It’s the second week of November, smack dab in the midst of a ton of game releases, so it seems like the perfect time to introduce the first of many new weekly features to begin over the coming months. This is Now Gaming, and as you can may have gotten from the title, it’s all about the games we here at Vortex Effect are playing now. Joining myself (Gary, Editor-in-Chief) is our Reviews Editor Brian Hall, PC Editor Eric W., and Features Editor Jules. Now that you know the cast, here’s what we’re playing this week.
Playing: Pix the Cat (PS4)
Pix the Cat was one of the October free PS+ games. I had never heard of it until Sony said it was going to be free for Plus members. It’s actually one of the first games in a long time that I’ve began playing really knowing absolutely nothing about it beforehand. I’m glad it was free, because unfortunately it is exactly the type of game that would have flown under my radar and I would have never spent money on it. It’s a lot of fun; a high score fueled arcade game. It’s like the classic Snake meets Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. You’re this cat who goes around getting eggs that turn into ducks that follow behind you, and you drop them off into circles while avoiding running into your line of ducks or the wall. Sounds silly, but works for a fast paced arcade game. Also gets bonus points for a great visual style, unique level layout (you can see the next level and previous level while playing), and a really good soundtrack too. If you have PS+ and didn’t snag this when it was free, then you really missed out. Buy it.
Playing: Prey (Xbox 360)
November is a huge month for new releases with Christmas right around the corner, so naturally I will be spending the last two months of the year playing games that are at least several years old. Hey, I don’t call my review series The Backlog for nothing. First up on my quest to add a couple more notches to my controller is Prey, 2K’s venture into Aliens vs Indians. I have taken on the role of Tommy, a disgruntled Native American who wants nothing more than to leave the reservation with his bartending girlfriend Jenn, only to be constantly badgered by his grandfather about his heritage until the aliens attack. As expected, Tommy must fight his way free while trying to save his lady and the world. Partial spoiler, gramps dies pretty early, think it was the second stage if I remember correctly. I’m a good ways through this so far, and should hopefully have this knocked out before Thanksgiving. It’s a nice little FPS, pretty easy to pick up and go, but has it’s own little interesting twist tied into the Native American side of things by using a Spirit Form to do certain things. You can probably find this pretty cheap somewhere if you’re looking for something a little different. Just be warned, the graphics are not very good by today’s standards.
Also Playing: Madden 25 and MLB The Show 14 as time allows.
Playing: Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition (PC)
I had purchased the first version of Sleeping Dogs back when it first came out and absolutely loved it. I thought it brought a number of fresh ideas to the GTA like sandbox games and frankly did some things better than I had seen in GTA 4. The melee fighting is fun. The gunplay is satisfying and it’s just this huge and diverse Hong Kong that you can get lost in with all kind of various activities and side quests. The main story is what happens when a deep undercover cop goes too far undercover and then gets caught in the middle. The game looks amazing, runs great, and received a ton of support from the developers. There’s a LOT of varied content in this game outside of just the main story.
Our own Brian Hall, the Sandman, loved this game and you can see in the comments area I came in and co-signed his review quickly and with enthusiasm. Nothing’s changed here for me. I think this game is fantastic.
This new Definitive Edition is absolutely worth the double dip for fans of the game if they see it at a price that they like. I felt $20 was well worth it for myself. The updated high resolution textures are stunning along with streamlined incorporation of DLC and other content. It’s almost like playing the game again for the first time in some respects. It’s been a fun revisit and I can’t wait for the next game in the series.
If you have never played Sleeping Dogs before and are even a casual fan of GTA style like sandbox games please..stop reading and buy it immediately and with zero hesitation.
Also playing: Borderlands The Pre-Sequel (PC), getting ready to get into Assassin’s Creed: Unity on PC.
Playing: Red Dead Redemption (PS3)
I’ll preface this by saying that I am not as big of a gamer as my fellow comrades here, and as such this is my first kind of game review, although I will be doing more in the weeks to come to bring my sort of “casual gamer” perspective to the panel. I have a PS3 and play mostly older games. Right now the game I’m playing is Red Dead Redemption by Rockstar. Nicknamed “Grand Theft Horse” by many for me this game is about as good as it gets in terms of everything I look for in a video game. The story was epic and well voiced. The graphics were realistic and the gameplay simple enough to figure out on your own just by practicing through it. John Marston is an ex-outlaw who has been trying to go straight, but has found himself doing the dirty work of corrupt law officials who are using him to take down his old gang. In a way the main storyline is very similar to GTA: San Andreas with CJ and the officers played by Chris Penn and Samuel L. Jackson. Rockstar of course made both games, and both have vast open worlds that are as much or more fun to explore than playing the missions. Since I’m a slow gamer, it took me a few months at a comfortable pace to go through all the main missions, plus the side stranger missions. The hunting feature is also a very fun addition, and something I wish the GTA games had an equivalent version of. This is easily one of my favorite games of all times. I’m a big fan of both westerns and the GTA series, so a marriage between the two could be nothing but win-win.
Now that you know what we’re playing this week, we want to know what YOU are playing. Tell us what game you’re playing, why you’re playing it, and if it’s good (and I hope it is if you’re playing it) tell us why we should be playing it (assume that we haven’t). Also let us know what system you’re playing it on.
Until next week, game on!