The Last of Us

The-Last-Of-Us-Wallpaper-HD-Screenshot-GameI’m slightly behind the rest of the gaming world in writing my review for Last of Us and I spent a while deciding whether it was worth reviewing as so much has already been said about it. But as I work through my second play through of the campaign I don’t how I couldn’t write something up about this game and why it completely deserves all the praise that it’s had. Set in a post-apocalyptic environment you play as Joel, whose own daughter was killed in the initial chaos, the main story begins 20 years on from this and Joel and his partner Tess are asked to smuggle a young girl, Ellie, across the state and get here to the elusive Firefly group as she is believed to be immune to the zombie infection and could therefore be the key to finding a cure.

The Last of Us marks the biggest step up in game story-telling since the likes of Heavy Rain, its plot unfolds like a film and the fact that you play through only adds to emotional impact. Where in the past games have failed to find a healthy balance between story and gameplay The Last of Us gets it pitch perfect. While the aforementioned Heavy Rain delivered an immersive, well-told story I would argue that it was more an interactive motion picture whereas TLOU is without doubt a video game. It takes well-known elements and conventions from games and does them better than ever before, with innovative level types which require a range of different methods to work your way through and offer a difficult challenge without being painfully hard. It perfectly brings you a familiar feel of gaming that you will have been used to for a long time, meaning it’s easy to pick up, great fun to play, and doesn’t take anything away from the games excellent story. The graphics are absolutely stunning as well, with vibrant colours bursting out when you walk through deserted cities, ridiculously detailed human features and smooth well-designed action animations that really prove how good the PS3 can be while leaving you wondering how the hell the PS4 is going to top this! The multiplayer mode is fairly basic but offers an additional way to play the game and explore the expertly designed environments with enough challenges and unlocks to keep you entertained enough to play through its own campaign-type quests.

What TLOU marks is the beginning of gaming on a large scale being an art form. It shows the world how video games can tell a story effectively and emotively in the same way films and tv shows do and still contains the features that got you into gaming in the first place. When the critics say this is the best game of all time they’re not wrong and with the PS4 and Xbox One Just around the corner this a fine way to say farewell to a fantastic console. (With GTA V yet to come as well the farewell celebrations to this generation of consoles is only going to get bigger).

 

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Resident Evil 6

Resident_evil_6_premium_edition_c8szoBeing a long-term fan of the Resident Evil series but having been disappointed by its fifth instalment I was quite anxious leading up to the release of number six. After playing the demo though and reading the reviews any buzz I may have originally had for the game was swiftly smothered. In the end I waited for a while and after not hearing anything much good about it I decided to rent it rather part with a larger chunk of cash. I’m so glad I made that decision.

In case you don’t know about the game it takes a rather a more holistic approach than any of its predecessors, offering you with four different campaigns all from the point-of-view of different characters the majority of which have been the leads in previous games. All four stories coincide with each other to paint a bigger picture of the games dense storyline. The first three story-lines all offer co-op play throughout, whereas the last one that only becomes available after finishing the other three is only single player. The campaigns have all been given a different feel in an attempt to keep all types of gamers happy.

The first story is led by Leon (previously the main character from Resi 2 and 4, 4 being my personal favourite of the whole series) and his partner Helena, this campaign is probably the most like the original Resi games at various points taking you into sewers and graveyards. It is the only story where you actually fight zombies, the J’Avo which you fight in all the other campaigns can barely be described as such. Leon’s campaign is easily the best on the game it being the only one that actually feels like a Resident Evil game, albeit a fairly poor one. By the end of chapter two I was beginning to get into it quite a lot and thought that perhaps it won’t be as bad as everyone says it is but then once you get on to the campaigns later chapters and are bombarded with constant button-mashing and cut-scenes and are barely given a chance to do anything it fast loses its charm. Chapters four and five are a relentless pounding of action none of which is enjoyable and you are ultimately glad for it to finish when it does.

Moving onto Chris (the protagonist from the very first Resi as well as Code: Veronica, The Umbrella Chronicles and Resi 5) and Piers’ campaign and things take a turn even further into shitness. This campaign had my wanting to my hear out pretty much from start to finish. Where Resi 5 failed by trying to make the game attract the Call of Duty market they make the same mistake with this campaign. It’s far too much like a war game and the J’Avo who are the main types of enemy are simply just soldiers with masks. There of particularly infuriating moments which have stuck in my mind, one in which you have to shoot down a helicopter from a boat, I was playing on Veteran difficulty and it seemed whatever I did I would just got shot down immediately to face the ‘You Are Dead’ screen. And the other being a despicably awful QTE in which you have to escape from a strange corridor that is under attack from a disgusting sea monster by sprinting to a door shooting the things hand, sprinting to the next door shooting the things hand then alterantly pressing L1 and R1 but a really awkward pace otherwise the game won’t register it. It’s QTE scene’s such as that which really are the games biggest downfall, not a single boss fight is left to you to do and is instead decided by these fast-tapping moments which are stupidly easy half the time and ridiculously hard the other half with no consistency at all.

The next story is led by Jake (in his first ever appearance) and Sherry (who previously appeared in Resi 2). I found this story to really be just a filler. In one of its chapters it tries to be a stealth game stealing ideas from Hitman or Splinter Cell as you have to sneak you’re way through a cave and avoid being caught by a giant ogre. The story really is just a strange hybrid mash of a load of different video game cliches. There’s the stealth section in which you even have to hide a dumpster and peer out waiting for enemies to pass a shameless rip-off of Hitman. There’s a part where you have to guide a snow mobile away from an avalanche with an incredibly clunky control system that reminded me of one of the more terrible missions in 007 Nightfire. Then there’s another mission where you wake up in a hospital and have to escape with no weapons, but for some reason the hospital is such a bright white that it makes all objects apart from your player invisible for no reason whatsoever.

The final story is Ada Wong’s (previously from Resi 4 and selection of spin-off titles) and her plot coincides with all the other four meaning there are only a couple of parts of her campaign which you haven’t played before. Those bits are actually some of the best in the game, she has a couple of puzzles to solve which were previously one of my favourite things about the series and a boss where you actually get to fight whole thing without control being ripped from you in order for you to mash a couple of buttons really fast. It’s a shame then that hers is the shortest of all the stories and the majority of her missions are just stuck together out of bits that you’ve already got really pissed off with in the other campaigns.

Overall, by then end I really did hate this game. It seems that they’re are trying to cater for too many different markets and in the process have lost what it was that made the series original in the first place. It’s not survival horror game any more and is barely even a horror. It’s basically just a poor action adventure that seems more intent on telling you an over-exuberant storyline than letting you play a game. It’s a massive shame that a series that used be one of my favourites of all time has produced two big misfires for this console generation. Let’s hope that this dip in form will come to an end with PS4 and new XBox but I’m not holding my breath.

 

Utopia Dredd Gish – 20.02.13

I know, I know the title can just go die in a hole. I set myself an impossible task with my three reviews this week and the result is the shittest title any post could ever have, on the plus side it probably means it won’t get seen by many people…

It’s been a busy week as you may gather from the fact that my update is a day late. My first deadline of the semester was yesterday so the majority of my free time was spent doing anything I could to afford working and then reluctantly writing a few words before coming up with an excuse not to and playing the disgustingly addictive Candy Crush Saga for a good hour and then writing a tiny bit more. Since handing I’ve felt better about procrastinating but the feeling won’t last for long as more deadlines seem to be charging at me at an alarming rate. Still there has been some good things. I discovered an awesome called The Bronx who you may have heard of before, their a hardcore punk outfit that I would describe as a happy version of Gallows and I’ve been very much enjoying head-banging to their four records, there’ll be a post at some point about them. Also this week a leak of the Atoms for Peace record, Amok, emerged a review for that will be up soon. And on top of all this the announcements about the Playstation 4 were made last night and I am incredibly excited , let me know your thoughts on its new features in a comment below if you like.

Now back to the past week I’ve just about managed to give you a nice array of reviews kicking off with my review of the Smashing Pumpkins debut album Gish¬†which marks the kick off to a series of reviews I’ll be writing on their whole discography. Second was my review of Channel 4’s latest drama serial Utopia¬†which cam to an end on Tuesday night and was nothing short of being fucking awesome. And finally I gave my thoughts on Dredd. Hope you enjoy having a read.

To continue about the Playstation 4 I’ll leave you with this footage of one of the consoles debut titles Deep Down if you’ve had enough of strange Japanese man talking skip to 4.30 and enjoy the stunning graphics: