Batman: Arkham VR (Review)

Batman: Arkham VR is a virtual reality adventure game that was release in October 2016 for PlayStation 4 and later in April 2017 for PC and the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Valve Index VR headsets.

The game takes place between the games Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Knight and follows Batman as he investigates the disappearance of Nightwing and Robin. It’s set in a first-person perspective as you use Batman’s skills and gadgets to solve puzzles.

I was a little indecisive about whether I should buy a VR headset or not but when I saw a bundle with this game and Resident Evil VII I had to get one and give them a go.

As soon as you start the game, even though it’s just a menu, it looks amazing. You’re stood on the edge of a high building in Gotham City and you really feel like you’re there. For someone like me who has a fear of heights it’s a little disconcerting but the lure of the game was too great for me to tap out this early.

The game starts off in Wayne Manor where you learn of the disappearance of Nightwing and Robin upon which you enter the Batcave. In a word, this is amazing. You really feel like you’re down in a cave underground (although you don’t feel the damp.) While here there’s a number of things that you can do before you continue with the story. You can practice your Batarang throwing, check out some character models and get up close and personal with the Batmobile.

When you go out into the streets of Gotham you use some of Batman’s other gadgets to solve a number of puzzles that lead you to find out what happened to your companions. This investigation takes you from the streets and alleyways of Gotham to a morgue, the city’s sewers and Arkham Asylum – it’s not a Batman game without a visit there.

As you’re seeing things through the eyes of Batman, you can feel all too well the peril that he faces and when you get a visit from Killer Croc your heart will jump into your mouth.

This was the first VR game I played and it did a lot to show me what the headset can do. There is no walking around in this game, you move by pressing one of the buttons on the move controller, this alleviates the motion sickness that I’ve since felt with other VR games – Skyrim VR I’m looking at you!

It’s not a huge game as it just serves as bridge between the two main console games, but there is enough in it to keep you busy for a few hours at least and if you want to hunt for the trophies and truly explore you’ll definitely have a few extra hours on top of the playthrough.

The graphics are amazing and as I said earlier it makes you feel like you’re really standing in Gotham and seeing the world through Batman’s eyes.

If you’ve not played any VR games, Batman Arkham VR is a good introduction to it and does a really good job at showing you what VR can be like.

I’ve dipped in and out of this game since I got it, and each time I marvel (or is it DC) at it.

I’m going to give this game an 8/10. It’s much shorter than the other games in the series, but for it’s use of VR it is a well deserved score. I would definitely recommend it.

Ghostly Occurrences in Apartment 42: Part IV

Click the links below to read the other parts of the story:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV


One day I had a few friends around to the flat. We were all sat in the lounge having a chat and playing games, and nothing out of the ordinary was happening. I had gotten up and walked into the kitchen to get someone a drink. Everyone was still talking, and I was sorting the drink out. I stood in the kitchen with my back to the fridge – which I’d left open. Suddenly there was an almighty crash. Everyone turned round to look at me, and for a second, I wondered what had happened. It was then that I realised that the fridge door had shut, not just shut, but had been slammed by some unseen force. Now, a couple of the friends I had around had heard the stories I’d told them about what had been happening but still didn’t believe it. I stood in the kitchen staring at the fridge and everyone asking what had happened; I think some of them thought that I had slammed it.

After that, everyone seemed a little more on edge. Our conversation didn’t stray too far from the subject of ghosts and hauntings. This was when Mark said that he didn’t believe it and there had to be an explanation. I told him that a lot of what had been happening had been centred around the spare room, so I said if he didn’t believe it, he should sleep in there. He laughed this off and said that it wouldn’t be a problem.

Later that night, everyone else left, leaving Mark and me alone in the apartment. After another hour or so, we went to bed—me in the main bedroom, him in the spare room.

It wasn’t long before I got to sleep – the joy of medication that helps me sleep – and I assumed that Mark did too.

Around 2 AM, my phone beeped loudly and woke me up – I must have forgotten to put it back on silent. The notification was for a text. A text that read, “Come in here now.”

Concerned that something had happened to my friend, I staggered sleepily towards the spare room and opened the door. I found him sat up in bed, holding the duvet tightly. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that there had been someone/something stood behind the door watching him. I asked him what it looked like, and he said that it was just a dark shape, but it was definitely person-shaped and that it had disappeared as soon as I had opened the door.

I looked around the door and the room to see if I could see anything, but there was nothing, and nothing felt off like it usually did when I’d seen/heard things. I told Mark that I had seen something similar in my bedroom a few days earlier.

I asked if he was going to try and go back to sleep, and he said he couldn’t, so for the rest of the night, until the sun started to come up, we sat in the lounge playing something. This experience rattled my friend, and he said that he didn’t want to stay here overnight again. For someone that didn’t believe anything, this was a big thing to admit.

Now that other people had experienced things too, I knew for sure that I wasn’t losing my marbles and that something was in the apartment with me, and that something seemed to want to make its presence known.

The next day, I decided to set up a camera in the spare room and leave it running for an extended time period to see what I could catch.


The story will continue next week.

Bipolar Disorder: The Depressive Side

In previous blog posts, I’ve explained what Bipolar is and how the manic side can affect you. In this post, I’ll discuss how a depressive episode can come about and affect you.

When people think about depression they generally think about someone who is a bit sad for a given reason. This is absolutely not the case.

For starters, a depressive episode can come out of nowhere. Yes, an episode can have a root cause – something that has happened in the person’s life that has brought their mood down – but they can also occur for no real reason, which in part makes them difficult to control. This depressive side of the Bipolar coin is a hell of a lot more than just feeling “sad”.

When in a depressive episode, life can feel pointless and it’s a struggle to find anything that’s worth living for – no matter what you have in life. Some days it’s difficult to get out of bed and get dressed. The pain and hurt that you feel goes right to your very core and premieres every bit of your being. You can be surrounded by people that care about you, but you will feel utterly alone in the world and like no one can possibly understand what you’re feeling. In a word, it’s hell.

As with manic episodes, depressive episodes can come out of nowhere. You can be feeling perfectly fine, and suddenly you feel like crap and can’t see a way back. This can be particularly tough if you’re coming off the back of a manic episode where everything feels great, and you can do anything in the world. Sometimes you can experience an event that will cause one of these bad episodes, but at times, you can’t figure out where it’s come from. If you do CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)  this can help you figure out what’s caused the episode but sometimes even that doesn’t help.

CBT can also sometimes help you get through these tough times, but there are times when this just doesn’t work and trying to think about what has made you feel this way just makes you worse.

These types of episodes can also last for varying lengths of time. It could be a few hours to months, and there is no telling how long it will last until it’s over. It’s not something you can rush through either; you’ll come out of the other side eventually. You need to stick it out the best you can.

When I’m feeling bad, I have to find ways to distract myself. I write, I play games or watch movies. Anything that will keep my mind off the way that I’m feeling. Everyone has different coping strategies for dealing with a depressive episode. What works for me might not work for you. It’s all about finding out what does and getting through it the best that you can.

I recently had a moderate depressive episode after we moved house. The change in location and the disruption of my routine knocked me for six, and I struggled daily with how I was feeling. I spent my time playing games and focusing on anything that wasn’t my brain imploding. This time it wasn’t as bad as previous episodes that I’ve had, and I’m pretty much out of it now, but the threat of going back down is always there.

At times Bipolar disorder is exhausting. Trying to preempt future events and what might send you one way or another is so tiring, and that alone is enough to drag you into a downward spiral, and it’s a fight to stop that from happening.

Bipolar disorder can leave you feeling alone. It can make you feel isolated and that no one understands how you’re feeling or that you’re wrong for feeling the way you do. I’m here to say that’s bullshit. You’re not alone, and some people understand. I completely feel that way, though, and that it’s hard to ask people for help, but if you read this and feel alone, know that you’re not.

I’ll leave it here for now. Have a good weekend all.

Star Wars: Squadrons (Review)

Star Wars: Squadrons is a space combat game set in the Star Wars universe. It was released in October 2020 for PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4. It was made available for free as part of a PSPlus subscription in June 2021.

Set after the events of Return of the Jedi (the one with the Ewoks), the main story campaign follows a New Republic fighter pilot and a Galactic Empire pilot alternately as they get involved in the New Republics new secret project. Of course, one wants it to succeed, the other to fail – reasonably standard, right?

Squadrons follows in the footsteps of some epic starship battle games, the likes of Tie Fighter – a PC game from back in the 90’s, which I spent many an hour failing to complete – and more recently to the Rogue Squadron – unique title, eh? – games that were around in the late 90’s early 00’s. I didn’t play any of the latter, as I was so bad at the old ones, I didn’t really fancy giving the newer ones a go.

For this reason, I knew that Squadrons wasn’t going to be something that I would pick up as soon as it came out, or probably ever really. But as it was on PSPlus this month, I figured I would give it a go.

You start the game by creating a semi-custom character for each side of the fight. I say “semi” because you only have a limited number of things you can do. It’s not as detailed as games like Mass Effect, but for a first-person game that you don’t spend the majority of your time looking at your character, you can argue it doesn’t need to be.

After character selection, you’re thrown into the prologue level as your Galactic Empire character. This level serves – like in most games these days – as the tutorial level. It helps you get to grips with the flying of a Tie-Fighter in a fight that you would be hardpressed to lose – spoiler alert; I died a couple of times. This level also serves to set up the game and introduce the new characters that you will interact with throughout the campaign.

Once you’ve fought your way through this, you’re into the game proper as your New Republic pilot. The levels generally consist of flying around, blowing your enemy out of the sky and trying to protect various assets to your fleet. On the Empire side of the coin, you spend your time trying to attack these assets, and yep, you guessed it, trying to blow your enemy out of the sky.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to this game. I know some people will enjoy the continuation of the Star Wars franchise and story and will probably love the multiplayer angle. Still, there just wasn’t enough to hold my attention – and that’s not just because I wasn’t very good at it…I did get better.

I’ve enjoyed past Star Wars games, and I’m a fan of the franchise, but this game was more of a miss than some previous entries. I feel like the game makers spent more time trying to make multiplayer work than they did on the story of the solo campaign, which is a shame.

This game had the potential to be really good, and although I freely admit that it’s not something I would drift towards often, I would play it occasionally if it had some replayability – I just don’t feel it has this. It’s a good looking game, the graphics are incredible, and the character detail is first-rate, but this just isn’t enough to make me want to play it any more than I already have for this review. In addition, the story feels like a rehash of something that’s been told many times over in the Star Wars universe and so doesn’t really add anything unique to the player experience or universe lore.

I’m going to give Star Wars: Squadrons a mid-range 6/10. I wouldn’t say avoid it, but there are far better games out there to spend your money on.

Ghostly Occurrences in Apartment 42: Part III

Click the links below to read the other parts of the story:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV


Strange things had been happening in the apartment for a few months now, and I was starting to think I was losing my mind. One night I was woken at around 3:30 am by what I could only describe as a “grumble”. I decided to put my phone camera on and start to record. Nothing much really happened while I was recording. The room’s darkness made it so there wasn’t really that much you could see, and I didn’t hear any further grumbling noises but I could see a darker darkness – yeah, I’ve got a great vocabulary – as if someone were stood behind the door. I recorded for just under 3 and a half minutes until I decided that nothing else was going to happen.

The next day I copied the video over to my laptop and started to go through it to see if I could see or hear anything on it that I might have missed during my early morning recording session. Around twenty seconds in, I heard a low grumbling sound. I isolated the section it was in and increased the volume, and there, sure enough, was a grumble or growl. This took me back some. I definitely hadn’t heard that at that time, but I remembered the sound that woke me, and that was almost exactly what it sounded like. I sat in awe for a while, playing the sound over and over. This, for me, was proof that something was going on, and I wasn’t losing my mind completely. Hearing this sound also scared me slightly, as it didn’t sound like a particularly nice sound.

At this point, I wasn’t sure what to do with the videos, so I just saved them to my hard drive and decided that I would try to do more recording in the following days.

I put all this to the back of my mind and decided that I would start to go through some of the dialogue recordings from a Todd the Zombie session with Paul. As usual, I was going through them, trying to find the best version of the lines, when I came across another odd sound.

Now, nothing out of the ordinary had happened during the recording session. So what I came across confused me at first. As with the previous sound, I tried to isolate it, but it was in the middle of one of Paul’s line where he was speaking. I cut it down, increased the volume and played it repeatedly.

The noise sounded pretty similar to the previous grumble/growl that I found, but there was more of a wordiness to it, but I couldn’t tell what was being said. There was definitely a breathy sort of quality to it, and it only sounded like a single syllable. No matter how many times I played the sound, I couldn’t make out what was being said.

I saved the file and went back to editing. Nothing else popped out at me as unusual in the rest of Paul’s recorded dialogue, but I found something even stranger when I got to mine.

Again this sound was difficult to isolate as it occurred around me talking. This noise was different to the others as it didn’t sound breathy or human; It sounded more electronic. It was an odd clicking sound. I played it over and over and couldn’t figure it out.

When I got bored of playing it, I decided I would try to recreate it using things that were around when I recorded the lines. First, I tried to do it using my voice. I could kind of do a popping and clicking, but it didn’t sound anywhere close to what I’d caught. I rubbed my hands over the microphone to see if it was this, but again it sounded nothing like it. I tried several other things using the computer, but nothing came close. Again I saved this file with the others and continued my work. There was nothing else out of place in the recordings.

The next couple of days were fairly uneventful, but things started to happen again on the third day.


Part IV will be posted next week.

Below are the videos that I took and posted to YouTube.

3:30 AM

3:30 AM (Just the noise)

Todd Recording 1

Todd Recording 2

Another Week is Ending.

It’s been a productive week, but I’m ending it with toothache, earache and generally feeling like warmed up crud.

When I’ve not been doing bits and pieces around the house, I’ve been preparing more blog posts, and I’ve managed to get a fair few banked and scheduled.

As far as work on novels, I’ve not done anything. I’m trying not to beat myself up about it, though. I don’t want to force it and produce something that I can do better when my brains in a better place.

I have been flexing my creative muscles on Twitter, though, by participating in the VSS 365 prompts. If nothing else, it gives me something to get the creative juices flowing.

Other than that, I’ve mainly been playing the Mass Effect remaster. I still love these games, and playing them again has been a joy. You can see my review for the first game here.

I’m hoping that whatever is making me feel like crap goes soon and I can get back to normal. I feel like I can’t do a great deal at the minute.

Well, that’s it for Friday’s update. I hope you have a good weekend. Monday’s blog will be a continuation of the apartment 42 ghost blogs; I hope you’ll come by and check it out.

Mass Effect and its Legendary Remaster

Mass Effect is a third-person role-playing shooter that was originally released back in November 2007 for XBox and later in December 2012 for PS3. The “Legendary” edition a remastered collection of the trilogy was released in May 2021 for XBox One, PS4 and PC.

I was a little late to the Mass Effect party. I only got an XBox 360 late and so missed out the games release. From the beginning of my first playthrough I was hooked. The story, the characters and the world built around them were incredible and not like anything I’d really played before. I particularly enjoyed the dialogue choice aspect and how you could be as good or bad as you wanted and it affected how characters would react to you. I think the only time I’d really come across this before was within the original 2 Fallout games.

Before you even start the game, you’re given free-reign to create your character. Not only can you design what they look like but also what their background was. This was a nice touch that gave your created character that little bit more depth.

From the start of the game you’re thrown into the world at breakneck speed. Your fist missions involves you landing on a human settled planet to find out what has happened to a colony. You’re dropped onto a world where something has gone horribly wrong and you find out that several of the colonists have be turned into something called Husks and are now very hostile to you. As you continue on your mission, fighting your way through enemies you find out that a member of the elite Spectre force has gone rogue and is responsible for the chaos on this planet. This first mission sets up the rest of the game so well that you have no option but to continue playing and when you’re introduced to the Reapers, it sends chills through your body.

As you progress through space with your version of Commander Shephard, you meet various alien races – some friendly, some not so friendly – but each race has a detailed and well thought out history. From the Turian, to the Krogan to the Volus and beyond. Every race is so well put together and you can really believe that they exist.

The game takes you to many different worlds, some world’s you investigate using a vehicle known as the Mako. This vehicle was the cause of so much frustration when I originally played it. These section were the only bits that I hated doing. The Mako just didn’t control very well, so it ended up taking me more time than it should to complete certain goals on planets and it meant that I didn’t investigate all that I could because I wanted to spend as little time as possible playing these sections.

The combat was sometimes also a source of frustration. The cover system wasn’t the best so I would die a lot, and I mean, a lot.

Despite these couple of issues it became one of my favourite games and it contained some of my favourite characters. So when it became the fashion to remaster or remake games, I longed for a Mass Effect remaster. Eventually we got it, in the form of the “Legendary Edition”.

As soon as this new edition was announced and that it would contain all three games in the Shepard I was beyond excited. I recently picked up a copy and got stuck into the first game.

Now, it’s been a long while since I played the original game on the XBox so I can’t really remember what it was like – other than the bits I hated – but the remaster is great.

The graphics are definitely improved. They’re much smoother and the characters look smoother and less blocky. It looks prettier but still the same – if you get what I mean. You can tell that something has been done, but you can still see the original art beneath. As it’s been so long since I played the first game, I can’t really remember how the controls where other than that they were a pain in the ass at times. The Mako sections – the bits I was dreading – feel so much better. The vehicle finally goes where you want it to and so I’ve been able to spend a lot more time investigating the planets that you can land on although I don’t think the control scheme has change in this new version. The cover system also feels a bit different although I have a feeling that it’s the same too. I don’t know if it’s in part due to me now playing the games on the PlayStation rather than Xbox, or whether it’s just that my ability to play games has gotten better. Either way, it works in its favour.

All in all, this legendary edition of Mass Effect is well worth playing. It brings back all the memories that I had when I played the original game all those years ago. Although these days I’m playing it on the PlayStation not the XBox, so I don’t know if the controls feel better because I’m used to this controller now.

I can’t give this game anything below 10/10 it’s an incredible game that everyone should play.

I’m almost finished with the first game in this collection and I’m really looking forward to getting into the next. If it’s anything like the first one it’s going to be epic.

Ghostly Occurrences in Apartment 42: Part II

Last week I started to tell the story of the strange things that happened to me in an apartment that I lived in several years ago.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

 


After seeing what I did at the French doors that night, I couldn’t get it off my mind. I didn’t know what to make of it. I was starting to think that I had imagined it or that maybe there was a breeze that went through the apartment and disturbed the blind in some way that made it look like someone was there. After all, I was tired that night, and it was dark. The light shining in a particular way could have made things appear to be there. And the weird feeling? I could have just spooked myself. I believed that someone/something was in the apartment, so I had brought the feeling on myself. With the subsequent events, I started to think I was losing the plot entirely.

Everything was quiet for a month or so. The events of that February night faded somewhat from memory, and I just got on with living my life.

One day I went out – I can’t remember where, I guess it doesn’t matter – and I closed all the doors. I don’t know why I did this. I think it was probably a habit from living at home that all the downstairs doors had to be closed at night or if we went out. Anyway, I would do this every time I’d leave, and whenever I came back, the doors would still be shut – why would they be open, right? Well, this time, when I came home, they were all wide open.

I remember walking into the flat and realising that the hallway that should have been in darkness was lit up. At first, I thought I had left a light on, but then it struck me that all the doors were open, even the bathroom door, which was generally closed all the time.

As I stepped further inside and closed the front door behind me, the strange feeling of being watched that I had had that night returned. I walked to each of the doors and looked in the rooms, and there was nothing there – why would there be? I closed the bathroom door and pulled the spare room and bedroom door to, and went and sat in the living room.

The strange feeling was starting to give me a headache, so I went to get a drink from the kitchen that was joined onto the living room. As I returned to my seat, I sat down in such a way that I saw that the hallway was now bathed in light once again. Putting my glass on the floor, I went to investigate and saw that all 3 of the doors that I had either closed or partially close were once again wide open. The thing that confused me the most was the bathroom door. I had fully closed it, and it had gone on the catch, so there was no way it would move on its own accord. The other two, I could at least tell myself moved on their hinges and had just swung open, but the bathroom…

I closed the bathroom once again but left the other two doors as they were and went back into the living room. What was happening? I was trying to explain it to myself, but I couldn’t come up with a sufficient explanation that made sense.

I tried to push it to the back of my mind and get on with my day. I turned the TV on and started to play something – not a horror game; I didn’t need any more reasons to be freaked out. Soon the weird feeling had dissipated, and nothing further happened with the doors.

It was probably a couple of weeks later when it started to happen again. After few more times of the doors opening seemingly by themselves, I decided to start leaving them open whenever I left – except the bathroom. This, for a time, stopped anything from happening or the weird feeling from making an appearance.

After another couple of weeks of this, I once again went out, but this time when I came back, all the doors were closed. And they weren’t just swung in and stuck; they had probably shut as if someone had closed them by pushing them onto the catch. This time though, the weird feeling wasn’t present. I walked through the hallway, opening the doors as I went. Everything felt normal until it came to opening the spare room door. When I stepped up to it, I could feel something emanating from within. It’s a difficult thing to describe, but it was as if someone was stood on the other side, and they were royally pissed off. When I put my hand on the door handle, a tingle ran through it and up my arm. It was enough to make me step back a little and fight the urge to walk away without opening the door. After a few seconds, I put my hand back on the door handle and push it down. The door swung open with no effort – for some reason, I was expecting some resistance – and revealed a room clear of anything save my belongings.

After weeks of this kind of activity I was starting to think that I was losing my mind. I decided that the best thing to do would be to set up a video camera to record when I’m out of the apartment. I picked a day to do it and left the camera running. I wasn’t prepared for what I would find.


Part III will be posted next Monday.

Getting Prepared

The past few weeks have been manic – I don’t mean inside my brain either. There hasn’t really been a time when someone hasn’t been coming and going from our house and it’s taken its toll on my mood. Although I’m not hitting a full on depressive episode, I’ve not been feeling right.

After discussing it with Alex, we decided it was probably a good idea to get in contact with my doctor and see what they say. Unfortunately, they’ve not been in for the last two weeks so I’m currently stuck managing it myself. I’m not doing too bad of a job and have felt a bit better now things are getting a little less chaotic, but I still don’t think I’m at the level I was before we moved.

As the days pass, we get more and more things sorted out for the new house. We’re still in a little bit of a limbo as far as the flooring for the bathroom and en-suite, but it’s nothing that we can’t live with.

With this in mind, I’ve been wanting to get back to writing one of the many WIP novels that I have but so far I’ve not been able to. When I first started to struggle, I took not being able to write in this way to heart. It was really doing my head in not being able to focus enough to continue with what I wanted to. But now, I’ve taken my focus away from novels and more on my blogs.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I’m heading to university in September. Once I start I’m sure I’ll have less time for blogging, but I don’t want there to be any huge gaps where I’m not posting so I’m taking this opportunity to get some written and scheduled so I don’t have to worry about them. No doubt there will be some that I write at the time as I progress with my uni work or anything else that I’m doing, but as far as gaming posts and probably even some writing posts, I want to have them banked.

For the writing posts I’ve been writing up my paranormal experiences in my flat in Eccles. The first of these was posted on Monday and part II will be coming next week. I don’t know how many of these I will write, but at the minute I can see there being at least 5 or 6, but we’ll see.

Depressive episodes suck. But, it’s all about making it through to the other side. As I said, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself when I’m not able to do certain things, but at times that’s difficult. My time away from social media has helped me some as I’ve not been getting annoyed at idiots on there, so that’s something.

Another week is over, so I’ll wish you a good weekend.

State of Decay 2: Heartland – Good But Disappointing (Review)

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

Last week I posted a blog about the XBox game State of Decay 2 and said that I would be doing a further blog and reviewing the Heartland DLC, and here it is.

State of Decay 2: Heartland DLC was released in June 2019 for free to anyone who owned the base game. The DLC – I feel – is a game in it’s own right as it’s as big as the base game that it adds to. Heartland takes you back to Trumbull Valley (the location of the first game) where the blood plague has advanced and caused more aggressive zombies as well as creating blood freaks (feral, screamer, bloater and juggernaut).

The game allows you to pick from two sets of characters who each come to the valley for different reasons. You ultimately end up in the same settlement and with the same objective, but there are variations in how you get there. Each story relates to characters that appeared in the first game.

Throughout the story, you will meet and be able to recruit a number of different survivors. Each one has a different skill and will allow you to build and/or upgrade parts of your base to help you in your battle against the blood plague.

I first played Heartland when it came out. I was interested to see if it was worth playing or whether it was an addition that there was little point to. I started a game back then but I kind of checked out when one of my survivors got wiped out by a feral pretty early on.

Recently though when we started playing again, we gave it another go – well, 2 or 3 actually. It took us a little bit to get into the swing of things and to get to grips with the new types of enemy. Once we got the hang of it, we were rolling. We were going out from our base looting and gathering supplies, while following the markers to the other survivors and quest points.

If you focus on building your settlement you pretty much want to recruit everyone you come across. Each one has a little task for you to carry out before they will join you, but most of these are fairly simple. The base that you get is named Jurassic Junction. It’s built around an old gas station and has multiple large dinosaurs that will keep you company – unfortunately you can’t ride them into battle.

As you go through the story you find out bits and pieces of what’s going on in the valley and your aim is to try to find out exactly what’s going on. You will eventually meet a soldier and a doctor that will explain some things and will ask you to fight your way through something called The Gauntlet.

The Gauntlet is built up of what in game are called plague walls. These are masses of what look like stringy flesh and blood that stretched between buildings and blocks your way. Your aim is to fight through four of these walls using a special type of grenade made from parts of bloaters – yeah they’re fun to gather – and any other weapon that you have to hand. But it’s not as simple as that. While you fight the wall, your will also be fending of hordes of blood plague zombies and their freak friends. For me, taking out these walls wasn’t too bad, it was the keeping an eye on your health and plague status, zombies and freaks that are attacking, and timing a well planned out retreat when needed to avoid any deaths.

But here comes the disappointing bit.

When you destroy the last plague wall and gain access to the building, we were thinking there would be something a la rat king from The Last of Us: Part II. But alas, there was none of that. We hoped there would be an explanation as to what was going on and how the plague walls came about. But all you get is a short cutscene which if nothing else leaves you on an unexplained cliff-hanger.

We put maybe 8 or so hours into Heartland and the pay off was nothing short of non-existent. I can get that it was probably a lead in to the next game, but it all just felt a little bit pointless. You don’t even get the option to continue playing in order to wipe out the plague hearts/infestations or build up your base some more. It just ends.

We loved the main game so it feels like a bit of a let down that there wasn’t anything more to the ending of this DLC. We did enjoy it up until that point where we felt a little cheated. I’ve never rated a DLC on this blog before, but I gave State of Decay 2 and 8/10. I feel like I want to give Heartland the same but honestly I can’t. Instead I’m going to give it a 6/10. It could have been some much better.