Netflix Reviews – Bird Box (2018)

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019 and what better way to start the year than with something different. If I’m not watching Netflix, I’m watching Amazon Prime Video. So, it makes sense to incorporate that part into my blog. As soon as Netflix sent a ‘we recommend you watch this’ in my inbox, I was spending most of my time wondering if I should watch it. It wasn’t until I was sitting in my kitchen, preparing the family buffet for New Years Eve, that I decided to give it a go. 

Bird Box is quite new to Netflix. Although, the concept isn’t. I found a lot of people have different ideas on films or programmes it’s similar to. Personally, I found it was a cross between The Walking Dead and an episode in season one of Dollhouse, Echoes. The film starts off with the female lead whos single and pregnant. Now, I have a preference for dramatic and action filled films/series with a strong female lead, but even I thought, ‘really, that’s how you’re going to start the film’. Sandra Bullock plays Malorie who you see on own with two children at the very start, before it jumps to five years in the past. Here you see Malorie watching a news report about an epidemic sweeping Europe, before she goes to the hospital with her sister. When she’s at the hospital, she leaves her appointment seeing a woman hitting her head against a window, repeatedly. It’s then she realises the epidemic has arrived.

I don’t mind flashbacks as long as they are relevant to what I’m watching. The flashbacks are done well in this film. We get to see Malorie’s dangerous journey with a young boy and girl, dubbed Boy and Girl. Then it jumps back to how Malorie ended up on her own with the two of them. The flashback explains how it’s something that people see that causes them to want to hurt themselves. That’s why it’s so important to keep the blindfolds on. Yet, it doesn’t explain why people who have been certified as insane can see whatever it is and it doesn’t cause them any harm. The insane just want others to see, by any means possible.

Malorie’s journey to the safe haven is a dangerous one. But, overall, it was a good film. Don’t get me wrong, it seemed a little over the top at times. I can understand why she was so harsh and detached from the children. It just a shame there were holes in story. Such as, who or what was causing everyone to hurt themselves. If you have a bit of free time and fancied watching a soft horror, I’d definitely recommend this film. 

Spyro Reignited Trilogy Review

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I couldn’t believe it when I found out Spyro was being remastered. I thought Crash Bandicoot was amazing, but Spyro was the game in my teens. I brought the original games when they first came out. Infact, I’ve still got them. Even now, I still play them on my PS1 occasionally. I used to think Spyro was wonderfully squishy then. But when I saw him for the first time, I’ll be honest, I squealed (I know, I’m a big kid). He was made so life-like, I couldn’t help but want to squeeze the cheeks on his squishy face. What made it even better was The fact that three of the best Spyro games were remastered. Spyro The Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. 

The cannon is loaded and ready.

The game was developed by Toys for Bob and published by Activision. I realise I’m biased, but they did an amazing job. The gameplay was as I expected, virtually the same as the original. But that’s exactly what I was hoping. It was the graphics that did it for me. They were just so detailed. You could actually see the worlds as they were ment to be seen. There was so much more definition and depth. It was easy to see how much time and devotion has been given when remastering the levels. When Spyro went through the snow, he left prints behind. When using his fire attack, the ground and surrounding area would become scorched. The fire even illuminated a darker room. Then, of course, there’s Spyro. When I took my first look at a more sleek, defined Spyro. It was like looking at an old friend the way you always imagined he’d be. Spyro pranced and charged with much more elegance. Spyro’s wings and horns were more emphasized and much more prominent. I was just overjoyed with how Spyro looked. Yes, once again, I’m biased. I don’t care.

Just chilling.

The game music was basically the same as I remember. I couldn’t help but bop along to it. It was like a walk down nostalgia lane. Even the smallest of details, such as the sound as the gems being freed from a strong chest. It’s became my favourite sound. The controls used were practically the same as the original games, so I found handling Spyro very easy to do. To be honest, if I was playing the game for the first time, I’d still find him easy to control. Spyro is such an easy and fun platform game, that is easy to get lost in. Even Spyro’s charge movement was the same as I remember. It’s still easy to lose control of Spyro when he’s stampeding, especially around corners. I can’t count the amount of times I ran off the edge or head butted a wall. It took a number of tries to get it right. It was worse on the Tree Tops level, on Beast Makers home. Almost every walkway was a supercharge ramp. It was quite confusing, trying to work out which supercharge ramp to use to get to the third dragon. In the end I needed to use three different supercharge ramps to get there. Then, of course, there’s the speedway levels. These are the levels where Spyro glides along a course, using spot-on precision to hit every item. The rings and arches were relatively easy. But items like the chests, lamps, aeroplanes, etc were a lot harder to hit. I found these levels took the longest, if I wanted to get all the items in one go. In one speeches level, I finished it completely with less than a second to spare.  

I’m gliding, not flying.

The one thing I noticed with the reignited trilogy is the game seemed easy in some places and then difficult in others. I don’t mean unbeatable difficult. I mean an annoying, I want to throw my controler, difficult. Yet, as soon as that part was completed I start thinking, why did that take so long. The game has been made child friendly. Personally, I think that makes the game even better. It means that a new generation of gamers can understand why myself and my peers loved Spyro so much. I noticed there were only a few differences between the original games and the reignited trilogy, as well. But this was mainly the cut scenes in the game and tweaks to some of the characters. Such as the dragons Spyro had to find in the first game, they had clothes on. It’s these small things that can only be noticed by someone who played the original games. 
When it comes to Spyro, I can’t help but say how fantastic the games are. I enjoyed the time it took to play all three of them. Even the annoying parts were worth completing. All three games were fun to play and I found it difficult to put the game down. It doesn’t matter if, like me, you played Spyro when they first came out or the reignited trilogy is the first time you’ve played it. The game is perfect for gamers of all ages. If you like platform games that are easy going and relaxing to play (for the most part). I definitely recommend this game.

Spark Reignited Trilogy rating: 9 out of 10

Too Many Games, Too Little Time

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I had it all worked out. I was going to complete Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2. Then write a review on both of them. That really was the plan. And, what happens? A beautiful, squishy, purple dragon came on the scene. You know the one I mean. That little plucky fire breather, who charges at monsters ten times bigger than him. That purple dragon who can’t fly, but glide. Unless he’s doing a speedway challenge. You guessed it, Spyro Reignited Trilogy came out. Ever since I installed the game on my PS4, I haven’t been able to stop playing it. I brought the games when they first came out, in fact I still have them. So, playing the reignited trilogy was like reliving my youth. I can honestly say, I’m in my element.IMG_20181204_224136_hdr[1]

Look at his squishy face.

I’ll be honest. There have not been many times I been able to say that I’ve got more games than I can cope with to complete. Usually its complete one game in enough time before the next one comes out. Not this time, nope. AC Odyssey came out October 15th 2018, RDR 2 came out October 26th 2018 and Spyro came out November 13th 2018. Which seems spaced out well enough, but making the decision to play Red Dead Redemption before playing Red Dead 2 is what put a huge spanner in my plans.

IMG_20181204_225827_hdr[1]You know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Red Dead was an amazing game and was worth causing myself such disruption. And, hey! I’m a gamer. I can’t say that if I haven’t got a game to play. Right now I’ve got two games to focus on after I’ve fully completed all three games on Spyro. But, then there’s new games coming out soon. Including Just Cause 4 and Resident Evil 2. Looks like I better get my skates on. I’ve got reviews to write, after all. Better get back on Spyro.

┬áRed Dead Redemption Review

With all the hype Red Dead Redemption 2 was getting for months, I decided it was time to have a go at Red Dead Redemption. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve known about this game since it first came out and how much people enjoyed the game. I just never got around to playing it until now. I have to say, I was not disappointed. I knew the game was published by Rockstar Games and I’ve played a few games published by Rockstar, including Grand Theft Auto. So, part of myself knew that it would be a fab game. You know what it’s like when you see a new game, sometimes you take it at face value. That’s what I did, origionally. Oh, was I wrong.

The game itself, is based on the wild west, but it is so much more. Yes, I was galloping around on horseback and I got thrown off a few times before I realised the horse had a stamina bar. As soon as I worked that out, the horse started behaving itself. The open world aspect of the game is what I found the most enjoyable. Being able to ride from town to town, engaging in activites outside the main missions. These can be side missions that help gain extra money, taming wild horses or, my personal favourite, gambling. I must have spent more time playing poker and blackjack, than I did playing the missions. I have to say, I was pretty good at poker, even if I do say so myself. But that’s the difference between games and real life. I was never very good at the good samaritan jobs that I rode past. By the time I turned back, the person needing help was already dead. Yep, great job, TJ. I think one time, I even killed the person needing help by mistake. In the end, I gave them up as a bad job and just continued on.

The main missions, themselves, we’re fun to do. They weren’t over the top or too difficult to complete. The missions help to, not only shape the main character, but show what John Marston was capable of. Which, apparently, was a whole range of dangerous, vicious things. But, if my family was being held hostage by the government, I think I’d be capable of a few things as well. I tried to play the game as an honerable person. However, there were still times when I just decided to shoot rather than hog tie someone. Espacially De Santa, the second I had the channce to get rid of him, I didn’t give it a second thought. The annoying, lying little toad. Personally, I thought the best missions involved the train, it felt like a throw back to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. “All you had to do was follow the damn train, CJ”.

The gameplay wasn’t too bad, the controls flowed quite well. Except when I needed to shoot, while on horseback. Having to aim, shoot and ride at the same time was just annoying. I did it, obviously. Or I wouldn’t have completed the game. But most of the time I had to slow down to be able use the aiming system properly. The only other annoyance I had was the save point. I could only save in a property I had purchased or rented for the night. Which is fine, when it was close by. But, I was always left where I completed the mission and since it was normally far away from where I started. I had to ride for miles just to save the game. To be honest, they were the only problems I had with the game. Which isn’t bad.

Red Dead Redemption was a really fun game to play. I can’t believe it took me so long to actually play the game. But I’m glad I did. I’d say I recommened this game to any gamer, but I’m probably one of the few people who hadn’t played the game until now. Definately playing Red Dead Redemption 2 now.

Red Dead Redemption rating: 9 out of 10

Halloween Replay

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Until Dawn is one of my favourite horror games. The game is mostly exploration, quick-time events and decision-making. Not only does it make me think, it still has the potential to make me jump. So, I thought it was the perfect game to play over Halloween. Especially since it gives me the chance to choose the good ending or the bad ending. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve completed this game more times than I can count. Including collecting all the trophies, to get a PS4 platinum trophy (very proud of that). Another thing I like about this game is that it works on the butterfly effect. I’m sure you all know what that means. The most rational explanation of it is, the flapping of a butterfly wing can cause a tornado somewhere else. It’s safe to say that small events can have a quite big effect.

That is exactly how the game is played. I have to chose┬ácertain small event to create the biggest consequence. And, sometimes, these small events have nothing to do with the ending. Take Sam, for example. Early on in the game Sam goes down to the basement with Joshua to turn the boiler/power on. If you take the time to look in the cabinet where Josh is, before following the QTE, you’ll find a baseball bat. This gives Sam the chance to talk to Josh about it, then place it on the other side of the room. Now, this may not be important to the ending, but it is to Sam. You see, later on in the game Sam is chased by the psycho. This is where you really have to be quick with the QTEs. At some point, Sam will run to the basement. If you choose to hide, the baseball bat will be right where Sam put it earlier. Giving her the chance to hit the psycho with it and run away. However, if you didn’t pick up the bat in the beginning and you choose to hide. There’s a good chance the psycho will over power Sam and knock her out. On the other hand, if you’ve played the game as much as I have, you’ll know which buttons to choose to evade the psycho, without even having to use the baseball bat.

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Another thing I like are the totems. These are collected throughout the game. There are five sets of totems to find and they all have some influence on the game. They are used as a guide, as long as the player knows which decisions to make, they are great way to steer the player to the desired ending. However, if you’ve played the game in a certain way, the outcome of following the totem may not give the desired effect. But, we’ll get to that in a bit.

The five totems are:-

The Death Totem – Black totems or butterflies, shows the character’s possible death.

The Danger Totem – Red totems or butterflies, shows a dangerous event that a character could experience.

The Loss Totem – Brown totems or butterflies, show the possible death of another character.

The Guidance Totem – Yellow totems or butterflies, show visions that can guide/help the player.

The Fortune Token – White totems or butterflies, Show visions of good fortune/luck.

As I said earlier, the visions shown by the totems will only help if the correct decisions have been made. For example, when Matt and Emily are at the top of the radio tower, a guidance token shows Emily giving Matt the flare gun. If you find the flare gun and give it to Matt there may be a chance he fires the flare gun straightaway. Which means he won’t have it later on in the game where he might need it. This is because the player has decided to play Matt as a pacifist. Every time he agrees with Emily, you don’t get the choice to save it for later. So, when the time comes to choose between saving Emily or jumping to safety. If the player chooses to save Emily both times, Matt will die because he has nothing to defend himself with. Remember what I said about small decisions causing big consequences. But, here’s the kicker, even if Matt had fired the flare gun, Matt would have survived if the player had chosen to jump to safety. Which means the totem is kind of useless. Personally, if I’m playing for the good ending, I’d choose for Emily to keep the flare gun. This means, when Emily is running from the Wendigo, I can shoot it with the flare gun and then hit every QTE. This stops Emily from being bitten and the game skips the ‘Emily has been bitten’ scene.

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It’s the same with the collectables. Collecting certain items help to trigger certain scenes or determine future events. Take the twins clueline. The player needs to find Hannah’s tattoo card, the picture of Hannah showing her tattoo and the scrawled journal, to ensure Josh’s survival until dawn. Collecting all the mystery man, twins and 1952 clueline really does help develop the story as the game is completed. A lot of the twins clues show what happened to them after they fell at the beginning of the game. Mystery man clues reveal the stranger on the mountain and how Josh became the psycho. The 1952 clueline reveal what happened in the sanatorium, including where the Wendigos came from.

I can honestly say that I can play this game over and over again. You do have to play the game through at least once to understand how it works. You can then start again to create the desired ending. One thing I will say, do the ‘no-one survived’ ending before the ‘everyone survived until dawn’ ending. Personally, I felt better knowing that everyone survived in the end. Rather than finishing the game with everyone dead. It’s probably just me being a softie, but who cares. There’s nothing better than finishing the game with everyone alive.

Why Is This Game So Addictive?

20181022_221906I downloaded the strangest game a few days ago. I know its been out a few years now and I’ve watched YouTubers play the game. It looked a fun and quirky game. But, I’ll be honest, the only reason I decided to purchase the game is because it was at a discounted price. And I am so glad it was. The game was released in 2015, it was published by Bossa Studios. Now, the whole point of the game to play a slice of bread and do everything you can to become toast. There are other features to the game, but lets focus on the slice of bread, becoming toast.

Ok, I’m a slice of bread and my main obsession in life is to become toast. So, what do I do? Anything and everything I can to reach the object that will toast me. Only problem is, there are a number of obstacles in the way. Mould, balls of dirt/dust, ants, sweets, plates, glasses and an array of household items. Getting some of these items on the bread will lower its edibility. There is also the higher danger of falling on the floor or in water. This reduces the bread’s edibility very quickly. However, there are a number of ways to toast the bread, other than using a toaster. In the kitchen I used the hob to make toast. In the bedroom I used the iron. But my favourite was the living room. I toasted the bread using the TV. It was fun knocking the bowling ball onto it.

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Sitting on the shelf.

The thing is, this game is so annoying. I try swinging the bread from the coffee table to the sofa and the thing just belly flops onto the floor and becomes inedible. Then I misjudge a gab between a box and a wall, what happens. I miraculously manage to save the slice of bread on the wall. Nothing makes sense with this game. All logic and rational thought has been thrown out of the window. I mean, why is this slice of bread trying so hard to become toast? Is a tan really that important. But, more importantly, why is this one slice of bread so desperate to make that man’s life a misery. Everything around him is being destroyed by a slice of bread. How moronic does that sound. And yet, I find myself wanting to take part in this slice of bread’s destruction. Why is it, that this game makes me want to turn it into toast, almost as much as the slice of bread wants to be toast. Could it be because the game is so annoying and rage-inducing, that it makes it a joy to play.

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Where did that jam come from?

To make the destruction worse, I can also be a mayhem making baguette that is hell-bent on destroying everything in its path. I can race a bagel around the room, following markers along a course. There is also a fragile cracker that I can take on a cheese hunt, without destroying it.

So, why can I not stop playing it? Oh well, once a gamer. Always a gamer, I suppose.

Time To Chill

I’m on holiday his week and I’ve decided to take a break from my PS4. Which is a shock, since I do love it. But, it’s not my favourite console. Nope. My favourite is actually my PS2. It’s not just the console either, it’s the games that were made for it. From my point of view, these games showed the transistion from how games were made, to where the gaming industry was heading. I know some people won’t agree with me. Others may say this console did that or that console did this. Or, everything you need to know can been seen over the years of PC gaming. We all have opinions, this is mine.

The main reason I love the PS2 so much is the games. I’ve never just liked one type of game. I like action, adventure, platform, side-scrolling, simulation, strategy, casual, etc … etc. So, as a result, I have a wide variaty of games for every console I own. But the games on PS2 are different. I say this because I have found some of the most crazy and quirky games for this console. Don’t get me wrong, I know these games were also available on other platforms, but for me, it didn’t have the same feeling.

Take the Gregory Horror Show, for example. I have spent hours at a time on this game. And I can guarentee you right now, that I will spend even more hours on this game in the future. It’s unorthadox, but so simple. Gregory Horror Show is a survival-horror game and, as far as I am aware, the only platform it was available on was PS2. The characters were crazy, good. But they could be scary as hell. Especially Cathrine and Hell’s Chef. Being chased by these characters was one thing, but being caught, that’s another. If you ever get the chance to play this game, play it. You won’t regret it. It really is a hidden treasure. My one piece of advice, though. If you do play the game and end up being chased by the charaters. Go straight to your room. It’s the one safe place in the game.

Then there’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds and Nightmare before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge. Before you say it, these games are survival horror as well. I realise this. But I love watching practically everything created by Tim Burton and Joss Whedon. These games allowed me to become part of the world’s they had created. I’ve completed both games, so many times. But I will play them over and over again. Simply because they don’t get boring. This Buffy game is the best one becuase I get to play different characters. Although, Sid the Dummy is at a disadvantage, height-wise. Strange little thing. Whereas you only play Jack Skellington in Nightmare Before Christmas. But, lets be honest, would you really want to play as anyone else.

As you can see from the picture above, the one game I haven’t mentioned yet is Need for Speed: Underground 2. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best game on the Need for Speed series. I do enjoy a good racing game and for me, this is it. Not only do I get to take part in drag, sprint, circuit and drift races, but I can modify the cars. Give them the proper street racer look and increase the car’s visual rating. I couldn’t do this to an actual car, but give me a virtual one I’m going to have some fun.

I’ve got some other games with me including Sonic Gems, Capcom Classics, Micro Machines, GTA Vice City and Lego Batman (See, not just one type of game). I’ll be honest. I can’t wait play these games and pretend reality doesn’t exsit for one whole week. Have fun gaming.