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Shadow of the Colossus.
Shadow of the Colossus.
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The Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition 2020 is here! Usually I play many demos, record them for YouTube and make a video of my highlights and top pics. I’m extremely disappointed that – due to technical reasons – I will not be able to do that for this season. So instead, I am going to write about all of the demos that I play here!
I will keep updating is post as I try new demos! Right at the bottom of the post is a playlist of 12 demos that I played during previous festivals, that are available once again this week. Highlights for me that I would highly recommend playing are ‘NUTS’, ‘Superliminal’, ‘Backbone’, and ‘LOVE: A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories’.
Steam Description – Become a landlord and deal with problematic tenants as you build your rental property empire. Decide how to react to annoyed neighbours or police interventions. Will you rent your apartment to a college couple or an older lady with four cats?
Developer – Ancient Forge Studio
Release Date – TBA
My Thoughts – This game was already on my Wishlist but I am not entirely sure how it came to be on my radar. Upon playing the demo I was pleasantly surprised. The best way that I can describe this game is this – It’s kind of like The Sims, but without the life sim part.
To begin with, you start off doing basic renovation tasks for other people. You have to clean a place up, then renovate and redecorate to their specification and within their budget. As you progress, you level up to unlock new redecoration and furniture options, as well as earning money that you can put towards your own projects. Eventually, you will invest enough into your own space that you can rent it out to your first tenants. While the game may seem quite basic at first, it impressed me that there is clearly more depth beyond the demo. Eventually you will earn enough money to buy more buildings, you can rent out house shares, choose your tenants, manage the social side of being a landlord, all while decorating and renovating the spaces how you would like.
This is going to sound strange but bare with me. Did you ever download a mobile game because you just wanted to do some mindless decorating and management, only to find out that it is a game full of in app purchases and you have to wait hours of real time to do anything? The Tenants is exactly the game that I hoped for every time I downloaded one of those games. No add, no waiting around, just the good stuff. It feels like the perfect distraction game while you are half watching tv.
+ Addictive gameplay loop
+ Good sense of progression through unlocking more decorating options
– Some of the samples of walls and flooring looked very different when you actually used them, a testing system would be nice.
Would I play more? Yes
Steam Description – Restore an abandoned bakery and prepare pastries from farm to table! Grow fresh ingredients in the greenhouse, cook pastries & sweets in the kitchen and serve your baked goods to hungry customers in your own shop!
Developer – Éloïse Laroche
Release Date – February 2021
My Thoughts – Lemon Cake is another game that was already in my Wishlist and I’m not sure where the recommendation was from. However, the description sounded right up my alley so I was excited to try it. I have been looking for a Diner Dash type game since before I started covering the Steam Game Festivals.. one of those games where you can get into a strategic flow.
In this game, you are helping a ghost restore their bakery. Every day you earn money, which you can spend on upgrades to make your life easier, and you get more recipes as you go. The demo lasted around a week of game time and I enjoyed my time with it. Beyond the demo there seems to be a lot of upgrades left on the skill tree, as well as the idea that you will be able to customize your own recipe book. I don’t think this game is going to be a game that I would spend huge amounts of time on, but I would for sure be interested in continuing and seeing how getting more upgrades impact the game.
+ A nice example of the Diner Dash formula
+ Lovely art style
+/- I am unsure on the controls. Having to click the recipee with the mouse felt a little jarring sometimes and took me out of my flow.
– The sprint was not very reliable. It would give you a sudden boost in a direction, but I would just prefer a toggle on speed boost. Especailly considering the ground you have to cover between rooms.
Would I play more? Yes, but only with a controller or on switch
Steam Description – Infected by a zombie bite, Anling’s days are numbered. She must now fight to survive, not for herself but her young son, Cody. Ensure Cody’s survival in this zombie infested world by protecting him, searching for safety, and teaching him valuable skills, at any cost.
Developer – Vanimals
Release Date – 2021
My Thoughts – As soon as I read the description of Undying I was very interested. I don’t often play games with zombies but I have never heard of a game that has this take on it. I have always wanted too see it, as a persons story doesn’t necessarily have to be over once they are bitten
I would describe this game as having a vibe similar to This War of Mine, but it is very different stylistically. It is primarily a survival game where you start off in your own home. From there you can venture out onto your street – and beyond – collecting items to aid your survival. Classically, you have to manage your hunger and thirst, but there are also some other cool mechanics. To access certain areas you need certain tools, but the tools and weapons only have limited uses. Most importantly, everything you do, your son Cody gains experience from you. Eventually this adds up to be able to buy abilities, which I guess is the aim of the game, to leave him in a good position by time you are gone.
I lasted for around a week of in game time before we starved to death, and felt like I learned a lot. There are areas to discover, some safer than others, some with more resources, and you can even set up a farm for more reliable food.
+ Gorgeous art
+ Atmosphere is perfect
+ A different take on a zombie story
+ Feels difficult, but it’s tempting to play again to have a better run. Nice progression
– If you don’t like hunger and thirst in your games you will not like this game, it runs low pretty quickly
Would I play more? Yes definitely, if I was in the mood for a survival game.
Steam Description – Papetura is an atmospheric point & click adventure game, handcrafted entirely out of paper. Little creatures Pape and Tura will face monsters that will try to burn down their beloved paper world.
Developer – Petums
Release Date – 2020
My Thoughts – The Papetura demo was very short, lasting for around 5 minutes. It contained light puzzles set in a very nicely crafted scene, centered around a little paper character, lights and moths. The closest comparison to another game I can make – although I haven’t played it yet – is Unravel. Having such a sharp image with a unique art style are the reasons I make that comparison, not the gameplay. Ultimately, I’m unsure if the demo made me want to play the rest of the game, just as it was extremely short, but it was a nice little taster.
+ Very good looking game
– Demo just too short to really make an opinion
Would I play more? Probably yes but I’m not hooked.
Steam Description – Stake your claim in this colony building sim and survive a turbulent Medieval age. Construct a multi-story fortress in a land reclaimed by wilderness, defend against raids and keep your villagers happy as their personalities are shaped by the world!
Developer – Foxy Voxel
Release Date – Coming Soon
My Thoughts – Imagine Rimworld, but in a medieval setting, and 3D. That is Going Medieval. While I don’t quite think it is there yet, for reasons I will explain below, it is a great start.
It almost feels unfair to compare it to Rimworld – a game that I have spend my fair share of time playing – because not only was that game in early access for a long time, it has also been out for a while now. But it would be a injustice not to compare it, as they are very similar in the way that they play and it is clearly an inspiration.
I think the key difference between the two currently is that Rimworld, at its core, calls itself a story generator. The small, random events that happen are just as important as the base building, and the characters feel as though they have a personality, as well as the environment as a whole. During my playthrough of this demo, there weren’t a lot of social interactions going on (or I couldn’t find them) and that made me feel just slightly less immersed, and hence less invested. When I first begun the game I felt extremely excited at the prospect of building my camp, and I did enjoy what I played, but there were certain things that I found to be a little finicky. Nothing game breaking, just small things, like I couldn’t figure out how to get a roof over my building, or what exactly classes as safe storage to stop deterioration. I also couldn’t figure out how to move any furniture that I had already placed, which became troublesome. I will say though, this game does have enough of it’s own ideas to also differentiate itself. For example, the idea that ‘research’ is actually a physical item and can get stolen, and being able to construct multistory buildings.
I hope it doesn’t come across that I am being very negative. I only get very critical when I can see that something has a lot of potential and want it to be the best that it can be. This game is ambitious. They have a great base, and if they keep working at it (which they will.. this is just a demo of what they have got so far) then it could turn out to be fantastic. Either way I will be keeping my eye on it for sure!
+ Great potential
+ Great attention to detail
+ I liked the UI, it wasn’t too busy
– Not much social interaction
– Feels slower than Rimworld and not as much depth yet
Would I play more? I want to keep my eye on development. If they work on the things I mention above then I would jump straight in.
Steam Description – As President Rayne, lead Sordland into ruin or repair during your first term in this text-based role-playing game. Navigate a political drama driven by conversations with your cabinet members and other significant figures. Beware or embrace corruption; shirk or uphold ideals. How will you lead?
Developer – Torpor Games
Release Date – TBD
My Thoughts – Suzerain is a text based game about being the President and leading a country. I had intended on playing this one during the last festival but ran out of time. Since then I have also seen it recommended elsewhere, so I had to jump in. When I begun playing I instantly thought this game was not going to be for me. I am not a very political person and a lot of the terms used went over my head. But the further in I got I became completely immersed and I had to know the consequences of the choices I had made.
The demo begins with a long stretch of questions that lead into the story of your characters past, shaping him into who he is now. It skipped between the key moments of his life but was also quite in depth. For a while I thought this was what the whole game was going to be. Then the rest of the game started. It takes place on a map of the fictional country that you are in charge of. All of the different cities and towns have markers, each of which can flag up with reports about their status whenever necessary. The gameplay consists of attending meetings and other functions, making the decisions that you think are best for your country, dealing with emergencies, balancing the opinions of your staff and country, and even spending time with your family. It is not all politics. In my opinion the game was paced very well and the fact that it had a story as it does took me by surprise, as well as how well it all ties together. I went in without a clue what to expect and honestly had a great, great time.
+ The game works brilliantly. If I need information about something, I am not afraid that anything is going to get broken when I pause a conversation to read through my files
+ The attention to detail and sheer amount of information is absolutely brilliant
+ Every decision I made felt extremely important and weighty
+ The story was engaging and even thrilling at times
+/– Gameplay is reading and making choices. This is not a negative and certainly not an issue for me, but it does mean it wont be for everyone
Would I play more? Absolutely. I played for two hours and was sad when it ended.
Steam Description – Confront various terrains as a lonely mountaineer and endure the countless dangers of climbing! Many tough decisions await you in a risky environment. Make your way up and down the mountain, overcoming insurmountable heights!
Developer – Byterockers’ Games
Release Date – March 2021
My Thoughts – Insurmountable is described as ‘a strategic adventure game with rogue like elements’ and I couldn’t put it better myself. The aim of the game is to make it to the top of the procedurally generated mountain. Movement is tile and energy based, and there are other stats that you have to manage including sanity and temperature. Certain tiles have different random events that can help or harm you, and it is your job to navigate through them while keeping your climber alive.
I was instantly attracted to this game purely because of my fascination for mountains. I did manage to make it to the top, but only just. The game sort of just throws you in and lets you figure things out for yourself. Although it can be argued that some games benefit from that, I personally prefer a little bit more instruction when I am first starting out. Having said that, I think that I understood a lot of what the game is about by the time I reached the top. I wouldn’t recommend this game to someone who was looking for an action packed, fast paced strategy game. In my opinion, it felt quite slow. Having said that, I almost found it more therapeutic than anything else. It was a game that I enjoyed my time with and I am glad that I played, but I can’t say I am hungry for more. But don’t forget to take into consideration that roguelike games don’t tend to be my type of games.
+ I love the look of this game
+ Almost meditative
+/- Could use more random events, although I did like the ones I got
+/– Slow paced. Could use a fast forward button for climbing sections
– No tutorial
– Camera angle just felt a tiny bit wonky at times
Would I play more? If I heard they had made some changes then I probably would, however I actually feel satisfied with the experience I had.
Craftlands Workshoppe – The Funny Indie Capitalist RPG Trading Adventure Game
Steam Description – From the out-there imagination behind the Shoppe Keep series comes a brand-new fantasy business adventure set in the clouds. Craftlands Workshoppe is hiring! But can you run your store, master three noble crafts and solve the former owner’s mysterious disappearance?
Developer – Arvydas Žemaitis
Release Date – Early Access – 13/10/2020
My Thoughts – In Craftlands Workshoppe you begin the game with a choice. Do you want to go down the Alchemy route, the Cooking route, or the Blacksmithing route? From my understanding you eventually get to try out and master them all, but I personally went for Blacksmithing, as it seemed the most different and I didn’t have to grow my own ingredients.
The gameplay loop of this game is something that I have wanted for such a long time. I have never played Moonlighter, but a section of this game is what I imagine the none combat section of Moonlighter to be. You basically get to do every part of running your own store. In order to smith things into items to sell you need ingredients. In my case, I had to hit stone for ore, chop down trees for wood and buy blueprints from another store. Next, you make the goods. It was a simple clicking game but I really enjoyed it. Then, you get to choose what to advertise, and sell the goods. Now though, the part of this game that I enjoyed the most is that you can plan all of that stuff out yourself. It is up to you how much of which item you want to make to sell. You have limited energy points to use so you have to make choices about whether you want to use them gathering more ingredients or making more stuff. You can figure out what is going to make the most profit margin, then you need spares too because people might ask for them too and even pay more. What I am trying to say is that the management in this game gives you a lot of freedom, and to me it felt very very satisfying.
Beyond the demo it seems you can expand into all of the different crafts, hire workers, and unlock lots more areas on the map. During the demo it was possible to explore a little and some of the other residents had quests. I did some of them and appreciated that they were there, but I never had the feeling that I wanted to go out of my way to help or talk to any of these characters. As much as I loved the game by the end, it didn’t click with me for the first half of the demo. There is something about the style that I cannot put my finger on, as well as some of the points that I will make below. Eventually though, I was addicted and dreading that it was going to end.
Once again, it may seem like I have a lot of negative points, but its only because I love the concept so much. I recognize that a lot of this is subjective and I hope others can see that I actually really liked this game!
+ Very addictive gameplay loop
+ Lots of freedom
+ Good feeling of progression and working towards goals
+/- Movement/Camera movement was very strange. However there were many settings to choose between
+/- I would love this on the Switch
+/– I liked that I could go to sleep just before 6am and still get my energy back. I’m not sure if it was intentional but I enjoyed it
– I think I just don’t quite have the right sense of humour to appreciate the game properly
– I wasn’t keen on the layout of the town in relation to my shop, would have liked a bike or something to be able to move around quicker
– I found the character models very off putting for some reason
Would I play more? 100% Yes.
Sadly that is all of the demos that I got to play this time around. Hopefully by the next Steam Game Festival I should have a PC, and therefore be able to go back to making video content!
September 2020 is here with a new line up of games! I asked for variety. I guess that was kind of answered? We haven’t had a fighting game for a while. In fact, I don’t think we have had one at all since I started covering PS Plus! After having lost of shooters and just coming from Fall Guys which is a variation of Battle Royale, PUBG is a little less variety.
Street Fighter V is going to be divisise, as I feel the Fighter genre is either one that you like or you don’t. There isn’t a lot in between.
I am not a fan of fighters, but as far as fighting games go, it feels like a good one! Lots of different game modes equals something for casual and serious players alike, and extra story modes add another motivation to play. The downside of this is that I was routing for UFC 3 to be a free game and it seems less likely now. Having said that, lately PS Plus has no worries about giving very similar games in quick succession.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is to my knowledge one of the first of the Battle Royale genre to blow up. but it is also one of the only ones that is not free to play.
For a more detailed breakdown you can check out the Let’s Try or the Round Up, but in short, I like the idea of it, but I found it quite hard for beginners to understand. Considering there are so many other options for the Battle Royale experience that are free, I feel like I would rather have had something a bit different. However, I am glad to now be able to say I have tried PUBG, and it will be a boost to their player base.
Overall, this is not the best month for me, but lots of room for discussion. I am finally caught up in time to be able to start doing predictions again! So here is my official prediction for October 2020. Man of Medan.. and Watch Dogs 2.
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Back in the day when I was just a baby noob, I played Uncharted: Drakes Fortune. Fun fact – that was my second ever Let’s Play series! I had never really played a game like it and it showed. Three years later, it is finally time to dive into Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
Since then, I have had bits of shooter experience through my Ps Plus series, but mostly, I am in full on adventure mode right now. I cannot wait to see what the game that is widely regarded as the best in the series has to offer!
I was going to play this one for Halloween but got the opportunity to jump in earlier!
Jessika is a German, Indie, FMV Detective game developed by Tritrie Games. This game first jumped onto my radar at the Steam Game Festival, where it was one of my favourite demos of the Summer Edition 2020. I was instantly drawn into the immersive UI and I have a building fascination with FMV games after working in video IRL. Join me as continue beyond ‘that moment’ in the demo and attempt to unravel the mystery of what exactly did happen to Jessika.
Unfortunately, the first two episodes I had some technical difficulties on my end. The audio of the game did not record, so I went back and recorded all of the video logs and some background noise and edited them back in. Sadly (but also obviously) it is not as effective as the real game so please don’t judge the game on that! I had so many technical difficulties through no fault of the game, I think my play through was cursed 😅 The audio issues were solved by Episode 3!
Many thanks to Tritrie Games for the copy of the game, it’s very much appreciated.
Stardew Valley is a top-down, indie, farming game, developed by solo developer, Eric Barone. I had heard a lot about Stardew Valley being this amazing, relaxing and addictive game, but originally I was put off by the 2D graphics. Eventually though, I had a massive Harvest Moon itch and Stardew Valley went on sale. I took the plunge and never once regretted it!
This game has a lot to offer, especially to think that it was made by one guy! You control a little character who has inherited their grandfathers land, and from then, it is basically up to you what you want to do. Farming crops, farming animals, fishing, foraging, mining and crafting are all ways to make money. The village is full of characters that you can befriend by giving them gifts. The more hearts you get, you get new dialogue and can eventually marry certain characters. You can collect resources to upgrade your farm, just first you have to choose which upgrade you want to get.
The game runs in days. You have a certain amount of energy and a certain amount of time to get everything you want to do done. There are 28 days in a season, and in each season you get new crops, new fish and new dialogue. There are festivals on certain days and birthdays on others. There is a community centre you can help rebuild or a corporation you can invest in depending on your mood, and there are plenty of hidden areas that you can only reach with certain upgrades. By the time you set yourself some goals and commit to them, then after ‘just one more day’, you will realise its 3am and you haven’t moved for the last 8 hours.
The game is charming. It really is a great Harvest Moon substitute, and as I was playing I kept feeling surprised that there was still yet more things to discover. The artwork is lovely with the seasonal changes and the music fits well. Although there isn’t really a ‘storyline’, it is the perfect game to just pick up and get lost in. The trouble is, I have sunk into the organisation hole. I spent the first year of the game just going with the flow, but then by winter, I started planning everything out. Now, I know I am going for the Platinum so I only play when I know I have time to concentrate for a while. Overall though, this game can be whatever you want to be. If you want to farm, farm. If you get bored of farming, fish. If you get bored of fishing, mine. There are plenty of paths that you can take.
What do you think of Stardew Valley? Are you impressed or underwhelmed? Are you addicted?
Overall, August 2020 was a strange month in PS Plus terms. The fact that we got another Call of Duty game just two months after the last, and that it was single player only was completely overshadowed by the release and success of Fall Guys. And that in itself makes it a great month.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is our second Call of Duty game this year and third in 18 months. Although it is regarded a great campaign, I – among others – am feeling the Call of Duty burn out.
I’ve heard that it is one of the best stories, which is a great thing because this game doesn’t have any online multiplayer.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout – There is no denying that it was a rough start for the servers. However, I think the majority will agree, it was totally worth it.
The amount of delight that can be had from this game is just exactly what the world needs right now. Putting it on PS Plus was a genius move from the devs, giving us an instant player base in this 60 player Takeshis Castle mayhem Battle Royale. If there is any game from any PS Plus month that I could recommend to pretty much anyone and everyone, it would be this one. I’m very happy for the devs and excited to see where they go with it, as well as what other games arrive in the future because of it, as clearly there is a market for absolutely daft fun.
Personal opinion, Fall Guys not only rescued this month, but made it a month that I will not forget.
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Sleeping Dogs is an open world, third person, crime/action game developed by United Front Games. I had heard it described as a surprisingly good GTA clone set in Hong Kong which sounded good to me! It regularly goes on sale for less than £5 on the PS Store and that includes all DLC. It’s a steal. We play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop, infiltrating a faction of the Triads, the Sun on Yee. Between gaining their trust, the increasing rivalry both internally and externally, and keeping his true motives secret, Wei has to find the balance between keeping his cover and keeping his humanity.
Getting to play a cop instantly differentiates this game from the GTA series and that drew me to it straight away. It is an interesting dilemma and it also allows us to play both sides of the fence, creating an area of gameplay that you can’t explore in most other crime games. The game is played like most other open world games. There are the main ‘Triad’ missions, then there are the side ‘cases’, jobs, random events and favours. All of these missions raise your XP in each area to unlock new perks. Finally, there are races and loads of collectables.. because would it really be an open world game without them?
The whole style of play also sets this game apart from GTA. Where GTA has a lot of gunplay, Sleeping Dogs is more focused on hand to hand combat. With combo based moves and limited weapons, whether you prefer this will totally depend on whether you prefer melee or range. As much as the game receives a lot of praise for the combat, I prefer to keep my distance in these types of games, therefore that mechanic is slightly lost on me. Having said that, it is very satisfying to be completely surrounded and managed to kick the asses of every one of them single-handedly. I found the chase scenes and parkour a little odd at first but it is very easy to get used to. You can only really go where the game allows you to which is a shame when you try to explore something you can’t, but at the same time at least it stops you wasting your time.
Hong Kong is a great setting for the game and I enjoyed the atmosphere, from the hectic market, to the long alleys, to the oriental parks, to the peaceful temple, to the more upmarket areas. I have never been to China but I have been to Chinatowns.. and after playing this game I am still not sure whether I want to go or not! The different districts each have their own feel, and I feel that the map is the perfect size. The graphics are nice, especially when it is raining. They are nothing ground breaking but they are definitely modern enough to keep you engaged.
The controls were good most of the time but I did have some issues. First was the responsiveness. Sometimes when I would try to counter an attack it just would not work. Sometimes when I tried to enter a car I had to find exactly the right angle. I had heard the driving was bad, but I didn’t actually find the driving too bad. It was the camera angles that were a nightmare. It isn’t unplayable by any means but it can be annoying sometimes. That and the motorbikes. As soon as I finished the motorbike races I promised myself that I wasn’t driving one again.
There were some features in this game that were just simple things that made the world of difference, especially when you compare to GTA. There are garages dotted all over the map, so when you need a car you don’t always have to steal them. This was huge for me, it’s so much more convenient. Another thing I loved is the fact that everything didn’t constantly reset itself. If I left my car somewhere and went to do something on foot, nine times out of ten my car would still be there, where as in GTA they always seem to vanish. I liked the GPS system too, or at least when it worked. Sometimes it didn’t differentiate whether I needed to be on a road above or below where I was, but it was very handy on the highways because it shows you a big arrow pointing at which lane you need to be in. The police system was SO much better in this. When police are nearby they show up on you map, and they don’t just chase you for any little thing. Even when they do, they are a lot easier to escape than in GTA. This was the most welcome change ever for me, I always use the cheats in GTA simply because the police are constantly everywhere and so bloody annoying. The collectables map is a huge help in this game. You have to unlock them, but once you do, it is an absolute life saver if you are going for 100% or want the perks that come with them. Finally, the last improvement over GTA for me is that you can save from anywhere. When you load your game you will be at your nearest apartment, but when you save you don’t have to travel all the way too it. This saves so much time if you are like me and like to constantly save in case you eff something up.
One of the things that I think GTA wins the battle on is weapons. In Sleeping Dogs, melee weapons aren’t very durable and break after a few hits, and if you get a gun in a mission you generally don’t get to keep it. It makes sense that you can’t walk around carrying all your weapons, and I got used to it eventually, but I still prefer being able to switch when I want. But, to counter this, it does make for some exciting missions. Bringing fresh air to a gunfight then coming out on top is always fun! The other thing that I find quite funny in Sleeping Dogs is the AI. If you are driving a car and you hit something, they never stop, they just keep on driving. Every time. If you nearly run someone over they will just stand there in front of you and stare at your car. Thankfully it’s usually ok to run them over because you can see on your map that there is no cops around. Lastly is the spawning. When I call my valet my car always spawns in the weirdest of places. The last notable one I had was under a truck.
Technically, I didn’t have any problems with the game for most of my playthrough. I took my PS4 to my neighbours one day because I was house sitting and as I was playing, I noticed the game was feeling a bit laggy. Then at one point, it completely froze up on me, I had to force it off. This would have been really annoying if I didn’t save so often. I have no idea what caused it because using a different TV shouldn’t affect it at all, but I just think it is worth bearing in mind. Other than that I had one other glitch. If you have your gun out, everyone around you cowers, even the ones you can usually talk to. So if you have your gun out, even if it gives you the option, don’t talk to them. I made this mistake. I got a pop up saying to you want to buy this, Yes or No. No matter what I pressed on it wouldn’t work because the person was now cowering. I had to quit the game to get out of the situation.
To sum up, I really do recommend this game to anyone who enjoys open world games. It has a good story, a great main character, fun gameplay and a nice unique atmosphere. I am aiming for the Platinum which is getting a bit grindy, but I have yet to play the two DLCs (accessible from the main menu) so I can’t comment on them yet. I can, however, say that I’ve got my money’s worth. It’s bloody, it’s violent and it’s satisfying, so please, pick it up and enjoy it!
What did you think? Did you enjoy it? Was it better than GTA?
The Walking Dead: Season 2 is a direct sequel to The Walking Dead: Season 1 and it’s DLC 400 days, all developed by Telltale Games. Season 1 is widely considered a great game, one of Telltales best. The only comments that I had read before about Season 2 were about how it wasn’t as good as its predecessor. I went in with that in mind and I’ve got to admit, I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only did I really like the game, I actually enjoyed it more than the first one, which is something I hadn’t even considered happening.
The story takes place soon after the events of Season 1 and we take control of a young Clementine. It is difficult to do a plot summary without spoiling anything but I’m going to go with this. Think about the TV show. Remember how in the first couple of seasons, the walkers were the main danger? Then as the seasons go on, other people become even more of a threat than the walkers? Well – if Season 1 is the equivalent of the first couple of seasons of the show, Season 2 is more like the rest of the show. Do you get me?
In Season 1, I found some of the characters likable but I really hated some of them too. This time around, I found the characters more realistic and relatable. The change in my emotions towards these characters felt natural and I felt the dialogue flowed well. I also thought the pace of the story was good, although admittedly, it was a bit absurd sometimes when things kept getting palmed onto the eleven year old.
In the first season I was dreading what was going to happen next and instead of enjoying the story, I was secretly wishing it was over. This season though I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay. I don’t know whether it was because it felt less ‘horror’, or because I could relate to Clem as a main character, or just because I enjoyed the situations more than the first. Whatever the reason, I haven’t yet seen anyone else that feels the same way as me.
Technically, this game ran a lot better than any of the other Telltale games that I have played. They all have an issue of lag whenever there is action with fast cuts. Every single game. As far as I can remember, I only had this issue once in this whole game, which is a huge improvement. Other than that, it worked perfectly. Just an FYI, there is no platinum trophy for this game. All of the trophies are earned just by playing so by finishing it you will 100% it, but there isn’t a plat available.
Overall, I just really enjoyed this game. I loved the atmosphere, I enjoyed the characters, I got quite emotional and I LOVED the ending that I got. It was a joy to play and if you have enjoyed the first game then you will no doubt like this one at least a little. Make sure to play 400 Days before you play (if it was included in your purchase of TWD: Season 1 then it will be a bonus chapter, I didn’t even realise I had it till I googled how to get it.), it’s not essential but it is a nice introduction to some of the characters. Season 2 actually had 5 endings so I am intrigued as to how Season 3 is going to continue the story. I went from being indifferent about the sequels to looking forward to the next one which definitely means this game did something right!
STORY DISCUSSION BELOW. HEAVY SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Clementine – I loved playing as Clementine. She has matured and is growing into exactly what she needs to to be able to survive in this world. She is still sweet and caring but has a sass to her that is perfect. Sometimes she seems to be the most mature person in the group, which I get that people don’t like, but I also think it sometimes makes sense. Being the age that she is, she manages pretty well to take everything in her stride. An eleven year old thinks more about the now, where as adults tend to think more about the past, present and future. Obviously the adults have more life experience, but I can also see how their thoughts can be detrimental, leading to high tension and petty arguments. Most kids growing up in this world are going to deal with it better than the adults because they find it easier to accept the new ‘normal’. With a few exceptions of course.
Sarah – Sarah was an interesting dilemma that unfortunately didn’t end up amounting to much. From the beginning I could not decide whether she needed babying or whether she needed toughening up. I went down the babying route because she didn’t just seem scared, she seemed more like she had a mental health problem. I managed to save her in the cabin but when the balcony collapsed, I opted to just save Jane instead. I felt bad but at the same time I was a little underwhelmed. I really thought that babying vs being tough was going to come back and bite me in the ass, maybe getting someone else killed or having her step up, but it doesn’t seem to matter either way. I thought she was an interesting character with a potentially interesting arc, but I was just a little dissatisfied with her ending. Although, I did enjoy the comparisons with Janes sister and that some people just can’t be saved. I imagine that would be true should the apocalypse actually happen.
Alvin and Rebecca – Alvin was the one character that I immediately disliked. He went to the eleven year old and asked her to go in the unchecked room looking for food for his wife. Do it yourelf! He kind of redeemed himself at the end, but to be honest, I didn’t find what he did to be noble so much as necessary. There was no way I could have got him out of the room so if he was staying behind he might as well shoot someone. I really felt sorry for Rebecca. Pregnancy is something that I don’t even have the slightest interest in doing. I’ve seen my sister do it and it looks hard. Now imagine being pregnant with no hospitals and no doctors in a world where everything wants to kill you. It is almost a death sentence. As soon as the doctor died I knew shit was going to hit the fan. I wasn’t surprised when Rebecca died, but I loved how it happened, and I know taking a shot during a Mexican standoff isn’t the smartest thing to do but I thought she was going to eat the babies brains.
Nick – Nick was a frustrating one. You could tell he was going to be a liability but you could also tell he didn’t mean to be. I saved him over Pete because I thought Pete was bitten, and I do think that his reaction was silly. ‘You could have saved him, why didn’t you save him?’ Why didn’t I save him, why didn’t you save him?! I’m a little girl for Christ sake. But other than that, I think I managed to keep him going as long as I could, and I really appreciated the fact that his death was off screen. I didn’t expect to just stumble across zombie Nick but I thought it was quite cool. Poor dude just wasn’t made for the apocalypse.
Luke – I liked Luke a lot. He seemed quite real. For some reason I thought he was going to survive to the end but as soon as that ice cracked, I panicked. I went in to save him but I couldn’t. I kept hoping that he was going to pop up after but nope. We really should have walked around the lake. Massive shame that he died but I do wish he could have had a less preventable death.
Mike and Bonny – I liked these two. I really thought they were part of the group. The night around the bonfire was great, I loved those moments. I seriously cannot believe they did what they did, they were both always nice to Clem. I can understand that they didn’t want to be around Kenny but to take all the food and the car. Traitors.
Jane – From the first time I saw her I had a feeling I was going to like her. She looked like a badass who knew what she was doing. The time her and Clem spent together was interesting. I felt like Clem was the person she wished her younger sister could have been. I loved the parts when she was teaching her about survival and it was also interesting hearing her views on people and the world. I understood all of the points she was making. I was on board with her, I liked her, I saved her over Sarah, then what did she do. Watching the argument in the car Journey was starting to get a little uncomfortable, then when she was talking about leaving Kenny I was considering her words. When we crashed the car and she got out and ran off, I started feeling very suspicious, then when she came back without AJ the alarm bells were ringing. As soon as he left and she told me not to get involved I put two and two together and knew she was planning to set Kenny up. I wasn’t sure what she had done to AJ but she completely missed the point in my book. She was trying to prove to me that Kenny was dangerous, unpredictable, a killer. But she did not realise that I already knew this, I saw what he did to Carver for crying out loud. I could have already told her that if anyone touched a hair on that baby’s head he would do whatever he felt he needed to do. But for her to manipulate him like that, then try to manipulate me into accepting it, then use the whole thing as an excuse to kill him spoke volumes to me about her personality. I would never be able to trust her again nor would I want to. She had to go.
Kenny – I feel so bad for Kenny. I feel like he is so misunderstood. Imagine not only losing your silly, innocent Son, but your wife committing suicide at the same time. Within a few moments he had nothing left to live for. People cope with things in different ways and to tell you the truth, I honestly relate to his rage. Now let’s fast forward. Everyone you know is dead, you almost died trying to save/mercy kill some asshole that you didn’t even like, you survive on your own for however long till you are found by someone who can’t fill the void but can provide some comfort. You let yourself fall for her and come across some kind strangers. Things are starting to look up, then the one person that knew your family that is still alive stumbles back into your life, serving a daily reminder of what happened. Your new kind friends get killed, you get kidnapped, beaten to near death losing an eye in the process, then you escape only to see your new loved one die, suffering after having her arm hacked off. Of course you are going to be in extreme depression again by now, but you manage to pull yourself out of it enough to help a woman give birth. She dies but the baby lives, meanwhile the rest of your friends die and betray you, and the last remnant of your family gets shot. You decide to take a father role to the two kids left in your life and take them to the supposed haven with your last shot of hope. On the way, the new girl that you don’t even trust is picking fights with you, then loses the baby that you have sworn to raise better than you raised your own son. I think Kenny was WELL within his rights to flip out. Bashing Carvers face in, raging out at zombies, beating up Arvo and arguing with the group are all things that I think I probably would have done in his situation too, and I honestly don’t blame him at all. I find him to be such an interesting character and I couldn’t be happier with my ending.
Ending – In the flashback of Lee, he said that part of growing up is doing what’s best for the people you care about, even if sometimes that means hurting someone else. I think a lot of people interpreted that as needing to put Kenny down because of his actions, but I didn’t take it like that. To me, in that analogy, Kenny is the one we care about. Jane has to be hurt (or killed) to protect him because all she is doing is trying to bring out the worst in him and she will not let it lie.
A lot of his other words felt so poignant if you think about Kenny. They were talking about Lilly killing Carley, and how sadness can make you angry. If you ask Lee whether he has ever been like that, he says yes, once. We all know Lee is a good guy but even the best of us can fall off the deep end. He says about how bad things happen to everyone and it can make it difficult to be the same person that you were before. Again, he is talking about Lilly but all I see is the parallels with Kenny. Kenny is full of grief and rage, yes he’s a dick, but he is not bad, deep inside. He will probably never be the same person he was before but part of him does and always will remain, all he needs is a chance to get through the worst of it.
Obviously, from what I have written above, I chose to look away and let Kenny kill Jane. I hoped in the back of my mind that maybe he wouldn’t KILL her, but at the same time, I felt absolutely no remorse when he did. That, followed by finding the baby in a car in a blizzard in the zombie apocalypse, told me everything I needed to know. We needed to press onto Wellington anyway if we wanted a chance at finding Christa. Seeing the change in Kenny when he was just with the kids confirmed everything I thought. Even though Kenny can be seen as unstable and a liability, he is going to do everything in his power to protect Clem and AJ. Absolutely everything. Jane would leave anyone behind in a heartbeat, she all but admitted it. Not Kenny though. Clem needs Kenny and Kenny needs Clem. He looks out for her and she gives him purpose. That is why my heart absolutely broke when we reached Wellington and found out that Kenny couldn’t come in. That is the hardest I have cried at fiction for a while. Kenny was crying, Clem was crying, I was crying, I never even considered that we would get the option to stay. It was a no brainer for me. Without the kids, Kenny would die. Like I said, they give him a purpose. Without that purpose, he would for sure succumb to his grief. There is no way that he would make it and to be honest, they’ve been doing ok on their own. Walls are overrated anyway. All it takes is for someone to die inside and shit hits the fan all over again. TEAM KENNY.
What did you think of Season 2? Did you like Season 1 better? Who was your favourite character? Which ending did you get?
Murdered: Soul Suspect is a homicide detective game with a twist, developed by Airtight Games. You are actually the murder victim and you have to solve your own death. As someone who enjoys solving a good mystery it was a no brainer for me to pick this game up. That, and I was completely intrigued by the whole concept. You play as cop, Ronan O’Conner, in the haunted town of Salem. The whole game takes place over the night of your murder, bringing with it the spooky atmosphere of a night in a town with a haunting history. The experience is elevated again when you remember that Salem is a real town in Massachusetts, well known for its history of Witch Trials.
I found the atmosphere of this game to be absolutely perfect. Walking around in a different plane, you see not only the present but also ghosts of the past. The way the town is now and the way used to be. It is eerie and honestly very creepy sometimes, but it is also fascinating and it didn’t put me off exploring the world. Well, not at first anyway. Add this to the noir, mystery vibe and I honestly think they nailed it. I would say there are definitely horror themes. Pretend you are in a horror movie and list everywhere that you don’t want to go. I dare bet that most of the places on your list are places that you will visit in this game. But it isn’t a horror game. I seriously don’t do horror, but I managed to get through it. Only just, mind you, but I’ll come back to that a bit later.
The story is divided into chapters where you enter an area (most of the time only available for that mission) to progress the story, then between the missions you will have access to the semi open world of the town. Most missions consist of getting from A-B safely, and investigating. I LOVED investigating. I love finding clues then putting them together. I loved exploring and finding hidden secrets. If that was solely what this game was about then I would have adored it. I loved the collectibles in this game, they really gave a purpose to exploring. Almost everywhere that you can go there are collectibles and sometimes there were even puzzles to get to them. Not only that but the collectibles were interesting. Each unlocking a piece of history of your character, or other characters, or the town itself. It’s one of the first games that I have actively gone hunting for collectibles without a guide and thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, there is a downside though. If you don’t get all of the collectibles as you go then you will have to play the whole game again. This particularly annoyed me because in almost every section I had missed ONE collectible. I thought to myself ‘I’ll go back and get it later’… only you can’t go back and get it later, unless it is in the main town. Even then, once you have finished the final mission the game is over. On the bright side, your collectibles transfer over to your second play-through. So, even though you have to play the whole game again, you don’t have to re-find every single one, only the ones you missed. I personally would have no hesitation to play through a second time if it wasn’t for one thing that almost spoiled the whole game for me. Demons.
You learn pretty early on that demons can be found roaming around the ghost world, and if they see you they are a bitch to escape. The aim is to sneak up behind them and execute them but that is sometimes easier said than done. To be honest, they were an annoyance at best, at worst they almost made me quit the game. It is not like they are that difficult, but they completely ruined my mindset while playing this game. When there were no demons I thoroughly enjoyed searching every nook and cranny for collectables. However, when you hear that awful scream you know they are there and you are going to have to spend some time getting rid of them. As I mentioned above, I did not buy this game to kill demons and I did not buy this game for any kind of horror. I bought it because I wanted to play a detective game and solve a mystery. If they didn’t exist I would have finished and platinumed the game months ago, but I honestly never want to deal with those demons again. It is very annoying because I really do want to see the rest of the ghost stories. I wish they had never implemented them into the game, it would have been better off without them, they just weren’t fun.
The technical side of this game is where it is let down in my opinion. If you enter the clues menu, it tells you your current objective. Till the very end of the game, my objective was stuck on one of the first. I was afraid that when I turned the game off that the autosave may not have worked but it did, although the objective never updated. That was just a minor issue I had. The game is very buggy. One time it froze and I was just about to force my PS4 off but it started working again. Sometimes collectibles weren’t registering and the prompt to kill the demons wasn’t appearing. Also, whenever I came back to the game after turning it off, it gave me the tutorial messages for the menu features every single time. It does get quite annoying if you are playing through a lot of sittings.
I enjoyed the story of this game very much. From the opening scene, showing us Romans past, I thought it was beautifully done and I was sold. Throughout the game I kept going back and forth in my mind who I thought the killer was, then in the end it still surprised me which is something I value so much in a story. I thought the characters were all interesting and I just really enjoyed the direction the story went. The ONE issue I had was I wish the Epilogue scene was slightly longer, but that doesn’t matter too much since I can still use my imagination. It is a really nice mystery and I urge everyone who enjoys detective games to play, despite its flaws.
Overall, this game is all about exploring and investigating, uncovering mysteries and helping people, with some stealth involved, all in a supernatural yet realistic setting. If that sounds up your ally then I urge you to play. Especially since this game often goes on sale for £5 or less, you can’t go wrong.
Have you played? Did you enjoy it? Did you guess the killer? Did you hate the demons as much as I did?