|Game of the Month - May|
|Posted: 08.06.2012 14:00 by Joe Robinson||Comments: 19|
So, I know it’s all about E3 at the moment, but it’s still that time of year again. Microsoft could have announced a new console that was releasing today that doubled as a time machine and a tea maker, and we’d still be telling you which game fought through the May madness and came out on top. May had its fair share of releases, although not nearly as many as previous months, but there were fewer games that got the higher scores as well. Here are some of the highlights.
The Walking Dead Episode 1: A New Day (Xbox 360)
Last month saw a major push from Microsoft for the Xbox Live Aracade, with a whole host of quality titles getting released and promoted, many of which made it to our GOTM article last month. That then also spilled over into May, although The first episode of The Walking Dead was one of the few titles to really rate, as far as Strategy Informer newcomer Omar Khan is concerned. Quite taken with the visuals, amongst other things, Omar had this to say:
“The Walking Dead game surprised me, pleasantly. Telltale Games are a very hit-and-miss studio, and many episodic games, especially those based on external source material, tend to fall flat on their face. However, some scenes in this game genuinely moved me. And not only the deaths. Some of the conversations were brutally honest, with some fantastic writing and on more than one occasion it took me a while to absorb what just happened. Most games, no matter how dramatic their story tires to be, you can simply shrug off whatever happens as soon as you power down the console, but not this one. You’ll find yourself over-analyzing all the decisions you make, and lusting after the second episode. Fans of point and click, fans of The Walking Dead, fans of good games and fans of good stories; this game is a must. And I’d recommend it to everyone else too.”
Minecraft (Xbox 360)
One of the surprise announcements from last year’s E3, the PC version of Minecraft had already taken the PC gaming community by storm, and made developer Mojang a hell of a lot of money. Taking the game to the console seemed like the right choice, and so here we are, just under a year later with the Minecraft 360 version. Developed by 4J Studios (in conjunction with Mojang), whilst this may be a ‘light’ version it’s got everything it needs to appeal to a console audience, and it works really well. As I put it in my review:
“To those who already know what Minecraft is, then the 360 version may seem a bit bare, but then this version isn’t really for you. 4J Studios’ adaptation fits in perfectly with the Arcade theme, and we hope there’s framework in place to slowly add in content and features, much like what they’re doing with the PC SKU. As we outlined above, once the initial ‘oooooo’ factor wears off, singleplayer does get a bit tiresome if you haven’t got a purpose, but then all you need is a couple of online friends or someone in your own house to share the experience with, and it becomes fun again. Now you’ll know what all the fuss was about too.”
Starhawk (PlayStation 3)
The spiritual successor to 2007’s Warhawk (one of the earliest games to be released on the PlayStation 3), Starhawk is primarily a Third-person shooter with RTS elements. It’s been a long-time coming, with rumours of the game going all the way back to 2009 when co-developer LightBox Interactive was first created. Another review done by our new freelancer Omar Khan, suffice to say he was very taken by the game:
“While there are a couple of issues with the controls of the game; those being the weapons can be hard to pick on-the-go, and sometimes objects can be hard to place when the movement controls are the same as the placement controls, these complaints pail in comparison to the final product. Things like slow motion multi-kills and great music all add up to make an awesome game awesome...er. It really feels like a lot of effort was put into Starhawk, and that effort has certainly paid off. After dusting off my PS3 to play it, it seems Sony have finally found a new exclusive title to show off and be proud about. What a shame they’ve done next to no advertising and released it around the same time as Max Payne...”
Speaking of Max Payne...
May Payne 3 (Multi)
It’s been over ten years since the first game came out, and just under ten years since the second game... a return to this rather gruff detective was a long time coming, and our regular Nick Akerman doesn’t feel Rockstar has disappointed. With modern visuals, bullet cams, all the action you could want from an action game of action... the Rock has come back, I believe is the saying. As Nick puts it:
“As with Rockstar's other franchises, Max Payne 3 is enveloped in love and a huge amount of dedication. This is a consistently thrilling and explosive tale that states its case as one of 2012's best. I'd be hard pushed to find a game that has made me scream with excitement on such a regular basis, as the compelling narrative and rewarding gunplay conglomerate into a truly spectacular product. Max Payne 3 lets you star in your favourite action movies, minus the Wahlberg.”
DiRT Showdown (Multi)
It doesn’t seem that long ago that DiRT 3 crossed our paths, as well as several other racing games all competing for the top spot of their genre. Showdown may not be a true DiRT 4, but it still does a good job of diversifying and exploring what it means to be a racing game in 2012. It’s also the first game to come out of Codemasters since their decision to focus only on racing games, following the not-so-success of Bodycount. Strategy Informer veteran Manny Brown was impressed by Showdown, here’s what he had to say:
“And whilst online might be the icing on the cake rather than the core of the experience for some, I’m confident that DiRT Showdown has enough to offer long-time fans of the genre or racing game newcomers alike. The likes of Flatout and Motorstorm have provided ample competition in the mud-filled Americana stakes previously, but there’s something about the driving model in Showdown that satisfies in a fashion that few other games manage. Whether that’s a result of simple expertise or just iteration over a number of titles is something only Codies can answer, but whatever the formula was for the success, you have to be happy they’ve gotten here.”
And the winner is…
Diablo III (PC)
You probably saw this coming, didn’t you? Well nobody likes an over achiever. Also, we’re aware that Diablo III had a lot of technical difficulties and hiccups surrounding it, but this is one of the few cases where our reviewer played the exact same build that the rest of you did, at the same time. No-one gets blizzard games early anymore, and if Simon decided to look past those unfortunate aspects of the game, then so shall we. Having played it myself, it definitely deserves to take home the gold this month. As Simon puts it:
“The true power of Diablo III lies in its replayability thanks to its versatility, which is the greatest kind of ability there is for a game like this. Playing through once from Act I all the way to Act IV’s conclusion isn’t going to be enough for most gamers and that’s perfect because it’s the way it’s meant to be. With all those dungeon randomisations, boss events, challenging difficulty, co-op play, loot gathering and the general mayhem of monster slaying, Diablo III is a ride that may tire if binged on religiously but one that’ll haunt your dreams long-term to get back to it, just like its predecessor.”
And that's it for this month - hope you’ve been enjoying the E3 coverage, feel free to share your thoughts with the rest of us! We’ve already been playing some interesting games, so see you next month for another Game of the Month update.