Wednesday, 12 August 2015

     Review: Everybodys Gone To The Rapture

       Games aren't art? Read this...

Lets get this out of the way right off the bat: Everybodys Gone To The Rapture isnt much of a game in the traditional sense. It is more of an interactive story experience. You simply control a character walking through a beautiful little village in Shropshire, England and its bloody marvelous. There, job done. Go buy it. But ofcourse it wouldnt be much of a review if we left it there so perhaps I should elaborate...

       Walking Walking Walking...

The game begins in 1984, with you listening to some sort of distress call from an American woman proclaiming she is the only person left. I will admit upon hearing that American accent I was almost ready to sigh that this was yet another "british" game that was about as far removed from an english setting as you can get. Yet this was not to be. Infact, Everybodys Gone To The Rapture may be one of the most unapologetically English games I have ever played. The American woman is indeed an Amercican through and through. A scientist come to investigate the goings on in the area. But the rest of the characters all have the accent and mannerisms you would expect to find in a little village in the south of England. The village itself, whilst fictional, could be a real English village, full of green and gold trees, pubs with silly names, and that ultimate English pastime, writing rude comments on bustops ( a message declaring Derek is a massive dickhead no less...) .
 The game is pretty much a walking simulator. with you walking from destination to beautiful destination uncovering the heartbreaking storyline as you go. However it is much greater than the sum of its parts and never feels like a chore moving through these areas.
The story revolves around some sort of event that has made the inhabitants of this village dissapear, leaving only these strange ghostly lights flying around here and there. A radio transmission instructs you to "follow the light" and so off you go to find out just what has happened here. To say anymore of the story truly would be an attack on what this game is all about,story. Needless to say from the very first moment you take control of this game it is intriguing, mysterious and hauntingly beautiful.

         Proof That Story Is Important In Games

If you are reading this and wondering when the protagonist aquires a gun and starts destroying everything in sight then perhaps this isnt the game for you. Rest assured you would be missing out on one of the greatest gaming experiences of the last few years. Much like Journey enthralled and entertained with its combatless exploration of a fantasy land, Everybodys Gone To The Rapture has you exploring a much more realistic setting which is positively dripping with atmosphere. helped in no small part by the absolutely phenominal soundtrack. As a fellow Englishman living in the North of England and being a child of the eighties the game hits all the right notes with me. I am certain that gamers from anywhere in the world would enjoy the fantastic visuals and incredible story though.

            How Much I would Pay

There isnt much bad I can say about Everybodys Gone To The Rapture. I suppose I could say the game isnt action packed. But that would be missing the point of the game entirely. It would be like complaining there is no football in a shooter. Also the game isnt especially long. I finished the game in just over 6 hours, a perfect amount of time for an experience like this. This game is about (and solely about) telling a tale to the player. A brilliant, atmospheric, heartbreaking tale that I cant recommend enough.

I would pay full price (£15) for Everybodys Gone To The Rapture

                     THE WAIT IS OVER

Guess who's back? Yes after a ( ridiculously) long time off I am back to do news and reviews aplenty. I did want peoples opinions however on how they would prefer to see things. 
would people prefer to view the articles here on this facebook page? Or would you prefer to click on the link to take you to my blog? Please do comment and dont forget to smother the like button. Review incoming very very soon...

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Short News

Waiting Can Be Hard.

T.V does have some amazing shows. They can generate more hype than movies. Sometimes you get a T.V series that is part of one big universe with the movies and T.V series all happening in the same world with occasional crossovers between the two mediums. And sometimes it can be a painful process waiting for the show to return after a spellbinding cliffhanger. This is the case with the Agents Of Shield T.V series. The show may not generate the same level of hype as the exposively exciting movies based in the MCU,  (Marvel Cinematic Universe) but it is none the less goosebump inducingly thrilling to hear the series is back on T.V this friday.
   Yes this friday, 27th March 2015, in the UK on Channel 4, the second part of the second series of the Agents Of Shield T.V series is coming back and I cannot wait. Dont worry there will be no spoilers here for people who are catching up, however I will say you have just a few more days to do so.

 Agents Of Shield, Series 2, part 2, 27th March 2015 on Channel 4. Watch it, its brilliant.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Top Ten Reasons: To Own A Xbox One

Time Is A Healer.

I will be the first to admit that when the Xbox One was first announced I was less than impressed. No games were announced and a rather silly focus on T.V features immediately threw me off the metaphorical fence as to whether to purchase an "Xbone". E3 also proved disasterous for Microsoft as Don Mattrick, then boss of xbox, proudly announced DRM features for the Xbox One. DRM, for the unclued, means digital rights media and basically means you would have to be online to activate the console. No online? No console. The Xbox One's popularity took a further hit by Don Mattricks infamous quote. When questioned why the Xbox One would have DRM features he replied in a smug voice  "we have a product for people who cant get online, its called the Xbox 360"...Face, and indeed, palm.

Since then things have been on the up and up for Xbox One though. So I thought I would start my top ten reasons series with the top ten reasons to own an Xbox One. Enjoy.

1: No more DRM.

Possibly the biggest reason to own an Xbox One is that soon after the E3 press conference Microsoft performed an equally infamous "180" and declared that Xbox One would no longer have DRM upon launch. This strangely annoyed alot of gamers due to the easy way Microsoft went back on their announcement. However I prefer to say no harm no foul. We never actually experienced DRM on the Xbox One and have never experienced it since launch so I dont really see what the fuss is about. I commend any company that is willing to admit a mistake and rethink a strategy. Besides, most of these silly decisions are heavily rumoured to have been made by Don Mattrick, which brings me to reason two...

2: No More Don Mattrick.

The apparent mastermind behind the DRM debacle Don Mattrick is no longer the boss of Microsoft's Xbox devision, replaced by Phil Spencer, the Xbox has since enjoyed a much bigger focus on games and improved features for the gamers, which I will get into in a moment. Put simply Phil Spencer seems to have single handedly turned much of Xbox One's misfortunes around and that is worth mentioning in this list.

3: More Exclusives

Love or hate the Xbox One's exclusive games there is no denying there are many in comparrison to the PS4's rather emaciated line up. Ryse: Son of Rome. Sunset Overdrive. Forza 5, Forza Horizon 2, Screamride, Dead Rising 3 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection to name just a few exclusives that are well worth a playthrough and add meat to the already meaty bones of the Xbox One.

4: Kinect

Okay bear with me here, I know Kinect has had a less than stellar relationship with the gamer. But the Kinect 2.0 that can be bundled with the Xbox One is a fantastic peice of kit. The voice activated commands simply work and once you use them to pause a film or turn on your machine you wont want to go back to the pesky button presses of old. And Xbox does have some great games enhanced by Kinect. Disney's Fantasia is a surprisingly excellent game that truly makes you feel like a wizard of sound and music. Ryse: Son of Rome makes you feel like a true roman god as you bellow "FIRE VOLLEY" at your troups. Forza 5 has an immersive head tilting feature where a slight tilt of the head turns the drivers head in first person mode, enabling you to see into the corners. With the exception of Fantasia all the above can be used with traditional pad controls too so if you really dont want to bother with Kinect you dont have to. Which brings me to...

5: No Kinect

If reason four has you shaking your head in dismay then fear not. Xbox One has you covered here also. You can now buy an Xbox One without Kinect and while I personally prefer Kinect features on my console I still appreciate that it is now an optional purchase.

6: The Pad

Believe it or not I wasnt a fan of the Xbox 360's pad. It felt too chunky and cheap to me. The Xbox One pad, while retaining much of the same design is much much much improved. Its smaller. It does not have the cover for the batteries protruding out from the back of the pad. The buttons feel clicky and responsive. There is an amazing rumble feature in the triggers aswell as the pad. And perhaps best of all it has a D-pad that works. The Xbox pad design has gone from one of my least liked designs to one of the best and most comfortable with the One.

7: Upload

A great feature for any gamer who likes to stream gameplay to friends and fans is the Upload studio. A built in app on the Xbox that, with Kinect, allows you to stream any game at any time to Twitch ( A site built for streaming gameplay of games *ed). If fully broadcast gameplay isnt your thing then at any point during gameplay you can say "Xbox, record that" and it will upload the last minute or so of gameplay. You can then use the Upload studio to edit your clip. Shorten it, add other clips to the mix and now simple green screen features can be utilised to add a short (and probably hilarious) clip of you striding accross the moon or doing a comic book pose or anything else that will more than likely embarrass more than entertain.You can also now take screenshots of your gameplay and send them to twitter. Screenshots are a great way of showing off special moments of gameplay without having to go through the hassle of uploading a video or talking on it. A simple but welcome feature.

8: Suspended Games

A rather brilliant feature this. Picture the scene: You are just about to get to that bit on the game you have been trying to conquer for weeks yet you have to *insert very important thing here* which means the game needs to go off. And you haven't saved for three hours. With the Xbox One you can pause the game, turn off the system, do your thing then when you come to turn on the Xbox One again, even if it has been days, the paused game will be waiting for you where you left it. This is one of my favorite features of the Xbox One and one I use often.
One word of advice I learned the hard way though: please dont unplug the system!

9: One System Mentality

Yes when the Xbox One was first announced I scoffed at the intergrated T.V features but again it is something that now just works.  Being able to watch a multitude of T.V programmes or movies or gaming based shows from the service of your choosing (there are many now) is great and one that was not possible just a few years ago. What makes it great to watch all this on Xbox One though, aside from the aforementioned voice commands, is the ability to "snap" a sidescreen of your choice while watching the shows. Watching a Twitch stream and wish to know more about the game being shown without coming away from the show? Just snap the Internet Explorer and search the game while the show is still playing. Its a nifty feature and one that should be experienced to truly understand it.

10: Evolution

Lastly, and arguable this is the most important reason to own an Xbox One is the constantly evolving features that are added on a monthly basis by Microsoft. Its a rather unique experience to console gamers and to prove how far the system has come know this: Most of the features I have mentioned above did not exist at launch. They were added by the monthly updates by Microsoft. Of course these are free updates and with more on the way its great to know that the system you have bought is being constantly improved by its creators.

The System Works.

So there you have it. My top ten reason to get an Xbox One. While at launch the system may have  had a steep hill to climb I really think in 2015 the Xbox One is now on a par with the PS4. The system now, as I have mentioned numorous times in this article, works. As usual I must disclaim that this is purely my own opinion. If the Xbox One remains an underwhelming product to you after you have read this article then more power to you for it. We are blessed in 2015 with a true choice of gaming devices. All I ask is that people give them all a chance because after all, gamers do have one thing in common: Their love of games.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 2014 Movie

Movie That I Half-Like. Turtle Power?

I'm afraid I will start this review as Im sure many have: By reflecting upon the original 90's movie or cartoon (Its dependant on your experiences with the original turtles as to whether you get the headings play on words *ed). The Original movie was immensely popular and full of early nineties charm. As a kid seeing these animatronic turtles in motion was a magical sight. At the time special effects were not common place as they are today and being a fan of the cartoon I couldnt get enough of the pizza loving fellows. Also a big love of mine as a child were the Transformers. Along with the Turtles I had the toys, bought the horrid themed food (Apple pie and custard pizza,yes really *ed) and generally immersed myself in the Turles and Transformers universe as much as a kid can.
    After Michael Bay destroyed one franchise, realising he was producing the latest Turtles movie aswell filled me with a nostalgic dread. And so with trepidation I decided to watch the film and see if I could find the turtles through all the inevitable explosions.

Mutant Turtle Ninja Teenagers?

I knew watching the film I would have to let go of any memories I have of the 90's Blockbuster. Hard when you are a man of my narrow minded age. Yet I did so to remain unbias for this review. The movie does take a few detours away from the original, as it should being a reboot. Shredder is now in a robotic exoskeleton with blades protruding from just about every orifice. The turtles are much more stereotyped by their personalities. Raphael is about as black as you could make a green turtle. Donatello has so many gadget's upon his person that it is hard to tell if he is meant to be part cyborg or not. Michelangelo has been turned into a sex starverd fourteen year old and Leonardo is about as bland as you would expect because,you know, leaders are'nt cool. And April O'neil? Well April O'neil is Megan Fox. Take that how you see fit...
   As for the story it's a rather typical one of a nosy reporter (O'neil) stumbling upon "The Foot", a group of terrorists intent on destroying the city, before being saved by the film's protagonists. Thus O'Neil and the Turtles team up to stop The Foot and the Shredder from achieving their goal. And that is about it. There is a rather predictable twist part way through the movie featuring a character that was so obviously bad he may as well have had it tattoo'd on his head but aside from that you have pretty standard summer popcorn fare. Add to that a rigidly wooden performance bt Fox and an elevater scene that is cringeworthy in its attempt at humour and you have a film that is sorely lacking in places.


You could argue that you dont watch a movie like this for the story or even the acting quality. And if you are just after action and fighting then this film fares better. The action is, as you would expect rather groovy and despite my best intentions had me guffawing like a schoolboy on certain scenes. The downhill snowchase being a highlight and one of the only moments in the film showing the Turtles teamwork in play. There is some great action to be seen then however I do have a few niggles. Perhaps it is my weary eyes not being as fast as they used to be but alot of the CGI and subsequent action scenes seemed quited washed out and blurry to me. It was the same with the Transformers movies where too much seemed to be going on and moving on screen making for hard viewing. The above is purely my experience with the film however and may not be what everyone sees when watching the movie.

What I would Pay For This Film

The new TMNT film is of course getting a sequel in 2016 and that is because no matter how wooden the acting, forced the comedy or cliche the story people love a good action film. If you watch this film expecting plenty of action and not much else then this will entertain. If however you expect something abit more...moreish then perhaps you should show your distaste the only way these filmmakers understand: By not buying. That is as always though, absolutely up to you.

I would pay £5 for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Food for Thought: Is The PS4 Really The Best Console?

Lets Start With The Bad News...

You have more than likely heard by now that Uncharted 4 has been delayed until Spring 2016. Bad news indeed as Im sure I speak for everyone in saying it was one of this years most anticipated PS4 exclusives. It has lead me to ponder, "What other exclusives is there for the PS4 this year  that can fill the gap?" and Im coming up empty. We have Bloodbourne, due in a couple of weeks, but after that what does the PS4 have coming to it and only it? Sure it has many many fantastic games but very few that are exclusive to the system and that has lead me to writing this article and asking the above question: Is the PS4 really the best console available right now? Before we go on (And I am mudered by overzelous fanboys *ed) please note that this article is solely my opinion and is simply food for thought as the title suggests.

Popularity Breeds Quality?

The PS4 has sold twenty million units so far. Twenty million! That is around a quarter of Englands entire population. When compared against the ten million sold by the Wii U, which has been out twice as long, or the Xbox One which has sold just over ten million thats quite a large lead. The question of quantity does not however go hand in hand with quality. Just because something is popular does not mean it is the best quality product on the market. I mean look at cars. The Ford Prius has sold exceptionally well despite it being made out of toothpicks and bits of toilet roll* (*may not be factually accurate *ed).
   So is the PS4 worth the popularity? Well yes, and no. As mentioned above the console has some fantastic games for it. Destiny, GTAV, Assassins Creed Unity and Black Flag, Dying Light and Infamous Secod Son to name a few. But with the exception of Infamous all those games were released on Xbox one too. Of course its at this point many a gamer who feels they should violently protect their plastic will point out that the above games run better on PS4. That is true but for most people the differences are negligable. I find it hard to see the difference between a 1080p and a 900p (The resolution,as in how clear the game looks *ed) game on my Fourty-two inch T.V and Im certain most gamers would say the same.
   When we judge the PS4 based upon its exclusive library the picture is less rosy. Knack, Killzone: Shadowfall Infamous: Second Son, #DRIVECLUB, Resogun, Final Fantasy xiv (Console exclusive *ed) and The Order 1886 are a majority of the exclusives released for the system so far. Thats eight games released exclusively since November 2013. That is a worryingly low number of games that can only be played on the ps4.

Competition Breeds Contempt?

Looking over at the competition with around double the exclusives in the Xbox One camp and double again for Wii U a casual observer would be forgiven for asking the question: "Why is the PS4 so popular?". Its a good question and one I can only speculate on. Firstly the WiiU: I think People were expecting a massive leap in quality and because it was the first in the next gen consoles, with a year before PS4/Xbox One, gamers judged the machine harshly. By the time PS4 and box One roled out gamers had already nailed the proverbial coffin shut on the Wii U.
   The same hasty negative opinion was cemented when Microsoft held its disasterous Xbox One reveal event. DRM ( need to be online to play the game *ed) functionality and a distinctive lack of games over sport and T.V features put many gamers off the Xbox One. Even though at launch, and since launch, the Xbox One has improved dramatically- No more DRM and a much bigger,better focus on games- alot of fans find it hard to forget that horrible showcase event.
   Jump to the PS4 reveal and its performance at E3 2013 and you can see that holding a good press event can be hugely important in your products future. I truly believe the main reason why PS4 has sold so many units over the competition is less to do with the console and more with how the console has been portrayed through hype. The E3 2013 event had the crowd literally screaming from their seats as  Jack Tretton, the CEO of Sony Of America at the time, delivered bombshell after bombshell out doing and out performing the Microsoft event in every way possible. And so a positive vision was set for the PS4 before it was even released. Now jump to the present and you can see how important it is to plant these hyperbolic seeds of excitement.

The Ultimate Question

The question then: Is the PS4 really the best console? Well if you think I am silly enough to answer that think again. I have a wife and family and would rather not be Swatted or Fraped (google them *ed) or generally feel the wrath from any of the unfortunate fan boys out there who value their console above their own worth. What I will say however is that the answer may not be as clear cut as you would think. You should always remember opinion is subjective and just because your mates all have a PS4 does not mean you have to get one also. As the Wachowski's (Of The Matrix fame *ed) say: Make up your own damn mind.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Short blog: Sleuth Is Out Now

Thank You For Your Patience.

 Sleuth,the app I reviewed earlier this week is now available to download after a few teething problems. Matt Thomas and his company, SimWave wish to offer their opologies to all who were trying to download the game on monday and I would like to personally ask anyone who was wanting to download the game to do so. These technical hiccups can happen in the gaming world and unlike mega AAA releases like Assassins Creed Unity where the devs can afford to release a broken game and patch it, knowing full well they will make their profits whether they do so or not, smaller devs like SimWave simply cant afford things like this to affect them.
   So please do download the game. I gave it rather glowing praise as a simple but fun and addicting word game in my review on monday. I stick by that and as a free download it truly wont affect you at all to give it a try.
   Thank you