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

EGX 2015 – Indie Games Part 2: The Escapists: The Walking Dead, Tango Fiesta & Move or Die

Adam and Kii once again head to EGX to check out some upcoming video games!

One of the aspects of this year’s EGX that has really impressed us is the scale of the indie games section (though the AAA games section is admittedly much bigger, check out what I thought of a couple of those here). We really wanted to focus on the indie turnout, and ended up having so many games to choose from that we were never going to get them all! This is my second article from EGX2015 focussing on indies (first one is here!), this time looking at The Escapists: The Walking Dead, Tango Fiesta and Move or Die.

 

The Escapists: The Walking Dead (PC, Xbox One)

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The Escapists, an 8-bit prison escape simulator, was an award winning indie hit earlier this year. Now Team 17 are combining it with the immensely popular The Walking Dead, coming out at the end of the month on Steam and Xbox One. Utilising the mechanics of the original game, The Escapists: TWD blends the time management and routine aspects with good old fashioned zombie survival, taking familiar faces from the comic book and TV series and challenging the player to escape the zombie hordes. Team 17 were showing off the tutorial and one of the five levels of the game in the EGX Rezzed area, and as a big fan of The Walking Dead I couldn’t exactly pass up a chance to give it a try!

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After a funny little 8 bit reenactment of the stand off that puts Rick Grimes in a coma, the tutorial section of the game is the start of ‘Days Gone Bye’, where Rick wakes up alone in a deserted hospital. The game guides you through picking up items and crafting tools to progress through the level, before you get chased out by a large group of walkers. The top down view means it’s unlikely you’re going to get surprised by anything, but it was still pretty amusing knowing that the only way to go was straight into a room full of the undead. After escaping the hospital I tried my hand at the Herschel’s farm level, meeting up for head count with various TWD characters and trying to do chores and quests before arming everyone up to investigate the mysterious barn.

Unfortunately I ended up dying horribly, as I rescued a downed Tyresse and tried to fight off several zombies with a sicle. And Tyresse ran off after I helped him up! Regardless, this looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun, and fans of The Escapists and The Walking Dead should definitely check this out when it’s out on September 30th.

 

Tango Fiesta (PC, Mac)

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Another game we had a go at in the Rezzed section was Tango Fiesta from Spilt Milk Studios. This was a top down co-op shooter for up to 4 players, essentially a bullet ridden love letter to cheesy 80s action films where the players mow down wave after wave of enemy soldiers through randomly generated levels before blowing up objectives or killing a boss. As we were walking past the art style really caught our eye, and we ended up glued in front of it for quite some time!

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I’m going to be honest, it took us a couple of practice runs for us to stop being utterly terrible at the game. Kii was controlling John Strong (basically John McClane) and I played as Conchita, as we gunned our way through several levels of militia before fighting a boss with some sort of history with Strong. The dialogue is hilariously macho, and the gameplay is simplistic but a lot of fun. There is a decent range of guns to pick from, with a few different call backs to various films (I didn’t try the ghost trap but can’t imagine what that would do to some junta thugs). The action is so chaotic that it can be difficult to keep an eye on your health, with bullets flying all over the place. Fortunately your team mates can pick you up when you’re downed, which is pretty much the only reason why we managed to take down a boss.

We ended up playing for about half an hour before dragging ourselves away to check out some more games. Tango Fiesta just came out on Steam this week, so give it a go on PC and Mac.

 

Move or Die (PC, Mac & Linux)

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The last game we ended up playing on our second day was Move or Die from Those Awesome Guys in the Indie Mega Booth area. This is an insanely fast-paced competitive multiplayer game, with up to 4 players (local or online) battling it out in a series of intense mini games all with a different end game, the only constant being that if you stay still, you die.

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You pick your favourite skin and then the game randomly generates a list of minigames. There are loads of different game modes to enjoy, like stomping on each other, covering as many tiles as possible in your colour Splatoon-style, and pass the bomb. We ended up playing through several times. The first time Kii and I went up against one of the developers and a bot. The dev utterly destroyed us while we tried to get the hang of it, and we didn’t win a single round (it was still very fun though, and very quick). Luckily he didn’t gloat too much and he stepped back when two other guys turned up to try it out. Then it was a bit more of an even playing field. Move or Die is ridiculously fast-paced but very easy to pick up, and is a really great time. Check it out Steam Early Access.

 

Come back tomorrow for more of our impressions on the huge number of indie games at EGX 2015

EGX 2015 – Day One Round Up: Rise of the Tomb Raider & Star Fox Zero

Adam and Kii once again head to EGX to check out some upcoming video games!

This year EGX is being held at the NEC in Birmingham. While last year’s event at Earl’s Court was impressive and a lot of fun, the NEC’s extra space resulted in a huge improvement in the atmosphere and breathing room of the video games convention. We’ll see what the crowds are like when the people with proper jobs descend over the weekend, but the first day (Thursday) was a far more relaxed affair. Kii and I will be putting up a few articles about the various games we check out throughout the weekend, starting with two that I was excited to have a look at (and queue for about 40 minutes each), Rise of the Tomb Raider and Star Fox Zero.

Rise of the Tomb Raider (Microsoft Xbox One)

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We’ve not exactly made it a secret about how disappointed we were at TLL that the Tomb Raider sequel from Crystal Dynamics was announced to be Xbox exclusive. We were huge fans of the Tomb Raider reboot, and it felt like we were being shut out of the continued experience. However, it now seems that the exclusivity is limited to ‘Holiday 2015’, seeing release in early 2016 on PC and late next year on PS4. It may seem a while to wait for those of us who went with Sony when it came to next-gen, but it is nice to know that we’ll get to play eventually and clearly Microsoft are throwing a lot of support behind Rise of the Tomb Raider which ultimately can only be a good thing.

After around 30-40 minutes of waiting, we managed to get in to the walled off enclosure where they were demoing the game. It was the same as the footage shown off at Gamescom last month, starting with Lara on her way to a cave in Syria. Things go awry, explosions occur, but she manages to get in. Inside are a variety of water-level based puzzles to gain access to a tomb in the centre of the cave, racing against time as armed men set off charges to get to the tomb first.

 

With regards to gameplay, it probably won’t surprise anyone that Rise essentially just builds on the mechanics of its predecessor. Everything runs more smoothly (with fewer quick time events at this point, but I don’t know if that represents the whole game) but is effectively the same. What that means is if you liked the first game, this plays the same but better. This brief episode does seem to already lend credence to the promise of more tomb raiding in this installment, something under-represented in the reboot. Another element that builds on the original game, essentially an origin story that builds the resolve of the young Lara Croft, is how capable Lara has become throughout her adventures, which is particularly nice to see.

Graphically, the game is gorgeous. The first game pushed the last generation to it’s full potential, and the sequel looks to build on that with a truly stunning looking game. The water effects are realistic, and the cinematic scope of the surroundings are very impressive.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is shaping up to be a great follow up to Tomb Raider, with beautiful visuals and hopefully a greater focus on tombs, puzzles and exploration. It may be painful for us PS4 owners, but from what I played it will certainly be worth the wait. For those with an Xbox One or 360, Rise of the Tomb Raider will be out in November.

 

Star Fox Zero (Nintendo Wii U)

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Over in the Nintendo area, we checked out Star Fox Zero on Wii U. We had the chance to give the tutorial a quick spin before heading to the demo on Corneria and then finally giving a space battle a quick go in a dog fight. Full disclosure – I have spent no more time on a Wii U pad since last year when I struggled playing Splatoon. It took me a while to get to grips with it again, but I think by the end I had it down.

 

It’s been a long time since I actually played a Star Fox game, but Zero was a vibrant and high octane experience, feeling retro and fresh at the same time. I did experience a bit of a disconnect between the action on the main screen and the targeting screen on the Wii U gamepad, and it did have to be pointed out to me a few times that I was crashing in to and scraping along the ground while I was staring at the gamepad as I shot a gun emplacement, but once I got the hang of it I was taking down giant spider robots and ships with ease. The boss battle against the large mothership was fairly easy, but I really liked the variety of ways you could take it down, from blowing up the weapons to entering it like the Death Star and shooting the core.

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The space battle at the end was a nice change of pace, and having to try and manoeuvre around behind the enemy to get a shot in was a little trickier. Overall Star Fox Zero was a lot of fun, and it’s coming out on Wii U in Q1 2016.

 

Next up we’ll have some thoughts from Kii on a few more games we checked out on our first day at EGX 2015!

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 44 – I Want to Be Fummus

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chat about Hugh Jackman suiting up as Wolverine one last time, Apocalypse looking like Ivan Ooze, The Killing Joke and Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusivity again, while Gary gets a listener’s name wrong and Adam chastises him for it even though he got it wrong first and was the one reading out the feedback. Sorry Mike!

This week’s main talking point was Marvel’s Ant-Man. We go in to what we liked about the film (with spoilers so beware!) and some listener feedback too!

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If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 41 – Pretty Rad (E3 2015 Spectacular!)

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we mostly chat about everything we thought looked particularly good at this year’s impressive E3 conferences, and we go through what our favourites were in the Xbox, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix and Bethesda conferences from this year’s show, while Gary hates on Kingdom Hearts, Adam thinks a lot of games look ‘rad’ (because he is some sort of vampire surfer-bro now) and we really earn that explicit warning with a particularly high volume of swearing.

Here is all the footage we talk about!

Xbox

Halo 5 gameplay, RecoreRise of the Tomb Raider gameplay, Gears of War 4Hololens with Minecraft

Sony

The Last Guardian gameplay, Final Fantasy VII remake reveal, Uncharted 4 gameplay, Horizon Zero Dawn, Star Wars Battlefront gameplay (1 & 2), No Man’s Sky

Nintendo

Star Fox ZeroXenoblade Chronicles X Yoshi’s Woolly World

EA

Mass Effect AndromedaUnravel

Square Enix

NierDeus Ex: Humanity Divided

Ubisoft

South Park: The Fractured But HoleFor HonorTom Clancy’s The Division

Bethesda

Doom gameplay, Fallout 4 gameplay, Dishonoured 2

Let us know what you liked and didn’t like from E3 this year!


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If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions on anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 40 – An Oddly Specific Request

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chat about the Fallout 4 reveal trailer, Konami going ‘mobile first’, Rise of the Tomb Raider and a Jack-Bauer-lite 24, while Gary talks about his apocalypse boner, and Adam makes a clumsy attempt to talk about feminism and sounds like an idiot in the process.

The main talking point this week was Mad Max: Fury Road, with minor spoilers included. We talk about how much we enjoyed it, the development hell leading up to it and the refreshing gender balance brought to the film (and the morons that complained about it being ‘feminist propaganda’). If you haven’t seen it, make sure you check it out!

Also this – http://feministmadmax.tumblr.com/


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If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions on anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

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The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 36 – Powers of a Hawk, Mind of Stephen Hawking

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse. This week we chat about Deadpool’s costume and possible R-rating (spoiler warning for the latest issue of the comic too, but you’ve probably already heard what happens), the new Mad Max: Fury Road trailer, the Halo 5 Hunt the Truth teaser site, whatever is happening with David Lynch and Twin Peaks or Hideo Kojima and Konami, and the Deus Ex: Humanity Divided trailer, while Gary tries to pull himself away from the icy clutches of death, and Adam waits patiently for Ryan Reynolds to return his affections. No argument, 60 seconds or main talking point this week, largely because of illness and being too busy to actually adhere to any of our features. Next time! If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions on anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

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