Easing into 2013 slowly

22:10, Jan 20 2013

The first day back after a good summer holiday is always going to be hard. For me, that day was today.

There was a glimmer of hope that my holiday migth be allowed to continue after I was unable to log in to my work computer, but the IT department soon sorted the issue). I am now well and truly not-on-holiday and back in work mode.

It was a remarkably non-gaming holiday, even though I took my PS Vita, 3DS and Android tablet away with me, quietly hopeful that I'd be able to sneak a few minutes of game time every now and then. That said, I did manage some playtime with a new Sly Cooper game for the PS Vita and with Faster Than Light, a PC game that I'm incredibly bad at and don't seem to be able to te terribly good at.

However, I think I could count on one hand the number of times I actually managed to play a game during our two weeks in the Marlborough Sounds - and it was probably a good thing. Last year was a remarkably busy year for games and a holiday that didn't feature gaming was perhaps just what the doctor ordered: it was a chance for me to relax and use my thumbs and hands for other things than hold game controllers and computer mice.

While a lot of people use their Christmas/New Year holidays to devote serious time o games that have been neglected due to time constraints or restart old favourites, for me, those holidays are a period of relaxation and reflection and a chance to recharge my gaming batteries for the year ahead - which has already started for me with Ninja Theory's reboot of Capcom's Devil May Cry series, a series that places its hack-n-slash roots clearly at the forefront.

For longtime fans of the series, the most jarring and notable feature of DmC: Devil May Cry is the visual look of Dante, the game's lead character. Gone are the silver locks, instead replaced with dark hair and a more brooding emo personality. It seems part of Capcom's brief to Ninja Theory was to have a Dante that appealed more to Western gamers and younger gamers, hence the more Western features, I guess, and a storyline that has features social media and a society under the thumb of a master demon thanks to his deliciously tasty energy drink, Virility. I knew energy drinks would be the downfall of us all!


So, while Dante, who is the spawn of a demon father and an angel mother, might have changed in look, gamers of the series who fear that the series' trademark combat system has been forsaken need not fear: Capcom and Ninja Theory have stuck with the acrobatic combat style of previous games where you're scored for how quickly you dispatch demons in your path - and how stylishly you do it.

I'm liking DmC: Devil May Cry a lot, actually, although as with many games of this genre, things feel a little samey after a while. The soundtrack, though, isn't really my cup of tea: Noisia and Combichrist. Why is it that game makers think that we like slicing up demons with loud music blaring in the background? Maybe I'm just getting old.

As far as series reboots go, DmC is surprisingly good, and Ninja Theory is the development studio behind the game Enslaved: Odyssey to The West, an enjoyable but underrated game. But what are your thoughts on reboots of classic game series: do you want to see more of them or do you think established game series should be left alone?

As far as Game Junkie blog goes this year, I've got a few ideas for it that will (hopefully) make it better, stronger, faster ... well, you know the drill. I'll keep you posted on things in the coming weeks but I'd like to engage readers more.

So, how was your Christmas and New Year? Was it a gaming nirvana?

Other stuff you might be interested in: Game Junkie is on Twitter and you can email him here. He'll even answer your emails, not get some smart robot to do it. He also has another gaming blog here, which was actually updated recently. You should check it out.