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?
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?
Infamous Second Son is a PS4 exclusive, developed by Sucker Punch Productions. It was one of the first next-gen games, but I’ve just gotten around to playing it. There were two previous Infamous titles available on the PS3 but I haven’t played them so I am very new to the series. Second Son is a 3rd person, open world, action-adventure game.
The game takes place in a dystopian Seattle. Conduits (people with powers), or Bio-terrorists (as they are called by the scaremongering government), are persecuted by the public and authorities alike. The D.U.P exists to discover and detain conduits, removing them from society. We play as Delsin Rowe, a small town boy, looking to liberate his town from the hell that the D.U.P leader -Augustine – has unleashed upon them. Choose to either try to be peaceful or to unleash your own hell as you fight, not only for your home town, but the city itself.
Once the tutorial missions are over, you end up with free reign in Seattle. The map is divided by districts, each controlled by the D.U.P. As you complete certain tasks, such as destroying security cameras, spray painting walls and destroying command centers, the percentage of control the D.U.P has will decrease. Eventually, once you have done enough damage, you will be able to completely drive them out, neighborhood by neighborhood. On top of this, you have your main story line missions, that not only move the story along but change the time of day, the weather, and in time you will learn new powers.
As soon as I got to the main game I instantly felt the similarities to Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell (I assume it is also similar to Saints Row 4, but that is still in my backlog). I definitely wasn’t complaining about that since I had already enjoyed liberating Hell. I had heard people recommend these game to fans of the others before, but I had assumed that it was because both contain superpowers, I didn’t realise just how similar the game structure would be. I have to admit, I found the minigames in Gat Out Of Hell more fun than in Second Son. Having said that, the powers and controls are pretty different.
For me, the combat was a huge learning curve. There is no cover option and instead it encourages a lot of movement. As someone that likes to either hide behind cover a lot in GTA, and someone that likes to charge right in with a Battle Axe in Skyrim, I found it tough to get used to the combat style. A couple of hours into the game and I was putting off the story missions in favour of clearing the city. I got stuck trying to defeat a command centre and felt like quitting the game. I went looking for advice on the internet and decided to give it another shot, but this time turned the game to Easy, and get further along in the story to get more powers first. It worked. Once I got the second set of powers I enjoyed the game so much more. So my advice to people is to find a healthy balance between clearing the districts and doing the story missions.
Other than the combat, I found the controls to be really good. The parkour was really enjoyable and fluent. The one thing I would change would be to allow the ability to dangle from a ledge or building without having to jump off and catch it, as that was the only thing spoiling. The good/evil choices encourage a second playthrough, so even though it’s not the longest game in the world (it took me longer than I expected), you still get plenty of gameplay. The controller was used in creative ways which is refreshing, especially since now we are well into the next gen and I haven’t seen it utilised THAT much (having said that, I mostly play older games so I could be wrong about that).
Sadly, I only thought the story was ok. It was fine but I wasn’t REALLY invested, and I think that is partly because I didn’t enjoy the character of Delsin. My playthrough was played as a good character and I would be interested to see whether he is more likable as an evil character, but at the same time, I don’t feel compelled to play through again. My favourite part of the story was actually in the final mission, I feel if they had brought some of that forward then I would have been more invested in the story earlier.
The graphics were nice, more the scenery than the characters for me. There is a photo mode which is particularly impressive, you can move the camera, rotate it, zoom, apply filters etc. There are some beautiful moments when you are in the right lighting. There were two things that bothered me character wise. Sure they are nit picks but what do you know.. I’m a nit picker. First, it was raining in a cut-scene and the characters didn’t look wet. It took me out of the moment because they should have been soaking. The second thing is Delsin’s hat. He wears his hat throughout the entire game and it just annoys me so much. I wear hats all the time and the only way I can get them to stay in one place like that is to use hair pins. With all the jumping and climbing and fighting, it wouldn’t stay on his head like that. Again, I know it’s a nit-pick but damn, it really frustrated me. Other than that, there were a few bugs during gameplay but I am coming to find there always is. Nothing game-breaking so that’s the main thing.
Overall, I was slightly disappointed by this game. I just didn’t find it that enjoyable. However, it did get better as the game went on. I am still going to finish clearing Seattle as I find collectables the most enjoyable part, but I will save my second playthrough for a later date. Perhaps I will play Infamous First Light first since I bought them in a bundle. Still, this is all part of my attempt to play different types of games, as well as catching up on older games and exclusives. I am pleased I played it and everyone should give it their own shot, especially since it can be picked up so cheap now-a-days. Just remember, if you start this game and feel the way I did, keep going. It gets better once you get more powers and get used to the combat!
Have you played? When did you play and what did you think? Tell me why you loved it.
The Walking Dead Season 1 is the third Telltale Game that I have played, following ‘Tales from the Borderlands’ and ‘The Wolf Among Us’, even though it was created before both. I must admit, I think I had put it off for longer than I needed too simply because I was scared. I am obsessed with zombies but I do not play zombie games. At all. I just can’t. However, I did it! And it was one hell of a ride!
Telltale’s TWD is inspired by The Walking Dead graphic novels. It is not canon with the shows, however we do meet some familiar faces. The timeline starts before the comics. We take control of Lee Everett. A convicted murderer who is on his way to prison, but then, the apocalypse happens. We stumble upon and create an unlikely bond with Clementine, a little girl that needs help. Together, we navigate this new world, learning as we go how to cope, who to trust, and most importantly, how to survive.
I had heard great things about this game so, as much as I thought I knew what to expect, I also wasn’t sure if it would live up to the hype. As I was playing the first episode, I wasn’t really enjoying it as much as I had hoped. That all went out of the window in episode two though. That is when the game really picked up for me. The great thing about this game is that it isn’t all action. There is plenty of time to go around the group, asking them questions, getting to know them and taking a breather. But then you can be thrown right into the action where you have to make quick decisions and difficult choices. There was a great balance between the action and the quiet moments that really complimented the story for me.
At the beginning I found the dialogue to be a bit messy, for example, things seemed to escalate into shouting matches faster than they should have, and sometimes the option I pressed didn’t seem to match what was actually said. But as the game went on, I found I loved it more and more. For nearly every question I had in my head there was an option to ask it in the game. Characters would say exactly what I was thinking, unlike TV shows with unrealistic monologues. It’s a fantastic way to be allowed to be really involved in the story.
The characters were great too. Some long term, some for passing visits. Some I loved, some I really hated and some changed my mind. Not everyone you meet in the game has to die which is a welcome change from the TV show, it leaves much appreciated room for ambiguity and wonderment, and potential for future stories.
I felt like I died a lot unnecessarily during the game. Not due to being too slow or pressing the wrong buttons, but due to the controls feeling unresponsive. That is not something I experienced in any of the more recent games so I think it is just due to being an older game model. One time, I made an important decision then died almost immediately after. When I pressed continue I had to make the decision again. I didn’t really like this as in these games, I like that your decision is final when you make it. It feels more authentic when you make the decision in the heat of the moment rather than after reflecting on it. The game was quite glitchy. Sometimes it can freeze for a few seconds after auto-saving (same problem in all Telltale games that I have played so far) and sometimes the graphics wiggle around as if you are shaking the TV. It is a bit weird but it doesn’t happen often enough to make the game unplayable. It just breaks the immersion sometimes.
The episodes of this game felt a lot longer than the other TT games I have played so far. That would be a good thing for most people but I did find myself looking forward to finishing rather than enjoying the ride sometimes. The only reason for this is because – and the same reason that I enjoyed Tales from the Borderlands and The Wolf Among Us more – of the atmosphere. I really don’t enjoy scary games. It wasn’t a problem for most of the game but there was one certain episode that I didn’t enjoy as much because it was noticeably more spooky than the others. This literally isn’t a problem for anyone else except me so most people can disregard that complaint.
Overall, although it is probably my least favourite of the three I have played at the time of playing, I think I will amend my list to Tales From The Borderlands > The Walking Dead Season 1 > The Wolf Among Us. Although I loved playing The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead story felt superior and has impacted me a lot more. As far as the game goes, the character interaction was great, the game did a great job cutting out unnecessary scenes and it was just generally up there. I have been left feeling suitably creeped out, emotional and a little bit lost. I now have The Walking Dead 400 days DLC to complete before moving onto Season 2!
SPOILERS BELOW!DON’T CONTINUE UNLESS YOU HAVE PLAYED THE FULL GAME
The Wolf Among Us is the second Telltale Game that I have played, following Tales from the Borderlands. I had high expectations going in as I had read that many people consider it the best of the bunch. All I actually knew about it was that it was about werewolves. Well.. that’s what I thought. Imagine my surprise when the main character turned out to be the Big Bad Wolf! See, The Wolf Among Us is actually based on the DC Fables comics. Take Shrek. Set it in NY. Add in a mystery crime drama angle. Now add sex, drugs and rock and roll. Throw in some blood, guts, and lots of cussing. There you have, the Fables. I like to compare it to the MCU. Marvel has its superhero blockbusters, then it has its gritty Netflix dramas. Well, this is the Netflix of fairytales. Dark, gritty, brutal and it is just as bizarre as you’d expect it to be.
Bigby Wolf is the Sheriff of Fabletown, slogging away to try and keep Fabletown a functional place while also making up for his terrible past. Soon after we are introduced to the world, things start going downhill, fast. A crime takes place and it’s down to Bigby to solve it. Throughout the game we learn about the characters, past and present. As time goes on you will make crucial decisions in a bid to solve the mystery and make the town a better place. The game is not a comedy but it does have some dark humor, and for me it took a few episodes just to stop laughing at the whole concept. I mean that in the best way possible. The more I was introduced to new characters and lore, the more surreal and yet brilliant I found it. The world is immersive, the dark tone compliments the whole scenario perfectly and I actually found myself pausing the game just to give myself longer to make certain decisions which is something I had promised myself I would never do.
As far as gameplay is concerned, it is played in the same way as other Telltale games. It is very story based and the main components of gameplay include dialogue options, QTE’s during action, and sections of exploration and detective work. Not forgetting, of course, the decision making. I found the game didn’t always play as smoothly as I had hoped, the screen lagged and skipped a couple of times but it wasn’t as bad as Tales from the Borderlands. I thought the graphics were great. The game is very stylish and it suits the fact that it is inspired by comics. The music, the colours, the setting, they all worked together perfectly to create the atmosphere that you want to keep coming back to.
I enjoyed the story, however I did think some of the dialogue was clunky sometimes. As always, you get to play Bigbys character however you prefer by choosing the appropriate dialogue. However, sometimes I would make a selection but it wouldn’t come out as I had expected, or sometimes there wasn’t an option that I wanted at all. Then sometimes peoples replies didn’t sound quite right. I instinctively compare it to Tales from the Borderlands because that game impressed me so much with its brilliant dialogue, unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to its standards. As long as you are aware of it though then it shouldn’t bother you too much, I think my only problem was having my expectations too high.
Telltale games are known for having easy platinum trophies. Usually you get platinum for completing the game. The Wolf Among Us, however, had a few extra things to do to achieve platinum which I enjoyed very much as it allowed you to go back and explore other options.
Personally, I enjoyed Tales from the Borderlands more than The Wolf Among Us. However, that is only down to personal taste. This is certainly a game to play. If you are intrigued by the concept then absolutely pick it up. I do not think you will be disappointed. It is a joy to play and if you are anything like me you will be sad that it’s over when you finish it.
SPOILERS BELOW!DO NOT CONTINUE UNLESS YOU HAVE PLAYED THE WHOLE GAME!
First of all, I would like to discuss the ending. When the game ended I sat staring for a while trying to figure out what I had missed. I honestly did not understand the twist. I was quite disappointed. It took a bit of research for me to understand other people’s interpretations. Either 1. Faith was glamoured as Nerissa all along. That would mean that the dead Faith at the beginning was actually Nerissa under glamour. This would make sense because Faith was known for being a master of disguise. Or 2. We never actually met Faith. She was already dead at the beginning and when we did meet ‘Faith’ it was actually Nerissa glamoured as her. This was to get Bigby’s attention before he later found her head. Although I feel like the first theory is more likely the answer, I prefer the second one so much more. It only makes one smart and unprecedented change to the story rather than making a whole character feel like a lie. After reading that the writers didn’t even have a set ending in mind, it only added to my disappointment as I felt it came very much out of the blue.
What I would have really liked was to see more of what happened after the fact. In my ending, the Crooked Man went down the witching well and I won the town over. Problem is, there wasn’t much of an epilogue to show the consequences of my decisions. For all that happened, I might as well have just ripped his head off… I probably wouldn’t have known the difference.
The other thing that I would have liked to have seen more of is the Farm. We heard about it a lot and I genuinely thought that we were going to visit it. I think it would be awesome to have a Season 2 based on the Farm being corrupt. Unraveling some conspiracy and turning it into a ‘happy ever after’…
Considering I know shockingly little about real fable stories, I found some of the appearances so funny. The conflict between Bigby and the Woodsman was brilliant, I knew deep down that it wasn’t him and it was so satisfying when we had a moment of mutual respect. I found it hilarious that Georgie Porgie was a pimp. I played the whole beginning adamant that it wasn’t the pimp that was responsible… oops. Bloody Mary was terrifying. The Tweedles were AWFUL, I loved ripping his throat out. I enjoyed the glamours, the mundies, the near immortality, going full big bad wolf, even the butcher gave me a giggle. The whole world was so cool and well thought out, I do hope that we get a Season 2.
Have you played? What are your thoughts on the ending? What choices did you make? Did you enjoy it?
Tales from the Borderlands is a game from Telltale Games, well known for their episodic, story driven, choice heavy games. This game follows on directly from Borderlands 2, although you don’t have to have played it. In fact, I knew nothing about the Borderlands games before I played this one. I noticed one day that Episode 1 was free on the PS Store and decided to give it a go with no expectations. I did not expect to be completely drawn in the way I was. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to play the rest. Since this was also my first Telltale experience, I waited for the Telltale Collection to go on sale and bought this along with the first two seasons of The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us and Game of Thrones. Maybe 6 months(?) after playing Episode 1, I have finally gotten around to playing the rest of the game and I have to say, I think it is a must play.
I’ll start with the story. Even though I had never played a Borderlands game, it was easy to understand what was going on. I even surprised myself considering I’m not usually the biggest Sci-Fi/Space fan. We meet out main characters – Rhys and Fiona – in a bit of a bad situation. They have been kidnapped and we get to learn the story through them telling it to their captor. From the get go we get to decide how we would like to play them through the various dialog choices. Considering these characters aren’t typically likable types, they are so very likable. Personalities develop throughout the game as well as relationships and I really started to care for them.
Most of the game takes place on Pandora, a desert planet filled with psychos, cannibals and murderers. The silly situations, the sheer randomness and the dark humour all come together to make this game hilarious. It makes me smile when I think about it and that is what I like in a story. Not that is doesn’t come without its serious moments. Some were intense and at one point I nearly shed a tear, but I will always remember this game for the laugh out loud moments it gave me.
Personally, I liked the first, fourth and fifth episodes the best. They seemed to have the most memorable moments for me. A lot of people say that the choices don’t make a difference in these games but I really disagree. Of course, the story goes down the same track no matter what you choose but YOUR story can be totally different to another persons. After reading up on other peoples experiences, there are multiple things that I didn’t know could happen or that others didn’t depending on what they did or didn’t do. I love this in a game. It makes you really want to think about your choices. However, most of the time they have to be instinct as you don’t have much time to choose. For me, the great thing about the dialog options is that there was almost always something that I wanted to say. I never felt forced to say something out of character or that I didn’t like. Massive credit to the writers.
Th voice acting was great. There were some recognisable voices in the mix and they were all brilliant. A lot of the humour wouldn’t work without their tones and expressiveness so bravo to the team. The graphics are.. Telltale graphics. They are cartoons. They are never supposed to be photorealistic and have their own feel to them that I love. The animations aren’t always the best but they do manage to get the point across. One of my favourite things is Rhys’s shocked face. There are some gorgeous moments as well as some gruesome moments. I can’t really comment on the soundtrack as I didn’t really notice it but I have no idea how because from the discussions I have read it is highly praised.
There is only one thing that I can complain about and that was the running of the game itself. It auto saves regularly and every time it does, the game skips a bit. The same when you switch characters. Only for a second. It doesn’t matter too much at first, you don’t really miss anything, but near the end it becomes at best annoying and at worst a nuisance.
Overall, this game was right up my street. My advice? Save this one for a rainy day. Feeling grim? Whack this baby on, you won’t be sorry. If you are a fan of the Borderlands series, play it. There might be a few surprises for you. If you’re a fan of Telltale games, play it. Seriously, it’s a joy. Now, I’m just sad it’s over. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a sequel. In the meantime I’ll be trying out the other Telltale games so I’ll keep you posted!
Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons is the story of two brothers on their epic quest to find medicine for their poorly father. You control both brothers throughout a variety of environments and situations in the fantasy world that they live in. At its heart it is an adventure 3D platformer. It is not a puzzler but does involve some problem solving. It is a simple game, driven along by its story, which is strange to say as the characters don’t speak in a real language. The story was emotional, but much as I wanted to love it, I’m so sad to admit that it didn’t quite strike the chord with me.
The controls couldn’t be simpler, and yet somehow can be so difficult! The left half of your controller controls one brother and the right half controls the other. Even then, it’s only the thumbsticks and the trigger buttons. It is such an obvious way to do it yet feels absolutely unique and honestly can be surprisingly tricky. The more you go on the more you get used to it but even by the end, I still kept getting muddled up. I felt like I was playing the piano at one point. People with good coordination might get the hang of it quickly but even if you can’t, you can’t really go too wrong. The game itself was surprisingly easy. I completed it all by myself without having to google anything, which basically means that anyone could play it, as I usually get stuck on something. Don’t go into it expecting a challenge.
The game took me somewhere between 3-4 hours to complete, all in one session. Throughout the game there are themes of teamwork and brotherhood, but the whole story is tinged with an underlying feel of tragedy, sorrow and was even disturbing at times. All of these feelings were produced by the moving environments and the haunting soundtrack. There is no platinum trophy but it took me maybe an extra 30 mins-1 hours to 100% it. There aren’t any trophies for the main storyline but I suggest playing through yourself first without thinking about them. I only got 1 on my first playthrough. Then when you are finished you can go back chapter by chapter to mop them up.
The graphics weren’t particularly good but granted, it is a game from the last generation and it is more about the style than the graphics themselves. It retains an animated style which compliments the storytelling. There was one particular environment that I loved and without spoiling anything, it made me feel really small. As for the rest of the game – the camera angles weren’t the best, you could only move them as and when allowed. I encountered three glitches but they were mainly all graphical, nothing game breaking. Quite immersion breaking though as one happened at a crucial story moment unfortunately.
As much as I can understand the people that loved this game and were truly moved by it, I hate the fact that I am not one of those people. I just felt that, to me, certain plot elements felt a bit forced. I have been impressed and had so many feels from so many other story driven games, I think my expectations were a bit high. Having said that, I thought the world was really intriguing. I think I would have preferred a bigger game with speaking characters to show off the story in its glory. Personally, if I could go back, I wouldn’t buy this game. However, if you can get it for a couple of quid it might be worth a try, and I think it would be a great PS Plus game (if I hadn’t already bought it of course).
Update – Years later, I am reading this back and I am quite shocked at my reaction! My opinion of the game has definitely increased over time, and I never even mentioned that this game has a moment that makes it worth playing. Ultimately I am very glad that I played it, and there were some powerful moments, they obviously just didn’t live up to my expectations at the time.
‘Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell’ is a DLC for ‘Saints Row IV’. It was free one month on PS Plus so I downloaded it. I bought ‘Saints Row: The Third’ for PS3 but never got around to playing it so this was my first experience of the Saints Row series. The only thing I knew about it is that apparently it is a GTA rip-off, however, I think that gets said about any open world game with crime. I found it’s actually more of a spoof of these kind of games.
So, Gat Out Of Hell is set in hell and I found the whole setting/situation hilarious. The Devil has kidnapped one of your friends to marry his daughter, Jezebel. The aim of the game is to put the Devil in his place and punch him in the face. There are 5 areas of hell that you first need to take over and make allies before the final confrontation. You take over hell by completing the quests/mini games and learn new abilities along the way. It is a pretty short game if you are only completing the story-line (it is only DLC). However, it is quite decent if you are a completionist, I think you could definitely spend 20 hours (actually you have to for one of the trophies) without getting bored, although it might get a bit grindy by the end.
I found some of the controls great and some were clunky as hell. No pun intended. At first I didn’t think I was going to figure out how to use combat properly because I was struggling with the moving/aiming etc. It becomes a lot easier once you start gaining more powers. You start off being able to fly and super-sprint. You can then upgrade these abilities using collectables you find to fly for longer, run faster etc. The flying is amazing, I really enjoyed just flying around. It only got annoying when I got the wall running upgrade then any time I was near a wall I would start running up it instead of continuing flying. The super-sprint is also good except it gets a bit annoying when you are trying to get somewhere quickly without incident, you accidentally bash into someone and send them flying resulting in a wanted level. It’s easy to get rid of the wanted level – you just go to the nearest weapons vending machine – but it’s a bit of a pain in the ass.
If you are looking for a really challenging game then this isn’t it. Once you get more powers you get pretty over powered and don’t have too much trouble killing enemies. However, it is a shit tonne of fun sending demons flying all over the place. I enjoyed the atmosphere, and considering it is set in hell, the world felt really alive. Demons beating down on husks, cars and husks spontaneously combusting, it is pretty funny. The music and sound effects were perfect, I loved the music that played when you were near certain collectibles. The whole structure of hell, the rules and the mini-games were really funny. I got a good few laughs.
You can choose between two characters – Gat and Kinzie – so if one gets on your nerves too much then you can just switch. They both have their own set of collectibles too, whether that is a good or a bad thing is down to you. There is a co-op mode that I have yet to try. I think it is online only, not couch co-op which is a shame.
Overall, I thought this game was great. It has kept me entertained for hours and I don’t think it deserves the awful reviews it has got. I can’t complain, I got it for free, but also if I had got it for under £10 I would still have been happy. Don’t play it for a masterpiece. Remember it is DLC. Play it for a laugh and to wreck some shit and you will have a blast! I will definitely be playing the other Saints Row games in due course to see the actual context of everything that happened and the characters, and just to have some more fun game-play. Enjoy!