Video Game Review – Gears of War 4

Nath sometimes reviews games for us. This is one of those times. He’s been playing Gears of War 4 on Xbox One.

We currently live in a world where all films in the cinema are currently superhero movies (not complaining about that), sequels that people thought were overdue but really should’ve stayed locked away and remakes of films that probably didn’t need remaking. It seems like the video game industry is going that way too. We’ve had Doom (or Doom 4), Uncharted 4 and soon the Final Fantasy 7 remake. The next game to come into this endless sequel cycle is Gears of War 4.

Before I get into the review, I would like to say that I am a massive Gears of War fan. I truly believe it is one of the greatest game series ever created, maybe even the greatest. The gameplay is fantastic, the voice acting is top notch and the storyline is engaging. I have also played Horde a lot as well, even managing to complete the 50 waves with a great team of four (Editors note from Adam – I was one of those four!). When Gears 4 was announced I was excited but I didn’t feel like the game needed a sequel as it could potentially ruin one of my favourite series. However, with it being an Xbox One exclusive and a Gears game, I went into it with an open mind.

Please be aware this review has spoilers.

The game begins with First Minister Jinn commemorating the 25th anniversary of the victory against the Locust. During that time, an elderly Hoffman recounts the battles he faced during that time, including the end of the Pendulum Wars, E-Day and a battle at Anvil Gate at the end of Gears 3. You play a squad member in each memory as a tutorial which is a great start to the game. There are new weapons to play with and new gameplay to enjoy too, which I will explain later.

Once this is done, you meet J.D., Del, Kait and Oscar. J.D. and Del were once part of the COG but had deserted, a crime punishable by imprisonment. They now lead a raid party to help Kait’s mother, a leader of an outsider village. Their aim is to steal a Fabricator, basically a box of tricks to give power to the village. During the raid, they come across a new enemy called DB, also known as killer robots and these come in all shapes and sizes.

After stealing your box of tricks, you head back to the village which gets attacked again by the robots and you use the fabricator to build defenses in order to hold the base. After a successful defense, people start disappearing from the village, including Oscar and Kait’s mother.

You decide to meet up with your father (Spoiler Alert) Marcus Fenix. Marcus, now an old man, is bitter that his son joined the COG and even more annoyed that he has deserted it and put himself in grave danger. Nonetheless, he agrees to help the group as he fears the “Swarm” may be another version of the Locust. He takes them to a mine where the locust bodies were dumped to see if they can get a clue, but all they have done is opened a big can of worms. A mighty big can of worms.

It is truly a fantastic campaign. The gameplay isn’t too different from the Gears of old, however there are some added extras. You can now vault over obstacles and if there is an enemy behind it, you have the opportunity to stun the enemy in order to execute them. My favourite feature is the pull-over. If you are one side of the wall and there is an enemy on the other side, you can pull him over the wall and stab them. This however, can only be done on Drones.

The new enemies mainly consist of DB’s and the Swarm. DB’s are basically killer robots. They range from small ball-like exploding robots to unmanned armed helicopters. They are supposed to be Peacekeepers, but it seems someone has upgraded them to kill instead.

The Swarm are the new locust-type enemies. Drones are similar to grubs, however there are some interesting new enemies. Particular favourites are Pouncers, basically large dog like creature that has the ability to throw quills from its tail. It has the ability to pounce on you and maul you to death unless you can shake it off or someone shoots it off.

There is also another enemy called the Snatcher, clue is in the name here. It is a large enemy with a tail with the ability to take you down with one shot, a sort of sniper tail. Doesn’t sound too bad, however if your team doesn’t revive you, he will snatch you and the team have to shoot you out of it’s stomach or he will literally run off with you.

The weapons are mostly the same, but there are some interesting new ones too. Overkill is basically a shotgun that fires 2 shots for 1 bullet, making it very powerful. My favourite is the Buzzkill, basically a large cannon that fires circular saws at the enemy. If you miss, they bounce off walls and take out what you may have missed.

There is only one thing that lets the game down, which is the friendly AI. I play the game a bit gung-ho, I will likely charge and shoot at the enemy. There isn’t an issue when fighting normal enemies, however when fighting the Snatcher, I did get hit by that tail. Normally the team will try and revive you but when the Snatcher sees a downed enemy it runs towards it like me towards a bucket of chicken and eats you whole. Now if there are no enemies about, the team will shoot you out, but if there are other enemies, your team ignores you and lets you to be carried off to your impending doom. It is very annoying, it happened so many times during one particular moment.

Horde 3.0 is the newest version of Horde available in this game. Again, it is not too dissimilar to old Horde, but instead of set areas where you can place things like in Gears 3, you have a Fabricator that allows you to place barriers and turrets wherever you want. It means you can choose where you want to setup camp, although I am yet to find the best place to hide in each level. To spend money, you have to collect it from the kills you make and place that into the Fabricator in order to spend it.

There also classes for Horde in order to diversify the team. They are split between Soldier, Heavy, Sniper, Scout and Engineer. They come with different load-outs and bonuses for your game ahead. So far I have only made it to wave 20, so Horde does seem a lot more difficult now, mind you I am playing with people online instead of my friends who are good players (Editors note – except Alex and Tian).

In conclusion, the new Gears franchise has a decent start and to make things better, it comes with all the previous Gears games so I can replay the first series again. I think it is much better than the Halo franchise that has resurfaced too. The Coalition have done a fantastic job taking this on and they should be commended for it. Overall it receives 9 Buzzkills to the face out of 10. Some slight improvements are still needed but it is a fantastic start.

Nath

You can pick up Gears of War 4 through our handy-dandy Amazon link here, and we get a little taste from your purchase!

Video Game Review – Far Cry Primal

Nath sometimes reviews games for us. This is one of those times. He’s been playing Far Cry Primal on the Xbox One.

So the franchise that really doesn’t know what it is releases a new game that isn’t connected to any of the previous games whatsoever. The first game had an ex special forces agent trying to rescue a journalist, the second is tracking down a mercenary in Africa who has turned two fighting factions against each other, the third is where a tourist is abducted by pirates but escapes and tries to rescue his friends and the fourth is where you try and overthrow a self appointed king in the Himalayas. These are just the main games, there are many spin-offs as well, with Far Cry Primal being the latest of these from Ubisoft Montreal. Is it still just another mediocre game in a mediocre series, or is it something completely unique in it’s own world? Please note this review may contain spoilers.

 

 

You play a hunter called Takkar, who is part of a tribe of humans called Wenja, a tribe that is dying out in the world due to the oppression of the cannibalistic Udam tribe and the pyromaniacs of the Izila tribe. Your main goal is to rescue your tribe, set up a camp/village and allow your tribe to prosper. Very simple premise to begin with and a fairly valiant quest seeing as you are tribe looking to survive instead of eating each other or setting fire to everything.

You arrive in the valley of Oros, a new land where many animals lives and exotic plants grow, after being chased down by a sabre-tooth tiger. You meet a gatherer who attempts to help you set up a safe place for the Wenja tribe, but along the way you meet a lot of interesting and colourful characters, including one guy who pisses on you and thereafter refers to you as “Piss face”. Each character can allow you to learn new skills, craft new weapons or look for certain resources, plants or animals.

The world is a mixture of rivers, grassy plains, forests, caves and snowy areas. It is a sandbox-style game, where you can explore the world Oros and it’s many beasts, as well as performing small side-quests along your journey. It isn’t as big as Fallout 4, but you still have a lot to explore.

The gameplay is brilliant. The variety of weapons is fairly small, mainly limited to clubs, bows and spears, but also including throwing shards, bait bags and sting bags (basically mini bee hives). My particular favourite is the spear, mainly because you can just poke things constantly or if you have a keen eye, can throw from a long distance and cause some serious damage. One of my favourite skills is the beast master ability, where you can tame some of the wild animals of Oros. Of course, you don’t really want to tame a deer, they aren’t going to do much, but having a sabre-tooth tiger as your wingman has some excellent advantages. Apparently the badger is supposedly a handy sidekick too, I’ll let you know if I find one. (Editor’s note – Nath did find one. Apparently it took out a Mammoth)

The storyline is pretty decent, nothing too complicated, just making sure your tribe survives. There are a lot of side-quests and it is easy to get distracted from the main plot. However, like Fallout 4, the side-quests can ultimately make you overpowered for the main quest, but who cares if you have a bear as your backup instead of a jaguar?

There some drawbacks however. The game does rely on you creating weapons and ammo using the crafting method which means you do have to do a fair amount of foraging. It’s not too bad I guess, but if you want that particular bow, you sometimes have to skip to the other side of the map to obtain the resources instead of the area you wanted to be in. However, you can skip this by sleeping which allows your daily resources to become available from all the hunters and gatherers in your village.

The weapon wheel can be a bit complicated too. There’s quite a few things you have to do to select the weapons you want. For example if I want my short bow, it’s LB, followed by the left stick to highlight the bow, then left/right to select the bow I want. What makes it worse is that the gameplay doesn’t pause. You can see the pack of wolves surrounding you whilst you’re trying to get your best club out.

In the end the game is breath of fresh air in a video game landscape populated by guns and ammo. It is nice to see something different for a change that isn’t a Call of Duty: Something, or Assassin’s Creed: Something, or FIFA 20 or whatever number it is on now. I’d give Far Cry Primal 8 spears to the face out of 10. It will almost certainly will be in my top 5 games of the year I think, but probably won’t make number one (unless Doom turns out to be a complete disappointment)

Nath

5 Games to Look Forward to in 2016

Nath sometimes writes for the site. This is one of those times.

2015 was a brilliant year for gaming. Fallout 4, Arkham Knight, MGSV:The Phantom Pain to name a few. But what have we got in store for us in 2016? This article will show the games I am personally looking forward to this year. Some may be from my list last year as release dates may have been pushed back or we will have been lied to.

I won’t lie this is a tough article to write as there are a lot of games coming next year that have piqued my interest. However I believe these top 5 are the ones I believe will hopefully make 2016 another fantastic year for gaming.

5. Quantum Break

From developers Remedy Entertainment (Max Payne), this game starts off my top 5 for 2016. Xbox One exclusive, where the main character is able to stop and manipulate time in order to try and correct a failed time travel experiment. It features Dominic Monaghan (Merry from LOTR) as the main character Jack Joyce which is a promising start, but the unique feature about this game is that it comes with a TV show as well. The live-action show plays at the end of each segment and it will be personalised depending on the choices you have made throughout that segment.

This game has a high risk, high reward factor within it. It could be seen as the next step in gaming or seen as gimmick that never takes off, but regardless of that, the gameplay trailers for it look absolutely spectacular.

The release date is 05/04/16 in the UK. It will be safe to say that I will be reviewing this game at some point in the new year, just hope it doesn’t disappoint.

 

4. For Honor

Firstly it’s spelt Honour but I will skip over it for the time being. Developed by Ubisoft (Assassin’s Creed) it is a 3rd person melee game that pits Vikings, Knights and Samurais against each other. It looks like a Dynasty Warrior type game but with MMO thrown in.

Ubisoft have said that each faction will have it’s own unique special abilities. They have also said it will use the analogue sticks to control movements and actions in battle. Could be complicated to handle, but we all enjoy a challenge. I do have one question though: do I choose Viking or Samurai? No one wants to be a Knight, they suck.

There is no official release date yet, but apparently it is sometime in 2016. It will be available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.

 

3. Battleborn

The only way I can describe this game is complete and utter madness. Developed by Gearbox Software (Borderlands) it is an online 1st person shooter where you choose between 25 characters and then go all out crazy to destroy each other. Each character has their own abilities, for example, 1 character has a mini-gun but is slow to move, another character has a sword, but is quick and nimble.

The gameplay trailers look amazing, definitely a game I will be purchasing next year, just got to hope that everything isn’t one-sided with certain characters.

It is expected to come out on 03/05/16, however it has already been pushed back once. It is available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC, however PS4 users will hopefully have a Beta to play early next year.

 

2. Final Fantasy 15

This was on my list last year, however it wasn’t released. To be honest I will be surprised if it is released in 2016. However nonetheless, it is still a game to look forward to.

The game will be set in an open world which means you can freely travel about in a car or on a Chocobo (yay). There are also day and night cycles in the game and 1 day equals to 1 hour of gameplay time, you can sleep in hotels and campsites however to change the time. Also the monsters you encounter depend on the time of day too.

The game will be available on Playstation 4 and Xbox One and the director has said the release date will be before 2017 but I’m not pinning my hopes on it.

 

1. Doom

Yes I know it’s another one from last year, but still it should be out this year according to Bethesda.

If you’ve seen the gameplay trailer for this game then you’ll understand why it’s number 1. I remember playing the first Doom when I was younger (great parenting by the way) and I loved it. When Doom 3 came out, I was so excited about it and loved every minute of it as they didn’t try and change anything. All it needed was a fresh coat of paint or in this case, more up-to-date graphics.

There will be a single player and mulitplayer mode, but it’s the single player I’m looking forward to the most. The trailer shows the main character, shooting, chainsawing, punching and kicking demons until they die. Apparently there many different ways to melee the demons in this game. I really hope it’s much like the Doom of old and that they haven’t changed much because it could be a huge disappoint if they do.

Release date is apparently Spring 2016 and it is available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Nath

Adam’s Top 5 Video Games of 2015

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be sharing our top 5s of 2015, from everyone who writes here at The Lost Lighthouse. This time Adam will go through his favourite 5 video games of the year.

I’m taking a quick break from the depths of writing my PhD thesis to write about some of the things I actually cared about this year. This time it’s my favourite video games released in 2015. Of the various things my misguided attempt at a doctoral level qualification has taken from me, the spare time to actually play video games is probably the most felt. Also video games are expensive and I’m incredibly broke. As such, I’ve only actually played five games this yeah (at least that came out in 2015. I also played the incredible Transistor). So this was really just an exercise in picking which order they go in for me. All of these games were played on PS4.

5. Fallout 4 (Bethesda Softworks)

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The above is part of the reason why Bethesda’s latest installment of everybody’s favourite huge, sprawling post-apocalypse sandbox game is only number 5 on my list. After months of rumours and speculation, details of a new Fallout began to emerge and in November it was finally released. Now due to my heavy work load right now and general state of being very busy (and leaving my PS4 in London over Christmas), I haven’t finished the main story yet. I have however pumped a lot of time into the game, completing a lot of side missions and doing a large amount of world exploration.

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Let’s talk about that world, as a way of kicking off with the good about the game. The world is stunning, as long as you look at it from a distance. While the post-apocalypse trope of a colour palette heavy in browns and greys is definitely present, ‘The Commonwealth’ is densely packed with a lot of interesting scenery and locations to interact with. The storyline so far has been relatively engaging. I don’t really care about my missing son, but the shadowy Institute is intriguing and the return of certain organisations on unprecedented scales is an interesting inclusion. The world really lives through the side missions though, many of which are not only engaging but incredibly enjoyable too (my favourite so far is The Silver Shroud).  The combat mechanics are unchanged for the most part, so the V.A.T.S. system is back and still a lot of fun.

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Now for what I don’t like, and I’m just going to rattle through them. Feel free to discuss them in the comments! The UI is not great, and any changes have not improved things from Fallout 3 or New Vegas. The graphics, while not the be all and end all of a game, should really be better at this point especially for the character models. The dialogue system, previously a big part of Fallout, has been stripped back to make you feel like a passenger in what is largely otherwise a shooter, rather than a participant in an RPG. I have yet to see the point in settlements, and the user interface in building and interacting with a settlement is horrible, likely the reason why I have no desire to spend any more time doing it. While I do enjoy the crafting aspect for weapons and armour, having this and the base construction in the game means that almost every piece of junk in Fallout is worth keeping, and every location contains more crap than you and your companion can carry. As such, I’ve spent probably about 40% of my playtime hefting junk around and either selling or scraping it.

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But for me the biggest issue with Fallout 4 is the glitches and bugs. There has been a lot of comment online about this, which largely seems to boil down to this being something you expect and accept in a Bethesda game. I don’t really see it like that, and this is probably the first time I’ve really had a problem with it. With limited time and money to play games these days, having a full price game be released as a bit of a glitchy mess doesn’t hold water with me. Weapons disappearing, enemies floating, corpses janking around ruining the desolate quiet of a vault. This is why it bothers me. These games are about immersion, and every time I see my companion get stuck in a wall or I fall through the world it takes me completely out of it. Sure they’re working on fixes all the time, but I’m reaching the point where I want games to just be finished properly when they come out.

 

4. The Order 1886 (Ready at Dawn)

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Speaking of a game that was finished, The Order 1886 was the first game I played this year (I reviewed it over here). I liked it a lot. The gameplay was a bit heavy and reminiscent of a clunkier Gears of War, but it wasn’t bad. The story was interesting, succinct and well-paced and while it ultimately didn’t quite deliver on the promise of alternate steampunk Knights of the Round Table supernatural beast hunters, with the very few instances of actually fighting monsters either shockingly easy and repetitive or relegated to quick time events, while the rest of the game was spent shooting ‘rebels’ and other humans for reasons that were never made abundantly clear other than waving around the word ‘conspiracy’, it was a satisfying plot that I enjoyed.

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The game wasn’t particularly long, in fact many said it was far too short for a full price game. I clocked in around 7 hours for my playthrough, and I was fairly defensive about the length in my original review, while also decrying the debate as generally oversimplified. However, since I completed it I really haven’t felt any compulsion to revisit the game. I’m not really sure what that says about it or it’s value. Saying that, it remains the best looking game I’ve played so far on the latest console generation. Despite it being a largely drab and grey trudge through Victorian England, it was stunning to look at and I really enjoyed it.

 

3. Mad Max (Avalanche Studios)

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This one snuck up on me, as it would probably have totally passed me by if I hadn’t been swept up in the Fury Road fever this year. Instead, I actively made the decision to pick up this new Mad Max game over Metal Gear Solid V, due to it’s reasonably positive if not stellar reviews and the fact that I was fairly sure it would be an easier game to pick up and put back down for short gaming stints, making it better for taking breaks from working and avoiding getting so engrossed that I waste hours on it. Fortunately I turned out to be right about that, but more fortunate was how much I ended up loving this game for all of it’s simplicity.

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Set before Fury Road, with a somewhat tenuous link to characters in the film, you play as Max after having the Interceptor stolen and being left for dead. You ally yourself with a mechanic, and slowly modify a rusty frame to an armoured ‘Magnum Opus’ capable of driving across the Plains of Silence to freedom. The game is another big sandbox environment, as you drive around finding scrap for your car, fighting off raiding parties, taking down War Boy camps with your fists and limited shotgun ammo and helping your allies thrive, while trying to outrun sand storms and stop Lord Scrotus and his minions. In essence, you just drive around and blow stuff up. And it is incredibly fun. The game’s only real let down is that it is very repetitive. The map is studded with scavenging locations, and each of the 4 allies you meet along the game require the same things from you. A lot of it is extraneous, but useful for completing the game. That said, there are some very fun and unique missions, like driving through the Underdune – a network of tunnels that was once an airport, now home to the nocturnal Buzzards.

 

2. Bloodborne (FromSoftware)

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Second from top for me this year is the PS4 exclusive Bloodborne from ‘Souls’ creators FromSoftware. A grueling, Groundhog Day style trial-and-error endurance experience where you spend most of your time dying. A lot. But it’s the sort of game that makes you think tactically, commands your full attention, tests your ability and ultimately rewards you for it. As a hunter, you wade through scores of the crazed residents of the town of Yharnam, feral beasts and huge, hulking monsters. Each time you finally figure out how to beat a boss and ‘Prey Slaughtered’ pops up on your screen, you feel an immense satisfaction and a real feeling of earning it.

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The game itself is beautiful. Well, beautiful if you like heavily gothic surroundings and grotesque monsters. Halfway through the game you enter a sort of nightmare realm, while everything takes on a deeply Lovecraftian slant, including horrific beasts that cling to the huge buildings around you that you can’t attack… but get close enough and they can attack you. My flatmates described this as the game they’ve enjoyed watching me play the most, I expect in part because of the surroundings, but likely also due to my reaction to the difficulty level of the game – swearing my head off every time I felt like I was unjustly killed, even thought it was probably due to me not paying enough attention. It happened a lot.

 

1. Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios)

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My favourite game of the year is likely a little predictable for me. As a huge Batman fan, I’ve always been extremely impressed by the Arkham games (at least the Rocksteady ones) for not only capturing the ethos and feeling of a mixture of the best Batman comics and Batman: The Animated Series, but also managing to create gameplay that makes you really feel like you are being the Batman. Easy to control combat that looks brutal yet elegant, stealth that combines technology and fear to take down foes, and detective work to put together a case. This third installment from Rocksteady is their final Arkham game, though there isn’t a doubt in my mind that WB will be back with more.

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Scarecrow is working with the mysterious ‘Arkham Knight’ and his militia army, and using an overwhelming force and seemingly hundreds of drone tanks they bring Gotham to it’s knees. Batman must prevent them from poisoning the city with fear toxin, while figuring out the identity of the Knight and putting a stop to their plans. Along with a few new tricks, like the hugely satisfying fear takedown, Bats also finally has the Batmobile – less a car in this incarnation and more of the personal tank of the Christopher Nolan films, able to speed around at huge speeds before transforming into a combat mode complete with missiles, stun guns and a huge cannon – to be deployed against drone tanks only. While feeling hilariously overpowered, the Batmobile has been successfully deployed in much the same way as the hand-to-hand combat was for the first time in Arkham Asylum – it’s very easy to feel like a total badass with it. The one drawback? I get the feeling Rocksteady were very, very proud of their new toy. So much so that the Batmobile is shoehorned into missions and situations that feel totally unnatural, to the point that it is essentially overused.

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The main plot is an exercise in escalation, in an understandable trajectory from the first game until now. But it’s a very enjoyable superhero tale with some very well deployed twists, some less well deployed twists (I may have seen the identity of the Arkham Knight coming a mile off due to my familiarity with the comics, but it’s telegraphed very clumsily and out of nowhere a couple of hours before) and a huge climax. The side quests are even better than they were in Arkham City, once again drawing from the extensive rogues gallery (some of which were extensions of side plots set up in that game). For every one that fell a little flat, like the Hush sequence, there were excellent scenarios like ‘The Perfect Crime’.

The only issue I have with the extra content like this, which was the same as the previous games, is that while I can suspend my disbelief in general for superhero antics, it is physically and temporally impossible for all of this to occur in one night. Equally unbelievable is that with the city in such dire peril, you’d take some time out of saving it to capture Man-Bat or train Azrael. Maybe leave them to tomorrow Bruce? Or even just have the plot take place over a couple of days. Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight go to ground for a day or two, and while the Batcomputer checks up on some leads you start cleaning up some other problems in the city? Whatever. It’s really a tiny and slightly pointless complaint, really just brought about by overthinking things. Ultimately, this was a great game. Unless you tried to play it on PC.

 

Video Game Review – Halo 5 (Xbox One)

Nath sometimes reviews games. This is one of those reviews.

Here it is, the latest instalment of the Halo franchise, the game that made the Xbox a success (probably) and they are still cashing in on the name. I am now starting to think it is loosely linked to Pirates of the Caribbean as they both had brilliant first instalments, followed by a trilogy that was pretty good and that’s where it should’ve stopped. However we got 2 more instalments that weren’t as good as the originals and now feel like the franchise is being cashed in on. Please note that this review contains spoiler alerts.

I’ll be honest, I did enjoy the first three games, especially the first one, Humans Vs the Covenant then suddenly the Flood intervenes and tries to mess everything up on the halo. Since Halo 4, the Flood and halos don’t seem to exist any more, in fact there are no halos in Halo 5. Instead of the Flood, we have the Prometheans, an ancient race that have their own weapons and unique fighting style. I don’t like them to be honest, the Flood had a somewhat zombie element about it, the Prometheans are just another Covenant but with better weapons (apart form the Plasma Sword and that is still in the game).

Nevertheless I started playing the game with an open mind and first things first, there is a new Spartan, Spartan Locke and he commands the team Osiris which contains Nathan Fillion so off to a brilliant start. But the storyline failed to grip me in any way. You play as Spartan Locke and the Master Chief throughout the game. Spartan Locke is brilliant leader and character, but the Master Chief seems to have changed, normally straight and to the point, does missions without being asked, however he decides to venture off and search for Cortana.

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The gameplay is the standard Halo gameplay, you run around with 2 weapons battling through numerous enemies using a mixture of shooting, throwing grenades and punching aliens. Maybe stumble upon a vehicle or mounted weapon or too and utilise that to it’s full potential. The only new things about the gameplay is the ability to charge into enemies, which I saw as a bit of a copout to be honest. There are some new weapons or vehicles I think but nothing catches my eye.

There is a very good level on the Elite homeworld, but that’s about it. I found this very disappointing, only 1 decent level throughout the entire game. Plus the hint system is too easy to use, if you’re stuck, just press down and the game tells you where to go, they could’ve made it a bit more difficult to solve problems.

The only decent thing about the game is Spartan Locke, if there is a Halo 6, I hope we see more of him and less of the Chief. Looks like the baton has to be passed as 343 industries have Spartan Locke the new face of Halo.

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The multiplayer does save the game a little bit, there are the standard games modes, Team Slayer being my particular favourite, however Warzone has now been introduced. Warzone is where you have to establish a base and take over 3 markers before the enemy team does before attempting to wipe out their base. Throw in some boss fights and Covenant anarchy and it makes it very enjoyable. You also gain points when you are playing and you can purchase better weapons when you respawn. I have enjoyed playing this mode more than the actual game itself.

The rest of the multiplayer is pretty standard, however I do seem to be playing the same map over and over again, maybe a bug in the system that needs addressing. The power weapons (Sniper Rifle etc) seem to respawn at random moments but you are told when they do so you all rush in and try and obtain it. I find the Light Rifle to be a bit more useful, it is basically the Promethean Battle Rifle but with a bit more accuracy.

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All in all, the game isn’t brilliant. I wish I hadn’t paid full price for it, definitely one to look out for in pre-owned sections. The storyline could’ve been better, I feel like it’s been banking on a great idea since the Xbox days but taking the best part out and putting a mediocre part in. In my opinion, I don’t think there has been a decent Halo storyline since Reach. I would give this game 5 annoying Promethean Dog things out of 10, needs a better storyline, but an OK game overall.

Nath

Late Video Game Review – Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

Nath sometimes reviews games. This is one of those reviews.

Firstly I must apologise for not submitting a review for the latest Batman: Arkham Knight. I have been very busy with work and studying so had no time to write a full review but in short it is brilliant, go and buy it and play it to your hearts content.

However after playing it I found an empty void, I tried a few different games to fill it, such as the new Witcher game however, I just didn’t get into it, I found The Evil Within boring so I got stuck playing Call of Duty: Ghosts for a while. I noticed the latest Metal Gear Solid installment and thought I would give it a go. I am a fan of the series, however I find the games a bit hit and miss. The first Metal Gear Solid on Playstation was fantastic, and the same could be said for Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater. However, Guns of the Patriots I found very boring, it was more an interactive movie than a game, but I carried on nonetheless. I didn’t play Ground Zeroes but I was told it wasn’t completely essential, instead I went in head first to the Phantom Pain. Please note, there are spoiler alerts ahead.

It can be said that is a little different from the other games, however I had heard that Ground Zeroes was similar. It is not a linear, one way stealth game, it is an open sandbox style game with 2 maps. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to use stealth to infiltrate camps and take out enemies, but you can use your surroundings to your advantage. You get the tranquilizer gun to take out your enemies instead of killing them (which gets you points and points mean prizes) and an arsenal of sniper rifles, assault rifles, rocket launchers etc at your disposal. You also develop your base for your army and send out your squad mates on missions. But how do you hire your army? Well you don’t. You kidnap them and basically hope they join or put them in jail until they join. And how do you kidnap them? By using a giant balloon that flies stunned or asleep enemies into the air, which by the way is hilarious.

The gameplay is brilliant, you do have to use lots of buttons to shoot like the old games but this didn’t bother me at all. You can also restrain enemy soldiers and interrogate them and then choose to kill them or not. I mostly suffocate them and then kidnap them. Each soldier is usually ranked from S++ to E on skills in Intel, Support, Combat, Research, Medical and Base Development. Upon leveling up each area, you can develop new weapons and vehicles.

The storyline is excellent, it is mainly developing the base by carrying out missions and side missions. Side missions usually include extracting highly skilled soldiers, recovering blueprints and saving prisoners. The main missions are a lot more difficult and for some reason Mr Hideo Kojima decided to put credits before and after each mission. This is fine, however the credits show you who you can expect to meet during the mission which gives the game away. It’s slightly annoying as you now know what to expect in each mission. There is something I do love about the missions however. You can be sneaking through an enemy encampment and reaching a group of people to extract when suddenly, Hideo Kojima throws a curve-ball of Japanese lunacy to your prim and proper stealth game.

I won’t spoil it for you, but there are many weird and wonderful characters throughout the game that you need to look out for, however the one you most definitely will have seen is Quiet, the scantily clad sniper. You have an epic fire fight with her and then after much deliberation, she becomes your ally. She is very useful but she doesn’t always follow you. She’s not useful for stealth missions however, as at the beginning she only has a rifle that kills and as I said before, not killing people means prizes. You can equip her with a tranquilizer rifle if needs be, hopefully that will make stealth missions a lot easier.

Another aspect of the game I thoroughly enjoy is the Easter Eggs within the game. There are diamonds and resources to collect as well as posters, but the best item to collect is the cassette’s of 80’s music. They are dotted about each map and when discovered, they are added automatically to your playlist. And of course you can play them as you are playing the game, it makes the stealth harder but a lot more fun. I won’t lie, listening to Europe’s The Final Countdown whilst waiting to blow up some tanks is hilarious, but there are other classics available such as David Bowie’s Man Who Sold the World and Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart.

All in all it is a truly brilliant game, lots of action and adventure and a gripping storyline full of twists and turns along the way. I would give it 10 hilarious sheep extractions out of 10. Probably one of the best Metal Gear Solid games ever made and certainly one of the best games I have played this year. Fallout 4 isn’t too far away and I’m sure it will be epic, but it’s going to have to be spectacular to knock this game down.

Nath

Video Game Review – Fallout Shelter (iOS)

Nath sometimes reviews games. This is one of those reviews.

Sorry for not posting a review for quite a while, there have been a few things like work, moving house and not generally having any time for playing games. Closest I got was to playing an app version of Stranger’s Wrath (pretty decent port, but controls need reviewing). However, now that I have moved and work has taken a break for a bit, I have managed to find some more time for playing games. I still need to get hold of Arkham Knight and I need to play the latest Witcher game but in the mean time I managed to borrow an iPad and play Fallout Shelter.

I imagine most of you are looking forward to Fallout 4. Until that comes out, we’ve got this handy little game to play. You start off choosing the number of a vault you want to become the overseer of; I chose 616 (the correct number of the beast according to QI) and you are thrown into a little tutorial. It tells you the basics, for example on how to build rooms in the vault, assigning people to specific jobs and sending people out to the wasteland.

It’s basically the Sims but Fallout-style. You’ve got to keep your dwellers happy by making sure the power, food and water is all up to the relevant levels. If you keep expanding the vault with more rooms and dwellers, you can unlock further rooms and make your vault more useful for the dwellers. In Vault 616 I managed to unlock the science lab, med bay, storage room and galaxy radio, amongst many others.

But of course you can’t build more rooms without acquiring caps. You can do this in a few ways, the most common way is to rush rooms for resources. Basically high risk, high reward. Before you start rushing the rooms, you are given a percentage of failure and this will increase if you rush the room constantly. If you succeed, you gain caps and the resources quicker. If you fail, 1 of 2 things can happen, first the room is set on fire and dwellers have to put the fire out or radroaches infest the room and the dwellers have to dispose of them. If this happens, you will have to start over again before you can gain the resource or caps. Pretty annoying but lets hope we are feeling lucky.

The other ways are done by sending your dwellers to the wasteland in order to get caps, however the longer they are out there, the more likely they will get attacked, irradiated or killed. You can revive them for a price, but its very expensive so be careful. The last way is completing objectives set by the game. You can earn easy caps by forcing the dwellers to copulate, setting fire to rooms and collecting resources.

All in all it is a very good game, however I did learn something. If you leave the game on standby for the day, events will take place in the background. That is fine, means you can actually get on with your day, whilst babies turn into dwellers within the game. If you leave it for longer though, things can go badly. I went away for a few days and my vault was in a mess. All my resources had gone, people were unhappy and my explorers were dead. I tried rushing resources, but we got attacked by larger radroaches and ended up losing about 10 dwellers. I decided that Vault 616 was no longer so I deleted and started again.

Enter Vault 777 (Nicholas Angel’s badge number from Hot Fuzz) and I decided to plan this vault better. So far so good, no one is dead, resources are in good order and the dwellers are all happy. I do feel that this game will tie me over until Fallout 4 is released, but there are many other games coming out later this year that I need to get hold of. I would give this game 8 out 10 radroach attacks. A decent game that will keep you entertained. It’s currently only out on iOS, but an Android release is due out in the next month or so.

Nath