The Year That Was: November 2013Platforms: All
Ah November, usually you are the quiet sister of the loud and showy December but in 2013 you went to the ball and all eyes were on you. In truth it was a month that had been a long time coming, since the console launch announcements it was a month all self-respecting gamers were waiting for. It was also a time for PR overdrive and thankfully that means schmoozing, free food and early access to games and site editor Lewis managed to get some early access to Xbox One, and what he found was a real mixed bag.
The Playstation 4 was first up for walking the digital catwalk, in the US at least, and boy was it pretty. With a limited line-up of games for launch it wasn’t quite an event that will go down in history but with games like Killzone: Shadow Fall showing off the level of graphical fidelity that could currently be achieved, it started to feel like the next-gen had arrived. The console released in the UK two weeks later and broke all manner of records, comfortably setting some distance between itself and the Xbox One albeit with many years of ups and downs ahead. However it wasn’t all plain sailing for us here at The Digital Fix towers with Playstation 4s being somewhat elusive. We had two pre-orders cause undue amounts of hassle and frustration, not a fault of Sony but of retailers themselves. Luciano felt compelled, frustrated, angry and weepy enough to put digital pen to digital paper and pen the final IMO of the year with the politely titled Go Away Console Launches, and trust me his original draft was titled a little more harshly. Thankfully it all came together for us after many phone calls, trips to stores and general lamenting but you can’t help feel sorry for Luciano, “P.S. It’s gone nine and I’m forty-five minutes into a conversation with my supplier about where my PS4 is. No-one knows. No-one can tell me anything. No-one can do anything about the day I’ve wasted, nor can they even estimate when I’ll get an email or call detailing what happens next. Such fun! Oh for 1992…”
But who cares about next-gen? For we had many current gen games still making their way onto our pages in the month of November 2013. We had a tasty 10 awarded for the comprehensive and rewarding Rocksmith 2014, the true logical conclusion of the rhythm genre. Matt reviewed this for us and couldn’t sing its praises highly enough, he concluded, “When you step back and take in what this game offers as a whole, it’s absolutely stunning. It’s a massive improvement over the original and we could not give this anything but our highest recommendation to anyone even slightly interested in picking up a guitar, be you a newbie or experienced player. Put the time in, take things slowly and be prepared to practice the same things over and over and you will be surprised - and delighted - at the results.
November also housed the highly anticipated next game from genius/frustrated movie director (delete as appropriate) David Cage. Beyond: Two Souls followed the love it or hate it Heavy Rain and depending on how you felt about that title you may have a fair inklin about how you will like Beyond. Luciano was up on deck again for this one and his 6/10 reflected a game that does some things brilliantly but in many ways forgot to be a game, Luciano said, “It’s still something very different to what else is out there and Quantic Dream, David Cage and company should be applauded for doing what they wanted and following through with it. Sometimes a failure is glorious and this is one such example. Whilst it doesn’t deliver on its promise, the fact that it had this promise in the first place assures it of some success. That might be defined as a game remembered for what it didn’t do but then at least it will be remembered, right?”
One game that didn’t have our reviewer frustrated was Media Molecule’s Playstation Vita platforming masterclass Tearaway. Our Vita lovee Lewis reviewed this title and for him it felt like Christmas had come early, and if you have a Vita you owe it to yourself to get your hands on this, as Lewis said, “If you’ve paid attention there’s a word that keeps popping up again and again – wonder. We’ve used it a few times here, and it really does sum up what the greatest parts of Tearaway manage to achieve. The journey through the final two-thirds of the story is one long trip of jaw-dropping, head-shaking amazement, appreciation flowing for the world Media Molecule has been able to create, as well as how they have seamlessly incorporated every part of the Vita’s functionality into the game.
If November was the build up to the party, then December was the drunken dance off...more on that later!