…is a deceptively dark game that will take you on an experience from charming to devastating.
PlayStation VR2 is really beginning to feel natural the more and more I use it. The motion sickness I would find with every session of the original PlayStation VR is not present here. Now without any sickness VR experiences are immersive, and the distractions of the outside world fade out. Before Your Eyes will take you on an immersive and emotional experience using only my eyes.
The game starts off with you as a soul on a ferry. The ferryman of the boat is a wolf who is taking you to be judged on the life you lived. On the way the ferryman wants to hear your story, all of it, from birth to death. Starting from a baby you experience some monumental moments, maybe too many, at first they are of birthdays, your first pet, learning the piano. As you age the weight of the world gets deeper, and more sorrowful. The ferryman brings you back from time to time and it’s here that you understand some unexpected events that reinterprets the whole story you’ve experienced. To say more would spoil a story that is one of the best narrative experiences I’ve played in a game.
Before Your Eyes is just that, every moment passes with the blink of your eye. The eye tracking never misses a beat, showing how well it works when the whole game is reliant on using it to function. When the narrative ramps up into adulthood I was blinking much more as my eyes tired and I would have scenes skipped faster than I wanted. Sometimes you blink forgetting that you shouldn’t and you are onto the next scene. When I was blinking more I enjoyed the pacing of the story better. Personally a downfall of the game is there is too much context to the story at times. One of my favourite games is Virginia and it cuts to the next scene before you are given all the context allowing for me to fill in the blanks and give my own interpretation to the story.
There was a bug that crashed the game for me when I was three-quarters through. When I booted it back up I had to start again, so I waited till the next day and finished it without any problems in one sitting. The game is so good that it didn’t even annoy me that I had to replay most of the game again. The second time I sat in a chair more relaxed and didn’t hold the Sense controllers. Towards the visuals, I think the screenshots in this post reflect an accurate look of how good the game looks in PlayStation VR2.
Before Your Eyes is a beautifully woven narrative that will leave you feeling very empathic by the end. This game is worth getting a PlayStation VR2 for.
In 2013 the game studio Naughty Dog released The Last of Us. The game was a departure from the studio’s jovial action-adventure Uncharted series. Unlike Uncharted, The Last of Us was carried with dark undertones, horror, and survival elements. As time goes by the esteem this game garners has only grown, and today has solidified itself as a landmark game that is still stylised by PlayStation first party titles. A sequel was released in 2020 taking place after the events of the first game. Lastly a remake of the first game was released last year bringing the game up to scuff with modern gameplay and graphics in anticipation for the HBO show.
Since the launch of the game The Last of Us had been in the process of being developed into a feature film with Sam Raimi at the helm. Many video game properties were stuck in development hell finding it difficult to take an interactive property into a passive form of entertainment. The floodgates seem to be opening for video game adaptations now that HBO’s The Last of Us has given a workable blueprint to exploring an adaptation. Through standalone episodes and expanding on the world’s mythology HBO has made The Last of Us a unique television event that no longer belongs with gamers, but to everyone.
The Last of Us starts off with an interview from 1968 with a scientist talking about how he believes fungi is potentially much more worse than a virus or flu if there was to ever be a pandemic. The story then cuts to the day of the outbreak in 2003. Joel (Pedro Pascal), brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna) and Joel’s daughter Sarah (Nico Parker), experience their last normal day letting us get a glimpse into their life. The day unfolds with things happening in the background that show things are not right, much like how Shaun of the Dead reveals the zombies to the audience unbeknownst to protagonist Shaun. Once nightfall hits everyone is consumed by the chaos. Joel, Tommy, and Sarah leave their homes immediately for an escape as they experience the terror of this “zombie” outbreak. Not everyone survives the night as (Redacted) dies in a shocking scene that is also a revelation of how gone society is.
Twenty years later and we’re in 2023. The world didn’t recover, it’s barely surviving. The government is corrupt, and fighting with a resistance group called the Fireflies. Joel is changed, his humour is gone, and his occupation is smuggling. Between the infighting Joel has made a steady living for government rations. After a smuggling deal goes wrong Joel finds himself forced to smuggle the teen girl Ellie (Bella Ramsey) for the Fireflies to another town. The episode ends with another reveal that will answer what Ellie’s importance is to the Fireflies. The two will journey across the country over the span of a year to smuggle Ellie to her destination, between raiders and zombies this will not be easy. This is just the beginning of the journey and what an adventure it will be.
The high point of the season comes from the stand alone story of Bill and Frank found in episode three. Joel and Ellie bookend the episode to fit the story into the overarching narrative. The episode chronicles Bill (Nick Offerman), a conspiracy and survivalist hermit, and Frank (Murray Bartlett) who finds haven in Bill’s Town come to live in this world post outbreak. It is one of the most moving episodes of television that will bring tears to your eyes. It’s an episode that shows us why these people choose to live in a world filled with fear and destruction. The answer is love, and the fact that these two can share that for twenty years is why life is worth fighting for. If there was an episode you wanted to show off to someone uninterested in the show, put this episode on and this will have them invested.
HBO has always been particularly good with standalone episodes. By using them in The Last of Us reveals how we can learn more about the world and leave the confines of the game in favour of new material. After the reception to the Bill and Frank episode I’m sure HBO is looking into a spin-off show that can look at new characters and stories in the world. The thing about Joel and Ellie is it’s just one small story in this world, and there are so many more that can be explored in other characters if they can find an interesting narrative thread worthy of a spin-off.
The greatest weakness of The Last of Us is that we don’t get to spend enough time with Joel and Ellie together. The game has one of the greatest bonds and as Joel we would do anything for these two characters because we share so much time together. In HBO’s The Last of Us we spend small bursts with the two characters together. Two episodes of the nine are stand alone episodes, one has Joel out of commission, the first episode barely has Ellie in it. Overall, there are like five episodes where there is any time for the two characters to bond, but I don’t know if that’s enough time to earn the emotional payoff to come in the next season.
The Last of Us season one is a show well executed. I wouldn’t say it is one of the greatest shows ever, not even close, but it’s fun event television. The show will not replace my enjoyment or my continued replays of the game in the future. It’s nice knowing that the story and characters are breaking outside the sphere of gaming and into the greater pop culture. I fear the wait for season two will be a couple of years away, so you have time to experience the two games in the mean time. If you are yet to experience it, The Last of Us is a must watch.
The promise of VR to me is having the chance to explore new worlds. Kayak VR: Mirage lets you do just that with real places, from Antartica to Australia. This was the first game I fired up on the PlayStation VR2, not to Kayak, but to relax in.
I’ve never gone kayaking, however I do believe this title lets you experience a glimpse of what it feels like. If you paddle like you’re meant to your arms will experience the burning pain from using those muscles. Originally I was using the oar right until I found I could twirl my wrists in circular motions to give the same feedback as if I was kayaking properly. I didn’t purchase the game to race against others, which is I’m glad it feels secondary to exploring the wonderful sights.
There is an optional quest that can be found in each area that has you take an inflatable toy to another area. To do so you need to manoeuvre it with your Kayak and Oar. This sort of thing is fun. You also find areas that seem to be a trick on the eyes from afar until you paddle up to them and find it was real. This could be where the title Mirage comes into the game. You can choose to experience each map by day, night, and even stormy weather. The variety is great and keeps the maps feeling new and unique.
My favourite thing I did was chased a whale that I saw from one side of the map going above water. It was gone by the time I got there. So I stuck my head underwater and sure enough was able to see the whale still under the water moving. Every time I thought I was catching up to him I would stick my head back under the water and course correct. If you are right above him you can see him from above your Kayak too. Whenever I was close I was met with a bit of fear in sticking my head underwater in fear I would meet him face on. The beauty of VR in a game like this is sensing the size of things. After chasing the whale for some time I ended up feeling like Ahab. Ironically once the whale came up from the water at the front of my Kayak I achieved the trophy Moby Dick for spotting a whale.
If Kayaking is not your thing and you would just like to float about in open water on different maps this game will still be a treat for you. The price point is good and I feel like I have had my money’s worth without even pursuing the racing components of the game. Kayak VR: Mirage is a great title to show the family and friends. It may even work for some as a gym workout for the arms. Or just a game to warmup with before jumping into some VR games. Overall, Kayak VR: Mirage is a lovely experience.
Gaming has never been better, or bigger than it is today. The plateau has been reached as far as gaming generations are concerned. Leaps will continue pushing the specs, but the technology is here. Now it’s up to the creativity and innovation from developers to engage gamers. VR is a different story, and it will require generations of technical feats. As it stands today, VR is still in its infancy and sooner rather than later the way we interact with VR will truly be revolutionary in the way we interact with it, and of course they way we use it to play games.
PlayStation VR came out in back in 2016, and it was a modest intro into the VR space for PlayStation gamers. It hit the markets as the cheapest way to get into VR at the time just before VR was available. It didn’t take long for the PlayStation VR to leave the spotlight as more convenient devices like the Oculus Quest made simple innovations that created significantly better experiences. For one the tracking on the original PlayStation VR was difficult to navigate as the controls and headset needed to be in view of the PlayStation Camera. There were also at least three cords coming out of the headset that were immersion breaking as you fought the tangles. Seeing your surroundings was also impossible without taking off the headset and requiring you to spend minutes readjusting to get yourself back into the game. All these detractors would make it a chore just to choose setting up the VR resulting in gamers playing a non VR game instead. After the initial line up of games seemed to drizzle out it was questionable if another iteration would be made.
The PlayStation VR2 is the promise of Sony’s continued support for the VR peripheral. They quashed most of the negatives from the original and innovated. Most importantly the power of this machine comes straight from the PlayStation 5 without first being input into a processor unit. The image quality is fantastic, nearing clarity, although not crystal clear. The sense of immersion with haptic feedback in the headset, as well as the Sense controllers is tantalising to the senses. You put your hand in virtual water and the sensations are making that water feel real as though it is running through your hands. Eye tracking is like witchery allowing for you to select cursory items with your eyes. There is also the ability to see your surroundings without taking off the VR headset. Most importantly in competing with other VR headsets is that this headset is comfortable and easy to set up. Literally plug and play.
Games vary case by case. This is due to how much developers have worked towards porting the game for the PlayStation VR2. Exclusives are as good as it gets with games like Horizon: Call of the Mountain that have utilised the power of the PlayStation VR2 to what hopefully becomes the standard. The technology has brought PlayStation in line with competing VR devices so games can now be produced for multiple systems with ease. This should ease minds for gamers that worry if Sony were to stop producing exclusive VR titles since we will see most third party games come to this system.
In the time I’ve spent with PlayStation VR2 I have had nearly no motion sickness, whereas with the original I was hit with it during every session. There are plenty of games on offer already to fit any gamer. Even if you like simple experiences like doing a jigsaw or paddling in a kayak you can find them in PlayStation VR2. There are more high octane experiences like Pistol Whip, and exhilarating multiplayer in games like After the Fall. Resident Evil: Village will unsettle like you are playing it for the first time There are a range of demos available to try out if you can only afford a couple of games to begin with after the cost of the unit. I suspect that the free popular social game Rec Room will make its debut on PSVR2 soon opening up the fun to lobby’s of hilarious experiences with others around the globe.
Overall, the PlayStation VR2 is an exceptional leap over its predecessor with a future to flourish alongside the competition as they all work together in evolving the scope and the vision of where VR can go today. In a time met with financial hardships for many the PlayStation VR2 is a luxury, one that will only become more appealing as the library of games and players widen. With a year of big game releases ahead you may not find yourself feeling left out, although come Christmas time I imagine this will be found under many trees.
Look forward to VR game reviews to come in the future.
From the outside, this game was a laugh when it came out last year. Are people seriously playing a power washing simulator? It’s popularity was in no small part due to it dropping on Xbox GamePass. The head scratcher wasn’t necessarily that people were playing it, but that they were saying it was great.
PowerWash Simulator is indeed just that, a cleaning simulator. Why not? Every simulator feels as though it has covered the rudimentary going ons of life. Simulators are popular and few stand out at the top like Farming Simulator and Train Simulator World. You approach every map with the goal to clean. Things are dirty like they’ve been sitting at the bottom of a lake. Starting with the simple power washer you can approach the dirt however you like from one side to the other or start in the middle. You can choose between different power wash models that offer stronger power, and attachments that allow for you to get into those hard to reach high spots.
One of the high points of the game is how beautiful looking it is. When you wash an area you don’t always know what exactly the colours are beneath the dirt, It wasn’t until the Playground level that I went from liking the game to loving it. In this level you when you wash the foam ground you get to see the colours come forth as if the playground was brand new again. Like an archaeologist discovering the past I was taping into my nostalgia and remembering playing on playgrounds similar to those. One of the down points is also in the game’s beauty because if you miss any specks of dirt it’s hard to complete some sections when it all looks clean to you.
This game has the most on point “ding” in gaming. Every time you complete one piece in a map to one hundred percent you are met with a “ding” chime similarly to the sound when you get a playstation trophy. Each time it gives you a slight endorphin rush for the next one, so you may think you are ready to call it quits for the session and instead find yourself finishing the map instead. Some of the bigger levels do feel daunting as they could take hours to finish, but I would suggest to split those up into smaller sessions because you do feel a bit of fatigue on the levels that span hours.
The Tomb Raider DLC is great. You get to go over Lara Croft’s Manor, her obstacle course, the Manor’s Maze, and finally the Manor’s Treasure Room. As you clean these maps you get messages from Lara’s butler Winston and Lara herself, making it feel a bit more engaging with the world. I did notice after every five minutes or so on these maps there would be a brief pause before the game continues playing again. Perhaps something that will be ironed out in the next update, or simply an isolated incident only I’m encountering. The quality of the Tomb Raider DLC is much better than I expected and seeing what’s to come with the Final Fantasy 7 DLC has me excited. I would love to see more of these post Final Fantasy 7, and I’m more than willing to purchase them because I don’t know how they could be just giving this content away for free.
This is a game I’ve spent the last couple of weeks engaging with as a relaxing game between other games. There is something to PowerWash Simulator that is hard to identify as fun, and maybe it’s not fun as much as it is a form of relaxation. What is the difference to something like this as there is to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle? PowerWash Simulator is a game to unwind with after a stressful day. I love that this game exists and will continue to be enamoured with it as they continue to support the game with further DLC. Give PowerWash Simulator a shot. Play it with some music, a podcast, or perhaps an audiobook. This is the universal simulator for everybody and with simple controls it’s made for everybody.
Available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
The spiritual sequel to Five Dates is bigger, and better.
Five Dates saw you take the role of a guy and choose from five video dates with women during the Covid lockdown. It was small in scope with a lot of charm and emotion. Ten Dates leaves the Covid lockdown setting behind for the fast and fun world of speed dating.
In Ten Dates you choose to play as Ryan or Misha. Both characters are friends with Misha being the one that cons Ryan into jumping onto the speed dating circuit. Both characters will each have four dates, with a fifth potential date should you wish for your character to have a same sex date. After doing the rounds, you choose two dates for a second date (if you were successful enough), and then one of those two for a final date.
Choices are selected with no real gameplay. When you see the relationships in the menu you can see how many different options there were with each date. It’s an easily replayable game to see the many alternatives. When replaying you can go through the scenes very quickly by skipping the scenes you have seen to get to the new stuff. The game is quick enough for you to pass the controller to someone else to try their luck. My partner played through as Misha so I had another perspective to the choices I wouldn’t have personally made.
It was clear from the trailer there was potential for same sex dating. The way they input that potential was creative for the male as his fifth speed date had to leave so the male host fills the spot. It’s not a date, just casual conversation at first and then it becomes clear that the opening is there if you want to pursue that host. There is only one same sex date, which would be considered a downside for those after that. Having this choice alongside being able to date as a woman is a huge increase in the scope from Five Dates.
I would say there is room for more of these dating simulators from Wales Interactive. They can spread their reach further to a more diverse selection of dates, or could invest in an entire game just for the LGBT community. There is something here that may find a huge audience outside of gaming and on Netflix in the future.
Overall, Ten Dates is almost better in every way to its predecessor Five Dates. The dates themselves are downgrades in terms of personality. Each personality feels very stereotypical as soon as you see them you can tell who they are. In Five Dates with a smaller dating pool there were many deeper qualities to the women and they were not typical of most stereotypes. I enjoyed Ten Dates, and for now I will be interested in Wales Interactive on a game by game basis if I find the narrative interesting.
Available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
When THQ was brought back from the dead as THQ Nordic they started by remastering classic titles in their catalogues. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom was among those titles. Most of these titles resembled the original content to a fault, and felt of their generation with modern graphics. Since then THQ Nordic has faithfully remastered most of these games and now they are onto making brand new sequels. What is yet to be determined is the quality of the new games, so far we got a middling Saint’s Row, a lack lustre Destroy All Humans multiplayer game. So how does SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake fair?
SpongeBob SquarePants is back with another grand adventure. This time after buying wish-granting mermaid’s tears SpongeBob grants the town wishes. Of course SpongeBob’s do good attitude goes wrong and Bikini Bottom is sent into peril as a cosmic shake pulls the place apart, sending them throughout different universes. To repair Bikini Bottom and bring back together the universe SpongeBob must jump into each of these cosmic breaks and set things right. There are seven worlds to explore throughout these cosmic breaks from the popular Jellyfish Fields (with a Wild West theme), to Rock Bottom (with a Halloween theme).
The Cosmic Shake starts off as a slog. Those first couple of hours including the first world you visit are mediocre at best. SpongeBob can only jump in the first section of the game, and is only given a simple attack in the first world. This piecemeal approach works great from the second world, but the beginning needed more thrills. Once you get the Karate Kick in the second world the gameplay becomes a joy, and with every world after your move-sets just get even better. The story is fun and brings the platforming altogether more than most platformers do.
There is effectively twenty years between The Cosmic Shake and Battle for Bikini Bottom, however there is not twenty years of refinement in the gameplay. The Cosmic Shake is a much more enjoyable experience than Battle for Bikini Bottom partly due to the refinements. Battle for Bikini Bottom was a PlayStation 2 game and is as you would imagine a PlayStation 2 game to be. You are never lost in The Cosmic Shake as the main path is always clearly shown, whereas Battle for Bikini Bottom would have me back and forth looking for my objective. The combat feels great and flows well in The Cosmic Shake, yet the hitboxes felt unfair in Battle for Bikini Bottom. The results are all positive and as a AA feeling platform it sits well amongst it’s comparable competitors and above Battle for Bikini Bottom.
Overall, The Cosmic Shake has a nice constant progression that fails in the beginning and triumphs in the end. Each world feels well designed with replay value to find all the collectables. As far as games that are made with children in mind this one is near the top. A lot of care is given to creating an authentic SpongeBob SquarePants story that fans will appreciate. If we get more of these every couple of years I’ll be there enjoying my platforming fill.
Available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows.
SpongeBob SquarePants is pretty great. It’s like a modern-day Ren and Stimpy that looks more kid friendly. There are so many jokes that will go over a child’s head, which is what you want so you can watch it too. In my opinion it’s the show closest to the popularity of Looney Tunes back in its day. Children love it and adults enjoy it too. There have been three feature films with a fourth in development. SpongeBob is reaching it’s twenty-fifth anniversary next year and shows no signs of slowing down. This year will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. What better way than to play this game and celebrate the release of the spiritual successor SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake.
Licensed games these days are really terrible as there is not enough time to simultaneously release them alongside the media, especially when it comes to movies where developers need those production assets. The PlayStation 2 had much smaller development cycles due to the simplistic nature of the graphics and level designs so they were able to make quality products in time. Battle for Bikini Bottom didn’t align with any tie-in to the show, however it did come out within five years of the show’s launch and it would have been a few years in before the show’s success warranted a game. The following year saw the The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie game release with the same developers. These quick turn around times were astounding for a game that when remastered still feels fresh amongst modern games twenty years later.
Battle for Bikini Bottom sees Plankton once again trying to steal the recipe for the Krabby Patty. This time he builds a machine that creates robots, armies of robots to do his bidding and take the recipe. These robots before long go against Plankton and wreck havoc to Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy must defend Bikini Bottom by ridding the robots that have managed to spread throughout every location. Explore fan favourite areas from Jellyfish Fields, Rock Bottom, to even the Flying Dutchman’s Graveyard, and many more. You will battle mini-bosses like King Jellyfish and the Flying Dutchman. Big bosses include Robo-Sandy, Robo-Patrick, SpongeBob SteelPants, with Robo-Squidward exclusive to this Rehydrated edition.
As someone who never played the original game, I find this game to be fun and nostalgic for classic SpongeBob episodes. The game is segmented into levels and each level is fairly big, like the Ratchet and Clank games from the PlayStation 2 era. To access levels you will need to collect Golden Spatulas, you don’t need every one in each level to move onto the next, but you will want to collect as many as you can as you progress. The original voice actors are used and really sell the immersion of feeling like you are playing an episode of the show.
The surprising thing about this game is how difficult the second half of it is. There is a dreamworld level that’s difficulty is exponential to the rest of the game. It seems designed to be more of a challenge level than anything else, even still the second half of the game will see you dying a lot. This did take away from the fun I was having when I was replaying the same areas over and over again. The combat is not great, where I feel I’m not connecting to the enemies as well as I should.
Overall, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a fun trip down memory lane to PlayStation 2 platforming and exploring classic SpongeBob locations. It’s not as child friendly as you would think as the difficulty spikes take away from the enjoyment. That said I still think this is a good game, and has a lot of room for improvement that could be rectified with the sequel SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake out this week.
Available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Monster Hunter World was my Fortnight where I was in there every night slaying monsters, with the just one more match mentality. I sunk so many hours into the game, and still barely saw all that the game had to offer. Then Monster Hunter World: Iceborne came out which was much like a sequel offering almost as much content as the base game. I think most people would have been happy to have Monster Hunter World continue with big expansions, instead we will probably get a proper Monster Hunter World sequel in the next couple of years. Monster Hunter Rise was a weird release being exclusive to the Nintendo Switch and like a spinoff. It was likely already in the works when the success of Monster Hunter World became a hit, and now we finally have Monster Hunter Rise on all platforms.
Storytelling is the same as previous entries where you have a base camp and must protect it from monsters, with fetch quests in-between. Each mainline quest has you tackling a new monster with an intro video of the monster David Attenborough style. Story is thin, which is ok as you’re here for the gameplay. Monster Hunter has an addictive gameplay loop, even with somewhat clunky combat, it always feels rewarding. You will replay similar quests slaying the same handful of monsters with slight variations. The key to the addiction is the grind for the gear that feels rewarding when you get a new armour set, or weapon. Every battle is never really the same as different variables affect each battle. When two large monsters come across each other and battle things hit a new height. It’s like you’re witnessing a Kaiju battle and you’re in-between it. Monster Hunter Rise is as long as you want it to be. There is a soft ending for the game where you defeat the cover boss at the end of around fifteen hours of gameplay, and get your fill. Or like most who play Monster Hunter it’s where the game really begins, and you start to take on the high ranking quests that net you better rewards. To put it in perspective I finished the soft ending with the credits rolling and obtained only 2% of the PlayStation trophies.
There are so many little things that have been refined in Monster Hunter Rise. You now have a mount that you can ride at any time, with the ability to attack and pick things up. This mount makes the gameplay more fluid as you chase after monsters once they leave to recoup, unlike previous entries where you are chasing after them by foot and draining the stamina bar. The load times are nearly nonexistent when heading out to a mission, where Monster Hunter World would take minutes to load. This game can be played incredibly well solo, with the addition of your mount you now have two NPCs fighting against a monster taking away some of the agro that the monster would have sent all your way. The smaller maps have you spending less time chasing the monster, and if you faint much less time getting back to the monster.
Most of the negatives of Monster Hunter Rise come from originally being a Nintendo Switch title. Frankly, it’s a surprise how this game ran on the Nintendo Switch to begin with, nor how it would be enjoyable with the analog sticks. The scope of each map is much smaller than Monster Hunter World, which is ultimately fine and makes it easier to catch monsters as they have less terrain to trek. The biggest detractor of the game is how Nintendo’s online system has worked itself into the game. You need to provide a twelve letter id code to join friends in online, whereas multiplayer was a breeze in Monster Hunter World. Every time you do an action that will be seen online you are prompted with seemingly Nintendo’s code of conduct. No bullying, profanity, things that are expected with any game. It’s a surprise how integrated these were in the PlayStation version.
There is competition on the horizon next month for Monster Hunter with Wild Hearts. Considering Wild Hearts is an EA game it will likely have a ton of micro transactions and battle passes, so I’m not sure it could ever replace Monster Hunter. Later on in the year the Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak expansion will be available for purchase as well. This will likely be when the exclusivity ends with Nintendo. Knowing that Sunbreak came out on the 30th of June 2022, I would guess it will be available to purchase from 30th of June later this year.
Overall, Monster Hunter Rise is just as fun as Monster Hunter World and a great entry point for beginners. In a year of big releases this will be an ideal game to enjoy in the downtime of those releases.
Available now on PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
A story now not only for gamers, but for people from all walks of life.
The Last of Us originated as a game from 2013, while it was not ahead of its time it set a new benchmark in narrative storytelling for gaming. Ten years later and the story is more fitting today than it was back then. The story starts off with an interview from 1968 with a scientist talking about how he believes fungi is potentially much more worse than a virus or flu if there was to ever be a pandemic. The story then cuts to the day of the outbreak in 2003. Joel (Pedro Pascal), brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna) and Joel’s daughter Sarah (Nico Parker), experience their last normal day letting us get a glimpse into their life. The day unfolds with things happening in the background that show things are not right, much like how Shaun of the Dead reveals the zombies to the audience unbeknownst to protagonist Shaun. Once nightfall hits everyone is consumed by the chaos. Joel, Tommy, and Sarah leave their homes immediately for an escape as they experience the terror of this “zombie” outbreak. Not everyone survives the night as (Redacted) dies in a shocking scene that is also a revelation of how gone society is.
Twenty years later and we’re in 2023. The world didn’t recover, it’s barely surviving. The government is corrupt, and fighting with a resistance group called the Fireflies. Joel is changed, his humour is gone, and his occupation is smuggling. Between the infighting Joel has made a steady living for government rations. After a smuggling deal goes wrong Joel finds himself forced to smuggle the young girl Ellie (Bella Ramsey) for the Fireflies to another town. The episode ends with another reveal that will answer what Ellie’s importance is to the Fireflies. This is just the beginning of the journey and what an adventure it will be.
HBO did a phenomenal job at recreating the world seen in the original game. Unlike The Walking Dead the tone is near perfect. They didn’t artificially colourise the show to look gritty or dull. One of the beauties of The Last of Us is the beautiful new growth that has come out through all the cracks and crevices. The characters of Joel, and Sarah were given more characteristics. We see Joel is a hard worker trying to support his daughter by pulling double shifts. I like the way we get into Sarah’s psyche, she’s having a mental breakdown as we all probably would after seeing the world falling apart in an instant. The beginning prelude was a daring scene to start off with because if it felt the slightest bit campy you’ve made the world building feel campy. Surprisingly it worked to sell the realism, by subtitling hinting it was global warming that led to the fungi evolving to the outbreak. The thing that surprised me the most was how much I enjoyed watching the parts that weren’t in the game, in fact I rather them for the new experiences to the world I love so much.
Overall, The Last of Us is in good hands. Knowing where the story goes is one thing, however seeing what they do to expand the story is going to be the fun part.