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What we've been playing

A few of the things that have us hooked this week.

Close-up key art for Ghostrunner 2. We see the hooded face of a cyborg, which is glowing yellow in slits that form eyes and cheek bones and the character's mouth. Blue light lands on the side of the hood. It's a dingy, atmospheric shot.
Image credit: Eurogamer / One More Level

10th November, 2023

Hello! Welcome back to our regular feature where we write a little bit about some of the games we've found ourselves playing over the last few days. This time: Dante's infernal, cyborg ninjas, and Crashes.

If you fancy catching up on some of the older editions of What We've Been Playing, here's our archive.

Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, PS5

Before you get excited: no, Devil May Cry 3 doesn't have a remastered PS5 version, though I'm still holding out hope for one. I bought the HD Collection that contains Devil May Cry 1, 2 and 3, to be able to play it on PS5.

In classic video game tradition, Devil May Cry 3 is set as a prequel to 1 and 2. We start off with a younger Dante at an as yet unnamed, and newly purchased, Devil May Cry shop. A clearly up-to-no-good person appears to give our cocky devil hunter an invitation from his twin brother Vergil, and then demons totally trash the shop. You teach them a lesson or two, though, to the beat of some rockin' tunes. And this small scene sets up what to expect from the rest of the game: fast-paced battles, eerie enemies, brutal combo attacks, sarcastic taunts from Dante and doing everything to a kick-ass rock beat.

The above is just one of the many reasons I love the Devil May Cry franchise, and why it's a series that I will endlessly return to. It's got heart, it's silly at times, brutal at others, and no matter how irritating or cocky Dante gets, you still want him to win. Devil May Cry 3 in particular really articulates the sibling rivalry between the twins and explains why it echoes through the rest of the games.

Also, the soundtrack is awesome! There's nothing quite like using Ebony and Ivory to shove bullets into Reapers as they screech at you in the Temen-Ni-Gru, nor like using the weapons gained from the soul of Cerberus to whack Ghouls into the next universe alongside a heavy beat.

The point I'd like to finish on is how easy it is to replay Devil May Cry 3 and not get bored. There are multiple difficulty levels, weapon combinations, and ways to approach the fights with different bosses that you can come back to time and time again, without anything feeling dull. And I still love slicing up Jester when he starts to really irritate - not today, clown boy, not today.


Ghostrunner 2, PC

The inside of your base in Ghostrunner 2. It's a cyberpunk office - or at least it looks like one. There are half-a-dozen desks with computers on, and thick wires trailing around the floor. The whole circular class interior is lit by circular lights from the ceiling, bathing it in a bluey, greeny glow.
Barrels explode on a platform in Ghostrunner 2, as our cyborg ninja player watches while running along a wall nearby.
Talking to feminine mechanic-like character in Ghostrunner 2, a game that now has dialogue options.
A cyberpunk exterior scene in Ghostrunner 2. We see glowing neon shop signs - one advertising Pierogi, which are Polish dumplings, mmm - and graffiti on the walls. It's our cyborg ninja's playground.
A few pictures I took in Ghostrunner 2. There's two interior shots from your new base hub, and two of the more traditional levels in motion. It's quite hard to take screenshots because you're often pressing a keyboard button and using the mouse, leaving you little time to take a snap. I managed to get one of the new exploding barrels though! | Image credit: Eurogamer / One More Level

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who's pumped about Ghostrunner, but that first game blew me away. There was something so pure about it, so lean and free of faff, and, I suppose, expectations. You were an agile cyborg ninja who had to leap around levels and slice enemies up, and that was it. But it wasn't really a game about combat, it was a game about fluidity and speed, and working out the best routes around levels. And it just felt cool. It was all forward momentum, no standing around, with that Daniel Deluxe soundtrack pumping you along.

To say I've been excited to play the sequel is an understatement. But I've also been worried, because, well, how do you follow that? Sequels tend to come with more stuff on them, more fat and more systems, because they want to show how they've evolved. But does more fat suit an idea like Ghostrunner's? That's what worries me.

Now that I've played a few hours of it, I'm torn. On the one hand, everything I like about the original is back. It's got the moves, it's got the sounds, it's got that garish cyberpunk cool, and it's got pace. And it doesn't mess around. Ghostrunner 2 gets you up and running along walls, and slow-mo-ing, and grappling and leaping and slicing, immediately. Great.

But on the other hand, it has a lot more stuff. There's more going on mechanically in combat - more moves, more upgrades, more to think about - but what concerns me most of all is the story. There are cut-scenes now, and characters, both those working with you and against you, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. It makes it all seem a bit messy and convoluted. I liked the simplicity of being a rogue cyborg ninja working pretty much alone in the first game. There's also, and this really shocked me, an in-between-level hub, where, as in a BioWare game (it reminded me of Anthem for some reason) you walk around talking to other characters. There are even dialogue options! Dialogue options in Ghostrunner: I am definitely not sure how I feel about that.

It feels markedly different, then, and whether or not it's a good thing, I don't yet know. I need more time to see where it takes the game. But for now, I'm still into it. There's still the Ghostrunner I love in there. So: we'll see. We'll see.


Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled, Switch

Digital Foundry takes a look at Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled.

The other week we put out a call for questions ahead of one of our upcoming Inside Eurogamer podcasts for Supporters, and one of those questions was something like, "have you ever regretted giving a certain review score, or changed your mind after the fact?". And listen: no. But also: yes? Maybe?

Let's not call it a regret - no time for regrets in this life, my brothers - but one of my "Am I sure about that?" reviews may or may not have been our Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled one from back in 2019. As True Eurogamer Fans will recall, I slapped an Essential on that bad boy, but here's the thing: I absolutely think the base game - Mario Kart but with weird, jagged Crash Bandicoot characters you've never heard of - is worthy of that. I stand by it. The problem is, after launch, Activision went and added a load of grubby microtransaction antics, didn't they, and it became another one of those exercises in extracting value, rather than providing it.

Still, this game remains, as I put it in 2019, an authentic banger. I played it at the weekend with my mum, who I just got back from visiting for a few days. Being an only child I grew up playing CTR with her and, occasionally - when he wasn't getting upset "at the controls" while in dead last - my dad (no sympathy: I was a seven-year-old with a PS One all to myself, it was great) and so catching up over a few games now has become something of a family tradition. In some ways the HD-ification of CTR has actually made it a little harder to read, as modern games can be in comparison to their polygonal ancestors, and certainly that doesn't help for any out-of-practise parents. At one point my mum genuinely said "I need to go get my driving glasses," and if anything I sort of envied her. But man, this frantic, wonky, desperately turn-of-the-millenium game is still great.

-Chris T