Another week, another bunch of games have been, and will be, played - including Dishonored and a SNES classic.
Following on from last week's first edition of our new 'HITC's Weekend Playlist' series, where the team here at HITC Tech talked about Fallout 3, Minecraft, XCOM Declassified, and Injustice, we've got a bunch more games we've been playing that we want to wax lyrical about.
It's not always about what's current - like any favourite movie, piece of music, or book, games are just as likely to be revisited time and time again. This week we've got quite a mix for you, from a first-person RPG and an old SNES classic, to racing titles and a game that'll get you on your feet.
Here are the games we have been playing this week, and will be playing this weekend:
Adam - Mario Kart 8
Again, same as last week, Destiny was played a heck of a lot in my house. Take a look at my review if you want more on that. But, I did get the chance for some 'leisurely' gameplay that wasn't for work, and that's where Mario Kart 8 came in.
I bought a Nintendo Wii U a couple of weeks ago, and you might ask why, but I just had a sudden urge to do it as I'd seen the lineup of exclusive games the console will be getting over the next year - so, I took a chance. Fortunately it's paying off so far, as Mario Kart 8 has taken me back to my youth. The last Mario Kart title I properly played was on the N64, and it was brilliant. I was pleasantly surprised with Mario Kart 8 at the amount of choice I had between vehicles, wheels, characters, and tracks, and how completely gorgeous the game is. I had no story to concentrate on, no characters to be introduced to, it was just me, my kart, and the insane track that lay before me. I've won the first handful of cups which weren't too much of a challenge, but if my memory serves me right the 150cc cups will be tough. In essence, I'm having a blast with Mario Kart 8, and I'll be chipping away at unlocking everything for a while, but it's nice to have a game you can just start up and switch certain parts of your brain off for, Mario Kart 8 is pure, unadulterated fun, and it's so refreshing.
Ian - U.N. Squadron
This weekend I'm going to hook up the SNES, and whilst I’ll be playing quite a few classic games on it, one game in particular that I’m looking forward to playing again is Capcom’s U.N Squadron (also known as Area 88).
This manga-based side scrolling shooter is still awesome with its great graphics, soundtrack, slick presentation, bonus rounds, and Mode 7 intro and cut scenes. The real world planes (with the exception of the fictional and awesome Efreet) are a breath of fresh air, as most shooters from this era were predominantly spaceship-based. Before you go in to battle you can buy and arm these jets with a multitude of destructive and amazing-looking weaponry, and when on a level you can also collect cannon power ups that progressively make your primary weapon bigger and beefier - so that you can take down the games squadrons of enemy jets, tanks, gunboats and sub bosses that little bit quicker.
The game also boasts spectacular levels which you tackle in any order, and the huge bosses at the end of them make this a game that I will always keep coming back to.
Steve - Rock Band 3
Rock Band and Singstar are the go-to games for couch multiplayer in my house, although both get you off your feet a bit more, so perhaps front-room multiplayer would be a better term. It’s been preordained this weekend that a Rock Band get together would be occurring, so the original lineup of hardcore rockers, 'Gull Feast', are dusting off their peripherals again. Although I prefer Rock Band 2 (it just seems to have better server side support), RB3 gets played as we've got two singers and there are harmonies. We also have the keyboard peripheral which is just bonkers to get your head round, but essentially teaches you how to play the song on keys, albeit with wonky key-shifts that take a lot of getting used to. We don’t have the mega-button pro guitars, just the bog standard, same with drums but that’s all good. I would like to have a go on the pro peripherals, as again they’re closer to actually playing the real thing and the guitars can be used as MIDI controllers (which could be fun), but we’re still getting kicks from pulling off expert songs on the kit we have (and are a little rusty).
It’s a great shared experience, nailing songs on expert and seeing those 5 stars turn gold, as you and your mates fill the air with pure rock and a symphony of synchronised clacking. It’s a shame things are winding up for the Rock Band/Guitar Hero games on last gen, as they really did come along with something truly awesome, with a very broad appeal and educational qualities. It would be good to see them rise again on new consoles, but then there’s also a sense that things have evolved as far as they can with pro-peripherals, and then there's Rocksmith letting you use a real guitar. That said, when you get into these realms the gameplay becomes much more incremental and tutorial-based, whereas the base Rock Band formula lets you pick things up at a low entry level for instant rocking with others! I have amassed loads of songs now as well, and not being able to move them across to a new console would be harsh, although getting new licenses for the thousands of Rock Band songs will be a mammoth task. So, that’s what I’ll be playing this weekend - my personal goal for the evening? Try and get something at least approaching 5 stars playing expert bass on Primus’ Jerry is a Race Car Driver, they’ve mapped Les Claypool, it’s hardcore but I love that song.
Robert - Frza Horizon 2 demo
This week for my weekend playlist I shall be playing the Forza Horizon 2 demo for Xbox One. I managed to play a little last night after a whopping 10.4 gig download. But boy was it worth it. The game looks slick, the cars are beautiful and the soundtrack is pumping.
So, this weekend I will be chucking my car through corners as hard and fast as I possibly can. I'll probably end up mowing the lawn or cutting down some trees, but who care's, this game wants you to push your car to the limits.
If you haven't done so already, I recommend downloading this demo, it is simply beautiful.
Matt - Dishonored
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m addicted to Fallout 3 and Skyrim, so it’s safe to say I'm a bit of a Bethesda junkie. This will make the news that I have only just started playing 2012’s Dishonored all the more shocking. Not getting a chance first time around I was more than happy when it was given away as a free download for Xbox Gold members last month.
First impressions of the game are extremely positive, embracing the open world mechanics of Fallout and Elder Scrolls make this far more than a straightforward assassin RPG. Based in the Steampunk-influenced city of Dunwall you play as Corvo, former bodyguard to the Empress Jessamine Kaldwin, framed for her murder and the disappearance of her daughter Lady Emily you have to break out of prison and become an assassin for a group of loyalists keen to get Lady Emily back, so that she can reclaim her right to the throne. The city itself is ravaged by a plague and as you navigate it’s streets, rooftops, and sewer, you will be surrounded by death and decay as well as the rather unfriendly guards and religious zealots who are all out for your blood.
The game is certainly challenging, tasking you with trying not to be spotted, while conserving the very small amount of weaponry you have at your disposal. You can complete each section in a number of ways, the more you kill the darker the world gets and the harder it will be later on.
It would be safe to say I’m really enjoying this game and can’t wait to see what happens next. Nice one Bethesda, you’ve done it again.
And there you have it, that's what the team will be getting up to this weekend. There are some great games we've talked about here, and they're a pretty diverse bunch too. We'd love to hear what you've all been playing this week and what you're getting into this weekend, so drop us a comment.