My Top Five Tomb Raider Games

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It won’t be long till the the last instalment of the reboot trilogy comes out. Tomb Raider – Shadow of the Tomb Raiser is released 14th September 2018. This game sees Lara in South America, where she faces Trinity and, of course, her own demons. From what I can tell, this is promising to be one of the hardest games in the trilogy. Once again, like the previous two games, Lara will have her trusty bow by her side. Don’t get me wrong, it’s kinda strange seeing Lara without her dual pistols. But I’ve got quite fond of using a bow and arrow.

So, for this blog I thought I’d run through my top five Tomb Raider games. It was difficult just choosing five of them, since Tomb Raider has always been one of my favourite game franchises. Right up there with Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed. There is something about playing an action-adventure game, with puzzles that really make you think, that I find difficult to put down. I have to see how they end.

1. Tomb Raider

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Of course, the first choice is the first game in this iconic franchise. This action-adventure game was released in 1996. It was published by Eidos interactive and developed by Core Design. It could arguably be seen as one of the greatest video games ever made. I played the game when it first came out and I’d find it difficult not to agree. Not only was it fun to guide Lara through different tombs, while using her duel pistols to fend off wild animals and bad guys. The main excitement came from solving the puzzles and exploring the different surroundings in each level. At the time, the buttons used to move Lara and the way she moved around with the camera was quite cutting edge. However, I decided to dust the game off and pop it in my PS1 and have another go at it. How I coped with the movement and that camera is beyond me. As fantastic as this game is, I do believe I’ve been spoiled with how amazing the game play of the games of today is. They just flow so much easier. So, I suppose this game could be seen as the big sister of today’s games.

2. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation

IMG_20180903_220611[1]I decided on this for my second choice. The Last Revelation was released 1999 and was the forth instalment in the game series. In this game, Lara’s movement and game play improved from the first game. When playing Lara, I could make her jump large gaps by using ropes dangling from the ceiling. Climb down and up poles and ropes. As well as, being able to shimmy around corners. Lara, herself, has been given a make over in this game. She has a more refined look, making her more realistic. The inventory also has a ‘combine’ choice for some of the items. Which means I could create a a whole new item. I know it doesn’t seem like much, now. But, at the time, it was a really major thing. I mean, being able to combine a large revolver with a laser sight was kinda epic. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, in my opinion, was a huge turning point in the franchise.

3. Tomb Raider: Legend

IMG_20180903_220712[1]My third choice is Tomb Raider: Legend, which came out in 2006 and was the seventh instalment in the game series. It saw the game franchise go back to its true form. The game showed an increase in Lara’s abilities. Giving the player more freedom of movement with Lara. She can still jump, climb, shimmy, swing on ropes and use vertical poles. But she can crawl through small spaces and use a grappling line to pass over gaps and pull different objects towards her. In a few of the levels, Lara is riding a motorbike and fighting enemies in the process. Which, for me, was one of the best parts of the game. The puzzles are much more intricate. especially since they block the players progress, if unsolved. Tomb Raider: Legend was definitely a step in the right direction in the franchise.

4. Tomb Raider: Underworld

IMG_20180903_220332[1]I know, before you say it, Tomb Raider: Underworld wasn’t one of the best games in the Tomb Raider franchise. It was released in 2008 and was the eighth instalment in the game series. The combat system and camera angles are something to be desired. But the story and exploration was really good. Even the puzzles made you stop and think at times. In this game, Lara’s interaction with the environment much more realistic. When exploring, Lara is able to push parts of her surroundings out of her way. Her foot prints are left behind as she walks through the mud. The weather has more of a realistic impact on Lara. Except when she’s climbing or shimmying in the rain. The natural thing is to slip of have difficulty holding on. But Lara seems to cope with this fine. In my personal opinion, Tomb Raider: underworld may not have been the best game, but it is brilliant to play. If you’re like me. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

5. Tomb Raider

IMG_20180903_215949[2]My fifth choice is Tomb Raider, which was released in 2013 and was the tenth instalment in the franchise. However, this game was the start of yet another reboot of the series. In this game Lara was much younger than in her previous games. This was before she became the Tomb Raider we know and love. What we have in this game is an untested Lara, who has never seen battle. The player journey’s with Lara as she learns how to escape a cult who’s hunting her down and doing whatever it takes to save her friends. As a result, this game focuses on survival more than exploration. The game play is much better than any other Tomb Raider game that came before it. Rather than just attacking and shooting enemies, stealth kills and close-quarter combat is much more favourable. The stealth kills are a great way to progress through the levels when Lara is just getting to grips with having to kill for survival. This game see’s Lara using a bow, rather than the dual pistols. It also has a survival instinct, similar the Assassin’s Creed eagle eye. It aids in solving environmental puzzles and where to head next, to progress in the game. Tomb Raider sees the player gain xp, to develop Lara’s survival and combat abilities, as well as, collecting crafting materials to upgrade her weapons. The game also has a multiplayer mode for online gaming. I’ve played the multiplayer mode quite a lot and it really is a lot of fun. Tomb Raider is a fantastic reboot of the series and can easily stand by side with the best of the games out there.

I’ve Gone Golf Crazy

IMG_20180821_215508This is the question I’ve been asking myself the past week. Why didn’t I get this game when it came out? Everybody’s golf was developed by Clap Hanz and SIE Japan Studio, it came out in August 2017. When I first saw it, I remember thinking ‘that looks a good game, I must buy it’. Did I buy it? No. Why, u ask? I’m still working on that answer. It wasn’t until I had a glance in the PS store and saw it in offer, I decided to buy it.

What I don’t understand is, I really enjoy playing golf. Whether it’s on a crazy golf course or as a video game. So, there is no good reason it took me so long to get it. And now I can’t stop playing it. It’s so easy to play and addictive, as I’ve found out. In order to hit the golf ball, all it takes is a three-click swing action. Just click X three times to get the desired distance and power. Of course, as time goes on, there are other things that have to be considered when teeing off. Such as, the wind direction and strength. What the weather’s doing and what type of terrain the ball has landed on. It’s also easy to get used to the camera controls and how to use the targeting map to your advantage.

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I’ll be honest, my favourite part is creating the avatar. I always go for a goth look. Obviously I try to make it similar to myself. But, lets face it, we all make the changes we wish we had to the avatar. I had the basics to start with and was able to make a suitable black clothed avatar. Even though I’ve gone up in the levels and gained a lot more items for my avatar, I haven’t changed her much. I’ve always preferred the simple look. The game also gives more than just the general male or female choice. I could make a child avatar or an elderly avatar. Which is great. But, when you see the child characters play during the tournaments, the golf club looks too big for them. Which is pretty funny (sorry, daft sense of humour).

It’s relatively easy to rise up the levels. The ranks on the other hand, that’s a different matter. The quickest way to gain exp, is to win the tournaments. Every time I gain enough exp, I face off against a rank boss. There have been three in total. The last one being the big boss and the only way to rank up is to defeat that boss. I won’t lie, if you haven’t figured out how to get high scores during the tournaments, there’s a good chance you’ll struggle with the big boss. They really put me through my paces.

IMG_20180821_215751The ‘Home’ area of the game can be quite fun. It’s an open section, so it’s easy to run around and explore. Unless, you’ve defeated the right person and them you can drive around the ‘Home’ area in a caddy. There are a lot of other characters in this area. A few of them can be interacted with and I do recommend this. As some of them can give you some hints and tips to make your game better.

The game also offers online play. Whether you choose an open course or turf war. It’s a great way to interact with other players. It also means playing against people who can do more than put you through your paces. But, if your after a challenge, it’s definitely worth a try.

Yes, I’m kinda obsessed with this game. I’m still playing it now. In fact, as soon as I finish this blog, I’m going back on it. It’s a fun game to rest and wind down with, especially after a hard day at work. Everybody’s Golf probably has some negative points to the game and I probably don’t see them, because I don’t want to. It’s fun, it’s quirky, it’s definitely my kind of game.

Will I Ever Escape?

IMG_20180812_222335[1]Ok, so this blog will probably be more of a rant. But, that’s fine. The reason for the rant, you ask. Well, I started playing The Escapists 2 again. And I thought, this time, I’m going to play the game properly and escape the prison. Yeah, right.

I’ve been trying hours, days even, to escape this prison. I’m only on Centre Perks. There’s five other prisons to break out of. There no point in trying them if I can’t escape this one. I’ve done exactly what I’m supposed to. I’ve attended all the routine activities to get that little green tick. I go to roll call, breakfast time, lunch time and dinner time. As soon as the green tick comes up, I head off to see what I can steal. I go to exercise time to get buff, so I can beat people up. Free time is the best moment to get up to quite a bit of mischief. Then, of course, there’s job time. The only job I could get was cleaning the graffiti off the walls. Which actually takes the whole allocated time.

Anyway, getting off topic. I’ve been ransacking desks to collect materials I need to craft new items. I’ve also been completing the prisoner quests to get more money or taking the items for myself. There’s no honour among thieves, apparently. I’ve used these items to create putty and molten plastic. All to make a copy of the guards key. Which I did. I successfully copied the yellow key by knocking out the guard carrying it. I borrowed the key and managed to put it back before the medics came. So, not to cause a lock down. I tried it a second time. I wanted the green key. I knocked the guard out, copied the key. But before I could put the key back, along came the medic and took the guard. You know what happened next. You guessed it. Alarms blaring, red lights everywhere and my character gets taken to solitary. All my possessions were taken off me. Including my newly copied key. I know, I got cocky. I wasn’t a happy bunny, to say the least. The only good thing is my yellow key and cutters were safely hidden in my desk. Thankfully I don’t have to start from scratch with them.

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Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy playing the game. It’s a really good strategy, role-playing game and it’s easy to get addicted to it. The idea of it is so simple, except for the escaping part. Well, for me it is. I’ve also played co-op with my gaming buddy. Which is just as much fun. It’s very easy to distract the guards with one player and get into mischief with the other. The online part of the game, not as good. I tried it once. I started the game in my cell and just as I was about to leave. There was a lock down. It stopped and thenthere was another and anther. I couldn’t get out of my cell because of the other online players constantly bringing attention to themselves. I couldn’t change it back to a private game fast enough.

Do you know what I think my problem is. I’m over analysing the game. Surely there’s an easier way to escape. But, I’m too busy trying to my life difficult, to see what it is. I’m not going to give up. I will find a way out of the prison. No matter how long it takes. I think. I hope. Maybe. We’ll see.

Taking Another Crack at Dead Island

IMG_20180805_000339I got Dead Island out on PS4 the other day. My gamer buddy and I decided to play it again. We already completed Dead Island on the PS3, so why not the definitive edition on PS4. Dead Island is a role-playing, survival, horror, action game. It was published by Deep Silver and developed by Techland. Considering I find zombies unnerving at the best of times, this is one of my favourite games to play.

The music in the game and loading screens is pretty eerie. I know what you’re going to say. ‘It’s supposed to sound like that.’ Yeah, you’re right. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to find it freaky. Then there’s that zombie-like laugh. It can be heard every so often during game play. Every time I hear it, the first thing I think is ‘Oh God’. I can’t forget to mention the sounds of the zombies, themselves. I always know when an infected zombie is running towards me because I can hear it snarling in the distance. It’s the not knowing where it’s coming from that makes it worse. Just like I always know when I’m close to a thug zombie because that roar is unmistakable.

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The gameplay is the best part, simply because it can be so challenging and rage inducing. I have to complete a number of side quests, as well as the main quests, to collect enough xp to fill the skill tree. All this enables my character to gain more health, stamina and develop the new skills needed to survive the zombie apocalypse. Personally, I find the first person perspective quite annoying. Especially when it comes to attacking the zombies. But, I soon got used to it. Having a choice of melee weapons to pick up and then creating a new weapon, using a mod blueprint, is pretty fun. But, not as fun as seeing what these weapons do to the zombies. My favourite part about the game is the open world aspect of it. The online multiplayer allows up to four players to co-exist together, while completing the main story. Which makes killing the zombies so much easier. I have played the game solo and still completed it. But it does get a bit tedious. So if you do decide to play it again, play it on multiplayer.

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The map for the Island of Banoi is pretty huge. So the fast travel maps can be a godsend. Cars are pretty hard to find and there is nothing worse than running from one place to the next. I just had to hope my character had the stamina to get there before I got attacked by a horde of zombies.

Overall, Dead Island is a good game to play. It is very challenging in places and is much better when playing with other online players. The horror, survival aspect of the game is probably more appealing if you enjoy anything to do with zombies or, like me, they freak you out a bit. It’s definitely worth at least one play through. Especially if you want a bit of rage play.

Dead Island rating 7 out of 10

Getting All Nostalgic With Sonic

sonic 1I decided to get the speedy blue hedgehog out the other day. I’m not the best at playing it. I’m lucky if I get fifty rings when I get to the end of the level, half the time. You never know, I may be able to collect 100 rings and get an extra life. Yeah, and hell might freeze over.

I remember when Sonic first came out in 1991. Everyone either chose Sonic or Mario. I, myself, was still playing Mario on my NES. I loved that console. It wasn’t until a number of years later I actually played Sonic the Hedgehog for the first time. Now, when I feel nostalgic, out come Sonic. Out of all the games Sega created, I’d say Sonic the Hedgehog was one of the best ones they did. I know not everyone would agree. But it’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

The graphics for the 16-bit game where pretty out there. I believe the term I’m after is a ‘kaleidoscope of colours’. No matter which stage I’m on, there is always something flashing and an array of colour to behold. One of the items that every Sonic gamer recognises are the springs. Those springs either love me or hate me. Depending on what mood they’re in. Yes, I said springs have moods. You haven’t seen those springs viciously propel me into an enemy. Then, of course, there’s the 90’s music. It can be so cringe worthy. But it does make me smile when I hear it.

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Some of the stages can be super annoying. Especially some of the stages with Dr. Eggman. It’s all fine and dandy, stopping his plans for world domination. But, having to follow him through a maze of tunnels can be a pain, especially when I get myself lost in there. In the later games, Sonic had help with his fight against Dr. Eggman. Some of them included Miles “Tails” Power, Knuckles, Amy Rose and Metal Sonic. I was never too sure about the sidekicks. But I suppose every superhero needs one.

Even though the game play was good, I always found it difficult to keep up where I was in the stage,  he just moved so fast. This made finding the item boxes difficult at times. The ring power ups are always the ones I want to find, probably because they’re the easiest. The invincibility is fab. The shield, not so good. Finding a 1-up is like finding a nugget when panning for gold. And those power sneakers made sonic look like a blur on the screen.

I’ll admit, it’s taken me a while to really appreciate Sonic the Hedgehog in all its true glory. It will always be one of the greatest side-scrolling platform games Sega has created. *whispering* But I still prefer Mario, shhh.

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Detroit: Become Human Reveiw

my pic 3Detroit: Become Human is probably one of the most intriguing games I’ve ever played. With so many choices to make and the consequences that follows. Really make Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human one of the easiest or challenging games I’ve played (depending on which ending I went for).

Overall, Detroit is a fun game to play. But, it tested my boundaries when I chose to opt for the bad choices. The main characters are :-

Connor – A prototype android who’s mission is to find and stop deviants.

Kara – A home maker android who’s main concern is caring for Alice.

Marcus – A carer android who wants to bring freedom and equality to the android race.

The three characters are very different from each other, which helps to keep the story moving. Which left myself wanting to play one more chapter. I found the additional characters helped to shape the game. Since each choice I made impacted on their personalities. The relationship between Connor and Hank Anderson was the most changeable. Since I could make Hank like Connor or hate him. The game, itself, wasn’t difficult to play with the QTE. I did find the experienced mode a little more challenging.

Even though Detroit is basically a QTE game, every choice I made had a different impact on the flow chart and the following chapters. I, myself, wanted to fill as much of the flow charts as possible. Which can easily be done by replaying the chapters. However, I preferred to play through the whole game, just to see what I could do differently and what impact it had throughout the game. Creating all those choices and consequences isn’t easy. But, I thought Quantic Dream made it look like a walk in the park. I found the gameplay just flowed, no matter which options I chose.

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The graphics are impressive. A lot of attention to detail has been put in to create a futuristic Detroit. I found myself easily immersed in the gameplay, because if the graphics. I spent a lot of time looking around for anything outside the main story. I quickly found a begger, who lost his job to androids. Huge screens all over the city with different advertisements and news reports showing. And a beautiful garden, that I couldn’t help but explore before finding Amanda.

The music that supports the gameplay is good to listen to. Not only did the music suit the chapter it was playing on. It also helped the overall experience of the game. I even found the individual soundtracks in the extras menu. I thought that was a nice touch.

When I played the full game for the first time, it took approximately 10 hours to complete it. The first play through was just a ‘trial and error’ for me, to see how the game is played. As soon as I’d finished, I wanted to play through the game again, to get specific endings in each chapter. Now, being a trophy hunter, it didn’t take me long to work out what choices I needed to make to get either a good or a bad ending. Thankfully, I chose to go for the bad ending on my second try. To do this, my advice is to brace yourself. Making all the bad choices was not easy for me. Some of the consequences almost brought me to tears. It’s not for the faint-hearted. But, I wanted those trophies, so I saw it through to the end. I’m sure you’ve already guessed that my third play through was to get the good ending. Even this play through pulled on my heart strings, because the emotion of the game seemed so real at times. I went from tears of sadness to tears of joy. Honestly, I could happily play this game over and over again.

In my opinion, this game is worth every penny. Not only did I get to play the good guy, I got to play the bad guy as well. The different twists and turns constantly kept me engaged. To the point that I had to make myself turn it off. Just to go to bed. Don’t get me wrong, the game isn’t perfect. But, as far as I’m concerned, it’s as close as you’re going to get.

Detroit: Become Human rating – 9 out of 10

 

How Did You Become A Gamer?

joystick-1216816_1280I get asked that question a lot. It’s probably the same answer a lot of people give. My parent’s brought me my first computer, and I’ve never looked back.

They brought me a Commodore 64 for Christmas, when I was 6 years old. I spent hours inputting code to create programmes, effects and mini games. Not to mention, the 8-bit games on cassette and waiting for the games to load. I could put a game on to load, go downstairs to eat my dinner and it would be ready to play when I’d finished. That’s if it loaded properly.

Some of my favourite games include:-

Dizzy Prince of the Yolk Folk

Dizzy Down the Rapids (I really loved that egg)

Ghostbusters

Sly Spy Secret Agent (That shark was the death of me)

Paperboy

Ghost and Goblins

Frogger

Lemmings

There were loads more, but you get the idea.

After that, I had a NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. That’s all I’m going to say.

I then went on to the PlayStation consoles. Yes, I said PlayStation. I know, some people believe X Box is better. What can I say. I’ve always preferred PlayStation. I’m not going to include PC gaming here, since we all know PC gaming is amazing. I still play on all four of my PlayStation consoles. Yes, the graphics for Tomb Raider is better on PS4, than they are on PS1. But hey, that triangular chest of Lara’s is iconic.

So, yeah. I’ve been gaming for 30 years. And I still love it. The games that are being released now are fabulous. Take Detroit: Become Human for example. The game is amazing, but I won’t say too much. I’m going to do a review of it for my next blog. So watch out for that.

I’d love to read how other people got into gaming. Whether you’re an old school gamer, like me, or a noughties gamer. Let me know.