What We Have Been Playing – November 2014
Each month of the year our regular staff members come together to tell you what each of them have been playing over the past few weeks, we like to call this our Monster Month. Read on to find out what each of us have been playing over the month, as well as give an insight in the games we are looking forward to playing in the coming month.
Black Friday madness
I finally have an Xbox One. That didn’t happen until the end of the month though so before I talk about Black Friday mayhem, i’ll let you know what I got up to in the first part of the month.
First and foremost I took major advantage of the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare deal, where you could purchase a copy on Xbox 360, digital copy I must say, then get a free upgrade to Xbox One as long as you do it prior to March. I knew that applied to me and while I was waiting for the right Xbox One deal, I couldn’t resist and thought why not. So how is it?
I’m still not sure. One thing I have found out though is that I’m not very good at it, in particular the use of the Exo suits and the Exo abilities. I’m also hovering above the 1.15 kill/death ratio mark and historically I’m usually up at the 1.6 level for Call of Duty games, so that’s pretty low for me. I’ve yet to play career mode though so will give you my thoughts on that in December’s Monster Month.
And that career mode will be on Xbox One! Yes, have finally joined the next-generation. With Black Friday offering crazy deals, I stayed up late eagerly awaiting the online deals so that I could purchase one. However, the web crashed with the volume of people having similar plans. So much so that Curry’s online website even had a queuing system to get into the site. A queuing system…. for a website…. just to get into it…. crazy! Anyway, I ended up trekking down to GAME after work and managed to pick up the Assassin’s Creed bundle with FIFA and an extra controller. Good times are ahead, I hope. Let me know of your Black Friday experience in the comments below.
Tis the season to play games
First and foremost, I would like to begin my November Monster Month entry with an apology… to my bank balance. Despite having very few plans to increase my Xbox One games collection over the course of the month, I ended up with several new additions.
To celebrate the one year anniversary of the Xbox One’s launch, Microsoft offered access to Sunset Overdrive for 24 hours. Prior to its release, I failed to get sucked into the hype, though I decided to give it a go anyway. To my surprise, it wasn’t long before I was totally hooked and, as a result, I ended up splashing out on the full game.
Another surprise for me during November was Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Having avoided the series in recent years due to unfavourable reviews, it was clear that Sledgehammer Games had put a lot of effort into the latest instalment to ensure the series returned to its former glory (as you can read in the Console Monster review).
Halo: The Master Chief Collection, another shooter, received considerable playtime throughout November. Being a big fan of the series, I had high hopes for the bundle, though the matchmaking issues have been hugely disappointing. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped me playing through the single player campaigns again, which has brought a great deal of nostalgia with it.
Furthermore, I’ve also been playing and reviewingPro Evolution Soccer 2015, Project Spark, Stick It to the Man and LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Genuinely trying to remember if I had any sleep during November!
Looking ahead to next month, I’m hopefully going to get the chance to play finish some of the titles I obtained during November, while eating plenty of turkey and chocolate (not at the same time, that would be sickening).
The Binding of Justin
This month was filled with gaming goodness. I played an ungodly amount if The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, a title I just cannot seem to put down. Every run being different from the last, I find myself constantly saying ‘Just one more run.” I also tackled the latest entry in the Far Cry series. Much like the third, the open world chaos can lead to some very exciting moments. I mean you can ride elephants, what’s not fun about that? Of course most of my time was devoted to replaying GTA V on PS4. Even though I played it only a year ago, I’m still having fun aiming to platinum the game for second time.
On the downside of great games, I played the latest Assassin’s Creed title, Unity. I can honestly say it was one of the least fun gaming experiences I’ve had in a long time. Maybe it’s the loads of glitches, maybe it’s the beyond rehashed and tired gameplay, who knows? But needless to say, I didn’t finish it.
On the horizon for next month is pretty empty, with Dying Light being the only title catching my eye. Which isn’t a bad thing entirely, since I still need to tackle my massive backlog.
A Tale of Two Creeds
A wallet-destroying, bank buster of a month, November always sees a vast bulk of games getting their release as time marches resolutely towards the Christmas season. This year we got a particularly bumper haul, with a great swathe of AAA titles hitting shelves. Though some were more familiar than others…
GTA V made its welcome reappearance, remastered for the current generation, with an entirely new first-person mode thrown in to boot. Also flaunting a makeover was Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a compendium comprising all Halo games to date, with Halo 2 receiving a full remaster for its tenth anniversary.
Sadly, time is always limited, and despite the wealth of great releases on offer, I could contend with but two of them: Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Assassin’s Creed: Rogue.
An unusual decision by Ubisoft to release two full-price titles in the same franchise almost simultaneously, and perhaps a bemusing one given the ire that the buggy Unity drew at launch, but it’s interesting to see one series reach a point where it can stage such a gambit. The two-pronged release shows off the versatility that the property possesses, though perhaps the relative smoothness and polish of the last-gen Rogue next to current-gen Unity might be cause for some embarrassment in the Ubi camp.
I, for one, came away from my dual-Creed experience with one ancient Chinese proverb in particular looping in my head: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
A Grand Far Cry into Unity
November has been a bumper month in gaming. There has been just far too many great titles to physically play, what with work and real-life shenanigans. The big-hitter month for me kicked off with Assassin’s Creed Unity, which I found to be a little rinse and repeat kinda game, and worryingly I can see that same happening with next year’s title set in Victorian London. As a developer myself I can see the angle Ubisoft is taking here, and it is working for them, but if they carry on like this the franchise will soon become as stale as the biscuits found on a ship in Black Flag.
Although I bought GTA V on PS4 at launch, I still to this day have not opened it. The reason? Well, Far Cry 4 arrived! As it was my game of year in 2012 I just had to see what new things I could do in the new world. Like AC Unity, Ubisoft seems to have copied and pasted their library of titles this year. Feeling like a reskinned Far Cry 3 (which is no bad thing), Far Cry 4 is familiar, a little too familiar, but I still managed to have great fun and I will continue to play through the many challenges and events that remain in the game. Look out for my review very soon.
Next month I have a whole sack of time off, so I hope to be keeping warm and continue playing all the unfinished titles that are already starting to stack up. GTA V will be started, hopefully, World of Tanks Blitz will continue to be played on iOS, and I’ll be seeing out the Unity campaign and the main story in Far Cry 4. It is a good time of the year to be gaming, as it’s pretty damn chilly outside!
So that wraps up our Monster Month for November. Why not let us know what YOU have been playing this past month, leave us your gaming antics in the comments below! Until next month, happy gaming to all our fellow Monsters!