Category Archives: Games

Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin VR review

I have been plowing through VR games in the £15-20 range recently. I recently finished Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and then, grateful for the complete change of scene, I thought I would try Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin. Until Dawn was a horror shooter on a roller-coaster with a ton of jump scares, whereas Psychonauts is a humorous and mostly stationary adventure game. I highly recommend doing things this way round.

In the Rhombus of Ruin you play Raz, the newest member of the team of Psychonauts. I haven’t played any of the other games in the series but it really doesn’t matter. The characters are fun and the story is standalone. If you are new to VR and are worried about motion sickness, then this is highly recommended for reasons that are best explained by the plot.

The team is on a plane and as Raz, you are still experimenting and learning about your psychic abilities. Because you are on a plane, this is done from a seated position. The plane crashes and the team is scattered and when you awaken you are strapped motionless to a chair. Fortunately, your psychic abilities allow you to transport your conscious into the various minions and creatures you see and you can get them to press button and so on. Essentially, this is a puzzler and as everything is viewed from within stationary minds, there is no threat of dreaded VR motion sickness.

At first, your abilities are essentially mind jumping and psychic prodding. As you release other members of the psychonaut team, you get better abilities like being able to blast stuff and set things on fire. You also travel around quite a bit and soon find yourself jumping into things like jellyfish, rats and all sorts (mild spoiler: you are underwater).

I really enjoyed this game and highly recommend it. It’s fun and the VR is top notch. The only real negative was that it was short. I finished it in about 2 hours. So while the story was enjoyable and the characters were great, it felt slightly perfunctory and never really had a chance to go anywhere too deep. The fact I wanted a bit more is a good thing I guess, it just depends how much action you want for £15 (roughly).

Personally I loved Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin. It could have been longer and I will never play it again but if a sequel came out I would definitely get it. Recommended.

 

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

resident-evil-the-final-chapter-movie-poster-2-resident-evil-the-final-chapter-39812954-1024-1488I have no idea how many Resident Evil films I have seen. Or even how many Resident Evil games I have played. Definitely 3 or 4 for each and they have all been enjoyable. Not great, but enjoyable. The games are better than the films (they always are) but then the games don’t have Milla Jovovich in the tight and sexy outfits that women apparently need to wear in post-apocalyptic worlds. Which turns the films from being a little bit shit to quite watchable fun.

So when I saw there was a trailer for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, I watched it without much anticipatory excitement. I have to say it looks like a laugh. Plus it has Guns and Roses playing and some kind of dragon thingy flying around. I am quite looking forward to this now and know that I will probably enjoy it, even though I know it will be just a little bit shit.

I can’t wait for Resident Evil: Epilogue and all the rest.

 

 

 

Play Dungeons and Dragons in VR!

Listen to the Dungeon Master!

Listen to the Dungeon Master!

From 10 years old and throughout the most of my teens I played Dungeons and Dragons. Because it was awesome. You get a load of friends round and you go on adventures. The fact that it was spoken, and that the story existed in the collective imagination of those present, made it special. Plus there are really cool dice and little action figures.

As an individual who has a pathetic psychologic need to have his views and stories heard by others, I was frequently a dungeon master (DMs rule). You are in control of the story. You can buy pre-scripted modules, but cool kid as I was, I used like writing my own dungeons and adventures from scratch. You create stories and plots and incidences. You get to draw intricate maps on graph paper. And finally you have people play through your story live. It was great and possibly influenced my developing brain to the point where I now write and just make shit up for a career.

1d20 where have you been for the last 20 years?

1d20 where have you been for the last 20 years?

People still play Dungeons and Dragons but it has largely fallen out of favour as you can interactively fight orcs and role-play on the interweb these days. Games like World of Warcraft kind of recreate the ‘get together with your coolest friends and smite some goblins’ vibe but it isn’t quite the same. Your imagination is peaked by computer games as you explore, but the story isn’t in the mind of the group of friends chatting round a table. You are walking through someone else’s imagination. (Not that I don’t love computer games as well.)

Unless you have actually played D&D you are unlikely to understand. Sorry if that sounds patronising but it is true.

Sit around a virtual table and have adventures!

Sit around a virtual table and have adventures!

As there are less people playing Dungeons and Dragons, it can be hard to find a game. Well, now there is a passable solution. You can play D&D using virtual reality! I’m not talking a Skyrim-type experience. I’m talking the sitting around a virtual table and talking experience. I guess you could Skype these days, but then only one person gets to play with the dice and you don’t get character sheets littering the table and the little figures moving through a dungeon and… ah whatever.

Basically a company called AltspaceVR designed a VR Skype kind of idea. Behind intelligent engineer types, quite a few grew up playing D&D and tried to recreate it. It worked brilliantly and they have the full backing of the Wizards of the Coast. That is the company that owns Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering by the way, not a Cornish cult or anything.

For this post I just meant to just write – hey cool! You can play D&D in VR – look at this video. But I went on a bit. Sorry. Happy memories. Here is the video…

Fastest spaceship in the galaxy

Fastest ship in the Universe

Fastest ship in the Universe

Han Solo claimed the Millennium Falcon could do the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. Which is presumably a speed race with the winner being the spaceship that can go the furthest distance in a specific time, as a parsec is a measurement of distance. But Han Solo lived ages ago. Plus, it is possible that he and the Falcon are fictional.

What about other space going vessels that may or may not be real? Which one of them is the fastest spaceship in the universe? I have literally fallen asleep pondering this.

The good people at Fat Wallet have come up with a handy chart, rating tons of known fiction/non-fiction space ships for speed. The first half are rated by how much G they pull on acceleration. Once the speeds go past that of light (at which point we are talking probable fiction), then they are rated by light seconds.

I should point out I disagree with a few of these. What about when navigators in Dune fold space, or popping into another dimension, or using wormholes? I’m thinking Skylark of Space, Babylon 5, DS9, Stargate (when a shuttle goes through a gate) and many more.

However, the fastest spaceship is unlikely but totally correct – you’ll see what I mean. I found this fun, so thought I would share.

(Thanks Fat Wallet http://www.fatwallet.com/blog/fastest-ship-in-the-universe/)

Fastest-Ship-in-the-Universe_IG

 

Fallout 4

Fallout 4

Fallout 4

Bethesda has finally released a Fallout 4 trailer and I am officially very excited. There have been rumours circulating the interweb for years. Fallout 3 came out in 2008 and Fallout: New Vegas in 2010, so we were due something new any decade now.

Although there is no release date at the moment, the world premiere of Fallout 4 will be broadcast live on both Youtube and Twitch on the 14th June at 7pm PST. This is 3am UK time on the 15th. Or 9am in Thailand were I am writing this.

I loved Fallout 3 and New Vegas, (and Oblivion and Skyrim,) and have full faith in Bethesda. I suspect this will be very similar except it will be much bigger, have better graphics, and be set in Boston. Without further ado, here is the Fallout 4 trailer:

 

 

The Last of Us

The Last of Us

The Last of Us

I’m afraid I am going to be yet another reviewer fawning over Naughty Dog’s latest work of utter awesomeness. The Last of Us is absolutely brilliant. Not entirely flawless. But brilliant nonetheless.

Here’s the story. A virus infects the world and makes everyone turn angrily batshit. The game starts with a father and his daughter chilling out at home when the virus hits. This is really well done. You initially play as the daughter and are basically just wandering around getting scared by the news, then an explosion outside, then the neighbour going psycho and getting killed by your dad, and then a chase outside where the roads are full of panicking people and infected and carnage and… well… exciting stuff happens. Shit goes down and you get really involved with the characters and the story from the start.

Then The Last of Us skips 20 years ahead and you’re the dad, Joel, who is a smuggler in the quarantine/military zone of Boston. Joel and his partner take on a job to smuggle a 14 year old girl called Ellie to a group of rebel types. Things predictably turn unpredictable and Joel and Ellie end up having to cross a post apocalyptic America that is full of bandits, psychopaths and infected mutants. I won’t say any more as part of the joy of the game is the way the story unfolds and some of the events and scenes on their journey are pure genius.

Post Apocalyptic prettiness

Post Apocalyptic prettiness

Like Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series, The Last of Us is a superbly crafted game with an engrossing story, great characters, and superb game dynamics. It is also ever so pretty. This is a more serious game than Uncharted though and a hell of a lot darker in tone. Think The Road as opposed to Indiana Jones. Some parts are just downright fucked up.

You generally spend the time either sneaking around or shooting the crap out of everything. Due to a lack of resources, you normally end up doing a mixture of the two. The game dynamics, fighting, weapon handling and so on are brilliant. If one way causes you to die instantly (which happens a lot) you are constantly forced to re-evaluate your tactics. Which is a good thing. The way the weapons fire, the levelling system, the ability to upgrade weapons and make new ones are done flawlessly and are intuitive. This is a well made game.

the-last-of-us-shot-oneMy only gripe would be that the AI can be a bit dumb sometimes. It’s also quite predictable. Don’t get me wrong. It is easily as good as other games, its just that the bar has been raised so high by the rest of The Last of Us that anything short of near perfect is a slight let down. You may not even notice.

The Last of Us is one of the best games I have ever played. I still occasionally daydream about the world and the characters and suddenly find myself trying to remember the name of the series or book or film where ‘that thing’ happened that was really cool and then remember it was this game. As they did with Uncharted (which are all also the best games I have played) The Last of Us is a finely crafted piece of interactive entertainment. It is yet another example of why I pity those who love a good story – be it book, TV show, movie, comic, etc – but don’t play modern games. Interactive storytelling, when done well, can tell a story in a new and incredibly absorbing way. The Last of Us cannot be recommended enough.

Here is a trailer just to give you a taster of the character dynamic and the the sort of dark survival stuff you can expect. Enjoy.

Sizes of Scifi Spaceships

I’m not sure why I put “Scifi” in the title there. A comparison of our human space vehicles would be frankly pretty sad.

But I found this fantastic. If you are a science fiction fan you will know 70% or more of these ships. I’ve never been into Warhammer but their vessels look awesome. This has all given me a strange hankering to go and watch some early Lexx and the whole of Farscape all over again. I have provided a link as the image is colossal! Enjoy.

size_comparison___science_fiction_spaceships_by_dirkloechel-d6lfgdf.jpg

Thanks to http://dirkloechel.deviantart.com/art/Size-Comparison-Science-Fiction-spaceships-398790051 for this!

PS4 goes Scifi shooter

I have been reading all the nerdy news and specs about the Playstation 4 and was surprised to see that there are already some game trailers for it. I was surprised as the news release was pretty vague about when the console comes out – before Christmas seems to be as specific as it gets. I guess that this is made possible by the fact that the PS4 appears to basically be a souped up PC. I will write more on this and why I’m not so keen on the next gen consoles on www.thewordofward.co.uk or click here for the article.

One thing that seemed common on the PS4 website and on youtube were clips of upcoming games that were essentially science fiction 1st person shooters. Call me dull but I don’t really care that they’re being massively unimaginative with this. I love FPS games and the fact that it is scifi is just a bonus.

The first clip is for a new Killzone game. I LOVE KILLZONE! Here we go:
http://youtu.be/S7CO4PUEWa4
The next is a game called Destiny. It’s by the guys who made Halo, so it should be pretty genius.
http://youtu.be/CNfj0Z2xTtw
The final trailer that caught my fancy was for the new inFamous game. Not a FPS but a 3rd person actioner, but it still kind of fits the theme. Plus it looks brilliant.
http://youtu.be/R4C1Xz8-0IA

So there you go. Lots of Scifi action for the shiny new console.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077

Ok, I am going to be a bit of a tease here, so I apologise in advance. I just came across this trailer and it looks so stylish and cool I thought I would share it with you.

The trailer is for a game called Cyberpunk 2077. The premise is that in the future you can be enhanced and changed by technology. The big downside to this biological alteration is that it MIGHT SEND YOU INSANE!!! Otherwise it’s great. Apparently the game will be open world like Grand Theft Auto but more futuristic and, well, cyberpunky.

The game is nowhere near ready and not much happens in the trailer. Somehow this makes it more appealing. I think you will agree it looks bloody great. Enjoy.
http://youtu.be/P99qJGrPNLs