No more youtube reviews for completed games, I just don't have the free time to create these & I'd rather enjoy playing games than reviewing them.
Game of the year for me last year was Yakuza Like A Dragon - The change of gameplay from action to turn-based JRPG was the perfect introduction I needed to the Yakuza series & I have been working my way through playing the earlier games having recently completed Yakuza 3 & 4.
I also completed Doraemon Story of Seasons which is a farming simulator in the vein of Animal Crossing & Stardew Valley, these game are a relaxing time-sink experience to enjoy.
My time with Fortnite however has come to an end, my daughter has stopped playing so this has given me the time back to enjoy more single player experiences & I'm currently playing Lost in Random an adventure game with an interesting dice throwing & card playing combat mechanic.
Completed Islanders (will upload review shortly), I went shopping over Black Friday and purchased both the Judgement Games, Assassin Creed Vikings (Valhalla) & some PSN credit which I used to purchase a few games of the PSN store including Yoku's Island Express which I am currently playing. Still cracking on with Fifa with Steven Gerrard icon being my latest purchase and I enjoyed the recent German Squad challenge, Slowly improving my skills and played my first game on World Class Difficulty which I won 3-1.
Completed Guardians of the Galaxy, sticks to the familiar TellTale formula but has a pretty good story to enjoy. Lots of Fifa obviously and enjoying Islanders which is a puzzle building game and when you complete the points target on one island you can move to the next randomly generated. I've had a few issues with the auto-save not working on this so annoyingly lost quite a bit of progression but it's a nice simple game to enjoy.
Not planning on picking up anything from Black Friday unless I see the Judgement Games below £25
Blogger have gotton rid of the widgets feature where I used to update my Currently Playing, so I'll now post on a regular basis instead.
After completing Yakuza Kiwami 2, I'm taking a break from these games until the new year. I've also finished with this Season of Fortnite having got up to level 151, so lots of Fifa 22 especially now that I have completed my LFC squad with Salah. Also playing through some of my back catalogue with Guardians of the Galaxy TellTale Series & picked up a small indie puzzle title off the store that has been in my wishlist in Islanders.
The continuation of a story with the same cast and locations is a very strong selling point to any entertainment medium. It gives you the viewer, reader or player familiarity, Yakuza uses this formula with Kamurucho & Sotenbori as it’s key locations and Kiryu Kazama as their main protagonist. You have some returning cast members but also lots of new characters to either loathe or enjoy in Yakuza Kiwami 2.
The story continues from the previous game with the introduction of the Jingweon Mafia and an interwoven plot which even delves into Kiryu's past and events that occurred many years earlier. There is also a nice recap at the beginning of the game which retells the events of the previous game.
Gameplay also has some nice quality of life improvements in that you can now place a marker on the map which will point you the way and sidequests are now shown at the start of each chapter so you no longer have to walk around trying to find them.
Levelling up is much easier with you gaining experience points from almost every activity including eating. Combat is limited to one fight style but you can unlock a vast number of moves and skills. The hostess mini-game is back and a nice surprise is the new Majima Construction mini game which is tough to master, Yakuza game tutorials have always been poor with a wall of text and screenshots. So either watch a tutorial on YouTube or Trial and Error to figure it out. Talking of Majima he also gets a 3 chapter story which is separate from the main game to tie off his story loose ends.
The story is the main reason I am drawn to these games and Kiwami 2 does not disappoint. After playing Yakuza 0 to Kiwami 2 back to back, I will take a break for a bit before starting Yakuza 3 in the new year.
I started playing Gris but I could not stop thinking about Yakuza after completing Yakuza 0. I obviously stopped playing Gris and started Yakuza Kiwami. Kiwami is a remake of the first PS2 released Yakuza game with some small changes, you play as Kiryu again and the story follows him having to deal with a decision made very early in the game. Nishki & Yumi return and there are some new characters that get introduced and a few that also have their story wrapped up. The main story is what make these games a joy to play and Yakuza Kiwami does not disappoint.
Majima is also back and has a unique task in the game to help Kiryu. These moments lead to some very funny sequences and is a highlight of the game outside the main campaign. Unlike Yakuza 0 this game is played out just in Kamurucho, you have a few missions in other locations but these are gated so you cannot explore.
The game mechanics are the same in terms of combat except this time you level up with experience points instead of using money. The mini-games are back but there is no main character mini game like the building game from Yakuza 0.
Compared to Yakuza 0, Kiwami is a much shorter game but I like that because it is more focused and not distracted by side activities. You can enjoy the main campaign in under 20 hours. I don't have the time to always play 60 hour plus games so give me a small concise experience anytime.
Next for me is Yakuza Kiwami 2, no only joking. I will be playing FIFA 22, I have a three year cycle with the Fifa Games mainly to enjoy playing Ultimate Team. I am also still playing Fortnite with my daughter & Nephew.
After enjoying Yakuza Like a Dragon I realised I made a grave mistake by ignoring the Yakuza series of games. I very much enjoy single player, character focus & story driven games. Yakuza ticks all those boxes and more.
The combat was my one concern because Like a Dragon was turn based and the other games were all action based. Would they be painful to play inflaming my RSI. Thankfully by dropping the difficulty down to easy and just focusing on enjoying the story the combat was fine, a few of the boss fights and longer sequences I had to pause for a rest but I had no searing pains unlike when I played Hades.
Yakuza 0 has a huge selection of mini games from Baseball, Pool to Karaoke and Disco Dancing. You play as both Kazuma Kiryu & Goro Majima and they each have a dedicated business mini game which allows you to collect money which you will need to upgrade your abilities and you will need a lot!
There are quite a few side quests in the game although it is difficult to know where they are because of a lack of quest markers. They will only trigger if you walk into a particular area of Kamarucho or Sotenbori, so make sure you spend some time wondering around the map exploring during each chapter.
I don’t want to spoil the story but I really enjoyed how it spends a lot of time with each character and their interactions with a huge supporting cast. Make sure you watch the end credit scene for a nice surprise.
I can’t wait to play the next game in the series Yakuza Kiwami but next for me is a couple of indie titles in Gris & Beyond Eyes.
Mutant Year Zero - Road to Eden is a X-Com style turn-based strategy game. You start the game with two characters Dux & Bormin and more will join later but you can only have a maximum of three in the field. There are various unique skills for each character giving you abilities like mind control & double shot.
If you have played X-Com you will be familiar with the gameplay, there are some changes like you can walk around with the characters and initiate combat when close to an enemy. If you take out these enemies silently then you can go back out of combat and walk around to collect loot & survey the area to plan your next attack.
You can upgrade weapons at the base, unlock perks by collecting artefacts and purchase items from the shop like grenades, scopes and medical kits. The map is split out into different areas as the story progresses and when you level up you can visit side areas for rare loot like a new weapon or armour. Occasionally you will also encounter a boss fight and these encounters will need careful planning otherwise you will die. The game can be tough in some areas but if you take it slow and pick off enemies in solo encounters with silent weapons & character skills you will quickly master the game.
X-Com 2 was very buggy for me on PS4 & I ended up with a save file that was corrupted after 25 hours. Thankfully I had no such issues with Mutant Year Zero and enjoyed completing the game.
Because I enjoyed playing Yakuza Like A Dragon earlier this year, I was interested in the previous games so next for me is Yakuza 0.
The First Tree is an indie exploration game with two stories, the first is the fox you play as trying to find it's missing family & the second is about Joseph who is dealing with the loss of a loved one, his story is told mostly through spoken dialogue.
Playing as the fox you have the ability to run & jump to collect orbs of light that guide you on your path through the world. Later on you can collect butterflies which allow you to jump higher. The gameplay is ok but does have a few frustrations in the later levels where I was unsure of where to go and some of the orbs were very difficult to collect. Be warn if you want to complete all the trophies in this game you will need to get all of the collectibles and orbs before completing a level, there is no chapter select option.
The game has a nice soundtrack but oddly only plays each track once so you spend most of the level wondering around listening to sound effects of the fox dashing or jumping.
What is impressive is that this game was made by one individual David Wehle, so whislt it is is rough in some gameplay sections it tells a story that is worth enjoying and can be completed in a couple of hours.
Next for me is Mutant Year Zero a turn-based xcom style strategy game.
I have tried to play Elite Dangerous a few times but the learning curve is too steep, No Mans Sky scratched my space travel itch back in 2016 but I had the urge again. After completing Spider-Man Miles Morales I looked through my PS+ library and found Rebel Galaxy and after watching a couple of reviews on youtube it deserved a try.
Three hours later and I was hooked. Transporting goods around the system, fighting pirates, saving merchants from attacks and playing the market to make some credit on Gold Ingots.
The combat is naval-style where you use broadside cannons to line up attacks & turrets target fighter ships. When you have enough credits you can look at either upgrading your weapons, defence or engine components.
Make sure you visit stations on a regular basis because these are also what trigger the auto-save feature. I had a couple of game crashes on the PS5 and lost some of my progress.
When you are either brave or strong enough to leave the first system you will get access to missions which offer a better reward and you no longer need to play the trading game. I was completing missions that would offer 100K which quickly made me save enough to purchase the Tennhausen ship. Thankfully all of your previous ship upgrades carry over and you just need to focus on the extra turrents on the new ship. There are quite a few ships in the game everything from nimble frigates to Destroyers & Dreadnaughts.
There is a simple story which will have you travelling through many systems and facing up against many foes. There is a staus bar for each faction but I found it almost impossible to get on a neutral footing with any of the pirate factions so just stuck on good terms with the Militia and destroyed anyone else that got in my way.
If you are looking for an 'Elite-lite' then Rebel Galaxy scratched that itch for me perfectly, next for me is The First Tree an indie exploration game.