Gaming reviews: Farming Simulator 2013; Puppeteer; Inazuma Eleven 3: Lightning Bolt
Farming Simulator 2013
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
It's difficult to not be flippant when discussing the merits of Giants Software's home-console port of the inexplicably popular Farming Simulator 2013. Even if you haven't seen the YouTube parodies of the PC version, the title alone is enough to raise a wry smile. As an 'authentic simulation', it presents a farcical facsimile of the agricultural vocation where you can merrily plough underwater and plant beehives next to a local pub all in a season of perpetual summertime.
This console version offers an exclusive slice of pastoral Americana and an increased number of weightless vehicles to spend your tediously earned money on, yet while the physics engine and graphical glitches can be unintentionally hilarious at times, Farming Simulator is plagued by drab visuals. Thanks to GTAV it can't even boast of being the best game of September to include open-world tractor driving. A truly awful harvest.
Sony Computer Entertainment
A platformer that tells an involving story is a rare thing; even rarer is one that does it with as much style and character as Puppeteer. The player takes control of Kutaro, a puppet boy who has lost his head and must replace it throughout with the different heads he collects, each offering a different ability. There is perhaps too much plot explanation early on, which can get frustrating when the game itself is so fun to play. A gorgeous visual style (try it in 3D if you're able), and innovative gameplay.
Inazuma Eleven 3: Lightning Bolt
Presenting football in a very different way to FIFA and co, Inazuma Eleven 3 combines classic RPG tropes with enjoyable arcade action. Using the stylus, players deploy characters with improbable names such as Axel Blaze, while outside games you must use your experience wisely and level up by acquiring new boots or goalie gloves. Originally released three years ago in Japan, its cuteness still charms and little is lost in translation, from cheesy inspirational songs to the net-busting special moves.
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