What We’ve Been Playing – July 2011

Yet another month has flown by and it is time to look back over the past month of July in our regular feature cunningly known asMonster Month. With the month of July closed behind us, it’s time for the Console Monster staff to report on what they have been playing over the past month, as well as an insight in the games they are looking forward to playing this month. Enjoy!


More Crazy Achievements

The best (and probably only) good thing about a summer drought for game releases is that I can return to some of my older games. As I approach the 90,000 GamerScore mark, I’ve been playing Halo: Reach and Borderlands to earn some achievements. Both titles got sufficient playtime, especially over Xbox Live.

However, I did play one new release this month which came in the form of movie-based game, Cars 2. Whilst it does have its strong points, it hasn’t been the best racing experience. A full review of the game will be on Console Monster very soon.

As for Xbox Live Arcade titles, Ms. Splosion Man and Crazy Taxi received some playtime – two games I have very much enjoyed playing. With the Summer of Arcade kicking off this month, the Microsoft Points balance has been topped up and ready to be spent on quality titles.

Next month looks to be a repeat of July with very few titles set for release. Nevertheless, I will be returning to my older titles to hopefully gain the GamerScore I need to reach the 100,000 barrier.

(l MattyTM l)

Child of GRAW

July. Sunshine, barbeques, sports seasons re-starting and more gaming. This month see’s myself pick up Child of Eden, a game I’d never usually go for and yet I have found it quite addictive, as has my other half too. The psychedlic colours make for a good summer game to brighten up those random dreary days.

Black Ops still finds itself in my console, although so has GRAW 2 (blast from the past much), which despite showing it’s age still is great to play. If only I was putting up the same numbers I used too, 1 for 13 isn’t that bad, right?

With Madden and FIFA just around the corner it makes for an exciting end to the summer. Maybe even a quick look at a Darts title is on the agenda, we shall see.

Quote of the Month: “Before a match I like to relax with 25 bottles of Holsten Pils and six steak n’ kidney pies.” (Andy Fordham) – I’d like to think this is the ideal pre-match warm up for any LIVE tournament.

(Fusion Elder5)

Island Stalking For A Good Deal

This month’s gaming has been very much a PC and iOS affair. I did go and re-visit Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood in preperation for Revelations but my 360 was not turned on all that often this month.

The Steam Summer Sale provided me with a few bargains to keep me occupied. First up is Far Cry 2, a game I never properly gave a chance and am now really getting in to, even if I’m terrible at being stealthy and planning things out resulting in my buddy helping me out a fair bit. Second is S.T.A.L.K.E.R. which I’ve been meaning to play for a long time. The open world aspect is relatively fun but, for an FPS, feels incredibly daunting.

July also saw the release of the 3rd Humble Indie Bundle, one of the best deals on the internet. You pay what you want for a set number of excellent indie games and you’re able to split your money between the organisers, developers and a number of charities while getting some stellar games. This time it included the excellent VVVVV and And Yet It Moves.

My iPhone has got plenty of use too, with my battery being drained by the addictive Tiny Tower. I now have 22 floors of retail delight to keep my Bitizens occupied. Towards the end of the month saw the release of Groove Coaster by the same guys who made the Space Invaders Infinity Gene game a while back. A fast paced rhythm game with some great tracks (and some questionable ones) it’s definitely worth the small price!

Return To The Resistance

Each month I keep mentioning how I need to find my way back to console gaming after only ever getting more engrossed into PC gaming. July wasn’t much of an improvement in this department, with the majority of my free gaming time being invested into finishing The Witcher 2, Recettear, Octodad and Crysis 2. Both The Witcher 2 and Crysis 2 enjoyed bringing my PC to its knees, with The Witcher 2 still holding the trophy as best game, graphically, thanks to its superior art direction.

I managed to pull myself away from the PC for a short period during the last few days of the month to complete both Resistance and Killzone 2 on the PS3. Thanks to the awful game design of Resistance I was forced to finish the last two chapters in co-op, alone. Two handed two pad gaming is never much of a delight. Killzone 2 on the other hand was a huge surprise coming from the original, a massive step up and fantastic game all around. I also managed to slip in Bastion yesterday, the brilliant new action RPG on XBLA.

August is going to be different. I’m coming back to home (Xbox 360) admittedly not quite out of personal choice but my overwhelming desire to prevent losing my gamerscore whoring champion trophy, both at work and Console Monster. I’ll kick off my return with some Fallout New Vegas and move onto Limbo which is due to arrive any day now. I’ve had almost half a year away from gamerscore whoring, so the focus is now to get back on track and beat Console Monster’s Wriggy to 100,000.

Mrs B Making Me Sweat!

With it being Summer and not many new releases showing their faces, July has been yet another month of clearing the backlog. It wasn’t until this month that I realised how many games in my collection have yet to be started so I went a bit geeky and made a list of what needs to be done…sticking to it is another matter!

My game of choice this month has been Borderlands, which I only picked up at the beginning of the month, and must say it is by far one the greatest co-op games I have ever played. It just does everything right and apart from some evil difficulty scaling on your 2nd play through, is the most fun I’ve had with friends in a long time. As for solo adventures, I purchased Bastion and From Dust when they were released as part of the Summer of Arcade promotion that Xbox has going at the moment and both titles are worth the 1200 MSP. I still need to complete both of them but it’s a fantastic start to the Summer of Arcade and hopefully the remaining games will be equally as good.

I also had some fun times on the PC this month by playing a lot of Civilization V and Terraria with a friend and both are quality games that I couldn’t recommend more. Terraria is especially fun and you could easily lose your life to that game if you aren’t careful!

I also went to preview Driver San Francisco and The Baconing but you’ll have to wait until the previews are up during the week to find out more!

Lastly, I have played Akimi Village and Get Fit with Mel B for review here at Console Monster and almost died at the hands of Mrs B. The fitness game does work but for someone who hardly does any exercise she doesn’t half drain the sweat out of you! If you like to be controlled by a woman, go ahead and buy this one!


Ms. Independant Man

Being an American, July is always an important month for me. On the 4th, we all light Chinese-made explosive devices and eat poorly cooked hamburgers in honor of the day that Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith destroyed the evil alien mother ship by uploading a vir– wait..

Anyway, as far as gaming goes, it was a fairly decent month for me. I finished up the latest DLC for LA Noire, finally unlocking all the achievements. Over a year after the game was released, I, at long last, unlocked the platinum trophy in Heavy Rain. I also tried out FEAR 3, which I found just as mediocre as the previous games. Had a lot of fun with Twisted Pixel’s latest gem, Ms. ‘Splosion Man. Most recently, I’ve been having a good time with the strange breath of fresh air that is Catherine.

Next month is looking kind of bland to me. Deus Ex: Human Revolution being the only release I’m somewhat looking forward to.


Early To The Battlefield

July saw me suit up and hit the streets of Los Angeles again as there were some more unsolved cases to solve, thanks to the Rockstar Pass premium DLC for L.A. Noire. I hope to wrap all these cases up in a DLC review for the site very soon.

The highlight of the month (and year) has been having access to the Battlefield 3 Pre-Alpha Trial. If you are a regular visitor to CM you will know that I do like a bit of Battlefield, and being granted access to the Pre-Alpha was like Christmas come early. Sadly, all participants of the Trial are under NDA so we cannot shed any info on the game. What I can (probably) say is that it would be wise to get yourself in on the upcoming Beta in September if you are a fan of Bad Company 2 and the like – Wow!

On iOS it was great to hear that Cordy has finally landed on iPhone. I was puzzled to see the game appear on Android at first, but this cute little freemium platformer comes to Apple’s device and it is great! It plays and looks even better on iPad.

August brings hopefully more late night Battlefield 3 Pre-Alpha sessions and I hope to check out a few of these Summer of Arcade titles that are all beginning to stack up on the “must play” pile.

That is all until next month. Why not let us know what have YOU been playing this past month, leave us your gaming antics in the comments below! Until next month, happy gaming to all our fellow Monsters!

Anthony Barker

Anthony is the designer, developer and owner of Console Monster. In his spare time, Anthony is a keen gamer who enjoys playing mostly First-Person Shooters and Racing games. When he is not developing games or tweaking this site, Anthony likes to be on the slopes snowboarding or hurtling down off-road tracks on his mountain bike.

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