Thursday, 17 October 2013

A Beyond: Two Souls Review

Beyond: Two Souls is the latest game from Quantic Dream. The team that brought us the 2010's game Heavy Rain which instantly received a warm welcome from the gaming community and recognition of being a truly unique experience.

But what is Beyond: Two Souls really like?

I'll be blunt. Beyond is a game with great potential. However, it's been clouded over by major problems, inconsistencies and a main lack of consequence and threat.

Beyond tells the story of Jodie and Aiden, both linked by a mysterious cause to which both are tethered together. Her story is told in a non-linear order (the ending explains why). By doing this it makes the story extremely muddled up.. I should say however that it does put the chapters in the right order when you complete the game. Having it jumbled up makes certain events appear near the end of the game, that were from Jodie's childhood. When it would have been more relevant to be played near the start of the game, allowing the players to know fully what Jodie has been through. Some of these events should have been played at the start because they give the story it's meaning and it's direction. Without them (for the first two thirds of the game) the story misses key information, leaving players in the dark.

The game features twenty something chapters, some of the plot points are silly, some are predictable, whereas some drift away from the main story and try to pull focus. Instead these ones drag on, become dull and leaving you wonder what was the main reason for it. 

Despite this some of the chapters are highly emotional, deep and some will question your morals and ethics. It will put you in terrible positions and await your response. Make you look at certain things in your own life at a new angle. Become sad. Become angry. Become scared. When it comes to changeling emotion this game is brilliant at it.

One of the games features is player choices. You are free to choose different ways to tackle a problem, however your choices do not have a major impact on the story as you would expect it to. The effects of these choices last for one cut-scene or one new brief game area. Some choices don't make any impact whatsoever. For example some segments of the game may involve Jodie and security cameras. Whether you disable the cameras or don't (and get caught by them) nothing will happen differently, they will both play out the exact same way. Doing this does hider some portions pointless and makes you wonder why they were added if they weren't significant in any way shape or form.

Jodie interacting with NPC's gives you conversational choices. Choices will appear giving you options. You better read them fast, know what they mean and select one. Otherwise one will be selected for you (unless you pause it, thus breaking the game's flow). Having these timed can be a pain, while most are easy to tell what they mean and select it no bother, there is some choices that are too bleak to get a grasp of what will be said.

Being tethered together is an acceptable reason as to why Aiden can only venture so far from Jodie. However it is not clear how far he can travel before being yanked back. Some times he can go about 20-30 meters away from Jodie before being pulled. Sometimes -in the same chapter- he can only go 10-15 meters away. This inconsistency does make the game a pain as you'll constantly be unsure of how far you can go. Resulting in you having to test the limits every now and then.

Other things about Aiden that make no to little sense is the possession/killing abilities  . Everyone glows to Aiden this indicates if the person can be possessed, killed or can't be interacted with. It makes no sense why Aiden can kill some people yet it only applies to specific people. It's a small inconsistency but is still relevant as it raises a massive what if?  and why? question.

Making a re-appearance from Heavy Rain is the QTE (quick time events). Unlike Heavy Rain however, these don't possess much of a challenge or come with much of a risk -there is no risk actually-. If you fail multiple times, you won't die (or if you did it's okay cause this game has no game over what-so-ever). Aiden will automatically fix the problem for you, a cut-scene will occur, or Jodie will react without your commands. This means you can fail all the QTE and the game will still be playable hindering the QTE as no challenge, threat or important. 

There is another kind of QTE that was not present in it's former. Jodie will attempt to complete an action. Time will slow down and the colour will fade. You only get a second or two to look at her movements, anticipate it, then complete it. For example. You're about to punch someone. Time slows down and you see her fist moving to the right. Push right and it's all okay. Some of these however are very difficult to interpreter and carry out. You may be confused if you have to block an attack, parry it, or move away. Taking all the options in and deducing what one to carry out within a few seconds is frustrating and will often have you failing them (but it's all okay, it's not like you'll get a game over or anything).

In all the game does feel like two games in a way. Playing as child Jodie and adult Jodie, they both feel and sometimes play different. Maybe there is a chapter or two in there where it links both play-styles, evolves it in a sense making the transition more smoother but because it's told in a muddle-up order it's difficult to say if there is a link there or not.

With a spectacular performance from Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, and amazing voice-overs. Beyond: Two Souls -while it does have faults and hiccups- is a game people should play at least once. It is a unique experience with great use of emotion, where you will never forget the first time you played as Aiden.


+ Highly emotional

+ Excellent use of voice

+ Unique experience

-  Lack of consequence and threat

-  Lack of challenge

-  Choice have little impact overall

- Some chapters are a bit of a grind 




Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Chvrches: The Bones of What You Believe Review

Chvrches (Pronounced churches, but spelt with a "v" so it's easier to search for) is a Glaswegian band heavily inspired by 80's music - while putting their own unique spin on it, thus bringing old music into the modern era. Their first album "The Bones of What You Believe" debuted late September

This album is full of potential for future releases, it has a wide range of interesting music. However the most common problem with a lot of electropop is that the band/group either:-

1) Produce one -or a few- good song(s) and the rest stray into "experimental" music which usually flops
2) They come out with one or two albums then vanish completely

With Chvrches however it feels totally different and they may not fall into this pattern. 

This album is full of brilliant songs, way more that just one or two. All with a similar style (that of which is their own style). So they've managed to make way more than one good song, so it's safe to say they probably won't be experimenting any time soon as they seem to have found a firm footing for their style pretty fast. So unless something shifts them really suddenly they ain't gonna change their ways. 

As for the second problem, that is unlikely. They have been around for a while now, but they weren't able to release their album. Why? They wanted a contract that allowed a lot of creative freedom. If they take creativity that seriously that they waited for a while to get a contract,  that most likely means they are serious. So this isn't looking to be a case of here one minute and gone the next, they seem to want to stick around and make a proper carrer out of this.

We can only hope for what the future brings.

Relying heavily on synthesizers and a solid consistent bass, Chvrches have already found a reliable niche, and here's hoping that they stick to it. Short singing segments, with small breaks in between, gives the audience the chance to listen to the music they've produced as well and not just the vocal talent -as beautiful as they are-. 

Their music is constructed almost like a weave. It's not a case of clear musical verse piece, chorus piece, verse piece, chorus piece, bridge. Sure you can tell when it's a verse, chorus or bridge due to the singing, but for some of their songs the music blends and the end of one musical segment and the start of another is usually impossible to find exactly where the music transforms into the next section. This makes some of the songs seem like a continuous string. Something that is unique to them and is a style of theirs.

There are two main ways to can see this album. It can come across as a album where each track is heavily layered with music scores, all interweaving tightly with one another. Or. Very short epics, full of life and activity. Sure there are other ways to view it. But these two are most likely the ones to strike at you first before anything else. It is what is most striking about Chvrches style.

With a variety of songs that seem totally different from one another, but it has that something that makes them all associated with one another at the same time. The Bones of What You Believe is an amazing debut album that opens many doors for Chvrches so let's hope that they aren't gone too long until their next release.

Here's hoping them all the best.


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Video Games Ten Hottest Gals

In this list is the most attractive video game characters to ever be created -so far- (well in my eyes anyway). Wither you are a straight male, lesbian, or are very open and comfortable with your sexuality, I'm pretty sure one or two people on this you'll also agree on. Finding attractive females can be quite difficult. For one thing a lot are overly sexualised, and unrealistic, like my previous post regarding male, I want to find genuine woman who are realistic in their own sense.

*Note:- This list is done alphabetically in order of first name, not in order of attractiveness.

Ada Wong

Appearing in several Resident Evil games Ada is one of the most attractive woman in it, unlike most females perceived in video games, she hasn't got ridiculous sized breasts, acts seductive, or any of the old and stale tactics used to get men to play it (developers, woman play games too, furthermore, don't insult them by showing male gamers what woman should look and act like). Her personality is much more realistic and more believable. Ada was one of the first few female characters I came across that really stood out, both for being attractive (for being much more natural) and realistic.

Elizabeth Comstock

A recent female addition from the latest Bioshock game. Elizabeth, is not a 2D character, she is much more realistic the older females in games. 

She has morals, issues, dreams and ambitions. She is smart, friendly and does NOT need protecting. Her elegant hair style and bright blue eyes draw focus and show us how realistic and beautiful developers can make woman be out to be.


Farah is a young woman who can come across as a trickster, manipulator and other bad characteristics associated with most humans. However with these traits she comes across as ruthless, ambitious and willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants, for some her sense of empowering will be what makes her sexy. While others will find her sexy for her determination. 

Jill Valentine

Jill (the Resident Evil 3 version, not 5), is much more appealing, she was one of the first few woman in the video game industry to be seen realistically as a non-sexual woman. Her breasts -while there, but not overly sized- showed that the gaming industry was finally starting to realize how insecure it made woman feel. 

Jill doesn't brim with personality within the first few games, but her looks are to die for. The new approach to what woman should be like is what makes her so attractive. For being Jill.

Heather Mason

Silent Hill's second most sexiest character (first being Henry Townshend, my biggest fictional crush), Heather Mason. An ordinary teenager, normal boundaries, morals, reactions, etiquette and emotions. Heather's fashion sense for her (and for anyone) can help find someone more attractive. Her slightly unkempt hair is rebellious for going against what is "normal/acceptable", it's admirable and is for me, and others I'm sure it's appealing.

Lara Croft

Finally a Lara that hasn't had too much attention to her bosoms. Lara now looks ever sexier in HD, her strong completion and beautiful hair has done her wonders. This new Lara is very appealing not for being sexualised but for being realistic, believable and for being within normal boundaries for the average looking females. Nothing wrong with average looking by the way. You're still very very attractive.  


Females with abnormal coloured hair can be a risky business, some find it horrible, others find it attractive. Wither or not you're one or the other you can still find video game characters attractive no matter how abnormal the hair colour. Lightning is one of them, her pinkish hair intensifies her appeal, her petite face and slender jaw gives her the edge over many females in video game history.

Mayu & Mio Amakura

First off they're twins so I count them as one in a way down to the fact they look very similar. Mayu and Mio  both represent two different and distinct human emotions, the need to protect and the need to be isolated (in a sense). Gone are the big breasts that feature in way too many games, these teenagers are much more realistic, subtle and attractive. They're delicate dresses are much more appealing than the skimpy outfits that leave nothing to the imagination that is widely used for female game characters, and with lack of makeup these girls sure do go natural (sometimes less is more - in regards to makeup, not clothes).

Tifa  Lockhart

Tifa is a fighter, she isn't a pushover, she is genuine and real, that's what makes her personality attractive. As for looks ... look at her intriguing get up, beautiful well kept hair. Natural beauty. There isn't a lot to say about her looks, as the image above talks for itself.


Yuna isn't you're typical woman in games, she doesn't need "saved" by a stronger man, she is strong, she isn't afraid to suffer for those she care about, she isn't afraid to speak out of terms, she isn't afraid to die. Yuna is strong willed and that is very attractive for a lot of men. Her graceful movements and beautiful attention gives this woman a real impact for the men.

If you've played FFX and you didn't find Yuna attractive well go get your head checked.

Video Games Ten Hottest Guys

In this list is the most attractive video game characters to ever be created -so far- (well in my eyes anyway). Wither you are a straight female, gay male, or are very open and comfortable with your sexuality, I'm pretty sure one or two people on this you'll also agree on.

*Note:- This list is done alphabetically in order of first name, not in order of attractiveness.

David King

Straight form Resident Evil Outbreak, David is an exceptionally handsome man, to me when I think of plumber I use to instantly think of Mario. Now I tend to think of this man. Hair is a big part of finding people attractive to me, someone getting a haircut can completely change how attractive I find them (I'm not even joking), and his hair just does it for me, accompanied with his face shape and jaw line, well ... you've got one attractive guy.

Henry Townshend

I'll admit it. Henry Townshend (Silent Hill 4: The Room) -to me- is the sexiest video game character ever to be created. If this man was real I would stalk the hell out of him. Now the whole emo sort of look doesn't do anything for me but a hint of it is present in his appearance and for some reason ... that works, join that with his stubble, now wow. This obsession is most likely intensified by the similarities in personality, both of us are hermits, awkward and shy.

His kindness and thoughtfulness while taking others into consideration is enough to make anyone feel queasy and wish he would be a real character. Although with looks like that he'd have been taken almost instantly. 


Here's one straight from my (and maybe your's) childhood, Ken from Street Fighter series. I'll admit I don't know much about him, except he's American, and I always imagine that he's Ryu's enemy, but it's the mystery about him that interests me and has stopped me from investigating his back story.

Blonde hair -on a man- is very sex, but they need to have the face for it I guess, not wanting it to be out of place now do I. With that and him coming across as a bit smug, does something for quite a lot of people. His strong completion, and general get up, Ken is quite a hot man. Indeed.

Kevin Ryman

When it comes to Resident Evil, most likely everyone will be for Chris or Leon, I am neither, I found Leon's appearance (in Resident Evil 4) to be slightly off putting due to the hint of femininity in his looks. As for Chris I did have a phase for him -he was the polar opposite of Leon (look wise)- but that past and Kevin still remained.

Kevin is an all round good looker, who people admire not as a phase or because he goes against the flow, but will love him for a long, long time. Those of you who have played the Outbreak games will be well aware of his existence (while the latter of gamers will be unaware) and will adore his good looks and almost charming personality -on some people-.

Kevin, to me, you are right behind Henry Townshend.


When I first got Soul Calibur, I always went Kilik (cause he is so attractive), now I play him as I like the style of his fighting (until the new one changed it, and had to opt for a new character), but that thought still stays there. Before I knew what my sexuality was determined as I knew there was something about Kilik that I just liked. He comes across as a sweet and caring person, with strong morals and highly determined. With a desire to be protective to those he care about.

His personality was one thing that worked for me just like his looks did too, his long brunette hair coupled with his strong bold eyes really did one on me in my childhood.

Kyle Hyde

I'm quite shallow when it comes to Mr Hyde, he's arrogant, cocky and sly, personality traits that I dislike. What makes up for it is his looks; while it's mainly black and white with very few colour images of him. He's a character that requires no colour in order to come across as sexy, and its only heightened by his stubble. Can't say much more about him, I did say it was shallow.

Nathan Drake

Okay he appears on way too many lists (there could never be too many, actually) but it still stands to reason. Naughty Dog sure knows how to create a character bursting with sex appeal, his chiseled good looks accompanied with his quirky and almost clumsy attitude give him an edge and separate him from the rest of the list really.

I'll admit he does sometimes come across as arrogant and almost self-centered and although while they traits are undesirable I still forgive him due to those looks of him.

Drake, Naughty Dog may stop making games about you, but you'll still have loads of girls and gay men desiring you.


Another shallow one here.

He's moody and he's broody, he's awkward and easily angered. All bad things that put me off, the hair and face however save it for him. Unlike Henry his is a little more emo like -still not enough to put me off all together- but still subtle enough for me to think of him as an attractive looking guy. Now if his personality was more appealing, he would be bumped up on my list.


Ken's counterpart -or maybe he isn't, I don't know, I haven't looked up his back story- is just as hot, like Ken I know next to nothing about him, and some of it is just speculations. He's Japanese, Ken's rival (how wrong am I?). 

Everyone has a thing for something -we all do, don't we?-, be it the stereotypical fireman, policeman ect, ect.  However karate and other fighting experts is something that's rare and it does intrigue me, now I'm not saying I'd have a thing for a hot guy in karate getup, it'd be the guy not the getup I'm attracted to, but to see him in one would pull focus that's my point. It's due to the focus that Ryu pulls not to mention his incredibly good looks that helps put him on this list.

Snow Villiers

Hero this. Hero that. Hero. Hero. Hero. Arugh it's so annoying. Snow is one of them, you hate the person, you like their looks, you're angered for allowing yourself to be attracted to such a person. Snow is the fictional persona of that fitting description. 

I don't like him, but those looks, that hair, that stubble, it works. This is the last (and last guy in the list) guy to be one here due to sheer shallowness, judging only by his looks I'd say Snow is pretty attractive, ignore his personality for just a minute, take a look at him. Do you now find him attractive?

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Bioshock Infinite Review

No more Rapture. No more big daddies. No more little sisters. Now it's Columbia ...

The similarities?

The first few minutes of Infinite will have the vibe and atmosphere that the first two games provided us with, however within the next hour it breaks away from the old formula and traditions that were present in the first two Bioshock games. This isn't a bad thing though it's a new and exciting experience filled with bold new content and interesting concepts.

Within this game you escort a young woman -Elizabeth-. Now many of you think "escorting" and are instantly reminded of Ashley from Resident Evil 4, you moan, you groan and vow it will be terrible. However. This is different, Elizabeth has no health bar. She can protect herself, plus during battle she will aid you. Throwing first aid kits, ammo the works. This isn't it all, even while just exploring the streets she will point out objects of interest and offer you money for you. So this is nothing like RE4's Ashley. This is Bioshock Infinite.

Speaking of breaking away from old formula's it is not a case of an abandoned city filled with drug addicts (splicers) this is much different some parts of this game will have you in combat with the people of Columbia, then other sections involve you walking the streets with it's civilians with no threat to you. It is the small parts like this that derive it from the original games, as these sections allow you to unwind, cool off and take things slow.

There is powers in this (not Adam) called Vigors, these are new powers that are much more useful and interesting in this. For example you can send a wave towards the enemies, which immobilize them as they float around giving you time to shoot them. I won't ruin it by telling you more, but there is seven more powers and trust me, they're all useful, inventive and highly creative.

The gun system is now different, originally you could hold them all, but would be low on bullets, low on money and money would be capped. However in this there are plenty of guns but you can only hold two at a time. You can swap them but you would have to drop one of them. There are now plenty of bullets which are also very cheap and with no cap on your wallet you can hold more money than you can spend.


+ Fresh new concepts
+ Lots of freedom
+ A escort system that is effective, stress-free and enjoyable+ Amazing story (if you can understand it or look it up online afterwards)
- Story may befuddle some people


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Silent Hill Breakdown: Introduction

It goes without saying that Silent Hill 2 has a lot of symbolism, deep meanings, ambiguous scenarios and hidden agenda's often obscured or masked. 

Silent Hill 2 is one of my most beloved games, and I'm starting with a series that will deconstruct it in it's entirety. These series of articles will combine, facts, theories and various interpretations from both my point of view and the developers.

The parts will consist as follow:

Part 1 - Characters
                                     James Sunderland
                                     Mary Shepherd-Sunderland
                                     Angela Orosco
                                     Eddie Dombrowski
                                     Other characters

Part 2 - Monsters
                                     Pyramid Head
                                     Other monsters

Part 3 - Plot
                                      Part 1 - Entering Silent Hill
                                      Part 2 - Apartment Buildings
                                      Part 3 - Hospitals
                                      Part 4 - Historical Society and Labyrinth
                                      Part 5 - Hotels

Part 4 - Locations
                                       Fog versions
                                       Otherworld versions

Part 5 - Miscellaneous
                                        Memos, Symbolic items and random 

Part 6 - Conclusions

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Sinister Movie Review

Released in 2012 I never got the chance to see it, however I finally made the time recently and watched it for the first time. 

So what were my thoughts?

Creepy children are NOT scary.

Sinister follows Ellison Oswalt, a crime writer who moves into a house with his family to write his new book which revolves around the previous residents who were murdered in an obscure way, and the only survivor -a child- disappeared directly afterwards.

Within this new home Ellison finds a lonesome box in the attic with film reels from different times. These come across as innocent family home movies, such a BBQ '76 which depicts a family at a lake fishing. However this seemingly innocent family movie is a tad unsettling, for one thing the person recording isn't a family member as they are hidden and record the family unaware. It becomes increasingly disturbing as it turns sour by changing mid recording to a garage late at night with only the camera's light to illuminate the room. The car is chained up and the family inside are tied and gagged while lying next to gasoline, the camera comes face on with the car and the director ignites the car. 

There are several other videos within the box each with innocent names, and are associated with other families (including the previous residents of the house they now occupy). Using this Ellison begins his investigation and research for his new novel, however he begins uncovering information that he would have been best left alone, as a malevolent force is at work.

While watching these found footage moments in the movie are the most disturbing it doesn't mean that it is all good, this movie is yet another victim to the tired and no longer scary (if it ever was) use of ghost/creepy children. It's no longer scary Hollywood all it does is break tension. 

Speaking of breaking tension the film does do this intentionally at some parts -and quite well at that too- in between scary and tense scenes we are allowed to relax and breathe as small but very helpful elements of comedy are integrated into this film and it works a treat a gives the film a bit more depth and surrealism.

The outcome of this film I will not spoil, however I was not drawn into the characters fates, whether they lived or died I did not feel any empathy towards them or had any interest in what was to become of them.

Ellison was portrayed as a selfish person who lies in order to get what he wants therefore I did not feel for him when he was being tormented while watching the films and turning to the drink. His wife barely appeared in the film therefore I did not make a connection with her, the same goes with his son and daughter. This was a bit of a let down as the climax of the film would not have me at the edge of my seat but rather watching it out of curiosity with little interest in the outcome for the family and their fate.

While this film does have its faults it is not a waste of time to watch nor is it boring, true that the family movies are the best parts in the film and may have you freaked out long after it is finished (as the BBQ '76 video did for me) it is still a cleverly made film that could have been better if it was not for the cliche "scary" children and it gave us an opening to like and care for the characters.

★ ✰

+ Effective use of lighting, music and tension
+ Knows how to break tension and bring it back again
+ Great ideas for the home videos
- Could have done without the creepy children 
- Could have worked on character to viewer relationship
- Main antagonist seems more like a heavy metal band member so it isn't as scary as it was intended

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Review

What do you get when you make a crossover between Pokemon', Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda? It's Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, while it is not copying them there is an essence of their presence within the game. Level 5 (Dark cloud, Professor Layton series) and Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro) have teamed up to remake this game which was originally release in Japan for the DS 2010.


Ni No Kuni's storyline was created by Studio Ghibli, it follows 13-year old Oliver who due to unfortunate circumstances loses his mother, locks himself in his room for days, and cries, eventually he cries onto a doll his mother made for him, these tears break the curse put on the doll, it comes to life and addresses himself as Drippy lord high lord of the faeries. He tells Oliver that he is the one who is destined to defeat Shadar, a malicious jinn who contorts the other world Drippy resided in and crushes all those that oppose him, he then goes onto to explain that in his world there is a duplicate of everyone in Oliver's world, and that his mothers soul mate was a Sage who tried -and failed- to stand up and defeat Shadar, he trapped her in a soulsnare, and if Oliver can free her, it may bring his mother back in his own world.

This is the basis of the story but it is a very large story with cutscenes after cutscenes playing, however this will not get boring as the obscurity of it and the characters believability will keep you in-grossed and not bored, after all Studio Ghibli know how to tell a good story at a fantastic pace.



So why does it seem like Pokemon', Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda?, well gameplay can be broken down into different  sections: Cities, Wilderness, Battle, Side-quests, Dungeons.

In the towns of the game you will run about one end to the other, fulfilling certain needs in order to progress in the story and advance, this is where Final Fantasy comes into it, this will have you going to different towns, backtracking, locating people who are hiding and so on.

Outside of each city is the wilderness, a lonesome place you will walk to get from one city to the next, this is where creatures will attack and engage in battle, this is also Final fantasy like, but also like the older Zelda games.

The battles are the most complex part of the game, you can fight by using Oliver, familiars, or other party members, or their familiars. If you chose Oliver you are best using magic as physical attacks are weak, you will rarely use him though, if you want to use physical attacks then you're best using a Familiar. Familiars are creatures you can catch, you will get a starter but soon after you can catch all the different types in the wilderness, train them up and use them -Pokemon's element-. The fighting style is not exactly turn-based but it is not run around freely and press x to attack each time either. It's both. Say you want to attack, chose the attack option, chose who you want to attack, then for about five seconds your familiar will attack the chosen target automatically, depending on it's attack, evasion, accuracy and evasion it will all determine, how much damage it did, how likely it is to avoid attacks, block attacks, and take less damage from attacks. You can cancel at any time you wish and defend if they are going to do a special move on you, run away, switch to someone else, do a special, use provisions, heal etc.

Within the cities you will find people who need your help, these quests come in all different kinds, catch specific kinds of familiars, show me a spell, get me these ingredients, but the most common is the heart quests. Shadar takes peoples hearts and leaves them broken heated, there are numerous types that can be missing from a person, courage, kindness, restraint, enthusiasm etc. To complete these you have to find someone who has more than enough of the required kind. Take a piece of their heart and give it to the one who needs it. There are also other side-quests known as bounty hunts, these are creatures that are out in the wilderness that you need to take down, kind of like mini-bosses.

Dungeons, in some areas of the game you will be in places some call dungeons, while it may be outside and not have any floors there is still some truth to this. These places will have an ultimate goal and location, but the map will not be filled out, as you explore you will map it out yourself -like a maze- in here you will find save points that heal and restore your magic, monsters and a boss at the end, this again is where the vibes of Zelda and Final Fantasy come from.


Ni No Kuni (lit. Second Country -some fans call it: The Another World-) is beautiful, the first cinematic cutscene can clearly be identified as Studio Ghibli, it has that magical yet relate-able look to it, the cutscenes are gorgeous and with splendid voice acting to complement it runs smoothly and is truly captivating. As for in game visual they too are stunning, rather than it being soft textures it is very rough, the tones do not blend but it fits perfect for this game as it feels less like a game and more like controlling an anime or animation. The overall feel to the game is incredible, from bright sunny villages, to gloomy Victorian streets, to wintery landscapes, this game has not been afraid to cram as many different locations, moods and atmospheres into it, and it paid off, it all fits in well and nothing seems out of place.

Closing Remarks

If you are a fan of any of the games, films, companies, ideas mentioned above, possess a PS3 and have yet to play this game, get your head checked, there may be something wrong. 

This game has a distinct feel to it that no other game could mimic without completely copying it. I sincerely hope that games like Ni No Kuni will continue to be made by these wonderful creators as they have shown  game developers that there is still a big wide marker for JRPG's and it is not us that are at fault, we are not bored of them, it is them for not believing in themselves and their ideas, stop playing it safe guys, take a leap.

Story - 83%

Gameplay - 90%

Visuals - 96%

Overall - 89.6%

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Hitman: Absolution - Review

Hitman: Absolution has been out for quite some time now, so what's my view on it?

Originally the Hitman series came from IO Interactive, however this one comes straight from Square Enix -creators of Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, World Ends With You-, don't get me wrong I love Square Enix but making a game of this nature I'll admit it I was a bit skeptical at first, but those soon vanished as I began.

Rewarding players with patience and strategic thinking, Hitman is very satisfying as waiting for the perfect opportunity never felt so good when it finally comes up. Rewarding you for experimenting with your surroundings and good old trial and error this game gives you plenty of chances to take out your targets, some involve making it seem like a freak accident, natural death to just plain assassinate them, then hide from assailants, get disguises and so on.

Exploring the vast levels will give you plenty of insights into what method you think would be most appropriate as a befitting death for your target. This game takes alot of time, so if you want fast paced games with quick kills you'd best keep looking. 

Certain aspects have also improved one thing I noticed right away was the fibre wire killing felt much more natural, in Blood Money it was difficult and usual resulted in the person turning round and me being caught, in Absolution that frustration is thankfully gone, it's much easier to do meaning I don't need to keep restarting to get a clean kill, although I prefer to kill only those who need to die.

You no longer chose your weapons for each level, you start the level with the given weapons, if you want others you will have to scout the area for them. 

A cover system is also introduced, in the originals if caught you would have to run left to right, dodging the bullets, now though we can cover, wait for the moment and go for the shot, shooting too has made a change it can now include point shooting where it slows time as you pin point where you want to shoot then carry it out automatically, you don't need to do this however you can manually shoot if you prefer but it's nice to have the option there. The cover system can also work to be stealth like also, stay hidden, wait for a target to pass by then go after them. Instinct mode is added, this will tell you where people are, and where they are going, useful if your in an area where enemies patrol and need to know if one is coming.

That is just a few of the changes but I will not point them all out. 

So what did I think?

Compared to the other Hitman games, this is the best I think, I love the large levels that rewards exploration and concise plans, the various methods of killing are very creative and enjoyable to suss out all of them, for example attaching a live wire to a wire fence is rewarding as a build up of adrenaline surges through you as you sit back and watch your target come ever so closer to their demise, possibility of being caught is another adrenaline fueled experience as sneaking by enemies will have your heart pounding and palms sweating as you pray for them not to turn around and notice you.


+ Immense replay value
+ Huge levels
+ Powerful emotions through playing
+ Can create your own missions
- May get stressful if you are a perfectionist


Monday, 14 January 2013

My Mad Fat Diary Review

With much advertisement and hype "My Mad Fat Diary" is here.

We go back to the nineties to follow sixteen year old Rachael (Rae), who having been released from a psychiatric hospital, -due to mental health issues- attempts to fit back into society despite having to deal with an eccentric mother and having self-image issues, now free she sets off into the world and tries to be socially accepted through the use of drinking, sex, music, giving in to peer pressure and other normal teenager rituals.

So what was the opening episode like?

In a nutshell.
It starts with Rae talking with her counseller about her life since she left the institute and then follows what was done in the past few days since, she describes and introduces points with her inner voice that she dares not to voice out into the open but has expressed those thoughts detailed in her diary, it starts rough as her mom is late to pick her up, has gotten an illegal-immigrant boyfriend while she was being medicated, not being able to sleep due to their loud sex, hanging out with her friends and going to their pool party afraid to be wearing a bikini but realizing she is not see as monstrous as she perceives herself to be, it then ends with the aftermath between her and her counseller as he tries to make her see that there is a wide spectrum of what is considered normal by societies standards if you find the right people.

Rae seems like a normal person, in front of her former and new friends the dialogue is very realistic and befitting for Rae as it paints a very vivid picture of her traits, personality and so on, her dialogue is pitched both outspoken and inner monologues to provide a voice over, it is through these voice overs that she provides and when she is alone that we see her as a troubled teenager. One other thing that is usually parallel with the voice overs is that it has moments where the video is paused, and using the voice over child-like images are drawn to illustrate her point more clearly, if you have seen the likes of "Moone Boy" then you will know exactly what I mean.

This show is a good gateway for troubled teenagers who suffer mild mental health issues as it is possible for some viewers to associate themselves with Rae and through the use of serious issues being complemented by humor, this honest drama is very touching and was an enjoyable viewing experience.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

My Favorite Films

Everyone has favorite films, it can be brought on by use of plot, characters, style, colour, the list really is quite endless, below is a small list I have complied on what my favorite films are:

Black Swan (2010)

The story follows Nina, a young ballet dancer who plays both roles in "Swan Lake", Odette the white swan which is very much like herself, and Odile the black swan, which is the person she begins to slowly change into throughout the film.
This film is a real thought-provoker as we come to learn all that can go wrong with each and every one of us.

Clockwork Orange, A (1971)

Set in a dystopian future we follow Alex a young criminal jailed for his crimes, upon hearing of the chance for an early release he opts in for an experimental procedure where his free will is altered and anything that is violent or sexual based will force-ably make him feel ill at ease.
With high violent and sexual scene "A, Clockwork Orange" was a revolutionary film in it's time and has since became a cult classic.

Donnie Darko (2001)

A little bit of a mind trip, okay a huge mind trip, "Donnie Darko" is about a teenager who, after surviving a bizzare accident is introduced to a man wearing a bunny costume known as Frank, who tells Donnie the date and time that the world will end, and it is up to Donnie to figure out what to do.
This film, with a complex storyline, is another cult classic through it's subtle and vague explanations and its use of exploration of the mind.

Evil Dead (1981)

Evil dead is about a group of friends who discover the book of the dead and unleash demons that possess them. Sure the plot is a little basic but this film is a cult classic beloved by all who have seen it, it gave us a new definition of horror through the use of unsettling scenes (tree scene -you know what I'm talking about-)

Hot Fuzz (2007)

The second film in the blood and ice cream trilogy follows Nicholas a police officer who has been relocated to the country side, however the peaceful village it was defined as has a dark secret as people are being murdered and disguised as accidents.
With a cast of dis-functioning characters  and a cleverly written script, "Hot Fuzz" shows us how brilliant British films can be and what potential it has.

Labyrinth (1986)

"Labyrinth" is a family film brought to us by the creator of the "Muppets" the story follows Sarah, a young girl who wished that her step-brother would be taken away by the goblin king, having her wish granted she begs the king to give him back, he agrees under the condition that she solves his labyrinth within a set amount of time.
With memorable music numbers and a creative cast "Labyrinth" surely is one for the ages.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Based on the hit manga, we follow Scott in his attempt to woo his crush Ramona, but in order to get with her he must defeat her 7 ex's who have teamed up to stop him from being with her.
Taking a retro video game aspect to it "Scott Pilgrim" is a unique film experience that any game lover should watch at least once.

Series of Unfortunate Events., A (2004)

It tried to be the rival of the "Harry Potter" films, however it did not gain enough attention or awareness in order to succeed and as a result it has been often been called a hidden gem. The film follows three orphans who start life anew with their uncle, however he only takes them in so he can claim their fortune for himself, being rumbled the children move and stay with another family member however Count Olaf tracks them down and is persistent in being their legal guardian.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

The first in the blood and ice cream trilogy, "Shaun of the Dead" tells us the story of an unmotivated man who is stuck in a rut, where upon he finds himself taking leader in his group after the city turns zombie infested, from this he gathers his friends and family and attempts to find a safe haven to stay until help arrives. 
The horror/comedy collaboration works perfectly in this film with many memorable moments and easter eggs, "Shaun of the Dead" has since became a modern classic.

Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away is like a fairy-tail gone horrible wrong, a young girl through terrible circumstances is forced to work for a witch at a bath house for the Gods and spirits, it is here where she meets interesting and eccentric people through which she befriends as they help her towards going back home. 
This animation is really one for all ages as it is touching as it is visually beautiful.

Suspiria (1977)

When it comes to horror films most of them use low lighting and dark tones, "Suspiria" however goes against this, full of light and colour this Italian horror flick tells the story of Suzy Banyon an American ballet being transferred to a new ballet school located in Germany upon arriving bizarre incidents and deaths begin to occur, leading her to believe that something else is at work within the school.