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.

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.

Mass Effect Andromeda (Review)

Mass Effect Andromeda is a space action role-playing game that was released in March 2017 for Windows, PS4 and Xbox One. It’s the fourth entry in the acclaimed Mass Effect series and is the first to focus on a new protagonist in a new galaxy. You take on the role of Ryder and have the choice of playing as either the male or female of the two siblings. Both are inexperienced recruits of an organisation named “The Initiative”, whose goal is to populate new worlds in this new galaxy.

The game is set between the events of Mass Effect 2 and 3 as the four council races – human, turian, salarian and Asari – plus the quarians send 20,000 citizens in what are termed “Arks” on a one-way journey to the Andromeda galaxy to explore and populate new worlds.

Through events that take place at the start of the game, your Ryder becomes a Pathfinder. A Pathfinder is a leader of sorts that leads a squad of military-trained explorers through the galaxy. They are trained in combat, survival and diplomacy. You have to lead your team through new worlds, against new enemies and establishing new colonies on alien planets.

Mass Effect is one of my favourite game series. It’s an epic series that gives you complete control over how you play. The first three games in the series told the story of Shephard, who you follow through to a massive conclusion. This new addition to the series had a lot to live up to, and it had a hard act to follow.

Of course, with this being a favourite series of mine when a new game was announced, I couldn’t wait to get into it. It seemed like a long road, filled with very little information and delays, but as soon as I could preorder it, I did.

When it arrived, I dove straight in. I wanted to know what the story could be after the massive events of the third game. But as much as I wanted to play it, I just couldn’t get into it.

I don’t know what it was, whether it was because it was a new character or whether I just didn’t like the start of the story, but I spent a few hours playing and then just sort of gave up. Theirs is a lot going on in this game. It has a much larger open world than any of the previous games. There were new elements like the strike teams – teams that you send on missions for rewards that can also be played using multiplayer. There were new puzzles that I to solve – sudoku like puzzles that allow you to unlock technology on planets that make them more habitable (when aliens came across sudoku, I’ll never know.) It was all just overwhelming, and I didn’t feel any connection to any of the characters. First off, the main protagonist isn’t particularly likeable, and of course, you’ve not got any of the same characters you spent years getting close to in the previous games.

Recently though after playing through the original trilogy’s legendary remaster, I’ve restarted it and have actually now got the hang of it and am really enjoying it. There is a lot to it, and it is still overwhelming in parts, but I’ve just been methodically going through the list of quests and tasks and doing them in order rather than going all over the place to explore, and I’m finding this much better.

I still don’t feel like I have much of a connection to Ryder, but the other characters like Drax, Vetra and Peebee, I’m starting to like and enjoy having them around.

Once I got into it, the story is really enjoyable, and I am finding myself getting more engrossed in it, but like the rest of the game, there is a lot going on.

The graphics are amazing, and the difference between the worlds that you visit is amazing and variable. Each one has its quirks, whether being too cold, too hot (or just right) and having all sorts of different flora and fauna. There is a lot to explore on each planet and all kinds of hazards that you have to fight your way through or around.

Without a war going on in the background – as there is in the original trilogy – this game feels altogether lighter, and there is more humour peppered throughout, which does an excellent job of lightening the mood at times.

Mass Effect Andromeda is a good game, even if it does take some getting into. I would recommend to anyone that is a fan of the original trilogy to give it a go, but I would say to change your expectations. Although it’s a similar game, it’s still very different. I’m going to give it 7/10. I’m yet to finish the game and still have a long way to go, but what I have played is promising, and I feel like I will actually get to the end of it this time. Please give it a go yourself and let me know what you think.

Two Point Hospital (Review)

Two Point Hospital is a hospital simulation game that was released in August 2018 for PC and Mac and February 2020 for PS4, Xbox One and Switch. It is a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital by Bullfrog and even has some of the same developers. Throughout the game, players are tasked with building, operating, and maintaining a selection of different hospitals in the fictional Two Point County. In addition, you have the goal of curing fictitious comical illnesses such as animal magnetism, cubism, eye candy, jest infection and pandemic to progress through each hospital.

When this game was announced, I knew that I would have to play it. It looked almost identical to Theme Hospital – if with improved graphics – and because I spent so many hours playing that game, I just had to play Two Point.

Two Point has the same tongue in cheek humour as its predecessor and does its best to satirise the entire hospital experience. I mean, no one likes going to the hospital, so having so many humourous illnesses that poke fun at the real world is never a bad thing.

When you start the game, and you’re put in charge of your first hospital, everything seems so simple. You’ve only got a handful of illnesses to cure, and you only have to build a few rooms, like GP’s Offices and pharmacies. Still, as you progress through the levels, things get decidedly more complicated. You have to deal with more patients with a wider variety of problems, which means you have to build more rooms, ranging from psychiatry to x-ray to all the different machines to cure the ailments.

But that’s not all. As well as managing and curing your patients, you also have to maintain your hospital. This not only means hiring janitors to clean up and fix your various machines but also hiring/firing doctors and nurses, putting your staff through training, promoting them when necessary and making sure that they’re all happy lest they quit. You also need to make sure that you’ve got enough staff available so that when some tire and require breaks, you have others there to fill in for them. Sometimes this may mean that you end up with more doctors than you necessarily need at any given time just so you have them when you need them, which may mean you’re paying more for salary than you might need to and therefore end up spending more money than you have. It’s all a juggling act to make sure that your hospital runs as efficiently as possible.

Two Point Hospital is fun and challenging and, at times, infuriatingly so. There are so many times when you feel like you’re doing everything right. Still, for whatever reason, patients start to die (and haunt the hospital), you run out of money, or your reputation tanks, so you end up not getting as many visitors as you need to keep afloat. To see how you’re doing, at the end of each game year, you have the chance to win a selection of different awards such as Doctor of the year and the no death award, these serve to increase your hospitals reputation and also come with cash bonuses that can help you at difficult times.

I spent hours playing Theme Hospital back in the day, and although I haven’t played Two Point anywhere near as much, I feel like it wouldn’t take a lot for me to get hooked and while away hours in-game running my hospitals into the ground. There’s enough to this game to keep you coming back for more, and even if you play the same hospital multiple times, it’s always different. For example, you get the same illnesses but not in the same ratio. Also, things like the random VIP visits or emergency patients you have to treat in a specific time period come at different times, so you’re never truly prepared for them to happen.

There is so much to this game and so many different ways to play it that it never gets tiresome. If you enjoyed Theme Hospital or even just simulation games in general, I think this is a game that you will enjoy. I love both, and Two Point will be a game that, much like Theme Hospital, I will come back to time and time again. However, unlike some games in the genre, it’s not too tricky, and although it eases you in gently with the first levels, there isn’t the sudden spike in difficulty that you can experience in some simulation games.

I’ve played the game on both PC and PS4, and even though the controls are different on console with having to use a controller over a mouse, I haven’t experienced any glaring issues, and the port works just as well as the PC version.

I would recommend this game to any fan of the genre and I’m going to give it an excellent 9/10.

If you’d like to see the game in action before you pick up a copy for yourself, you can check out a stream that I did the other day over on Twitch.