Going Around in Circles: Deathloop (Review)

Deathloop is a first-person shooter that was released in September 2021 for PS5 and PC. It was developed by Arkane Studios, who also made Dishonored and Prey – two excellent games.

The idea of this game is very unique. You play as Colt, who one day wakes up on the beach of an island only to find out that he has died and come back to life. The aim of the game is to assassinate a number of people – known as “Visionaries” –to stop the “loop”, which just repeats the same day over and over. As you play, you use a combination of skills such as stealth, attacks, parkour, gadgets to hack tech, guns, and powers to investigate ways to get to all of the people who are based in separate sections of the map during different times of the day. You learn their schedules and weaknesses to work out a way to kill them all on the same day.

Dishonored is one of the best series of games that I’ve played, so anything that this studio makes is always something that’s on my list to play. The first trailer for Deathloop looked insane. You tell that it was done by the same people that made Dishonored – some powers are pretty much the same, and the overall look looked very familiar. The gameplay looked amazing, and the idea looked so unique and different that I knew I had to play it.

As a starting university gift for myself, I recently picked up my copy and got stuck right in. From the very beginning, you know that there’s going to be a lot to this game, and it’s not going to be something that you quickly play through from start to finish.

For a start, you can play as two characters; Colt or Julianna. Although Julianna only becomes available once you’ve played through with Colt. From the off, things appeared really complicated, and I started to wonder if I would be able to keep track of what I was doing as things aren’t as straightforward as they are with other games. Getting to grips with the time system and what you can do and when takes a little while, but you get into the rhythm after a couple of hours of playing.

As you fight – or stealth – your way through the different areas, you learn more about the characters involved and what methods you should use to kill them. I quickly learned how best to organise tasks so that I could do the maximum number of things in the given day. It’s a bit of a shock at first when you’ve played through a day, got loads of weapons and powers and then it all gets reset when the day ends. Luckily though, despite everything being reset, the knowledge you gain during each day stays with you, so when it comes to luring the Visionaries out, it gets a lot easier and killing them can be a quick thing. You’re also able to use objects from the environment to take out your foes, These range from explosive barrels, gas pipes and even bubble-gum machines! (You can spill them on the floor and use them to trip up enemies.)

While you traverse the different locations, you will also see bright written messages that will give you hints as to what you can do or what will happen in that location. These can range from telling you how to take out an enemy to telling you which way you should go. Along with these messages are some which just look to be put in as a laugh.

As far as my progress into the game goes, I’ve managed to kill a few of the Visionaries on different days and have found ways to get them where I want them, and so far, I’m really enjoying it.

One of the issues that I’ve run into is that some of the puzzles seem overly complicated and involve you going to several different places and finding things before bringing your knowledge back to the original location. This, at times, can be pretty frustrating as you find yourself going around in circles trying to find what you need.

That being said, I can’t complain about this game too much. It’s very different, and it plays to its strengths. It’s good that there’s a new game that doesn’t just follow the usual formula for first-person shooters, and that uniqueness keeps you coming back to the game. The graphics are top-notch and give you that retro 60’s/70’s feel reminiscent of We Happy Few.

Despite the differences, if you’re a fan of Dishonored, I think you’ll probably like Deathloop.

I’ve said I’ve not yet finished the game, but I’m quite confident that my playing experience will only improve.

I’m going to give Deathloop a 9/10; I’m taking a point off purely for the confusing aspect of some of the puzzles, but other than that, it’s an excellent game that I can’t recommend enough.

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!

Life is Strange: True Colors (Review)

Life is Strange: True Colors is a third person graphic adventure released on the 10th of September 2021 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 and PC. It is the fifth game in the Life is Strange series but the third main game, following Life is Strange 2. Unlike the previous games, this game is split up into chapters and not episodes, and the full game was released rather than an episode every few months.

In-game, you play as protagonist Alex Chen, a woman that can see and feel other people’s emotions, while she explores the town of Haven to investigate the circumstance of her brother’s death. Alex’s psychic empathy power allows her to read and impact people’s emotions, which she sees as colourful auras surrounding them. Some of these emotions are more intense and relate to past trauma or difficulty that the character may be going through. She can then interact with items in the world around her to tell her the whole story and allow her to comfort the affected NPC.

We love the Life is Strange games; they’re always so well done and really enjoyable to play, so when True Colors was announced, we couldn’t wait to play it. However, we didn’t think it was going to be as good as previous instalments in the series because from the trailer, the power that Alex has looked a bit crap; but we were so wrong.

We picked up the game on its day of release and dove straight into it. Straight away, we were blown away by how beautiful the game was. The idyllic setting of the town of Haven looks incredible. The colours are vibrant, and the amount of detail is impressive.

When you first arrive, you get to explore the small town with Alex’s brother Gabe. He introduces you to the townsfolk, and they all greet you with a smile and a cheery attitude, But it’s not long before something goes wrong and the cracks in the town begin to show. Before long, you start to see exactly what Alex’s power is, and it’s far more impressive than the trailer would lead you to believe.

As with the other games in the series, the choices you make in dialogue or in certain situations affect how characters interact with you and how the game – while still sticking to a fairly linear story – plays out.

As you explore the town, you find out more about the citizens and their secrets and have the opportunity to help them through something that they are struggling with by using your empathetic power.

As well as the main story, there are several mini-games within the game that you can play at certain times. These range from arcade machines to table football.

In a chapter of the game, the town performs its own LARP – live-action roleplay – for the benefit of one of the children. This is incredibly well done and involves taking part in several turn-based battles against different foes, exploring the town for jewels and scrolls and battling an evil presence. When this switches from normal town view to how the child sees it, the graphics kick up a notch and look even better than before – if that’s at all possible.

The fact that this game was released in its entirety rather than an episode every so often means that you can just play through it once you start the story. This made us feel more invested in the story as we didn’t have a chance to forget what had happened in a previous episode. I think this release method works so much better than episodic release, and I hope that this continues for the next game.

Everything about this game is brilliant. The graphics, the characters and voice acting and the story. All of which makes you feel so invested in the game and the characters. And as always, the soundtrack is incredible and really sets the mood of the game.

Even when only halfway through the game, we knew that this game was our favourite from the series. There isn’t a bad thing to be said about it. Alex has to be the best protagonist of the lot.

It’s probably pretty obvious what I’ll be rating this game, but I’m going to say it anyway. It gets a 10/10.

Do you enjoy the Life is Strange games? Which is your favourite? Have you played True Colors? What do you think of it?

Dead Space: The Most Terrifying Game Ever

Dead Space is a survival horror game that was released in October 2008 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

The game is set on a mining spaceship that is now infested by creatures known as Necromorphs. You take control of Isaac Clarke, an engineer that has to investigate what happened aboard the ship. He not only has to fight the aforementioned Necromorphs but also increasing psychosis. As you explore the ship, environmental noises and music, along with the darkness, serve to disorient you and draw you deeper into the horrific nature of the game. This game throws enemies at you that you can’t outright kill. Instead, you have to dismember their bodies one limb at a time until they stop coming at. When you’ve got multiple enemies coming at you, this serves to increase your anxiety to dangerous levels.

Back in 2008, when Dead Space came out, it was straight on my list. I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into it, but this wasn’t to last.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love horror games, but I’m a wuss when it comes to playing them. As much as I wanted to play this game, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I would dip in and out of it every so often, never able to spend much time playing as the anxiety it would induce was incredible. Time moved on, and I all but forgot about it. When the sequels came out, I wanted to play them, but I saw no point as I hadn’t finished the first one.

Over the years, I managed to collect all three games but still didn’t play them. Recently, however, I’ve been on a kick to finish games that have been on my to-play list for far too long. Many of these games are horror games such as Alien Isolation, Resident Evil VII, and Dead Space.

I was looking for a game to stream when I decided that it would be a good idea to do Dead Space, and I used this as motivation to finally get it finished.

As soon as I started the game again, I remembered why I had so much trouble playing it. To begin with; it’s terrifying.

I don’t know what exactly makes it one of the scariest games I’ve ever played, but I think it’s a combination of enemies that just keep on coming for you, the darkness of space, the near-constant background noise of things running around in the ship and the fact that I’m still a wuss.

After several weeks of streaming – doing a couple of hours at a time – I finally finished Dead Space this weekend, and now that I have, I’m so glad I decided to play it because it’s a fantastic game. Everything about it is so well done.

I’m going to give Dead Space a 9/10. The graphics and effect are excellent. The music and sound are top-notch, and the gameplay makes you want to keep coming back for more despite knowing that it’s not good for you.

Having now finished the first game, there is a part of me that wants to jump straight into the second, but there’s a bigger part of me that just isn’t ready for it just yet.

It has recently been announced that all three games in the series are getting a remaster for the new generation of consoles, and I feel like I really have to finish the original versions before the new ones come out. Will I actually do this? God knows. Will I try? Probably, but I don’t think Dead Space 2 will be the next game I stream. I think I need something a little tamer. But stay tuned.

You can find me streaming over on Twitch using the link below.

Watch Dogs Legion (Review and Trophy Guide)

Watch Dogs Legion is an action-adventure game that was released in October 2020 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It was released in November of that year for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

In the game, you recruit citizens of London to the hacker syndicate DeadSec as the group tries to clear its name after being framed for multiple terrorist bombings around the city.

The game consists of stealth, hacking, driving and shooting your way through this mission. Unlike the previous entries in the Watch Dogs series, there isn’t a single main protagonist. Instead, you recruit members from all around the city and take direct control of them. Each character has their own traits that aid you in traversing London. These skills include but are not limited to; doing extra damage with weapons, lowering arrest times of characters, increasing hacking speed, taking less damage, or even coming with their own custom vehicle; for example, the spy character comes with a spy car which is fully fitted with missiles and a cloaking device. You can switch characters at any time (unless you’re in a restricted area or in combat) to make use of their unique skills. In order to recruit a new member to DeadSec, you have to complete a task for them to prove that you’re on their side.

Watch Dogs Legion is a game that I was excited to play. I thoroughly enjoyed the previous two games in the series and was looking forward to the new mechanics and setting – if not only so I could drive on the correct side of the road for once. Unfortunately, as with so many games, it fell a bit by the wayside, and I only recently picked up a copy.

From the very beginning, I was immersed in the new world and the London within. Although some of the mechanics differ, the game does feel very familiar, and although it’s been a while since I’ve played a Watch Dogs game, I quickly got back into the habit of hacking and stealth.

The story is pretty decent, once again, DeadSec is being painted as the enemy, and they have to clear their name; this time, it’s because a series of bombs have been set off around the city. As members of DeadSec, you have to fight your way right to the top of the conspiracy and clear your name. You do this by completing missions and tasks that will ultimately liberate sections of London until the entire city is free – well, I say free, you still have to confront gangs and private military contractors. You also need to take out several key targets like the head of the gang that thinks they run London, the man at the top of the PMCs that also think that and a woman who creates AI.

The missions, well, as always, with games like this, they can get pretty repetitive. Mainly it’s; go here, hack this, escape or go here, kill these, escape. However, when using the multiple different skills that characters have alongside the many different gadgets at your disposal, there are several ways in which you can complete a mission. For example, you could go in guns blazing and shoot everyone you see to reach your target, or you could stealthily send in your spiderbot to do the hard work for you.

The characters themselves don’t really have that much personality. Occasionally they will chip in their with a humorous comment, but most of the humanity and humour comes from the AI that DeadSec uses named Bagley.

The one issue that lets the game down is the sheer amount of bugs that are present. I’ve had characters randomly move from one spot to another, be unable to enter or exit vehicles, combat targets that get stuck in or on top of walls, invisible walls that I’ve hit when driving, plus what annoyed me the most, bugged trophies.

You should know by now that I love a good trophy hunt, and I figured I might as well go for the platinum in this game. However, I ran into problems with certain ones. Mainly drinking (or getting pissed) in every pub and playing darts at every location. I found that the trophies didn’t pop if I went through and did these as I played. I had to take some time to take a single character around to each one in turn, and only then did it unlock. If you’re going to try this, I recommend that you do the same. Any of the trophies that involved taking part in activities was the same. I even had one completed trophy pop after the game crashed and restarted.

The issues with the game didn’t stop me from enjoying it, and they weren’t as prevalent as, say, the ones in Cyberpunk 2077.

If you’re a fan of the previous Watch Dogs games, then Legion will be a game that you’ll enjoy as I did. But if you’re new to the series, it won’t be too difficult to jump into this one; there are no direct links to the previous games other than the fact that you’re playing as DeadSec.

I’m going to give this one an 8/10; it has its issues but is overall an enjoyable game.

Below is a little assistance with some of the more challenging trophies;

Meta Gaming:

This trophy requires you to recruit a video game designer. It can be a pain to find one of these, but I’ve highlight on the map below where I found mine. It may take a while for one to pop up, but if you hang around for long enough and scan enough people, one will appear.

You Don’t See Me:

For this trophy, you need to rack up a five star wanted level and then escape using the human statue emote.

First, you need to find a character that has the required statue emote. I don’t know where these appear more often, but I found mine in Southwark. I found her pretty early on, so I can’t remember exactly where, but I’ve seen them pop up regularly in other places, too, especially around shops or entertainment venues.

Once you have this character, switch to them and start shooting. I used the stun pistol and grenade launcher and just shot civilians until Albion turned up, then move to those as my targets. I found it best to try to get headshots on them; this seems to increase the stars much quicker than body shots. I had the cloak ability equipped, so when my health was critical, I popped that and waited for my health to return before carrying on. Once I hit five stars, I popped the cloak again to escape and gain a bit of ground on my pursuers. Once out of the line of sight, use the statue emote. The wanted gauge should go blue, and once it’s gone, the trophy should pop. I will say, though, that you need to make sure you’re out of sight entirely from Albion and any drones that might be around. If you’re not, they will just continue to find and shoot you.

Beneath the Earth: Undertale (Review)

Undertale is a 2D top-down role-playing game that was released for Windows and OS X in September 2015, for Linux in July 2016, PS4 and PSVita in August 2017, Nintendo Switch in September 2018 and finally for Xbox One in March 2021.

In the game, you take control of the character of a young girl who has fallen down a hole and landed in a place called the Underground. This area is beneath the earth’s surface and is separated from the human realm by a magical barrier. The main character aims to get to this barrier and escape this underground realm and return to the human one. On your travels, you meet various monsters, some nice and some not so nice, that will want to fight you. You have the option to either fight back or perform other actions to eventually be able to either spare the monster or flee from it.

The combat system involves navigating a heart (your soul) through mini bullet-hell attacks (think space invaders). How you approach these monsters impacts the story as a whole and determines whether you’re doing a pacifist run (sparing all that you fight) or a genocide run (killing everything in your path).

So, Undertale, yeah, well.

I’d seen a fair bit about this game for a few years but had never gotten around to playing it. It’s only now that it has been put up on PS Now that I finally played it. And now I have, I’m not sure what to think.

First off, let’s talk about the graphics. Despite it being in old-school pixels, it looks pretty decent. Yes, some of the elements look like I’ve drawn them in Windows Paint, but I think that adds the charm. As much as some things look like this, there is plenty more that looks extremely well designed. The characters in both manner and appearance are unique and not something that you’d see anywhere else. At first, I thought it looked a bit sh!t, but as I played it, I grew to admire the design more and more.

Now, the story. Honestly, I don’t think I have any words to describe it, other than confusing. When you’re first thrown into the Underground, after being attacked by a sentient flower (yes, I did just say that), you meet a character named Toriel. Toriel seems nice enough to start with. She helps you through the first few puzzles and seems to genuinely care about you. But then you realise that she is trying to keep you there with her, and she doesn’t want you to escape. You quickly find out that many of the monsters below wish to stop you from reaching the magical barrier. As you go through the game, battling or sparing your foes, you meet talking skeletons, a weird scientist that looks across between a dinosaur and Lisa Simpson, a crazed knight and a killer robot. All of this adds to the confusion as you’re never quite sure who’s on your side and who to believe. Having gotten to the end of the game, I still don’t think I’m any the wiser of what the hell was going on…but I enjoyed the ride.

Confusing as the game is, the story drags you into it, and you find that you have a need to find out what’s going to happen next, and so you keep playing.

Undertale isn’t a long game – it took me around 3 hours to finish it – but you could easily spend longer as you talk to all of the characters and explore every inch of the Underground.

So having said all this, what are my thoughts on the game as a whole?

Well, it’s pretty good. I was a bit dubious about it, to begin with, and wasn’t sure I was A. going to play it, and B. enjoy it. But I’ve done both.

As always, for those of you that enjoy a trophy hunt, Undertale has pretty obtainable trophies, and if you’re on the PS4, you can get the platinum without even finishing the game! For the last trophy (reaching the second save point in the core) I will just say this…hang around and the path will open.

All in all, I think this game is really good. Of course, some elements could be improved – sometimes the combat is a bit confusing, some of the sprites could look a little better (namely, the main character that you control. But the story is great, and the music and sound are top-notch – even if the music is the kind that bores its way into your soul and will remain with you forever.

I’m going to give Undertale an 7/10, and I would recommend it, especially if you have a PSNow subscription. It’s well worth taking a bit of time to play through.

Another Friday Rolls Around

Damn, it’s been a hectic week.

I was at physio on Monday. It’s going quite well, and the physiotherapist is happy with my progress. However, he decided that the exercises that he had given me were now too easy, so he’s given me some harder ones and holy hell, are they harder. I struggle to do as many reps, but I can already feel them doing something. I’m hoping that this change means that I will soon no longer have to go to physio and that I will soon get my appointment to see the consultant and finally discuss surgery. Although the physio has helped me be more mobile, I’m still relying heavily on prescription painkillers, and I’d rather not have to take them for much longer. But I guess we’ll see.

Tuesday, I went over to my mum’s and spent the day with her, helping her to do some jobs around the house. Even though I’m not great at the minute, I still like to help her where I can. She’s not getting any younger, and I don’t like her struggling with things that I can do easily. It’s hard to think that my mum will be 70 next year. My brother and sister are useless, so I have to be the one that is there for her. I’m youngest; I should be the one that had disappeared into the ether. But yet, I’m the one holding the bag. I could rant all day about it, but I’ll leave it there.

Wednesday was spent doing the shopping and tidying up the house. I try to do as much as I can around the house, but I still hit a limit to what I can do much quicker at the moment than I ordinarily would do. The rest of the day, I spent playing Watch Dogs Legion.

Thursday, I spent writing this weeks blog – including this one. I don’t know what I did after that because I’ve not done it yet. I’ll probably play some more games that are review fodder, but I’ve not decided yet.

I’m hoping Friday will be a more relaxed day. But I’m not saying that too loud because if I do, something will happen to spoil it.

I’m still struggling some with my mental health, but the new medication is working, and I do feel a little better than I have been feeling over recent months. I know that this is all part of being bipolar, but it doesn’t make the ups and downs any easier to deal with. The medication can only do so much, and I still have to do a lot of work myself, but I’m getting there slowly.

I’m hoping that tomorrow I will be able to do some more streaming over on Twitch. Last Saturday, I did an epic run where I faced so truly odd enemies, but I kicked their ass to survive another day. I’ll stream around the same time (8 pm GMT), so if you’re free, why not join me.

That’s it for now. Have a good weekend!

It Takes Two (Review)

It Takes Two is a co-op adventure game that was released in March 2021 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. Like the publishers previous game, A Way Out (see my blog this game here), there is no single-player option and relies on either online or local split-screen co-op.

The story revolves around a married couple that are due to divorce. Their daughter Rose creates two dolls in her parents’ image and tries to repair their relationship by acting out actions with the dolls by using advice from a book about relationships – don’t ask why she has this. When Rose gets upset, tears fall on the dolls. This causes Cody and May – the parents – to get trapped within the dolls. When they wake up in their new bodies, they have to find a way to get to their real bodies by traversing their house and gardens, ably – if somewhat annoyingly at times – assisted by the now talking book on relationships – again, don’t ask why.

The levels consist of various sections of the house and gardens, where the pair of dolls have to fight their way through enemies – like, wasps plants and anthropomorphised toolboxes – and using the powers that they receive – like reversing time, a giant flaming sword, hosepipe and the ability to sing and break glass.

We loved A Way Out – it was a game that we took away on holiday with us – so we were really looking forward to the publishers next game. When It Takes Two was announced, and I saw the trailer, I thought it would be another great game that Alex and I could play together as there are precious few true co-op games for the current generations of consoles. We picked up our copy when it was on a weekly offer on the PlayStation store and jumped right into it.

Straight away, this was a very different game to A Way Out. The latter is a more realistic looking game, whereas the former is more cartoony in its style. However, this isn’t a bad thing as it does detract from the seriousness of the subject matter.

For the first level, you’re thrown into, you’re in the shed and have to traverse the environment to make it to Rose. You’re given powers that involve throwing nails into certain sections (Cody) and using a hammer head to swing on said nails to new areas of the level (May). Throughout the story, there are puzzles that you need to solve in order to progress. At times this can be very frustrating as you need to get the nails thrown into the correct section of a moving platform for May to swing across to another. The camera doesn’t help with this as it can be very touchy and difficult to control, and sometimes the view that you have means that you can’t really see what you’re doing. This only gets worse and more annoying as the game progresses.

Speaking of annoyance, I’m going to take a minute to mention the irritant that is the talking book. The book is meant to be the author taking its form and serve as a therapist to help Cody and May fix their relationship. What it does do, however, is bug the ever-loving sh!t out of you. It’s basically the book version of Lovelace from Happy Feet, and it gets even more annoying after you’ve spent your time trying to kill a box that was only difficult because the camera view was crap. The more he talks, the more you want to rip off its purple eyebrows and pull out of its pages.

The levels themselves and the bosses you face aren’t necessarily difficult, but sometimes the controls and camera mean that you die for unnecessary reasons, which just adds to your anger.

Throughout the levels there are multiple mini games that you can find. Most of these games are fairly simple, button-bashing affairs that allow you a break from the main game for a few minutes, but don’t serve to do much else- except help you with a trophy.

We managed to complete the game in a matter of a few days – this includes getting the platinum trophy. The platinum isn’t a tough one to get, but we did nearly scrap the idea of getting it when we had to face the damn Helltower in one of the levels. But after throwing the controller down a few times, we finally did it and carried on with the trophy hunt.

The controls aren’t the only thing that let this game down. The two main characters – Cody and May – aren’t especially likeable, and we found it hard to care about their relationship. By the time the game ended, we wanted the choice to select them to not get back together. In addition, the constant sniping and one-upmanship grated on us after the first level and having to go through the remaining levels with it just made us hate them even more.

Most of the levels are okay, but the garden level was our favourite. There was just something about it that made us enjoy it more than the others.

The graphics are pretty decent but aren’t enough to take your attention away from the games issues.

As it is, the game is alright. It’s nowhere near on the same level as A Way Out and was a bit of a disappointment coming off the back of this game. I just hope the publishers next game is better. I’m going to give the game a 5/10. It was okay but had so many issues that I can’t really rate it any higher.

I’d say if you want to test your real-life relationship, this is an excellent game to do it with.

If you’ve played this game, let me know what you thought of it.

Fallout Baking: Buffout Cookies (Recipe)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a recipe post so I wanted to do something a little different.

A while ago I bought Alex The Vault Dweller’s Official Cookbook, which contains numerous recipes based on things from the Fallout games series. We had a flip through and I decided to make one of the biscuits – Buffout ones specifically. All credit for this recipe goes to Victoria Rosenthal, it has just been adapted slightly by me.

The recipe in the book works with cups as measurements, but as I’m British and don’t work with that I’ve converted them to grams, which is why they may seem a little random – but they do work so don’t worry.

Ingredients:

  • 128g of unsalted butter
  • 64g icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon of almond extract
  • 192g plain flour
  • 64g almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 160°C
  • Combine butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl.

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  • Add vanilla and almond extract and mix.

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  • Add remaining ingredients and mix.

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  • Cover baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Take a tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball in your hands.
  • Gently press the ball down on the greaseproof to form a large disc. With a knife cross the top of the biscuit.

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  • Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Put in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until set or until top is crispy.
  • Allow cookies to cool.
  • Enjoy.

Our Buffout biscuits ended up less green than the ones in the book appear to be, but they tasted amazing.

If you give these a go yourself, let me know how they turn out and what you think of them.