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?

Watch Dogs Legion (Review and Trophy Guide)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meta Gaming:

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

You Don’t See Me:

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

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

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

Beneath the Earth: Undertale (Review)

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

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

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

So, Undertale, yeah, well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Star Wars: Squadrons (Review)

Star Wars: Squadrons is a space combat game set in the Star Wars universe. It was released in October 2020 for PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4. It was made available for free as part of a PSPlus subscription in June 2021.

Set after the events of Return of the Jedi (the one with the Ewoks), the main story campaign follows a New Republic fighter pilot and a Galactic Empire pilot alternately as they get involved in the New Republics new secret project. Of course, one wants it to succeed, the other to fail – reasonably standard, right?

Squadrons follows in the footsteps of some epic starship battle games, the likes of Tie Fighter – a PC game from back in the 90’s, which I spent many an hour failing to complete – and more recently to the Rogue Squadron – unique title, eh? – games that were around in the late 90’s early 00’s. I didn’t play any of the latter, as I was so bad at the old ones, I didn’t really fancy giving the newer ones a go.

For this reason, I knew that Squadrons wasn’t going to be something that I would pick up as soon as it came out, or probably ever really. But as it was on PSPlus this month, I figured I would give it a go.

You start the game by creating a semi-custom character for each side of the fight. I say “semi” because you only have a limited number of things you can do. It’s not as detailed as games like Mass Effect, but for a first-person game that you don’t spend the majority of your time looking at your character, you can argue it doesn’t need to be.

After character selection, you’re thrown into the prologue level as your Galactic Empire character. This level serves – like in most games these days – as the tutorial level. It helps you get to grips with the flying of a Tie-Fighter in a fight that you would be hardpressed to lose – spoiler alert; I died a couple of times. This level also serves to set up the game and introduce the new characters that you will interact with throughout the campaign.

Once you’ve fought your way through this, you’re into the game proper as your New Republic pilot. The levels generally consist of flying around, blowing your enemy out of the sky and trying to protect various assets to your fleet. On the Empire side of the coin, you spend your time trying to attack these assets, and yep, you guessed it, trying to blow your enemy out of the sky.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to this game. I know some people will enjoy the continuation of the Star Wars franchise and story and will probably love the multiplayer angle. Still, there just wasn’t enough to hold my attention – and that’s not just because I wasn’t very good at it…I did get better.

I’ve enjoyed past Star Wars games, and I’m a fan of the franchise, but this game was more of a miss than some previous entries. I feel like the game makers spent more time trying to make multiplayer work than they did on the story of the solo campaign, which is a shame.

This game had the potential to be really good, and although I freely admit that it’s not something I would drift towards often, I would play it occasionally if it had some replayability – I just don’t feel it has this. It’s a good looking game, the graphics are incredible, and the character detail is first-rate, but this just isn’t enough to make me want to play it any more than I already have for this review. In addition, the story feels like a rehash of something that’s been told many times over in the Star Wars universe and so doesn’t really add anything unique to the player experience or universe lore.

I’m going to give Star Wars: Squadrons a mid-range 6/10. I wouldn’t say avoid it, but there are far better games out there to spend your money on.

Zombies Everywhere! – State of Decay 2 (Review)

State of Decay 2 is an open-world zombie survival game. It’s the sequel to State of Decay (No kidding, eh?) by Undead Labs and it was released in May 2018 for XBox One. It’s also had a rerelease for Xbox Series X/S in December 2020.

State of Decay was a game that looked interesting from the get go and was definitely something I wanted to play. I bought the first game after finding it on the XBox store at a cheap price and thought, “Why the hell not?” I was hooked from the start. So when a sequel was announced, I knew that I had to play it. It wasn’t a game that I left for a while, I pre-ordered it as I wanted to play it as soon as I could.

The main base of the game remains the same as the first game, in that you control survivors of a zombie apocalypse and you have to build a settlement by scavenging items from nearby locations. As with the first game, the fear of imminent death is constantly with you as if one of your characters dies, that’s it, they ain’t coming back. There is no manual save or load. Your actions really do matter.

The game takes place away from Trumbull Valley (the location of the first game) and allows you to pick from four different locations to settle. Each location has it’s ups and downs. For example, one may be heavily built up and put you in an area with a tonne of locations to easily scavenge, and another will put you in a sparser location with bigger areas of empty space.

The mechanics to SoD2 are pretty similar to the first game but with a few notable differences.

First the similarities;

  • You control one characters at a time and can enlist one other to follow.
  • You spend your time scavenging for resources to build your community.
  • There are zombies to fight. A lot of zombies. That range from normal ones, to ferals (fast and grabby), juggernauts (big and smashy), bloaters (fat and explody), screamers (thin and noisy)
  • You have free reign over the open-world map.
  • You can add survivors you find in the world to your community. Each character has different skills that will help you survive and upgrade your base.
  • You can establish outposts (a location separate to your main settlement that allows you to drop off/pick-up items)
  • Zombies are attracted by noise.
  • If a character dies, they die (just like real life.)
  • Infestations in buildings occur and you have to wipe them out to make the area a bit safer.

The differences;

  • When you set up an outpost you’re no longer able to set traps around it.
  • You can no longer board up the windows in houses your looting.
  • There are now a new type of zombie – blood plague zombies. These will infect you with a virus that if left untreated will eventually kill your character.
  • Along with the blood plague zombies there are what’s called “Plague Hearts.” These are kind of nests in certain buildings that you have to destroy in order to complete the game’s story. These locations are similar to the infestations, but they will be full of (and attract more) blood plague zombies.
  • You can no longer assign other characters to loot locations while your controlled characters are doing whatever you’re making them do.
  • There’s now a “Stuck” radio call that you can use if you end up stuck or trapped in a certain place (this would happen a lot in the first game and it was hard to get your character out, so this was a welcome addition.)
  • You now need to manually fuel and repair your vehicles – in the first game they would repair overnight if placed at your base and the fuel was infinite. This adds a whole new level to the game and makes you think about your journeys more carefully.. 

Some of the things that were in the first game but not the second I kind of miss – like the getting your other characters working while you’re out. That was really useful for gathering things quicker. But there’s nothing that lets the game down. It just takes a bit of getting used to the changes.

But with the good, there’s of course, the bad.

This game can be glitchy as f!ck. The first game was pretty glitchy but you could forgive it as it was made by a small studio that seemed to be just starting out. But this game at times is ridiculous. You can go a while without anything happening and then your vehicle will hit invisible rocks, or flip for no reason, your characters might fall through the floor or get stuck in between more invisible rocks, or the game might just crash when saving meaning you have to close it completely and restart it. So far in the many hours that we’ve played this game, there haven’t been any game breaking bugs. Even the game crash allows you to restart the game in the same place as it died. If nothing else, the bugs are mildly irritating.

I’ve lost count of how many hours we’ve played and how many times we’ve played through the game. It’s just a game that no matter how many times you play it, it’s always a challenge because you don’t know what’s going to be thrown at you next.

State of Decay 2 also has a number or DLCs that have been added – for free – to the base game allowing you to play without any extra costs. I think this is a great addition, especially these days when some DLCs cost as much as the main game and only give you an extra hour of play time. I’ll go into more detail about the Heartland DLC – that sees your return to Trumbull Valley– in next week’s blog because it’s a game in itself.

I’ll leave this review with my rating. This game has it’s issues, but overall it’s a really enjoyable game. I feel like I can’t give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ because it is very glitchy. I’m going to change my rating system to a larger scale because I think this game deserves to be higher on the scale. I’m going to give it 8/10. It’s a solid game, with it’s issues. I just hope the third game – which is currently in development – adds to the story and irons out some of the bugs. I’d recommend it to anyone that enjoys zombies or looting and pillaging.

Let Nostalgia Commence: Streets of Rage 4 (Review)

Streets of Rage 4 is a side-scrolling beat ’em up and continues the Streets of Rage storyline from the previous games – particularly the one from the Japanese version of SoR3 (titled Bare Knuckle 3). It was released in April 2020 on XBox One, PS4, Switch and PC.

This game picks up 10 years after the ending of SoR3 and follows original characters Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding and Adam Hunter. Joining these characters are Adam’s daughter Cherry and a cybernetically enhanced bloke named Floyd Iraia.

The story follows these characters as they fight against their old enemy, Mr X‘s children – the Y twins (yes, I know original names but hey, what are you gonna do?)

The main game is split up into multiple different levels which consist of battling through waves of enemies until you reach a mini boss at the end – if you’ve played the previous games, this won’t be anything new to you.

This was another game that as soon as it was announced I knew I had to play it, but it was yet another that fell by the wayside in favour of others. But, this month it became available on PSNow so I had to finally play it.

Personally I loved the original Streets of Rage games. I was never especially brilliant at them, but that didn’t stop me from dying repeatedly and always going back for more.

The combat in this sequel is very similar to the previous games. It consists (for me anyway) of button bashing to punch, kick and throw the onslaught of enemies. One addition to this game though is that you have several special moves. Although these moves use a portion of your health, you do have the chance to recover what you lose by successfully landing combos. I was happy to see the weapons are still there. There are a range to choose from, some dropped by enemies and some just in certain sections of the level. These include but aren’t limited to; knives, metal pipes, baseball bats, bottles and a golden chicken…yes, a golden chicken can be used as weapon. Along with these are several power-up pick-ups including apples, money bags and I’m happy to say the roasted chicken is back too.

The look of SoR4 is different to the other three games in that it’s all hand drawn rather than pixelated. This change doesn’t detract from you knowing that you’re playing a Streets of Rage game and this new style works really well with this kind of game. The music, as always, is top notch and definitely reminds of the original games, it’s not your usual repetitive noise that you sometimes get in side-scrolling games of this ilk. There’s even a way to play the original games’ music instead which is kind of awesome.

The main story mode is fairly short. I’ve only been playing it a day and have finished it. But, you have the replayability of going through it with the other characters or co-op with a friend or online player. And, of course, if you’re looking for trophies and need the extra incentive, there are ample up for grabs obtainable through your multiple playthroughs..

Simply put, I love this game. Not just for the nostalgia factor, but because games like this are a rarity these days. I only wish I could play it on a proper arcade cabinet like in the good ol’ days – I miss arcades…Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes. This game is brilliant, the art style, the music, the mechanics, there’s nothing not to love about this title and you should definitely play it, especially if you’re a fan of the originals. This game makes me want to find the originals and replay those too.

Streets of Rage 4 is a solid ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ in my book and one I will definitely be going back to. And if it disappeared from PSNow tomorrow, I would buy a copy. I intend on putting a lot of time into this game as I did the older games.

I will leave you with these words. Go and play it now!