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.

 Red 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 certain 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.

Why Do I Do This To Myself?

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I knew, before I even put it on. Ghost and Goblin’s is one of the hardest games to play and no matter how many times I try, I can’t get past the first level. Guess what, this time was no different. But I am getting better. If it’s not the zombies and ogres, it’s the bats and the birds. Those birds! The amount of times I thought, ‘Great, I got past that, finally’. And what happens, a bird comes along. A bird! The first time I played this game was on my C64 and I think I was just too young to realise how frustrating the game really is. Or how weird it is.

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Ghost and Goblin’s is a slide scrolling platform game, developed by Capcom. It was first released in arcades in 1985, before being ported to other platforms. The main plot of the game is to get the Knight, Sir Arthur, through a series of levels to rescue his kidnapped bride from Satan’s palace. The game is as basic as it is difficult. All I had to do is run, jump and climb my way through six levels. Simple, right? Not so fast. While I’m running, jumping and climbing, I’m also avoiding every enemy that tries to stop me reaching my bride. I’ve got zombies running at me, then rising out of the ground when I least expect it. There are birds flying at me when I get close enough (yes, I’m going on about birds again). The ones that are just sitting there like butter wouldn’t melt, I mean. Others just fly at me, sometimes two at a time. They’re half the reason I keep dying! There are ogres that take a number of hits before they die. The same goes for the bosses at the end of each level.

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When it comes to playing this game, I find I’m more reliant on my reflexes. Mainly because the monsters can come at me so quickly, that I have to make a split second decision to duck, jump out of the way or shoot. I’ll admit, this doesn’t always go well. Especially since Arthur can only take two hits before he dies. The first hit takes off his armour, to reveal his heart covered underwear. The second hit will turn him into a pile of bones. Which will start the game back at the beginning or in the middle of the level. Depending on how far I’ve got in the game.

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The weapons that Arthur uses can also determine how far I can get. Since some weapons are better than others. Arthur starts with a lance. This one is quite handy, especially with the distance it covers. I can kill bosses from further away. Other weapons that can be picked up are knives, axes and flaming torches. The knives are the same as the lances, they have a distance to them. Where as the axes and flaming torches are more up close and personal. Since Arthur can only fire left and right, it can be tricky with the enemies that fly over. So, I find the best strategy is to run, jump and dodge my way through.

Fact is, people either love the game or they hate it. Me personally, as frustrated as I get with it, I really do enjoy the game. Yes, I spend most of my time dying. And yes, I spend the rest of my time shouting at my TV because Arthur decided he didn’t want to jump at that particular moment. But the more I play, the better I get in each section. It’s a very slow progress, but every time I play, I get a better feel for the game and I get that little bit further. I really would recommend this game, as long as the constant dying, the hours it can take to complete just a section of the game and the constant trial and error aspect of it, doesn’t bother you. It really is worth it.

PS4 Spider-Man Review

IMG_20181002_163915_hdr[1]I did it, I finally did it. I completed the game. It took a lot longer than it should, but hey, I had to go to work. Spider-Man is an open world, action-adventure game, developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Exclusively for the PS4. It really is one of the best games I’ve played in a long time. I was looking forward to this game for ages, but most of that is because I’m a complete geek when it comes to anything Marvel or DC. There is on thing I will say, though, ‘Stan Lee’. I saw the great man, himself, in the game. Naturally, I went a little nuts when I saw the cut-scene.

The game is set in New York and I spent a lot of my time swinging through the streets, until I unlocked the fast track sites. Basically, I jumped from helping the city to being a friendly, neighbourhood Spider-Man. The story see’s Peter Parker trying to cope with his normal life and his secret identity. I also got to play as Mary Jane or Miles, which is fine. But, a stealth level is pretty tough when the people I’m controlling have no super power. Along the way, you face some of the the well-known villains of Marvel. First villain is Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin. I’ll admit, Kingpin is one of my favourite villains, because he reminds me of Carmine Falcone in DC. There are a couple of boss battles where I had to face off against two at a time. Now, that was pretty annoying at time, especially when I was attacking one of them and the other got me, because I wasn’t paying attention. The hardest part is watching Peter’s good friend, become Dr. Octopus and having to face him in the final boss battle. Don’t get me wrong, I knew as soon as I saw Otto, he would become Dr. Octopus. But how and why it happened, I could understand why he chose to become a villain. I certainly got teary-eyed at the end of the game. After defeating all the bosses and getting the antidote for Devil’s Breath. Peter has to make the difficult choice of saving Aunt May or the rest of the city. If you didn’t get upset, you’re not human.

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The game play was great and didn’t take long to get used to what buttons to press to make a combo. Whether it be while swinging through the city, aerial combat, webbing enemies, finishing moves or dodging bullets, using his spider-senses. The game works on building XP to increase Spider-Man’s skill level. A lot of the skills help Spider-man develop new moves, which can be found in the moves list. This is really handy when I needed a refresh on what combo moves can be used. There are also a series of tokens to collect, all of which are used to purchase new suits and suit mods. Each suit has its own power, which makes Spider-Man a better crime fighter. Some of the tokens are collectables, some are puzzles. Such as, the research stations, I really like getting these. Others including base and Challenge tokens. These two were a little tougher. There are a series of base camps, all of them had the same idea. five or six stages of defeating the bad guys and you’d get the token. However, the challenge tokens were exactly that, challenging. There were different ones, such as, stealth or combat challenge. They are quite fun, once I worked out what I had to do.  The combat system flows really well from hand to hand combat to aerial combat. I can’t express how much fun it is to beat up the bad guys, using a whole range of different moves. The one thing that did make me laugh, is that I’d go from completing a mission or stopping a crime, to catching a pigeon. Yeah, that was kinda weird.

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The graphics are really good. I sometimes enjoyed going to the highest point and looking over the whole of New York. This was even better when I could see the Avengers Tower in the distance. When swinging through the buildings, you can see how well the city has been created. It almost has a calming affect, when I was diving down as fast as I could, then swinging back up again. The thought and design that went into each suit and how engaging they looked, is what got me in a state of awe. They all look spectacular and I honestly couldn’t wait to see what Spider-Man looked like in each one of them. When it comes to the music, I could sit back and think, yeah, that sounds like something you’d hear on a Marvel movie. The dialogue wasn’t too bad either. It was easy to hear and understand. The cut scenes were well thought out and a pleasure to watch. I’m terrible for skipping cut scenes, usually.

Spider-Man is definitely a game I could play again and again. I just can’t stress how much fun the game is. I really do think it’s a shame that the game is a PlayStation exclusive, because I honestly believe there are a lot of people, who don’t have a PlayStation, that would enjoy this game.

Spider-Man rating – 10 out of 10