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.

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?

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?

Easy Platinums And The Games that Give Them

A few weeks ago when we were bored and thinking of new games to play. We looked up what games give the easiest platinum trophies for the PS4. We came across several easy (and cheap) games to play if you want to do a bit of trophy hunting.

My Name is Mayo 1 & 2

What can I say about these games? Well, you better make sure that your button bashing skills are up to it. These games are very simple in their premise; tap the jar of mayonnaise. That’s it. I know, who comes up these complicated games. It’s not all just tapping though, no, you can also select different ‘stories’ for the mayo. Sometimes it will be wearing a bikini, others it will have a moustache and sometimes it will be being licked by a giant tongue.

So how do you get the platinum I hear you cry. It’s simple. You tap the mayo 10,000 times. Okay, okay, so there’s a little more to it than that. At certain points in the games you need to select the stories. Each one has a trophy after a certain number of taps. Once you’ve done all these you should be up to the required taps.

What do you do after you’ve platinumed it, you ask? Delete it and never install it again. Unless you want a place on the leaderboard, but for that you’re going to need to spend some time getting possibly billions of taps. Is it really worth your time?

Slyde

Remember those puzzles as a kid where you had to move them around until you had a picture? Well that’s exactly what this game is. Only this time, other than the knowledge that you finished the puzzle, you get trophies to show that you did. No more running to mum and dad to show them what you did. Now you can just send them a link to your PlayStation trophies to show how you spend your time. Won’t they be proud?

This is one of the easiest platinum trophies I’ve ever seen. If you’re good with puzzles, it will take you less than 3 minutes to get another shiny imaginary trophy. You only need to solve a single puzzle within this time to get all the trophies to pop. There are even easy solutions to be found online that will tell you exactly what order to move the pieces in if you can’t be arsed to work it out for yourself.

Unless, you enjoy puzzles of pretty images, this game is yet another that will be deleted and never seen again.

Road Bustle

You know, Frogger, right? Well, this is Frogger but with a person. The premise is pretty much the same, get your character across roads and train tracks while avoiding cars and trains. Only unlike Frogger which has set levels, this game just goes on and on and on and it’s all about how far you can go.

Run for the platinum. All the trophies here are based off far you’ve run. You can pretty much avoid all roads and train tracks by running in a circle at your starting pot and get the trophies. It doesn’t require any skill and even if you want to run forward instead of round and round, you’ll still easily be able to avoid obstacles and get another platinum is around 15 minutes.

Another for the list.

Chickens on the Road

This game does exactly what the title suggests. There are chickens on the road. Although unlike the previous entry in our list, in this game you have to run them over – probably not a game for vegetarians. Once you’ve run over enough chickens (while avoiding the green ones) and racked up your whopping score of 1100, you’ll have the platinum. Honestly there isn’t much else to say about this game apart from again it will probably take you less than 15 minutes.

Snake Boat

Much like the movie Snakes on a Plane, except it’s on a boat and there’s no Samuel L. Jackson to entertain you. For this game you take control of a snake in a boat that propels it’s self with…it’s tail? It’s body? It’s arse? Well, whatever part of the snake it is, you use it to move yourself around some water avoid projectiles that come at you from the sides of the screen. This is another game where you can go around in circles and avoid what you need to while racking up points and trophies. One of the trophies requires you to play in a different mode, one where most of the screen is black so you’re not supposed to be able to see the projectiles – Spoiler Alert! You can see them.

Well that does it for the ones we played. I’m sure there are more out there that we may play at some point if we’re that level of bored again. Are there any that you’ve played that aren’t mentioned here? Also if you’ve played any of the above let me know what you thought.

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.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors: It Has Risen Again

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a run and gun game that was released for the SNES and Sega Megadrive/Genesis back in 1993.

In the game, you take control of one of two protagonists, Zeke, a 3D glasses-wearing boy, or Julie, a baseball cap-wearing girl, in order to rescue neighbors from hordes of zombies that want to eat their brains. To accomplish their mission, they have a variety of weapons that include but are not limited to; a water gun, soda can grenades, silverware and ice lollies, along with various power-ups such as health kits, clown doll decoys and potions that turn you into a big purple monster – because why not? As you traverse each level, you fight various enemies that range from the titular zombies, evil dolls, werewolves, chainsaw wielding madmen and even a giant baby – yes, a giant baby.

When this game was first released back in 1993, we got it for our SNES and even though I was only young at the time – 8 to be exact – I was hooked from the beginning. The cartoony graphics and the weird characters kept me playing. With this being a two-play co-op game, I played alongside my brother (I was always Julie…) and we did our best at fighting our way through the levels.

Each level is harder than the last, and even as early as level 4 or 5, the difficulty seemed to spike, and I just ended up dead more often than not. Even still, I loved this game. I would play often, and even though there were no save files back then and you relied on getting a passcode at certain points in the game, I would happily reply the same levels repeatedly because I enjoyed it so much.

When I rebought a SNES, Zombies was one of the first games that I knew that I had to have, and when it finally arrived, I spent hours playing. I still wasn’t great at it, but I had definitely improved since childhood – I was so happy to be playing it again.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been thinking about Zombies for a few weeks now and decided that I would write a blog about it and my love for it. When I was doing some research, however, I found out that at the end of June this year, it was re-released for the Switch and Xbox – it was supposed to be released for PS4 too, but I can’t find any trace of it, so I don’t know what happened there.

When I looked it up on the Nintendo store, I found that it was only just over £11, and it even came with its sequel, Ghoul Patrol ( I didn’t even know there was a sequel.) For that price, I wasn’t willing to hang around and bought it straight away. However, I relished the opportunity to play it on a modern console.

It took me a day or so to finally sit down and play it, but when I did, all of those memories were there once again.

Now, this re-release isn’t a remaster. Nothing has been done to the game save adapting it for the generation of consoles. The display is still 4:3, but to fill the gap at the edges of the screen, you get a border very similar to the ones that you get on any of the mini consoles. This doesn’t detract from the game – I guess it’s just there to fill up some empty space. One change, though, is that you now have the ability to save your progress on exit. This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean you can save at any time and pick up where you left off if you die. If you lose all your lives, you’re straight back to the beginning. You still have to rely on the passcodes given after certain stages. But, this – as in the original – comes with a cost as if you use a code, you start on that level with only your base water gun, so this may make some of the later levels nigh on impossible, so it’s probably easier to go back to the start.

The game is just as difficult as its original version. There are no different difficulty settings; you either play it as is or not at all. So far, I’ve only made it to the Big Baby level – you know the one I mean – but when I restart, I’m already blasting through the earlier levels quicker than I ever have. Could the difficulty of the levels have been altered? Yes. Should it have been? Absolutely not. The game is perfect the way it is, and part of that is the challenge of it.

Now onto Ghoul Patrol. This was released in 1994 only a year after Zombies for the SNES.

I’m not as familiar with this title as I am with its predecessor as I didn’t even know it existed until getting this new bundle, so I went into it with an open mind, and my first impressions weren’t great.

So, you play as the same characters as in Zombies, but they appear to be slightly older. The game’s main premise seems to be exactly the same, traverse levels, save people, and kill bad guys. There have been some new additions, though, that just don’t seem to work very well. For example, you now have the ability to jump and slide, this comes into play in some platformy bits of levels, but all just feel very clunky.

The art style is very similar to the first game, just maybe a little more cartoony; this also doesn’t really work. To me, everything seems bigger and more exaggerated and just isn’t conducive to play.

I’ll admit I’ve not given Ghoul Patrol a lot of time to impress me, and I will have to play it some more to be able to give a proper opinion on it, but first impressions do matter.

Overall this sequel feels like half an idea that was finished – so, does that make a quarter of an idea? Maybe. I don’t know. But I digress.

Zombies will always have a place in my heart, and I think it will be one that I will go back to time and time again; this probably won’t be true with its sequel.

But having said all this, getting both games for less than £12 and the ability to play it on a large flat – non CRT – screen on new hardware is well worth it. So if you were a fan of the original or if you just like the sound of it, I’d say give this re-release a go.

That’s it for now; I’m off to try and take down that damn giant baby.

Fallout 4 and it’s Platinum Trophy: A Guide

Fallout 4 is an action role-playing game that was released in November 2015 for PC, Xbox One and PS4. It’s the fourth main game in the Fallout series. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic Boston and Massachusetts region known as The Commonwealth.

The main story takes place in 2287, ten years after the events of Fallout 3 and 210 years after The Great War. You take control of a sole survivor who has been cryogenically frozen in an underground shelter called a Vault. The character has witnessed the death of their partner and the kidnapping of their son and goes on a mission to find him when they venture out of the vault.

Personally, I have loved the Fallout series of games for years, all the way to the turn-based isometric original on the PC. The worlds and characters that are crafted draw you into the story and let you live the apocalypse.

Fallout 4 expands on its predecessor by adding a crafting element. You can collect all sorts of junk on your travels around The Commonwealth, take it back to settlements that you set up and craft items to improve the living conditions of other survivors. The settlements vary in size, from the large starting one named Sanctuary to the smaller Hangman’s Alley. Each has its own challenges to overcome, be it space to build, or raider and super mutant attacks. This crafting element adds just that little bit more detail to your environment and makes your actions feel more like they have a purpose.

I got Fallout 4 when it first came out on the Xbox One, but I have also since repurchased it for the PS4. I’ve lost track of how many hours I’ve put into it, whether building up my settlements, exploring the map or trophy hunting. It’s a massive game that you can get lost in and easily spend hours playing.

This brings me to what I want to talk about in this blog; trophies and hunting that elusive platinum.

Over the past week or so, we’ve been working hard trying to get Alex the platinum trophy for Fallout 4. I managed to get it on my account a few months ago, so you’d think that getting it again wouldn’t be an issue…well, you’d be wrong.

For the most part, the trophies are pretty straightforward; you’ll get many of them for simply playing the game and completing quests. I’ll go into some of the more difficult or confusing ones here.

Some trophies require different playthroughs – at least from a certain save point. This is because you have the option to choose from one of three factions and get different endings. If you want to get the trophies for all you need to make a separate save at a particular point in the game – I chose to do this before undertaking the “Battle for Bunker Hill” quest. If you save at this point, you don’t have to replay the entire game to get the different endings. It’s a good spot to diverge into the various factions as not long after it you’ll end up pissing off the other factions to the one you chose and losing the ability to use their resources or complete their quests.

Once we finished the main game, it was time to do a mop-up of other trophies. For example, to get the two – yes, two – bobblehead trophies, you have to wander around the map – probably to places you’ve already been but weren’t paying attention – to pick up each one.

Each bobblehead gives a boost to a stat too, so it’s well worth grabbing them when you see them, even if you don’t care about the trophies. I used a great guide from game-maps.com to find the ones that I had missed. It shows you where they are on the maps with a brief description of its location within the given area – it’s really easy to follow.

The next trophy I’m going to talk about is called The Harder They Fall, where you have to kill five giant creatures, i.e. Mirelurk Queens and Super Mutant Behemoths. To get this trophy, you need to fight said creatures and get the last hit on them. If you’re with a companion and they get the final blow, it won’t count. Below are the locations of 5 of these big nasties;

  • Swan is a unique Super Mutant Behemoth found at Swan’s Pond in Boston Common.
  • A Behemoth can be found south of Walden Pond at a location where cars are stacked on top of one another like some kind of druid meeting place.
  • A Mirelurk Queen is killed as part of the Taking Independence quest at The Castle.
  • A  Behemoth can be found outside of Fort Strong.
  • A Mirelurk Queen can be found to the west of Salem, northwest of the Museum of Witchcraft.

Next up, it’s Mercenary. This quest involves completing 50 miscellaneous quests. These are quests that appear under the miscellaneous heading in your Pipboy quest list. Below I’ll list a few of them which you may miss.

  • In Diamond City, next to the shop on the end is a “Wanted” board. You can get several quests from this, all of which will be classed as miscellaneous.
  • If you visit the Atom Cats Garage on the east coast of The Commonwealth, they will give you several quests; again, all are classed as miscellaneous.
  • If you visit Bunker Hill, Joe Savoldi, Deb and Kessler, they will each give you a quest.
  • In the Third Rail in Goodneighbour, Whitechapel Charlie will give you a mission to clear out some warehouses.

Now comes the biggest pain in the butt trophy to get in Fallout 4; Benevolent Leader. There are a load of guides out there that work for some people and not others. I’m going to go through what worked on our last playthrough as what I did to get it on my account didn’t work on Alex’s.

First off, you want to get your settlement up to what’s considered “large”. This means that you need to build and build in your chosen settlement – in our case, this was Sanctuary – until the bar in the top right of the screen fills and turns yellow.

Second, make sure you’ve got enough settlers there that you can assign wherever needed. In our case, it was the more, the better. I think we had around 24 when the trophy popped. If you’re not getting new settlers, make sure you send any companions that might be present to other settlements. To get them quicker, visit other populated settlements and tell them to go where you need them.

Third, build the last stage of the Clinic storefronts – you’ll need the perks Local Leader level 2 and Medic level 1 to be able to place these. These increase happiness as long as someone is assigned to them. So build and assign as many as you can. Of course, you have to make sure that you’ve still got some people working on food production. If not, this will cause your happiness level to drop. This will make all your hard work on creating a kickass settlement for nothing, but it seems to be the only sure-fire way to raise happiness enough for the trophy.

Fourth, get into a pattern of sleeping and ringing the bell that gathers everyone around you. From around 80% happiness, you want to make sure that you never stray far from your settlement. Ringing the bell is a good way to get everyone to gather around you and bask in your benevolent glow. We did this for around an hour or so for the final few happiness points.

That should hopefully be it. As I said, this method is just what worked for us. This is a good starting point to give you an idea, but you might have to tailor it slightly to make it make for you.

Hopefully, Benevelont Leader is the last trophy you need to make that platinum pop.

All I can say now is good luck, and happy (trophy) hunting.