Review – Life is Strange – PS4

Life is Strange is a 5 part Episodic game that introduces us to Max Caulfield – A budding photography student at the prestigious Blackwell Academy. Her day starts as a regular old day at lectures, then suddenly, something happens and she discovers that she can rewind time. After discovering her gift, Max rekindles her friendship with her childhood best friend Chloe and heads out into the weirdest week of her life. The story is very character driven, emotionally charged, mysterious and a joy to play.

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I love time travel stories. I’m obsessed with ‘The Butterfly Effect’ – the theory, not the movie (but that’s cool too). However, I often end up either confused by plot holes or unsatisfied by wasted potential. That was not the case with Life is Strange. I thoroughly enjoyed having the time travel ability, deciding when to apply it, seeing different outcomes, solving problems, changing decisions and experiencing the consequences. It was all done so much better than I imagined it could be in my head, with regards to continuity and actual play style.

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At its heart, this game had three main themes. Exploration, decision-making and problem solving. There were then the added flavours of mystery, whimsy, and even darkness with some fun moments and some very serious. The game is played in third person with you controlling Max. As you wander around, anything you can interact with is highlighted, including objects, people and animals. As you approach the game tells you which button to press to interact with said object/person/animal. You can look at things to hear Max’s thoughts, chat to people, inspect objects and there are occasional photo opportunities that go towards the trophies of the game. Gameplay is quite easy, if you are going too wrong then Max will sometimes give you a hint but generally the puzzles are easy enough. Like I said, exploration is one of the main factors of the game and if you don’t explore you will miss a lot so don’t be afraid to examine everything in the room before you do something. You can always rewind if you aren’t happy with what you did. There is enough variety in dialogue options to play Max as you want to play her and have your own experience.

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The Graphics aren’t great, but I don’t think they are meant to be. They are good but not Beyond: Two Souls level. That doesn’t mean to say there aren’t beautiful moments because there are many. The whole feel of the graphics fits in perfectly with the style of the game. It’s artsy, cute, quirky and beautiful in its own right. The attention to detail is insane. As you explore, read everything and you will just see how much effort has gone into making this a real living world. The posters on the walls, the graffiti, the texts, the journal. You will see what I mean as the game goes on, there are subtle and not so subtle changes. There is also plenty of subtle humor.  I love everything about the detail put into this game, I am in awe of anyone that has such a great imagination.

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As far as the story goes, some bits are predictable, some are shocking, some are awesome, some are funny, some are heart breaking. If you are a fan of Story based games then I can guarantee it will give you feels. The characters were so cliché but I loved that. It was really great that there was time to actually get to know the side characters. Going from everyone being strangers to looking forward to interacting with them is a great feeling. The only issues I have are 1. Sometimes it was noticeable that the same actor was voicing different parts and 2. Max’s voice could get a little bit annoying sometimes.

The story takes place over 5 days. Each episode is a new day give or take. Episode 4 blew me away and was my favourite of the 5. From beginning to end it had something to enjoy and it’s when the story really starts to get serious and everything starts coming together. In addition to just playing the story, if you look in the middle section of your journal there will be a bunch of sketches for every episode. These are the optional photos that I mentioned earlier. I didn’t notice until I was onto episode 2 but the sketches are a clue as to what the photo is going to be. It added a whole new angle of enjoyment to be on the lookout for what these photos could be. Some weren’t as expected and some made you work to get them. These photos are collectibles, they aren’t necessary and don’t affect the story however it’s probably the easiest platinum trophy you will ever get! Don’t worry if you do miss any because it’s very easy to go back when you have finished the game and mop them up.

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Do you like choice driven games? Do you like story driven games? Do you like character driven games? If yes then it is definitely worth playing. It is like the interactive movie genre games with a twist. It is creative, poetic, a lovely story of friendship with intriguing mysteries that will have you laughing and crying. Its hella good.

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SPOILERS BELOW. DON’T READ ON TILL YOU’VE COMPLETED THE GAME. SPOILERS BELOW.


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When I write a review I like to write down my experience of the story and see how it differs to other peoples. Don’t hesitate to comment if you agree/disagree with something!

I had been suspicious of Mr. Jefferson a couple of times throughout the game but each time he completely changed my mind. One time was when Victoria tried to blackmail him and he completely shut her down. Another was when blaming him in the principles office, I thought it was weird that the option was even there so I rewound to see what that was all about. Nothing suspicious. Slimy SOB. Then in the 4th episode he seemed a bit weird again. Specifically at the party. I don’t know why but I got the creeps seeing him there, he looked out-of-place the second I saw him. When the end was revealed I wasn’t surprised because I sort of suspected it but I still thought it was a great way to end the episode. I was very pleased that I didn’t have to wait months between episodes, that would have sucked.

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I didn’t have a clue what to think of Nathan because he had to be in on it. I loved what they did though and it all made sense when it was revealed. I feel very sympathetic to him, poor kid had severe mental health problems that were ignored by his asshole family then he was used by an even bigger asshole pervert, only to realise what he had done and be killed by said asshole pervert. Now that’s traumatic. David gave me a weird feeling too, it was the opposite of Mr Jefferson. I kept believing that he only had the best intentions for him to then go and do something stupid like spy on his home and hit Chloe. Then there was the resentment of him replacing William who was the nicest person in existence. I was so pleased that my instincts with him turned out to be true, he turned out to be a great character, I’m quite fond of him. Everything in the dark room once he rescues Max was what I had been hoping for with his character. The option when he finds out that it was Jefferson that killed Chloe was POWERFUL.

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I was really satisfied with my ending. Throughout the game I was sure that we were going to get a happy ending. I don’t know why I thought that, the last two games I completed had me sobbing (Red Dead Redemption and Beyond: Two Souls in case you were wondering). I was sure that we were going to find Rachel Amber and live happily ever after somehow. I hadn’t made the connection that the tornado was caused by the time travel and as soon as Warren said it in the diner it was a ‘Duh’ moment. There wasn’t much time to think between then and the end decision but when it came to it I was still surprised and had to pause the game to think it through. The right option was so obvious to me. In every single alternate timeline Chloe died. Every single one. She was never meant to live. I get the feeling that even if they survived the tornado she was going to get killed again soon. My thoughts are very ‘Final Destination’ but it makes sense. She was never meant to live. If you choose to sacrifice Arcadia Bay, every person that you saved in the tornado chapter would die. I can’t justify that from Max’s perspective or mine. Also, sacrificing Chloe isn’t just sacrificing Chloe. It’s putting time right. The game has clearly shown that you shouldn’t mess with time. From the nosebleeds to the passing out to the nightmare. The world literally cannot handle it. There is no timeline without the eco-disasters except the original one. Who’s to say that sacrificing Arcadia Bay is all that you are sacrificing? That tornado might never end, it might just tear through America, then the world. There might be more eco-disasters. There have been new ones every day and I dare bet that they would keep coming. I feel that the reason they didn’t expand on the sacrifice Arcadia Bay ending is because there isn’t anything else that they can add without making it obvious that it is the wrong choice. Look at what happened in the sacrifice Chloe epilogue. The chain of positive events that were originally meant to happen. I love the fact that it all came full circle and I don’t think there could be a more satisfying ending. As sad as it was it was necessary for the story to make sense. Don’t mess with time.

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I KNEW it was going to come back to that butterfly. The whole theory of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ is that a hurricane could be caused by the flapping of a butterflies wings at the other side of the world. I love how they have taken that theory and used it, literally and metaphorically. I’m not a very symbolic or poetic person but I did appreciate the use of the butterflies and the tornado. Having the butterfly then land on Chloes coffin proved to me that I had made the right choice and that this was the way that it was supposed to be. That was their destiny all along. I really appreciate the fact that we couldn’t fix everything with time, and the more you try to change it the more trouble you cause. My only worry is that I have heard they are making a season 2 containing all new characters, I hope this doesn’t completely undermine my theory.

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Just a couple of other things that I enjoyed – I really liked Warren for Max. I think they were a good match. They are both geeky, they like the same stuff, she thinks he’s cute, he completely trusts her, they are just completely on the same wave-length.

I was really sad when I realised that I was going to have to let William die again. That was almost as sad as the ending to me. That guy didn’t do one thing wrong. Except buying Chloe a car I guess.

Last one – I really liked the way they told the story, especially when it came to the alternate realities. I can’t think of a better way to catch us up than showing us photos of the changes. It spoke so much without even using words. The time that the photos changed back to being in the dark room my heart sank. It was chilling. I did not expect to end up back there. So well done.

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Overall, this was my kind of game. Exploration and problem solving are some of my favourite parts of games. That along with time travel made it great. It was emotional and although I didn’t cry like I have before, there was a tear when the credits started rolling. This was probably because I was so confident that my choice was right. Either way, it was fun and a good game, even for people who don’t game. The only way I can think of to improve it would be to make it longer. Either more episodes or one long game. Then, at some of the photo-travel moments it could give you a couple of photos to choose from. That way you are truly creating your own story because whichever photo you choose changes different things. If this happened a few times then there would be loads of replay value to see where different combinations ultimately take you. Although maybe that is best saved for another game.

What were your thoughts? Were your suspicions right? What was your final choice? Did you cry?

Review – Beyond: Two Souls – PS3

Beyond: Two Souls is a game that follows the life of Jodie Holmes (Ellen Page), a girl who has a permanent connection with an unknown entity named Aiden. The game consists of 24 chapters taking place during different periods of Jodies life. We see the struggles of her growing up with her ‘gift’, including the great things they can achieve and the not so great consequences. We travel through many different settings and environments in many different situations. The game falls into the interactive movie category with elements of action, adventure and a little bit of stealth set in some environments the size of a room, and others in quite open worlds. Ultimately though, this is completely a character and story driven game.

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I would say the main genre is sci-fi but there are bits of literally almost every genre included in places. Most prominently are the drama, supernatural and horror with some mystery, thriller, spy-thriller, political and even a bit of western. It felt like a mashup of the Sixth Sense, Resident Evil, Edge of Tomorrow, Titanic, James Bond and many many more examples that won’t come to my head but you will know what I mean when you play it. Each chapter has its own feel. The variety means that, chances are, there is a part that you will love and a part that you don’t so much. I personally enjoyed the quieter chapters more than the action heavy ones but others may disagree.  I hadn’t realised before I started that there was a touch of horror to it, I was playing in bed at night in the dark all alone and suddenly I SHAT myself! It’s not by any means a horror game but I think you need to be aware if you are a big wimp like me. Don’t let it put you off though! It’s mainly one chapter and you’ll know which one I mean when you get to it. It’s not so bad it just seriously creeped me out.

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Gameplay was quite basic. Walk around and interact with the environment whenever there is a white dot. Press certain buttons as instructed. The combat was strange. When fighting the movement would turn to slow motion and you had to move in the direction that Jodie was already going. That got confusing at times. Sometimes I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, sometimes I didn’t know if I’d done it right or wrong, but either way I didn’t see too many consequences for getting it wrong the odd time. Jodie is played in third person but you can also switch to Aiden most of the time by pressing triangle. Aiden is played in first person and is attached to Jodie by a spiritual cord which restricts the distance you can go with him. He can float through (most) walls, floors, doors, ceilings and can go some places where Jodie can’t. He’s very useful, whether its scouting the area, breaking doors, controlling people or just causing trouble. Combat using Aiden was a bit confusing at times as well as sometimes you couldn’t see what you were doing but it was still easy enough. You have to be quite quick to make dialogue decisions otherwise it will choose something for you. The Graphics were stunning and the music was great. The pacing was a bit weird, I understand why they did it the way they did, it eases you into the combat and the story and creates some mystery. It probably wouldn’t have worked as well chronologically but it just felt a little clunky at times.

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I feel like it’s inevitable to compare Beyond to Heavy Rain – same devs, same interactive movie style – however I also feel like they cannot be compared. They share their own genre away from FPS or RPGs but they are also nothing alike. Beyond is supernatural fantasy story following one girl for 15 years where as Heavy Rain is a murder mystery thriller following 4 different people for around 4 days. Heavy Rain was my personal favourite, it was more my genre and I feel like I was more attached to more of the characters than I was in Beyond. I also didn’t feel there were as many choices in this game. It was more dialogue changes than anything else so I didn’t agonize over my decisions like I did in Heavy Rain, or even Until Dawn for that matter. However, the game made up for it in its own way. While I was playing I enjoyed the story but I wasn’t completely gripped like I was with Heavy Rain, that might be because there isn’t a clear aim. In Heavy Rain you are on the path to finding the boy and identifying the serial killer – we know what the end goal is. Where as in Beyond it just felt like we were filling in the blanks jumping between gaps without the full intrigue of what’s going to happen. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t like it as much during my play-through. I did enjoy the payoff though. While I was playing I couldn’t see that there was going to be a payoff moment like THAT moment in Heavy Rain. But I was wrong. I didn’t see it coming but when it did, I just started crying like a baby. I love when there’s a twist that you don’t see coming but it smacked me right in the feels, I was so emotional. The second game in a row I’ve completed that made me cry (the first was Red Dead Redemption).

So overall, I wouldn’t say that if you loved Heavy Rain you will love this game, or if you loved this game you will love Heavy Rain. They are so different tonally, stylistically and narratively. However, if you enjoy the continuous, no ‘game over’, story focused, character driven, follow your instincts, choice making, multiple endings style then you will probably enjoy both games for different reasons like I did. I personally adore the Interactive Movie games and I cannot wait for more in the future.

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As far as replayability is concerned, its a little bit slow. The full story is around 10 hrs long. Once I finished I decided I wanted the platinum trophy and worked out that it would take me another one and a half playthroughs to get them all. Once you finish there is a chapter selection page where they are all in chronological order and you can choose where to go back to. Don’t assume that you will play them in chronological order though. The prologue is near the end chronologically but expect to have to play all the chapters again if you choose it. I think the main trophy path is going to be the same for everyone, do your first playthrough on your own. Then go back as far as you need to to change the ending. Once you’ve done that play through again from the beginning getting the rest of the trophies in the process. If you have still missed any after that you can go back to the relevant chapter and mop them up.

A hint for everyone if you are looking to get platinum. Play your first play-through in Duo mode. Then if the trophy doesn’t pop you can do it again on your next play-through. I have every trophy except the Duo mode one yet I played the full game in Duo mode on my second play-through. It will have to wait though because three full play-throughs is a bit much. I did enjoy spending more time in the games universe but it was still very tedious. For the Seen All Endings trophy you have to play the final chapter at least 5 times and watch through the whole epilogue and credits at least 9 times. And it’s not short. I did find the message at the end of the credits touching though. I enjoyed the action scenes a lot more the second time around, probably because I knew what to expect. Basically, on your second play-through it will feel a lot slower, so it’s worth having a break and coming back to the game a while later.

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Overall, I would recommend this game, especially to people that are new to gaming. It has a Duo mode where one person can play as Jodie and one can play as Aiden so I would also recommend it to couples and friends. Don’t expect a constant fast paced thrill ride but do expect a nice enjoyable story and just go with the flow. I was blown away at the end. Don’t read any spoilers on the internet, don’t even read the trophies, just play with your instincts and see where it gets you, that’s how these games are supposed to be played.

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SPOILERS AHEAD – ONLY READ ON IF YOU HAVE PLAYED THE FULL GAME


Continue reading “Review – Beyond: Two Souls – PS3”

Review – Until Dawn – PS4

Until Dawn is a Horror Survival Game with a difference. It plays similar to Heavy Rain, by which I mean your choices determine the outcome of the game. The butterfly effect system means that certain things that you do or choices that you make can hugely change your game, making everyone’s first play-through unique to them-self. I have to advise you that these games are best played without doing any googling or reading and just using your instincts and seeing where that takes you. Once you finish the game you can play again or go back chapter by chapter to see what you missed. I found it hilarious looking back and seeing what awful decisions I made!

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The game starts in a lodge in a secluded snowy mountain. Eight friends are having a vacation when a tragic event occurs.This is the tutorial level that allows you to get a feel for the game and sets up the story nicely. The game then skips forward to the year anniversary of the accident. The group are continuing their tradition and returning to the lodge spend the night.

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The game is played from eight different characters point of view. The goal is to see who can survive Until Dawn. As the night progresses we learn more about the threats that the characters face and how they link to the past. Each chapter brings us an hour closer to dawn and there are 10 in total.

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I wasn’t quite as attached to the characters as I was in Heavy Rain. I guess when there are so many characters they don’t get as much development and/or you don’t spend as long playing that character. Having said that, they were also a different age group in a totally different situation so it was never going to be the same. It just didn’t punch me in the feels quite as hard as Heavy Rain did. Nearly, but not quite. The characters themselves were quite cliche, from the jock guy to the geeky guy to the mean girls, but some of them changed as the game went on. I grew really fond of some of them that I hated in the beginning and was genuinely gutted when I lost a certain few of them.

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Quite honestly.. if you aren’t a horror fan than this game probably isn’t for you. I adored Heavy Rain and was excited by the concept of this game. It turns out that I am a massive wimp and needed to recruit my Dad to help me play the scary parts. I got as far as Chapter 5 on my own before I couldn’t take it anymore. We do make a good team, he does the slow exploration parts where there are likely to be jump scares and then I take over for the fast parts as I am better at the QTE’s. I also make all of the decisions, which it turns out that I’m not great at doing – due to 1. being indecisive and 2. shockingly bad judgment.

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I didn’t know what to expect from the horror side of things. When I started the game I thought it was a slasher game, from the things I’d heard and the tone of the game, but it turned out to be a bit of everything. Think of most horror movies you’ve seen. A bit of each of them has probably been incorporated one way or another. The atmosphere is very spooky and there are frights around every corner. If you are a hardened horror fan then you will be fine to play it alone in the dark. I screamed at parts and my Dad didn’t even flinch, it just depends on the individual. Overall though, even if it doesn’t scare you (which it probably will), you’ve got to be impressed by the variety they have managed to fit into one story. I had read in other reviews that the first half is best and that it got more silly as time went on so I was expecting to be disappointed, but in the end I really enjoyed how it all came together. I couldn’t predict what was going to happen and I thought it all fit together really well!

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I can’t comment on the sound because I have the volume turned right down but I did notice while walking through the snow, the snow under your shoes sounds just like real life, I literally could have been walking out in real snow for all I knew. The only other part of the sound that I can comment on is that it gets loud when it makes you jump. The score must have been doing a good enough job to create the atmosphere though for me to need to turn it down in the first place. The ‘O Death’ song is great too.

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It’s not the longest game to play through but it definitely has replay value, even if it is just to make all of the opposite choices and see what you end up with. I would recommend going for the Platinum trophy on this one. It’s a good way to see the majority of what there is to see and still enjoy it. Do your first play-through on your own then if you look up the trophies, you will only have to do two more play-throughs at the most to get platinum and they will both be different to your original one. I haven’t got mine yet – wimp – but I’ve got it planned, I only had to go back two chapters the first time, then I will have to do one more play-through from near the beginning. If you are doing this make sure to just use chapter select to restart your game instead of starting a whole new game.

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I still can’t decide whether I liked the addition of the totems or not. Totems are collectible items that you find on the ground and they give you a small glimpse into a possible outcome. There are 5 different colours which equate to five different categories – Danger, Loss, Death, Guidance and Fortune. I did think it was a really clever idea, however at the same time it did influence some of my decisions, I would obsess when one of my characters was near fire because I had seen an explosion. I know that’s what they were there for but it makes me wonder whether the game would have been better without having these little clues.

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Overall, it’s one to play, without a doubt. Fans of interactive movie games and fans of the horror genre are guaranteed to enjoy this game and it would be a great entry game for anyone who has never played before. Even if you are a wimp like me, keep the lights on, turn the volume down and have some friends over. Of course, if you want to play it how it’s supposed to be played I salute you. Dark, loud and shit-stained pants. Don’t go in expecting a masterpiece but do expect to have some fun.


SPOILERS AHEAD – DO NOT CONTINUE UNLESS YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE GAME


Continue reading “Review – Until Dawn – PS4”

Let’s Chat About – What Remains of Edith Finch

When a game worms its way into your brain as much a What Remains of Edith Finch did there is only one thing you can do. Sit down and hash it out with yourself for half an hour.

This is one of the first Let’s Chat video/podcasts that I made, where I did a deep dive into the story and what it meant to me.

For context, I did a full play through of the game on my Youtube Channel, where I talked a little bit about my thoughts during the credits. This is a follow up from that, after having some time to think and get it all straight in my head.

A fantastic game that I enjoyed more and more the longer that I thought about it.

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PS Plus – June 2020

After the relaxed month of May, June turned out to be all action. While it technically shouldn’t have been ‘my month’, it turned out to be probably the most fun month I have had since I started this project.

Call of Duty: WWII almost had my interest before I played but not too much. I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this setting more than the more modern and sci fi takes, and I wasn’t wrong.

There was so much to love. The game play was fun, the cut-scenes looked like an actual WWII movie, the game was gorgeous. Then there is both the single player campaign and online multiplayer, not forgetting zombie mode. As someone who doesn’t enjoy FPS, I wasn’t mad at this game.

Star Wars Battlefront 2, as I understand, isn’t considered to be one of the best Star Wars games. I can only give you my opinion from the perspective of an online multiplayer noob as well as a Star Wars noob.

This game was fun. I found the single player campaign boring as far as I played, but online? Oh my gosh. Epic battles with floods of characters. I only really played one mode but I am so glad I chose that one. I have never watched Star Wars but I did genuinly feel like I was in an epic Star Wars battle. It was epic. Epic.

A terrible month for my game play skills but a fantastic month for laughs.

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PS Plus – May 2020

This month was the month of chill. Or simulation/management games to be exact. A lot of people weren’t happy. These were both games that I wanted to try but didn’t want to buy, and that makes it the best type of PS Plus month in my opinion

Cities Skylines is a game that I had already tried on PC but did not get very far. I did manage to get further this time, but alas, I don’t think this game is for me.

Farming Simulator 19 was the second game of the month. Another game that I really wanted to try. I was happy with the time that I spent with it, but I have no desire to pick it up again. I had so many ideas that would make this game so much more fun. In my opinion if they took a few years off the yearly schedule and instead focused on one ultimate, game they would be onto a winner.

Do you think this month PS Plus were trying to replicate the Animal Crossing vibes that everyone was having at this point in time?

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PS Plus – April 2020

April arrived, and this time I only got to make one video. More on that below.
PS. They went heavy with the Playstation Exclusives so far this year!

Dirt Rally 2.0 is a car game, the first racing/sports type game that we have got with PS Plus this year. I am not a fan of getting these games on PS Plus. We seem to get a few a year, but they just aren’t for me. I did have a laugh while recording though, even if I didn’t enjoy the game.

Uncharted 4 was the other game of April. Sadly, I haven’t finished the Nathan Drake collection yet so I obviously didn’t want to make a video.

I had mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, they already gave us the first 3 game so it should be ok for them to give us the sequel. On the other, I’m not a fan of sequels of story based games like this being PS Plus games. I kind like getting original games, then if we like it we can choose whether to buy the sequel or not. Maybe I am just being ungrateful, especially since I already paid for this game lol.

This was around the time that they game Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection to everyone for free as a gift for the Covid lockdown, so that is another reason that Uncharted 4 does make sense. What is your opinion on having game sequels as PS Plus games?

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PS Plus – March 2020

After being spoiled for the first two months of 2020, March brought us back down to 2 games.

Shadow of the Colossus is a game I had been hoping for for a long time. It was such an interesting experience, I don’t think I have ever been more uncomfortable playing a game in my life.

This game embedded itself into my thoughts. For weeks my brain kept defaulting back to it. Even though I decided not to continue playing, it had such a big impact on me. I watched the rest via Let’s Play and think I may pick it back up myself if the mood strikes.

Sonic Forces was the second game of the month. Although I grew up with some Sonic, I already established last year when Sonic Mania was free that it is just not for me. This one barely felt like Sonic, being all 3D and you even create your own character. Having said that, I think I enjoyed this one more. I think it is a solid kids game, the cut scenes felt like real cartoons you watch on the TV

Disappointed to get back to the normality of 2 games this month? Or satisfied with the selection? Shadow of the Colossus was a winner for me. Even if I never complete it, I feel like it is an important game in game history.

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