My favourite games of 2015

Fallout 4

This title was an absolute MUST for my 2015 line up, the last few years have seen me eagerly watching E3 in hopes that they would finally announce a new Fallout entry that we had all been waiting for, E3 2015 they finally dropped that bomb and it was a glorious moment. I had the pip-boy edition ordered as soon as it was available and it’s still one of my favourite purchases of the year.

Bloodborne

Hunting down beasts in a gothic Victorian setting, what isn’t to love? Bloodborne has many nods to the Souls franchise but unlike them you won’t be spending 99% of the game hidden behind a shield. Instead you will wield two weapons, a gun will be the shields replacement and if you’ve got good timing you can quickly parry your enemies. A plus about Bloodborne is that it feels a little less like a troll fest compared to previous Souls games, I actually have fun with this one!

Until Dawn

I had been excited for Until Dawn since it made its appearance at Gamescom in 2012, back when it was supposed to be released on the PS3 as a Playstation move title. I’d previously enjoyed similar QTE story based games such as Fahrenheit (Indigo prophecy in North America) and Heavy Rain. But this appealed to me on a whole new level with its focus on the horror/slasher genre filled with clichés and classic horror tropes, plus Rami Malek is the actor/voice actor for Josh, need I say more?

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I didn’t get as much play time with Witcher 3 as I would have liked but the combat system was interesting, complex and had depth instead of being a basic “hack and slash”. Areas were rich and to say the locations were large would probably be an understatement. There is an expansive story to delve into and more quests than you could hope to imagine, Witcher 3 is top of my to complete list for 2016.

Games I wish I had picked up in 2015:

  • Everybody’s Gone to Rapture
  • SOMA
  • Life is Strange
  • Dreamfall Chapters (available episodes)

Got any games you recommend me pick up in 2016? Comment below and let me know!

Alien Isolation PS4 Review.

Alien Isolation is a horrifying, demanding, and stressful experience, which is what makes it so enjoyable.

Developer Creative Assembly
Publisher Sega
Formats PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC
Released 7 October 2014

Alien: Isolation takes so many aspects from the original 1979 film, one characteristic in particular; fear. Creative Assembly have managed to finally make the Xenomorph freighting again. Isolation is more focused on Ridley Scott’s incarnation than the later style of James Cameron’s adaptations. The story follows Amanda Ripley, an engineer who’s still looking for answers to her mother’s disappearance, Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver in the first Alien.

Sevastopol is a space station which has recently been decommissioned due to its financial difficulties, this is visible as you explore the dark and desolate corridors. The setting is murky, the technology on the station is outdated, everything creaks and groans as you walk past and everything around you is practically falling apart. The environment of Isolation is nostalgic, it takes much inspiration from the original film, the general look of the space station is similar to The Nostromo, the big chunky PC monitors, the tubing along the walls, the doors, and just overall style has been given such care and attention to detail, it is almost like a love letter to Scott’s original film. Graffiti has been scrawled on the walls; showing how tensions had been rising between the occupants of Sevastopol. There are audio logs scattered around the station; telling the story of those who were living there, trying to survive while some unknown creature began picking them off one by one. This creature is of course the notorious Xenomorph, Creative Assembly took their time to build up the atmosphere before having the alien make it’s grade appearance, it takes a good hour – hour and a half to even see it in the flesh, but from this point on, you know he’s there; you can hear him, crawling in the vents around you, (wearing a surround sound headset creates an even more immersive experience) you can sense his presence. The sound used within Isolation is one of the games main pinnacles, it generates fear, every time you hear a the station groan, footsteps down a corridor, hissing from a nearby vent, you know something could be about to find you at any moment, in Isolation, you rely on your hearing to survive.

Not knowing where the alien is, is undoubtedly the most terrifying element in Isolation. When you are able to actually track his whereabouts, the fear seems to dissipate, but as soon as it jumps into one of the vents or ends up vanishing round a corner that fear hits right back at you and soon enough you find yourself crawling underneath tables and hiding in lockers for a good five minutes at a time, unsure of where the alien has wandered off to. The motion tracker which Amanda finds gives us somewhat of an estimate as to where the Xenomorph may be prowling; although, by using it you are taking a risk, the noise it omits may alert him to your current location which can prove fatal, i.e. – death.

During the course of Isolation you should be prepared to die, a lot. The alien is unpredictable, It’s intelligent, and can supposedly adapt to the way in which you play the game. This also means that you cannot just sit under a desk trying to figure out its movements or hide in a locker looking for the perfect time to leave the area; there is no perfect time, the longer you’re immobile, the more chance you have of the alien dragging you from that pathetic hiding spot where you thought that you might have been safe; in isolation, nowhere is safe. Fortunately for us, Amanda does have a few tricks up her sleeve, as you progress you gain the ability to craft gear on the go, this includes medical supplies, flash bangs, noisemakers, and more. Although you may not be able to kill the alien, you can at least cause distractions which will let you get from A to B that bit easier. While making your way around Sevastopol you will also occasionally bump into other humans (most of who are hostile unfortunately) you can use these encounters too your own advantage, they are the perfect distraction when it comes to keeping the Xenomorph busy.

If it’s not the Xenomorph on your back then it’s more than likely going to be the androids, or as they are otherwise know; the working joes, who, are still wandering around the station causing havoc. They are unnerving and, in general, just look pretty creepy; on the plus side you can at least kill these guys, revolver to the face usually works well (unless the alien decides to join the party that is), but you may not have much in the way of ammo or supplies left once the fight is over, scavenging is the key in Isolation, the more items you find, the easier you’re going to find these encounters.

The save system on Isolation is rather unforgiving, you are required to reach in game saving mechanisms; locations of these are visible on Amanda’s map. Once you reach the machine, Amanda must input a card so you can save your data. This like many other actions in Isolation, takes time, you can’t just high tail it to the nearest one with the alien in hot pursuit as he will kill you; A. before you get there or B. in the process of saving. In my opinion the saving does work in Isolation, most areas pose you with a decision; after doing an incredible amount in one area do you risk it and carry on, which includes the possibility of dying meaning you have to do it all over again? Or do you take the cautious route and backtrack to the save point just to be on the safe side? I backtracked, A LOT. Yes you could die either way, but replaying 30 minutes is better than an hour. The save system keeps the player on edge at the thought of losing all their progress, which in a game like this, is actually a good thing, it makes it challenging, if you could just save and load any part of Isolation you liked, it just wouldn’t be scary anymore.

There are rewire systems dotted around Sevastopol, these, in my opinion, were a bit of a disappointment; they allow you to alter certain states in game (on Sevastopol), for instance you can turn lights on or off, to which the enemy A.I will hopefully go and check on this, giving you a few added seconds to get around them, speakers can work on the alien as it will go and investigate the noise, allowing you to possibly sneak past him, but it only gives a limited window of opportunity, and sometimes it can do more harm than good, as it can put the alien on red alert, as he frantically runs around knowing that someone is screwing around with the rewiring system. I very rarely touched these myself, I found very little use for them and my crafted items worked perfectly fine and the time spent messing with the re-routing was not really worth it. It would have been interesting to have seen this system have a bigger purpose, it’s a fantastic idea, but doesn’t feel like anyone invested enough time in it.

Alien: isolation is most definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste, it’s difficult, and at times, can be frustrating, but that’s why, in the end, it’s so rewarding. Maybe it isn’t fair, but why should it be? It is a survival horror game after all. Isolation doesn’t hold your hand, or tell you everything will be ok, nor does it give you advice when you’re struggling to carry on, no; it throws you in the deep end against an ugly beast you can’t kill and leaves you to fend for yourself, I hope you’re ready, because the alien certainly is.

4/5

Tomb Raider 3 (1998) review

Okay this is kind of a review and kind of just me expressing my love for the game, I’m sorry I just really had to. enjoy!

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This is the first computer game I ever actually came into contact with at the age of about 7 or 8, I think I pretty much fell in love and my obsession with gaming seemed to just take off from there. As well as my whole families obsession with Tomb Raider as we eagerly purchased the two previous installments and waited with anticipation for the games that followed.

I’ve played through the whole game many times and I’m in the middle of another play through at the moment, my feelings haven’t changed. By today’s standards, we know the graphics are not superior anymore, the dialog isn’t the best but y’know what? I don’t care, its as enjoyable to play now as it was the first time.

I even ended up buying a new version just so I could finally play the add on Tomb Raider 3: The Lost Artifact. Way too excited about getting to play some levels I’ve never seen before!

One thing that I love about Tomb Raider 3 is the diversity of locations, you travel through jungles in India, go to Nevada desert, adventure through London and go to the antarctic and the South Pacific which are lovely settings and completely different to look at making for some much more interesting game play, The most difficult area in my opinion is London, especially while underwater as the controls are a little more difficult and the movement more clunky

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the game is actually fairly long really, levels last longer as you have to go backwards and forwards collecting any needed items to progress, although that might sound like a massive pain it really is enjoyable! And if you want to you can collect all the secrets in the game to access the bonus level at the end of the game (Which I’m actually doing on my play through at the moment).

The enemies in my opinion are not all that difficult but other players may feel differently, I can get through most of the game simply using the duel pistols. But if you feel the need for some more firepower there’s more to choose from such as shotguns, Uzis, grenade launcher desert eagles etc… which I tend use on the bosses. Although the enemies are not all that hard to beat, I still find myself jumping when one seems to come out of no where especially with the sudden loud and sharp noise which seems to also appear at the same time.

Although I personally don’t find Tomb Raider 3 tremendously difficult, new players to the series may, you are constantly doing something never really stopping. Sometimes finding where to go can be the hardest thing of all as you are never really told, you have to figure it out for yourself which is actually a positive for me, I don’t want to be guided through a game I want to find things out on my own, even after 2 previous play throughs I’m still having to think of where I am going and what I have to do to get there. Another point to mention is there can be difficult areas which you find you have to jump at some nearly impossible angles and make some ridiculous jumps but it can be done even if it takes several attempts and after a while you just get used to it.

One bad point is the amount bugs and glitches, these can be horrible things that stop you progressing, you have been warned, I had an issue of playing the whole of the first level and not being able get any further (the amount of times I’ve played through the whole India level is pretty ridiculous really) that can be a little frustrating.

It still manages to challenge me even though I’ve completed it before, I still look forward to finding time to get back to playing it, Tomb Raider 3 is an absolute classic in my opinion and I know far too many people who have never played it, so please do! You’re missing out on something really special.

7/10  

Fallout 3 (2008) review

I’m a little slow of the mark here really, but since I’ve recently finished it and I’m in need of something new to write about I thought why not! Who cares if I’m 6 years late?

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You are the “lone wanderer” you have been brought up in the safety of Vault 101 when one day your father decides to leave and head into the wastes created from the destruction of nuclear war, you’re forced into an unwelcoming harsh world and for the first time you have to fend for yourself.

There is a main quest line to follow, but if that isn’t enough for you there are side quests and a huge selection of areas which can be explored. I found the quests all enjoyable, although I personally didn’t find the story line as engaging as I would have liked, but this didn’t take away any of my enthusiasm to play it.

Fallout 3 gives you the option to be good, neutral or evil , this is usually determined by actions you make, this can affect the game in different ways, certain followers won’t join you if you have the wrong type of karma (if you have bad karma for example, someone who is good will not follow you).

The world is vast, there are many different places to explore such as massive stations which can be a good way to travel to new areas there are also towns, office blocks, destroyed buildings and much more. Quite a few of these areas do look the same (the metro stations for example) but that’s to be expected from such a large game.

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The combat is entertaining (and sometimes amusing) whether you want to go with melee, firearms grenades or just ridiculously huge rocket launchers. One of the big plus points of the combat system in Fallout 3 is V.A.T.S. (vault-tech targeting system) this allows you to target a specific area on your enemies, this also informs you of the expected damage and the chance of a hit. This feature also shows you your destruction up close and in slow motion which I have to say, never gets boring.

Unfortunately as you have more than likely heard/seen the game is constantly suffering from bugs and glitches, luckily this happened rarely to me and I’m pretty thankful for that, one issue that came up is that my companions had a habit of occasionally going missing.

This game is totally worth the time and effort I put into it and if you haven’t yet played it I suggest you go pick it up as soon as possible.

Rating 3.5/5

The Last of us Review (2013) Endure and Survive

After an emotional opening sequence we are placed 20 years after the viral outbreak where survivor Joel is set the important task of helping Ellie across this harsh terrain. Joel is withdrawn from the world and holds his emotions back not allowing people, especially Ellie to get close to him. Ellie is the opposite, she’s joyful, amusing and captivated seeing the outside world. Their relationship is the main focus point as we continue through this story.

The characters work together favourably and they are brought to life by some believable voice acting. As a player I could understand them and their detailed facial expressions communicated the characters real feelings.

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Ellie constantly tries to communicate to Joel, to get an understanding of the man she is travelling with, through much of the experience he won’t talk about his past, for obvious reasons and clearly doesn’t really want to be stuck in this position. But as the situations develop and the story unfolds he begins to accept her and you can see how Ellie is beginning to rub off on him. In the end their attitudes seem to change and they become opposite again – Joel being the more enthusiastic of the two stating after a fight with the infected “Endure and Survive” and Ellie becoming more withdrawn and quite.

The fights allow you to play around with different tactics, some situations are best matched for stealth as Joel can take quite some damage, running head first into an enemy will usually turn out to be a bad idea. One gunshot will stop Joel in his tracks and push him back, slowing you down and causing you to take even more hits. Joel comes across as being middle aged, his running is at a fairly slow pace when out of battle, his movements are very cumbersome and he lacks the ability to jump long distances, but this just makes his character more believable and genuine.

Ellie is beneficial in fights, early in the game she will warn Joel as to where enemies are, once Joel gives her a weapon she will then begin to fire at them which will allow you to have extra time to consider your options in battle, she can also help Joel when he’s in a severely bad situation such as when he’s been grabbed by an enemy and sometimes she will even finished them off using her knife.

Sometimes there are long stretches where there is  little to no combat at all which allows the player to look and experience the environments around and scavenge for useful pickups to “craft” items which will be vital in continuing the game, such as medi packs, smoke bombs, shivs (etc.etc.) while you search for supplies Joel will also occasionally come across training manuals, these will upgrade your weapons capability which are certainly useful.

I found very little to complain about with The Last of Us, there are some points in the game where Ellie clearly walks into an enemy’s line of sight and they either walk into her or just ignore her existence, which took some or the realistic experience away. But if she’s just planning on running in fount of them, I’d rather they ignore her than call out my position every time she’s spotted. But I didn’t let that bother me while playing the game and it had no real effect on my experience. Oh and the ending. There was nothing wrong with it, I was just left wanting more, which is good and bad I suppose.

The Last of Us is a realistic representation of a catastrophic viral outbreak with characters to match, with very little flaws included.

Rating 4.5/5

Bioshock Infinite Ending – “whats done will be done”

This is my own interpretation of the ending, if you have anything thing else to say that I may have missed out or any interesting points please leave a comment thank you. Oh and massive spoilers as if the title didnt actually give that away.

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Once the songbird brings down the siphon Elizabeths attitude seems to change instantly. They arrive in Rapture, another world, another door. Rapture is like Columbia, they are in some ways both the same like Elizabeth says the doors which lead to other worlds are “all different and all similar”.

Elizebeth explains that they all lead to the same place, so no matter what her and Booker do, they can never really change what is about to happen because it already has and already will. The walkway will also only allow them to walk down a certain pathway, Booker cannot choose another way, it is already set out in front of him and you must follow.

Once booker walks through another doorway he appears at his own baptism, after wounded knee, through this door Dewitt won’t accept the baptism, that it can’t wash away his sins and what he has done. Through the next door we walk into Bookers home, we know that he clearly turned into an alcoholic and more than likely a gambler from the amount of bottles which are on the tables.

Once Booker hands his baby over to Robert Lutece he replies with “Mr Comstock washes you of all your sins” showing that Comstock seems to think that he has the power to wipe someones sins when really this isn’t the case. The realisation that Anna is Elizabeth comes when they are trying to pull Anna through the tear in the wall and she loses her finger.

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We appear at the baptism again, but this time things are different Elizabeth appears with Booker but she isn’t the same Elizabeth that he knew, her appearance is different, she hasn’t got a bird or cage pendent which you received nearer the start of the game. As each different Elizabeth appears there seems to also be one in an outfit that never appears in the game, which again tells us that there are more possibilities, more than we have seen.

Booker accepts that he is also Comstock, that in one life he took the baptism which supposedly made him a better man. But in reality he didn’t become a better person and his sins were never “washed away”, showing that the bad things which Booker had done could never be taken away and he never really changed. Booker and Comstock are opposite sides of the same coin.

Once the Elizebeths drown him in the baptism waters they begin to disappear, showing that none of this has happened yet. He hasn’t yet turned into Comstock but since this has just happened after the battle of broken knee there is still a chance that this could actually take place again.

There is a small scene after the credits of Booker walking into the room where Anna’s crib is supposed to be, “Anna is that you?” we never truly know if she’s there, I think that’s a question that is left unanswered. Has Booker already given her away and is it too late to change anything? Or has he realised his mistake and is Anna still there in time to stop what we have seen happen. This shows that everything can just happen again with infinate possibilities.

Far Cry 3, butterflies and symmetry.

This is more of an observance than a review, I’ve been playing this game for a while now thought it was about time I wrote something about it. The main reason I’m not writing a whole review is due to the fact that I haven’t yet completely finished the game.

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As we can see from the game’s first opening many images are being duplicated, the images being identical to one another, before we press start we can see the image changing back and forth from Jason to Vaas. I suppose in a way we are being told from the start that in some ways, these two characters are the same as one another, even if their goals seem completely different. The way in which the characters are shown also gives a somewhat similar appearance to a butterfly which also makes sense as their wings are identical.

Another instance where butterflies seem to crop up is when you save your game, up in the right corner of the screen there is a logo of a butterfly with two guns for wings, yet again putting emphasis on the symmetry in the game. Symmetry is also visible while you are using the stores and other menus within the game, these are set out similar to the main menu screen.
Thats about it for now really.