Tom Orry, Editor - Sound Shapes, PS Vita, PS3

Sound Shapes screenshot

I think my addiction to New Star Soccer is over. I'm still playing it now and again, but my player is entering his late 20s, I've won most the big competitions, and don't feel as motivated any more. Still, that means I've got time to play other games.

This week I've mostly been dabbling with Sound Shapes on PS Vita. I can't say I was especially looking forward to it, even though I was aware of the praise it had received from press at numerous trade shows. The platforming mixed with music-led level design just seemed a bit gimmicky and, to be blunt, a bit dull.

After finishing the game's first Album (a series of levels contained within), my opinion hadn't changed much. It was a decent audio visual experience, but it felt a bit flat despite the clearly excellent work that had gone into the game's presentation. This changed when I skipped forward to the Album "Cities", containing three songs written by Beck.

So far I've only played the first track of three, but it's already become one of my favourite levels of any game I've played this year. The way the music has been brought to life by the visuals is simply brilliant, and it demonstrates how good Sound Shapes can be.

Neon Kelly, Video Production Editor – London 2012, PC, PS3, Xbox 360

London 2012 - The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games screenshot

The bonafide event may have won over critics, but the official London 2012 game didn't exactly nab the gold when it came to our critical appraisal. And to be honest, I'm not that surprised. There are plenty of holes to pick here, especially if you're playing alone. The commentary is very limited and often fairly annoying, and some of the games are hilariously repetitive in their models and animation: it turns out every Olympic diver celebrates their effort in the exact same way... even if you've just limped in with scores of 4 and 5 from the judges.

But you know what? If there are four of you gathered around a TV, half-cut on White Russians, screaming and shouting and taking the piss, it's really quite fun. Whether you're hopelessly cocking up a discus throw, diving under the high jump bar, or bouncing on your neck on the trampoline, this is a game that offers endless opportunities for matey banter. And really, that's all I want from an Olympics simulation. Something tells me if it was twice as competent, it wouldn't be half as enjoyable.

Martin Gaston, Reviews Editor - Dota 2, PC

Dota 2 screenshot

It's been absolutely boiling this week, and if you mix our island's blistering temperature with the Olympic fever currently sweeping the nation it's only natural that I spent most of this week sitting indoors playing Dota 2.

Well, that's a big fat lie: I've played six games of Dota 2 this week, which doesn't really sound like much, but then you realise that's basically enough time to complete Battlefield 3's campaign twice over. I'm currently sitting on 59 hours played, and that's excluding all the time I've spent watching archive videos of The Defense.

Still, our easiest game was on Wednesday. We'd gone with Zeus, Lion, Juggernaut, Axe and Lich and our rivals were sporting Night Stalker, Templar Assassin, Ursa, Drow Ranger and Brewmaster. It was always going to be a good match up for us if we controlled the early game, because their team was stuffed full of juicy carries – their only solid initiator came on the form of Night Stalker, basically, which meant their entire game plan relied on them farming up enough experience to become deadly beasts.

They didn't farm up enough experience to become deadly beasts. We played too well for too long, and thumped the enemy team too many times. We all moved in harmonious synchronicity, as if each of us was piloting their respective component of the Power Rangers' Megazord. No, that's wrong: we were the Megazord. Lich's frost blast would slow down fleeing clumps of enemies, Lion would blast them open with his finger of death, Juggernaut and Axe would absorb damage and hold the front lines, leaving Zeus' thunder to tear enemy health bars to ribbons. The elegance of our destruction will become the bedrock of myriad urban legends for years to come.

It was always going to be our game, and a late-game resurgence of Drow Ranger (we left her alone for too long to level up, and after 40 minutes none of us stood a chance against her 1v1) could do little to halt our satisfying victory. GG.

David Scammell, Staff Writer - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - Chaos Collection, Xbox 360

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 screenshot

After a few months away from Modern Warfare 3, I decided that I wanted to try out the content included in this week's Chaos Collection. The content sounded terrific; Sledgehammer's Michael Condrey appeared genuinely enthusiastic about the new Spec Ops missions when I discussed them with him last month, and the new Chaos mode seemed like a decent spin on Spec Ops Survival's score-chasing. But boy, they sure don't make it easy.

I'm a Premium Elite subscriber so technically I should be able to hit a button, confirm the transaction, and get the whole shebang downloaded directly to my console.

I say technically, because that's not actually what happens. Instead, in Microsoft, Activision, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer or Raven's infinite wisdom (I can't decide which company in this corporative tangle is to blame here), you have to jump through hoops to get at it. If, like me, you're an Elite subscriber, and if, like me, you haven't played MW3 for a while, be prepared to put up with one of the most frustrating distribution headaches I've stumbled across in this entire digital era.

First of all, you have to head to the in-game 'DLC Depot' and choose to download the Elite content. That's fine, but you can't specifically select which content to download. Instead, the game will automatically download all of the content in chronological order from the date it was released. That's not too much of a big deal either you might think, but here's the catch: the Xbox will only queue six content drops for download at a time and, for some inexplicable reason, my console wouldn't even attempt to download them while the game was running. Hence I was forced to quit back to the dashboard, wait for the content to download, reboot the game, and do it all again three more times. That's absurd.

On the third or fourth cycle the content randomly decided to start downloading while still in-game, negating the fuss of having to quit back to the dashboard. But nonetheless, it still took me a good 45 minutes before I'd managed to download the one Spec Ops mission I wanted to play in the first place. I was so put off by the palaver that a part of me even considered loading up Battlefield instead.

If this is what we have to look forward to with the future of digital distribution then there could be troubling times ahead. Chaos Collection is reasonably good fun once you finally manage to get a hold of it, particularly the explosive anarchy of Special Delivery. But, depending on how long you've been away from MW3, there's a certain irony to the name that you may not have been anticipating.

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User Comments

Endless's Avatar


Didn't expect to enjoy Payday: The Heist but it brings back memories of GRAW co-op missions but with added madness! Shoot many robots is another sleeper hit. I played the demo on XBLA and it kinda felt lacking, but thats mainly because the earlier levels are so pedestrian compared to the sheer onslaughts posed against you in the later levels! Plus the massive amount of humorous gear to acquire keeps me going.

Also been playing a fair bit of Civ 5, unbelievably addictive; Just a few more turns is an understatement of the highest degree lol.

Played a bit of Lego: Pirates with the wife, helping her out with some of the achievements, now that she has them all she's moved on to Lego: Harry Potter years 5-7, another test in my willpower. Problem I have with games is that once i've finished the story mode once, I rarely ever want to go back through any of it. So LEGO games really bug me in that respect because there's no way you can get any further in the game without going over each level with a fine tooth comb. My wife loves it though lol.
Posted 09:38 on 13 August 2012
dav2612's Avatar


I was away most of last weekend so it was mostly handheld gaming for me.

Everybody's Tennis and Everybody's Golf on the Vita.
Broken Sword on the iPod.
Quick session with Rage on the PS3.
Posted 09:30 on 13 August 2012
Njeezy's Avatar


Put a few hours into "Penny Arcade's Rain-slick 3" and would highly recommend it for anyone who enjoyed the 2-d final fantasy games. There is some in humour linked to the online comic but most of it so far has been nods to readers. Even if you've never heard of them it's a great rpg for 400msp.
Posted 00:47 on 13 August 2012


Modern Warfare 3 - Just the campaign. It's got some good moments, but more forgettable than normal.

Batman Arkham City - Just finished it on New Game +, it's as good as ever.
Posted 22:02 on 12 August 2012
jeffyboy40's Avatar


Ive been playing INVERSION this week.....dont laugh,i picked it up for 22 quid.Let me just say that this could be the winner of the guilty pleasure of the year award! .After a slow start,this game gets better and better as it opens up your abilitys and weapons,also it looks very shiny in certain stages.Now the multiplayer after along search is also great as well.I know the camel didnt rate this game but ive actually had more fun with inversion than i had with GHOST RECON earlier this year.
Posted 21:44 on 12 August 2012


Dirt Showdown for me, which was buggy but fun. Showing A friend through Journey, finally started Mass Effect, going to try to have a go on Payday whe I get my PC up and running.
Posted 21:42 on 12 August 2012
FantasyMeister's Avatar


Mostly the usual for me, Kingdom's of Amalur and Full House Poker, but I added in a little James Cameron's Avatar: The Game towards the end of the week and am now determined to complete all the mission campaigns (which appeal to my OCDness).

It's also still one of the most visually striking games in my collection.

Two new arrivals also this week, Zeno Clash on OnLive (they're giving away Indie Games for the next 3 weekends, grab them while you can) and I'm currently waiting for Aion to finish installing after its 13GB overnight download managed to complete during my first coffee of the day. Also free.

Sometimes biding time waiting for the big new releases can be more fun than the big new releases, and I'm happy to report that the last few months have been right up there with the most fun I've had in the doldrums for many a year.
Posted 17:58 on 12 August 2012
scaz2244's Avatar


still on fallout 3 just helped the ghouls take over tenpenny towers and made the survival guide, but avoiding all the main missions until ive found at east a 100 places which wont take long.

been trying to find that new star soccer game on iphone but cant find it anywhere on the app store which is irratating as it sounds quite good fun
Posted 17:44 on 12 August 2012
MJTH's Avatar


GTA: San Andreas: I'm in the last 20% of the game, so not much left to go in terms of story. I journeyed the far reaches of the state, from the LA Los Santos, to the hills of San Fierro. Flown plane from my airstrip in the desert, to robbed casinos in Las Venturas. My one problem so far is the horrible difficulty spike I'm facing right now. Gang land wars have returned as a mechanic and now game is making me do them as missions. That's fine but they're pretty hard, usually out of missions I'd take a group of my gang members to take on one of these areas where you have to gun down waves of enemies, then I'd save.

Now the game wants me to take down five... in row, with one extra AI partner. And if he dies you have to start the whole mission again, the days before mid mission checkpoints. And this partner, he can take guys down no problem, but if he is hit by a car instant death. He also continuously gets in your way, And if you take down multiple areas then die you get to keep the area, until you continue the mission at which point they will be given back to the enemy. I haven't raged so hard in ages... Up until this point great game.
Posted 15:19 on 12 August 2012
Clockpunk's Avatar


Alas, the only game I have played this week is Risen 2: Dark Waters. Even though it is much clumsier/clunkier in many ways than The Witcher 2, I am enjoying it a whole lot more. Perhaps it is just the theme, which stands out from other fantasy RPGS, but... I do not feel cheated having paid full price for the title, so that should hopefully speak volumes. I truly hope other users known to have a weakness for such games will also give this one a go...

Anyways, the development studio (Pirhana Bytes) has seen my list of 'little things that I would have liked to see included'*, and appeared to like the suggestions, so... here's hoping a sequel might just see them included!

* to whit:
- the drinking involving picking up bottles and swigging to a rhythm (so as to down them).
- gold being called 'pieces' (of eight - the term used seems so... default/standard, which is a shame).
- the ability (via minigame) to potentially clip the coins (and potentially ruin them).
- ability to view treasure maps of different quality to try and work out where chests are buried. (as Red Dead Redemption)
- the dodging mechanic, as lamented above - here's hoping it will be patched in imminently.
- a pirate hook as an off-hand weapon, with a chance to disarm opponents/slash them.
- an empty bottle from used drinks for use as a dirty tactic throwing weapon.
- more clothing options would also be fun to really customise a character - I would like to see mine with black clothes adorned with golden Jolly Rogers! ;)
- the ability to shoot banana clusters/coconuts off trees (for pickup).
- gold teeth as loot!

Those, along with a few more drink types (hell, even just different types of rum - dark, light, white, spiced, coconut :p - could all have different potency levels, as well as serve as the base for different types of potion creation), and actual drunken effects/penalties from over imbibing within a short period, would truly make it an excellent title.
Posted 12:29 on 12 August 2012
dudester's Avatar


If you need a 4th on payday give me a shout ;)
Posted 12:03 on 12 August 2012
CheekyLee's Avatar


During this week I have managed to get some game time in with Endless and Sov, first on Shoot Many Robots and then on Payday: The Heist, but neither session ended as expected. Steam booted everyone offline in the first one, and my sister's dog pulled the power cable out of the computer last night!

I also picked up Hero Academy, and am in the middle of losing to Martin. I revisited TrackMania Nations Forever, because it is just sucj a great game. And I finally got Journey, which was unequivocally lovely.

But the vastest timesink of all has been the Olympics. Vicariously winning Gold medals through athletes way better than I ever was has been an unforgettable thrill.
Posted 11:34 on 12 August 2012
rbevanx's Avatar


Finished Max Payne 3 this week and I can see why so many hated it.

The first third of the game was just awful and the main sell for me from the trailer, the level when you are shooting in the club was a big let down. As I got closer to the end I started to really like the story but as the game was so over the top and the story was trying to keep it grounded, it just made the ending rather pointless to me.

All in all...Meh but I will be trying the multiplayer sometime and see if that works.

On the last level of Crysis 1 for the PS3 which has got a little better towards the end but its a poor man's Halo.
Posted 10:24 on 12 August 2012
dazzadavie's Avatar


While I'm currently gold less I can't get one BF3 or Borderlands :(. So I've been playing though I Am Alive as I had it but didn't finish it. It might not be amazing but I'm still enjoying it. Just got a gas mask so can walk in the smog for a lot longer which is good.
Also jump on my Nokia now and then to play PES which is a nice little footie game.
Had a friend over and played some Lounge mode on FIFA 11 only for my mate to get in front in 3 games. I won my first game 10-2 and ended the night 7000 points ahead of him, a good night.
Posted 09:26 on 12 August 2012

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