Tag: Adventure

Embracelet Review (PC)

  • Genre: Adventure, Indie
  • Platforms: Steam, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer | Publisher: Mattis Folkestad | machineboy
  • Age Rating: PEGI 12 | ESRB T (Teen)
  • Price: UK £10.29 | US $12.99
  • Release Date: 24th September 2020

Mattis Folkestad (who we interviewed back in August 2020) was kind enough to supply us with a review code, but all opinions contained within this review are my own.

Story/Characters

Embracelet follows the coming-of-age story of Jesper, a lonely and moody teenage boy who lives in the city with his mother. He’s friendless and lacking direction, at least until his grandfather gives him a task: travel to Slepp, grandfather’s Norwegian home, and return this mystical bracelet to it’s rightful owner. Yep, good old Grandpa has a magical bracelet that can move objects. After some back-and-forth with his mother, Jesper finally hops on a boat and heads due North.

New friends and misadventures await Jesper on Slepp. Each villager has a distinct personality, all affected in some way by the decline of the small fishing village. You don’t tend to interact with the other villagers much, with the exception of Karoline and Hermod, the only other teenagers on the island. 

I found Embracelet’s story interesting, however, it was one of those games that I wasn’t eager to keep picking up, but was really fun once I got going again. There’s a lot to learn on Slepp, though sometimes I was forced to take actions that I didn’t agree with! Jesper, Karoline, and Hermod are all at that awkward age where they disagree with the world, but have no power to change anything. While they were relatable, I think I am possibly a little too mature to really connect with the characters in the way that was intended.

Don’t get me wrong, I spent a lot of time smiling and occasionally laughing at their antics, and seeing the relationships develop was fun. However, I did find myself getting annoyed with the typical teenage immaturity at times.

Gameplay

Embracelet played nicely both with keyboard/mouse and with a gamepad, though I confess I preferred using the gamepad. The majority of Embracelet is running around talking to people, and occasionally interacting with items to use the bracelet, so being able to sit back in the chair while I played was nice. There are a few scenarios in which you feel like you have to rush, but the majority of the game is nice and laid-back with no sense of urgency.

Unfortunately, despite the controls being very relaxed, I do have a couple of gripes. Controlling Jesper felt like a chore – every movement felt sluggish and clunky, like I was trying to drive a tank. Also, I understand the reasoning behind the limited camera angles and movement, but having to run in an awkward circle to turn my view was annoying. During one scene, it took me ages to find the object I was supposed to interact with purely because spinning the camera was so fiddly.

Graphics, Sound, and Performance

Embracelet embraced (there’s a tongue-twister for you!) the polygonal and bright aesthetic with open arms. I loved the fact that everything looked like it could have been a piece of very advanced origami, which lent an almost whimsical tone to the design. The basic nature of the scenery was refreshing, too – I was never having to peer closely at the screen just to find something.

The sound design is absolutely on point. Light-hearted at times, dramatic at others, the basic nature of the world is steered towards different moods based on the music. There aren’t any complicated or overwhelming tracks, in fact they’re quite simple, but they provide a perfect accompaniment to Jesper’s journey.

Conclusion

Embracelet is possibly a little pricey, considering it only took me about 5 hours to finish and the drive to launch it isn’t particularly strong. However, once you get into it there’s a good amount of fun to be had, with some very emotional sequences that made me smile with a feeling of self-indulgency. Beautiful graphics and even more beautiful sounds make wandering the paths of Slepp a truly enjoyable experience, barring the few gameplay irritants.

Verdict
While not a perfect game, Embracelet is nonetheless an enjoyable coming-of-age diversion.

When the Past Was Around Review (PC)

  • Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4, XB1, PC
  • Developer | Publisher: Mojiken Studio | Toge Productions
  • Age Rating: PEGI 3 | ESRB E (Everyone)
  • Price: UK £5.79 | US $7.99
  • Release Date: 22/09/2020

Many thanks to Toge Productions for the review code!

I get easily emotional, so I tend to avoid games that I know are going to make me cry. However, When the Past Was Around has such a deep and soul-touching premise that I just had to give it a go. Warning – emotional times inbound!

Story/Characters

When the Past Was Around follows Eda through a meandering series of memories, starting with losing her passion in her early twenties. She soon meets a wonderful man, Owl, whose kindness and love can help her find herself again. I don’t want to delve any further, as spoiler-free is definitely the best way to experience this beautiful tale. I do recommend keeping the tissues handy though – Eda’s journey is both heart-warming and heart-breaking, and those tears tend to sneak up on you.

Gameplay

Ah, point-and-click. Such a classic mechanic, and yet, so well implemented. As each memory consists of a series of mini puzzles, the controls work perfectly to keep overthought to a minimum and allow you to simply enjoy the experience without arguing with the mechanics. Once collected, items sit in an inventory bar at the bottom of the screen, and using them is as simple as dragging them on to the appropriate object.

Graphics, Sound, and Performance

When the Past Was Around has an absolutely beautiful hand-drawn style that lends itself well to the evocative nature of the story. Every scene is beautifully designed, with a subdued colour scheme that serves to highlight the emotional nature of the game. The transition between pleasant memory and sad memory creates a huge contrast in a scene, and makes me excited to see more of Brigitta Rena’s work.

The sound design is, in a word, mesmerising. With the exception of the menu button, the volume of which can thankfully be turned down, every sound is so soft and delicate that it simply carries you along. There’s true emotion laden in every note of the soundtrack, and trust me when I say you’ll want headphones on for it.

Difficulty

I’ve come across my fair share of illogical and infuriatingly obscure point-and-click adventures, but am glad to say that When the Past Was Around is relaxingly simple. As long as you’re paying attention and using some small measure of logic, nothing should stump you for too long – for example, finding a knife in a room full of taped boxes would generally suggest using said knife to open the boxes up. There are situations where an item will be found but not used until later, or even only found on revisiting the previous location, but these make sense as you encounter them.

Unlike in some point-and-click games, interactable items aren’t drawn differently. They appear exactly the same as everything else in the environment, but still managed to catch my attention easily. If you’re really struggling, there is a hint button that highlights interactables, but I didn’t find it necessary.

Conclusion

When the Past Was Around is a showstopper in it’s genre. Balancing joy and sorrow, overlaid with the haze of nostalgia and the clarity of growth, it’s a journey told in subtlety and delicacy. Granted, it’s probably too subtle to appeal to younger players, but it feels more aimed at young adults through to older generations. I was left light-hearted but teary by the end of the short experience, and felt a whole new appreciation for the wonderful things in my own life. You never know when you’ll lose something, after all, and should make the most of it while you can.

Verdict
The perfect way to fill an afternoon, I’d recommend this soft and heart-stroking experience to anyone and everyone.

Vera Blanc: Full Moon Review (Nintendo Switch)

  • Genre: Adventure, RPG, Simulation
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Playstation, PC, Android, iOS
  • Developer | Publisher: Winter Wolves Games | Ratalaika Games
  • Age Rating: PEGI 12 | ESRB T (Teen)
  • Price: UK £4.99 | US $4.99
  • Release Date: 13th November 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Ratalaika Games!

Vera Blanc is a series of interactive comic books with paranormal themes. Full Moon is the first of the series to make the leap to Switch – has it whet the appetite for the (hopefully) others to follow?

Story/Characters

Vera Blanc is a rich girl with a secret – she can read minds! And yes, that is as cool of a mechanic as it sounds. She started out as a very clever, but very unfortunate young woman; a brain tumour put an end date on her short life. After a ground-breaking surgery – that I’m not entirely sure was legal, but I suppose money opens all kinds of doors – she found herself with this new ability. Instead of using it to get ahead in business, or take advantage of others, she decided to try and help people.

Cue Brandon Mackey, an experienced FBI-agent-turned-PI with a vested interest in less-than-ordinary cases. Rumours of a lupine serial killer lure the pair to a quaint town in rural Germany, where everyone seems to have a secret. Is the mysterious bombshell, Ava, more than she appears? Or could the short-tempered Mayor be behind the suspicious goings-on? In a paranormal-hued adventure where death is waiting around every corner, can you solve the mystery of the werewolf?

Vera Blanc: Full Moon was a bit of a strange one for me, story-wise. It reads like an epic adventure but plays as more of a B-movie thriller that somehow manages to be excessively corny and predictable, yet simultaneously amusing. Think along the lines of its-so-bad-its-good. I personally loved the story, finding it almost addictive and easy to consume in a single sitting. The characters were full of personality, and there was plenty of humour to be found in the somewhat serious adventure.

Gameplay

Vera Blanc is an interactive comic book, and a great way to spend an hour or so with a cup of coffee. Pressing A will advance the scenario, or there’s even an Auto button so you only need hands on the controller for making a choice or playing a minigame. These are the two progression mechanics. 

Sometimes, you’ll be presented with a number of options and only be able to perform one, or make a number of choices. This may take the form of investigational options, such as examining different aspects of a scene, conversational options such as which questions to ask, or action options like hitting an opponent or running away. Depending on the scenario, this can result in a death situation, so save often!

Minigames consist of either spot the difference, remembering numerical sequences, hangman, or finding pairs of numbers. These are sometimes timed, and failing the minigame will result in a failure of the task e.g. if you lose too many lives during a mind-reading session, you’ll fail to decipher the message and lose the opportunity to attempt anything else. Again, failure can also result in death, so keep those saves up to date.

There are 2 final endings, and a variety of ways to die, so some replayability is available although there’s no way to track which endings have been achieved.

Graphics, Sound, and Performance

The old-school comic book art style gives Vera Blanc a lot of charm. I suspect the game would feel disappointingly corny and lacking in substance if designed differently, but the graphic design really pulls it together into an oddly nostalgic experience. If this were an actual comic book, I’d be buying it in a heartbeat.

The punchy 90s soundtrack keeps the nostalgic theme going, and had me bopping my head with a silly smile on my face more often than not. It switches up dependant on the scenario, meaning that the somewhat repetitive tune changes before it gets annoying.

There were no noticeable performance issues in either docked or handheld mode, though I wouldn’t have expected any considering the static nature of the comic strips. Also, although the text size was a little small in handheld, certain minigames were much easier – I accidentally quit out of a timed pairing game multiple times because I moved the control stick a fraction too far.

Conclusion

Vera Blanc: Full Moon is a relatively short game that’s full of cheesy character. Despite the charming art style, amusing characters, and perky music, I suspect it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Breaking up a thriller comic story with kooky minigames sounds like a bizarre idea on paper that should ruin the entire vibe of the game, but it somehow works in this fun little interactive comic.

Verdict
A quirky experience that shouldn’t work on paper, but has me eagerly anticipating a sequel.

Re:Turn – One Way Trip Review (PC)

  • Genre: Horror, Puzzle, Action, Adventure, Role-Playing, Visual Novel
  • Platforms: Steam, xBox One (Switch and PS4 to come Nov 2020)
  • Developer | Publisher: Red Ego Games | Green Man Gaming Publishing
  • Age Rating: PEGI 18
  • Price: UK £9.99
  • Release Date: 14th October 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Renaissance PR!

In Re:Turn – One Way Trip, you start by following a group of newly graduated college students. For the majority of the game, you will control Saki, as she searches for her friends.

Story/Characters

Kanae, Saki, Yuuta, Kazuki and Sen are camping in the woods, celebrating the end of their college days. All is well until, after an unfortunate misunderstanding with Saki’s fiancé Sen, Yuuta runs off, leaving the others go to sleep.

Saki wakes a little later, to find she’s suddenly all alone. After looking for her friends, she stumbles upon an abandoned train car in the forest. Obviously, Saki decides to check out the train, because she knows her friends are the type of people to explore something like this. As Saki makes her way in the first car, she becomes increasingly paranoid and skittish. She pushes away things that make her scared and pushes forward.

Gameplay

From here, you will need to solve puzzles. The puzzle are usually logical and make sense, they’re some pretty solid puzzles in Re:Turn. Most of the time, you’ll be moving slowly around the train cars, whether the situation is urgent or not. Fortunately, about 2/3 of the way through, Saki really does find it urgent enough to start running.

The time travelling is an interesting and cool mechanic that’s put to good use in Re:Turn; it adds so much more to the story, and makes for a fun adventure story at the same time. You will travel back and forth to the past to progress the story and to find out what actually happened on this luxurious train to leave it abandoned.

Unfortunately, the writing left a little to be desired. While it is easy to follow, and it’s not riddled with mistakes or anything, the writing just felt a little… simple, for a PEGI 18 game. Which is a shame, because the story was interesting and tense in places.

Graphics, Sound and Performance

The graphics are pretty good, it’s easy to see what items are, it’s easy to see the characteristics of the character models. The detail is outstanding. For being hand-drawn, this really blew my mind. The amount of attention to detail throughout is amazing of Red Ego Games, and it makes for a beautiful backdrop to the story.

The sounds are good enough to affect how I looked at what was happening. If I was supposed to be tense, the music saw to that fairly swiftly. If I was supposed to be sad, the music reflected this. Again, attention to detail, even in the music laced throughout, is spot on.

Difficulty

A couple of times I found myself trying everything I had on everything available. This always works, especially if you are stuck in one place with no way out. The puzzles themselves as stated before are usually logical, so it shouldn’t be too hard for anyone.

Conclusion

It’s a fun little game, for £9.99 you get a few hours of puzzles and time travel adventure. I enjoyed what I played although, as a horror fan, I was sad to find it wasn’t all that scary. Jump scares and dark themes pepper the game, making it possibly scary to some, or even most. I don’t know what level of ‘horror’ it really counts as to be honest.

Verdict
A fun horror, visual-novel/adventure game for an evening of jumps and scares in an abandoned train.

The Suicide of Rachel Foster Review (PS4)

  • Genre: Mystery, Adventure
  • Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC
  • Developer | Publisher: One O One Games | Daedalic Entertainment
  • Age Rating: PEGI 16 | ESRB Mature
  • Price: UK £15.99 | US $19.99
  • Initial Release Date: 19th February 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Renaissance PR!

The Suicide of Rachel Foster is an ambitious story that attempts to handle two very delicate subjects- grooming, and suicide. While the game does what it can to drive home the severity of these topics, One O One do not seem equipped for the seriousness of the situation they created. A disclaimer at the start of the game pops up urging people experiencing similar situations to reach out to others. The game is a mixed bag, with the first half building tension and getting the player accustomed to the massive hotel and the second feeling like a soap opera.

Story/Characters

The story was engaging and interesting enough to have me complete it in one sitting. It suffers from some lulls and the story can be clumsy and convoluted and times, but ultimtately kept my attention throughout, although the climax and ending left me cringing and uncomfortable. It took me roughly 4 hours to get through, including getting lost a few times in the massive hotel and long corridors.

In the Suicide of Rachel Foster you play as Nicole, an estranged daughter who is returning to her family’s hotel to sell it, hoping to free herself from her ties with the Timberline Hotel and all it’s secrets. Ten years earlier, Nicole and her mother fled the hotel after Nicole’s father had an affair with the 17 year old Rachel Foster, who ended up taking her own life and the life of her unborn child. With the intention of auditing the Timberline before selling it, Nicole ends up trapped by a blizzard.

The first couple of hours I really enjoyed; it’s main focus is tackling the huge space that is the hotel. Luckily, you have company through Nicole’s radiotelephone with a FEMA agent named Irving who offers tips such as the location of the pantry and how to restore power when the lights go out. Irving became akin to a friend, offering Nicole help and sometimes just someone to talk to when the story took a dip.

As the game entered it’s second half I hoped it was heading more into ghost story territory. However, rummaging through the items left at the hotel and putting together the pieces is where things start to get convoluted and problematic. This is where the game starts to delve into the relationship between Nicole’s father and Rachel, warranting the disclaimer at the beginning of the game. The real crux of the problem is that this relationship between student and mentor is seen as romantic and the story begins to spiral into a drama.

At one point Nicole stumbles across a room that points to obsession for Rachel on her father’s part. Her reaction to this is a puzzling one; her anger and dispair is not aimed at her father for doing such a thing but at the room itself that it dares to exist. This is one of several instances in the game where the issue at the core of the game- the “relationship” between Rachel and Nicole’s father- is glossed over. This becomes more apparant when their dynamic is described as “love, nothing more, nothing less”.

Gameplay

The Suicide of Rachel Foster is ostensibly a walking simulator. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; walking through the hotel’s long corridors and listening to the wind howl and the hotel creak is great for the atmosphere. As you explore the hotel, finding secret passages (which I delighted in) and clues, you check in with and run theories by Irving. This is made more interesting as you’re given options for how Nicole interacts with and responds to Irving and the clues you find.

The game has a certain rustic charm which made me like it almost immediately. It’s the little things that make all the difference, such as pulling up a map and to-do list instead of pulling up a screen to navigate the map, which fits in nicely with the early 1990’s setting. It also helps to be able to pull up the map and tasks when you inevitably get lost.

While there are items you can only pick up through story progression such as a dynamo flashlight to light dim hidden passageways and a parabolic microphone to chase whispers through the hallways, you have free reign of the hotel almost immediately. Not only does this give the game a daunting feel while you try to get to grips with the massive Timberline, it’s also eerie when you revisit an area or room and find a clue that was definitely not there before. At one point in the story, you consolidate all the information you’ve collected so far in a police like evidence board which was fun to talk through with Irving.

Graphics, Sound, and Performance

The game is a pleasure to look at – great effort and attention to detail has clearly been put in to create the Timberline, as is to be expected from the Unreal Engine. From the large and grand ballroom to the decrepit and mould ridden second floor the game looks great, even when it’s supposed to look melancholy and gloomy. The lighting in the game, whether natural or artificial, looks fantastic.

Not all of the Timberline is pretty and well lit, however. Some rooms and corridors are dark and dank, with mould running up the walls or faded patched in wallpaper where painting once hung, giving the hotel a truly abandoned and uncared for feel. Simple things like mouldy food in the pantry add to this. The subtle exposition in certain rooms is also appreciated.

The sound design in the game is errie and atmospheric. The creaking of the hotel amps the tension and what sounded like faint footsteps in the background had me looking over my shoulder more than once. Rachel Foster was made to be played with headphones and playing it any other way would be doing the game a disservice.

The voice acting in the game is solid, with Irving and Nicole both sounding believable, but a few lines get lost in translation. One thing that did disappoint me is that Rachel has no voice of any kind. There are no flashbacks, notes or diary entries. To say that the game is centred around Rachel, I know nothing about her except her name, age and situation. It would have been intersting to hear (or read) about Rachel’s situation and feelings from her point of view and not just what Nicole and Irving speculate.

The game is not without it’s issues though. While I didn’t encounter any visual issues such as lag or texture pops, I did come across a few sound issues. Some voice lines would not be voiced or would sound like a stuck CD. Relaunching the game resolved these issues and I didn’t encounter them again. At another point the game froze before crashing. Like the sound issues, this only happened once.

Difficulty

The game has no difficulty options as would be expected from a walking simulator. It can be hard to know what to do next as there is not always an objective on the to-do list. This can be frustrating, especially on the occasions where your next objective seems to be time-based. More than once I was left aimlessly wandering around looking for what to do next before Irving chimed in with my next point of interest or task.

It’s also easy to get lost in the Timberline, especially at the beginning of the game. This isn’t helped by the fact that your position is never marked on the map and some rooms can only be accessed via hidden passageways.

Conclusion

All in all, the game has an interesting, if sometimes cumbersome story. The atmosphere is solid and evokes unease and paranoia, which I really appreciated. As much as I enjoyed the atmosphere of the game, and thought that the hotel looked great, this is all bogged down by the relationship between Rachel and Nicole’s father. The fact that this is romanticised leaves a bad taste that I simply can’t look past and ruined the experience for me.

Verdict
A mystery game with a solid atmosphere spoiled by the mishandling of sensitive topics.

Rune Factory 5 will Spirit You Away (Next Year)

It’s time for an adventure in a fantasy world as the latest entry in the Rune Factory series will release next year!

After losing their memory, the hero lands in a small town blessed by nature. There, they are recruited into a band of peacekeeping rangers, and their new life begins.

In this new adventure you’ll be able to:

  • Tame monsters or team up with townsfolk to explore a massive world
  • Defend the frontier and support your community as a member of a peacekeeping ranger
  • Unleash uniquely powerful combo attacks with your teammates
  • Cultivate crops in the fields
  • Find friendship, love, and family with a colourful cast of characters

Source: Nintendo

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind Review (Nintendo Switch)

  • Genre: Adventure, Strategy
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam
  • Developer|Publisher: FuturLab | Curve Digital
  • Age Rating: PEGI 16| ESRB M (Mature)
  • Price: UK £19.99 | US $24.99
  • Release Date: 20th August 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Curve Digital!

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind, is based on the TV series where you control characters from said series to solve puzzles and try to rid Britain of its crime.

Story/Characters

After serving in the British Army during The Great War, Thomas Shelby and his brothers returned to Birmingham. His gang, the Peaky Blinders, control the city of Birmingham and plan to try and expand his empire even further and will stop anyone getting in his way.

Gameplay

The gameplay is something I haven’t seen before. You control a character and try to solve puzzles, pretty standard. What makes it unique is that when you do an action like open a door, you can go back in time. By you, I mean only you, while the surroundings stay the same. The main way is by talking to an NPC and controlling them to open a door or distract an enemy for a short time, and then rewind to move forward. You do explore the streets of Britain and there are a couple of collectables in each stage. You have 15 minutes to complete a stage in in-game time, but a lot of that time is spent rewinding to solve puzzles, so it is really around 10 to 15 minutes while the in-game time only says about 3. Though I think the gameplay is cool, it can sometimes get frustrating with how slow the characters move. If you mess up a puzzle , you have to rewind back a while to do the whole process over again. It didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the game, but it is something to note.

Graphics, Sound, and Performance

The graphics aren’t mind-blowing 4k, but it does look fairly nice with playing on the Switch. The whole aesthetic suits the game well.

The sound is pretty alright. The music is subdued, but fits the vibe of the game. You can tell the audio department paid attention to detail, with all the noises of people walking or steam coming from a warehouse adding to the atmosphere.

The game ran alright on Switch, although obviously the Switch is under-powered compared to everything else. Running at 30fps in 720p is fine. Though this game doesn’t need to run really fast to be fun, and I barely noticed the 30fps since the game itself doesn’t require too much power.

Difficulty

This game’s difficulty felt just right. Being a puzzle game, you actually had to think and succeeding was never a breeze. It was never too easy to the point that it was boring, but it also wasn’t too hard as to become frustrating. There are is also a Hard Mode, in the event that you fancy an extra challenge.

Conclusion

I did have a good time with Peaky Blinders: Mastermind. I feel like it was an alright puzzle game. This is the type of game where you need to understand the source material to fully enjoy. Playing this without watching the show, I was still entertained and wasn’t lost in the story, but a few jokes flew over my head. I do think if you are a fan of puzzle games, you will enjoy it, especially if you watched the show.

Verdict
A good experience if you are a fan of the source material, but still an alright experience for any puzzle fan.
7.5/10

The Last Of Us Part II Review (PlayStation 4)

  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror
  • Developer|Publisher: Naughty Dog | Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Age Rating: PEGI 18 | ESRB M (Mature)
  • Price: UK £49.99 | US $59.99
  • Release Date: 19th June 2020

No review code was provided. This was purchased by myself, and my full opinion based on a full comprehensive playthrough. Spoiler free!

Story/Characters

The Last Of Us Part 2 starts off with a bang. Literally, massive bang that will shake you to your core. Part 2 is set 5 years after the events of the first game. We are thrust straight back into the lives of the post apocalyptic duo Joel and Ellie. It seems Joel and Ellie are living comfortably in Jackson, though set outside those walls is now a desolate, survival of the fittest United States. Here in Jackson we meet new characters and old such as Dina, Jesse, Tommy and Maria. If you recall Tommy is Joel’s brother and Maria his wife.

Last Of Us 2 story is driven on revenge and retribution. In the prologue you will find a complicated matter with Ellie and Dina which the Jackson community isn’t so fond off and the introduction of the WLF – Washington Liberation Front. New character Abby arrives and this sets the tone of the game at full pace. Prior to the shock that happens in Jackson. Ellie knows what happened at the hospital and what Joel did 5 years ago. Ellie and Dina go after Tommy who is chasing after Abby. This is where we journey across Seattle and witness firsthand the struggles which lie ahead for all characters.

Gameplay

Shhh, don’t make a sound!

The gameplay to Last Of Us Part II is very fluid and easy to pick up and play. I must note, which Naughty Dog deserve massive credit for is the accessibility that the game has on offer. All players can play Last Of Us 2 wherever that be colour blind or remapping controller buttons and audio. That isn’t even the start of the accessibility options this game has at its disposal. Third person shooter with a mix of stealth which all nicely combines with one another. Again, it’s entirely upto you how you play the game. I mixed it up though preferred the stealth option more. The infected are deadly just as the WLF and Scars. Scars is another faction you will meet in the game. You can easily craft items on the spot with no loading screens, all running nice and seamlessly. Throughout Seattle you will encounter crafting benches which if you have been exploring and collecting scrap is to upgrade all your weapons. You can improve your skills by collecting pills and unlock new skills by finding magazines.

You can easily swap to weapons by pressing right or left on the d pad and up and down for items. It really pays to explore and collect as much items to craft things.

Graphics, sound and performance

Here comes Johnny, wait…

Part II is visually stunning. The characters look spot on and even when injured, ND have been really delicate to detail. Even though for me it isn’t the best looking game on PS4 as I still find God of War and Uncharted 4 the best visuals the PS4 has to offer.

The audio is top notch too. The clickers are still frightening but not as annoying as the stalkers. The noise the clickers make are just as eerie as the first game. Even throwing a brick or a bottle through glass sounds exactly like you would expect it too. Firing guns, crossbow, bow & arrow and thrown objects such as molotovs all sound tip top.

Performance wise the game never fails to disappoint. There has been a few times framerate dropped when going into different areas, but then again this would be expected to the contrary. The game is incredibly detailed I wouldn’t be surprised or shocked if the game did suffer a slight performance drop somewhere, however it hardly ever did throughout my time with the game.

Difficulty

Be one with nature.

I will be honest, I played on light difficulty. Seeing as when you do beat the game you will unlock new game +. All the upgrades and skills you have obtained goes straight over making it a bit easier for your second or third playthrough. Throughout the course of the game and the skirmishes you will encounter. I can see it being absolute nightmare to play on harder difficulties. The game itself isn’t exactly unforgiving as there is more options to aid you if you so wish to choose them. As long as you think accordingly and use your resources correctly, no fight will be a struggle and more of a nice stroll through the park.

Conclusion

Overall, The Last Of Us Part 2 is a very well made game. No doubt it will be down for Game of the year and win a string of awards like its coworker in the Sony Studios umbrella, God of War. The story is so brilliantly written that its been a while since a videogame makes you physically want to keep playing and find out what happens next. The twist and turns make it for a compelling fantasy and to see where Ellie’s journey takes her mentally and physically. As much as its superbly written, the game does out stay it’s welcome by dragging the story on for longer than it should. When you take control of Abby you will feel a lot of hatred, disgust at first. However, my opinion changed of her throughout the course of her journey, yet at the same time I felt like some parts of Abby’s back story was unnecessary and brings back to the game becoming more of a chore which was disappointing feeling.

Verdict

It is a must have game. Last Of Us 2 does open new boundaries for the LGBT community with a great participation in this game too. No matter what life could turn out to be. Everybody can still be themselves and to live equally. If you want a game that emotionally turns you, spin you around and hit you in the face repeatedly. The Last Of Us Part 2 is the game for you!

9/10