Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4): COMPLETED!

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150927215726Just a few hours into Batman: Arkham Knight, you’re tasked with taking the Batmobile up onto a roof and effectively making it jump from roof to roof to reach an electrical panel or something. It’s utterly ridiculous, and is not what you’d expect the Batmobile, what with it being a car and everything, is for. This did not bode well for the rest of the game.

Thankfully for all concerned, that was it. Sure, there were a few car-based acrobatics later on, but those – such as lowering it down the wall of a giant fan shaft – seemed to fit. By that point in the story, a lot of things had happened that just made you accept the things the Goddamn Batmobile does. That, and it’s a tank that scurries around like a spider. Oh yes.

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150914223231Gritty and weighty like previous Arkham games, but bigger in scope than the rest put together, going into Arkham Knight was a torn experience. As great as Arkham City was, it was too big, too dispersed and less focussed than Arkham Asylum. The core was the same, but fragmented over a wide area. More Batman, on a current gen console especially, was something to look forward too. The nagging doubt it would be spread even more thinly was a worry. Do you remember how many times you visited the same damn steelworks before, despite having a massive city to play in? Aside from Riddler trophies, much of Arkham City was empty. Not so here, which was a relief.

In common with past Bat-outings, the story progresses through set pieces: detective sections, brawls, predator takedowns, boss ba…oh wait. No boss battles? Perhaps Rocksteady realised those in City were almost universally rubbish and ditched them. You still have to confront and defeat major foes, but by other means instead. It actually works well and you don’t miss them.

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As you work towards taking down the Arkham Knight himself (finding his true identity along the way – I’d guessed very early, but there is a massive signpost if you hadn’t before I did) and Scarecrow, the usual Batman events I’ve mentioned pop up. In addition there are now tank battles. The Batmobile, impossibly, is used to take out the Knight’s army of drones, rocket launchers, cannons, helicopters and what appear to be mechs. Of course it is. Surprisingly, these battles are actually a lot of fun, and there’s an entire side quest devoted solely to them. In fact, almost every one-off task in the main game has a side quest full of that sort of event. Take down a watchtower (Assassin’s Creed Borgia style), and there’s a load more if you want. Like detective work? Why not find out why a load of bodies are literally hanging around Gotham. And so on.

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150912211226These seemingly optional side quests, however, are not. In all, there are 14 or so of them, with many terminating in the capture of a major Batman foe (Penguin, Two-Face, etc.). Once you’ve finished the main story in the game, it turns out you haven’t actually finished the main story at all – you have to complete at least 7 of these “optional” questlines to do that. It felt a bit of a cop-out, frankly. They’re mostly fun to do of course, some more than others, but it was disappointing to finally overcome Scarecrow only to be unable to finish the game because some lesser crimes haven’t been resolved.

That’s the structure of the game, but how does it actually play? Gloriously. The combat is meaty. The driving is a welcome addition. Wiping out an entire room of armed guards without a single one spotting you is a fantastic as it ever was. Soaring over the city is never less than stunning. Batman’s array of gadgets are a joy to wield and integrating his car into some of the combat is a masterstroke. Gotham feels so much more alive than in previous Arkham titles, with something happening on every corner and car chases going on all the time – which you can assist in, should you choose.

It must also be said that the voice acting is fantastic, especially Mark Hamill as The Joker: Yes, that’s a spoiler. No, Joker is still dead. Yes, that is confusing. There’s a scene where Mr J does his karaoke routine which is hilarious and grim in a way only Mr J can be. The game is so, so, Batman. Even with Alfred’s “Gordon’s alive?!” quote.

Being so, so Batman in every way does mean that Batman’s allies are pretty sidelined. Robin is constantly told to stay out of it and Batman reluctantly lets Nightwing actually do something as long as it’s nothing to do with the main story. Oracle is central to the plot, but Catwoman is now tucked away in a Riddler sub-story. Scarecrow is playing on Batman’s only fear – that revealing his identity will hurt his “family”, but in trying to protect his friends Bruce is only getting them in more trouble. Silly Bruce. Much of the game would have been avoided if he’d accepted help when offered. Still, that’s Batman for you.

With the story complete and enough side quests mopped up to see the ending, there was a little sadness. Rocksteady have already said this is their last Batman game, and as the end credit roll the montage of moments from all three Arkham games (Rocksteady don’t consider Origins or Blackgate canon it seems) retell the trilogy. It’s been a long road, but that’s it. No more Batman to look forward to from that corner, and it’s hard to see how any other Batman game can be as Goddamn Batman as Arkham Knight was. Arkham Asylum was purer, but Knight was truly an epic sendoff.

Xeodrifter (PS4): COMPLETED!

Mutant_Mudds_reference__t__PS4share_httpt.copnYlVFN4rPYou can clearly see Mutant Mudds’ DNA in Xeodrifter. Similar chunky pixel graphics, the same feel in terms of physics, plane shifting, 8-bit music and similar looking baddies. But it’s not a sequel, ditching fantasy mud monsters and platforming for Metroid inspired planet exploration with Metroidvania style progression through ability unlocks.

_t__PS4share_httpt.coryA6YTdcJ0As you flit to and from four different planets in search of your damaged ship’s warp core, you pick up health and weapon boosts, improving your stats and making progress easier. You can reach deeper into the planets’ caverns by beating bosses, which provide you with new abilities – running across lava, turning into a submersible, swapping between the fore- and background planes, and so on.

_t__PS4share_httpt.coW88dty5bMLIt’s excellent and fun, and like many of these sorts of games, becoming a walking tank later on and taking down what used to be virtually impossible baddies with just a couple of shots is always enjoyable. It’s compact, and even though there’s a lot of backtracking, it’s never a chore; in part due to unlocked powers granting shortcuts. I’d read in many places that Xeodrifter was really tricky, but I didn’t find that at all. A couple of bosses were hard, but since they were all virtually the same with an extra move each time you met them, even the toughest was a walkover once I’d learned the patterns.

In fact, the only real downer of the game is the cloned bosses. They are literally just palette changes with one extra move each. Since you become more and more powerful as you progress, they generally get easier too – not harder – with the final few taking one or two attempts, whereas earlier ones took 10+ tries. Despite this, Xeodrifter comes highly recommended for anyone who fancies a short but great looking pixelly Metroid type explorey game. Nice.

Warning: video shows game played from start to finish, so contains spoilers!

The Stanley Parable (PC): COMPLETED!

2015-09-27_00005I don’t know what the one true ending is. I don’t know if that’s the one I reached. I reached many endings, most of which involved the death of poor Stanley, but one, the final one shown in my spoiler-filled video, seemed to be “the end”. I found the credits at least, anyway.

2015-09-27_00011To describe the game gives too much away. What I will say, is that it is genuinely hilarious, as the narrator tries to tell you what to do and when you veer from his path, the berating is priceless. My favourite moment was finding the broom cupboard (about 7 minutes in on my video), and refusing to leave. When I finally did leave, I returned later to be berated again, and a third attempt presented a boarded up door. Excellent.

Caution: Video contains many spoilers.

Picross e6 (3DS): COMPLETED!

WVW69ibP4iwqVL_ZrtPicross e6 is HUGE. Especially compared to previous Picross eX games. Picross e2 took me 18 1/2 hours to finish, and was the previous largest game, but e6 took me just shy of 30 hours. Massive, see.

tumblr_ntyve55qtm1svmpf2o1_400Unfortunately, it does this by cheating a bit. You see, it seems that all the standard Picross puzzles are duplicated as Mega Picross puzzles. You know, those ones where numbers span two rows or columns. Sure, it means the solutions aren’t the same, but it did mean I recognised a few before they were finished so knew where I had to fill some of the squares in without doing the logic for them. It also meant they didn’t need to create more puzzles. A shame, but not a game killer.

As it is, it’s more Picross. A lot more. They’ve added no extra modes or anything this time around, but that’s not really important. Roll on e7!

Deus Ex Machina 2 (Mac): COMPLETED!

2015-09-23_00006Way back in the primordial past, when games were made from rocks and cost as much as a family car to buy, there was a game called Deus Ex Machina. I’ve never played it. I’ve read a lot about it, none of which makes any sense. From what I can discern, it was more an experience than a game, and consisted of some minigames that you played while listening to an audio tape. Because, of course, voices in early 1980s computer games were limited to “HNNGHSLUMMMNDMUH” (“he slimed me”) in the Ghostbusters game.

2015-09-23_00010A couple of years ago, the creator of Deus Ex Machina (note the “Machina” bit – this has nothing to do with any cyberpunk first person shooters), Mel Croucher, Kickstarted a sequel. I gather it’s actually more of a re-realisation of the first game than a real sequel, using today’s technology to create what he imagined the game to be in the first place. Probably.

This week, it was cheap enough to be virtually free on Steam, and since I had credit gained from selling trading cards, it actually was free to me, so I bought it. I had no idea what I was in for. Having completed it in just over an hour, I’m still not entirely sure.

2015-09-23_00016There are several chapters, each covering a different stage in a person’s life. Conception, birth, growing up, puberty, and so on until (and past) death. Christopher Lee poetically narrates the story, and each chapter has a fantastic and differently styled musical track to accompany it. Notably, Ian Dury provides lyrics and voice to some of these, despite having been dead for over a decade. I suspect his recordings from the original game were reused.

It’s the music and narration that make the game, as both are genuinely outstanding. Croucher’s clever verses make some great tracks, and the vocalists and musicians make music I’d happily buy on an album. Lee’s voice fits excellently as well. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t match up.

2015-09-23_00020Of course, I say game when I really mean experience. Each chapter mainly involves your naked avatar walking, floating, and sometimes running, into the screen. You can vaguely direct either him or something else on the screen in order to collect or avoid various things (kisses on one level, medicine on another). As you do so, your “degree of ideal entity” score goes up or down apparently in tune to what you’ve collected or avoided, although it is not always obvious which way it will go. I suspect it doesn’t matter; mine was bumped up to almost 100% through a successful egg fertilisation, but dropped heavily when I chose the non-warmongering options in a later section. Who knows what difference it makes to the ending.

As I said, your avatar is usually only vaguely directable so your impact on his path and ultimately his score feels disconnected. It’s clear you’re going to complete the game any way you play, even if you chose not to control your man at all. It seems a bit pointless, but it’s so worth playing. Sorry, experiencing. That music.

Spoiler Alert (PC): COMPLETED!

2015-09-19_00003I had no idea what to expect when playing this, as I’d never heard of it before. In fact, I only own it at all because it came in a Humble Bundle I bought for other reasons. I have to say, it was a bit of a surprise.

First off, it appears to be an endless runner game, albeit with an end. Like Bit Trip Runner. Only with a running chilli. Thing is, you start at the end of the game, and beat the final boss on the first level, except it’s the final level. Princess rescued, credits roll. Then credits roll backwards. And so begins playing the entire game back to front.

It’s still a not-endless runner, but now you run backwards from right to left, unkilling baddies and catching projectiles you’ve thrown, all while avoiding coins you hadn’t collected and uncollecting those you had. It makes more sense when you play, probably.

It’s short, cheap, and not especially difficult, but I had fun with it while it lasted.

Grow Home (PS4): COMPLETED!

Green_Hill_X_Mushroom_Hill_Zone__t_httpt.covHQuSQaYWtSo many people were excited for this game, and voted it way ahead of two other potential PS+ titles this month as a result, but the majority of views of people after they’ve actually played it seem negative. Apparently, it’s “ruined” by screen tearing. It’s boring. The controls (specifically the climbing) are terrible, and so on.

I’d like to suggest, that those people are idiots.

Grow Home_20150901191542Yes, there is screen tearing. But I only noticed it when it was pointed out to me via a screenshot. I genuinely can’t see it when playing. The controls are awkward at first, but soon you find that L2 (left hand grab) and R2 (right arm grab) are intuitive, and by pushing up and alternating L2 and R2 you can climb quickly. As you progress, you unlock a jet pack, what amounts to a parachute, and finally a glider, and from then on, you climb less anyway. You don’t fall off the plant you’re growing so much, and the game becomes fun.

Grow Home_20150905144840I found it fun anyway. Riding flower sprouts from the main giant star plant to glowing islands in the sky (the main task in the game) is fun. Grabbing objects just to see what they do is fun. Getting all the crystals is Crackdown-like, and fun. It’s all FUN.

The most fun, however, is grabbing a sheep, then dragging him into the sea. Always hilarious, especially watching his little sheepy face as you do it. Or, when two sheep are playing football with a pumpkin (no, really), you grab it, and chuck it in the sea. The sheep just look at you in disappointment. Leaves me in stitches. Being chased by a bull. MOM’s comments. Growing a giant phallus. It’s a great game, and those joyless inhumans who don’t think so are wrong.

Sheep based fun here:

Octodad: Dadliest Catch (PS4): COMPLETED!

Octodad: Dadliest Catch_20150904200449Firstly, I should point out that the lyrics to this game’s theme song have been wedged in my head for the last few days. Specifically “Octodad – nobody suspects a thing”. It’s so catchy.

As for the game, it’s frustrating, looks a lot like that original Xbox Leisure Suit Larry game in graphics quality and style, is impossible to control, had a terrible camera, and is awesome. You’re an octopus trying to live his life, implausibly with his family who are not octopi, as a human. You can’t speak, you can barely control your flailing tentacles, and – well – you look like a damn octopus.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch_20150903220648Your analogue triggers control moving the tentacles designated as your legs up and down, with R1 activating your hand-tentacle. The analogue sticks vaguely direct whichever fake limb you’re currently trying to control, and that’s pretty much your lot. Spill and flop your way around your house, try to make coffee with your flappy bits, clean up the garden, go shopping, and visit Octodad’s most hated of places – the aquarium. All while trying to be as human as possible else people begin to suspect you might be a cephalopod and not a slightly salty man after all.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch_20150904221829It’s a pretty short game, and aside from a bit near the end where you have to navigate on some planks of wood, it’s also pretty easy. It is a lot of fun, though, and throwing everything you can find all over the place never gets old. Not least in the bonus extra level where you and your wife go for a romantic meal and you can chuck the food, crockery and cutlery at the waiters.

Oh, and bonus marks for having toilets in the game. Any game with toilets in now gets an extra recommendation from me, and I’ve set up a Tumblr to record them.

Here’s a video of the final 40 minutes or so of the main story. Spoilers!

3D Gunstar Heroes (3DS): COMPLETED!

tumblr_ntjmu71mq41svmpf2o1_400The second game of the day, with Heroes in the title!

I never completed Gunstar Heroes back in the day. In fact, I don’t think I ever played it much (I didn’t buy it until many years after release anyway). Or even enjoyed it. Yeah, I’m a heretic.

tumblr_ntjmsfgaqs1svmpf2o1_400But there’s something about these 3D ports on the 3DS that make you want to play them anyway, isn’t there? Otherwise why did I buy Altered Beast again? Hmm.

tumblr_ntjms41ps41svmpf2o1_400My main issue with Gunstar Heroes previously is it’s too hard. Or so I thought. One I’d picked up the “chaser/shot” combo it all suddenly became a lot easier to progress. Sure, I struggled a bit with some (most!) of the bosses, but the actual levels themselves were a walkover in comparison to previous attempts to play the game.

And it was fun! A lot of mostly mindless fun! Aside from Golden Silver at the end. He can do one. So many attempts.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Woverine_does_whatever_a_wolverine_does._Has_sharp_claws__is_mostly_harmlessI think this may actually be the first Lego game I’ve completed entirely in co-op. Lego Batman 2 and 3 were both mostly co-op, but Lego Marvel Super Heroes I’ve played only in co-op with my daughter. Which is nice.

There’s a lot of mopping up bricks to do, as usual. We’ve done some, after finishing the story, but we’re still only at around 52/250. Finding the rest is going to be a pain, as although most of them are on the New York City map, it’s often not clear what you need to do when you get to them. Of course, a fair few are going to come from redoing the levels again in Free Play. Having said that, in recent games I’ve not bothered going for 100%. I think Lego Harry Potter 2 was the first where I didn’t, and although I had a pretty good stab at it for Lego Batman 2, I haven’t tried at all for Lego Batman 3. I really should. It’s a lot of fun.

Anyway! This is telling you nothing about this game. Which there isn’t a great deal to talk about, actually. It’s more Lego super heroing, only with Marvel characters instead of DC ones like Batman 2 and 3. Like Batman 2 there’s a massive open hub world (New York City), which seems more dense and full of life than Gotham. The split up mini-hubs of Batman 3 were a step back, I thought. There’s also a handful of things to do on the SHIELD helicarrier, up int he sky above the city.

Galactus__Tiny_devourer_of_worlds__Or_small_objects__at_least.The story revolves around Galactus heading for Earth, and Doctor Doom, Loki and Magneto (as well as a few other less important baddies) seem to be taking advantage of this for a project of their own. As, variously, several Avengers, the Fantastic 4, Spider-Man and a few X-Men, you progress through the levels trying to beat these baddies and take back the Cosmic Bricks they’re stealing. The levels are all pretty standard Lego fare – different characters can activate different things, access different areas, or destroy or build certain types of blocks. They’re pretty varied, with settings underwater, in the Statue of Liberty and on a space station, and the characters you use are swapped frequently so you don’t get bored with the same ones.

The star of the show is Deadpool. He shows up for some of the bonus levels, and has his own room on the helicarrier where you buy found red bricks and watch the in-game movies and so on. In one of of the main levels, Doctor Octopus smashes through the Daily Bugle offices, and then in a bonus level later Deadpool narrates (with silly voices) as you, as Agent Coulson and Doc Ock, have to tidy up the mess. It’s very funny, and a memorable moment.

There aren’t any real surprises in the gameplay, and it’s a shame that two player “screen each” play sometimes makes the framerate nosedive (more so than in Batman 3, in fact, and that was bad at times), but it’s a solid Lego title and probably one of the best too. Although they’re all pretty great, truth be told.

Now I just need to find copies of Lego Lord of the Rings, Lego the Hobbit, and Lego Jurassic World and I’ll be up to date. Apart from Lego Dimensions (so called because your wallet needs a 4th dimension to hold all the money needed for it) which is out soon. Sigh.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (PS4): COMPLETED!

Everybody's Gone To The Rapture™_20150811211404I find the term “walking around simulator”, which games like this have often been categorised as, somewhat derogatory.  It’s as if there’s nothing to the game at all, bar walking around, and it should be derided because of this. Which is missing the point.  The aim of these games is not to “win”, not to solve puzzles and leap gaps and shoot Nazis, but to discover the story. Yes, you do this by walking around, but there’s more to it than that.

Everybody's Gone To The Rapture™_20150811214804In Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, erm, everybody’s gone to the rapture. You start off as an unknown person on the outskirts of a Shropshire village in 1984, near an observatory. You can’t enter the observatory as the gates are locked, so you need to travel a massive loop of the village to try and get in the back way. As soon as you set off you hear a radio message which alerts you to “an event”, and as you explore the village radios and telephones start to fill in some of the story behind what happened.

Everybody's Gone To The Rapture™_20150812212352

Along the way, orbs of light direct you to places of interest, where you see some conversations and actions leading up to The Event played out. Technically, you can just walk past everything and head for the end of the game, but then you really do have just a walking around simulator on your hands, and you’re missing both the point and the game.

When you reach the end, there’s no decisive conclusion and no full exposition of exactly what happened. It’s up to you to formulate in your head what you think occurred based on what you’ve seen and heard, and how you interpret what the “glowing light” actually is.

Almost as much fun as putting this together yourself, is reading what other people thought and how their theories compare to your own. With that in mind, here’s a big spoiler:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Everybody's Gone To The Rapture™_20150813222415

Obviously, there’s more to it than all this, but I’m not intending to write a dissertation! There are a lot of side stories as well, like the love triangle between Stephen, Lizzie and Kate, or Frank’s difficult relationship with his sister, all of which are explored literally by exploring. It’s intriguing and compelling finding out everything you can from the clues left behind, and the English village setting is beautiful to wander round.

Everybody's Gone To The Rapture™_20150811212930The only minor negatives I have are that sometimes the walking pace, even with the “jog” button, is much too slow (especially when you realise you’ve missed something and have to backtrack for miles), and that there is a huge amount of asset reuse. The same shed, greenhouse, plastic garden table, white sheets on the washing line, Raleigh Burner-alike BMX bike and books are everywhere, repeated over and over again. Houses all have the same kitchen. Even the two pubs in the village have exactly the same “special offers board” and virtually the same layout inside. The worst copy and paste job is the large number of cars that are around the village – of which there are only about 5 or 6 types. This wouldn’t be a problem but they’re not just the same type of car, they’re exactly the same car with the same colour and same number plate.

Everybody's Gone To The Rapture™_20150812223056Sometimes you can see that it’s intentional, with, for example, a car appearing in one location with a Peter Pan hat and swords inside, then appearing later at the holiday camp where the kids were performing Peter Pan, but most of the time it’s just jarring. In one case there’s a carpark with two instances of the exact same van in it! There’s no reason why they couldn’t have replaced the number plates and colour-swapped the cars to mix it up a bit, surely? Or had a red-and-yellow Burner instead of a blue-and-yellow one occasionally? I realise it was a small team making the game, but this would surely have been a tiny job compared to the rest?

Everybody's Gone To The Rapture™_20150812221952Another thing which was unimportant in the end but seemed necessary to record along the way was all the numbers broadcast on the radios (identical radios…). I started to get a little paranoid that I might miss one. Then I wondered if the names of the books were important. Or the times on the clocks (which were all stopped at the same time, as it turned out). Or the car number plates. I ended up documenting everything and – of course – none of it was needed. In fact, there was nothing you could even do with this information anyway.  This wasn’t the game’s fault of course, more mine for not having any idea what to expect and not wanting to miss anything that may be required later on. For new players: read and listen, but don’t bother making notes.

Should you play Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture? Absolutely. Will you understand what you’ve just played when you come to the end? Possibly. Will it matter if you don’t? No, I don’t think so.

3D Streets of Rage 2 (3DS): COMPLETED!

tumblr_nstif2bq8c1svmpf2o1_400Streets of Rage 2 was always so much better than Streets of Rage 1 in so many ways. Better graphics, more moves, none of those stupid Blaze clones who are impossible to beat, and so on. It was also easier, but sadly the music isn’t quite as good. Ah well, you can’t have everything.

tumblr_nstieix7hm1svmpf2o1_400I played through it today on the 3DS (in lovely 3D), as Blaze (because Blaze is best and not because you can see her knickers oh who am I kidding of course it’s because you can see her knickers) and completed it faster than I was expecting to. I was certain it was at least two stages longer, but perhaps I was misremembering some levels from the other Streets of Rage games. It has been a while, I suppose.

tumblr_nstiesg0gl1svmpf2o1_400Once completed, the game unlocked “Fists of Death” mode, which I’ve started a playthrough of, as Skate (because Skate is worst). In this mode every enemy takes a single hit. Even bosses. It’s hilarious. I managed to do the first three stages without getting hit myself (I suspected I’d die in a single hit too, but luckily that wasn’t the case).


Princess Nom Nom (PC): COMPLETED!

nomnom-2015-8-5-12-56-53A really quick one this. You know Cookie Clicker? Well, imagine something like that without the frantic clicking. With a fat… blob that appears to be a princess. And you have to feed her. Feed her enough, and she produces minions from her bellybutton, and these minions can gather food and so produce more minions.

nomnom-2015-8-5-12-58-35Unlock new places to get better food from, produce more minions to collect it all faster and in greater quantity, and make the princess even fatter.

Eventually, she’s satiated and you win. And I won. Yay! If you want to play, it’s free from this site here.

Never Alone (PS4): COMPLETED!

Skinner_s_kitchen__t_httpt.coW04WLtjnbtWell that was short. Apparently Never Alone is about three hours long, but I appear to have completed it in little over half that time.

Probably just as well, actually, as after the first 45 minutes of “ooh” and “ahh” over the graphics and the setting and how unusual it all appeared to be, Never Alone quickly became a tedious platformer with bugs and glitches and some rubbish jumps. Relying on the wind to carry you further frustrates as there’s no way of telling exactly how far it’ll take you, often carrying you past the platform you want to land one and into the sea/hole/baddie instead.

Restarts are quick, thankfully, but it’s seemingly random how far you go back. Sometimes it’s a mere couple of steps, other times (like during on of the chase sequences) it’s back 20 or more screens.

5752__52GameChallenge__t_Never_Alone__PS4__httpt.cof0eRI46dRiOften I found it difficult to tell where to go next, either because I’d not “activated” an invisible spirit with my fox chum, or not panned the camera round in a completely different direction to where I’d expect to go, or simply not realised what was solid ground to walk on and what wasn’t. Things were complicated later on when your fox becomes a boy (spoilers, sorry) and the whole way you play changes – for the worse, in my opinion.

Your bolas attack too is overly complicated. You have to hold back in the opposite direction to where you want to hit (which is fine), but then flick it in the direction you want to fling it. I now realise the PS4 stick isn’t ideal for this, and especially during the frantic sections of the game where you’re not given time for a second shot, I feel that just letting go of the stick, or pressing a face button, would have been a better idea.

I sound harsh and it isn’t really a terrible game, it’s just yet another one of those arty games which has a lovely story and fantastic graphical style, but forgets to do something a bit more interesting (and controllable) with the gameplay. As it is, it’s just another slightly annoying platformer.

Anyway, here’s the last hour or so. Spoilers, of course.

Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS4): COMPLETED!

Cyborg_is_just_Mega_Man__innit.__t__PS4share_httpt.coxYawU3SQbuWell this was a surprise. The Mortal Kombat series left me cold after UMK3, and although this isn’t technically a Mortal Kombat title, it clearly is a Mortal Kombat game. It’s the same team, it’s a fighting game, it’s a followup to Mortal Kombat vs DC, and it’s even got Scorpion in it. And I enjoyed it.

Man_or_Aquaman.__t__PS4share_httpt.co6XyPVpBgTTThere’s little depth to the fighting, and in many ways the fights just seemed like the gaps between the story in single player mode, but something made me want to keep playing to the end. I liked how you’d flit from character to character as the story progressed too. Perhaps this is how more recent MK games have done things anyway, but it’s way better than the standard “tower of fighters” of old. It forces you to play as roughly half the roster as well, including some I’d never have picked through choice (Aquaman? LOLZ) who turned out better than expected in many cases.

I don’t think I’ll bother with multiplayer (I did try to play online, but I was alone), but the free PS+ rental was well worth  a story mode playthrough.

Life is Strange: Episode 4 (PS4): COMPLETED!

Don_t_you_open_that_trap_door__Oh_wait__you_did._Globbits.__lifeisstrange_EP4_SPOILERS__t_httpt.covACqH5WEZLWell that was pretty hard to come to terms with. Four major incidents in this episode, in fact – none of which I can mention without the spoiler below:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

I did say Nathan wasn’t quite what he seemed.

One thing I really did love about this episode was the detective bit, where you piece together all the clues you’d amassed – emails, texts, letters, photos, documents – and find links between them to trace where people have been, who they’ve seen, and when. Fantastic bit of game there.

Now, with the final episode an unknown number of weeks – or even months – away, I’m struggling to deal with no plot to follow. I need to know what happens next.

More spoilers in the form of some gameplay (which gives away the episode end):

And also, as previously, my chapter choices (which also contains big hairy spoilers):


Street Fighter II Champion Edition (PSP): COMPLETED!

Yeah__but_you_re_wearing_cauliflowers_in_your_hair.__t_httpt.coP1EYxoWhEuAnother game from that Capcom Classics compilation I bought a while ago, although infinitely better than the terrible Exed Exes. But then, most things are.

Usually, when I play Street Fighter games, I pick Kenneth. He’s the best, of course, and his blond locks are far more enticing and suggest he’s far more fun than boring Ryu. I mean, Kenneth drives fast cars and loves the odd drink, but Ryu spends his evenings meditating on the floor of his bedroom while his parents wonder what’s wrong with their special little boy. Kenneth, man.

But this time, I chose Boring Ryu. I’m not sure why.

What a struggle. Sure, I’ve never been the best Street Fighter player. I’ve only clocked it a couple of times in the arcade, and tend to only beat those players who haven’t really played fighting games before, but this… this was hard. I must point out that the Vita’s analogue stick (yes, I was playing the arcade game included in a PSP game pack on a Vita) is useless for Street Fighter. And the d-pad is terrible for dragon punches. In effect, I was playing with one hand behind my back.

Which is why Chun Li beat me 18 times straight.

And Zangief gave me Zangrief 12 times.

And Bison double perfected me 5 times before I even got a single hit in.

But! Eventually, I prevailed, and Boring Ryu walked off into the sunset, heading home for a glass of milk and a digestive biscuit, while Kenneth and his bevy of ladies partied at Spearmint Rhino for the entire weekend. Oh Ryu.


I started this just before my PS4 arrived, but went back to it today to finish it off. It’s reasonably short, and plays a lot like Ico or Papo & Yo, with some puzzles and a bit of platforming.

The “thing” is that the boy you control is invisible, and can only be seen when the never ending rain is landing on him. Under shelter, he’s hidden from both baddies and you (as in the player) – step out into the rain and his water soaked outline appears. The same is true of most of the baddies as well, and splashing through muddy puddles can reveal you even when hidden – until you take a bath or a swim to wash the mud off.

It’s quite a clever idea, modifying a standard hide-and-seek mechanic seen so many times before, but making the character you’re controlling so difficult to see (even when technically visible) can make things frustrating. Even more so when you’re finally joined by an equally invisible girl – frequently I forgot which one I was controlling and ran the wrong way. Not great when you’re being pursued by The Unknown, a bizarre giant creature who seems intent on killing both of your for reasons, well, unknown.

I sort of enjoyed Rain, but I was glad it came to an end when it did. It looks great, with all the apparently 1950s French streets you roam, and the classical music soundtrack is fantastically haunting, but I think it exhausted its ideas just before the game finished. Well worth the free rental, though!

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! (PS4): COMPLETED!

Temple_of_Doom__t__PS4share_httpt.coHUDJExPrIlBack in the day, I did play Abe’s Oddysee quite a bit, but it was so difficult and so frustrating. I don’t think I ever even got out of the factory – I certainly never completed it.

With a free PS+ rental, and promises it was now easier to control, easier to play, and had quicksaves, I thought I’d give it another try. And I completed it this time!

Second_temple_challenges_done.__t__PS4share_httpt.cojigwgzSn2CSadly, I got the bad ending due to not rescuing enough Mudokons. I don’t think I’d let all that many die, and I don’t recall leaving many behind, so I can only assume I missed a load of rooms somewhere. Of the 299 available to rescue, I think I managed 83. Not enough to survive the mincer at the end of the game. Bah.

Good as the game was, I really don’t think I can be bothered playing it again to try for the good ending. I’ve too many other things to play!

Life is Strange: Episode 3 (PS4): COMPLETED!

tumblr_nrvs2nmkmt1svmpf2o1_1280Now this was a mistake. On the one hand I really, really wanted to get on and play Episode 3 as the story of Life is Strange is so compelling, but on the other hand, Episode 4 could still be weeks away from release and Episode 5 is a distance future event at this point. I was going to leave it for a few weeks, to try and space it out, and make it a bit easier to bear, but no – “just a quick go, a teaser if you will” and it was all over. Bah.

As the plot progresses, it’s even harder to describe the events without spoiling things for my readers, but I’ll try. There’s a bit near the start where you have to somehow sneak past the principal which I was stuck on for ages. It turns out I’d not seen what he was doing early enough, so didn’t know there was a window of opportunity to get past him.

_PS4share_drugs_are_bad_mmmkay__t_httpt.coxVj4Kp6vXzThere’s a fantastic puzzle about how to get through a locked door, which starts off as what seems like a dull wander-round-and-find-four-things quest, but the payoff – amazing. After that Max and Chloe go for a midnight swim and there seems to be some sexual tension between the two, which is further suggested the following morning.

Anyway, the big (HUGE) event is in the second half of the game where it goes full Butterfly Effect and EVERYTHING changes. And I can’t wait to play Episode 4 as a result. Which, of course, I can’t do. Because it isn’t out yet. So frustrating!

As before, here’s me playing the second half of the episode (spoilers!):

And here are my chapter choices (also spoilers!):

Episode 3 Chapter Choices

Life is Strange: Episode 2 (PS4): COMPLETED!

_toiletsinvideogames__t__PS4share_httpt.coxCbUyHuWh9Oh my. That escalated quickly. Chloe nearly getting killed by a bullet, by a train and then the Kate breakdown… some really incredible scenes. Most of which I can’t really mention because of spoilers, and some of which might not even exist for you if you’re playing, because your choices may have differed.

One part that isn’t a spoiler, really, is the diner scene with Chloe. Max proves to her she can rewind time by correctly guessing what Chloe has in her pockets and then by predicting the future. Chloe’s reaction was awesome, and Max really felt like a superhero. Then, in the next scene Max is already feeling the strain of having powers – both physically and mentally.

Anyway, here’s my (full of spoilers) playthrough of the second half of this episode:

And, also spoilerly but in case you’re following my decisions:


Life is Strange: Episode 1 (PS4): COMPLETED!

You heard right. That there PS4 isn’t a typo. I now have an actual Playstation 4. I blame Fallout 4. Anyway, with new consoles come new powers to play different games, and so the first game I bought and played (and completed) is Episode 1 of Life is Strange, a game I could have bought and played on at least two other consoles I already owned. Um.

Life is Strange is, so far, superb. It’s a great story and an excellent premise – college student suddenly gains power to rewind time and predict the future, but still has to deal with everyday life and a variety of nice and not so nice characters. All while other bizarre happenings and conspiracies and shadiness and stuff happen around her. And she needs to pass her photography class.

With many conversations and actions having lasting repercussions, and the ability to rewind and change what you say and do in light of new information or just to see a different reaction, it plays out unlike any other game I’ve played for a long time. Sometimes what seems like the best option provides the worst immediate response, but who knows if that’ll work out for the best in the end?

Life is Strange is definitely strange, but it’s sucked me in already and I’m really looking forward to the outcome of all these choices. These choices, in fact (which may be a spoiler, so be careful):

tumblr_nrpddqllhn1svmpf2o1_1280In my defence, I did at least try to hide in Chloe’s room. I just couldn’t find anywhere to do so!


StreetPass Zombies (3DS): COMPLETED!

4952__52gamechallenge_StreetPass_Zombies__t_httpt.co49lGFcSNlHThere’s not a great deal to say about this, aside from that a couple of the final levels were pretty tricky, and even though the end boss appeared both indestructible and virtually impossible to dodge I still managed to off him on my first attempt.

The Wii remote is the best weapon by far, incidentally, except on the final boss where I found the pillow invaluable with it’s rapid fire.

Fun, and I’ll probably play it a bit longer, but time needs to be spent on StreetPass Fishing now!

Geometry Wars 3 (Vita): COMPLETED!

tumblr_nr6uffdgpu1svmpf2o1_1280Like the awesome but mostly ignored Wii version of Geometry Wars, Geometry Wars 3 (which was a free PS+ rental this month) has a great single player “adventure” mode. Each level takes one of the main score attack modes and requires you to beat a certain score or clear a level in under a certain time with the rules of that mode, or perhaps with no smart bomb or extra lives.

In addition, every so many levels, there’s a boss (which is a new thing in the series, I think?). All the bosses are superficially the same, consisting of a large gemstone type enemy who periodically drops its shield while spawning standard Geometry Wars enemies and occasionally rushing you.

tumblr_nr8p4yjb0x1svmpf2o1_1280It all feels a bit like a “best of” Geometry Wars, really. It has the stuff from the first two games, and from the Wii game, and then nicks a chunk from the also excellent  Nano Assault Neo by setting many of the levels on the surface of a 3D shape rather than on a flat plane. As you progress through Adventure mode, the score multiplier Geom items also act as currency with which to buy or upgrade special weapons and drones.

Frankly, it’s superb and my only issue with the Adventure mode is that the final boss is a massive, massive difficulty spike. I easily spent as long attempting that single level than I did on the previous 49 levels combined! A single life and multiple “phases” and attack patterns, along with insta-death walls did not make it simple.

Child of Light (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Tenuous_Poetry_Game__If there’s one negative thing to say about Child of Light, it’s the diabolical dialogue. All of the conversations and narration take the form of terrible rhyming couplets. Rhyming couplets that are forced, contrived, often don’t rhyme, and very rarely even scan. At first it feels clever and cute, but after a few minutes you’d rather everyone just spoke properly and it grates for the next twelve or so hours until it’s complete.

Which, yes, it is complete.

Shadow_of_the_CollosusThankfully, there’s only really the one negative thing to say about Child of Light. The rest is all good. I could say it’s a bit easy (none of my characters ever died and I used just three health potions – and no other potions at all – in the entire game), I could mention most of the characters in your party are superfluous (I rarely used more than Finn and the mouse), and I could say that for an RPG it was a bit short, but it doesn’t really matter. What is important is how much fun it was, how there was never any need to grind, how much I enjoyed the story (despite the “poetry”), and how unusual it was to play.

As well as using the same game engine as Rayman Legends, some of the Murfy sections have sort of translated to a mechanic here, too, where you move your little firefly chum around the screen with either the touchscreen or (more usually) the right stick, using him to activate and collect things. During time-turn based battles he can heal you and your allies or slow down enemies, which adds more than you’d expect.

MAXIMUM_SPIDERThe battles themselves, which make up the majority of the gameplay, appear like standard JRPG turn based fights. However, there’s a timeline on the bottom of the screen which all the characters (on both sides) move across. When your characters get to the final 1/5th of the bar, you can choose their action – such as attack or defend – and when they reach the end of the bar that action is carried out. If you’re attacked in that final section, your action is interrupted and you’re chucked back down the timeline again. Similarly, your foes do the same. This adds a lot of strategy to the fights, since different actions activate at different speeds you have to decide if your chosen one is fast enough to get in before it’s interrupted or countered. I’m pretty sure I’ve played a game with a similar system before, Eternal Sonata maybe? Whatever it was, it works great here.

Child of Light is definitely worth playing, and even better if you manage to pick it up in a sale (like I did!).

Tracking my gaming. For great victoly!