Review: MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death

From Compile Heart, the developer of the reasonably popular Hyperdimension Neptunia series, comes a new game from a fresh intellectual property. MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death is the story of a world that is suffering an eternal nighttime. Legend tells the story of a chosen Machina Mage who must turn the key to restart the world and restore order. The world of MeiQ is made up of five parts, and a mage has been selected from each part to partake in the quest. Enter the cast.

Read the rest of my review on Push Square.

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Platinum review: LEGO Legends of Chima

The 39th platinum to pop onto my screen was LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey. A PS Vita game, LEGO Chima is one of the only original Lego IP’s. Never one to pass up a LEGO game, and an easy platinum to boot, I snapped up a preowned copy of the game for £15 at MCM Expo.

The storyline of the game centres around the antagonists’ quest for the triple Chi. The Chi is an ability characters can obtain in order to provide them with heightened strength. The main character, Laval, is told that to let any one animal possess the power of the triple Chi will be catastrophic. The plot is easy to follow, and perhaps a little contrived; principle members of each tribe are introduced rapidly (every two levels) and you never seem to get a sense of why things matter to each tribe. The player is introduced to these characters through a series of frustratingly long and unskippable cut-scenes, which insist on playing even on the second playthrough of the game.

When playing the game I tried to bear in mind that the game is principally for children, and a complex plot isn’t going to appeal. While I want to love all LEGO games I had to concede that the games all have the same target audience and while the majority of them manage to have widespread appeal amongst children and adults, it appears that LEGO Chima has missed the mark.

The game mechanics are identical to previous LEGO Vita games, only differing slightly from the non-handheld variants of LEGO games. The map seemed at times to be too big, and with different areas branching off the main areas, it was often very frustrating trying to figure out where to go next. I had some issues with the camera, which you are able to control using the right analogue stick. Often the camera wouldn’t go in the direction that I wanted it go, causing my view to be obscured and making me take multiple attempts at part of the game.

The platinum itself is easily obtainable; PS3 Trophies rates it as a 2/10 difficulty, and estimates that it will to 10-12 hours before the platinum pops. Through my personal experience, I agree with the difficulty rating, but it took me closer to 15 hours.

Platinum series: The “worth it” games

October 11th 2013. The date my 38th platinum trophy pinged onto my screen. The game was New Little King’s Story on PlayStation Vita. The game, though time-consuming, was by no means difficult. Users of trophy hunters haven PS3 Trophies have rated the game a 3.14 in platinum difficulty.

Though the low rating is pretty much in line with my own personal rating, due to the length of time and the effort that went into obtaining the platinum (9 different endings, seriously?!), the game is definitely one I’m proud to have the platinum on.

Glancing over my platinum trophy list, there are a few on there that I can’t say stretched my abilities too much, but I’m proud of and pleased to have on my list. In this article, I’ll give you pointers on which games to look at that’ll help boost your platinum ego.

1. The Walking Dead

If you haven’t playing Telltale’s offering to The Walking Dead universe, then you are sorely missing out. I’ve already written a review waxing lyrical about how much I love the series, but it has the added benefit of being an easy platinum trophy. The game rewards you heavily for simply playing; there are no choice based trophies, and all trophies are obtained throughout the course of the game. Simply play the game to the end and you will be granted the platinum trophy, and can rest assured that you’ve played one of the best games ever to be created.

2. Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom

Majin wasn’t a game I was familiar with until I saw it featured on a list of easily obtained platinum trophies. The premise of the game is essentially that a young boy sets out to free the world of the darkness that is taking it over, and in his quest is joined by a strange monster, Majin. Though the end of the game required quite a lot of grinding to level up, and to make sure I’d used each type of attack enough, nothing stands out as having stood in the way of the platinum. Majin was a fairly enjoyable action adventure game, with an engaging storyline, and worth a play.

3. L.A. Noire

First off, L.A. Noire is a simply breathtaking game, one of my favourites of the last generation of consoles, if not of all time. The fact that the platinum trophy is also fairly straight forward also adds to the allure of the game.

4. Any game from the LEGO series

The LEGO series of games are dangerously addictive, and easy platinum trophies to boot. The only danger with the games is that they are somewhat prone to glitches, so always worth treading with caution. I personally had to play LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 twice due to a glitch, but due to the fun nature of the games and the sheer replayability factor, what could have been a laborious task was actually still fun. The more recent LEGO games also have the bonus of having separate trophy lists for PS3 and PS Vita.

5. Heavy Rain

Another brilliant game which essentially allows you to get trophies as you play. A walkthrough may be needed as you replay to mop up trophies based on certain decisions, but there are plenty out there. Again, there aren’t really any difficulty based trophies to worry about, so you’ll be rewarded for completing the game (albeit several times).

Eurogamer 2013: DualShock 4, Tearaway and Watch_Dogs

Eurogamer wasn’t just about games for me, it was the opportunity to see new hardware in operation and experience it before many of my peers.

Ergonomic and comfortable, the DualShock 4 is a work of design genius. The controller has the same familiarity as its predecessors; picking the controller up, you know exactly what to do, what you’ve always done.

The controller manages to make things fresh and exciting with the introduction of the touchpad, share button and light bar. Unfortunately, the games that I played at Eurogamer didn’t utilise these features so I’ll have to wait for the PS4 to come out, like everyone else, to see what the controller has to offer and how it will fully impact on my gaming lifestyle.

Moving onto more games, I headed to the Tearaway station. Tearaway is a PlayStation Vita game from the creators of Little Big Planet, Media Molecule. The game has a distinctly similar feel to the studios previous releases, with a cutesy character exploring a world filled with other cute characters.

The demo serves as an introduction to the game mechanics, showcasing just how much the game utilises the Vita’s many features. This is perhaps to it’s detriment as at points throughout the demo I saw my own face beamed into the Tearaway world, this may be exciting for younger gamers to see their faces in-game, but for me felt slightly unnecessary.

There was a point in the demo where a character wanted me to take a photo of him wearing a crown I had made him, and the Vita’s camera sound went off. This puts me off a bit as I see the Vita as my out-of-the-house gaming device, and as the noise can’t be turned off and isn’t muted through the use of headphones, it means everyone will hear the sounds; on the train, in the office.

However, having said all the negatives, Tearaway was a perfectly lovely game, just what you’d expect from Media Molecule, if not a little predictable. I felt obligated to give up my seat at the station, but could happily have kept playing if not for the small queue forming behind me, though I think I was at the end of the demo anyway. Tearaway looks to be a must-own game for the PS Vita, and a real boon to the back catalogue as many gamers look to the Vita as a cross-functional hardware for the PS4.

Next up, into the Watch_Dogs booth. There was quite a queue for the game, but I had anticipated that, and settled in for the long haul. Once into the booth, which was sectioned off from the rest of the world, the audience were seated to watch a demonstration of one of the missions played in the game. Interestingly, the game was being played on a PS4; a signifier that Sony are winning the race? Time will tell.

Watch_Dogs, a sandbox game, appeared to handle much like a Grand Theft Auto or a Saints Row, but as it wasn’t an interactive demo, I can only go by what I’ve seen, not from what I’ve played. The hacking software used throughout the game looks easy to use, but at the hands of a professional gamer, it probably would.

Though I found the Watch_Dogs presentation interesting, it’s completely different watching someone playing something than getting to experience it yourself. As the game has multiple ways of completing missions, it would have been good to at least see the variety, rather than just the way the developers want you to see it. The game still looks like an interesting IP, and one that I’ll definitely get along with my next generation console.

My name’s Jade, and I’m a trophy whore…

I have a problem, a real problem. It’s not one I’m ever likely to do anything about, but just as long as we’re all aware of it. I’m a trophy whore.

My platinum trophy addiction started basically the moment I got my PS3. I had already been made familiar with the trophy system, as I had been sharing my boyfriend’s console, but by the time I got my own way back in 2009, trophies were compulsory for game developers to put in, and that’s really where it all began.

To begin with my addiction had started as a bit of a joke between myself and my boyfriend, then as more of my friends started getting PS3’s there were more people to compete with. I would do anything to make sure I had a better trophy level than them.

Trophies

As time went on, and I became more desperate for platinum trophies to add to my collection, I was becoming less discerning with my choice in games. This remains a standing joke for my friends. LoveFilm has become a real friend of mine, providing me with an endless source of games.

This spirit of competition is still what drives part of my never-ending hunt for platinum trophies, but it has become much more than that.

Platinum trophy hunting really makes you get the most out of a game. Sure, I didn’t need to collect tons of feathers just to see how much effort had gone into making Assassin’s Creed 2, but I did and I got a bronze trophy for it (even if at the time I thought “A bronze trophy? Are you kidding me?”). Trophy hunting means you see more of the map, spend more time in different game modes, basically stretch the game for all it’s worth and squeeze every last ounce of game-play out of it.

Trophy hunting serves to make me a better gamer. Would I bother playing the game on the hardest difficulty if I weren’t going to ultimately get a nice gold trophy for it? Probably not, let’s be honest. I push myself to my limits for trophies – the limits being ability, and more importantly patience – there have been a lot of growling and throwing the controller on the bed moments.

Trophy hunting has also led me to play a lot of games I wouldn’t play which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’d never heard of Sly Cooper until one day when I was perusing a list of “Easy Platinum Trophies” (it really is a lifestyle choice), but was glad to have played, and enjoyed it even if it seems a little dated in terms of graphics.

Do I have any regrets? Only one – Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, a real drain on the enthusiasm I had for gaming and only an 8% trophy score to show for it. If you haven’t played this game – don’t. Everything about it is terrible. I couldn’t wait to get it out of my house.

For all my talk about trophy whoring, you’ve got to remember that I am a gamer, and I do play serious games. There’s no way you’d ever catch me not playing a game because I won’t be able to platinum it. I know there is basically no chance of me ever gaining the platinum on most of the games I play, but I play them anyway, platinum trophies don’t rule my life.

Trophy card

To end with an anecdote; imagine me, in my summer of unemployment, returning to Blockbuster to renew my rental on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1 (the game):

Blockbuster man: “You can just put returns in the postbox.”
Me: “I’m not returning, I want to take it out again please.”
Blockbuster man: “I didn’t think it took that long to complete.”
Me: “I finished the storyline, but didn’t get all the trophies.”
Blockbuster man: “Oh! You’re a…. platinum lady!”

Yes, that’s me. The platinum lady.