Ghost of Tsushima (Review)

Curious about Ghost of Tsushima? Why not read the review from someone who has achieved the platinum trophy? Check out this review by Books and Pixels! -Sav

Overview Developer: Sucker Punch Productions Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Platform: Playstation 4 Initial Release Date: July 17, 2020 …

Ghost of Tsushima (Review)

Video Game Review: The Last Of Us Part II

Where do I even begin? It’s been a week since my boyfriend and I finished this game and I still feel gutted.

The Last of Us Part II is a 2020 action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. Set five years after The Last of Us (2013), players control two characters in a post-apocalyptic United States: Ellie, who sets out for revenge, and Abby, a soldier who becomes involved in a conflict between a militia and a cult. The game is played from the third-person perspective. Players can use firearms, improvised weapons, and stealth to defend against enemies and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus.

(Description from Wikipedia)

This game has been the subject of much criticism and even review bombing. But, if you were afraid due to the negativity surrounding this game like I was, have no fear, this game is fantastic. People were genuinely worried about the game because they thought it was going to be a “get woke go broke” scenario, well that’s definitely not the case. This game is a pillar of inclusivity without cramming the concept down your throat, believe me when I say that this game is not the 30 hours of “woke” propaganda that some are claiming it is. It’s a game adapting to the times and including everyone. That’s all I’ll say on that.

The story is so beautiful. If you played The Last Of Us Part I, then you’re probably already familiar with the devastating writing style that will make you feel everything. The Last Of Us Part II cranks it up a few notches, and I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much playing a game. This one will hurt you, but it will also give you hope. This was something that reviewers were also mixed about, because some people can’t handle the concept of a titular character being killed off. Especially being killed off in a brutal way. But, this game is about the apocalypse and people are going to die in horrible ways, that’s the reality of the situation. So to me, it felt like Naughty Dog, the creators, were really banking on the realism. Did it feel good to watch a character I loved die? No, but it felt necessary for the story to progress.

My favorite aspect of this game is that it damn near forces you to love even the antagonist. One thing I can admire is a story that makes you feel all sides, and shows you that human beings will be human beings. Can we really decide who the bad guy is in a one sided story? No. I wanted to hate the antagonists so much, but when you are put in their shoes and see their motives how can you hate them? Everybody is human and everyone is doing the best they can.

The gameplay mechanics could be wonky and confusing at times, but they did try and switch it up a little. They used the touchpad to simulate playing a guitar and I thought that was genius. I’ve never seen it implemented so flawlessly. While we’re on this subject, the use of music is beautiful. They use music from my favorite band, Pearl Jam. For me this was intense because my dad and I always listen to Pearl Jam together and it turns out that Joel, Ellie’s father figure, was teaching her how to play their music. For me it was another way to relate to the story.

Okay, back to the controls/gameplay. It felt like Naughty Dog tried expanding on existing concepts while also implementing new ideas. The range of weaponry is wider and the use of new objects for the puzzle aspect was interesting. Also, they added new zombies, and they will not disappoint because they are absolutely horrifying. Like scary to the point that we were flinching and yelling while playing the game. Definitely got us a few times.

This game is full of characters you will love and characters you will hate. That’s something else that Naughty Dog has nailed down in this game. Every character has depth and you will fall in love with most of them. It makes it hard to decide which side you’re on or if you can even pick a side. For me it was hard and I couldn’t make up my mind. Even right now I’m not sure which side was “right”. That is powerful story work.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

With everything taken into account I’d say that this games is an easy 5 stars.

If you’d like to purchase your own copy you can follow this link. I will get a portion of the profit at no extra cost to you.

Have you played this one yet? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Video Game Review: Prey (2017)

We’re doing something new today. I set the books aside for a few hours, 37.5 to be precise, and picked up an old video game gathering dust in its case. Prey published by Bethesda and developed by Arkane studios is a severely under rated sci-fi/horror game.

In Prey you play as a scientist experimenting with neuromodifications on a space station called Talos-1. You are aboard this ship with your brother, and you quickly discover that nothing is as it seems. You’ve been reliving the same day over and over like Groundhog Day, and while you’re brain is repeatedly being reset, aliens called the Typhon have invaded. You must discover what happened to the crew aboard Talos-1, while slowly modifying your body and brain with human and Typhon modifications.

What I love most about Prey is that it simultaneously makes a gorgeous and terrifying landscape. The sheer size of Talos-1 is daunting in and of itself, with one drawback we will discuss towards the end. You never know what will be waiting for you around the next corner.

The Typhon consist of many types of aliens. From mimics, who can transform into objects to hide, to Telepaths, who can control the minds of the remaining crew members. The monsters are cleverly designed and look horrifying. Each designation of monster has specific characteristics and appearances that are sure to lurk in the back of your mind. They really nail terror in Prey.

The storyline! The storyline is phenomenal. I played this game with my boyfriend and we were both constantly guessing at the ending. We would come up with theory after theory until late into the night. The plot thickens and twists at just the right moments. We would pause and discuss any time more of the plot was revealed. In this game you don’t know who the bad guy is until the end, and it is sure to catch you off guard. (Watch after the end credits)

While not entirely unique, I love how this game implements multiple endings, three to be exact. We got what you could consider the “nice” ending. We were already discussing playing through this game on an easier difficulty instead of hard so that we could try for a different ending and different after credits scene. It has an awesome replayability factor.

The “monster/Typhon” abilities are so much fun to mess around with. You get this ability where you can essentially emulate a mimic and turn into the objects around you. We utilized that skill to squeeze into tight spaces. You can also upgrade yourself into being able to throw objects like Superman. Needless to say we had to reload in a few times because we accidentally killed NPC’s, causing us to fail objectives. Also, what video game doesn’t have some sort of hacking feature? In Prey you can gain the skill to hack turrets and other robots. I bring this up because it was absolutely hilarious watching my boyfriend attempt to hack things. After nearly 38 hours of gameplay and he never got better at it. Look up what the hacking is like on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean.

Oh and the choice is yours as to whether you are a male or female. That was a nice touch.

On to the cons of this game.

The map. The map is god awful. It is almost no use looking at it because it isn’t very helpful. For the most part we just used it to see the title of each room name so we knew what general direction to head. It didn’t keep track of very much data and was absolutely useless when you enter a new area. You’ll have to commit a lot to memory.

Some of the mechanics are clunky. There is so much to do in Prey that it’s difficult to remember what button does what. There’s a lot of switching from one menu to the next and pulling up the weapon wheel. It gets a little time consuming and confusing. Not to mention, a lot of the menus are organized either very badly or not at all. It was really strange and poorly thought out. Also, you will encounter glitches, some funny and some very annoying. We died multiple times from a Typhon clipping through doors and walls.

Another thing to be cautious of, save frequently and be careful where you place certain objects such a turrets. We were spawn locked at one point and saved in stupid places. When you save it literally saves right then and there. You will load in as you die, you will die before you load in, you will load in and be dead. It’s annoying but also a bit funny. If you save frequently you will be fine.

The loading screens! These were the worst. Towards the end of the game when you’re a master Typhon hunter you will spend a lot of time in load screens, running back and forth. Seriously towards the end of the game most of our time was spent loading. It was majorly annoying. In the beginning it’s fine because you spend so much time clearing each section of Talos-1 that you don’t realize how frequent and long the load screens are. It was almost comical, we were switching between running through rooms and watching YouTube videos to pass the time.

In all honesty this game really won my heart. I love a good single player story and this was definitely a good one. I would totally be down for some kind of sequel. Prey earns a 4/5 in my book.