Horizon: Forbidden West (Review)

Horizon: Forbidden West is an action-adventure RPG released on the 18th of February 2022. It is the sequel to the acclaimed Horizon: Zero Dawn. Much like its predecessor Forbidden West sees you in control of main character Aloy as she traverses a land ravaged by machines and rogue AI from a terraforming system that was meant to protect the world and save the human race. This sequel sees Aloy travel west into forbidden lands, after the events of the first game, to follow the AI known as Hades, where new machines, bandits and challenges await.

The gameplay for Forbidden West is very similar to that of the first game. You control Aloy and mainly use your bow for combat alongside a couple of other tools. As you progress, you can spend skill points in skill trees that improve things like your skill in combat, stealth, potions, and control over the machines you discover. You can choose to take part in many challenges, such as hunting grounds, cauldrons, contracts for salvagers, and melee combat rings. There are a few differences, though; for example, you get the ability to glide using a holographic paraglider which can help you reach difficult areas of terrain or get you down from high up places. This is quite a good addition as you no longer have to worry all that much about fall damage. The other notable addition is the Pullcaster which allows you to pull down walls and move objects around the environment to help you climb harder to reach places. Of course, you still have the same traps, trip wires, and potions available to you that unlock as you progress through the game. Alongside the main story quest, there are plenty of sidequests that will keep you busy, some longer than others. They really add to the narrative and help you feel more immersed in Aloy’s world.

Graphically there isn’t much difference between Zero Dawn and Forbidden West. However, there are noticeable improvements to environmental locations and character design, and it has been advanced for the PS5 version. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous game, and navigating through the different environments is amazing; it just feels like it’s not really been built on from the last game.

Like the graphics, the voice acting in Zero Dawn was top-notch, and it’s the same in Forbidden West; it’s great to see some characters return and have more of a part to play. I’ve found that some of the side characters have a little more personality though now, some characters felt a bit wooden at times in the first games.

One issue that I have found is that the camera can be a bit fiddly at times, especially when you’re trying to jump to something behind you. It tends to flick from one side to another, and you end up missing the ledge and dropping down, so you have to do the entire thing again. But having said that, there really isn’t anything to complain about in this game. So far, I’m around 12 hours into it, and I’ve been loving every minute–except those damn ledges that I mentioned.

Overall I’m going to give Forbidden West a 9/10; what it lacks in some areas, it more than makes up for in others. If you enjoyed Zero Dawn, then you’ll enjoy Forbidden West. But if you haven’t, I would advise that you go back and play it, as a lot of what is going on in this sequel directly results from actions taken in the first game. I know that I’ll be playing this game for many hours/days/weeks to come, and I look forward to how the story evolves.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human (Review)

Dying Light 2: Stay Human is an action horror action role-playing game released in February 2022 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

In this sequel to 2015’s Dying Light takes place 22 years after the Harran incident, which saw the death of every one of its citizens. After this outbreak, the GRE (Global Relief Effort) synthesised a vaccine for the virus, putting an end to the zombie pandemic. However, the GRE continued to experiment with the virus in secret and in 2021, a mutated variant escapes the GRE labs and starts a second pandemic that spreads across the entire world. The previously created vaccine and Antizin are ineffective against this new strain, but it can be held in check by the use of ultraviolet light. The game is set in the year 2036, 15 years after the latest pandemic, where civilisation has dwindled to only a few settlements, with the European city of Villedor being the last known city on Earth. In Dying Light 2, you take control of pilgrim (someone who travels between settlements), Aiden Caldwell, as he traverses the city of Villedor trying to find his sister after they were separated during vaccine trials when they were children.

I’ve wanted a sequel for Dying Light since I played the original back in 2015, and the fact that we’re still waiting for Dead Island 2 means that I have to find something else to fill the hole left by its absence. But how is it? Well, I’m here to tell you…

The gameplay is very similar to the original game in that you traverse the city using your parkour and melee weapon skills. There are a number of different infected that you come across throughout the city, including degenerates, biters, virals, howlers, goons, and bolters, each requiring a different strategy to either avoid or take down. The game employs a double skill tree system that allows you to improve either your combat or parkour skills with new moves and abilities. While you play, you also have use of a sense ability that allows you to see usable objects such as doors, chests and bags, and ziplines, as well as ay enemies that may be in your immediate area; this can come in handy when your scavenging through dark zones (buildings infested with infected) or just hopping roofs for gear and crafting ingredients. Similar to the original game, the day is split between night and day; in this sequel, however, it’s not just the increase of infected that can get you at night; the lack of UV light can also cause you issues. Aiden is infected to a level where if he stays out of UV light for an extended period of time, he will turn. As you explore the city, you can make use of UV lights at settlements or bases, as well as crafting or using items that increase your resistance to the virus. This new addition means that you have to think more about what you’re going to do and when and makes you consider what items you take with you when you head out, and really makes the subtitle of Stay Human make sense.

The story is a pretty standard story; the main character wants to find a loved one, there’s nothing new here as far as that goes, but the way that you go about finding your loved one is up to you. There are a number of points within the game when you can choose which path you take; this can be deciding between helping a character or not or as big as assigning a faction to a recently liberated key position. This sort of choice wasn’t present in the first game, which made it a fairly linear story. I’m all for games where you have choices to make that make a real difference to the way the world treats your character, so this was a big plus for me. With some of the characters and locations, I can’t help but be reminded of the Metro series of games (in a good way, of course), especially the fact that the Peacekeepers, or PKs, control the metro stations and lines.

The voice acting isn’t anything special. When you’ve come from games like the Mass Effect series or The Last of Us, Dying Light 2 doesn’t really give you anything that even compares to these games, but it’s not bad per se; it just seems a little flat at times. This doesn’t really detract from the experience you have playing this game, there’s enough going on that you don’t really notice a few lines of poor dialogue. I would say, however, that it is an improvement on the first game.

Combat, oh the combat. What can I say except smashy smashy. Okay, there are long-range weapons in the game too, but the majority of fighting that you’ll be doing, especially at the start of the game, will be using various melee weapons that you beat or slice things to death with. This, of course, is always fun, but the infected in Dying Light 2 seem harder to fight than those in the original; they seem to be able to move faster and are more agile when it comes to climbing objects after you. There are human enemies as well, and these also think and react to what you do, i.e. they dodge your thrown weapons, and if you keep attacking in the same manner, they will just block you, this again makes you think about your plan of attack more than you did in the previous instalment.

There is a lot to explore in the city of Villedor, from normal buildings to dark zones, settlements and gang hideouts. As you parkour your way across rooftops, you can liberate windmills, water towers and power plants that you can assign to different factions within the city; this will affect how the other factions will treat you; they may allow you safe passage or attack you on sight. The parkour is very much the same as it was previously, but with the skill tree, you can improve aspects such as jump distance and climb speed, which can really come in handy when you’re running away from the infected, let me tell you.

Overall, there is a lot to like about Dying Light 2; yes, it has its flaws, but they are few and far between, and what it lacks in things like voice acting, it more than makes up for in gameplay and combat. This is a big game with a lot to do and see, and it’s well worth every hour that you’ll spend slicing limbs of infected and parkouring across rooftops with a devil-may-care attitude; it gets a shiny 9/10 from me and a hearty recommendation to any lovers of the first game or of this genre in general, it builds on everything you’ve seen so far.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Review)

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an action-adventure game released in September 2021 for PlayStation 4, Playstation 5 and PC.

In the game, you control Kena, a young spirit guide travelling to a sacred mountain shrine. Throughout the game, she collects little fuzzy spirit companions called Rot, who help her solve puzzles and traverse the environment. In order to be allowed to have safe passage to the shrine, a masked spirit tells her that she must help several trapped spirits throughout the land.

Kena is a game that Alex first noticed and told me about; although I liked the sound of it and couldn’t deny it looked like it would be a good game, I still wasn’t sold on it, but I ended up buying it for Alex at Christmas, and it wasn’t long before we were both well into the game. The design of the game was excellent, the environments were beautiful, and the levels were well designed. Unlike some games in a similar vein, the puzzles weren’t too complicated, and you could tell it was probably designed for the lower age groups of players, but that’s not to say that adults can’t find something to love in it. One thing that I think everyone will love, I know Alex and I do, are the Rots. The Rots are small fuzzy black creatures that follow you around the game and are used to perform certain actions like opening doors or moving objects and within battles performing certain attacks. The little buggers are so cute and lovable, and the fact that you can buy them all sorts of hatsꟷyes, hatsꟷthat don’t do anything of real value, they just make the Rots even cuter. The hats range from elf hats to pumpkin tops, mushrooms and various masks, and they add to the charm of the game.

The gameplay mechanics are quite simple and easy to grasp, so there’s no time spent frustratingly trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Even if you put the game down and come back a few days later, it’s easy to pick back up where you left off. The puzzles aren’t of a high level of difficulty either, and most involve getting your Rots to do something like moving rocks to deflect the magic from your cane or pots to stand on to reach higher levels. But this simplicity isn’t a bad thing; in a way, it’s a breath of fresh air to have a game that’s too overly complicated and makes you want to angrily throw your controller at the screen.

The characters are well crafted, and besides, the high quality of voice acting allows you to be further immersed into a world where you’re surrounded by spirits, good and bad.

The combat at times is a bit clunky and difficult to control; the camera spins around in a way that means you can’t see what’s going on. Although it’s easily rectified, it can be a bit annoying. But with the assistance of your little Rot dudes, the foes can be defeated

There is a lot in this game to love; even I, who isn’t the biggest fan of 3D platformers, which this game is at a base level, enjoyed this game. It’s not a long game, so if you have a couple of decent game sessions, you’ll probably finish it quite quickly, but there is quite a bit to do other than the main story, such as collecting “spirit mail” this is mail that you have to deliver to the home in the town it’s meant for and therefore allowing more spirits to rest. You can also try to find all the flower shrines, cursed chests and Rot hats; this alone will take you a few hours.

I wasn’t sure about this game, to begin with, but I’m glad that I gave it a chance, and although there could have been a little bit more to it, it’s still a fun game and well deserves a rating of 8/10. I would recommend this to anyone, and I’m sure if you’ve got kids, they would love it too.

Addition:

For the trophy hunters out there, most of the trophies are easy to obtain; they’re either from completing sections of the story, collecting all of something, e.g. Rot hats, or performing certain moves or attacks within battles. The one that is the killer is finishing the game on “master” difficulty. Some of the battles are hard when playing it on the normal setting, but on master, they feel almost impossible at times. But, if you keep chipping away at it, you’ll get it done.

I’m Back

It’s been a while. Until I decided to write this post, I didn’t realise just how long it had been since I posted. November. Jesus. There are a few reasons behind my lack of posting, though. First off, university. It was around November time when I started to get assignments for my course, and usefully, they all came at once. When they did, I began to get stressed, and everything started to get on top of me. I didn’t feel like I had the time to write either my books or blogs as I wanted to concentrate on my assignments. The other reason was purely that I just didn’t feel like I had anything to post about. I felt that I’d started to go round in circles, and I just didn’t have anything new to say. I’d been posting pretty much nonstop for a year or so, and I just fell out with the whole process. And the fact that I was mainly focused on uni work, I didn’t have any writing or games to post about. But now I’m back. Over the holidays, I’ve finished my uni work, got back into writing, and played some games that I can review, so I feel like I’m in a good place to come back.

In regards to my writing, if you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know that before Christmas, I was working on my story, And Then I Killed Her. I was hoping that this would be my next book to release, but when I picked it back up, I just didn’t know where it was going, and rather than just writing whatever and ruining what I’d already written, I decided to put it down and wait until I know what to do with it. I have, though, picked Creatures 2 back up. Over the past few weeks, as I’ve been out taking Athena for her walks, my thoughts have continually come back to this story. I’ve had so many new ideas that I thought it was time to get back into the Creatures universe.

I’ve spent a week or so going through what I’d previously written, and, as I want to do, I changed how it was written (perspective wise); I finished doing this a few days ago and have since been writing new stuff. It’s going well so far. I’m confident that this second novel in the series will vastly improve on the first in writing style and story.

As far as games are concerned, you can expect reviews for Atomicrops, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and Twin Mirror. More will be added to the list as 2022 seems to be a pretty decent year for new releases.

That’s it for now. It’s good to be back, and I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my posts.

Have a good week!

Awkward Trophies: The Last of Us Part II Edition

I’ve done a couple of these posts relating to some of the more finicky trophies to get on certain games. You can find the Vampyr, Skyrim, and Fallout 4 one by clicking on them here.

In this edition, I’ll be taking you through some of the more confusing trophies in The Last of Us Part II.

Looks Good On You – Put a hat on your companion

This is easy to miss. Earned in the “Birthday Gift” flashback, to obtain this trophy you must pick up one of the hats dotted around the entrance to the dinosaur museum, which will cause Ellie to place it on her head.

In the second room of the museum, you can interact with the dinosaur skeletons and place the hat on their skulls. You want to do this twice with differing skeletons, which will cause an interaction icon to appear above Joel’s head. Go over to him and place the hat on his head to be rewarded with the trophy.

Put My Name Up – Earn the high score in the archery game

This trophy is self-explanatory and takes place in the aquarium when you are in control of Abby during one of her flashbacks.

All the targets are in the same room but there are quite a few of them so take the time to familiarise yourself with their locations before you begin the challenge.

For the below collectibles we used the guide over on Powerpyx

Arms master – Fully upgrade all weapons

Archivist – Find all artefacts and journal entries

Master set – Find all trading cards

Numismatist – Find all coins

Prepared For The Worst – Find all workbenches

Safecracker – Unlock every safe

Journeyman – Find all the training manuals

Survival Expert – Learn all player upgrades

High Calibre – Find all weapons

If you enjoy a scavenge for your trophies, then The Last of Us: Part II does not disappoint with many of the trophies following a similar mechanic to those in the original.

The difference in the sequel, however, is that there are certain collectibles, weapons and player upgrades that are specific to either Ellie or Abby, making it harder to keep up with what you have or haven’t got.

Honestly, you could try and collect all these organically, but if you’re in the mood for a trophy hunt you may be better off finding a guide to help you find all of the locations.

We personally did one playthrough collecting what we could naturally and then did a second run to mop up what we missed.  This way your first playthrough can be spent enjoying (I use this term loosely, here’s looking at you Rat King) the story, while the second allows you to focus on other aspects of the game, unlocking different dialogue and combat options through the collectibles that you may not have experienced in the first playthrough.

Love or Hate: Open World Games

Open-world games are one of many genres of video game that is out there. These days there are many massive games where you can freely explore a map as long as you want without it having an adverse effect on the story. I asked my gamer followers on Twitter if they enjoyed open-world games or if they preferred a more linear experience; below are some of the responses:

Open-world games aren’t just a recent evolution of gaming. They have been around since the 70s, with the game Western Gun being released in 1975. In this game, you controlled one of two gunmen that could openly explore the game map while trying to shoot the other player. Western Gun might not be on the same scale as open-world games are now, but it is nevertheless the origin.

Over the years, this type of game evolved, bringing a larger map for exploration – like in the original Legend of Zelda for the NES – all the way up to games like GTA V, Assassin’s Creed, and Fallout. Each world allowing the player to complete quests from far and wide alongside the main story quests, as well as collecting items or just exploring to see what the map has to offer.

As seen in the response from gamers above, some people enjoy open-world games, others not so much. For me, I’ve always gravitated towards open-world games over the more linear ones. I relished the challenge of completing quests from the arse-end of the map or exploring some of the hidden places that others might not venture to. I enjoyed spending hours inside a game, seeing everything that it had to offer. Over the past couple of years, however, as much as I still enjoy a massive game, I find that I haven’t got the patience to explore as much as I would have done previously. Doing all of what I said above has somewhat lost its shine, and I find myself getting bored with wandering and then just running through the main questline. For some – I’m looking at you Skyrim – this will cut the game down to a matter of a few hours rather than hundreds, and it leaves a bitter taste because of missing out on so much.

Some open-world games are easier to play than others. Games like Death Stranding are amazingly beautiful to look at, and that makes you want to explore more of the environment. I find myself wandering just to see the prettiness of the map. For others, that just isn’t enough. For example, I really enjoy the Assassin’s Creed games – I know they’re all very similar – but recently, I was playing Odyssey, and I just can’t get into it. Now, it might be for a combination of things, but it’s a huge game that I just can’t be bothered to explore and I think that’s my main issue with it. I feel like if it’s a big game then I should be doing as much as possible in it. Maybe if I’d played it a few years ago, it might have been different; who can say. I just know that I’ve tried to get into it a few times and just can’t. Maybe if it was a smaller game, I’d find it easier to play.

For some open-world games, looking good just isn’t enough. If it has a character that you just can’t connect with, has overly complicated mechanics or just too much going on, this can also put me off it as a playable game. Linear, more story-oriented games sometimes have the same issues, but I can forgive most of them for it because they’re generally pretty short games, and they don’t usually take much brainpower – which on some days, let’s be honest, who needs that.

Like with most things in this world, it all comes down to personal preference. As I said in my last blog, don’t let someone make you feel bad because you can’t be bothered spending days in a game or if you just want to wander and explore some beautiful locations. Play as you want.

Awkward Trophies: Skyrim Edition

If you read my gaming blogs you’ll already know that I’m always up for a good trophy hunt, especially if some of those trophies are a but of a pain in the arse to get. I recently posted about some awkward trophies in the games Vampyr and Fallout 4.

Below are a selection of the more awkward trophies that are up for grabs in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Thief – Pick 50 locks and 50 pockets


Locks are easy enough, pockets on the other hand are not! Easiest way to get your pickpocket number is (bear in mind that only successful pickpockets count) by training your pickpocket level with the trainers dotted about. For pickpocket, the Expert trainer is Silda the Unseen, a homeless beggar who can be found wandering around outside of Candlehearth Hall in Windhelm. In addition to Silda, there is also Vipir the Fleet, a Master trainer who can be found frequenting The Ragged Flagon in Riftin. Training with them will grant you a higher skill level in pickpocket, therefore giving you a higher chance percentage for a successful pickpocket. Worth keeping in mind, training will get increasingly more expensive to complete the higher your skill level is, and you can only train 5 levels in one day.


Master criminal – Bounty of 1000 gold in all 9 holds


This is tricky because you have to have a bounty of 1000 gold in all 9 holds at the same time. The easiest way to do this is to cause chaos in all 9 holds one after the other. Something to note; once you’ve gotten the trophy, make sure that your inventory is clear of all stolen items before you go to clear each bounty, otherwise you’ll end up losing them when you go to jail/pay off the bounty.


Golden Touch – Have 100,000 gold


This is a slog. If you like smithing, having a high level of this skill will make obtaining this trophy so much easier for you as armour and weapons (especially the dragonbone/scale and daedric sets) sell for a ridiculous amount of septims. It’s also worth noting that enchanted armour and weapons, and armour and weapons that have been “improved” further, e.g Exquisite, Epic, and Legendary, sell for more than your bog-standard forged armour and weapons. The higher your smithing skill level also dictates the amount that you can improve items, so smithing isn’t a bad skill to try and obtain Skill Master with (more about that particular trophy below).


Delver – Clear 50 dungeons


You clear a fair few just progressing through the game, but this will take some wandering around and clearing whatever you’ve missed. The map is useful here as it will come up with “cleared” next to any locations that you’ve been through.


Skill Master – Get a skill to 100


Unsurprisingly this is a slog, as mentioned above, you can kill two birds with one stone and work on Golden Touch and Skill Master in tandem.


Explorer – Discover 100 locations


If you don’t naturally wander around and explore while playing games this will be a slog. Not so bad if you spend some time walking from place to place, exploring as you go. I mean, come on, it’s Skyrim, it’s practically made to be explored!


Reader – Read 50 skill books


Once again, the theme of a Skyrim trophy is slogging away. Read (i.e open) all books you come across, especially if the value of the book is high. That’s generally a good indicator that it’s a skill book and will cause you to level up, as well as contributing to this trophy.

Oblivion Walker – Collect 15 Daedric Artifacts


This involves completing ALL of the Daedric quests. Most you can trigger just from playing the game but a couple start in strange and unexpected places, such as “A Night to Remember” which starts with the dragonborn (you) entering into a drinking contest with Sam Guevenne. Guevenne will spawn in the tavern of the town closest to you upon reaching level 14. If you’ve played through Skyrim before but largely ignored the Daedric quests it’s worth another playthrough just to complete them all. The vast majority are completely batshit, and the artifacts that you receive at the end of each quest are bizarre but, in the most part, really useful.

Master – Reach level 50


Last but by no means least; Master. This is yet another slog, but luckily you get a lot of it done just by completing the main quest lines and mopping up a few miscellaneous objectives along the way. A super sneaky (not so) secret way to make obtaining this trophy easier is by completing the above mentioned Skill Master, and then proceeding to make that skill “legendary”. This will allow you to retrieve the skill points that you invested into that given skill, as well as allowing you to level it back up, gaining additional xp as you go along.

And there you have it. If you can unlock these trophies you should be well on your way to the elusive platinum (or 100%, whatever).

Alan Wake Remaster (Review)

Alan Wake is an action-adventure horror game that was released in May 2010 for the Xbox 360 and PC in February 2012. A remastered version was recently released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

In the game, you take control of Alan Wake, a writer that has come to the sleepy town of Bright Falls to relax and get away from his career as a writer. His wife soon goes missing, and he finds himself being pursued by the darkness that has taken her and is now engulfing the town and turning the residents against him. He must use sources of light to fight back against these ‘Taken’ to get his wife back and to find out why his writing has now become real.

When Alan Wake was first released back in 2010, I was more of an Xbox kind of guy, so I was happy that I had the console to play it. When I first saw the game advertised, I knew it would be a game for me – dark and creepy. I bought it on release day and spent the next several days (and nights) visiting Bright Falls and fighting my way through the Taken.

I loved the game from the very start; the concept wasn’t anything new, but the way it played was so different. It wasn’t just a shoot your way through enemies experience; you had to use light to help you defeat them before you could shoot them.

At the time, the graphics were brilliant (although the original does look a bit dated now), and the story was excellent too. Little did I know that many years later, I would identify with the titular character so much. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the game, I just couldn’t get into the DLC American Nightmare that was released later.

I longed for either a sequel or a remaster for so long that I never thought that it would happen, and it was only by chance that I happened to see something about a new remaster that was coming, and for the first time, it would be released on PlayStation consoles. The best thing was it wasn’t much of a wait. I pre-ordered it straight away so I could get my copy on release day, and as soon as it came, I could get stuck in.

The remaster isn’t a great departure from the original game. The graphics have been tweaked slightly, but it still looks like an Xbox 360 game in spirit. The cut scenes do look much better, however, and you can see that it is different from the original release. The excellent soundtrack is still there, and you’re treated to some brilliant Poet’s of the Fall tracks, among others, while you play. Several easter eggs can found that relate back to the game Control that obviously wasn’t around at the time of the release of the original. These take the form of QR codes that, when you scan them take you to various websites related to the games, as well as letters that discuss events in the game relating to the AWE expansion for Control.

Alan Wake remains one of my favourite games, and the remaster has just added that extra playability and more widespread availability now it’s on more than the Xbox consoles.

I’m already a fair way through my current playthrough,  but I have a feeling that it will be a game that I will go back to now and then after I’ve finished it, just like I did with the first release.

The original game was definitely a solid 8/10, but the remaster has reminded me why I enjoyed the game so much and has knocked it up a notch to 9/10. Alan Wake does have a couple of issues. There are still a number of glitches that, although they don’t break the game, can be very irritating. I’ve already been trapped on a bit of scenery that’s ultimately led to my death several times.

Whether you played the original or not, I thoroughly recommend that you pick up the remaster of Alan Wake. You won’t regret it!

Death Stranding: Delivering Packages with a Twist (Review)

Death Stranding is a third-person adventure game that was released in November 2019 for the PlayStation 4. It was later released in July 2020 for PC. A director’s cut of the game was released in September 2021 for the Playstation 5.

The game follows main character Sam Porter Bridges (Norman Reedus) as he traverses the US after a cataclysmic event that has caused destructive creatures – known as BTs – to roam the earth. As Sam, you are tasked with delivering supplies to isolated settlements and connecting them up to a wireless network so they can work together to rebuild. The game has a stellar cast, including Mads Milkelsen, Troy Baker and Léa Seydoux.

Like most people, when this game was announced, I was still reeling from the cancellation of the Silent Hills project that would see Norman Reedus, Guillermo del Toro, and Hideo Kojima reinvent the series, so I was eager for another project where they would work together. It wasn’t long at this that Death Stranding was announced with possibly the weirdest game trailer I’d ever seen – Reedus naked on a beach holding a creepy looking baby. This being said, there was still something that made me want to play the game. Over the next couple of months, more was released about it, but no one was able to truly explain what it was all about, and I don’t think I found out until I actually played it.

When you start the game, you’re thrown into the decimated landscape that, although it looks beautiful, you know something just isn’t right. From the very beginning, there is a lot going on. You have to learn about the event that caused the destruction, as well as the entities that are tied to it, as well as trying to work out just what the hell you’re supposed to do. I mean, you had a baby (BB) in an artificial womb attached to the front of you that can detect the BTs, which if they catch you will cause a huge explosion and not actually kill you…yeah.

I can understand why many people give up on this game quite early on. You’re not doing a great deal aside from trekking miles to deliver a package, only to have to turn around and deliver one to where you started. I’m guilty of being one of the players that almost gave up on it – the constant walking just didn’t do it for me (just like real life). But once I finally got into it – despite still having no real idea of what was going on – I was drawn into the story, the gorgeous locations and the amazing soundtrack. This is a game that just wants you to keep playing, and if you do, you’ll be rewarded.

After a while, you feel the need to continue playing, even if it’s just because you’ve still got some deliveries to make.

After a couple of months of playing, we ended up getting the platinum trophy and leaving the game behind. As beautiful as it was, there wasn’t anything to come back for after that. However, when a director’s cut of the game was announced, we knew that we wanted to play it again.

We picked up the director’s cut version of the game on release day as there was an upgrade path available to us because we still had our copy of the original. To upgrade our physical PS4 version to PS5, it would only cost us £5 – miles better than having to play nearly £50 for another disc version.

Once the download was done, we were in.

As soon as the game starts, you see that what was an amazingly gorgeous game, to begin with, has gotten even better. The colours are more vibrant, and the textures look altogether more realistic. But this isn’t all the director’s cut has to offer.

This version of the game makes excellent use of the haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers of the DualSense controller. The haptic feedback allows you to feel every bump on your path, and the adaptive triggers allow you to feel just how heavy your cargo is – the heavier your load, the harder you need to press the buttons. All of this just makes you feel more in tune with Sam and BB.

There are a number of new music tracks added to the already brilliant score and extra jobs that Sam can pick up as he makes his way across the country (some of these jobs were previously only available in the PC version).

Another great feature is the fact that you can go on your trophy hunt once again, as all the trophies make a return if you start a new game.

Death Stranding is an excellent game, and if I had reviewed the original, I would have given it 10/10, so the fact that the director’s cut is even better makes me want to break my scale and give it 15/10, it’s just that good.

Have you played Death Stranding? What did are your thoughts of it?

Vampyr: An Awkward Trophy Guide

A while ago I wrote a review of the game Vampyr. At the end of the review I put a short section about one of the harder trophies to pick up if you’re going for the elusive platinum. I’ve had some great feedback about the post and how it helped them with something that was particularly difficult so I thought I’d do another post with some information on how to do some of the other hard to get trophies. Hopefully this guide will shed some light on them for you and help you on your way to platinum.

Unlife is Strange

For this trophy you need to water ‘Lisa’. This is the name that Jonathan gives to the dying plant in his room at the hospital. In order to save it and make it grow you need to pick up some fresh water and give it to the plant. This item can only be found upon beginning Chapter 4 of the game and can be found in a cabinet in a small shop across from where you save the citizen Mr Kimura from a level 22-24 ekon that you will have to defeat to gain access to the shop in question. Once you have the water, take it back to Jonathan’s room and give to the plant. After sleeping a total of three times, the plant will grow and the trophy will pop.

Bloody Roots

I’ve previously gone over the requirements for this trophy in an older blog post. But I feel there are a few things that need to be stressed about it. As well as bagging you a trophy, solving this puzzle will also snag you one of the best weapons in the game, so it’s well worth trying to get it.

  1. You need to find all documents in the game. If you’re doing a pacifist run this can be quite hard to do, but it’s still possible.
  2. DO NOT read Usher Talltree’s book that he asks you to collect for him. If you do, you won’t receive one of the other documents and so won’t be able to complete the requirements for the trophy.
  3. The puzzle seems to change depending on what the game randomises. The solution that worked for me (see previous blog post) might not work for you. You’ll need to check all the documents you collect for the small white pixel in the corner and the pattern displayed to make sure what your pattern is.

Tools of the Profession – Keep Your Distance – Weapon of Choice

All these trophies are impossible on a pacifist run. Some of the weapons you can only receive by killing a citizen and either picking it up off their body or by looting a key for their safe.

If you kill someone and then sleep, it might transpire that another character will go missing. If this happens, their weapon will be lost and you won’t be able to pick it up for the trophy. I’d recommend killing everyone in one night so this doesn’t happen.

Not Even Once

This can be easily missed. At the start of the game, Jonathan is given the option to bite or release a character called Clay. If you bite and kill him, that’s the end of your pacifist run. Letting him live will mean you can carry on and as long as you don’t kill anyone else you’ll get this trophy.

Doing a pacifist run however, isn’t easy. You won’t gain XP from killing characters and will only get it from healing them or through normal combat. This might mean that your pacifist run is considerably longer than a genocide run.

Lore Keeper

As mentioned in the Bloody Roots section you need to collect all the in game documents for this one to pop and reading Usher Talltree’s book will stop you from collecting one of them.

It took me three runs to platinum Vampyr, but it can be done in two if you do one pacifist and one genocide.

So that’s some of the more awkward trophies in Vampyr. Happy hunting!