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!

Going Around in Circles: Deathloop (Review)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Death Stranding: Delivering Packages with a Twist (Review)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once the download was done, we were in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

A Free Bundle of Fun: Astro’s Playroom (Review)

Astro’s Playroom is a 3D platformer that was released in November 2020 for the PS5 and comes free, pre-installed on the console at purchase and makes use of the PS5 DualSense controller and all of its new functions.

I’m a little late with my review of this one. Astro was the first game that we played when we got our PS5 a few months ago, but I’m only now getting around to writing about it.

Astro’s Playroom isn’t the first Astro game, but it was the first one that we played. We didn’t expect it to be free with the PS5, so that was a pleasant surprise right off the bat.

The game spans four worlds with several different levels in each. Two levels within each are regular platformers and two. You’re given a special suit that allows different actions, for example, a frog suit that has a spring allowing you to bounce to higher parts of the level or over obstacles. This suit for us was fun, not so much the suit itself, but the way that the DualSense controller feels and sounds when you’re using it; it’s just like a real spring would be. The resistance is also the same as an actual spring. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s a fun feature. Other levels put you inside a ball which you have to navigate down a track or -the bit I really enjoyed – on a pinball machine. There also a monkey suit that allows you climb walls – some bits with suit were a tad frustrating but still enjoyable.

Astro’s Playroom isn’t a hard game, although it does have a few challenging elements. Some of the collectibles are difficult to get, but with a little persistence and timing they are achievable.

Another fun thing about this game is that there are little scenes involving other robots that act out characters and bits from other games throughout all of the levels. It was great to find them and figure out which ones they were. They range from games like Ratchet and Clank to The Last of Us to Horizon: Zero Dawn. There are probably hundreds to see, and over the couple of playthroughs we did, we think we found and figured out most of them.

I’ve never been a lover of the 3D platform game. I grew up with side-scrollers and still prefer them, but some like the previously mentioned Ratchet and Clank and this game Astro’s Playroom – that I do enjoy.

It’s not just the gameplay that is excellent, but also the soundtrack. There are several different songs that we found ourselves singing by the end of the game, they were that catchy. One of them is also written on a wall in one of the levels (see the above central image.)

Now on to trophies.

The platinum for this game wasn’t a difficult one, and we managed to get it after just a couple of days of playing. There aren’t many challenging trophies, but there are some that you wouldn’t necessarily get if you weren’t looking for them, for example, gaining a large number of robot followers in the home world.

For a free game that we didn’t expect, we really enjoyed Astro’s Playroom. With the other two games that we got with our PS5 – one of them being Werewolf (you can find my scathing review here) – it was by far the best of the bunch and probably one that, despite having completed and gained the platinum for, we would go back and replay at some point. I’d say if you’ve got a PS5 and haven’t yet played this game, you need to go and do it as soon as possible.

I’m giving Astro’s Playroom a fantastic ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and two big thumbs up.

Oddworld: Soulstorm (Review)

Oddworld: Soulstorm is a platformer that was released in April 2021 on PC, PS4 and PS5. It is a sequel to Oddworld New ‘n’ Tasty, which was a remake of the original Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and re-imaging that games sequel Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus – Not confusing at all, right?

It’s set a few hours after its predecessor after Abe has rescued all of his fellow Mudokons from the evil owners of RuptureFarms and their plan to turn them into food.

I got a copy of Soulstorm as part of my PSPlus subscription and am playing it on the PS5.

Argh! F!ck. Damn it. Why’s he doing that? It’s a stupid game anyway – Just some of the things said whilst playing all of the games in this series. But despite all the stress and pain of playing them, I still enjoy them.

This game is a sequel to a remake and all that jazz; it pretty much has all the same play mechanics as its predecessors. However, it has one new mechanic, which is the ability to loot items from containers or enemies and craft other items that will help you along your journey. These take the form of different bottles, for example, ones that can create a smokescreen to allow you to pass by enemies unnoticed.

The Quarma system is still in the game, although it has been reworked to take into account not only the number of Mudokons that you’ve rescued but also the number of enemies that you’ve killed (so far, I’ve been doing more killing than rescuing.)

This game still allows you to possess enemies and control them, allowing you to use them to open doors, operate platforms or kill other Sligs – which is always fun.

The rescuing of Mudokons works similarly to the previous games, but they now mimic your every action, from running and sneaking to jumping, climbing and even hiding. This can be a bit of a pain as sometimes they can be a little slow to respond to actions, especially when you jump into a locker (yes, another game uses this same strategy to hide from people.)

From the first game on the original PlayStation, I’ve always enjoyed Oddworld games despite the fact that they drive me nuts sometimes. I enjoy the challenge of running or sneaking through the levels and finding new ways to dispatch with or get around enemies.

So far, I’m only a few levels into the game, and I’m really enjoying it so far. My Quarma is shockingly low as I spend most of my time possessing and then exploding Sligs – what? It’s pretty damn fun – and I’ve rescued maybe a third of the Mudokons that are in the levels – some got crushed or shot or electrocuted. Ah well, you can’t save them all.

I kept meaning to go back and finish New ‘n’ Tasty but never got around to it. This game is making me want to finally do it, and I think if I finish this one, New ‘n’ Tasty will be my next game – I know, I know, I’m playing them backwards, but who cares, really?

I would recommend Oddworld: Soulstorm for any fans of the original games or just platformers in general. You don’t see enough decent side-scrolling platformers around these days, so I’m all over this one. The only problem I have is that I’d much rather see a new Oddworld game than keep having remakes of previous ones. I’m going to give this game ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ as despite it being frustrating, it’s still a brilliant and well-done game. Go and play it!

In Rays of the Light: Weird but Oddly Good (Review)

First off, let me say that I’m switching up my posts this week and doing my gaming post today and writing on Wednesday. The reason for this slight schedule change is that – if you didn’t already know – my next book Blindsighted will be released on Wednesday, so I’ll be doing a special post all about that.

Now that’s out of the way, let me get back to why we’re here; In Rays of the Light.

In Rays of the Light is what has been termed a “First-person meditative quest” – which I would say sounds about right. It was released relatively recently on 21st March 2021 for PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and XBOX One.

You start the game in a room in front of a TV with static displayed on it and expected to figure something out – I’m still not sure what…

There is no tutorial that tells you what the controls are; you’re pretty much just left to figure it out for yourself. When leaving the starting room, you are left to explore an empty and overgrown building and its surrounding area. There are strange messages written on the walls throughout the building, which only serves to weird you out that little bit more.

Although at one point you pick up a piece of pipe and get yourself ready to bash something’s brains in, there is no combat. Nothing will jump out at you – although there are a couple of dramatic stings of music followed by flashes of shadows that I’ll admit made me jump.

You’re free to explore the areas, finding keys and other bits and pieces to help you solve puzzles and get to the end of the game. There are also several notes that you can pick up and read and, along with cutscenes that play out, tell you more of the story.

I don’t want to give too much away – mainly because I’m still not sure what happened – but the game concludes with some bizarre occurrences that might leave you scratching your head and asking, “What the hell was that all about?”

In Rays of the Light isn’t a huge game, and if you only play it through once, it probably won’t take you any longer than maybe 2 hours to complete it. If like me, you wanted to get the platinum, this requires a second playthrough, but that will only take around 30 minutes as you can pretty much just run through it, especially if you’re just played it through once.

We picked this game up for around £7, and honestly, it was worth the money – although I wouldn’t pay more for it. It’s a decent way to spend a couple of hours and, in the most part, is pretty relaxing – at least until the last third or so of the game.

I don’t think it will be a game that I go back to at any point as I’ve seen pretty much all it has to offer, and although I still had questions at the end of it, I feel like I had a rough idea of what the developers were trying to say. I’m going to give In Rays of the Light a ⭐️⭐️⭐️. It was alright for what it was, but there wasn’t much to it. I’d say if you want a little game that you can just run through (especially if you want to get an easy platinum), I’d say give it a go.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (Review)

**Possible spoilers ahead**

Final Fantasy VII is an RPG that was originally released in 1997 for the PlayStation. It’s the seventh full instalment of the Final Fantasy series that dates back to 1987 when Final Fantasy was released on the NES.

This instalment follows main character Cloud Strife, a mercenary employed by an eco-terrorist group named Avalanche to stop a world-controlling corporation from using the planet’s life essence as a power source for the city Midgar as well as other towns and locations throughout the game.

When this game was first released back in 1997, I remember my brother buying it and us spending hours playing it. This was possibly the biggest game I’d ever played up until that point, and I was drawn into the story from the very beginning.

In a previous blog, I stated that along with other games such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Skyrim, Final Fantasy VII is one of my most played and favourite games.

At the time of its release, FFVII was one of the most beautiful games I’d seen, and the cutscenes blew me away. I know, if you look at them now, they seem a little dated, but they still look pretty great.

Anyway, FFVII was recently remade into an even more epic and beautiful game.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (what an original title for a remake, eh?) was released back in 2020 and was a game that I couldn’t wait to play. However, I only recently bought a copy of it and got to play it for one reason or another.

During its pre and post-release, I did my best to avoid anything about it (other than the demo). I’d heard things like “it wasn’t the full game” or “the story had changed”, and I didn’t want anything to ruin my own experience of a game that I love being remade.

So a few weeks ago, I finally got a copy and started to play it. I’d previously played the demo, so I knew how the combat worked and what the first 30-40 minutes of gameplay would be like.

During this demo, I couldn’t help but compare it to the beginning of the original, and I was impressed with just how well it had been done. Yes, it changed certain aspects – like the combat mechanics going from random turn-based encounters to real-time – but I found these just brought the game into this new age. It did away with some of the original’s clunkiness and made it feel more streamlined and clean, and I was there for that.

The further you get into the game, you start to see other changes to the story; for example, side characters such as Biggs, Wedge and Jessie all get a more significant role, and you get to see more of the story in relation to these characters. I found this a great addition as it just added that little bit extra to the story.

The other thing that the remake has that the original didn’t is quests.

At certain parts of the game, you have a little bit more of a free-roam ability (in the original, when you were in Midgar, it was pretty linear.). This too, added that little bit more to the story, allowing you to find out more about certain characters and really feeling the plight of the citizens of Midgar’s slums.

If you were used to the original turn-based random encounters, the new combat system takes a little bit of getting used to. It all happens in real-time (aside from the pauses when you’re selecting an ability or spell), and this seems to make the battles feel a little faster and less clunky – there’s that word again… For me, the removal of the random encounters was a good thing. Back in the day, I would get really annoyed when – having just come out of a battle – you get thrust into a fight without time to heal up or sort your gear out. Over time, this system just wound me up and marred what otherwise would have been a perfect playing experience.

As far as main characters go, you’ve got the standard Cloud, Barret, Aerith and Tifa, but the thing that confuses me is when you get to the part of the game where you meet Red XIII, you can’t control him. Of course, he’s with you in battle, but as an uncontrollable AI character. I’m not sure why they made him this way, I for one, I was looking forward to controlling him as he was one of my favourite characters from the original. I just hope that when it comes to the other characters you meet along the way – Yuffie, Vincent, Cait Sith and Cid – that you get to add them to your team and play as them. I’ll be disappointed if not.

The magic system is very much the same. You pick up and equip materia to your weapons and accessories so you can use them in battle. One of the differences with the summons is that you only have the chance to use them in bigger battles and only when a bar that appears on screen has been filled. The big difference comes with the summons. In the original, the summons were a spell that was cast and did a single move doing a lot of damage. In the remake, though, the summoned entity joins you in the fight, and as well as doing automatic smaller attacks, you have the chance to perform extra attacks using the action via the ATB menu. Once the bar on screen has ticked down, the summon will leave the battle, but not before doing their main move for ample damage. I feel like this system does work, although, like other changes to the original, it takes a bit of getting used to.

I said at the start that it’s not the whole game, and that’s true. You play the game, up until the point where – on the original – you’d be asked to change discs, which kind of makes sense. Even though it’s not the full game, you still have hours and hours of gameplay, plus the ability to replay chapters should you want to.

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed Final Fantasy VII Remake. It does build on what was already an incredible game and provides you with more background to the characters and the ability to walk around and explore different areas. I’m interested to see what happens with part 2, whether they allow you to explore the map as in the original or whether it will be a bit more closed off. Either way, I look forward to how it’s done, especially when it introduces some of the higher level summons.

I have no option but to give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. It’s just brilliant, and despite only being a part of the game, it’s well worth it, and I honestly can’t wait for the next instalment. I highly recommend this game, whether you’re a fan of the original or not.