Nier Automata

•April 10, 2017 • 1 Comment

Format Played: PS4
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): PlatinumGames
Release Date: March 10, 2017
Score: 9.1/10

Having not played Nier on the PS3 I had no idea what I was in for with this game, all I knew is that my friend wanted me to play the original because he knew that it would be my sort of game and I did love the demo as it felt different from anything else I was currently playing.

Nier Automata (or just NA from here on) is the sequel to Nier which is also a sequel to a game series called Drakengard, however, like me you will not have needed to play any of the previous games to understand what is happening in NA…….not that it’s clear from the beginning what is happening anyway.
It’s a difficult task talking about the story without ruining anything so I will stay away from spoilers. The game is very different to anything I have played previously and takes a few play trough’s to unlock the whole storyline which just improves with each play through.

C78x8bTXwAE9GUx

NA is essentially an action based RPG. You level up, equip and upgrade weapons and acquire new skills much like Kingdom Hearts. What makes this game stand out however are the different elements to combat and the way it keeps things fresh by changing around characters with different fighting skills or switching between shooter levels or from 3D to 2D. As well as weapons you can upgrade your robot body by acquiring new chips and replacing them from your existing ones. Some of these chips are fantastic, you can do the usual upgrade of strength or defence, you can improve your speed or even equip chips that will regain your health when you attack or be attacked which pretty much makes you invincible.

While this game will win no awards for its graphics, it still looks very impressive at times, you will although notice that in other places it can be quite blocky and rushed. Unless you are driven to play games that look great this isn’t really an issue. Platinum Games don’t have the funding that others do and the combat and style of the game are more than enough to divert your focus. The only time you may actually pick up on this is the start of the game. Unfortunately your first play through may be tough going due to the lack of story. I urge anyone playing to keep at it as the game keeps this from you on purpose and you will understand more later on.

NA is not afraid to mix things up and completely change situations and the way you perceive characters which I find both brave and cleaver of the developers. NA is unlike anything I have played before and at times very cleaver with its story and tiny details that can be overlooked. Just one of those details comes from fishing which you can do throughout the game in lakes, sea or even the sewer. The fact that you use your pod companion to do the fishing while a fishing seat appears propping up your character just made me smile.

C7Y_2ATXwAEkF5d

I played through the game to platinum in around 60 hours on Normal which I felt wasn’t too difficult and only died twice. On your travels you can get help from other players as if you die you will leave your body behind on the network for other players to either pick up your items or repair in their game and have it fight alongside them.
This also works for yourself and your own body, much like Dark Souls you can travel back to where you died and reclaim your body which you will receive your any exp or chips you lost when you died.

My only issues with this game are minimal. Sometimes the game gets a little too silly by the fact that you can receive multiple endings which you can pick up for doing the most random things. This means that if you haven’t saved for a while you will lose a lot of your play through. If you take away one thing from my review it would be to save often!

C7eRNOkXkAIfeku

Someone reviewed this as the best game you never will play and I would agree with that. Released around the same time as Horizon, Zelda and Persona 5 it’s likely that this will be overlooked by most that would enjoy it. It’s simply fantastic and the soundtrack is beautiful!

Horizon: Zero Dawn

•April 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Format Played: PS4
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Guerrilla Games
Release Date: 1 March 2017
Score: 9.6/10

I have played the last three Killzone games and while I completed all three for me there was nothing ground breaking and I really couldn’t understand where all the hype came from. When I first watched the trailer of Gurrilla Games new open world game Horizon I was pleasantly surprised to how good it looked. I am still not sure why a tribal women hunting down robot dinosaurs became so appealing for me to this day but I knew I wanted to play it.
Fast forward to just before release day and Horizon Zero Dawn was popping out extremely great scores from big game reviewers. It didn’t take much to sell me this game, I already knew I wanted it from the very first E3 trailer but seeing the scores before release just made me want to play it more.

C570RGYWgAAIJch

The tutorial that introduces you to the world and the battle system is fantastic. I felt that you really feel vulnerable against some of the robots around the first area and this continues for a few hours into the game. Once you start to level up and gain new abilities, that vulnerability goes out the window, where you were creeping around in tall grass escaping combat before, you become over confident and end up rushing in and attacking everyone at once! It’s still pretty intimidating when you come across one of the larger RoboDino’s for the very first time and have your arse handed to you but like everything else you learn by your mistakes. The game gives you a device from the start which will allow you to see where these dinosaurs are and even track their locations and the paths they take which comes in handy for stealth attacks or just not alerting them at all.

C6Gk5bNWUAARIln

You will be amazed at how vast the landscape is the first time you open up your world map however once you start to do a few missions you will also see how many map icons fill this very large map. Horizon has a hell of a lot to do besides its main story; however completing most of it will have you overpowered by the time you reach the final boss. For those of you who like hunting down collectables they are extremely easy to locate as you can purchase the map location from one of the venders early on in the game and only a handful take some effort to reach. Each area of the map will open up when you locate the tallnecks in the vicinity, these if you have watched the trailers are tall dinosaurs much like giraffes which can be climbed and taken over allowing you to view more of the map. Climbing each one is similar to the buildings you find in Assassin’s Creed but much not as many to become repetitive and much more fun to accomplish!

The story isn’t going to blow any minds but has more than enough to hold your interest and find out what is happening. The only thing that could be miss-able would be the data records which come as readable documents or voice recordings which explain more of the story pre Horizon and gives you insight to what went on before and how the world came to be as it was at the start of the game. There is a section near the start where a woman is telling a story to a bunch of children, you have the option to sit down and listen to the whole story which explains what happened. Unfortunately this is miss-able and if you continue with the storyline you will not be able to go back.

C57VWIlWAAEMGeN

Playing on Normal there really wasn’t any area’s which I couldn’t progress due to difficulty, the only place where I had some issues were the hunting camps which offer as a side quest some extra challenges which were easy enough unless you wanted to get the best times.

Robot Dinosaurs provide the most fun, you can gain abilities which let you take over them and have them fight at your side which makes the game a lot easier and who doesn’t want to watch two massive Robot Dinosaurs fighting each other? This aside there is multiple ways of taking these metal menaces down! You can pull and tie down flying ones straight out of the sky or pin down bigger ones so they topple and leave themselves open, use fire/electric or ice as an aid or just set traps. The freedom this game gives you keeps things fresh throughout your play through. Weapons and uniforms can also be upgraded.

C6bUwPrWcAoEWRy

Aside from Dinosaurs there are also bandit camps which give you a different challenge again as human enemies are more unpredictable. The only issue here is you get spotted easily and you can be overpowered by the whole camp! Manage to escape though and they won’t look for you for too long.

C6ENIILXMAAvIfu

Overall I was more than happy with Horizon. It’s like nothing I have ever played before and Gurrilla Games should be highly praised for trying something different and pulling it off so brilliantly. One little issue comes with combat, not being able to lock on can be annoying at times especially when fighting something big or have a screen full of enemies. This didn’t spoil anything for me though and 60 hours to platinum didn’t feel drawn out or wasted.

Final Fantasy XV

•April 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Format Played: PS4
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix Business Division 2
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Score: 8.1/10

I remember the day clearly when I watched the trailer for what would be Final Fantasy XIII Versus. It looked outstanding compared to 13 and I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. 10 years later a re branding and a few grey hairs I finally got my chance to play the very different Final Fantasy XV. The latest Final Fantasy game from the long running series completely differs from the very linier FFXIII, they clearly have been listening to fan feedback making FFXV completely open world……….well for the most part!

There is no getting away with how good the game looks, visually it’s pretty stunning and I can see why there has been so much praise around it. What I cannot get my head around is all the high scores this game has received. The story line is pretty much non-existent and in some areas pointless. The characters aren’t particularly loveable like previous titles as I never really felt myself connect with them or even care much about their story. Once let lose to your freedom in the open world most gamers leave the story and start exploring the open world and it’s side quests which is where this game shines.

C0XGrErXUAAzNLw

FFXV is huge and is packed with many sidequests to complete however you will find the typical fetch quests now and again which seem to be a typical thing to add in RPG. I understand they get you learning the layout of the map however they can become very boring especially when you find yourself doing them for a cat later on in the game.
There are various methods of transport; the car journeys are pretty boring and even having it set to manual feels like driving on a set track like a really slow roller-coaster. Leaving it on Auto is the way to go, at least you can listen to classic Final Fantasy music and watch as your passengers talk and animate with each other……………no wait that gets boring fast too.! Thank god for fast travel at a very minimal price! Still you are force to drive to new area’s you haven’t visited yet and even if you have already been to some area’s later the game decides which places you can and can’t fast travel too! I mean why! more often than not the one you want to go to is blocked and you are forced to sit through a tedious journey. To top off this annoyance the car has to be topped up with fuel quicker than a Bugatti Veyron.
You can however style your car if you wish, adding stickers or a new lick of paint but I found myself going back to its original colour after a few hours.
Apart from on foot the only other method of travel is by beloved chocobo which can come whenever called no matter where you are, you can even change its colour and it level itself up when ridden for long distances gaining new abilities like assisting and healing during fights.

C0MqjcUXUAAjIhF

The combat in this game is very rewarding, not only is it easy to get to grips with it does not force you to have long winded training like FF13 did. My only problem with the combat system is you only command the main character so the healing system once knocked down is via other members of your party. You have the option to run over to them during combat to heal one of your team mates if needed however they can be difficult to find in the heat of battle. Should you need healing yourself however; more often than not you will be waiting ages for someone who is stood right next to you to come to your aid. While the combat is fun it can sometimes be difficult when the screen is packed with enemies and the camera can go haywire! This especially is a problem when fighting the extra boss Adamantoise. This fight in my opinion takes little skill and just seems to be a sponge for attacks! He’s slow but can take off a lot of damage if caught unguarded, you can quickly learn his moves but after 20 mins you find yourself bored! I would rather have had something that took a little bit of skill and had far less HP.

C1w7WBTXEAAGIEu

There are a few challenges though but most of them come from hunting down the games high powered weapons (One of which you can access very early on). Apart from the battle system FFXV does have a lot of things I did enjoy like fishing (if a little frustrating at times) and lots of monster hunts.
Your team also have their own level up systems of fishing, cooking, exploration and photography which is just a way for Square-Enix to show off how good the game looks by fans like me posting on social media and on here.

Going back to the start where I said for most part you will have an open world to explore, well this changes later on in the chapters if you are following the storyline. At some point the open world map is taken away from you and is replaced by a very liner path like FF13 which will force you to carry on with the story however you are given ability to return should you wish. During said storyline you will be placed at some point in a city much like Venice where I feel the game really changes for the worse as the landscape is confusing to navigate and is filled with pointless side quests.
As much as I point out the negative bits of this game I really did love the open world, dungeons, battle mechanics and the hunts. I played the game to platinum for a reason however as a fan of the series I feel that it’s lost its way since FFXII trying to please both fans and newcomers but you just can’t keep everyone happy.

The Last Guardian

•December 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Format Played: PS4
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): SIE Japan Studio
Release Date: 9 December 2016
Score: 8.1/10

the_last_guardian_cover_artFrom time to time a game gets released that is so breathtakingly different from any other out there and it just takes your breath away.

The Last Guardian has been in development hell for just under 10 years when it was announced way back in 2007 followed by it’s first trailer shown at E3 2009.  Team ICO have released two of the most beautiful original games I have played to date and when I witnessed the original trailer it quickly became top of my must have list.  7 Years since watching that trailer I finally have the pleasure to get to play one of the most beautiful and charming games I have ever played.  However having said this the game doesn’t come without its faults and there is quite a few of them.

Poor frame rate and poor looking areas.
Unfortunately you can tell that this game started out on the PS3 however having had 9 years to iron out any kinks like frame rate drops and area’s where the graphics look dull and blocky is no excuse when 90% of the rest of the game looks beautiful and impressive.  These little moments hinder what could have been a stunning title.

Camera controls
I posted a video on you-tube showing myself on Trico’s back however as Trico moved around my screen went pitch black and then came back  and then black again and back etc etc I couldn’t see my character was climbing or where he was.

Trico
You can’t help but love this character and when everything is going well it can make you forget that ordering commends it him gets about as much response as telling a new born puppy not to do something.  I have wasted so many moments having Trico look everywhere apart from the direction I want him to go or he jumps up a few platforms than decided to turn around and go back down again.  Jumping up wrong areas, progressing with the story route and not going back to a secret area when I ask him too, chucking me off his back for no reason, not coming when called and just not following any sort of orders given which quickly become frustrating.

czqshooxeau6tqy
There is a trophy list but don’t expect to get many of them on your first play through.  I wouldn’t hold out any sort of hope for completing the game without seeing the Game Over screen either.  Due to areas that look climbable, jumps that look jump-able and the one cut scene that had Trico chuck me to my death which was out of my control and completely unforgivable especially as there is a trophy for not dying.

I make this game sound terrible and it really really isn’t, it just has a lot of frustrating issues.  This being said all is forgotten about every time Trico helps you out or something actually does work and when it does there are plenty of surprises and trico can at times be lovable and totally adorable.
There isn’t much of a story but you quickly feel a bond between you and beast very early on which just grows as you progress.  That bond is like no other I have ever experienced in a video game with an animal.  The closest I would compare it to would be Joel and Ellie from the Last of Us.

There isn’t many difficult puzzles and the combat never proved to be an issue either but you will get lost from time to time and finding the right way to go can also be an issue especially when Trico proves no help when turning around looking every direction but the correct one.

I would love to give this game full marks, it certainly has the potential to be one of the greats but there are too many issues that hinder the game throughout forces my score down.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

•May 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Format Played: PS4
Publisher(s): Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer(s): CD Projekt RED
Release Date: 19 May 2015
Score: 8.9/10

Witcher_3_cover_artFirst time to the Witcher 3 world as I have never played the previous two but fear not people in the same boat the game will give you a variety of questions to answer however you wont understand the outcomes of because you haven’t played the previous games! That being said if you will never play the previous games there is places online that will advise what the questions mean and give you more of a background into why you are being asked them.

The game looks stunning it really does especially during sunset or dawn and you are looking through moving trees! big kudos to that!

You do start in a relatively small area which will give you the training you need and a chance to partake in some early side quests before the game really opens up. This gives me my first chance to moan at a few minor faults.
– Getting on your horse isn’t as easy as any Assassin’s creed game, the game expects you to slowly approach your horse and press X while standing in front of it and you can’t just run up to the horse and jump on! thankfully getting off is much more easier and quicker!
– While on your horse you will find he can get stuck in trees and ditches very easily which can be very frustrating but fear not as the game has included a way to hold down the X button while on a path and the horse will follow the path! excellent! however this doesn’t always work 100% and becomes a major pain when hitting crossroads.
– Villagers! just repeat themselves and it can be very annoying, yes this also happens in skyrim but no where near as much as every time you pass them
– Battle’s you seem to be able to lock onto enemies but not bosses! this cause an issue with fast moving creatures as you need your right thumb to control the camera which also is used for combat! using the triggers would have been a better option like Dragon Age.
– The game runs very smoothly with little loading time, that is unless you die, than it will take an age to load your previous save back!

NVIDIA-Outs-The-Witcher-3-Wild-Hunt-Game-Ready-Driver-Download-GeForce-352-86-481484-3

As much as I moan these are minor faults that can be brushed aside because the look and feel of the game is outstanding but what makes this game great is the missions and sidequests themselves.
I have to say I am only 10hrs in and have already come across some of the most satisfying quests I have seen in any RPG that look like they will have some effect to what happens in the future.
The combat has it’s issues with button setup and camera movements, also a couple of times I have had other characters walk in my way while fighting and even my own horse but this aside it’s still fun and I do love the way that every Witcher hunt is different. Preparation and reading up on your enemy can really provide a vital edge to a more easy win!

Tracking is a bit of a let down, pretty much hold down the button and look around until you see something red! also can become quit competitive!

Characters are all strong and likeable and I do love the voice others of some of the characters including Charles Dance from Game of Thrones and also the beautiful voice of Katie McGuinness who plays as Keira (also some will remember her as Tyrea in Xenoblande.

I still have a long way to go I am sure but I have been happy with the quests and side quests given out so far. The dotted line that gives you directions can sometimes be a bit temperamental at times but all the bad points of this game have been washed away by how great it looks and the story itself. The area is huge with lots to discover and the towns and villages are excellent to witness.

TheatRhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

•November 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Format Played: 3DS
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix
Release Date: September 19, 2014
Score: 9.2/10

Theatrhythm_Final_Fantasy_Curtain_Call_US_coverCurtain Call is the TheatRhythm game that the first should have been!
This is the second version of TheatRhythm to hit our shelves and comes jam packed full of goodies. Not to say the first wasn’t good, on the contrary it’s great! I played it for 60+ hrs and every now and than I would still pick up and have a quick blast.

My gaming background covers 90% of the Final Fantasy games released.  I own at least 1 version of every numbered series and have completed nearly every one at least once.  One of the aspects I absolutely love about the series is the music within the games. I don’t just love the music I have bought some of the official and LE soundtracks and have watched Distant Worlds at the London Albert Hall.

Taking this in mind you can see why this would be an entertaining game for me.
The game is much like the first but with a hell of a lot more tracks, 221 to be exact!. The layout of the tracks have been improved and it’s now easier to navigate through tracks, you can also place a heart against your favorite tracks and than sort through that way.  A Co-Op mode has also been added however I’ll come back to that a little later. Airship sections have been added into the field music which are okay but not as good as the normal Field levels.

The game flows a lot better than the first however issues still remain.
On ultimate difficulty I found that sometimes the touch screen doesn’t pick up your taps or strokes, this maybe due to the speed and sensitivity, it’s an improvement on the first game but seems to sometimes still happen. The other issue is with the EMS, the sections you tap does not seem to be in sync with the music at all.

theatrhythmcurtailcallheaderThe game really is just a tap and swipe in time with the music game along to Final Fantasy music but boy is it addictive!

The Co-Op is a nice addition.  It does seem to take a while to load up and find an opponent but the battle offers a different style of play with the ability to dish out status effects on your opponent which disorientates them by speeding up the symbols or blanking them out completely but while you are dishing them out so is your opponent so watch out!

The three difficultly levels are open from the start, offering you a chance to chose between Basic, Expert or Ultimate. The step up in difficulty between them are quite big so you may want to watch yourself however I find the once you have played a few of the tracks on Ultimate it’s the only way to play!

Few other mentions
– The RM is no longer capped at 99999 as I currently stand at 171248rm
– if you don’t feel you have enough tracks there are 50 more for you to download through DLC and a few more characters too! This is more justified over the first game as you have over 200 tracks built into the game already.
– 65 Characters to unlock and play as.  Once you hit level 99 you can reset them and start again
– Tracks of the day! there will be 5 Tracks of the day to chose.  These give you small bonuses

The Quest medleys are separated into 4 sections including Short, Medium, Long and Inherited.  These are sections where you travel along a path playing random field or battle tracks to progress.  At the end you have a boss who will drop items or crystals to unlock new characters.  This is a good way to play new tracks but once completed and the next one is unlocked I found the difficulty spiked very quickly.  Not an issue for me but may be to difficult for some.

All in all over 80hrs of happy gaming and I still go back for more.  Personally this type of pick up and play game never gets boring.  You will find yourself humming along to tracks, hording items you will never need and sometimes get frustrated but I promise you if you are a fan of Final Fantasy and you have a 3DS this is a must buy!

Enjoy

Persona 4

•November 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Format Played:  Vita
Publisher(s): NIS America
Developer(s): Atlus
Release Date: February 22, 2013
Score: 9.5/10

Persona-4-Golden-Box-Art

After the incredible experience I had with Persona 3 I was really looking forward to playing the 4th instalment but I was advised to play it on the Vita. The issue at the time being that I did not own a Vita and really wanted to get the PS2 version, however like a good boy I decided to wait.

And wait I did!

Persona 3 had a fantastic story, it was dark and humorous and the battle system was new and fresh however its main downfall was the repetitive dungeon, it was so boring that towards the end not even the battle system could stop me dodging enemies and running up and up flights of stairs. I should mention at this point that I played the PSP version.

Anyway jump forward a couple of years and I pick up a brand new Vita along with Persona 4. From what I heard from a close friend of mine and a forum I visit was that this game is worth owning a Vita for so when I had the funds I bought a Vita…………..Just for this game!
There are other benefits to owning a vita especially if you have PS+ but I’ll leave that for another review.

Persona 4, from the off the story really grips you, the game looks beautiful on the Vita’s OLED screen the music oh man the music sticks in your head but in a great way! The music is catchy and although it repeats it never seems to get boring!
Every character you meet is instantly likeable even if you don’t think you will ever warm to them at first and as this game spends so much time with character development you grow attached to them. As my friend told me once he finished the game, “it’s like losing an old friend” and that’s what happens when it’s all over, you feel so close to them that when it’s all over you feel an empty space where they used to be. This is the power of great story telling and character development and Atlas does it perfectly!

title34The battle system is more of the same if you have played Persona 3 Portable which is no real bad thing but the best thing that has been improved is the dungeons. No longer are you walking around endless corridors all looking bland and the same but different colours. Persona 4 takes place inside a TV world and each dungeon has its own original designed, music and humour, I didn’t mind level grinding in this game at all and never once wanted to rush any of the dungeons.

The story is the games strong point, it has darkness it has a ton of humour and it has twists and strong characters which all make up for a perfect game.

My first playthrough took around 80 hours and not once did I want to finish playing. Persona 4 was worth buying a Vita for