16/02/2021

Slay the Spire - Uncompleted Review

 


Just one more try, before you look up it will be 1am and you have work in the morning. Slay the Spire should come with a warning. The monsters in the game will chomp away at your health but this game will devour your time.

You start the game with The Ironclad character and play strikes & block cards to defeat monsters. Along the way you will unlock new cards, open treasure chests to receive a relic, gain a boon, receive a curse & even visit a merchant to spend your hard earned gold. At some point eventually you will die usually at the hands of the end of act boss fight or an elite monster. Thus begins the one more try loop, let’s go again and see how far we get this time. 

After a while you will unlock two more characters in The Silent a huntress who uses daggers and poison and The Defect a machine who uses elemental orbs to attack. There is also a fourth character called The Watcher but you need to complete a run before she is unlocked. I prefer to play with The Silent and if I get some poison cards I can get a decent run together.

I usually play games that have a story and an ending because the time I can spend on video games is limited. Therefore I avoid rogue like games or as I like to call them timesinks like Spelunky, Binding of Isaac and FTL Faster Than Light because of the amount of hours you have to play to either upgrade or get lucky to complete a run. Although at some point I am looking forward to playing Hades.

Slay the Spire is no exception to this formula, after 30 hours playing I finally made it to Act 3! & promptly died at the first fight. I read a post on Reddit recently where someone mentioned they had played for 300 hours and had still not completed the game, that made me stop and think about the time commitment this game needs and whilst I won’t quit just yet it is time to move on. I will continue to slowly chip away at Slay the Spire and if I’m lucky I may just complete a run before the PlayStation 6 is released.

I’m going to start playing The Pathless an open world action game developed by Giant Squid who also made Abzu. Just let me have one more try on Slay the Spire.

01/02/2021

Gorogoa (PS5) - Completed Review

 


Gorogoa is a short puzzle game where you have four frames that you can move tiles around. You can click in certain areas in a tile to progress the puzzle & you can also stack tiles on top of each other to trigger an action. 

There is no guide in the game to help but a hint feature will highlight which areas you can interact with on a tile, some of the puzzles will need quick movement with the tiles so you can carry on the motion of an action. You may get stuck on a few puzzles I certainly did on a shelf puzzle that took me a while to figure out.

Overall Gorogoa is a nice game to tax the brain muscles that you will complete in about an hour & if you fancy an extra challenge there is a trophy for completing it under thirty minutes!

Next for me is Slay the Spire a roguelike card deck building game and I've also gotten back into playing Fortnite with my daughter (JerryBean) & nephew (Mr T).

25/01/2021

Lost Sphear (PS5) - Completed Review

 


 

Lost Sphear by Tokyo RPG factory is a love letter to the SNES/PS1 era with a beautiful art style, no spoken dialogue but a ton of written probably more than the entire Harry Potter books and a familiar turn-based combat. Be warned there is no fast travel which can be annoying because certain dungeons do not have shortcuts and you won’t get the airship until much later in the game.

You play as Kanata a swordsman from the village Elgarthe who develops an ability to restore lost structures from memories. You are very quickly joined by Lumina a melee combat fighter and Locke a long range archer. The game slowly introduces other characters who will join your adventure along the way to a maximum of eight but you can only select four in your battle team.

The game introduces two new features, the first is Spritnite where you have to equip a skill to use in combat but you can then link a momentum effect to each skill like recover HP every time you use that skill in a battle. In combat each skill will have a cool down timer which will reset after a number of a turns. The second is Artefacts, there are various locations on the open world where you can build a structure to give you a boost. For example the Mystic Eye artefact will give you a world mini-map showing you to see locations of dungeons you have visited.

There is no random encounters in the game, all combat is within dungeons. During combat you build up a momentum meter by performing attacks, moving you character or using skills. Once you have built up a momentum charge you can use it in combat and it will usually rewards you a critical or double hit. With certain characters it can be an advantage to ensure they move around the battle area so you can line up a multiple hit attack. Equally you need to be careful to ensure your characters are not too close together so the enemies can’t get in an area attack. Make sure you especially pay attention to your movements during boss fights which are slightly more challenging.

I won’t spoil it in this review but later the game introduces a new combat mechanic which I did enjoy using quite a bit but I had to have constant supplies to recharge or regularly rest at inns. Overall Lost Sphear is a nostalgic trip back to the 90s JRPG formula but remember the game is not finished once the credits roll. I had no issues at all playing this game on the PS5, next for me is a small indie puzzler Gorogoa.





30/12/2020

Desperados 3 (PS5) - Completed Review


Desperados 3 is a tactics game released on PC, Xbox One & PlayStation 4. I have been playing on the PlayStation 5 and apart from a couple of game crashes I have not experienced any other issues. I played the demo on the PlayStation store which lets you enjoy the first campaign mission using two of the five characters in the game. Cooper is your double revolver shooting cowboy & McCoy is your long range sniper. My main concern with any strategy title on console is how does it play with a controller. You switch characters with R1 and use their abilities with L1/L2 and square. The camera has two options with a follow the character mode or manual control which I preferred instead allowing me to scan the area and plan my strategy. There is also a great quick save ability, by just tapping the touchpad and believe me you will be using it a lot!

After enjoying the demo I had to purchase the full game and enjoy its remaining 15 missions. With the full game you also get to enjoy the other three characters in Hector your trap wielding heavy, Kate who via a disguise can distract enemies and my favourite character Isabelle who can mind-connect two enemies and kill both at the same time. You can also use various items on the map from dynamite, boulders and mine carts.

There is an execution freeze time mode in which you can chose multiple characters to perform certain actions to take out a group of enemies. This is very satisfying when you manage to pull it off. 

If you are up for a tougher game you can play in hard mode which will help you unlock one of the completion badges per mission and there are various badges targets like speed run, using no disguise or no kills. You will also unlock Baron Challenges which gives you a smaller map to complete with certain characters and conditions like no alarms raised.

In summary then it is a great strategy title that plays very well with a controller and I will definitely be picking up developer Mimimi Games earlier title Shadow Tactics which is a similar strategy title set in Japan Edo period. With Desperados 3 completed, next for me is Lost Sphear a JRPG by Tokyo RPG Factory.

14/12/2020

Astro's Playroom (PS5) & The Last Campfire (PS5) - Completed

ASTRO's PLAYROOM I went back to Astro's Playroom to finish off and collect all the jigsaw pieces & artifacts. It's a lovely introduction to the PS5 controller and a great love-letter to Playstation gaming history.I've also completed The Last Campfire where you are an Ember helping lost souls move on by solving puzzles. Nothing too difficult although a couple did have me pause for thought to figure them out.Next, I tried A Plague's Tale but found it difficult to get into not sure why but the poor character animation (looked very janky) did not help. So I've gone back to messing around with Dreams & will start Desperados 3.

07/12/2020

Ghost of Tsushima (PS5) - Completed

There is no need to buy new games for a new console when you can still enjoy all the games you own thanks to Backwards Compatibility!

So I started the life of the PS5 enjoying Ghost of Tsushima, an open world samurai adventure game released on the PS4 by Sucker Punch (Infamous/Sly Cooper). You play as Jin Sakai who fights againsts his samurai code to defend the island of Tsushima against a Mongol invasion.

I've been hoping Ubisoft at some point would visit Japan for their Assassin Creed series but thankfully they never delivered and Sucker Punch instead produced a great world to explore and enjoy. I love that there is very minimal UI in the game and no on-screen world map.


 

The main quest focusus on Jin's relationship with his Uncle Lord Shimura but there are also lots of other characters that are given substantial time to shine, I especially enjoyed the adventures with con-artist Kenji & Monk Norio.

There are other activities in the game from collectables like artifacts, vanity items to paying your respects to Fox Den shrines. Scaling the damaged shrines brought back Tomb Raider memories.

Overall a great single player campaign, brilliantly voice-acted with an epic culmination.

Certainly up there with the great open world games this generation like The Witcher 3 & Horizon Zero Dawn. I have just completed my Game of the Year.

Next The Last Campfire by Hello Games.


19/11/2020

New Console - Playstation 5

 

 
 
Some initial thoughts after playing for a few hours.

The controller really is special and the bundled Astro Playroom really shows off the new features from adaptive triggers to the haptic feedback. The game itself is a trip down Playstaion memory lane with lots of nice touches and nods to classic games.
 
The console itself is heavy & tall but most importantly very silent. Hopefully it will forever stay quiet and the days of PS4 turbine gaming are gone. The dashboard feels very slick, fast & responsive.
 
I've not purchased any other games on launch because I have an extensive PS4 collection to still enjoy starting with Ghost of Tsushima.

16/11/2020

Need for Speed Payback (PS4) - Completed

I've had an itch to enjoy a racing game for a long time and nothing could scratch it until Need for Speed Payback was added to PS+ in October. 



Yes it has a really bad story but where it matters most in the driving it is great fun with four different classes in Drag, Race, Off-Road & Drift. Lots of events for you to complete which follow the main story arc in taking down various car leagues. There are also chips to collect, billboards to smash and tons of challenges from top speed, drift zones, jumps etc. In fact there are too many of these challenges that just litter the map!

To upgrade the cars you can complete events which you can replay if required to earn a card that will upgrade one of six components of your car. You can also visit a tuning shop to purchase these cards using the credits earned during the game. It is not too difficult to get cars up to the max level 18 and 399 rating.

When driving around you may get lucky and find a bait crate. These are great fun, you collect the crate & have to race to the destination with cops chasing you down.

Overall a great fun racing game that I enjoyed playing & it has definetly scratch my racing itch!


01/11/2020

Sayonara Wild Hearts (PS4) - Completed

 

I wanted to take a break from playing Need for Speed Payback to enjoy Sayonara Wild Hearts, Its a short experience just over an hour to play through this musical album. Game play has different sections on endless running, shooting, flying & driving. There is a score challenge to get gold rank on the stages which is very difficult to do on the first attempt but can be achieved with multiple playthroughs. 

20/10/2020

Sniper Elite 4 (PS4) - Completed

There is something satisfying about playing a sniper in a video game, taking your time to line up a shot and then bang! Headshot!

Sniper 4 let me enjoy those moments time after time to ensure I get that need out of my system for good.

Game completed & onto Need for Speed Payback.

PS5 will be arriving soon & Ghosts of Tshushima has been patiently waiting to be enjoyed.

06/10/2020

Entwined (PS4) - Completed

A nice short game where you control a bird & a fish over many lifetimes. One with the left stick & the other with the right, move both sticks in the directions of oncoming portals and collect orbs along the way. When your energy bar is full you can create a link and complete the stage. 

It's a very relaxing game and over in a couple of hours.

Next, I am still working my way through the PS+ game I want to play so Sniper Elite 4.

28/09/2020

Beyond Two Souls & Star Wars Battlefront 2 (PS4) - Completed

Completed two more games this week in Beyond Two Souls, surprised I missed it when it was released on the PS3, enjoyable sci-fi/supernatural story & Star Wars Battlefront 2 the levels where you are flying a tie-fighter/x-wing are the most enjoyable. Looking forward to playing Star Wars Squadron.

22/09/2020

Thank you PS4

 
With the PS5 looming VERY LARGE & assumming my pre-order arrives, the PS4 Endgame has arrived for me. I completed Final Fantasy 7 Remake at the weekend & have no intention of buying any more physical games. Ghost of Tshushima, CyberPunk, Star Wars Squadrons will all have to wait for the PS5 now.

That leaves me with eight weeks to enjoy games given away with PS+ I started with Erica yesterday a short intertactive film and not really much of a game.

Next is Entwined (another short game by Pixelopus who made Concrete Genie) then Beyond Two Souls.

I've loved the console for the games I have played but I am disappointed by the build quality of the Base PS4/PS4 Pro with regards to cooling, I had issues with controller thumb rot in the first couple of years but thankfully not since. My base PS4 still works, the kids use it to play Minecraft/Fortnite but it sounds like a turbine & even the PS4 Pro is tested at times.

I have enjoyed new experiences like PSVR but I mainly play video games for a good story.

1. Horizon Zero Dawn

The story was good but the combat just clicked for me. Hoping it gets a PS5 remaster so I can play it again.

2. God of War

That story 😃

3. The Witcher 3

Still the best RPG this generation. Cyberpunk out soon can’t wait to play that on the PS5.

4. Red Dead Redemption 2

I love westerns & Rockstar delivered another great experience to enjoy.

5. Spider-Man

Easily the best super hero game ever made at least until Miles arrives.

6. Titanfall 2

That single player campaign is amazing, a new twist at every turn and I love Mechs. Another game I hope is remastered on PS5 so I can play it again.

7. Metal Gear Solid V/Death Stranding

I put both of these together because KOJIMA!  

8. Uncharted 4

A fitting way to end the Uncharted franchise although I fully expect a new game to arrive on the PS5 at some point. 

9. Last of Us 2

Completed a few weeks ago damm Naughty Dog are at the top of their game.

10. Destiny

Yeah the story sucks but as multiplayer experiences go this is easily the most fun I have had this generation. Anyone up for the Vault of Glass?

Honourable Mentions

Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Dragon Quest Builders, Stardew Valley & No Mans Sky.

Thank you PS4, cheers & bring on the PS5!