PS4

The Last Guardian

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.

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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.

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PS4

Killzone Shadow Fall

Format Played:  PS4
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer(s): Guerrilla Games
Release Date: 29 November 2013
Score: 6.5/10

Killzone_Shadow_Fall_BoxI was going to just say, stunning looking average shooter but as it’s my first PS4 review I should go into slightly more detail.
Normally I wouldn’t have purchased this game, I honestly wasn’t much of a fan of the 2nd game in the series which is why I never bought the third and the only reason I had my hands on Shadow Fall was I wanted a PS4 and the only one’s around at the time only came with killzone so hey I had to play it!

Kilzone: Shadow Fall is a great show off title in the fact it looks absolutely stunning, at times I found myself stood still looking around at just how nice the lighting and textures looked.  It looks so good that if you really want to show off your new PS4 to a mate than this is the perfect title to do so.  Sadly for me this is as far as it goes, the game play isn’t bad it’s just not unique.  I can’t say there was a single mission that stood out to me. Some people say it reminds them of when they first played Halo; I point at these people and laugh!
The game itself is short, so short that you haven’t sometimes realised you have bypassed a whole chapter! Characters aren’t memorable and what little story there is never grabbed me.

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One point I must mention is if you die during your play through you start at the last checkpoint you passed which is fine, however if you die and turn your PS4 than you lose the whole chapter and the next time you restart you have to start from the beginning of the chapter.

Some good points are the Owl drone which is pretty fun to use and makes use of the controllers touch pad.  The sound is pretty awesome too and also some sounds like the audio logs use the controller’s speaker, however I suggest playing with a headset because it really does enhance the sound.
Quick mention of the multiplayer: only played it a couple of times but seems solid enough.

In conclusion it’s a stunning looking average shooter!

PS3

Beyond: Two Souls

Format Played: PS3
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer(s): Quantic Dream
Release Date: 11 October 2013
Score: 6.5/10

Beyond_Two_Souls_final_coverProblem with David Cage games are they always create split opinions with gamers and reviewers alike.  Personally I really liked both Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain so as soon as the game was available to pre order I had it in my shopping cart.  I was looking forward to Beyond: Two Souls even though I had heard very little about it which indicates how much I was buying on previous titles.
A week before the release when all magazine and independent reviews emerged the scores were completely  split from scores such as 4 all the way to 9 out of 10 and this had me hovering my mouse pointer over the cancel pre order button however after much thought I decided to play the game and make my own mind up.

First off the game looks amazing and plays just like Heavy Rain I don’t have many issues with this however the combat added using the right stick for diving and combat isn’t always clear which way Jodie’s body is moving which causes mistakes and this game is very giving meaning that making most mistakes wont effect the storyline or how everything ends up one bit.
Talking about the story it is all over the place, after every chapter you will move to a different part of Jodie’s life and too much of this stops the gamer enjoying certain parts of the story as very combat and fast action paced parts can be cut dead only to be replaced with another area of Jodie’s life which is slow paced and pretty boring.  This to me was more of an issue then the story itself.
In my opinion the story has too many elements to it, I would have rather they stuck to one story rather than adding pointless chapters in which completely deviate from the overall story arc.  It’s like David Cage wanted to tell lots of different story’s in one game, it worked more with Heavy Rain because you controlled different characters each with their own lives and problems but when you only see the whole story through one characters lives too much isn’t always a good thing.

The other big issue I have is with the choices you can make.  In Heavy Rain whatever choices you decided could make a huge impact to how the game played out, I have been through Beyond: Two Souls 4 times now and most of how the game ends are chosen in the last chapter apart from 2 routes you make through a single play through.  The game boasts a lot of endings but don’t let that fool you as they are mostly short endings that are patched together to make one ending.  Too see all endings you can play the game through twice (from a certain point) to see all endings (you will have to play the last chapter a few times though).
I really wanted to like this game after how much I enjoyed Heavy Rain; I have nearly gotten 100% Trophies on this as well (don’t even get me started about the Trophy that requires you to go through the game in Duo mode though!)

Controlling Aiden adds another feel to the game however it does get boring after a while and all his controls are pretty much the same and provide no challenge whatsoever!

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**Small Spoiler**
Talking about the decisions you make one of the major examples is a level called “The Party” it’s quite early on but this will be a spoiler so if you don’t want to know don’t read on.
The Party involves Jodie who looks like she’s in her early teens going to a girls party who she does not know, she is asked to show the kids her powers which you as the player can chose to do or not.  Showing them your powers frightens them while refusing leads to some jibes at her from the other kids.  The thing is whatever you chose still follows in the same way! Jodie is taken by the kids and locked in the cupboard; this makes sense if you haven’t show the kids your powers but I fail to believe any teenager would do this if they had already witnessed what Jodie can do! It just wouldn’t happen!
The next section allows you to take revenge on the kids which you can take to the next level and burn the house down! However when you do there are no repercussions as Nathan just turns up to pick up Jodie asks her what has she done before just calmly driving off leaving the kids and mother in tears at their burning inferno of a house!
** Spoiler End**

Apart from the beautiful graphics, Defoe and Page’s fantastic contributions and a handful of enjoyable levels this game can be boring a lot of the time, the story jumps time to much to allow you to build any sort of engagement to what’s going on and a few levels which will have you scratching your head as to why they are even in the game and what do they really have to add to the story in the end anyway.  They are there just to be there and that’s why I am so disappointed!

PS3

LittleBigPlanet Karting

Format Played: PS3
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer(s): United Front Games Media Molecule
Release Date: November 7, 2012
Score: 6.9/10

250px-LBP_Karting_CoverI love the LittleBigPlant games and a karting game is welcome edition along with the talented voice of Stephen Fry who I now can’t see a sack person without his narration.  It also gives Playstation owners a karting game that’s as close to Mario Kart for those who don’t own a Nintendo console.

Problem with games like this is you have to have a lot of luck which causes frustration in my opinion.  Mario Kart, Wipeout etc all weapon based shooters you can be stitched up on however I have to say you need more luck with this than any other weapon based shooter.  It’s one of those cases where you can race the perfect race and stay in first the whole race but then hit with 5 items on the last corner going from 1st to 8th, it’s not a great feeling and half the time it isn’t avoidable.  The game does let you protect yourself with some items but this doesn’t always seem to work and even when it does you normally get hit by someone else straight after.
Some other item issues I have had come from my own items that are meant to be a help become a hindrance instead.  One instance of this was when I got the boxing glove, which turns your kart into a massive boxing glove that smash karts out the way and speeds up your journey however mine decided to veer into a corner of the track while everyone else passed me.  Another problem was a fast forward item, which speeds your position forwards in an instant, mine did just that yet when I was back in control I was at the edge of the track so I drove right off it rendering my fast forward useless.   This is just a couple of issues I had while playing to give you some example of some of the games flaws.

I like the way the game is split between races, single timed races, boss battles and battle modes, it provides something different than standard story mode racing and reminds me a little of Diddy Kong Racing (remember that? That game was awesome).  LBPK has lots of collectables to obtain throughout every level which gives you items to use when creating your own tracks, it also gives you something else to do while racing.  The battle mode is fun however I found it flawed when I realized I could drive in circles where the items are and just continually fire out weapons taking out karts quickly.

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There are good things about this game, the customization is huge, from your sack to the kart and the tracks themselves, and it’s a shame you cannot bring some of your purchased sack costumes from the LBP games though.  As previous LBP there are a shed load of items to be bought from the PSN most of which I feel are overpriced and not worth the money, especially the Sack Costumes as you won’t really benefit from them sat in a kart.  The soundtrack is one of the best things about this game, some really good tunes as you drive around, some of which I haven’t heard for a long time, it really brought a smile to my face.  The graphics are as good as the LBP platform games and the loading is pretty slow.

Mario Kart still is the king of karting games, the online mode on LBP Karting wasn’t great and I found myself racing just 1 other person out of a potential 8.  As other LBP games online tracks developed by people at home are brilliant, it blows my mind how good a track your everyday gamer can produce, there are even some Mario Kart tracks which are spot on.