The Last of Us Remastered

31 Jan

cliker

Released: July 2014

Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3

Age Certificate: 18+

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test:

(The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. The ability to regularly save and autosave and the ability to pause are brought into question. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

This is a game that you want to play in a dark room with no background noise and certainly no distractions.

You can play it with Justin Bieber playing in the background, but you will get your neck bitten many, many more times if you do this. You would also deserve it just for listening to Justin Bieber. Just don’t bother trying to play for a quick ten minutes while your girlfriend messes around. This game deserves and requires your full, undivided attention. Sound is very important in this game, as zombie screams are frequently your queue to go hide somewhere FAST. Realistically, you can use Joel’s listening super power all the time, but the voice acting really is superb and you will want to listen to everything as it adds to the overall atmosphere of the game.

The game is great for saving. It autosaves pretty much every minute or so, and most ordeals are only few minutes long before you are given a break. You can pause whenever you want too! You can exploit the save system and just sprint through hard parts of a level and the respawn with all the bad guys returned to their default position, but you should try to play the game naturally.

Score: 3/10

Girlfriend: “What is that clicking sound?”

Me: “Clickers”

Girlfriend: “Wahhh me no likey” 

This game does well on the sound, quick play and saving aspects of this test, but you should really play this game in a self contained bubble for full effect. You can play the game muted, but you will feel like you are missing out on a big part of the game.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test:

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability, and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

You will let out an exasperated sigh when your mate walks in the room. You wont let them have a go on single player as it will ruin the game for you. Unless you want to start a new game and watch them play… If your mate has a go on multiplayer, they will die loads. The controls are simple yet surprisingly hard to get used to, and the play style is alien to the un-initiated.

There is no same console multiplayer as usual, but many people are happy to sit and watch you play for a bit. Unless they come in after you just cleared a room of zombies and you are just checking drawers for nuts and bolts, the game moves at a pace similar to decent TV series. The ease with which you characters can be ripped apart generates a real sense of suspense for you and your audience.

Score: 2/10

Mate: “What film is this?”

Me: “It’s a game”

Mate: “Wow”

You don’t really want distractions when you play and you wont let your mate play, but your mate might want to watch.

Real life review Parent TestParent test:

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

Actually, this game is not too bad for the parent test. Swearing is pretty frequent but it is always necessary given the circumstances. Generally the gore isn’t too bad, unless your character gets munched. If you get caught by a bloater you need to make sure parents are out the room as the cut scene is offensively gruesome.

The Last of Us presents some incredibly creepy shit when you meet Dave. If you had strict parents, this part of the game could easily result in your game CD being split in two if they knew what was going on. Thankfully for you, it is pretty subtle so you should be OK if a parent barges in your room.

Score: 4/10

Parent: “Those mushroom head people don’t seem to like you”

If your parents are used to video game extreme violence and swearing you will be fine. Not a game for the living room.

Real life review inner rageThe Inner Rage Test:

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

You get pretty big kicks every time you make it through a section of the game. These kicks are multiplied if you do it without dying, or even without being detected. When you complete it, you have a sort of feeling of loss, like the feeling you get when you wont see two buddies again.

There were no glitches in my game, which was a first in my book. If you get stuck on a section you blame yourself rather than the game design. I know I played in a run and gun style at the start but I gradually became more stealthy out of necessity. I was sad that the achievements/trophies were incredibly hard to get, but that didn’t really matter.

Score: 9/10

This game left me feeling immensely satisfied. Every time I took down a bad guy I was like ‘hell yeah’. This -1 point is for making the trophies too hard to get.

real life review overallOverall:

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

I loved this game. It really is a once-in-a-generation kind of game. The graphics were clear and crisp and the environments were far more beautiful and varied then I imagined they could be. I was astounded that you would just sprint right through areas people had clearly taken weeks to design.

I story line is pretty breathtaking. If you have yet to play the game, don’t read any spoilers. I really was shocked by the story on several occasions. I haven’t cared about characters in a game this much before.

I for one didn’t feel like giving it a second play through, so longevity wasn’t there for me. It is quite a quick game compared to the likes of Skyrim etc, but in quality was so high in every other aspect that this did not matter to me.

Score: 10/10

Once in a generation perfection.

Far Cry 4:

25 Jan

far_cry_4

Released: November 2014

Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC

Age Certificate: 18+

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test:

(The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. The ability to regularly save and autosave and the ability to pause are brought into question. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

There are many moments where Far Cry requires your full concentration, and very few moments where you can leave the game unattended. Even when you stand on top of a desolate mountain to admire the view, there is a chance an eagle is going to have a go at making a dinner out of your eyeballs.

Thankfully the ability to pause and/or save is with you pretty much all the time, apart from on some missions. You cannot pause or skip mission cut scenes, so I missed out on a bit of the story line when I got phoned during a cut scene then it autosaved straight after. I had to watch one long cut scene three times as I couldn’t save during the mission and I had to come off to attend to real life. Thankfully, you usually respawn pretty much right next to where you died or quit.

This is a game that is great to play for a quick ten minutes or for hours on end. If your girlfriend says you have to go in a minute but you clearly see her without makeup you can casually play and find a few collectibles and secret locations and save and turn off without any fear of having to redo anything.

As for sound… well, you are going to need it if you are aiming to go into the wilderness at any point. You don’t need it that much when you fight humans as they are well and truly screen prompted and mapped out (apart from the fairly rare hunters). When in a car, you will want to turn sound off to blank out the insanely repetitive radio show. However, when you are walking around in the wilderness after jamming your vehicle in a tree, you really need sound. Chances are that you’ll hear animals before you see them, as they must get super excited and let out an almighty roar/bellow/howl/growl before they charge. If you don’t have sound, chances are that a large portion of your game will be the button bashing screen associated with a predator biting your forearm. Your forearms really take a beating in this game, believe me.

When I played, animal sound effects were oddly broken. Elephants would let out loud trumpets which would suddenly cut out mid trumpet…

Score: 7/10

Girlfriend: “If I hear that game radio show one more time I am turning that TV off”

Me: “Yeah, OK put some music on”

*Series of animations of forearm being bitten by stealthy predators*

Pretty good game to play for short stints with the ability to save progress at pretty much any time. Sound in the game is both annoying and sometimes crucial.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test:

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability, and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

No same console multiplayer. Why is this such a rare thing these days? This would be so fun together on one console… At least online gameplay is OK.

The game looks so awesome to the uninitiated. The graphics probably the second most beautiful (after The Last of Us) I have seen and one of the most realistic. When you play for a while you get obsessed with collectables and missions, but when you first start you just look around in awe. It is great to watch a mate play, you can relax as it doesn’t really matter if you die or use all your ammo as resources are plentiful. It’s also pretty priceless to watch someone crap their pants when a croc bites their forearm.

It’s initially easy to pick up and play as aim and shoot controls are standard. Driving controls are clumsy but half the fun of the game is when you drive over cliffs and end up in the middle of nowhere. Non-gamer mates will struggle with the concept of healing and changing weapon with the wheel, so it can get super frustrating to watch…

Your mate might think the game is lame if they walk in and watch you just walking around caves. You can play for ten minutes with absolutely nothing happening.

The fun will wear off after a while though and you will end up getting out a same console game.

Score: 6/10

Mate: “Can I play your jungle game?”

Me: “Sure, but watch out for tigers, bears, wolves and crocodiles”

Mate: “Nah I am getting on this hanglider”

Me: “OK, just don’t press square when you are on”

Mate: “Too late”

It’s pretty fun to watch someone else play for a bit just to see what terrible things happen to them, but it will get boring after a bit.

Real life review Parent TestParent test:

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

Far Cry 4 is surprisingly tame most of the time, but of course parents only walk in at the bad moments. You get to see ‘real’ CGI boobies in this game… which would be super awkward for your parents to see, may be even more awkward than real ones. Then there are the super trippy scenes, then there are drugs, drugs and more drugs and syringes festooned every where. I didn’t find the swearing that bad most of the time, but it gets pretty fruity.

Score: 4/10

Parent: “Why are you injecting yourself every ten seconds?”

Me: “To heal gun shot wounds and to see animals through walls”

Parent: “… Don’t do drugs”

As long as your parents don’t suspect you are a drug addict you should be alright. Most of the time the game is just you walking in a Himalayan paradise. The boobs can take you by surprise though.

Real life review inner rageThe Inner Rage Test:

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

Far Cry 4 is great for that feeling of achievement, as there are so many collectables that sometimes give you a reward. The game is easy most of the time, but just challenging enough in some of the missions to make you feel like true gamer. If you do happen to die you don’t get punished for it as you respawn in close proximity to your fresh grave.

I got really fed up with eagles. My forearm got attacked at least once every couple of hours and they are suprisingly hard to shoot down.

I really like the main part of the game, but for me the drug/demon quests are a bit of an unnecessary ordeal. This is a big part of Far Cry though so I guess I signed up for it from the start.

My main cause of death has been jumping out a buzzer mid flight. This was mainly because I had been playing another game with different driving controls and, well… I stopped that eventually.

Overall, the physics and controls are great and it is pretty fun to blow up bad guys. The difficulty curve is actually very smooth too.

Score: 8/10

Pretty satisfying, and the bits I didn’t like are relatively short.

real life review overallOverall:

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

Far Cry games are amazing value, as there is so much detail and so much to do. I have a feeling that many people don’t get to the end as it is such a big game. I feel like people in the game should have been given more attention. There are very few character models or phrases. Most homes you arrive at have no one in them, despite having a well tended garden. If you do find people, they know who you are, even if they are in the absolute middle of no where. I flew to a nomadic camp at the top of a mountain, and I was greeted with “hey Ahjay!”

Another main selling point of the game is the pretty sizable armoury. I have a feeling many like me choose a few guns and stick to them and wonder what the point is in the bulk of the underpowered weapons.

I love the way the game tests your moral convictions. The choice between Amita and Sabal is pretty hard… what is worse, underage marriage or drugs? I think drugs are worse but I don’t feel certain about it.

Score: 8/10

Very good graphics, OK realism, good storyline, very fun gameplay.

Super Smash Bros:

3 Jan

master hand super smash bros

Released: October 2014

Platform: 3DS, WiiU

Age Certificate: E

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test:

(The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. The ability to regularly save and autosave and the ability to pause are brought into question. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Super Smash Bros performs very well in the girlfriend test. The main reason for this is that most game modes last for a few minutes, and if you quit there are few consequences other than a few lost items. You can also pause the game in single player mode, which has the added bonus of viewing your characters mid “FALCON PUNCH”. Multiplayer battles are very short, so you can play a few of them if you have a few minutes spare.

Sound is also not necessary to play the game. Characters don’t say anything important other than a few “falcon kicks” here and there. The gameplay is very visual and you mainly rely on on screen prompts. You could probably play this while on the train, but you do have to concentrate when playing so you would look a bit weird.

Score: 9/10

Girlfriend: “Can you come off that thing and make me a coffee?”

Me: “Well being as the outcome of this one minute fight is ultimately irrelevant… Yes”

Gameplay is short and snappy and although you need near 100% concentration to play in harder modes, you can pause the game or turn it off without much regret.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test:

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability, and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

Let’s assume that your mate hasn’t walked in your room with their own 3DS. In my experience, you have to be organised to play together with a mate on a 3DS. If you hand over your 3DS to your mate for them to play for a bit, they will actually have a lot of fun. You can do pretty well in the game just by mashing buttons, although launching people can take a bit of skill. You don’t have to worry about your stats as no one ever checks these, and simply playing the game can unlock new content.

The game has quite a high coolness rating as your mate is more or less bound to recognise one of the plethora of characters. Don’t let them choose Sonic though… The main of the aim is to beat the crap out of everyone else, which usually goes down well with mates. The game suffers a little on coolness as it is so bright and cheerful, so it won’t stand up to the likes of Mortal Kombat.

If your mate does have their own 3DS you can play against each other. This will always make one of you angry. I always take fighting games personally.

Score: 8/10

Mate: “Did you just kill Mario with Bowser?”

Me: “Well, technically I launched him.”

Mate: “Is that good?

Me: “Apparently.

A game that’s easy to play and fun to master. Any mate will recognise at least one of the characters.

Real life review Parent TestParent test:

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

Well, your 3DS screen is always easy to hide, but lets imagine your game is projected onto the living room TV. Let’s start with the easy points… there are barely and words spoken let alone swearing, there are no boobies (although the Samus suit is a bit tight), it’s an E rated game and all the characters are very happy.

They might get offended by all the violence, but the screen looks like a blur of colour from a distance so you don’t need to worry about that.  The main problem is probably going to be you swearing at Master Hand.

Score: 9/10

Parent: “Did you just make Mario smack Princess Peach?”

Me: “Umm…. Yes. Please don’t make me think about what I am doing.”

Parent: “Do it again. She deserves it for causing all that trouble.”

*Uncomfortable silence as you repeatedly smack Peach around*

Parent: “Excellent. Now throw Daisy off the cliff.”

Pretty colours and scenery obscures the repeated public displays of Mario based domestic violence.

Real life review inner rageThe Inner Rage Test:

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

This game is a decent outlet for rage, with many moderately satisfying trophies to collect. The problem arrives when you aim for 100% completion. In which case Master Hand on level 9 intensity becomes the bane of your life. The lack of story also makes most accomplishments seem futile.

Score: 7/10

The game frequently creates rage, but it is minor rage as matches are so short, and it also lets you get rid of some.

real life review overallOverall:

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

I am a bit biased with fighting games. I find it annoying that you pay the same for a fighting game as you pay for a game like Dragon Age. There is clearly much less effort put into fighting games, as levels are tiny and you don’t require much in the way of physics etc. Yes, there are many characters and bonus characters and trophies… but the game very quickly becomes old for me. I smacked everyone around and unlocked all characters in 8 hours, and thought… what was the point in that?

It was great for a fighting game though.

Score: 6/10

If I could go back in time I would never have bought this full price. Preowned yes, but not full price. You just simply don’t get enough gaming hours, unless you relentlessly pursue trophies. It’s an OK game for public transport, but not much fun at home.

Shadow of Mordor:

28 Dec

shadow of mordor orc

Released: September 2014

Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360

Age Certificate: 15+

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test:

(The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. The ability to regularly save and autosave and the ability to pause are brought into question. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Shadow of Mordor performs pretty well on the girlfriend test. I wasn’t a massive fan of the voice acting (seriously, how posh and well-spoken were the slaves?) so I could cope with resorting to subtitle mode. On screen prompts flash up if an Uruk is about to brain you from behind, so you don’t require surround sound, or any sound really to play the game well. The game lets you pause whenever you want, so you can stop and help your girlfriend make dinner at any point!

The ability to save can sometimes be a minor issue, as you don’t have full control over this. The game only lets you autosave, so there in no ability to save and redo things without dying. Having said that, dying is actually a main feature of the game and it is required for the achievements/trophies; your death causes Uruk captains to level up as part of the nemsis system, and dying can be advantageous. I sometimes found it hard to trigger an autosave during a captain fight, and they could sometimes go on for a bit which made it hard to pull away from the game.

Score: 9/10

Girlfriend: “The taxis here, are you ready?”

*Generic decapitation sound effects*

Me: “Yup”

You can basically turn off whenever you want knowing it has saved pretty recently, and playing this game with dance music in the background doesn’t take much away from the experience – unless it a Gollum scene.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test:

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability, and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

This game looks pretty badass at a glance. By the time you finish the game you must have made about one kill per minute. There is not an option for same console multiplayer, but that’s not a problem really, as that would be really annoying. I remember how much fun it was in 2 player on the old PS2 LOTR games, but I am not too sad about that as this game is so much better.

If you are nice enough to let your mate have a go, they will probably fare well as the controls are pretty simple. The problem is that you probably wont want them to play at all as you wont want to risk them messing up your Uruk social scene, and the freeplay mode just feels a little… empty. This is one of those games that your mates watch you play, for about half an hour.

Score: 5/10

Mate: “What button is dodge?”

*Blarg the destroyer arrives*

Mate: “Why does he hit me every time I hit him?”

*Blarg embeds a throwing axe in Talion’s chest.*

*Blarg levels up and becomes immune to everything except fire.*

*Blarg become your mission objective.*

Mate: “Lol

Looks cool, and it is fun to rampage around on while mates watch, but there is a large chance playing with mates will wreck your game!

Real life review Parent TestParent test:

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

It’s a 15, but I think it’s a pretty soft 15+. For some reason I think it’s fine when an Uruk swears, as it suits them, like a bad uncle. There are no sexual scenes – although there is a bit of sexual tension near the end, and I swear I even saw a ladies ankle *gasp*. If parents walk in your room the worse thing they will see is a decapitation, which is fine, because it’s an Uruk and not a human… They are most likely to hear an Uruk say “those globs”… appalling language.

Score: 7/10

Parent: “Did you just behead that man?!”

Me: “It’s an orc.”

Parent: “Oh, that’s OK then”.

Don’t play it in the front room with your Granny, but otherwise you’re fine.

Real life review inner rageThe Inner Rage Test:

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

I found this game easy – when in doubt, dodge and shoot arrows. Dodge, dodge, dodge. I died once from a Carragor within the first 2 minutes, and then a second time from a 5 captain zurg rush. 5! I got smashed by a Graug and the Black Hand when I pressed Xbox X instead of Playstation X. Then that was it. I felt like a wraith lord. Part of me regrets the lack of death as it adds depth to the game. Oh well.

The game is very easy overall, you can stealth attack orcs very easily as they have no peripheral vision whatsoever, and can’t see you if you crouch, even if you are framed in a window right in front of them… you crouch, you are OK. So the ease annoyed me. As did the inconsistencies in climbing. Some sections of walls resisted you at all costs for no apparent reason. Other things which annoyed me included mighty Graugs which disappeared randomly while walking or fighting me, well spoken slaves and the boringness of the main character. I did not give a poop about his family who I saw for about 5 seconds at the start, or their loading screen bitching about how shit Mordor is.

The ease also made it very satisfying in a way, and the trophies were nice and simple to attain. Nothing really brought out any rage at any point. It was just a bit boring.

Score: 7/10

I attained no rage due to the difficulty. I also did not feel very satisfied due to the difficulty.

real life review overallOverall:

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

Beautiful graphics, especially up close. The weather effects were top class and I felt like I was playing two areas of ultra HD World of Warcraft. Fighting was fun and fluid, most of the time, like the best bit of Assassins Creed and Batman. The variability in orc/Uruk design (of captains) was amazing and would have me playing again and again if i was 12 years old. I learnt a lot about the Middle Earth, which was great.

Immersion was broken by the presence of identical male slaves (why no women) and the presence of Carragor cages, fires and fly nests EVERYWHERE makes you realise you are definitely in a game. Too easy for me and I didn’t like the main character. The lore was great but i didn’t really dig the story and I guess that good stories in games are too important for me.

Score: 7/10

The lore, graphics and gameplay was great but I didn’t really dig the story and I guess that good stories in games are too important for me.

The return 2

28 Dec

Real life had once again got in the way of Real Life Game Reviews.

I have moved from the UK to Australia, which is awesome. I have spent much of my time driving around and looking at kangaroos, but now Christmas has arrived I have bought myself a TV and a PS4.

I have said goodbye to my Xbox 360 and to be honest, I am happier with the PS4. I think the main reason for this is the nostalgia. i grew up with a PlayStation and a PlayStation 2 and I always sort of felt like a traitor.

The timing has been bad due to the online service hacks, but thankfully there are some great single player games knocking about

Let the reviews commence.

DOTA 2: Real Life Review

15 Dec

dota 2 emblemDOTA 2:

Released: 2013

Platform: PC, Mac, Linux

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test:

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and go do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

DOTA 2, or Defense of the Ancients 2, performs terribly on the girlfriend test. The game requires your undivided attention for at least half an hour and possibly even an hour and a half and beyond. At the start of the game you can sometimes break into a half hearted conversation with your lady while you kills some creeps, but if you want to multitask while playing then nine times out of ten you will end up being killed (repeatedly). The gameplay is basically a long slog where every move you and your team make could make the difference between victory and defeat. Your team mates will not appreciate girl related AFK time.

On the plus side, there is a tutorial mode, which you can pause. Having said that, this mode can more or less instantly be discounted as this game is all about the multiplayer.  There is also the benefit of sound being more or less useless so you can let your girlfriend hair dry and listen to music to her pretty hearts’ content.

Score: 2/10

Girlfriend: “Can I check Facebook for a second?”

Me: “No!!!”

Concentrate, or you will be kicked out of your clan. Or pay attention to your girlfriend and give up on the game…

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test:

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability, and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

You will have a hard time selling this game to your non-gaming mate, or even your hard-core gamer mate. People either don’t get this game or they love it.

The game looks cool from a distance with its pretty visuals, limitless killing and its ‘freeness’. Did I mention it’s free to download? The thing that puts people off is the learning curve. You can’t explain the fundamentals of the game to a friend without sounding like a huge nerd. If you give them a trial game a South Korean pro will probably wipe them all over the floor. As popular as this game is, most people don’t get it.

Score: 3/10

Mate: “That game looks cool, can I play?”

Me: “OK just do the tutorial first and…”

Mate: “Bye.”

Your non-gaming mate wont think it is a gay game, but they will think it is nerdy.

Real life review Parent TestParent test:

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room. ) disapproves

DOTA 2 will not offend your parents, but they really wont get it. Mainly because every time they walk in the room the game is likely to look pretty much exactly the same. They may quite rightly worry you are autistic and like doing one task over and over again. Watch out for rude dudes on microphones.

Score: 9/10

 Parent: “You are still playing that?”

Me: “Yes. It is completely different every time!”

Parent: “OK…” (Backs out the room quietly).

Pretty, repetitive fun.

Real life review inner rageThe Inner Rage Test:

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

Do not get emotionally involved in this game. If one person on your team is paying more attention to his girlfriend than to the game, your team is probably going to lose, and losing isn’t fun is it? No matter what your skill you can still be brought to ruin by terrible team mates, so remember to take a chill pill.

Score: 3/10

You are often sat wondering why your teammates are always at the wrong end of the map. Unless you find a team to play with often this will always be the case.

real life review overallOverall:

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

This really isn’t my sort of game but I can see why others would like it so I wont knock it. In terms of value for money it is perfect because it is free. There is a great deal of depth to the game as the multiplayer element makes most games unpredictable and if you have a competitive side to you, then you will be trying to learn new ways to get the upper hand.

Score: 8/10

Perfect value for money.

The return

15 Dec

Hi guys,

Real life caught up with me and I have a new job and i moved and I had no time to write anything.

Now I have a chance to write something. So here I go.

 

 

Minecraft: Real Life Review

29 Jun

creeper emblem.jpgMinecraft:

Released: 2011

Platforms: PC, Mac, and Linux (Java), Android, iOS, Xbox 360 (Xbox Live), Xbox 360 (Retail Disc), Raspberry Pi, Xbox One

Age certificate (UK): 7+

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test:

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and to go and do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Minecraft’s performance in the girlfriend test varies depending on the context. If you have any hint of OCD the Minecraft does badly in this test, if you are a more casual gamer it is never a real problem. I am somewhere in the middle so I will treat it as such. You can save at any given moment, but the thing that stops you from shutting down is the fact checkpoints are near none existent unless you carry a bed in your backpack. The ability to save and turn off varies. If you choose to save the game and turn off then you only have to wait several seconds and your freshly mined diamonds will nice and safe when you spawn safely back in your bed upon your return. If for some reason the world demands you shut down just as you have discovered a clump of diamond ore that you discovered in a tunnel that is several minutes journey from your base and you have no way of rediscovering it then you will most likely opt to temporarily ignore the real world.

If you are given a short amount of time to play you can make some progress providing you have been storing your materials. If you want to go collect materials you are probably going to find most stuff you want is too far from your base. Creative mode allows you to make a tonne of progress in five minutes as every item is there for your use.

Sound is an issue if you play seriously. Many things in the world can pretty much instakill you, and they sometimes only use sound as a warning. The grunt of a zombie will halt you from moaning through a wall directly into an infested dungeon. The scrunch of a creeper nearly always comes too late and you often leap out of your chair one second later at the sound of the accompanying bang, but the scrunch can make the difference of survival. I for one did not mind dying as it just resulted in you wandering back to your place of demise and picking up everything you lost.

Score: 7/10

Girlfriend: “Let’s go to the shops.”

Me: “Sure, after I get all this ore. Oh wait, I’m dead. Just give me ten minutes to get everything!”

It generally does well in the girlfriend test but sometimes you literally cannot come away without suffering.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

If you lack patience you should probably not consider introducing an uneducated gamer to Minecraft as it will all go over their head. While you are stressing out trying to build a shelter they will be at the bottom of a 10 block deep pit. If you can play with a mate then you will have a great deal of fun. You can play locally or online, but if a mate wanders into your room and they want to hang out it is all about playing locally.

To me the main benefit of playing Minecraft locally is that your mate can witness your creations. After you have finished your castle with your lava moat and herds of farm animals you often just reflect on time wasted. If your mate says its cool then it is all worth it. Playing multiplayer locally is sort of like playing by yourself with someone else. Things can go a bit awry if you and a mate are working on the same house and monsters are not generally hard enough to require you to fight them together – until you reach the Nether and the End. It is fun to share resources or have one builder and one miner but you often just wan to do your own thing.

You do risk a mate seeing you play Minecraft consider you to be childlike, and the fact is Minecraft is childlike and that is what makes it brilliant. This is because it is virtual reality Lego with monsters. You can finally achieve your Lego based childhood dreams you could not achieve before because your parents only got you the starter set. Minecraft feels like an embarrassing habit. If you are over the age of 16 you will casually ask your friend if they play in the same sort of way people awkwardly ask strangers if they take the same recreational drugs.

Score: 4/10

Mate: “What are you playing?”

Me: “Minecraft.”

Mate: “Oh, my 5 year old cousin plays that…”

If you propose a game of Minecraft to a friend they will either emit a girlish sqeual or they will use it as reputational blackmail.

Real life review Parent TestParent test

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

I do not need to say much in the parent test. The game passes with all the flying colours of the rainbow. There are few things that look remotely offensive when presented as cubes and there is not even a glimmer of drugs, nudity or swearing. There is violence, but what game does not have violence. You only kill farm animals or monsters so this is all morally right and proper. The act of slaughtering a pig is comical and ungraphic. Sure kids turn into murdering maniacs with a higher kill count then anyone in the SAS but it doesn’t matter s everything looks so cute. If your parent walks into your room at a random point you will most likely be mining… or crafting. The worse they have to worry bout is whether or not you grow up.

Score: 10/10

Parent: “Oh, 3d Super Mario Brothers.”

Me: “Since when does Super Mario contain pigs.”

Parent: “Since when do 23 year olds play games like this?”

Me: “Fair.”

The worst thing a parent can worry about is your mental age.

Real life review inner rageInner rage test

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

Minecraft certainly gets frustrating, but overall it is pretty relaxing. If you are going to die it will most likely involve lava, or a bottomless pit so all your objects are destroyed or lost. These frustrating features are mitigated by the cute music and a colour palette that tries a bit of everything (which is very unusual in games these days). Creative mode allows any frustration to be removed as you have unlimited access to anything in the game. Part of the fun is in the frustration, you need to have that bit of fear in you when you go on a mining expedition to keep the game fresh. You can also get annoyed by endless traveling…

Score: 7/10

real life review overallOverall

A great game that I wish was available when I was a kid. It is still fun as a big kid but it just doesn’t quite keep me entertained long enough anymore.

Score: 7/10

Dishonored: Real Life Review

15 Jun

dishnoured emblemDishonored:

Released: 2012

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Age certificate (UK): 18+

 Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and to go and do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Dishonored did not steal much of my time off my girlfriend.  This was partly due to the fact the campaign is rather short if like most people you end up blitzing through the whole thing spamming blink. The auto-save feature and the general save features are made with a real life person in mind. Each level is thoughtfully planned into many subsections that are created with the thought of your inevitable failure and your requirement to reload. Your play through will usually feature you negotiating your way past a group of guards, then there will be a safe corridor where it auto-saves, then another group of guards, then a corridor with an auto-save, then some rats or poison spitting things, then a book about a whale, then a book about rats. I didn’t read the books.

Dishonored gives you ample amounts of opportunity to switch off your game without much regret. Once you manage to get past a section it is usually easy to use the same technique to get past it again. Unfortunately for me, once or twice I had to turn off and attend to the real world and when I came back I found I had got through a section on dumb luck alone and I struggled the second time. If you are one of those which is aiming for the elusive  ‘no detection’ or ‘no kills’ related achievements /trophies, then the girlfriend test is a whole different ball game as doing it this way can mean a section takes ten minutes to negotiate before a checkpoint occurs.

Unlike many action/stealth games you can easily play for a quick stint while your girlfriend arranges her shoe collection. Even if you don’t make it to a checkpoint in your indeterminate amount of play time, you can still scout ahead, which is just as important.

Sound is an issue in Dishonored. You often hear enemies before you see them, whether it is the soft scurrying of rats, the warble of zombies (let’s face it – they’re zombies) or the woosh of an assassin blinking (that’s teleporting), you often need to hear them so you don’t run straight into them and get mauled to death. I was able to play with sound turned down and subtitles on for most of the game, but I suffered for it. I would often take on the entire group of guards I had dived into the middle of rather than play stealthily. I was often on a drip feed of health potions and I couldn’t help feel a top class assassin would have listened for footsteps instead of overhearing his girlfriend talk to her mother,

Score: 6/10

Girlfriend: “Can we get a pet rat?”

Me: “Nooooo!”

Although Dishonored is exceptionally good in its ability for you to pause, save and turn off, it is very hard to play with someone in the room. Your girlfriend will also not appreciate constant rat sound effects.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

If you think Dishonored is going to do well in the mate test then I should stop you right now, as you should know it does not do well at all. There is no multiplayer of any kind, which I am very glad of as that would have been an absolute mess. The game is all about the story. The problem is that it is very much a game for playing in isolation. If your mate walks in the room and wants to watch they will quickly become impatient and they will urge you to stop being a little pussy and to attack everyone in sight. You will of course try to explain how you are aiming to complete the game in low chaos mode and you need to not be noticed by that guard who has been staring at the box you have been hiding behind for ten minutes. Your mate will laugh at what a loser you are. You will relent and attempt a rampage and last for three seconds as you did not notice one of those light walls and you find your super assassin has turned to dust.

Contrary to the opinion of many gamers, steampunk is not universally cool. It is still a niche market so please treat it as such a thing when introducing it to mates. Please do not sit there reading an in game fictitious book about whale oil if your mate is sat watching you play as you will look like a Mega-Nerd. It is perfectly OK to do this when no one is looking, but it does not look cool. I wouldn’t go as far to say the game would be called ‘gayyy’ but it will not boost your coolness reputation as much as Call of Duty does.

Score: 2/10

Mate: “Stop reading that book on rats and let me have a go.”

Me: “OK but you can’t kill anyone as you might ruin my no kill streak.”

Mate: “I thought this game was about an assassin.”

This game is great for playing by yourself but not with your mates. It is full of suspense when you play but it is boring as hell to watch.

 

Real life review Parent TestParent test

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

To be honest, you could play most of this in front of your grandparents if you did not go around killing everyone in sight. There is a bit of swearing and it does get a bit stomach churning when rats start munching up a corpse, but overall I found the game to be pretty inoffensive.

If a parent came in the room at a random interval they are likely to see you warping around on rooftops or darting between random urban features. At worst they will see you playing a scene where you are torturing a guy with sexual implements but to be honest it was not as bad as it sounds. At a glance the game’s most offensive features are drugs, witchcraft and prostitutes, but all the features are treated with a very Victorian attitude. Prostitutes are covered head to toe in most cases and you would not really fancy trying the drugs. I do not like witchcraft so I chose to beat the crap out of a certain old lady to make myself feel better. Of course there is the matter of violence, but there is very little gore, as the aftermath of sword fights and gunshots is a corpse with a patch of red. Boring people even have an option to not kill anyone apart from bosses.

Score: 7/10

Parent: “Tell me why you should play this instead of doing homework.”

Me: “It teaches me that stealing and fighting the government is better than murdering everyone.”

The game did not remotely offend me but some of the issues may offend one or two. Despite the game being so dark and dingy you are persuaded to play nicely. How sweet.

Real life review inner rageInner Rage test

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

Dishonored is designed to be challenge, so therefore the fact that it is intended to be hard makes the game less frustrating. You know that you are supposed to repeatedly get clobbered to death and you have to learn how you are meant to get through a section. The game was very clean in terms of bugs and glitches; I encountered none despite the fact I often took very unconventional routes. It goes without saying that I would be annoyed when I failed a section for the third time and sometimes I would give up for the day, but I felt the need to complete the game. There were many points where I gave up on trying not to be seen by anyone, so I just went berserk and killed everyone, but I managed to limit myself enough to complete the game in low chaos, which was enough for me. Having said all this, the game is hard, it often makes you feel stupid, and you have to wait too much, so if you play games for a sense of achievement you should try something easier.

Score: 6/10

Despite the fact I know the game is supposed to be hard and there were very few moments that were particularly annoying (other than boss fights), it still gets annoyingly difficult.

real life review overallOverall:

After playing Dishonored I have come to the conclusion that I would not have bought it if I knew what it was like. I feel like Dishonored was more of an ordeal than a fun game, failure was frequently punished and I hate being made to wait or having any sort of time limit in a game. If a guard took more than twenty seconds to patrol a circuit I would give up and go and knock him out rather than wait. The box art sold me one of the coolest looking characters I have ever seen, and guess what – you see the mask for mere moments. It felt like the game was made to give you a guided tour of someone’s art project, and unfortunately I am not a fan of steam punk.

After saying all that, there were moments in the game that were brilliant. The masque manor party was one of the best moments in a game ever and blinking behind a guard and knocking him out is a tonne of fun (remember blinking means teleporting – you do not have superhuman eyelids). The storyline had enough to keep me going, even though it was painfully predictable.

Score:6/10

That is my personal score. I can see why others would like it, but was just not my cup of tea.

Assassin’s Creed III: Real Life Review

8 Jun

assassin creed III emblem

Assassin’s Creed III:

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Microsoft Windows

Released: 2012

Age certificate: 12

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and to go and do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Assassin’s Creed games in general do not perform badly in the girlfriend test. Assassin’s Creed III will steal you from your girlfriend for around 20-30 hours on average. I ended the game on around 24 hours but I spent a fair amount of time collecting some of those precious collectables.

You sometimes possess the ability to save and turn off at you girlfriend’s whim. The main missions can drag on for a long time, and sometimes relentlessly run one into another, but thankfully this is not a problem as you can turn off at any point and start again from one of the frequent autosave checkpoints. When you press pause the game actually pauses, which is always a bonus. Problems occur when you have to turn off when you are just about to reach a checkpoint of collectable in the middle of the Frontier. Fast travel points are frustratingly few and far between and you quickly grow bored of riding a disgruntled horse for the majority of the game just to get anywhere important. Sure, you can get more fast travels points in the irksome city tunnel minigame, but that felt like a bigger waste of time than running endlessly – and that’s a big statement. When dear old Connor is stood on a tree branch in the centre of the frontier, inches away from a collectable feather, you will ignore pleas for you to switch off.

If you are given a random amount of time to play while your girlfriend fools around with makeup you will be able to make some progress with your game. There are many activities that can take seconds or minutes to complete and hundreds of collectable’s to hunt down. If you have ten minutes you can complete a few things and happily switch off. As previously mentioned, the fast travel situation can be annoying, so later in the game you will need at leave five minutes just to get to the more isolated activities. If you have time to burn you can also just go on a rampage in one of cities, or you can ride around the countryside air assassinating deer off the back of your indifferent stead.

Sound is not an issue. If an enemy notices you the screen flashes red, so you wont lose out if the game is muted. I had subtitles on most of the time and I didn’t miss the monotonous drone of Connor’s voice. To be fair, the voice acting is not too bad and the background sound effects are subdued, so playing the game in a room with people is not going to cause offense most of the time, but the constant virtual sound of metal going through flesh may eventually cause your girlfriend to demand you mute the game.

Score: 7/10

Girlfriend: “Can you stop playing and come help me choose a dress?”

Me: “Wait, I am busy.”

Girlfriend: “Sure… I have just watched you assassinate rabbits for 20 minutes.”

Me: “Fair enough. Here I come.”

Aside from the problem of where you spawn and fast travel, the rest of the game caters for short stints and the ability to save, or to play with no sound.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

If they walk into your room midgame a mate who has not got Assassin’s Creed III will be entertained for a short period of time. If they are completely new to Assassin’s Creed altogether they will be impressed with your constant swashbuckling prowess and the graphic visuals. Unless of course they walk in at a frequent Desmond scene, in which case the game looks like a boring pile of steamy horse dump. If your friend is familiar with Assassins Creed they will be unimpressed with your combat skills, as they know how damn easy it is to play. If they have not progressed as far as you have they will instantly run out of the room to avoid spoilers and if they have completed it is likely they will tell you what the ending is.

Don’t get me wrong, Assassin’s Creed III is a cool game. The graphics are painfully good, (if you disagree you need to get the brightness right, or it looks washed out), but it’s not that fun to watch or to take it in turns on rampages, simply because it is so easy to play. The game is more about the storyline, and you will want to share this experience alone with Connor.

Multiplayer on the other hand can be great for playing with mates as a drinking game. Go ahead and take it in turns and see who gets the best score. You can go mental and sprint around like a mad man therefore ruining it for everyone, or you can play stealthily – both options are entertaining. Mates new to the game will murder everyone in sight; so if you care about your kill/death ratio play something else. You cannot play multiplayer on the same console so don’t buy it if playing with friends is that important to you, and if you do not have an Internet connection you may as well give up on playing with mates.

Score: 3/10

Me: “Kill the guy that is shown in that portrait, but only when the sound effects show he is near.”

Mate: “I’m dead.”

Me: “Try again.”

Mate: “He’s dead. I’m dead”

Mate: “Let’s just go outside.”

Assassin’s Creed III is made for the story mode. Just give up on local multiplayer. Online mode is fun, but I have had issues connecting with mates.

Real life review Parent TestParent test

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

Assassin’s Creed III is inoffensive to most, if you ignore the constant emotionless murder. I like the way the game tries to be ethical and it does not let you kill too many civilians, but I feel a small pang of guilt when I stand in a pile of redcoats. I look at the those poor English men dying in a foreign land and I imagine them looking forward to going home for a steak and ale pie with their mother, and I think about they only signed up because the local linen mill up north wasn’t hiring that summer.

Did I mention I am from England? The game pricked a nerve when I received help from a Frenchman in killing redcoats, I would have stabbed that dude in the face, but I am rather patriotic. Since my family has a military background I would not like to let my Dad walk in and see me slaughtering our own men for my own entertainment. I was fine with it as the game assured me they were evil Templars, and you find out the American’s are just as bad, but it would not look good at a glance.

If a parent walked in at a random moment it would most likely feature you running around aimlessly or riding a horse. As usual, swearing is pretty held back and there is thankfully no awkward virtual nudity or virtual shags. The game is very pretty and quiet so you could play most of it sat in the middle of the lounge without offending anyone. If you have any animal lovers in the family don’t let them see you play the game for the first few hours as you are forced to massacre the entire cast of Bambi, but after that you don’t generally have to bother with the unfortunate local animals.

The game also has the added bonus that it teaches you history, or at least, the history of a parallel universe. You do require knowledge of the American Civil War for most of the story to not go over your head, but you can claim to parents you are being ‘educated.’

Score: 7/10

Parent: “I said dinner’s ready… why are you stabbing all those raccoons?”

Me: “So I can sell their hides in Boston so I can buy more weapons.”

Parent: “Oh OK. How much would we get for your stinky hamster?”

If your parents like to invade your room they will not be likely to be offended if they are OK with violence. Otherwise they will probably ban you from this game, in which case you should pause it if you are stood on a mound of corpses.

Real life review inner rageThe Inner Rage Test

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

Assassin’s Creed III is easy as long as you master the simple combat system, so you should be able to get through most of the gameplay without being halted. There are one or two missions that are notable exceptions, such as when you are chasing a certain Templar at the end of the game. You will either love or hate the ship missions; I for one saw them as an annoying obstacle, but I completed them easily enough. I also did not want to kill animals, at all. I wanted to climb tall buildings and gaze across the game world, but the tallest thing I found was a tree. A tree. I fell out the tree a died. Connor was a nice enough chap to play as but he was a bit dim at times; Connor’s befriending of the main enemy was predictable and cringe worthy.

I had to restart one or two missions due to bugs and glitches, sometimes you would get to the checkpoint and nothing would happen, and people would spawn several metres away. Sometimes just as you assassinate a target a group of guards spawn in your exit, which seems implausible with colonial technology. As funny as it was when a NPC got stuck in the scenery and started spasming it would kind of ruin the atmosphere of the supposedly ultra advanced simulation.

Obviously the Desmond scenes were annoying, as you found yourself being ripped out of colonial America and thrown into a depressing modern day, but they were the most enthralling Desmond moments of the series. At least when you completed the game you feel Abstergo deserved everything that happened to you.

Score: 6/10

As you can see I had a few things to moan about but in general the game is very satisfying as you easily outsmart the enemy hordes and you pay very little for a series of mistake leading to death. There were some serious bugs that upset the game in parts.

real life review overallOverall

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

Assassins Creed III is a great game and I recommend it. It will keep you occupied for hours, but only the most OCD of you will persevere to get all the collectables. The storyline is the easiest to follow in the series but you have to keep concentrating. It is just as entertaining as the other installments but I can confess I ignored most of the introduced weapons such as rope darts, as a sword and pistol suffices in nearly every single situation. I also rejected many of the new features of the game such as ship battles and animal slaughter. It was still my second favorite Assassins Creed after good old number II.

Score: 8/10

Please. No more ship battles, no more massive environments that require hours of traveling and more tall buildings and more swashbuckling. What’s this? Assassins Creed Black Flag? I guess that means more ships!