Playstation 4

Until Dawn – Game Review

I was so intrigued by Until Dawn, the game even made it to my “Upcoming Games I’m Excited For” post I made almost two months ago. I held off buying it for a few weeks, as I had a friend coming to stay at the end of September and we’d planned to play it together. No shame in trying to save a few bucks on a new release!

As a lover of a good old slasher horror flick, Until Dawn did not let me down. It was incredibly cliché; a group of teenagers staying in a log cabin on a mountain, with a mix of teenage dramas, crushes, and couples that will take their chances against death for a quickie. Slap on a bit of paranormal activity and a psychotic killer on the loose, and you’ve got me hooked. It was a nice blend of Evil Dead, The Cabin in the Woods, and Scream.

The visuals were incredible, something Supermassive Games really deserve all the praise for (and I’m hoping they win all the awards!). I strongly suggest that you watch the behind the scenes videos, they’re a bonus with the game but I’m assuming they’re available online now. They show how the actors performed the whole game on a sound stage, in their fancy CGI morph suits with cameras attached to their heads to capture all of their facial movements. The only letdown is that it’s a short video, I would really have loved a more detailed documentary showing the process from “Stage to Screen.”

maxresdefault

Now, onto the gameplay. Until Dawn is advertised as being “designed to be played multiple times,” but I’m afraid to say that the game is only fun to play through twice. Any more than that and it’s far too repetitive, with no skip button for the long cinematic scenes. I’ve played it five times now (I’m a shameless trophy hunter. FIGHT ME.) and I’m ready to put the game to rest. There isn’t enough variety to keep seeking out new ways to change the story.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the game, the first playthrough with my friend was a bloody good time. Watching someone else’s decisions, having little arguments about said decisions, judging each other for failing the Quick Time Events, then discovering the big plot twist, it’s a really fun game to play the first time through with a gaming buddy.

During my second playthrough, which was on my own, I took a bit more time with the game. I found all the collectibles, which piece-by-piece unlocks a video about the lore and history of the mountain, the suspicious mining accident, and the creatures inhabiting the mines. I also changed a lot of my previous decisions, completely changing the outcome of the game. Like I previously said, the first two playthroughs are brilliant and I cannot fault them.

My favourite collectibles were the Totems. Depending on their colour, they would show you character deaths, and any upcoming dangers or fortunes you may come across. The scenes are re-playable, so they were interesting to play back during the game to see if any of the premonitions may be coming up. It was a nice twist to the usual collectibles in games, which sometimes don’t add much to how you play.

totemguidance1

One of the biggest downfalls of Until Dawn is the lack of multiple save slots. Your first playthrough is your main save, and once you’ve played the game you can play again from whatever episode you choose (you have to play all the episodes from that point on to make a change to the outcome in the end). The biggest flaw in that is a character potentially dies in an early chapter. If they died on your first play, then you need to play from that early chapter every time to try and keep them alive. It’d be nice if there were at the very least two save slots, one to keep said character alive and the other one where they die.

If you’re not a fan of games with Quick Time Events, then I’m sorry but this game is pretty much built on them. Personally I don’t mind them, they can make me feel a bit anxious (I’m an Anxious Annie..), but I think it adds to the feel of the game. You’re being chased by a killer – you’re gonna be feeling a bit antsy.

In addition to the Quick Time Events, there’s also the use of the DualShock 4 controller’s gyroscope feature. In situations where you’re hiding, you’ll be told to keep still. And I mean keep still. The tiniest of movements will trigger the attacker, and in some situations can lead to a character’s death. I ended up holding my breath and resting the controller on my stomach to avoid my hands betraying me and going into spasm out of sheer stress.

At first I found the controls a bit difficult, they reminded me of old school Resident Evil (I’m sure a lot of you know exactly what I mean!), where the right toggle didn’t really have much control of your camera movements. After a while I got used to it, however it was a bit daunting walking towards the camera and not knowing what you were walking towards until the camera angle changed. I wonder whether they decided on these controls as a nod to the classic horror game.

Until Dawn 1

Overall, I really enjoyed the game, but got a bit tired of it after a few replays. However I won’t let my greediness in replaying for trophies spoil the fun I initially had playing it. I paid £38 for a new copy a few weeks after release, which may seem steep for some people, but considering I’ve raked in almost 40 hours playing it, I’d say I’ve got my money’s worth.

– AmyGames

Twitter: @littleamyhere

Too Many Games, Not Enough Time!

I’ve decided to make a pledge to myself, a challenge. I’m not allowed to buy any more games until I complete 5 games that are already on my shelf. I know. Crazy.

I’m a bit of an impulse buyer, my bookcase is crammed full of books waiting to be read, and my game shelf is just the same. I bought my PS4 back in April, and up to now I have seven unplayed PS4 games (not including downloaded games..), but I have an incredible amount of games for my Xbox 360 that I haven’t even started, or are half played and were never finished. It’s a goddamn travesty!

So I’m putting my foot down. Five games that are already on my shelf need to be completed, and these are the five I’ve picked out (but are subject to change):

  • Bioshock – I love Bioshock. The soundtrack, the underwater world of Rapture, the creepy shadows of the Splicers, and of course, the Big Daddies and Little Sisters. Absolutely beautiful. I have no idea why I didn’t complete it!
  • LA Noire – This game. THIS GAME. I bought it on release day, and dedicated hours upon hours to this gorgeous son of a gun. I made it to disc three, so only had a few hours left until completion. Then my brother came to stay after he had surgery. I let him play my Xbox when I was out at work, as long as he created his own savings on games. HE DIDN’T. I sat down for the last leg of LA Noire, suddenly my cop had been sacked, having an affair, and I had no bloody idea what was going on. My brother decided to have a go, didn’t know what he was doing and screwed up my save without telling me. I had no choice but to give up. So I’m trying again, right from the beginning. No brothers allowed this time.
  • Alien: Isolation – My parents bought this for my birthday last year, it’s quite long for a horror game, but I’ve already put several hours into it. I need to see it through to the end!
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – I played the first mission, but other than that I haven’t ventured into the campaign. I’ve spent a hell of a lot of hours in multiplayer, though. GUN GAME, BABY.
  • Far Cry 3 – It’s been sat on my shelf for a long time, but I’ve never started it. I’ve actually never played any of the Far Cry franchise, but I’ve been told it won’t make much of a difference not starting from the beginning. It looks epic, as does Far Cry 4!

And there’s my five. They may change over the next few weeks, but the goal is to complete five games before I buy anymore games. I bought three games this week, even though I’m in the process of moving into my own place! I can’t keep spontaneously buying games anymore!

– AmyGames

Twitter: littleamyhere

Murdered: Soul Suspect – Game Review

Last week I completed Murdered: Soul Suspect on the PS4. Even though it had it’s problems, I actually really enjoyed it.

Since the game’s release in June last year, Murdered: Soul Suspect has received very mixed reviews. A lot of people complained about the short length of the game, absence of combat, the strange puzzles and lack of storyline. On top of that, the independent game developers, Airtight Games, closed down just one month after M:SS was released, and we’ve never been given a full explanation as to why. According to reports, the company were laying off staff in the few months before the release date, leaving us to believe that financial difficulties were to blame. It’s a tough world out there as an indie game dev.

murdered soul suspect screen

So, what’s the story? Right from the get go you find your character, Detective Ronan O’Connor, in the middle of a police pursuit for a serial killer known as “The Bell Killer.” Ronan is thrown out of a high storey window, miraculously survives, but finds his spirit has left his body. He attempts to try and find help in his ghost-like state, but looks up to find The Bell Killer is suddenly standing above his body, shooting him at point blank. Boom. Dead.

There’s a quick cut scene flashback, showing some of Ronan’s important memories. We see him involved in petty crimes as a kid, to being charged with assault & GTA, being sent to prison, turning his life around when he meets the love of his life, Julia, becoming a Police Officer, his wedding day, Julia’s sudden death, and his obsession with solving the mystery of The Bell Killer. As the flashback plays out, we see tattoos symbolising these moments in his life appear on his body. I thought it was a pretty cool idea, something I’ve never seen before, and it was a great way of getting an idea of who your character is before you start playing. Of course, the memories are rather cliché, and it’s very much like “See this thing we’re showing you now? Don’t you forget it now!” but personally it was a nice cut scene, probably because I like tattoos so much..

Ronan realises he’s dead, and is visited by the spirit of his wife, Julia, who tells him he’s in a dangerous place (I’m gonna assume limbo..) and the only way they can be reunited is for him to resolve the unfinished business that’s stopping him from moving on. Ronan believes this is to find out The Bell Killer’s identity, and begins the investigation.

Let’s be real, the game is a mix of LA Noire and the cheesy 80’s movie Ghost. I loved LA Noire, and I’m a total sucker for Ghost, so I felt like this game was created for the likes of me. There was a distinct lack of pottery scene with shirtless Patrick Swayze, though.

 903-2

Gotta love a bit of Swayze.

All joking aside, I can see why some people didn’t like the game. The combat scenes against demons were very basic, plus there was an abundance of hiding places (in weird fuzzy spirit clouds?) so the fear of being killed (again..) was very slim. That’s not to say I didn’t get killed by demons, and the main reason was down to glitches.

My God, the glitches.

The first demon I came across had me completely stuck. No buttons worked besides rotating the camera, and the demon couldn’t even kill me. We were stuck staring at each other, and in the end I had to reboot the game and start from the last checkpoint. Luckily it had just saved, but after having a little read through a few forums, it appears to be a common problem. There were even a few people that couldn’t even load from the previous checkpoint, and had to start all over again, so thank the Gods this didn’t happen to me!

My favourite glitch (it’s quite bad when a game has so many glitches that you pick your favourites) was when I got stuck possessing the cat during a demon encounter. I couldn’t move from a window ledge, and had the demon up in the cat’s face going nuts, but couldn’t kill me or the cat. The only controls I had were to turn around and MEOW.

Here, I even saved a video to show how ridiculous it was:

Now this brings me onto my next problem – the sharing function on the PS4 didn’t record any audio. I really enjoy using the PS4 share function, and I’ve had no problems with games such as CoD: AW, Destiny and The Walking Dead, so I’m assuming it’s a glitch with the game. It was a bit of a let down really.

To me, the controls felt a little clunky at times. For the choice of actions towards a person or object to pop up you had to be at the right distance and angle, but get too close you’d have to walk away and start the process again. After a few hours it got a little bit frustrating, so in the end I was walking up to objects a lot more slower to make sure it didn’t happen.

I also found that towards the end of the game some things just weren’t working anymore – the chimes to indicate a clue had stopped, the misty clouds to hide from the demons weren’t there anymore, and the demons were mostly silent and no longer screamed. It felt like the developers kind of gave up in the end, which is a shame, as the game started off really well.

CFZo_IPWEAE00kv

I know what you must be thinking, “you said you liked the game but you’ve just made a pretty decent sized list of complaints,” which is true, but not every game you like is flawless. Here’s a few reasons why I really enjoyed M:SS.

Firstly, I really liked the setting. Being a lover of all things witchy and supernatural, Salem is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Although the town created in M:SS is fictional, it does create that eerie seaside town atmosphere with the fog, old buildings, and of course the references to the witch trials.

Although the history of the witch trials given in the game was quite basic, I still enjoyed it. Like I said, the story of the witch trials intrigues me, and I’ve never come across a game that incorporates it with the storyline (if anyone knows any games that do – hit me up).

Also, and most importantly – YOU CAN POSSESS A CAT. Enough said.

CFPMgNUW0AAZUmb

I know a lot of people complained about the shortness of the game, but for me it was just enough for a weekend spent inside gaming, with a decent storyline and a few side missions alongside it. I find that I do well with games that have a set path, as I get overwhelmed with big, open games such as Skyrim. I end up spending hours riding across mountains on a horse, questioning my life choices.

According to the website How Long to Beat, the main story takes on average about 6.5 hours to complete, with an extra 2 hours or so on top with the side missions. It took me just under 8 hours to complete, but I didn’t finish all of the side missions. It is a short game, but if you look at the hardships Airtight Games were going through during the production of M:SS, perhaps they decided to keep it short and sweet to stay on budget and actually have the game released. We’ll never know.

To conclude, Murdered: Soul Suspect was a game with it’s problems, but to me it was still enjoyable. There aren’t many games similar to LA Noire on the market, and even though M:SS is definitely not up to the same mark, it certainly did try.

Overall rating? I’d give it 6.5/10.

One more thing – I am so glad I didn’t come across this game-breaking glitch:

Have any of you guys played Murdered: Soul Suspect? What did you think?

– AmyGames

Twitter: littleamyhere

Oh my Thor, I bought a PS4.

My friends, the day has come where I have become a proud owner of a PS4. *choir of angels sing*

I’ve been wanting to upgrade to a next gen console for a while now, and as much as I love my Xbox 360, the graphics quality just isn’t top notch anymore. Personally, the new games being released deserve to be played on a higher quality console, and you’re paying pretty much the same price for a game, whether it’s on 360, Xbone or PS4. The day will come when they decide to stop selling games for the Xbox 360, and I don’t want to get left behind! (Of course, it wont be in the near future. Microsoft get a hell of a lot of revenue from 360 players.)

Now I’m a very sentimental person, which is why it’s taken two years to even think about upgrading. But don’t worry, My 360 still has pride of place right next to my PS4. I’ve got a hell of a lot of unfinished games to play on it, and it’ll be played until it’s little green button fades to red.

The trouble it caused me to buy this damned console was incredible. I decided to buy it 2am Thursday night, but wanted it to be delivered to my friend’s house in London, as I was driving down on Saturday for a few days. He also has a PS4, and we had this brilliant idea of setting up two big TVs so we didn’t have to play Call of Duty on split screen. Genius.

Well my bank didn’t seem to like the idea of me trying to send a £300 console to London, rejected the transactions and wanted to call my house phone. By this time it was close to 3am, my parents were in bed so there was no way they could call me. I cancelled the order, and had one last try on Amazon. The console itself was a bit pricier, but as Amazon is a well used website I order from, it worked. It was also the only website offering guaranteed delivery on the Saturday, so it worked out quite well. Except for having to explain to the bank the next day that yes, those five transaction attempts were me.

The PS4 arrived in London before I did, and ahh, what a beauty:

tumblr_nmvay4uf2K1qfzkjio1_540

I had a really great time the past few days, the double TV set up was bloody brilliant. I stupidly forgot to take a photo, but believe me, it was gamer heaven. I only played Call of Duty, as I decided to keep Destiny for once I got home, but we also played the latest Telltale Games instalment, Game of Thrones.

Here’s the set up in my bedroom back home:

tumblr_nmvaxoyDIa1qfzkjio1_1280

I’m having to buy an ethernet cable and feed it through from downstairs, as the WiFi connection isn’t that great unfortunately. I’m not sure if it’s just slow tonight (I only got home about four hours ago!) but I’d rather get the cable set up to ensure I’ve got a good connection. Here’s the problem I had trying to download the Destiny update:

tumblr_nmvaxoyDIa1qfzkjio2_1280

Yes that’s right, THIRTY TWO HOURS. At that rate it’ll be ready Friday morning. Crazy.

Currently I have CoD: AW, Destiny, a few of the free monthly games downloaded, and I’ve just ordered Murdered: Soul Suspect. I’m eager to try Bloodborne, and I’m yet to play The Last of Me, so no doubt I’ll be buying those two games on my next pay day.

Any PS4 game recommendations or tips? Let me know! At the moment I feel like a right newbie, trying to work my way round the menu screen..

Expect lots of blogs from now on of me gushing over my PS4, or moaning about the bad WiFi connection. Either way, watch this space.

– AmyGames

Twitter: littleamyhere