know next week!

John Laster – I’m still really digging Guardians of Middle Earth. And since I’m a glutton for punishment I picked up SimCity as well. When it’s working that game is amazing.

Kevin Plumtree – I have been putting a lot of time into SimCity – unfortunately, my actual playing portion of that has been inconsistent thanks to the servers.  In addition, Gears of War 3 has been in rotation as I try to knock out some Onyx medals before the release of Judgment.

Nathan Bowring – I picked up Fallout 3 during the Games on Demand sale this week. The game plays a lot more like Skyrim than I expected, which isn’t a bad thing. I love the feel of the game, there’s just something cool and eerie about exploring post-apocalyptic DC. I’ve also been playing a lot of Runner2, a near-perfect sequel and easily one of the best music games of all time.

Your turn.

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What we are playing: March 3

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members  of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and  which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Ryan Thompson - This weekend I am finishing a replay of Tomb Raider: Underworld to prepare for next week.  I can’t wait for Lara’s latest adventure!  I will very likely play some Pinball FX2 tables that need revisiting also — whenever I review a new table (like this week’s Star Wars set) I end up playing a ton of the previous ones.

Nick Santangelo – I finished up Crysis 3 early in the week. I enjoyed it, but it definitely took a step or two back from Crysis 2, which I loved. In any case, it looked fantastic on my PC. Other than that I played a little bit of Hotline Miami, but I’m not really feeling it.

Scott Baker – I finally completed The Walking Dead. I definitely choked up a bit. I took some time to think it over after the credits rolled. The Walking Dead embodies facets of human nature and morality that philosophers have debated over for centuries. More than just being fun, it teaches you about who you are and what personal lines you have and would cross should the worst happen. Bravo to the writers for taking video games down that rabbit hole.

Chris Leggett - This week, I just might be the last person in the world to begin Skyrim. Fantasy’s generally not my thing, but I do enjoy exploring Bethesda’s vast, open worlds, and it’s much prettier than Fallout‘s wastelands. Best of all, I’m finally in on the whole “arrow to the knee” joke from so long ago. Aside from that, I’ve been playing plenty of Halo 4 War Games.

John Laster – For me it is all Far Cry 3 this week. Why did it take me so long to jump on board with this one…

Your Turn.

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What we are playing: February 17

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members  of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and  which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Scott Baker – You know the game Don’t Starve on PC? I’m playing a similar game called Don’t Fail. It’s a game where you are a student, employee, and writer all at the same time, and you have 7 days to take three tests, write a paper, give a presentation, write a review, while attending classes and work for 8 hours each day. Some of you probably know what that’s like. Managing my Halo 4 addiction at the same time.

Nick Santangelo – It was a busy week at work, so I didn’t get a whole lot of gaming done. I played a few hours of Dead Space 3, and that was it. It’s decent enough, but nowhere near as good as the first two games.

Matt Liparota - It’s been a light couple of weeks for me, gaming-wise, but I was able to carve out some serious time this week. I jumped back into Dishonored and am still enjoying the ever-loving heck out of it (even if I did see the midgame plot twist coming a mile away); after spending the most of my early playtime trying to make do with the default power (for the related achievement), I when whole hog upon my return and started playing with the various abilities, each of which totally changes the way you play the game. On the portable gaming front, I picked up Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the first time in months and found myself totally addicted – where I made my way through about half the first world when the game hit last year, in just a few days I’m well into the fourth area. It helps that I’ve been unable to find the one 3DS game I really, really want to pick up – Fire Emblem: Awakening – after finally downloading the demo early in the week.

Nathan Bowring - This week I continued my trek through Assassin’s Creed III. I’m about finished with the campaign; some missions I really enjoyed while others were just poorly made. As much as I enjoy exploring colonial America, I still don’t think it’s better than ACII. I also got Infinity Blade on my iPad, which is turning out to be the first game app I’m actually impressed with. The combat is very simple and satisfying, yet hard to master. I just hope I can finish the game without going through too many bloodlines.

Your turn.

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