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 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 Recent Games

Fallout 4

Fallout 4 for me was the pinnacle of the Fallout franchise. Many would say that New Vegas is more deserving of this title – and I understand why! It is an excellent game, but my personal opinion is that Fallout 4 delivers what I want from the franchise in just about every area.

The game itself is so crisp and smooth in comparison to the previous entries to the series, and the world is much larger as well – I haven’t even explored all of it as of yet!

A huge world full of unique characters, desolate ruins, and environmental story-telling (a specialty of Bethesda), there is simply so much to see while you’re travelling the wasteland that is now The Commonwealth. I really enjoyed the story revolving around finding your missing son, who was kidnapped from their cryo-chamber! Watching the event from your own chamber as the a mysterious man murders your spouse, steals your infant child, and then taunts you inches away from your face through the glass … it is a very powerful introduction to this story-filled game.

There are a number of factions for you to meet and interact with, and it will be necessary to befriend them in order to complete your goal of finding your son – but you can’t befriend them all! The Commonwealth is a dangerous place, full of raiders, mutated monsters, and rumours of the mysterious Institute have everyone on edge.

One of the things I was most excited for was the Settlement mechanic! The junk that you pick up around the Fallout universe has been mostly useless up until now – you can break these items down at your settlement to get hold of resources, which you can then use to make all sorts of buildings, contraptions, and many other things. I have spent a lot of time building nice, well-defended settlements for the people of The Commonwealth to live out their days in peace and safety!

Of course another thing to comment on would be the companion characters that you come across – they are certainly an important part of the game, as I’m sure most people who play prefer to travel with one! They’re definitely unique characters amongst themselves, and I’m not just saying that because one of them is a dog!

You can really play this game however you see fit, with dialogue choices that help to form your personality, not to mention the story choices you make that will affect various people you meet. And with the many, many perks that you can adopt upon levelling up, you really can make any kind of character that you want to!

The game only got better with each installment of DLC that was released – particularly Far Harbour, Nuka-World, and Automatron. All three provided extra story, and lots of fun for me. Automatron allowed you to build your own robots which could then be your companions, and Far Harbour and Nuka-World both gave us entirely new areas to discover and explore, with new enemies and factions to kill/befriend!

I don’t really think you can go wrong with this game, it definitely gets my recommendation! (It certainly helps that it’s very cheap to buy these days!)


  • Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Release Date: 10/11/2015
  • Genre: Open World RPG
Posted in Recent Games

Screencheat

Chaos. Madness. Absurdity. Expect all of this and more if you decide to play Screencheat. This is one of my favourite games to play with friends in local multiplayer, it is quite simply … ridiculous.

What is it? Exactly what it says on the tin. There are a number of different game modes, the kind that you would expect from a first person shooter such as Team Deathmatch, and Capture The Flag (although named differently within the game).

So what sets this apart from any other first person shooter you could play with your friends? Well … everyone is invisible! So how do you play? You Screencheat! You must watch the other player’s screens to figure out where they are, but you have to hurry, before they figure out where you are!

The stages themselves are bright, vivid, and segmented by colour – this is the main way to determine where your opponents are, by looking at what colour is on their screen. But there’s plenty of ways to zip around the various stages by jumping through vents and being blasted through the air by fans!

Another thing I should mention – don’t expect to be using weapons that you would expect to see in other first person shooters! The weapons are arguably more unique than the concept of the game itself. There are a number of gun type weapons, but it’s much more fun in my opinion to use the zanier options such as the Hobby Horse (charge!), Bear Bomb (no further explanation needed), Sorgean (lots of potential for mishaps here), and the Chefolet (particularly dangerous, with ricocheting energy balls!).

Next thing to mention is the mutators. As you level up, you will unlock new mutators to use in your games, which spice up the matches somewhat. Some of them will affect the actual gameplay such Flappy Jump which allows you to perform a large number of midair jumps, Hyper Mode which makes everything fast, and Martyrdom which will make you drop bombs upon dying. Then there are the mutators which are just for fun. A couple of examples are The Haunting which will cause the ragdolls left behind on death to fly around the room, and Wilhelm which causes the infamous Wilhelm scream to play upon the death of a player.

The last thing I want to mention is the commentator. He is as equally absurd as the rest of the game, and he’s always ready to point out your deaths, and your silly mistakes! “Butter fingers!”

This game can also be played online, but it’s my personal opinion that this is a game that is best played with your friends via local multiplayer.


  • Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 21/10/14 (PC), 01/03/16 (PS4, Xbox One), 29/11/18 (Nintendo Switch)
  • Genre: First Person Shooter
Posted in Recent Games

Stardew Valley

I have spent hours and hours and hours on this game. So simple, yet so much depth!

Right from the off you are given a rather heartbreaking scene, where your grandfather is on his death bed and gives you an envelope with instructions to open it only once modern society has pushed you to your limits… after another brief scene showing the joys of corporate life, you open the envelope and learn about Stardew Valley.

You will pick up how to play bit by bit as various NPCs tell you more, and quests offer you some small guidance in how to proceed. You will learn how to tend the land, make a profit, expand your farm, and you will also meet lots of interesting people who inhabit the valley, donate interesting items to the library, delve into the mines, enjoy the quiet pastime of fishing, take part in lots of community activities, bonding with everyone as you do, strengthening your relationships as the years go by, and eventually you will choose one of the lucky bachelor/bachelorettes to be your spouse!

So, do you think there’s enough in this game to keep you busy?

With so many different and unique characters to bond with and choose as your spouse, this adds a lot of replay value, for the sake of seeing what life is like with each one. As well as this, there are a number of different farm styles you can choose at the beginning of the game, so this will help to shake things up a bit between playthroughs.

I have had no trouble maintaining a number of different characters, and have yet to get bored. The one thing I haven’t tried is the multiplayer, as none of my friends play this particular title on the same platform as me, which is a shame because I quite like the idea of it – particularly as they have added the option to reduce profit margins for the farm, as a sort of “difficulty setting”.


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 26/02/16
  • Genre: Indie, Casual, Farming Simulator
Posted in Recent Games

Until Dawn

I love horror. Like, I love horror.

Switching the lights off, getting the snacks in, and sitting on the edge of the sofa, heart pounding as you anticipate a good jump scare …

So with that in mind, it will come as no surprise to hear that I absolutely love this game.

The game starts with a gathering of friends in a mountain cabin, but events then lead to the tragic death of the twin sisters Hannah and Beth. One year later the friends return to the cabin, and that is when the story truly begins…

There are so many intricacies to the design of this game. The most interesting feature is the butterfly effect, where various choices you make throughout the game will affect the story in different ways later on. Some of these can be trivial affects .. and some of them can be catastrophic!

Another of these intricacies is the relationships between the characters, and their own individual stats. Many of the decisions you make will increase or decrease these stats, and again this can affect certain plot points of the game. For example, if the relationship is not high enough between two characters, someone may be more concerned with saving themselves, and leaving the other person to whatever fate may befall them.

As an intermission to each chapter, you will be treated to a brief session with Dr. Hill. These visits will become gradually more disturbing and seemingly unhinged, and some of the choices that you make with him will actually affect what you might see in the game, which is just another little thing to add to the atmosphere of the game.

You better make sure your fingers are prepared for this game, as you will face plenty of Quick Time Events to keep you on your toes! I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that failing these could prove to be disastrous…

It is possible to have all the characters survive the night, but it is also possible for each and every one of them to die! The game does provide you with incredibly vague hints if you can find them … There are a number of collectibles for you to come across, some of these being miniature totems which will show you a brief glimpse of the future for one of the characters. They may help you avoid an untimely end if you can figure out what the totem is showing you!

You will also find collectible clues scattered around the mountain as you play – each clue bringing you closer to uncovering the mystery of the mountain.

If you’re anything like me, then you’ll find yourself very quickly deciding which characters you like and which ones you don’t, and that will probably affect how you react to decisions and conversational cues. There’s one character in particular who I would actually prefer if she did meet an untimely end … (I’ve no doubt that many of you will feel the same way)

I cannot express how impressed I was with this game, and now we are expecting another of it’s type from Supermassive Games – Man of Medan! This is definitely something that I will be getting at some point, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about that once I’ve had the chance to complete it … assuming I survive.


  • Platform: Playstation 4
  • Release Date: 25/08/2015 (US), 26/08/2015 (PAL), 28/08/2015 (UK)
  • Genre: Survival Horror, Interactive Story-Telling