PS4

Gran Turismo Sport (V1.21)

Platform Played: Playstation 4
Developer(s): Polyphony Digital
Released: October 2017
Platinum Trophy: No
Score: 6.9/10

While the original release of this game was not up to scratch they certainly made things better with patches and free updates.  This however should have been in from the start rather than an afterthought.
As a keen player of previous titles I wasn’t impressed when I put the disk in for the first time to see that 90% of the game was online only! No matter what I did I would get penalties when players were pushing me out of the way and unless I managed to get into space I never had an enjoyable race.  I didn’t want online racing, I don’t mind them having it but there was no desire to play them and by the sounds of it, I wasn’t alone in this.

The Disk was put away and not opened again for 5 months.

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Since the updates and extra cars and tracks and inclusion of a single player mode like they used to have I started playing this again and I must admit I am really enjoying it.  The challenges are just that and so are the track times especially if you want 100% gold.  The new added single player cups are addictive even if the AI is shite and they are shite putting it politely.  They seem to follow a set track and whether you are there or not it doesn’t matter.  So many times I have tried for clean races however the AI will always find a way to either drive into me or drive across the front of me while overtaking.

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Endurance races are more of a challenge than before which is a good thing as previous games it was just staying awake for 2-4 hours to find out you are 10+ laps ahead of second place.  The endurance in this I am not 100% sold on.  For example, I would start an hour race around 35 seconds behind first place and as the race goes on I will overtake cars and gradually make my way into first with laps to spare.  Now in theory if I am gaining say 5 seconds on the leader a lap I should then gain 5 seconds a lap when in front (so long as my lap times remain the same) however this does not seem to be the case.  Once I reach first place, second will stay around 1-5 seconds behind me no matter how I drive.  This means that one bad mistake in the final lap I could potentially lose out even though I have not only caught said car but should be 20 seconds in front.  It does make the game more interesting but it does feel like a rubber band is placed once you gain 1st.

Pit stops are good and you really have to think about when to come in, what tyres to change to and how much fuel you want to use as it all takes time in the pits.  I normally face these by working out what I am doing before a race than during.  It’s handy to have a set plan and as there is no rain or dynamic weather you don’t need to think about tyre changes due to that.

It is a little upsetting when you compare GT Sport to games like Driveclub which has changing weather and it really does make a difference.  I would have liked it in GT Sport as it would add another challenge.

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Scapes is good, I find it strange how much time I spend editing photos when I am playing and now have a whole host of them (Included some in this review).  It’s also interesting to see others and what they have come up with.

Like I said, I tend to stay away from online, I am not that interested in it and haven’t enjoyed the games I have played.  As the time of this review I have 100% all tracks, challenges and lessons with Gold medals.  Not much in the way of trophies but a fun challenge especially the endurance races and Nürburgring tracks.

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GT Sport looks the business but if I am totally honest Driveclub looked better, especially in rain or snow.

(All pictures apart from the last one which was just a screen shot, was taken using Scapes)

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PS4

Nier Automata

Format Played: PS4
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): PlatinumGames
Release Date: March 10, 2017
Platinum Trophy: Yes
Score: 9.5/10

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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!

3DS

Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon

Format Played: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Next Level Games
Release Date: March 28, 2013
Score: 8.5/10

Luigi's_Mansion_Dark_Moon_(Boxart)Loved the original game on the GameCube as it was different to all the other Mario games out there and I wondered why it never got a sequel until now.  I don’t tend to play games through in 3D but always flick it on now and then just to check it out and it does look pretty good compared to some other 3DS games I have played but personal preference it’s not for me.

The game is essentially the same mechanics as the first Luigi’s Mansion.  Anyone who has recently gone back and played the original will notice that there has been a huge leap forward with the look of the game (not even including the extra 3D element).    The controls remain the same, see a ghost flash them with your torch then suck theme up until their number depletes to 0.  Yet this never seems to get boring through the game.  The ghosts later become a bit more of a challenge but not by much.

The little touches are what make this game, The Gameboy Color Luigi uses to contact the Professor is now a DS, Luigi still hums along with the music which always tickles me and I love the comedy of the ghosts themselves, very enjoyable.

I don’t really have anything bad to say about this game although I would have liked more of a variation in ghosts like the original.
The bosses are all fun to play and they all have to be tackled in different ways, some of which may take a little time to figure out.

Other points to note = the game seems longer than the original; however I did aim to finish everything which meant collecting all hidden Gems and Boos which I must add didn’t seem to reward you much for doing so and because I spent ages looking for things I got more annoyed when I did happen to die as you have to restart the whole level again including revisiting Boo’s and collected Gems.

I can see Dark Moon being a hit for kids and adults alike, there Is something for everyone, and the simplicity of the game really does help that.  It’s a fantastic game to add to handheld system and even the Mario games.
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PS3

BioShock Infinite

Format Played: PS3
Publisher(s): 2K Games
Developer(s): Irrational Games
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Score: 7.9/10


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Two Days! This is how long it took me to finish Bioshock Infinite.  Not to say it’s a very short game (it is a bit short) but I just couldn’t stop playing it.  I had played at least half this game already though, when I couldn’t afford it I happened to be around a friends who kindly sat there watching me play her copy, I think she plays through a game without searching for stuff so watching me go through amazed her because of all the items she realised she missed.  When I finally did get this game I knew at least 50% of what to expect.
I did love Bioshock it was so original at the time and 2 was very much of the same apart from you controlled a Big Daddy but was essentially the same game world.  The best thing about the first two games was the story and if you’re really dive deep into it, it really does go into a lot more detail then the surface suggests.  My advice if anyone wants a freshen up on the story line of the two previous games, go to youtube and search for user “xZeroTolerence55x” he breaks the whole storyline down and even the DLC and what happens in-between games 1 & 2 and the lead up to Infinite.  There was a lot of stuff I missed out on so I found it a fascinating story.

Bioshock Infinite moves away from the underwater world of Rapture to the sky world of Columbia.  You control a character called Booker De-Witt who enters Columbia through a lighthouse, something that may seem familiar to players of the original games.  Booker has been given a task to travel to Columbia and rescue a girl (Elizabeth) and bring her back in exchange to wipe away his debt “bring us the girl and wipe away the debt” something you will hear a lot of during the game.  This is essentially the whole plot line however like most great stories there is a lot more going on than initially suggested.

I don’t really dive too much into the story of games in my reviews in fear of accidently blurting out any spoilers so at this point I’ll move on.  Graphically the game is stunning, especially the start.  As you enter the town of Columbia some kind of festival is taking place, the streets are filled with the hustle and bustle of people everywhere, there are stalls which offer mini games that will give you a chance to play around with the games controls and it’s a nice way to ease you in especially new comers to the series.
You are however restricted to only carry two weapons throughout the story but when you do swap a weapon you still hold onto the ammo so I’d suggest swapping weapons often and allow the ammo build up.  Like previous games there are vending machines everywhere, one will sell power up’s for magic abilities, another to level up weapons and the last allows you to buy ammo and health.  I really didn’t see a point in this one as anyone exploring and searching every trash can and box will come across lots of health, salts and ammo as they progress and should never need to spend any money that could be used to power up abilities and weapons.  The funny thing is if you did happen to die you really aren’t punished for it, you may lose a little cash but you re-spawn a little way from where you were and just pick up where you left off.

Searching for ammo and health can become repetitive and boring but for players like myself who like exploration to find everything in a game as they can it really won’t bother this type of gamer.  As it happens I was also trying to find the other two collectables which were view finders (play a short silent film about the history of Columbia which I ended up missing one!) and audio diaries which are featured in previous games.
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Unfortunately combat is the same as before, nothing really progressed with time, even some of the magic is the same although you can now hold down and create traps.  The game is very shoot and move on and I didn’t really find the normal setting much of a challenge so those who are used to FPS may wish up the difficulty.  The Sky rail system is a nice addition however you quickly lose interest with it and for me it looked far more interesting in the preview trailer.  Elizabeth can create tears in reality bringing guns, items and cover from other dimensions into your time to help you out.
The game play is pretty standard all the way through; there is a section which I hated where the game forces you to retrace your steps! Why would anyone want to do this is beyond me!

One thing for certain and that’s Elizabeth is a pleasure to have around! For an AI character, she provides support in battle and finds money for you while you are doing anything else.  She is also a very well-designed and likable character with the added bonus that she’s a help and not a hindrance.

The biggest thing that drives Infinite is the story.  The story in my opinion makes this game and keeps the player intrigued and interested from start to finish and leaves people discussing plot lines and their take on what’s happening.  Let’s face if gamers are talking about games to each other its great publicity for the developer.

In summery you are playing an average dated story driven shooter that is yet somehow still fun and exciting to play.  I’m sure there will be a time where I will go through and play this again if only to see if I have missed anything or maybe pick up on things I now know.
Any game that has an air of suspense and curiosity in my opinion will keep a player interested until the end.  But that’s coming from a guy who loves Story based games!
To add something else I’d just like to add that I loved the twins, I thought there characters where well written acted and I always wanted to know more about them.

3DS

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Format Played: 3DS
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix 1st Production Department
Release Date: July 20, 2012
Score: 8.9/10

KH3D_Euro_CoverI love the Kingdom Heart series, two of my favorite things stuck into one game, Final Fantasy and Disney.  However the series is hardly fan friendly as the games span over multiple consoles so not everyone can keep up with the complete story line.  I remember one of my friends complained about the start of KH2 on the PlayStation, to him and I assure you others the start made no sense unless you happen to have played Chain of Memory on the Gameboy.  This is frustrating to any fan who doesn’t own all consoles, now the KH games span across the PS2, Gameboy advance, PSP, DS and 3DS.  The HD collection coming out in September will give PS3 owners a chance to play the original and the remake of Chain of Memory which was release on the PS2 in Japan but not here, I also believe there is the story cut scenes remade in HD of 358 Days but not the game itself.

Kingdom Hearts DDD or previously titled Kingdom Hearts 3D does a great job explaining everything that has happened so far with short cut scenes and texted Chronicle section throughout the game.  The story is set after KH2 and is supposed to link in the next numbered game which has been announced on the Xbox One and PS4.

Graphics are very good for a handheld game, on a par with Birth by Sleep on the PSP, maybe even slightly better, the 3D looks pretty good too but if you play like me you would only use it to see what it looks like then revert back to 2D as keeping your eyes focused while fighting in 3D can be a little tricky.

In the game you take control of both Riku and Sora who undergo the Mark of Mastery exam in order to become full-fledged Keyblade Masters after the destruction of Ansem and Xemns.  Both characters are separated into a dream world however these worlds where once destroyed by the heartless and now have been restored in a state of deep sleep.  When Riku and Sora enter these worlds they cannot see each other yet somehow still manage to have an effect on each other’s worlds with their actions.  Like previous games of the series you will travel to Disney worlds, Tron from KH2 is back but has updated itself to the latest film Legacy; Pinocchio is also back from KH1 however not confined to Monstro himself.  New Worlds include the 3 Musketeers, The Hunchback of Notre Dame & Fantasia.  Other Square-Enix worlds return including Radiant Garden, Traverse Town and another I won’t mention.
As someone who has played all the games (Apart from Re Coded) I can appreciate the little hints and follow on stories from previous games which I feel maybe lost on those who are new to the series.

Combat is taken from Birth by Sleep and why not as it’s probably the strongest battle system out of the lot.  This being said you are also accompanied by up to 3 Dream Eaters as companions, like Donald and Goofy these fight by your side but you do not control them. You start with one but can gain other throughout the game through recipes.  These friendly dream eaters have mini games you can play to level them up, feed them and pet them, it was very Nintendogs for me and I never really bothered with it.  I kept one Dream Eater with me and never bothered collecting anymore.  It was an added extra I didn’t need.  Maybe why I found the end so hard!
Also added in each world was a command that came up on the touch pad, once swipe down with your finger (because who else keeps the stylist in their hand) and you enter a short mini game that helps you in combat, this at times was quite tricky to move your finger/thumb from the analogue stick or buttons quickly enough to catch but was a nice addition none the less.
I love the BBS combat system however my only flaw with it and every Kingdom Heart game is healing.  Potions aside, spells like Cure, Cura etc take some time to perform, if you haven’t selected it as a shortcut you have to find it with the D-Pad and then use it, if you are hit while casting you lose that turn and have to wait while the bar refills.  This really becomes an issue with harder boss fights who don’t give you time to mess around trying to find a cure spell and use it before being hit and can really become a major frustration.
This is my only major issue with the game and although it does add to the challenge of timing everything I don’t feel this is the best way to make the game harder.
The other issue I had was part of the games story which had the characters falling asleep.  This is how you switch between characters, Sora or Riku will fall asleep after a certain amount of game time and then you will resume where the other character left off, you can delay the time before hand and most of the time it isn’t as bad as you get a heads up before the switch.  The time where this becomes an issue is during boss battles, because if you haven’t beaten that boss before the timer has run out when you resume playing said character you have to start all over again!

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The game really does focus on Riku more than Sora which is a little strange as Sora has been in the spotlight in most of the KH games.  Riku has the harder and better boss battles and is actually more fun to play.  I find this very strange if they will be using Sora as the star in KH3.

Music is what you expect from Disney and Square-Enix, beautiful with familiar sounds, the difficulty is a challenge throughout but more so near the end.  There is a hidden boss which again is an extra challenge is there if you want it.

All in all a welcome addition to the series with some minor flaws.

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.