Two Point Hospital

Well, this is some serious nostalgia for me. I have very fond memories of playing Theme Hospital with my older sister as a child. We both loved the game so much, the challenge of each level, the sense of humour of the illnesses, cures, and even the tannoy announcements. I believe it may actually be the very first simulation game that I ever played, and easily cemented my love for the genre.

When I found out that the same people were making a spiritual successor to the game, I knew instantly that it was something I would be buying.

I can safely say that they have not let fans of the old game down as Two Point Hospital has perfectly captured the spirit of Theme Hospital, leaving nothing behind but adding plenty which only improves the experience. It still has the same sense of humour, but with all new illnesses and cures. There are new issues and challenges to think about – for example, the hospitals are all in different regions, some of which are either hot or cold, and you must regulate the temperature inside the hospital to keep the patients happy.

For those who are unfamiliar with the original game, the premise is pretty simple. You’re given an empty hospital and your starting funds, and you start building rooms and hiring staff members to run the place. Patients will arrive, check in, and make their way around the hospital getting a diagnosis and then hopefully a cure! You will need doctors and nurses to run the various facilities, receptionists to check the customers in, and janitors to clean any messes and repair machines as they deteriorate.

There are different hospitals for you to work your way through, and the challenge increases as you make your way through them with new illnesses, facilities and emergencies.

The game has a lot of replay value as there are plenty of different areas, and each has three stars for you to achieve, which will unlock different objects for you to use around the hospital.

One other small thing that the modern age brings is comparing your progress to your Steam friends – you can see when they have done a level, and how well they did!

I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys simulation/management games, and particularly those of you who played and loved Theme Hospital the way I did.

  • Platform: PC (Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch release expected)
  • Release Date: 30/08/2018
  • Genre: Simulation, Business Management


As someone who loves to save money, I often find myself trying out Free To Play games, and most don’t find their way into my regular gaming rotation … but Dauntless has certainly ignored that trend.

Dauntless is primarily a squad based game where a team of up to four slayers are tasked with defeating behemoths. There is a hub area where you can craft and upgrade your weapons, armour and consumables, accept and hand in quests, access the store to browse and purchase premium designs and items, and view your progress towards the “Hunt Pass” (think of Fortnite’s battle pass).

The combat is quite in depth, with quite a lot to learn very quickly. Firstly there are the different weapons – all with their own benefits. You have swords, axes, hammers, chain blades, war pikes, aether strikers and repeaters. All of these have different combos and special abilities for you to master, and on top of that there are also different kinds of damage.

You have basic damage, part damage, wound damage and stagger damage. You need behemoth parts to craft and upgrade your weapons and armour, and you get those mostly by breaking them off of the behemoths after you’ve done enough damage to the part in question. Wound damage will eventually expose wounds which then allow you to cause extra damage, and stagger damage will cause the behemoth to fall over, presenting an opportunity for you to get some easy hits in.

Then you also have the elements to add into the mix. Neutral, Fire, Ice, Lightning, Terra, Radiant, and Umbra. Every behemoth has an element, and all of them are weak to another element, with the exception of neutral. The best way to approach these elemental beasts is to have a weapon of the opposite element, and then armour of the same element, so if you were fighting a fire behemoth, you would want to take an ice weapon with fire armour. The element of the equipment you craft corresponds with the element of the behemoth that the parts came from.

Lastly, every weapon and armour piece have their own individual perks, as well as slots for you to add other perks that you will collect as you level up. These have a wide array of benefits, so you can choose which ones best suit your current needs.

I have really enjoyed playing this game, and at the moment I’m liking the challenge of trying to collect lots of behemoth parts so I can craft all the weapons and armours as I level up.

There are a number of different areas that you could end up in when entering a hunt. The weathers and and environments change depending on the elements of the behemoth, but all areas you arrive in appear battle-torn, with huge spears poking out of cliff sides, presumably from airships attempting to attack the beasts.

I really like the designs of the behemoths themselves – it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into creating the creatures, and that’s only made more obvious as you start to aim your shots for certain parts of the monsters in an effort to collect the drops you need.

One of the best things about this game is that it is cross platform! As a console gamer, I often can’t play with some of my friends as a fair few of them favour PC gaming, but I have been able to play Dauntless with these friends which has made it all the more enjoyable.

But Dauntless isn’t quite finished yet, there are still some tweaks and changes to expect, and the website even includes a road map for us to have a look and see what is going to be implemented in the future. Here is a link to the page for anyone who wants to check that out:

All in all, this is definitely worth you downloading and having a go, see what you make of it! The game is free after all, so there isn’t much reason to not try it!

  • Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC (Nintendo Switch release expected)
  • Release Date: 26/09/19 (Official release)
  • Genre: Action RPG, Squad-Based, Hunting

Final Fantasy VIII

In light of the new remaster that has just hit the current generation of consoles, I figured I would talk about one of my favourite games from one of my favourite franchises .. Final Fantasy VIII!

I never actually owned this on the Playstation, but got this when it hit the Playstation 3, and I was simply enthralled. It is unlike any other Final Fantasy game that I have played with it’s unique junctioning system, where you enhance the members of your party by assigning the various GFs (Guardian Forces) to them, along with magic which you must “draw” from the monsters around the world.

As with any game in the series, the characters are all wildly unique in their own way, with a variety of weapons and personalities. The new remastered version brings us refreshed character models, so the party have never looked better!

The characters are in fact some of my favourite throughout the whole series – in particular, Squall Leonhart, Quistis Trepe, and Seifer Almasy. Squall is my favourite of all the Final Fantasy protagonists, and Seifer is a fantastic rival character in my opinion.

The character development that takes place as you progress through the story is very deep and emotional, though I won’t mention anything specific to avoid spoilers for the sake of the people who may not have played this game yet.

This is a long game, one that you will need to sink many hours into if you want to complete the story, let alone complete everything. The original Playstation version had 4 game discs as it was such a large game. There are lots of optional areas to explore, particularly in the second half of the game, lots of enemies to fight, cards to collect and card games to win, and there are GFs for you to find.

There are some interesting themes that are tackled in the story, personal growth, memory loss, love and fate, not to mention the controversial nature of a school dedicated to training teens to become an army of elite mercenaries!

The remastered version has actually added a few features that help you blitz through the story, which I would say have been added specifically for those of us who have already completed the challenge of the game, and simply want to experience the story again. There is a fast forward setting which allows you to play x3 times faster (but keeps the music at the regular frequency thankfully), a boost mode which gives the party full health and full limit break, and a no encounters option which of course turns off random encounters. Personally I am definitely making use of the x3 mode, as one of my favourite parts of these kind of games is grinding, levelling, all the things that most gamers would probably complain about!

This is absolutely one of my favourites, and definitely what I would consider a classic. I would say the remastered version is well-deserved, and I’m really looking forward to completing it!

  • Platform: Playstation, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Release Date: 11/02/1999-23/03/2000 (Region and platform Dependant)
  • Rerelease Date: 03/09/19
  • Genre: Fantasy RPG, Adventure

Red Dead Redemption 2

Well, firstly I should confess that I never played the first Red Dead Redemption, but I did carry some basic knowledge of the game from what I’ve seen on the odd YouTube video here and there.

I decided to give this one a go, and that was a decision I certainly did not regret.

The story is so deep, I think there are lots of small details which could easily go unnoticed for anyone not paying proper attention (slightly guilty of this on my first playthrough) and the characters are the same really – if you interact with the camp and do all side missions, then you will get a feel for each character and quickly decide who you like and dislike – and doing this makes the story much more impactful for you as a player!

You’re also able to make decisions on how the protagonist, Arthur, proceeds with different story and side missions. The “Honour” bar keeps track of how good or bad a person your Arthur is. I feel that this is another thing which will greatly impact how you react to the story, I know for a fact that I found myself getting very emotional at certain pivotal points.

There’s plenty to be getting on with as well, very little chance of you getting bored! Besides the story and the side missions, there’s hunting for legendary animals, bounties to collect, gangs and their hideouts to wipe out, lots of secrets concealed throughout the world, and of course collectables!

You will also be able to dress up your protagonist with a wide variety of options, which is always a good thing for me! My first Arthur was a clean, well-dressed gentleman, whereas my second was a rugged, scruffy cowboy. There are so many options, made even better by the fact you have the ability to keep multiple outfits in your loadout.

Weapons are another customisable factor in the game, there are a fair few to choose from, and different materials that you can use to give them your own personal look. (As well as actual attachments that offer practical boosts)

The world itself is stunning, a beautiful open world which you will most likely be marveling at as you ride through it on horseback – it’s truly a credit to the design team.

This is definitely a game I recommend for anyone who enjoys open world story-driven games!

  • Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Release Date: 26/10/18 (Console), 05/11/19 (PC)
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Shooter

Persona 5

I had never actually heard of the Persona series until a friend mentioned it shortly before the game released. After a small amount of digging around on the internet, I quickly decided this would be a game to add to my collection. It was definitely the right choice!

This is certainly one of the most unique, story-driven RPGs I have ever played. The story was simply phenomenal, I could barely put this game down as I was so desperate to see what was going to happen next. It takes a long time to get through, but I feel that there is more than enough variety in the activities and options that are available to you to stop you from losing interest.

The game almost plays like it’s actually a Japanese anime, and this is reinforced by the story cutscenes which actually are in the format of an anime.

I find the battle system very interesting, the standard expectations for a turn-by-turn system are in place, but the Persona system is what I enjoy the most – a feature which could be compared to Pokémon. The main bulk of enemies you fight will be Personas which you can in fact collect. There is a large variety of Personas that are available to the main character, and I particularly enjoyed the mythical theme around each of them – you will spot many legendary creatures, and even Gods. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses for you to discover, so most of them can be useful in some way.

A large part of the game is forming bonds with your teammates and other potential allies, and as your bonds deepen, various benefits will be given to you. This could be some form of service in the world, or it could be a maneuver/tactic in battle. It definitely pays to try to deepen your bonds as much as possible.

The soundtrack to this game is like nothing I have heard before – a unique sound without a doubt! Catchy tunes can be found just about wherever you go, in particular the standard battle music – I have found myself pulling tracks up on YouTube to listen to!

I think the social commentary in play here is particularly interesting, the story tackles an array of issues, mainly regarding “higher up” figures, and really makes you think about people’s perception of others, deep-running corruption, the reaction of the public to the media, and I can’t think of another game that so effectively makes you think about such modern day issues.

There are so many more things I could talk about, but I wouldn’t want to give too much away for anyone who might not have played the game yet! I would definitely give Persona 5 my full recommendation, easily something that you can sink hours and hours into!

  • Platform: Playstation 3, Playstation 4
  • Release Date: 15/09/16 (Japan), 04/04/17 (Worldwide)
  • Genre: Fantasy RPG,

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Well, where to even start here …

I can easily say that this is potentially my favourite game of all time. It already had a head start simply by being one of my favourite franchises, as Zelda games have been with me since I was old enough to start playing video games (Ocarina of Time was one of the first games that I owned).

This was certainly the most adventurous game in the series, as it couldn’t be much further from the standard formula of the series. Typically The Legend of Zelda follows a linear format, where you tackle a number of dungeons and bosses, increasing your arsenal of items and weapons as you go, allowing you to access new areas and solve different puzzles. Well, you can forget about all that!

The very first thing you’ll notice as you start a new game is the lack of a green tunic – well, for the first time Link is going to have a whole wardrobe of options! As you adventure, you will find different items of clothing with varying buffs and effects. They can be bought, rewarded, and found!

The next big change is the weapons and items! Link is now much more versatile with his weaponry, as you will see him handling swords, spears, axes, hammers, broadswords.. but not for long – they all break! You will find weapons all round the world (mainly on the floor after you have felled an enemy) and part of the challenge of the game is maintaining a good inventory of weapons to deal with whatever Hyrule throws at you. The same rule applies for shields, and also for bows, which will be available right from the beginning.

Instead of the classic gadgets and items that we all know and love, Link will be given a few runes in the tutorial area which will help him interact with the world and the various puzzles found.

Breath of The Wild features an absolutely stunning open world, where you can go wherever you like right from the beginning (after you complete the brief tutorial area). Some areas are more difficult to venture to than others, as there are environmental hazards to bear in mind (a volcano, the desert, mountains).

The new temperature gauge is something you’ll be keeping your eye on, as Link will start to lose health if he gets too hot or too cold! This can be dealt with by either wearing clothing to keep Link warm/cool, or by consuming certain meals or elixirs which will give Link a temporary buff.

One change which I didn’t enjoy so much was the low number of dungeons. This was supposed to be supplemented by the 120 puzzle shrines found throughout the world. While I did enjoy the shrines, I didn’t feel it was a good enough substitute for the large number of dungeons we are used to. For example, both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess feature 9 main dungeons, whereas Breath of The Wild features 5.

The tone of the game is also like nothing the Zelda franchise has seen before. Typically the worlds we experience are teeming with life, with a bold soundtrack to compliment this. But in this age, Hyrule has been devastated, and only a number of settlements far away from Hyrule Castle have actually survived. You will also encounter plenty of ruins as you journey through the world. The soundtrack has been carefully composed to reflect this empty land, quiet, mostly consisting of gentle piano melodies.

This is by far my favourite open world that I have experienced in gaming, so many spectacular sights to discover, beautiful and striking locations to visit, I actually enjoy just wandering through Hyrule on horseback without any particular destination in mind. Without a doubt this game gets my full recommendation for anyone who has yet to get their hands on it.

I personally can’t wait to see how this world will be adapted and tweaked for the sequel!

  • Platform: Wii U, Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 03/03/2017
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy RPG

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

The first game I want to talk about is the one which has held most of my attention since it’s release; Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

This is actually the first Fire Emblem game I have owned – as is the case with most Westerners, my first introduction to Fire Emblem was in fact through the Super Smash Bros. series. The sword-wielding characters have always intrigued me, so I was eager to get the new game on release after having read into it and seeing what the game is about.

The premise appeals to me in several ways. I love fantasy RPGs, and I’ve always been a fan of the job/class system, particularly where it is possible to change character’s jobs.

You will also be given the choice between Classic or Casual mode when you start the game. I have opted for casual for my first playthrough as a newcomer to the series, simply because the classic mode features “permadeath” for characters that fall in battle – you will not be able to choose them again. I already find myself wanting to start a second file to test out this classic system, and test myself to see if I can actually avoid such a fate for my characters.

I have so far racked up 40+ hours playtime, and most of that is simply through the battling portions of the game. I would say that the battles are highly enjoyable, the different battlefields offer various tactical challenges (reduced movement in desert/forests, reduced visibility in fog, trap/enhancement tiles etc.).

Possibly the most intriguing mechanic for me is the fact that you are a professor in an academy, and your fighters will be your students (as well as yourself). Each week you will lecture and instruct them to increase their skills, which then in turns allows them to learn new abilities and move on to new classes. It is certainly as aspect I have been enjoying, it’s just something different that you don’t see a lot of, and it’s also quite reminiscent of Final Fantasy VIII’s Balamb Garden and their SeeDs.

The characters themselves all have plenty of personality – I have no doubt that you will quickly decide who you like and who you dislike. However there are plenty of opportunities for your opinions to change – there is a support system where the relationships between all characters develops and provides benefits in battle. Once their support levels are ready to increase, this can be triggered through a cutscene between the characters in question. I have actually found myself starting to come around to some of the characters that I was not that fond of, simply through seeing their personal growth in these cutscenes.

All in all, this is absolutely a game I can recommend for any Nintendo Switch owners, I have been having a great time with it and I really look forward to completing it and having another go in classic mode!

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 26/07/19
  • Genre: Tactical RPG, Fantasy
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