Blog Feed

Posted in Recent Games

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

If you were to ask me to describe The Witcher 3 in as few words as possible, I would know exactly what to say.

It’s a commitment.

Without a doubt this is one of my favourite RPG games out there, but it is not to be taken lightly. The Witcher 3 boasts an enormous open world with so much to explore, a wealth of characters to meet and assist, many beasts and monsters for you to defeat, and a rich lore that truly gives the impression that you are in a living, breathing world.

I first got my hands on game in 2015, and I sunk a fair number of hours into it, before getting distracted by other games .. I made a second attempt to tackle the game in 2016, where I met the same distracted fate… fast forward to 2020, and the incredible Netflix adaptation of the original novel by Andrzej Sapkowski, I had recaptured the urge to play this incomplete adventure – no excuses!

I actually put myself on a ban of any other games whilst playing The Witcher – I wasn’t about to risk getting distracted again! But there doesn’t seem to be any chance of that happening. After watching the series, I have found myself with a newfound appreciation and understanding for so many of the characters and even the politics of the world.

There are many different ways for you to play. Besides the fact that this is one of those RPGs that will quite often give you big decisions to make, which will have certain consequences somewhere down the line, there’s also a number of different ways to go about developing your character, Geralt. Different armour types, runes to attach to weapons and armour for different effects, five different combat spells which you can develop as you level up, bombs, potions, oils, many other things you can enhance or change as you level up Geralt – there are many tricks up his sleeves.

The characters and cultures that you will come across are astounding in how much life they seem to have. Excellent voice acting throughout the game offers a real immersion into the world. The Skellige Isles region would have to be my favourite place as the Norse inspired culture observed there has been crafted so meticulously, I find it fascinating to explore the different settlements, interacting with the Jarls and their people, observing their customs, and trying to solve the issues that seem to be plaguing every island.

Another aspect of the game that I like is the limitation of fast travel. As opposed to being able to fast travel at any time, you can only travel from signpost to signpost, so only from specific points. This means that you are encouraged to journey through the world on foot (or horseback) and discover all the different points of interest that are lurking in the wilderness.

For anyone who hasn’t played The Witcher 3 and is thinking about it – I can’t recommend enough watching the Netflix series before you play! I feel that it really enhanced my experience of the game for me, so hopefully it will do the same for others.


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 19/05/2015 (Switch 15/10/19)
  • Genre: Fantasy RPG
Posted in Recent Games

Ni No Kuni II

Here is a game that I fell in love with instantly. It was brought to us by Level 5, the same studio that brought us Dark Cloud and it’s sequel, two of my favourite childhood games.

Ni No Kuni II takes part in a beautifully crafted world full of characters just as whimsical as the kingdoms that they are found in. The game follows the story of Prince Evan, as he travels across the world, meeting the denizens and the leaders of the world, and building a brand new kingdom after a coup forced him to relinquish his title and escape his lifelong home.

Another great aspect has to be the combat – I personally find it very satisfying, the connections between this and the combat systems of Level 5’s previous games seem quite clear to me. Each of the party members have their own weapons specialties, and they can use both melee and ranged weapons. For example, Evan uses swords and wands in combat. There are also different status effects that can be inflicted to party members and monsters, as well as elemental affinities which weapons can be imbued with to deal extra damage to monsters who are weak to particular elements. All combat is real-time, no turn-based moves – you will be running about the battlefield, blocking, dodging, and landing blows to take down your opponents.

One small downside to the combat (and this is actually the only thing I can think of to complain about) is the camera once you are locked on to an enemy. I guess you could say it’s not entirely intuitive, and you may still need to rely on your thumb to give you the best angle. My expectation would be for the camera to be better at keeping the enemy relatively centred on screen whilst locked on, but unfortunately it is still quite free, to the point where locking on sometimes feels somewhat pointless.

Another key element of the game is the kingdom building. Not too far into the game, Evan’s brand new kingdom is established, leaving you with a fledgling empire to run. Money will be accrued over time for you to spend on your kingdom, building and improving the various facilities, deciding who amongst your citizens should work where, and investing money into research which can be carried out at certain facilities, all of which have some measure of benefit to gameplay.

Of course, Evan wasn’t traveling across the world with all of these citizens just waiting for him to pick a nice spot for them to settle – once you have founded your kingdom, you will spend a lot of the game finding new people, accepting their side quests, and recruiting them so that you may benefit from their skills. There are so many different citizens to unlock, and the means to unlock them vary greatly.

I couldn’t possibly not mention the fact that there is a certain… sense of humour found throughout Ni No. And that sense of humour is … bad puns. I’m talking about the kind that you still can’t help but laugh at, even though they’re bad! This is usually seen in the names of the characters, most notably the Dogfolk who have an Asian twist to their culture. You will come across such characters as Hau Ling, Ya Pi, and even Bao Wao … as bad as they are, I still love them.

Areas to explore, a kingdom to build, citizens to recruit, side quests to complete, and tainted monsters to defeat. There’s simply no shortage of things for you to do in Ni No Kuni II. I always have such a good time playing, so I can definitely recommend you give it a try if you haven’t already.


  • Platform: PS4, PC
  • Release Date: 23/03/18
  • Genre: Fantasy RPG

Posted in Old Games

Miitopia

Well I am very late to the party for this game – I just recently picked this game up as a cheap little bargain, and my heart has been totally captured by its charm!

I played Tomodachi Life all those years ago when that came out, and I liked it a lot for all of its quirky gameplay, which is what made me originally want to play Miitopia. However I never actually got round to buying the game at any point, and it soon became a forgotten desire in the back of my mind.

But it was brought back to my attention recently when a Youtuber that I watch regularly was doing a play-through series … It only took me a few minutes of watching to realise that I needed to go and find this game somewhere so I could play it myself!

The premise of the game is that it is a casual fantasy RPG where you basically control who all of the characters are by way of assigning Miis. You can either create the Miis from scratch, take them from your 3DS’ user list or your friends list, and you can even access Mii Central where lots of Miis created by other players are stored for you to use as you see fit. This can lead to some rather amusing situations as there are a lot of really good creations out there, and equally there are some really bad ones! You could make you family and friends, or you could make beloved characters from your favourite games and TV shows. Your imagination (and the Mii maker) is your limit!

Miitopia sports a Final Fantasy-esque job system, with the added bonus of some rather zany options, which certainly make for a varied party. And while you travel as a party of up to four Miis, during battle you will only have direct control over your main character. The rest of the team will act on their own accord, but the AI does seem to be quite intelligent when it comes to choosing what to do.

As well as the jobs, each of your party members will also have a personality trait for you to choose. Each trait has different quirks, and some of them pair up particularly well with certain jobs. For example, a stubborn Mii can brace himself to take minimal damage from an incoming attack, and can also decide that they can do better after attacking an enemy and repeat the attack – this goes perfectly with the Warrior class!

One of the more charming aspects of this game is the friendship system. After each successful day of adventuring, your Miis will bunker down in an Inn for a good night’s sleep. Two Miis can share a room, which will increase their bond. Random events can also increase friendship, as well as helpful activities in battle such as healing. Eventually as your friendship level with another Mii increases, they will both unlock new abilities in battle which are so fun and quirky – from showing off by dealing extra damage, lending a hand to attack alongside each other, expressing concern when the other has been hurt, and even going on a rampage when they have been knocked out! These little bits are so fun to watch, and I couldn’t need any more encouragement to grow the friendships of my team to watch the cute chaos ensue when they go up against the monsters of the world.

But friendship isn’t the only thing that can come about in Miitopia … Miis can fall out and quarrel as well. There are certain actions and events which can cause annoyance between the affected party members, and if this happens often enough, it may turn into a full on quarrel. When two party members are quarreling, they may interrupt each other’s attacks, deciding that they can do a better job, and they might even get into a full-on fight … right on top of the enemy! This particular situation deals a little bit of damage to both of the party members and major damage to the enemy who got caught in the middle! It’s possible for Miis to put aside their differences and forgive each other, at which point they can continue to build up their friendship.

The plot of the game is fairly standard for a fantasy RPG – the main antagonist is the Dark Lord (who you also choose the identity of), and he has stolen the faces of the people who live in Miitopia! He then puts these faces on the monsters that roam the lands, and it is your job to hunt down these monsters and rescue the faces of the people! It’s another fun quirk of the game, to see all of these faces on the monsters.

I wouldn’t personally say that there is a whole lot of challenge to the game, but it doesn’t need to be challenging – the charm and personality make this game a pleasure to play through.


  • Platform: Nintendo 3DS
  • Release Date: 08/12/16
  • Genre: Casual Fantasy RPG
Posted in Game Lists, Recent Games

2019: A Hobbit’s Review

2020 is here at last and I would say it’s going to be an interesting year for gaming, with the next generation of console gaming drawing closer every day, and some great titles due for release across the year.

But what about 2019? We had some good games right? Here is my personal pick of the best 2019 releases that I have managed to get my hands on.


Dauntless

Without a doubt the best free game that I have come across, Dauntless is just a lot of fun to play with your friends, hunting large, hulking behemoths together. I have talked a number of friends into playing it and we always have a great time going on hunts together! It’s the one free game that has me coming back for more and more, so it certainly has some staying power.

I talked about Dauntless earlier in the year in my review post, which you can find here.


Wargroove

Wargroove was a spontaneous little purchase on the Switch which I absolutely did not regret. It’s the kind of game that you can sink a couple of yours of amusement into, put it down, then return months later and still have just as much fun.

For any that played Advance Wars on the good old Gameboy Advance, you will immediately recognise the format of the game. It’s a simple turn-based tactical base-capturing game. The idea is to either destroy the enemy base or wipe out the commander.

It features a fantasy setting, which is always a quick way into my good books. Multiple races, lots of units, a campaign to tackle, a fun arcade mode, and even the opportunity to make your own campaign missions.

Wargroove is simple, easy to pick up, surprisingly challenging in places, and always fun.


Cadence Of Hyrule

I never played Crypt Of The Necrodancer, but when I saw that they were releasing a game that crossed over with The Legend Of Zelda, I knew I would have to give it a go!

It certainly proves challenging at times, but it’s always fun to play, especially with the fantastic disco/Zelda soundtrack! Sometimes I enjoy a track so much, I actually struggle to move on to a new area.

It’s only a short game, but full of fun, and extra mayhem available if you try your hand at co-op mode!


Greedfall

Greedfall was a great pick up this year, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. With a fantasy setting focused on colonising a recently discovered island, it certainly provides unique gameplay! I have enjoyed what I have seen so far of the environment, story elements and characters, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the game has to offer.

There is plenty more fun for me to have with this however, as I am no where near completing it – Greedfall is just one of the games that I must get back to soon.


Luigi’s Mansion 3

Of course Luigi was going to make it to this list! This was one of the games I was most looking forward to getting this year. Even though it was only released on Halloween, I have already sunk a lot of hours into exploring the haunted hotel that Luigi finds himself and his friends trapped in.

It just doesn’t get old – vacuuming up ghosts, slamming them around the room, sucking up anything that isn’t nailed down!

If you want to read my thoughts on Luigi’s Mansion 3, you can check out my post here.


The Outer Worlds

This is one that actually slipped under my radar, and I only heard about it about a week before it was due for release. The first thing I heard was that it was made by the team who are responsible for bringing us Fallout New Vegas. So naturally I then immediately read any article I could find about this game, and the decision was made.

I had to buy it.

The Outer Worlds is just fun to play, no question about it. It has everything – great humour, fun characters, a wacky world, weird weapons … I love this game, is what I’m trying to say.

To see my in-depth thoughts, check out my review post here.


Pokémon Sword And Shield

I’m sure no one is surprised to see this here, especially given my recent Nuzlocke entries.

Pokémon Shield was my choice of the two (it’s all about those exclusives!), and I have a lot of good things to say about it.

Pokémon is a franchise that is very close to my heart, so I’m always going to give the new games a go. There may have been backlash from some, but you’ll find none from me. It’s everything I wanted from a new Pokémon game – well, almost everything.

And of course we have now had the announcement of incoming DLC for these titles, a Poké-first as far as I am aware! I’m sure the idea of DLC in a Pokémon game will also bring mixed reviews to long time fans, but I will reserve judgement until I have played it myself.

If you want to read my full review, have a look at the post here.


Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Without a doubt, I would place Three Houses as my Game Of The Year. I have put the most time into it by a total landslide, I never get bored of it, and I just love everything about it!

The game features so many unique characters, and I have enjoyed getting to know all of them, and it’s great to see how they react to each other in special cut scenes that you unlock as their relationships improve throughout the game.

There have been lots of tactic based games that I have enjoyed over the years, but it’s easy for me to say that this is my favourite out of any of them.

I still haven’t completed the game as there are still two different story lines for me to experience, but I can’t wait to do so and see the differences between each one!

If you want to read my original review post, you can see it here.

Posted in New Games

Luigi's Mansion 3

One of the stand-out titles on the Nintendo Gamecube for me was Luigi’s Mansion, and I was so excited when the announcement would be made that the third game would be coming to the Nintendo Switch! I knew instantly that this would be a game that would be added to my collection without much delay.

Without a doubt, the game has not been a disappointment in any way for me. The Hotel that Luigi finds himself in looks so good, and it’s quite fun navigating all the floors with their different themes. The boss ghosts to be found on each floor are fun characters, all of which offer a fair amount of challenge to catch.

The floors themselves also offer plenty of challenge with lots of puzzles to solve, and every now and again I have actually been stumped and had to come back to a puzzle to attempt it with fresh eyes.

Probably one of my favourite things about the game is the pure destructive power of Luigi with his Poltergust G-00! I can’t help myself – every single time I enter a room, the first thing I must do is vacuum everything. It’s just … SO … MUCH … FUN! If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself wondering what the overpowered vacuum is capable of sucking up, and what survives. There’s just something ridiculous about watching Luigi point the Poltergust at a sofa and decimating the cushions!

Another great thing about the third installment to the series is the multiplayer, a returning feature from the second game, Dark Moon. If you feel like a little break from exploring the perilous hotel, why not team up with other plucky plumbers to vacuum up some ghosts in the ScareScraper? And if you’re not feeling cooperative, you could always head to the ScreamPark, where you can pit yourself against others so you can see who is the best Luigi!

While there is very little to complain about here, there is one thing that I miss from the original Luigi’s Mansion. The mansion was split into different areas, and each area had a boss ghost for you to capture. The thing that’s missing for me is the other portrait ghosts and the challenges that they brought with them.

Luigi would enter the room, see the ghost but would be unable to capture them until they expose their heart. All you had was a single clue and your own wits to figure out how to use the surroundings to manipulate the ghost into showing their heart.

I found this to be a fun, imaginative challenge that always kept you thinking on your toes! While Luigi’s Mansion 3 certainly isn’t lacking in challenges, I just miss this as a format, as I feel it was something that really worked.

All in all, I’ve enjoyed playing this so much, I couldn’t recommend it enough for any one else who has a soft spot for this cowardly hero!


  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 31/10/19
  • Genre: Casual Adventure
Posted in Uncategorized

Secret Blogger Santa – Community Event


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my readers! Earlier in the year I decided to take part in a Secret Blogger Santa, organised by Livid Lightning! And the Blogger that I was assigned for this festive fun was The Gaming Diaries!

For those of you who didn’t see the original post by Livid Lightning, here it is. Here’s a brief explanation: I must now gift a video game item to my assigned Blogger, explain why it is that I am gifting it to them, and just talk about them and select some of my favourite posts,

So here we go!


My Gift – The Gift Of Time

Bit of an abstract one, huh? The Gift Of Time is found in The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Seasons, and it is rewarded to Link once he completes the Snake’s Remains dungeon.

I have chosen this as my gift, because one of the sad truths of life is that it can be difficult to find the time to pursue your passions and interests as an adult – life so often tries to get in the way!

An avid lover of video games, Lego, and an excellent sketcher too, I’m sure anyone would appreciate more time on their hands to be able to fully indulge themselves in the hobbies that they love.


My favourite posts

Here are just a few of the great posts there are to be found on The Gaming Diaries.


Things Retail Workers Want You To Know

This one is quite close to my heart as a fellow retail worker. There are lots of frustrations in the retail environment, especially at this wonderful time of year. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that we are real people with feelings, and we always appreciate those who bear this in mind!


Sometimes You Just Have To Lego

As a fellow fanatic of Lego, not to mention Lego video games, this is another post that I relate to a lot. There are some rather sweet, personal anecdotes here, which I found quite amusing. Reading this also makes me recall the many, many hours I spent building houses, secret bases, and dungeons.


Looking For: Video Game Jobs

This is a really interesting take on a very real problem for some people (myself included). Not all of us know what we want to do in life, and this is a fun look at our potential career prospects in video games … no, not in the industry, I mean literally in video games!


Posted in Gaming Journals

Pokémon Shield – Nuzlocke Challenge


Part 6 – Nessa

It’s a new day in Lockie’s Nuzlocke journey, and today she is in Hulbury, home of the Water Gym Leader, Nessa.


Lockie and Nessa meet for the first time on the streets of Hulbury.

Before Lockie begins her challenge, we took some time to explore Hulbury and find some useful items, such as the TM for Electroweb, and a Magnet, both of which will help Gautier the Charjabug against the watery foes we will face.

And while Lockie was wandering down the streets, she came across a good spot to fish! So we tried our luck for our next new team member, and the result was Chester the Chinchou!


Our delightful new friend, Chester.

Other options were Arrokuda, Chewtle, Basculin and Wishiwashi. Chinchou absolutely would be my first choice out of these options, so that was a stroke of luck. With his Electric typing, that means we have another advantage against Nessa’s gym! I have chosen to swap Madeleine the Magikarp out for the time being, she can rejoin after we have claimed Nessa’s badge.


Lockie steps into the Hulbury Gym Mission.

So into the gym we go, and the Gym Mission that awaits us is a fairly standard puzzle-solving maze, where water blocks Lockie’s path, and she must press different buttons to open different paths. Of course there are a number of trainers to defeat along the way, but they will be excellent practice for Chester!


Lockie is more than ready to face the trainers in Hulbury Gym.


After making it through the Gym Mission, and reaching the stadium field to face-off against Nessa, Lockie managed to secure an easy win! Lillian was the star of the show, with her Mega Drain and Shell Bell meaning that Nessa could barely leave a scratch!


Nessa is ready to do business.


So now it is time to think ahead to the next challenge, and this is where the difficulty starts to pick up! Kabu, the next Gym Leader, uses Fire type Pokemon, so Gaspar, Oberon and Gautier are going to take a break, while Gloria (Growlithe), Roland (Roggenrola) and Madeleine (Magikarp) come back for some training.


A brief meeting with Sonia and Chairman Rose before heading back to Motostoke.

Our next stop is Galar Mine No. 2! As this is another case of no random encounters, I simply ran into the first Pokemon which spawned … a Wimpod. Not exactly a thrilling choice. While Golisopod is a good contender for the challenge, Wimpod is not especially useful himself. His stats are not good, and his ability means that if I take him below half health, he will run away! This Wimpod broke out of 10+ Pokeballs (all I had), my only 3 Great Balls, my 3 Nest Balls, and 3 Heal Balls … FINALLY, he was captured! Lockie named this pain in the .. *ahem*, Wilbur.


Wilbur the Wimpod.

The other inhabitants of this cave are Shellos, Binacle, Croagunk, Shuckle, Chewtle and Noibat – I really wish I had found Croagunk or Noibat, but there we go!

Once again Lockie finds herself being challenged by Bede, the most insufferable character in this generation of Pokemon games. I predict Gloria will have no issue wiping his Psychic team with Bite — until, tragedy strikes!


Gloria defeated by Bede’s Solosis!

Our first casualty! Gloria, who I had so much hope for! Taken down in one shot by Bede’s Solosis! If I disliked Bede before, you can be sure that the feeling is ten times stronger now! I was totally shocked, as I was not expecting to take any losses at this early stage. Even Esther had to make a hasty retreat after defeating his Gothorita! Chinchou had to make an early retreat whilst fighting his Ponyta, with both fighters confused and evenly matched, I just had to play it safe. Lillian is now the last Pokemon at a good level with enough health to take on his Hatenna. Thankfully Lillian’s Mega Drain kept her health where it needed to be for her to survive Hatenna’s attacks, as it was quite a hard hitter!


I couldn’t be more pleased to be the one who made Bede pull this face.

Lockie must press on through the cave in order to make it back to Motostoke, but it isn’t long before she runs into Team Yell. They seem to be causing more mischief, and Hop arrives just in time to provide Lockie with some backup for a double battle!


Team Yell are always ready to cause some trouble.

I’ll admit that the Thievul and Linoone looked slightly intimidating, as Lockie didn’t have an obvious counter in her team … But Lillian should be fine right?


The moment Lockie’s precious Lillian was taken from us.

WRONG! Tragedy strikes for a second time in Galar Mine No. 2! Linoone’s powerful Night Slash, followed up by a critical hit from Thievul’s Snarl sent Lillian on a one way trip to the Graveyard box!

This battle was heating up, as Linoone continually slashed away at my party members, forcing me to switch them out as no one could outspeed him! Finally Linoone was down, replaced with a Pancham … a Pancham who then one-shotted Roland!


Roland struck down before he could prove his worth.

Lockie is in serious trouble now, with 2 Pokemon sent to the Graveyard, and very few remaining choices left. With some luck, Esther was able to carry us through the rest of the battle with no more casualties. We must keep going though, and now that we have two gaps on the party, Gaspar and Rowena are joining us once more.

One last stop before the end of this episode, the Motostoke Outskirts. I first encounter was a Chewtle. We caught him and named him Cedric, and swapped him into the party, sending Gaspar back to the box. I could have found a Croagunk, Pawniard or Impidimp, but I think at this point I would be happy to take anything.


Cedric, the latest addition to the team.

Finally Locke reaches Motostoke, and it is time for a rest before taking on Kabu’s Gym. And I think after what we have been through here today, we could probably do with a good rest. Let’s take a moment to remember our fallen friends today.