Ghostwire: Tokyo (Review)

Ghostwire: Tokyo is a first-person perspective action-adventure game that was released on 25 March 2022 for PC and PlayStation 5.

The story of Ghostwire follows a spirit of a man named KK who possesses the body of another man, Akito, after he is involved in a traffic collision. Akito has control over his body other than his right hand, which KK controls. A man named Hannya, who wears a Hannya mask, uses a spell to summon demons all across Shibuya. It is Akito’s task to hunt down Hannya and stop him. KK grants Akito special powers that can be described as karate meets magic to help him defeat the evil spirits that now infest the city and to save the many imprisoned spirits. As the player collects spirits, they are converted into points that can be used to upgrade skills to improve Akito’s moves and abilities.

Ghostwire is a game that I was looking forward to since its initial reveal; it looked like it had an interesting story and a different way of combat that would be compelling. I picked up my copy when it was on “Deal of the Week” on the PlayStation store and got straight into it.

Let’s start with the positives. The story starts off slow as it introduces the central premise of the game and its key players. It has a pretty decent tutorial regarding the main character’s skills. This tutorial isn’t as out of place and clunky as some games out there. It’s slow and not overbearing, but it tells you enough so that you can start playing with relative ease.

When first thrown into the city of Shibuya, I couldn’t help but notice just how pretty it is. It looks amazing. The colours, the lighting, and even the weather mechanics are beautiful and only serve to immerse you in the character’s environment further. The map is pretty big and traversing it, due to many fast travel points, isn’t a chore, and there is a lot to see and do, although this can be a bit overwhelming at timesꟷbut more on this a bit later.

The characters and enemies are well done. The main characters, Akito and KK, have depth, which is nice to see. Too many protagonists these days are little more than 2D caricatures. The enemies are just terrifying. The main enemy you face is slender man-like things that creep up on you with their no face and umbrellas. These come in a few different versions, but the way they move and sound is just creepy as hell. There are plenty of other enemies which are all based on Japanese folklore, for example, the Kuchisake, which is based on kuchisake-onna , AKA “Slit-Mouthed Woman”. This enemy is a tall female who wields a massive pair of scissors. In folklore, the kuchisake-onna asks its victims if they think she’s beautiful, only to reveal her disfigured grin. She then asks the question again, often maiming the victim with similar scars if they lie about her beauty or killing them outright if they lie. These added details only serve to immerse you further into the games world and add that extra bit of realism to it.

One thing I have to mention that was talked about quite a bit before release is the fact that you can pet cats and dogs throughout the city. These may seem like a superficial addition, but it does actually serve a purpose for those wanting to see all that Shibuya has to offer. The cats, when petted and talked to (yes, you can talk to the animals), will point out various things in the city that the player can collect. The dogs (much like the foxes in Ghost of Tsushima) that you can purchase dog food for will, when fed and followed, dig up coins or otherwise lead you to collectables. These are nice little additions that serve to assist you if you’re going for 100% completion.

Talking about collectables, there are a lot of them to collect throughout the map. They range from bundles of spirits as mentioned above that level your character up, shrines that increase your abilities, Tori gates, that unlock areas of the map by clearing the dangerous fog that shrouds most of the map at the beginning of the game, and various items that can be picked up and traded at some cat vendors for outfit items, music tracks and other things. You also have many spirits to either help, follow or trap. As well as the human spirits that you can do various types of quests for, there are other more traditional Japanese spirits that you follow or capture, such as the Tanuki which are racoon spirits that disguise themselves as various objects around the city. They can be discovered only by the fact that their tail is always showing; even so, they can be pretty hard to spot and require some real investigation. And something that deserves an honourable mention is the use of cucumbers to attract kappas, a kind of human-turtle hybrid spirit.

So, what about the negatives. First of all, is a big one for me; the combat. The combat is unique in its style as you use a combination of three special abilities to damage enemies. The fact that there are only these three abilities that have both a normal and charged attack but don’t have any sort of combo usage isn’t the main issue for me; it’s the issue of aiming. The enemies can move around sporadically, and the targeting system for aiming, for want of a better word, is piss-poor. It’s hard to focus on one enemy at times as the spot where you can hit things is relatively small. So sometimes, unless the enemy is in your face, all you do is miss, and when you’ve only got a limited number of times, you can use each ability; this can be very frustrating at times. I found myself just firing wildly and hoping I hit stuff. Having said this, I have to admit that I found the bow very useful, but this can also be a pain if you’re aiming at moving targets.

Another issue I found, and those going for 100% will probably find it too, is that there are many things to collect all over the city, and I feel like it’s just too much. You could spend hours purely collecting items and other collectables, and it just all gets a little repetitive. This is also an issue with some of the side quests; they can be very repetitive and confusing. It’s generally a case of finding a building or spot on the map, clearing it out of enemies, and then returning to the quest giver. This is nothing new and is an issue in many open-world gamesꟷI’m looking at you, Assassin’s Creed. As I said earlier, the map is sometimes overwhelming and may be seen as a little too big for some players.

All in all, Ghostwire: Tokyo is a fun, albeit at times frustrating, game. There is enough going on to keep you busy for hours if you have the time and patience to see and do everything the game offers. The details of the Japanese folklore are an excellent addition, and even if you know nothing about such things, it can still make sense to you. I never found myself asking why I was chasing a ghost otter over rooftops; I just did it. If this game is on your radar or even seems interesting, I would suggest that you give it a go. The game is far from perfect but is a good game nonetheless, so I’m going to give it a 7/10. I could have given it an 8/10, but the combat just lets it down a little too much.

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.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – 2019 (Review)

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is an action-adventure game that was released in September 2019 for Nintendo Switch, it’s a remake of the 1993 version that was released in 1993 on the Nintendo Gameboy.

This game sees Link washed up on the shore of Koholint Island after his ship is caught in a storm and destroyed. Link soon embarks on a quest to retrieve the eight musical instruments of the Sirens and to awaken the legendary Wind Fish in order for him to leave the island. This remake has updated visuals in a top-down cartoony style that lends it a certain charm. One addition to this game that wasn’t in the original is the ability to create your own dungeons and complete them for rewards.

Link’s Awakening is in a style that will be familiar to fans of the series. You are able to explore an open world and battle through dungeons to gain hearts and gear. Each dungeon has a number of puzzles for you to complete as well as bosses to fight.

I’ve been a fan of the Zelda series of games for most of my life, but somehow I missed the original version of Link’s Awakening on the Gameboy so I went into this game with an open mind with none of the nostalgia that other players might. I’ve always preferred the top-down Zelda games, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy the 3D games like Twilight Princess or Breath of the Wild, but there’s something about the top-down perspective that I love, it dates back to A Link to the Past which, if you follow my blogs, you will know is one of my favourite games of all time. The design of the game is, let’s say, cute, but this cartoon-like style works so well, it’s not a million miles away from the way it looked on the Gameboy (obviously it has more colour), and so takes me back to the older games in a similar way that A Link Between Worlds did.

The gameplay is similar to pretty much every other Zelda game – other than maybe Breath of the Wild ­– in that, you explore the world freely, but mainly have to hop from dungeon to dungeon and defeat bosses while gaining gear to open up other areas of the map and dungeons. Some players might feel like it’s a tired format, but it works, and if it works then where’s the problem? One thing I did enjoy about this game is the references to the Mario games. It ranges from images or objects of characters/enemies, to side-scrolling sections that look like small Mario levels. It’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it does have a decent story that keeps you playing.

I’m pretty biased as far as Zelda games go, I’ll always play them where I can and generally enjoy them. I say this despite the fact that it did take a little while to finally get into Breath of the Wild and I couldn’t really tell you why. But Link’s Awakening brings the games back to the style of games that I grew up with and will always go back to. This game deserves a 10/10 from me and a definite recommendation.

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!

Single Player or Multiplayer?

Video games have been around for a long time now and in that time they’ve evolved in many different ways. One noticeable difference is the prevalence of multiplayer modes or just flat out multiplayer games.

Back in the day when multiplayer meant you plugged two controllers into the console or if you were fancy and having a party, you’d have a multi-tap, and I was there for that. There’s something very nostalgic about your 14 inch TV screen being split in half and having to squint to see what was going on on your side. I feel like we’ve lost that now. It’s very rare that you get a game that does local split-screen or even on the same screen as is the case in many sidescrollers, these days they favour online multiplayer and that just doesn’t have the same appeal to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I have and do enjoy the odd online multiplayer. For example I spent years living in World of Warcraft, and even games like The Division and Destiny have good memories for me. But it’s just not the same.

For a start you don’t know most of the players that you play with. I know if you have friends on your given console you can, but in the most part it’s strangers. There’s no longer that thrill of sitting on your bedroom or living room floor, next to your friend and trying to screw up their game by messing with consoles.

Another issue for me is just how toxic online multiplayer can be. There’s always that one git who thinks it’s clever to tell you he “f*cked your mum” or if you if you beat them that they hope you “get cancer and die”, I mean, there’s really no need, is there? I know that this may be a minority of wankers that do this, but it does ruin the experience for those who just want to play the game for fun without being insulted.

I don’t like the way that online multiplayer is also just forced into a game for no reason other than to prolong the life of the game. Like The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V have it and I don’t see the point. It doesn’t even make sense for it to be there. Plus, if you’re a trophy hunter, these online modes have their own trophies that are part of the main game. So if you don’t want to play online, you’ve got no chance of getting those elusive platinums or 100%. Again this can ruin the experience for some players. This could easily be solved by having them as a separated DLC kind of thing that keeps them away from the main list. But, that’s just me being picky.

Then you have games like Call of Duty. I won’t go into my opinion of these games (let’s just say it’s not favourable); I’ll just say what bugs me about the multiplayer. Now, I’ve not played a CoD game in a while, the last time I did, it still had local multiplayer, and that was fine. My brother and I used to play it together on occasion. But what’s been the same for as long as the games have been about is that they’re weighted towards those that play the game constantly. Because the games are very similar, as soon as a new game comes out, some players are a million times better than everyone else. These players aren’t put into their own groups together so they can piss each other off; no, they’re put with the new or casual players that then get annihilated and then insulted – more than likely, purely because they have a life outside of CoD.

Some games have multiplayer thrown in because the main single-player game is so damn short. For me, it would make more sense to expand the main game rather than duct taping multiplayer onto it like some kind of half-fix. Sometimes, when this is done, it ruins both aspects of play.

As I said at the beginning, I’m not against multiplayer games, but if it’s done wrong or it’s all there is, then I just don’t see the point. For me, it just seems like a money-making exercise so the publisher/developer can sell pointless little loot boxes or kinds for characters that you’ll never see because it’s a first-person game. I’d be far happier if more games had local multiplayer or co-op modes.

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.

Why Play Video Games?

Video games have been around for many years now, from Pong to Mario Bros. to Skyrim; they have captured our imaginations and, for some of us, have been a part of daily life for as long as we can remember. But why do we play video games? I recently posed this question to my followers on Twitter. Below are some of the replies:

For some lure of video games is to escape into a world where you be and do anything. For others, it’s a coping mechanism for when the real world gets. And still others, it’s purely for fun. All of these, of course, are valid, and it’s not up to anyone to tell other people why to play. Whether you’re male or female, video games are there for everyone.

For me, video games are something that I think I will always rely on in times of crisis or even just downtime. Each game has a different effect and purpose, and it depends on the way that I’m feeling as to what I will play. For example, if I’m feeling down or I’m unable to concentrate, I might go back to some old favourites like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I’ve played that game so much that it doesn’t require much thought, and no matter where I’m up to, I can jump straight into my saved games and play until my brain feels better. If I’m feeling angry or upset, then I might try something like a shooter a la Bulletstorm. Again this doesn’t really require much thought, but it’s something that I can take some of my frustration out on without externally expressing my emotions. However, I play a lot of games for the experience as, at a base level, this is what all games are. They are an experience to be enjoyed (if frustratingly at times. I’m looking at you Crash Bandicoot) and are designed to stimulate you in the same way as movies or books – some games now are pretty much a cinematic experience, for example, Heavy Rain or Detroit: Become Human. This is made all the more true by the graphics capabilities of systems these days.

I’ve played video games for most of my life, but my tastes haven’t always stayed the same. Like the games themselves, my tastes evolve over time. I used to love playing side scroller platformers and shooters, but now they tend to infuriate me more than anything. I’ve historically been really bad at finishing horror games, but recently I’ve been able to play them without any issues – maybe I’m getting braver, I don’t know. Likewise, my reason for playing them has changed. When I was younger, I would play them mainly for fun, I didn’t have the same worries and whatnot back then, so there was no need to use them as a coping mechanism. Whereas now, as I said above, I play them for many different reasons. And in the future, my reasons will probably change again.

If there were no video games, then I would probably turn to something else to get me through tough times, perhaps books. Whereas as much as I love books now, they will always play second fiddle to video games. Both for the effect they have on my and the experience that I have while playing them.

There are many different genres out there, so there is something for everyone, but I perfectly understand those people that choose not to play them. Maybe they don’t have time, or just don’t want to and prefer to do other things – God forbid, outside! The fact is they’re not for everyone, and that’s okay. I see a lot of things being thrown around these by people who think that if you’re a gamer, you should play all the time, or you should/shouldn’t like a particular game (but let’s be honest, Call of Duty is a bit wank), Or that if you don’t game at all, then you’ve got no right to an opinion on anything. This is what I like to call “bullshit”. Game or don’t game, it’s up to you, and if you do, it’s up to you how you play them and why.

Gaming is a hobby. Enjoy it however you want.