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Christmas gaming on a budget

Has it been a tight year financially? Have the Tories bent you over and shafted you good and proper? Or do you just miss the days when you could pick up a console without selling a kidney? You’re in luck then, because I’m here to help eke those last drops of gaming goodness from last-gen consoles you may still have in the house, that you purchased years ago.

Here’s some games you can pick up for the price of a crap coffee…

[Prices taken from Amazon and CEX - 7th December 2015]

Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition

“That leather jacket was one of a kind you BASTARD!”

The best version of the best game ever made. For £4? If you’ve not experienced Shinji Mikami‘s hugely influential action-horror masterpiece then you’re in for a rollercoaster of a ride. With improved aiming controls and the bonus content from the PS2 port, Leon Kennedy’s mission in a European village gone wrong is as playable as it was ten years ago. Packed full of content and rewards for multiple playthroughs (as Resident Evil has always done), you’ll be lucky to find a game as good as this for the price of a selection box.

Price?

Between £3 and £5

 

Another Code: R

The teen angst is strong in this one

Cing’s expertise was largely found on the Nintendo DS, but their Wii sequel to Another Code: Two Memories Is a real gem that was often ignored by Wii owners. The warm, relaxed feeling that you get from playing Another Code: R is truly refreshing and Nintendo consoles always cater to those rainy Sunday afternoons where you may be nursing a hangover and want to play something without feeling that you need to be 100% alert. Think Pilotwings, PIkmin 2 and the Wii’s Endless Ocean series. The story is a strange holiday camp mystery based around a teenage girl and her long-dead mother, which sees plenty of puzzles putting the Wii Remote to full use. It’s not the gripping tale that Life Is Strange is, but for a nice laid back story to wash over you, it’s a Wii game worth experiencing, especially if you can find it for a few quid.

Price?

About £8 but it can be picked up for a fiver on eBay.

 

NBA Street Homecourt

Some of the jumping puts the Mario Bros. to shame

It’s difficult to revisit some of the earlier Xbox 360 games (Bulletwitch, anyone?), but NBA Street Homecourt remains a great game. It retains the precise, combo-heavy gameplay mechanics of the 6th gen iterations, but benefits from the HD sheen and a sweet (if short) campaign mode. It’s your duty to take your created player through the various courts and to beat high-profile names such as Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James – after which you get your choice at a player to join your squad.

What separates this game from the NBA 2K series is how it doesn’t take itself too seriously, even if the star-studded cut-scenes do. It encapsulates the raw, pick up and play factor that basketball has - anybody can play and be good with enough practice down at the local court.  The one issue I had was that once you complete the campaign it doesn’t let you continue to play, building up a team of superstars that featured legendary icons of the NBA such as Magma Man. You can still pick up the earlier Street titles on PS2/Xbox/Gamecube for a similar price though.

Price?

£2 at CEX

 

Splinter Cell: Conviction

  Sam doesn’t take kindly to blokes that don’t wash their hands

Sam doesn’t take kindly to blokes that don’t wash their hands

If you love taking your time in a videogame, carefully mass-murdering every living human on a level, Conviction doesn’t just sum up what you’re likely to face later in life, but it’s the ideal game for those wanting to feel like a super spy yet can’t be dealing with a complicated terrorism plot. Sam Fisher has had his daughter kidnapped and he wants to get her back, but is talked in to doing various missions in order to pick up some intelligence on where she may be. It’s basically Taken: The Videogame and it is the perfect blend of refined stealth as seen in Chaos Theory, and accessibility for newcomers to the series. The risk/reward system that treats those who take an enemy out via a chokehold with some insta-kills (up to 4 at once) was a divisive choice but one that works thanks to the large number of enemies frequenting the levels. This encourages an aggressive approach, but the game can still be tackled in a full-on weapon-less manner if you’re feeling particularly sympathetic that day. 

The game effectively doubles in length thanks to a superb online co-op mode too. Get on before the servers go down!

Price?

£2 at CEX

 

Saints Row II

     Purple was considered a girl colour before Saints Row.

 Purple was considered a girl colour before Saints Row.

Ah, Saints Row. The first game was largely held up as an inferior GTA-clone that was a bit too try-hard for some. Saints Row 2 however took the solid original and expanded upon on it, essentially becoming a spiritual successor to the raucous playgrounds the PS2 saw in GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas. Add in a fun gang mechanic that enabled you to slowly take control of the city, and this was a game that was definitely more fun than Grand Theft Auto IV ever was. Sure, it had some ludicrous checkpoints in missions and it didn’t make you feel like you cared for the world you were in, but this felt more like a game than Niko Bellic’s mix of dating and tourism. It was also the series highpoint before they based the third game around wrestling manoeuvres and purple dildos. There were also some exceptional mini-games dotted around the city such as a Destruction Derby tournament and the hilarious Insurance game where you had to get hit by a car as far as possible.

Price?

£2 at CEX

 

Ninja Gaiden Sigma

  The decision to host the Oscars in Syria was an odd one

The decision to host the Oscars in Syria was an odd one

 One of the earlier PS3 titles, this HD-deluxe version of Ninja Gaiden Black (itself a deluxe version of Ninja Gaiden) made a pretty game, drop-dead gorgeous. The original Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox remains the best of the modern series and this is the best way to play if you have Sony’s black slab lying around (as opposed to Microsoft’s).

There was an eerie atmosphere evoking memories of Resident Evil, the way Ryu boots open chests like Link in The Legend of Zelda series, the hugely rewarding combat that pre-dates Bayonetta; this was a gamer’s game. The difficulty may irk some, but once you master Ryu’s ability to block moves with his sword (which include bullets), the game isn’t as brutal as its reputation may have you think. 

Price?

Between £2 and £4