Tag Archives: PS Vita

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty Review (PS Vita)

It has been 19 years since Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was released to critical acclaim back in the early days of the PS1, and almost two years since Oddysee’s remake, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, was released on PS4. Why write a review now? Because Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty was released on my beloved PS Vita in January, and I’m always quick to the mark.

Keeping up the tradition of releasing every single Oddworld game on the handheld none of your friends own, Oddworld Inhabitants and developer Just Add Water have done something not often seen in remakes: They have made a game that looks like how our rose-tinted nostalgia goggles make us remember the original looking. It’s quite an accomplishment. When I first started New ‘n’ Tasty, having not played the original in about five years, I had to YouTube comparison videos just to see what the difference was.

Hint: There’s a huge difference.

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Rebuilt from the ground up, New ‘n’ Tasty features all new 3D character models and environments. Porting duties were handed over to Nephilm Studios, and they’ve done a fantastic job, with very little significant compromise. Obviously, the graphics did have to take a hit so the game could run on the Vita, so the backgrounds aren’t as detailed, lighting isn’t as dynamic and a lot of the effects like lightning and explosions don’t look as good as they do in the console versions, but it still looks great on the Vita’s screen.

The game also runs extremely well for the most part. However, there were some hiccups here and there. A couple of times, I had to close the game because I fell through the world and couldn’t reload a checkpoint, and there was also some fairly significant slowdown in a few areas where there was a lot going on, but they are few and far between. The majority of the time, New ‘n’ Tasty runs like a dream.

The solid gameplay and sinister-yet-silly story you know and love from the original game remains unchanged. On the surface, New ‘n’ Tasty is a platformer, but at it’s heart it is a puzzle game. As Abe, you have to direct 299 of his fellow dense-as-fuck Mudokon friends to safety, before they can be turned into food by the evil, corporate Glukkons  Your goal is to lead these fucking morons to portals that will send them to safety, avoiding various hazards along the way like meat grinders, mines and electric barriers using GameSpeak, a mechanic that allows Abe to says things like “Follow me” and “Wait” in an effort save these idiots. Be careful, though! The Mudokons are frustratingly ignorant of their surroundings, and will walk straight into certain death if you don’t stop them. GameSpeak also allows you to learn and repeat passwords, like Simon Says, to unlock doors and access elevators. GameSpeak is a gameplay mechanic as enjoyable in 2016 as it was in 1997, and is wholly unique to the Oddworld series.

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New ‘n’ Tasty also boasts multiple endings, online leaderboards and over 20 hidden areas for you to discover. If you want to see and do everything that is on offer in New ‘n’ Tasty, you’ll have to play through the game two or three times, which is a welcome amount for a game this enjoyable.

Almost 20 years since the release of the original, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty breathes new life into an already solid game. It may have some hiccups here and there, but overall it as a greatly enjoyable experience that is right at home on the PS Vita.

Verdict:

 

4 stars

Great

 

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Platinum Quest: How Bastion Almost Made Me Suplex My TV

I don’t like losing. Actually, it’s probably my least favourite thing along with being wrong. Good thing I’m never wrong.

I do lose sometimes though, and I really, really don’t like it.

Supergiant Games’ incredible Bastion was released on PS Vita and PS4 last month, and I was eager to jump in. After having some problems getting around to it, I finally began playing and loved everything. The gameplay, art style, music and that brilliant narrator were all perfect.

After beating the game, I had a look at the Trophy list and liked what I saw. “This will be a piece of cake. I’ve just got to play through the game again, really. No big deal.” I thought. And for the most part, I thought right. Most of the game’s Trophies are easily achieved.

Except one.

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For the uninitiated, the Stranger’s Dream is a challenge room that requires you to survive 30 waves of the game’s hardest enemies. It’s the fourth of these challenge rooms, and the most difficult. Shrine Idols are things that you can invoke (turn on) to make the game harder in a number different ways and also help you gain more currency and XP. Examples of the increased difficulty being enemies have regenerating health, drop bombs when they’re defeated, their attacks slow you down, they never drop health pickups, have increased attack damage, move faster etc.

Surviving 30 waves of enemies is a pretty easy task without the Shrine Idols invoked. I cut through it like a hot knife through butter. With five Shrine Idols invoked, it’s not particularly easy but it’s definitely attainable. With 10, though? It feels like an impossible goal.

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As stated at the beginning, I don’t like losing, and I lost a lot. For days, I got my ass handed to me over and over again, and the results were completely inconsistent. I didn’t feel like I was doing better with each attempt. Sometimes I’d die six waves in, and other times I’d die 23 waves in. Frustration was setting in.

I’m Scottish, so naturally I swear a lot. Bastion made me ashamed of myself.

I’d attempted the Stranger’s Dream a ridiculous number of times over the course of three days, and I was starting to lose faith. In these situations, I turn desperate. I watched a number of walkthrough videos and read a number of strategies online, and I learned some new tips that I thought could help me achieve the seemingly unachievable. Armed with this new knowledge, I was ready to give it another go.

I still failed. Time and time again I got squashed by these fucking arseholes. On that Wednesday evening, I was done. Fuck this game. I’m going to go play Nintendogs or something, fuck this shit.

I wouldn’t stop though. After a good night’s sleep, I woke up and went back into the whipping room. This time, I had a plan though. I was going to stream it on Twitch. There’s only one thing I hate more than losing, and that’s losing in front of other people. The logic was sound: I would play better if I knew people would be able to watch.

The pressure was on. I had three viewers on Twitch. Three people I probably didn’t know. Did I want them to think I was a fucking loser? Hell no. Let’s do this.

I got 23 waves in until disaster struck:

I died. Again. The stream sat idle on the ‘Defeated’ screen for about a minute. I was not idle though. I was squatting in front of my TV, ready to pick it up and suplex it through my fucking coffee table. This cannot be happening. The theory was sound!

I calmed down, and tried again. I made it to the final wave. This was it! I was doing it!

Just kidding! I wasn’t doing anything except losing, again. Hahahahahahahahaha! 

I rage quit the game and the stream and just sat on my couch, sweating and seething. I was not playing this anymore. The PlayStation Gods can keep their fucking Trophy, I am finished.

I had things to do that day, I couldn’t sit and play this game forever. I have to leave my house in 30 minutes to go and….wait. 30 minutes? That’s about how long it takes to do a run through these waves.

Okay, one more time:

And it’s all over! Somehow, someway, I did it. Fuck you, Bastion. Fuck you, Supergiant Games. I am a God! A God that probably couldn’t do this again if he tried!

That one challenge room is significantly harder than anything else in the game, and I won’t be attempting it again anytime soon. For the most part, I really loved my time with Bastion. It’s a great game with a great story, but I can’t remember the last time a game made me literally want to suplex my fucking TV.

PlayStation Vita Will Never Die.

I bought my PS Vita through impulse, and I have no regrets.

When I got my Vita, Sony was marketing it as an accessory to the PlayStation 4. A device through which I could continue killing people in Battlefield whilst taking a shit. Having recently picked up a PlayStation 4 this, alone, sold me. Not until I had the Vita in my hands did I realise what a marvelous piece of kit it actually is, and how many games I had at my fingertips.

Whoever tells you the Vita has no games is an uninformed liar, and you should reevaluate who you surround yourself with. Do you really want to be friends with a liar? Nobody wants to be friends with a liar.

Initially the Vita was marketed as a portable gaming system that could play console quality games, and for the most part this is true. Unfortunately, due to poor sales because of poor choices on Sony’s part (I’m looking at you, memory cards) their first party studios seem to have turned their backs on the Vita, but there are hundreds of games coming out on Vita. Tons of big games.

Okay, most of the AAA titles are coming out of Japan (Toukiden 2Attack on Titan) and a lot of them are independent offerings (Super Meat Boy, Abe’s Odyssey: New ‘n’ Tasty) but they are games, nonetheless. And most of the aforementioned games are good games.

The Vita is a lean, mean, indie machine and indie isn’t a dirty word! If Japanese RPGs or visual novels aren’t your style, the diverse library of independent titles should satiate your appetite.

But we’re looking too far into the future. Forget about upcoming titles for a second, let’s look back on the titles that are already out.

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Games like Gravity Rush are what the Vita does best. A sort of semi-open world game, with interesting mechanics and likable characters in an episodic story. I have never played a game like Gravity Rush. It is truly unique and I would say it is one of my favourite games based on the movement mechanics alone.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss took that “console quality” tag, and ran with it. Golden Abyss may have made some questionable choices with it’s mechanics, like holding the back camera up to the light (urgh) but nobody can deny that the game would look at home on a PlayStation 3. It did what it set out to do and the results are amazing.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is literally a PlayStation 3 game that runs on Vita. Okay, the graphics have taken a bit of a knock, but you don’t get more “console quality” than an actual console game.

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Killzone: Mercenary is another great example of a game that lived up to that “console quality” expectation. The game looks great, and feels like a modern console shooter. Shooters are the 3D platformers of the modern era. It’s what the masses want, and Killzone: Mercenary gives it to them.

And that’s just a few (of the few…) console quality titles we were promised. There are more out there, and there are more still to come.

There’s also the slew of fantastic indie titles. There are literally hundreds of the little bastards. Okay, you can play them on other platforms, but most of these titles are best played on Vita. Some of them just click. Games like Rogue LegacyLuftrausersHotline MiamiOlliOlli and Shovel Knight, to name a few, are right at home on the little handheld that could.

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It doesn’t end there though! When I was younger, playing my PlayStation in my bedroom and my Mum would tell me that it was time to do something that wasn’t sitting in my bedroom playing PlayStation, I yearned for some kind of magical GameBoy-like device that would let me play PlayStation on the go, in the back of my Mum’s car, or at my Aunt’s house, or on the toilet. That now exists, and it’s name is PlayStation Vita.

The little guy has access to a bunch of PSOne Classics that can be downloaded directly from the PlayStation Store. My childhood dream has literally come true!

In addition to that, there are a number of PlayStation 2 era HD Collections on Vita, that run and look better on the little guy than they ever did on their native console, with an exception or two, but lets not get bogged down in negativity here. This is a post about opening your heart to positivity, and not letting go of a dying loved one.

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The PlayStation Vita is a fantastic little machine, and I firmly believe that anybody that says otherwise has never used one. The Vita’s following is so hardcore because the people who own them fucking believe in them.

Vita will never die, because we will not let it die.