Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Progress at its Finest

If there’s one thing that Deus Ex consistently nails as a franchise, it’s that each game released is at the very least good. I personally haven’t played any of the old Deus Ex games, but I did jump on Human Revolution a few years after its release and I really enjoyed. So naturally I was looking forward to Mankind Divided. I’m incredibly happy to say that Mankind Divided reaches and easily exceeds the likes of Human Revolution, setting a new bar for Deus Ex, while simultaneously setting itself up for a very likely game of the year award. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is not only what I think is the best game in the franchise thus far, it’s also the best gaming experience I’ve had this year.

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Rain effects are beautiful, and the occasional robot is too.

A World Divided

The Deus Ex games have always been well known for their intricate conspiracy ridden storylines, and I’m glad to say that Mankind Divided is no different. It picks up a year after the events of Human Revolution (if you haven’t played it or have forgotten about it you can watch a 12 minute catch up video) and once again follows the augmented protagonist Adam Jensen. The world is torn and unsurprisingly divided on the concept of progress and augmented human bodies. Augs are discriminated against, treated poorly, exploited, and Mankind Divided captures it perfectly. Without spoiling too much, I bomb goes off at a train station, killing and injuring many in the process, and it’s your job to find out who’s the culprit of said bombing. Various groups get involved with the storyline, and I found that it got a bit confusing once or twice, but after thinking about it for a while it became clear. The game has a fantastic cast of likeable characters, with the same protagonist as Human Revolution, and Elias Toufexis does another brilliant job as Adam Jensen. Mankind Divided serves as a satisfying continuation to Human Revolution with believable voice acting, a solid plot, and a fantastic antagonist.
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Mankind Divided’s Breach mode has a very different setting to the main campaign.

Augmented Pathways

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was praised for its various options and ways to tackle various missions and objectives, and Mankind Divided takes it to new levels. There are many possible paths to get to an objective, and it always feels like there’s no wrong way to do it. If you want to completely stealth through an entire map, non-lethally taking out targets, the game rewards you for it, but if you want to go loud and guns blazing, the game appreciates that too. Mankind Divided rewards the player no matter how they choose to deal with the situation, and that kind of unprecedented freedom is refreshing and much needed among the games of today. Various Augments to Jensen’s abilities, and they cater to various play styles. Most of the augments from Human Revolution return, but a few brand new ones are innovative, interesting, and they often never failed to stump me on my decisions when it came to upgrading Adam. If I’d gone to upgrade one of the new augments, it overclocks Adam’s systems, meaning you have to permanently shut down another augment. At first I thought this would mean I’d have to sacrifice some augments for others, which makes for a very interesting mechanic. Unfortunately, completing the correct side mission completely removes the overclock function, completely unlocking all augments for upgrades, which I found surprisingly disappointing. I found myself playing through Mankind Divided using tools like the tesla to silently take out targets that I believed didn’t deserve to die, while I used nano-blades to take out the targets I believed should’ve died, and I was consistently rewarded no matter what. I generally progressed through the world silently, using hacking and platforming to navigate through the game world. Level design is fantastic, and eventually doing with various enemy types keeps the game interesting and refreshing. Gone are the notorious boss fights from Human Revolution, which makes for a more fluent, cohesive experience as a whole. Gun-play feels tight, and I was always finding other uses for my augments upon further inspection, which consistently surprised me. Level design is fantastic, and exploration is heavily rewarded for those who go out of their way to find secrets. Mankind Divided’s other main game mode is Breach, which puts you in various virtual reality-esc scenarios. I was enjoying it at first and I thought the progressions system would keep me interested, but I eventually drifted away for it. It can probably provide some extra gameplay once you finish the campaign, but it feels underdeveloped and shoehorned in.
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The Gold Masks are some of the enemies you’ll see often throughout the campaign.

Technical Augments

Mankind Divided from a technical standpoint is literally flawless. The open world setting of Prague is open and beautiful, and the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps legitimately amazed me the first time I saw them. Mankind Divided consistently pleased me visually, with a beautiful art style and setting, and all of it runs at a smooth 30 fps. Would’ve been nice at 60, but 30 is definitely bearable when it’s consistent. I also surprisingly never ran into any bugs at all, which was definitely a pleasant surprise for a game of this kind.

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To say Mankind Divided is simply pretty is a severe understatement.

Verdict: 9.5/10

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is in my opinion, the strongest entry in the series. It does what all the past titles have done so well, and more, with a fantastic story, excellent, unrestricted gameplay, and enough content to justify a full priced purchase. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has been my favourite gaming experience this year, and I really do help Eidos Montreal keep putting out quality titles such as this.

Positives

-Unprecedented player freedom

-Fantastic story

-Looks beautiful and runs smoothly

-Rewarding no matter how you play

-Fantastic characters and believable voice acting

Negatives

-Augment limitation system is mitigated

Thanks for reading guys! Up next is Attack on Titan.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

The Real Catalyst

There was a cult following of speed runners, avid gamers, and casual gamers that formed not too long after the release of Mirror’s Edge in November of 2008. Mirror’s Edge managed to do something that almost no other game could, and that was a complete and smooth parkour system that was completely unrivalled. Years later, EA announced that Mirror’s Edge would be getting a sequel, after popular demand. Mirror’s Edge 2 was kept under wraps for a long time, and it was only before E3 in 2015 when fans found out the game would release in 2016, with the title; Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. So does it live up to the hype of all its fans and players around the world?

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The Kruger Sec look really futuristic.

Slow Storytelling

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst serves as a prequel and origin story to the original. Catalyst makes an effort to delve into Faith’s past, and to explore what got her to where she is today as a runner. After some backstory about the death of Faith’s close family, Faith is released after one year in juvenile detention (If you want to know why, I recommend you read the Mirror’s Edge Exordium comic). The main story follows Faith throughout the dystopian City of Glass. Glass is run and controlled by various corporations, the most relevant being Kruger Holding. Faith gets mixed up in some trouble with Kruger Holding, after trying to pay off a debt she owes to a black market dealer she used to work for, called Dogen. I don’t won’t to go any further to avoid spoilers, so I just want to talk about the story as a whole. I found that Catalyst’s story as a whole was a very mixed bag. Some things were done well, like Faith’s character and background story, but others such as stereotypical characters and an underwhelming plot twist that had much more potential bring the experience down. I really liked Faith’s character, and it was really cool to see her past, and to see what made her who she is, and characters like Icarus and Dogen I grew to like quite a bit. Other characters were extremely stereotypical, and when emotional moments were supposed to affect me, they didn’t. The story isn’t anything special, but some of it is enjoyable. Thankfully, the comic book style cutscenes of the original are gone, and are now replaced by proper cutscenes. Unfortunately, Catalyst’s story isn’t the only mixed bag in the game.

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Faith’s model looks really good. 

A Restrained Dystopia

When it comes to gameplay, Catalyst strikes more rights than wrongs, and it does all the right things to improve the formula of the original. Mirror’s Edge is all about free running, and finding various ways to your objective. It feels great to nail long jumps, slides, wall runs, and leaps of faith, and in my honest opinion it never got boring. There are however, a few fundamental changes to the formula, some of which are great, and others….. well, not so much. The grapple hook is a fantastic addition to Faith’s arsenal, and it makes for a reliable and fun tool used to traverse Glass. Faith now unlocks skills for combat, traversal and gadgets through a skill tree, which you can move through relatively quickly, and it gives a real good sense of progression. Glass is a big open world, where Faith can get to her destination by her choice. It’s nice to have such a large sandbox to explore and run through, but it feels sparse, barren, and lifeless. There are minimal NPCs and the world is scattered with repetitive side quests like deliver this or deal with these guards. It got really stale, really quick, and I wasn’t motivated to find any of the collectables either, because they simply slowed down the pace i’d built up over time. Glass had so much more potential, but now I just wish they’d stuck with the same system as the original, where you can go from mission to mission without a hub. The combat system has also been vastly changed in Catalyst. Gone is the ability to use firearms (thank god) and the combat system is comprised of dodging and directional hits. Dealing with minimal amounts of enemies is always fun, and it’s quite exhilarating. The ability to jump off walls and kick Kruger Sec guards in the face feels immensely satisfying, but once the combat slows down, the combat becomes a pure drag. It becomes mindless button mashing and dodging, and sometimes that is simply unavoidable. I really wish all of the combat was optional, simply because traversal attacks feel and look awesome, and they would’ve been more than enough to satisfy a need for combat. You can also leave your mark on the world by creating time trials and races for uses to compete in.

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The grapple hook provides new and refreshing options for traversing Glass.

Is it really a Dystopia?

There’s no denying that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst runs well. The game ran at 60FPS for the entirety of the campaign, which was delightfully smooth to play. This 60FPS is at the sacrifice of graphical fidelity, but it’s a sacrifice i’m willing to make. The game looks decent, and it shares a very similar art style to the first game. The sound track is absolutely awesome, simply because it’s once again done by Solar Fields. I experienced a few game breaking bugs where I had to restart the game in order to fix it, and that annoyed me quite a bit.

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Looks pretty familiar to the original right?

Verdict: 7.5/10

There’s a simple way to define whether or not you’ll like Catalyst. If you liked the original, you will no doubt like Catalyst. It’s really nice to play another Mirror’s Edge game again, and i’m eager to look forward to future instalments. It definitely isn’t perfect, but it’s the Mirror’s Edge we know and love.

Positives

-Runs smoothly

-Fantastic parkour system

-Solid Progression

-Faith

Negatives

-Dead open world

-Repetitive side quests

-Boring story

-Bland combat

Thanks for reading guys, I might do a post on my E3 thoughts soon. Up next is Kirby though, so that’ll be up later today or tomorrow. Have a great day guys :D. Harry

 

Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet & Clank

An Inventive Reboot

Ratchet & Clank is arguably Playstation’s most well known exclusive, and for good reason. Almost every game in the franchise has been fantastic, and the newest game in the series, is no exception. Ratchet & Clank is a reboot for the Playstation 4. It’s a retelling of the very first game of the franchise. It feels like a remake, but at the same time, it feels new, fresh, different and innovative, giving this fantastic series the start it deserves on the Playstation 4.

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Much like the first game, you start on Veldin.

A Game, Based on the Movie, Based on the Game

Ratchet & Clank’s story is a retelling of Ratchet & Clank’s origin story, and how they became partners. The whole game is told through a commentary from Captain Qwark, which leads to some twists and changes in the storyline, the game is also very aware of itself, with a few fourth wall breaks scattered around. It’s a bubbly, light, fun story that I enjoyed from start to finish. There were moments where I couldn’t help laughing, and Captain Qwark’s running commentary of the whole game was entertaining from start to finish. There are scenes from the upcoming movie dotted throughout the storyline, and they look fantastic. The way the story was told in Ratchet & Clank has me extremely excited for the movie. The end result is a well written, fun story that anyone can enjoy, and it’s a great starting place for newcomers.

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Ratchet is still using his wrench!

A Fantastic Return to Form

Ratchet & Clank’s game play mainly revolves around platforming, exploring and shooting. Lots and lots of shooting. Platforming feels solid, using jumps and different gadgets to get to where you need to go always feels good, and on planets like Gaspar and Quartu, the jetpack is openly available for use whenever you like. There are secrets hidden on every planet, and you’re always rewarded for exploring, whether it be a golden bolt, weapon, holocards, or a new gadget. Each planet feels unique and individual. Gaspar is a hot planet, covered in lava and red rocks, while Pokitaru is a tropical paradise dotted with islands surrounded by crystal clear water. Each planet has something different to do like travelling on a grind rail on Kalebo III to find what’s at the end of it or competing in hoverboard competitions on Rilgar for various prizes and rewards for doing well. Gunplay in Ratchet & Clank is fantastic. There are 16 different weapons to use, and every single one is different and they can be combined in different ways to work with one another. The Groovitron fires a disco ball, causing all enemies in the area to start dancing, leaving them vulnerable to other attacks. My personal favourite weapon is the Pixeliser, which does exactly what it sounds like, blasts enemies into bit form, making them look like out of place 2D sprites in a 3D world. All the weapons are fully upgradeable, and have modifications, making for a strong sense of progression with every single upgrade. Scattered around each planet are golden bolts, which unlock accessories for Ratchet, his ship and the filter through which the game is played. Cheats like invincibility and unlimited ammo can also be unlocked if enough are collected. Once you complete the main story once, challenge mode is unlocked. In challenge mode, you keep all your weapons and upgrades to play through the main story again. It’s a good way to earn more upgrades and bolts, due to the bolt multiplier exclusive to challenge mode.

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The Groovitron even works on bosses!

Just like a Pixar Movie

In my opinion, Ratchet & Clank is easily the best looking game currently on the Playstation 4. Ratchet & Clank looks like it’s been pulled straight out of the Pixar universe, both in terms of visuals and art style. Character models are detailed, animations are fluid and crisp, environments are absolutely amazing to look at and all of this is at 1080p, running at a smooth 30fps that never faltered for me, regardless of the amount of explosions on the screen.The weapons sound satisfying and impactful, and all of the voice acting is perfect. All of this makes for an extremely enjoyable experience from start to finish.

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Pokitaru’s water and greenery looks particularly good.

Verdict: 10/10

Ratchet & Clank is the reboot the series deserved and needed. It’s a fantastic starting point for the franchise on current gen consoles, setting this franchise up for success. There’s plenty of replay value and content here that makes the game well worth the $50 price. It looks beautiful, plays amazingly an brings back an old franchise that feels new again. If you’ve never played Ratchet & Clank, give this one a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

Positives

-Excellent retelling of Ratchet & Clank’s origin

-Fantastic game play

-Unique and fun weapons

-Visually stunning

-Runs smoothly

Up next is Star Fox Zero, it’ll be up either tonight or tomorrow!

Thanks for reading guys, Harry.

Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III

More Than Just Ashes

Dark Souls III is the third entry (fourth if you count Demon Souls) into From Software’s fantastic series of notoriously difficult games. Dark Souls III sports faster combat, new areas, nostalgia, a new art style and improvements on everything that Dark Souls has done right in the past, and this is all on current generation systems, unlike the original release of Dark Souls II. The question is, does Dark Souls III do the series justice? Or does it fail as the supposed conclusion of Dark Souls as a game series?

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Your character rises from the dead in the Cemetery of Ash.

The Fire Fades

Dark Souls III’s story is set a long time after the events of Dark Souls and Dark Souls II. The Fire is fading once again, as the world slowly rots and decays into total darkness. Only when the Lords Of Cinder leave their thrones, and the Unkindled rises, shall the world of Dark Souls III be saved. You play as the Unkindled, and it is your job to find the Lords of Cinder and return them to their thrones. The story and lore of Dark Souls III will deepen for those who look for it, and it’s thoroughly rewarding to find. The story very much reminded me of Dark Souls, and that isn’t a bad thing at all. Four possible endings make for a meaningful reason to play through the game again, alongside completing quests you missed in your first play through, or invest more in the lore and background of the characters in DSIII. I was intrigued by, and interested in every character in Dark Souls III. Whether it be new characters to the series, or returning ones. This truly feels like a story done in Souls fashion, cryptic lore, interesting characters and a world that gives hints towards it’s past. I was incredibly satisfied by the end and intend to achieve all 4 endings. The setting and story in Dark Souls III just feels right for a souls game, which is good for beginners and veterans alike.

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The Firekeeper levels you up, and tends to Firelink Shrine.

Soulsborne 

When From Software released Bloodborne last year, it brought about a new fan base for From Software. This fan base, and original souls fans, got used to the aggressiveness of Bloodborne’s combat, as opposed to the slower, more patient combat of Dark Souls. Dark Souls III feels like a hybrid between these two combat styles, and it works perfectly. You can play however you want to play, whether it be aggressive, patient or somewhere in the middle. If you liked Bloodborne, but couldn’t get into any other of the Souls games, you will more than likely love Dark Souls III. Hollowing is now more or less being Unkindled. When you kill a boss, or consume an Ember, you become Embered. When Embered, you can coop, you gain more health and you can see streaks of flame through your character’s armor, which looks very pretty. When you die, you lose your Embered status, you lose all of this and become Unkindled. Early on the game makes sure you have a few Embers in your back pocket, and the merchant in Firelink Shrine stocks limited amounts of them. I found that in the late game areas, I started running low on Embers and had to farm them now and again. They aren’t scarce, but don’t expect to be overstocked on them. The combat feels satisfying, no matter what weapon you’re using, whether it be a greatsword, dual swords, a kitana or staffs and magic. Being a Souls game, DSIII is very difficult, and the boss fights are spectacular in both scale and difficulty. The thing is though, is that Dark Souls III is always fair. Whenever you die, it’s almost never the game’s fault. Every encounter with every enemy must be treated with respect, the moment you let your guard down, you will more than likely die. DSIII’s world and open ended environment had a hopeless feeling about them. It truly felt like this world was falling into despair and darkness, hollows walk the otherwise empty pathways of Lothric and dead dragons lie on the rooftops. While DSIII doesn’t go incredibly crazy with its environments, the new areas are all interesting and different. I loved exploring every environment (except the swamp) especially one of the optional environments. It took me about 40 of the 50 hours i’ve played to finish my first playthrough, and that’s exploring every area as best as I could, and defeating every single boss in the game. Some of the best fights are also surprisingly inventive, which was refreshing to see in a Souls game. Once you finish your first play through, you’re given the option to jump into New Game+ straight away, or to continue exploring the world and start NG+ later on. NG+ is well worth it, simply because there’s new equipment to find, different endings to achieve, and to visit any areas you missed on your first play through, all while keeping your weapons, armor, rings and some other items from your first play through. I can see myself playing DSIII for a long time, experimenting with different builds and weapons. PVP also makes a return, and it’s the best it’s been. You can invade other worlds and challenge other players, or join worlds and help other players out with an area they might be stuck on. I never once had any connection issues either.

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The first area of the game, has living and dead dragons. 

Dark but Beautiful

Dark Souls III looks beautiful. The world is detailed and intriguing and I constantly found myself getting lost in this beautiful world. The game runs at 30 frames per second, but I didn’t really notice it all that much apart from minor frame drops in areas like Farron Keep and the Swamp. The biggest technical issues I had with Dark Souls III is that I encountered a few bugs, one of which was game breaking. There was one stage where I got stuck in place, and had to soft reset to fix it. It’s not the biggest issue, simply because Souls saves so often, but still annoying nonetheless. The soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal, I love every single track, from the title theme to the boss themes. Using a good pair of headphones for Dark Souls III is the way to go.

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Yes, yellow is a very prominent color in DSIII.

Verdict: 9.5/10

Dark Souls III, is in my opinion the best Souls game. It took all the things that Dark Souls and Dark Souls II did right, improved them, and added new features which heavily benefit the gameplay, and the Souls fan base. It’s a beautiful, challenging, engrossing experience, that i’d happily recommend to beginners and Souls veterans alike. Hopefully the DLC is just good, and good luck to From Software on their next project.

Positives

-Beautiful world

-Fantastic alternate endings

-Deep characters

-Deep, satisfying and challenging combat

-PVP and coop is as good as it’s ever been

Negatives

-A little buggy, minor and game-breaking

Up next is Ratchet and Clank which comes out on Wednesday, so look out for that shortly after Wednesday!

Thanks for reading guys, Harry.

 

Dying Light: The Following

Dying Light: The Following

A Trip to the Countryside

Dying Light: The Following is the first major story expansion for Techland’s new IP. Dying Light originally came out in 27th of January in North America and 27th of February elsewhere. It was a new concept at the time, a combination of Mirror’s Edge and Dead Island to create a mixture of parkour and hack n slash fun. Surprisingly, it was fairly successful and built up a fairly large community in a short amount of time. Dying Light: The Following seeks to continue the story of our protagonist Kyle Crane in a new area of Harran, the countryside while introducing new mechanics and fine tuning the mechanics we’ve come to know and love.

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Buggies can have a passenger as well as a driver.

The Prophecy

The Following’s story is set after the events of the base game and starts off with a cut scene of an injured survivor that Kyle finds. The survivor starts talking about a cultist group living outside the overrun, quarantined city of Harran that have found out how to control the virus, meaning that this cultist group is immune. The Tower is running short on Antizin and Dr. Camdens research for a cure is proving unsuccessful, so Crane decides to visit the countryside and investigate the cult. Most of the survivors living in the countryside have converted to this religious cult called the Children of the Sun. They worship a figure called the mother who is supposedly their source of immunity to the virus. I found this story incredibly interesting, as the cult is shrouded in mystery. Scouring the world for clues to the cult’s origin and ideologies was extremely interesting. As the mystery gradually unfolds it ends with a huge plot twist that I honestly did not see coming at all. The story in The Following is significantly better than the main game’s and I really do hope that Techland can pull of the same mystery and suspense in the sequel as they did here. It is extremely interesting and will keep you playing right up to the end.

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This is a painting of Mother, these are scattered all over the world.

Hack, Slash, Run, Jump and Drive

If you’ve played Dying Light, than you’ll feel right at home with The Following. The gameplay is identical to the base game with some new big additions. The biggest and most streamlined is that you now get a buggy, which has tons of upgrades and customization. This is extremely fitting because the countryside is wide, vast and open, much unlike the city of Harran. This does mean there isn’t as much parkour this time around, but the buggies more than make up for it. The world is begging to be explored with little easter eggs, secrets and side quests to find and complete. I actually found some of these side quests really interesting and some of them were actually pretty dark, but I liked the change. With the introduction of the buggies there comes a new Driving skill tree, allowing you to upgrade your buggy in various ways such as installing an alarm system, having access to nitrous and being able to drop mines out of your buggy. None of the upgrades are useless and I felt my car getting faster with every speed upgrade. You can also find freaks of nature around the map which are giant zombies with names. In my time playing the game with my co-op partner, we found two, one of which was a giant toad and the other was a massive demolisher. Techland also added in new gun types like SMGs, crossbows and bows. The biggest problem I had with the actual gameplay was that there honestly weren’t enough safe houses. More often than not my co-op partner and I had to drive a fair way to get to our objective. This wouldn’t be a problem if there weren’t giant, impassable mountains in the middle of the map, but it’s not the end of the world. The game still works on the day and night cycle, the main difference being that there are stronger, faster night hunters to keep up with your buggy. They definitely prove to be a threat and the chases are just as suspenseful as the main game.

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Ramming into hordes of zombies is glorious.

Where the Grass is Greener and Zombies are Meaner

If you haven’t realized yet, The Following is set the vast, open Countryside of Harran. Old farms and water towers litter the landscape of the green grass. It’s a really nice change from the claustrophobic city of Harran and The Following is better for it. The countryside looks beautiful, especially when sunset is taking place (as dangerous as it is) and it never gets old to look at. The first thing I noticed as I came out into the countryside was the water, the water looks really really pretty. The game also runs like a treat too, much like the main game did. I suffered a few frame drops now and again, but nothing to hinder my experience. The sound design is also fantastic and hearing the buggies roar at top speed through tall grass really immerses you into the game. All these things aside, my experience with The Following was unfortunately, far from flawless. A day or two after the release, connections for co-op was horrible, to the point where we couldn’t join on each other until the next day. This really upset both of us and is honestly unacceptable. However, after the first occurrence of that particular incident, we didn’t have any problems since and played the game just fine. It was upsetting and annoying that it happened, but at least it’s fixed now.

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The map for The Following is bigger than the city of Harran.

Verdict: Very Good

Although there were some technical hiccups along the way, The Following serves as a worthy expansion to Dying Light. I can’t recommend this expansion enough if you enjoyed the main game if you don’t have it already. If you’ve ever been interested in Dying Light and want to buy it, please do yourself a favor and buy the Enhanced Edition, it comes with every piece of released DLC and the base game, trust me, you won’t regret it. I must say however that if you didn’t enjoy the original game you won’t enjoy The Following unless you’re incredibly into buggies. A fantastic expansion for a fantastic game. Good luck to Techland for what they’re working on next (Don’t tell anyone, but it’s a sequel) and hopefully it’s just as good as Dying Light.

Positives

-Buggies

-Beautiful open world

-Great story and fantastic ending

-Unique and interesting side quests

Negatives

-Driving can be tedious due to lack of safe houses

-Multiplayer issues shortly after launch

Once again thanks for reading guys, Bravely Second: End Layer is up next!

By the way, do you guys want me to change my verdicts to a score out of 10? Let me know in the comments!

Harry.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

The Perfect Storm

As a long standing fan of Naruto in all of its forms, I was extremely excited for the conclusion of the Storm games. Storm 4 being the 6th and supposedly final entry into the series, expectations are high for what CyberConnect2 call “The Perfect Storm”. So does Storm 4 meet these expectations and serve as a fitting conclusion to the series? I’m glad to say that it sure does.

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The spectacle in some fights is amazing.

Because We’re Friends

There honestly isn’t all that much to say for Storm 4’s story mode, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Storm 4 picks up just after Storm 3, still following the same story line and events of the manga. Of course we knew this would be the case and i’m happy to say that its nearly identical to the manga in its own way. The end of the story is told through outstanding cut-scenes, images and CGI. The voice acting is excellent in both language options (English and Japanese) however I would recommend setting it to Japanese. This is not only because it’s more authentic, but also because the lip syncing in the cut-scenes is only done for Japanese, so I found it annoying and odd when playing in English. For those who are unfamiliar with the manga or anime, but have been following the games, Storm 4 is a fitting ending to this expertly crafted story even if it isn’t as detailed as the manga or anime.

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The fight with the 10-Tails is as cool as it looks.

A Formula Perfected

Storm 4 features 4 main modes from the get-go: Story, Adventure, Online Battle and Free Battle. Story mode gets rid of the open world that Storm 2 and Storm 3 used as a hub world for the story and instead uses a system that’s similar to Storm Revolutions Ninja Escapades mode. You move from level to level in a time line. This time line branches every now and again, telling the stories of Kakashi and Obito, Hashirama and Madara and the overall conclusion to the series. This worked better than I thought it would and is incredibly accessible. Any cut-scene or fight can be replayed from this timeline, meaning you don’t have to sit through battles to get to a particular section you want to revisit. I found this incredibly useful, simply because I wanted to go back and do some of the quick time events again. I finished the story mode in around 6 or so hours and estimated times are shown for both cut-scenes and battles. Adventure mode is set after the story mode and consists of the open world from Storm 2 and Storm 3. In this open world, quest like events can be taken on to earn goodies. Most of these events consist of fighting, fetch quests or a bit of both. You only control Naruto in the open world, but when you pick up memory fragments across the world you enter a battle as whoever that fight is based around. There is also a fast travel system implemented which is a lot more useful than I thought it would be. I managed to do all the events in Adventure mode in 7 hours. Adventure mode was definitely an interesting experience, but I did prefer Story mode. Free and Online Battles are exactly what they sound like. Free Battles allow you to play against computers or a second player as characters of your choice. It certainly adds a lot of replayability to the game and is tonnes of fun to play with friends. The Online Battles are the same, the main difference being is that it’s Online. My only gripe with Online Battles is that they can lag, even if you’re hosting the session. Some games it was fine but others it got in the way completely and ruined the experience. I’m sure some people don’t have these issues and hopefully it’s fixed for those that do. I can see many people sinking hours into both of these modes, hopefully providing longevity to the game. The combat system that the Storm series has returned once again and it is flawless. It plays almost identically to Storm 3 with a few new additions. The ability to synchronize awakenings based on support characters is awesome and the team ultimate jutsu are back too with a few new ones. The character roster has also been expanded once again to 147 ninja, making it the largest roster in the series.

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The game looks fantastic on PS4.

The Smoothest Storm Yet

Like most other franchises, Storm 4 makes the jump to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and it benefits greatly. The game looks amazing in 1080p and runs at a smooth 60 FPS with almost no hiccups. There was one noticeable drop in frame-rate in one of the Story Mode missions, but it never caused any unfair deaths or annoyances. Every arena and open world the game has to offer is faithful to the manga and they look beautiful. The CGI and cut-scenes are exceptional and this makes the quick time events amazing. Yes I did just say quick time events. A staple in the Storm series is what they’ve always been, but they’ve also always been jaw-droppingly awesome and Storm 4 is no exception. I found myself in awe after seeing any one of them play out and even went back to revisit a few of them just to experience them again. The sound effects and music are also amazing, with some themes from older Storm games returning, especially in the Memory-Fragment battles.

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I’m not lying when I say this is the first fight in the game.

 

Verdict: Very Good

If you’re a fan of Naruto, the Storm games or anime you have to give this one a go. This is one of the best entries into the Storm series and serves as an extremely fitting conclusion to a thankfully excellent franchise. The Storm series as a whole has been excellent, and i’m sad to see them come to an end. Hopefully CyberConnect2 work on more Naruto games in the future with the same love and care that they have given to the Storm series. If they choose not to continue with Naruto, I wish them the best of luck and can’t thank them enough for doing justice to the series.

Positives

– Largest roster in a Naruto game

-Fitting conclusion to the series

– Looks amazing

-Spectacle is awesome

-Fighting system is perfect

Negatives

-Minor frame-rate drops in certain missions

Thanks for reading guys, a review for XCOM 2 will be up hopefully in the next two weeks, so keep an eye out for that!

-Harry

 

 

2016

2016

Happy New Year!

Happy new year guys! 2016 has already started, but quarter one for gaming is just about to kick off, and what better way to start it by talking about my plans for this year! I aim to review as many games as possible, while still being able to keep up with school. Some reviews might take longer than others because of this but I will do my best to get them out as soon as possible. Here are some of the games I hope to review throughout the year. Other games that are announced throughout the year have a possibility of being reviewed. If you want to clarify any of the games I plan on reviewing, leave a comment and let me know!

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As of now I hope to review:

– Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

-XCOM 2

-Dying Light: The Following (Expansion)

-Mirrors Edge Catalyst

-The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (Expansion)

-Dishonored 2

-Bravely Second

-The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

-Zelda U (If it’s released this year)

-Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation/Conquest/Birthrights

-Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

-Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

-Horizon Zero Dawn

-Nier: Automata

-The Walking Dead: Michonne

-Batman: A Telltale Games Series

-The Wolf Among Us Season 2

-Walking Dead Season 3

-Doom

-Overwatch

That’s pretty much it at the moment. Of course other games will be announced throughout the year and I will undoubtedly pick some of them up and review them. Hopefully all of the games listed above will get a review but no promises.

Thanks for reading guys. Hopefully 2016 is another awesome year of gaming, even better than the last!

 

P.S. If anyone is curious about what i’m most excited for this year, at this stage it’s Dishonored 2.