Last Week’s Gaming

Escape the Wonders of Spider-Man’s Playroom

Last week was huge for me, and not just in terms of gaming! This week my holidays begin, so work has ramped up trying to clear the decks for my break.

On top of that, the next-gen consoles launched last week! I had an interesting time setting up my PS5, but that has been resolved and I have been having a great time. I even snuck in my last Platinum challenge!

Not included below is my first stream of The Witcher – Enhanced Edition. It was a heap of fun, and seemed to go pretty smoothly so yay for that! If you would like to see more about this game, come and join us over on Twitch 8 pm QLD time 🙂

7 Wonders Duel – Board Game Arena

A couple of weeks ago, I got to play 7 Wonders. Last week, I got to play Duel on a quiet games night.

On a basic level, 7 Wonders Duel is two-player 7 Wonders. “But you can play 7 Wonders with 2!” I hear some people cry. Technically you can. But there is a ‘fake’ third player to get this done. That, and I prefer at least 5 players for 7 Wonders.

So, what are the more profound differences? Each player gets 4 Wonders to build. There is a limit to 7 Wonders though, so it becomes a race to be the first to complete them all.

7 Wonders Duel - Board Game Arena makes selection easy to work out
Board Game Arena does make glancing at requirements and game state easy - once you crack the code

Instead of drafting hands, there is a central stash of cards. You can select any open card – that is a card that has no cards touching below it. Every second row is setup face down, so there isn’t perfect information to begin with, making selections interesting. While you might really want one card, does it reveal a card that you really don’t want your opponent to have?

Military works differently in Duel as well. There is a track to the side that when you collect shields, you progress a marker towards your opponent’s city. If you can make it all the way to their city, you automatically win the game!

Finally, Science also has some tweaks. Like Military, there is an insta-win condition if you can collect one of each of the six science symbols. If you collect two of the same symbol, you can select a perk that gives you a bonus in the game.

Trying to go the science route, but my opponents army is getting mighty close...

7 Wonders Duel is a great two-player game that can be whatever you want it to be. Playing quick and instinctive compared to super strategic is still viable. It’s also on the long list of ‘To Review’ games on my pile, so hopefully, I can give you a more in-depth look soon.

For now, if you are looking at a fun two-player game give 7 Wonders Duel a look. There is a bit of a learning curve if you haven’t played 7 Wonders, but it doesn’t take long to come to grips with the basics.

So Alpal and I finished this game last week. There was a longer than anticipated break, but tired and time worked against me.

Now that we have finished it, this is to date my favourite investigation/puzzle room type game I have played to date. The only game that pips it is Chronicles of Crime. But Chronicles is actually a different sort of game so it’s not an apple to apple comparison.

The humour is fitting, but don't be afraid to try different things

Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion is in a great niche place. Not just an investigation, not merely an at a home escape room, but all an episode of Scooby-Doo.

My holidays start this week, so I am trying to write a spoiler-free review. This isn’t easy, in part because I can’t show a lot of gameplay without showing spoilers.

An example of why it's hard to show you the game. There isn't enough to spoil on it's own here, I thiink...

But I will give it a good old go, and next week you should have all my thoughts on this highly recommended game!

Astro’s Playroom – PS5

As mentioned in my November Highlights, the first game I was looking forward to playing on PS5 was Astro’s Playroom. And I played it to the point it became my 5th Platinum for 2020!

Japan Studio has managed to make fun little games that provide just enough challenge while showing off new features. Astro Bot Rescue Mission is probably my favourite PSVR game, with Resident Evil 7 and Beat Saber the main competition.

CPU Plaza - the hub world for Astro's Playroom. There is even a geeky easter egg in this screen!

Astro’s Playroom is nostalgia heaven for me. As you go through the game, be on the lookout for little bots with video cameras. They will all be filming homages to iconic PlayStation titles.

Each fo the four worlds is also themed to a particular generation. As you progress, you can find artifacts. These collectibles are either puzzle pieces or various PlayStation hardware that collects in the central Labo area.

It's hard to see what the reference is in a still, but look for the little camerabots for the game recreations

All I am really comfortable with saying about Astro’s Playroom right now is simply play it. It comes with every PS5, and the gentle play and haptic demonstrations are well worth it.

Everything else I want to talk about goes into some spoiler territory, and while the story is basic the nostalgia nods are not. I am going to keep all the things I want to talk about in reserve because this is a game you need to experience and enjoy without knowing what is coming up.

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered – PS5

I started Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 Pro, and I had every intention of going back and finishing it during my holidays. This plan has gone slightly awry.

After playing it on PS5, I am not going to go back and play it on PS4. At least for a while. Maybe if I want to boost my trophy count, but I am not really a trophy chaser.

Larger fights had zero slowdown - combat felt amazing!

The number one improvement and what cements this experience is the frame rate. Even when surrounded by heaps of enemies, I haven’t experienced any dips or stutters, making the game feel amazing.

I do need to install the PS4 version on the PS5 to test, but I feel that both versions will have this benefit. The more powerful hardware makes Spider-Man feel so much smoother.

If you haven’t got Spider-Man already, I can highly recommend the Miles Morales Ultimate version to nab you both games. If you have already played through Spider-Man on PS4, I can’t see a real benefit of rebuying it for PS5 – stick just with Miles Morales.

You not only get screencaps of trophies earned on PS5, but a 15 second video as well

But after one very extended initial play session, I have unlocked all of the communication towers, snapped all the landmarks and grabbed all the backpacks. I have also cleared all of the Kingpin bases.

I am now really torn with installing Man of Medan as I do want to Complete it, or just power through Spider-Man and take the Man of Medan run at a more leisurely pace.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until next time,

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