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.

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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

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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.

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):

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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:

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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!