This has almost instantly become one of my favourite games, for so many reasons! The Outer Worlds is brought to us by Obsidian Entertainment and the more I play, the more I am reminded of two of my favourite series – Fallout and Mass Effect.
The Sci-Fi space setting, party system, and space voyaging all bring to mind the excellent gameplay of Mass Effect. But the levelling up, bold characters, and the quirky sense of humour behind the writing all point to Fallout, in particular New Vegas which we also have Obsidian to thank for.
But of course, it isn’t all recycled ideas – there is no doubting that The Outer Worlds has plenty of its own unique personality! From the moment I started to create my character creator, and I saw the vast choice of hair colours that I had to choose from … don’t expect to have much choice in the way of “normal” hair colours – they’re vibrant, bold, and occasionally two-tone!
I have pretty much cleared through the first area that acts as the tutorial area before letting you loose to explore other celestial bodies in the solar system. This has been enough to show me that the combat is enjoyable, and challenging at times. I have already found a good variety of weaponry and have started to lean towards certain preferences. I am definitely enjoying the setting, and the characters and factions that are being introduced to me – I have already had to make a moral choice in the form of diverting power to one of two areas … (Sound familiar to the New Vegas fans out there?).
From what I have seen of the game world so far, it really is quite breathtaking and imaginative. I’ve yet to grow tired of traversing across the alien landscape from point A to point B. There is a fast travel option available between certain key areas if you are the kind of gamer who doesn’t enjoy going back and forth across areas you have already seen.
For those of you who really love a good difficulty challenge, much like in New Vegas, The Outer Worlds offers you a somewhat more realistic RPG experience with the Supernova difficulty. In this mode your fast travel will be limited, you will need to eat, drink, and sleep regularly in order to survive, and certain injuries will require bed rest for you to recover. This is of course on top of all the other challenges you would expect to face with the highest difficulty setting, such as enemies having more health and dealing more damage, and even having limitations on your manual and auto saves!
I can’t wait to get further into this game and see what choices and challenges will face me, and what absurd and zany characters I will bump in to. This is definitely going to be a game that has me exploring every nook and cranny to find all the hidden little gems the world designers have hidden away.
These two games are the latest in the Hitman series, and they are actually the first Hitman games I have ever played. I fell in love with them after watching my favourite Youtubers (Outside Xbox) get up to all sorts of mischief with super-tough-guy, Agent 47.
The premise of the game is that you are Agent 47, a hitman (in case you couldn’t guess), and it is your job to eliminate the target. The areas that you will travel to are all quite large, with many different people, as well as different opportunities to take advantage of. This means that there will be many, many different ways for you to eliminate your target.
The game offers you many different challenges which encourage you to explore, experiment, and generally just see what kind of chaos you can cause! There are plenty of fun and helpful unlockables for you to work towards (everyone can find a use for an explosive rubber duck, right?).
The game most certainly has a sense of humour, if Agent 47’s undercover persona, Mr. Rieper, is anything to go by. On top of this, 47 opts for some interesting dialogue options when he is trying to pass himself off as whatever he has disguised himself as. My favourite of such situations would have to be when he dresses as an estate agent (realtor) and gives his target a tour of a charming suburban home, and with each room he gives a speech which in some way insinuates murder …
This is a great game for puzzle-solvers, as there are various challenges and options which will make the game harder, meaning you will have to think and act that much more carefully. The professional difficulty level makes the NPCs much more wise to 47’s antics, but also there are escalation missions, which are multi-stage missions which seem simple enough at first, but with each stage comes either new targets or new limitations!
Hitman has excellent replay value, simply through the main missions having so many different approaches, but also through the previously mentioned escalation missions. And did I mention that you can even create your own contracts, which you can then share with others – and so of course you can also play other player’s created contracts. There’s no denying that this game is fun and gives you plenty of value for your money.
Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
Hitman Release Date: 11/03/2016-31/10/2016 (Various Episodes), 31/01/2017 (Complete First Season)
One of the key aspects of story-based games is of course the antagonists! They can take many forms, whether they’re just annoying people who turn up occasionally to get in your way, or an evil overlord who wants nothing short of world domination.
Here are my 10 favourite antagonists, the ones who you just love to hate!
10. Micah Bell
Red Dead Redemption 2 was my first foray in the Rockstar’s classic cowboy franchise, which means that I did not have any insight of events that existing fans of the series had already. For me, the gang’s downfall was a gradual observation, rather than an inevitable conclusion.
As the game progressed I became more and more suspicious of Micah, disliking him more every time he opened his mouth. He seemed to be too much of a loose cannon, and it felt as though his presence would end up being detrimental to the gang’s well-being.
Micah also appears to have a huge chip on his shoulder when it comes to Arthur – as Arthur’s health gets worse, Micah frequently refers to him as “Black Lung” – but even more baffling is how no other gang members ever challenge him on his disrespect towards one of the key members of the gang.
There are few games that force you to spend so much time with the main antagonist – the usual format being occasional meetings and battles. It is always refreshing to see a game that challenges the usual formats.
9. Scott Shelby
Heavy Rain featured three playable characters that the game would switch up from time to time, so players get to know all three at roughly the same pace. Scott Shelby is a Private Investigator who appears to be looking into the deaths caused by the Origami Killer.
Early on Scott meets Lauren Winter, the mother of one of the killer’s victims, and she accompanies him on his investigations. The pair develop a very close relationship as the game progresses. But then a major plot twist reveals that Scott Shelby is in fact the Origami Killer! For first time players (or at least, for me) it was a huge shock to find out that you had in fact been controlling the killer all along.
This impressive twist is what makes Scott one of the most memorable antagonists for me.
8. Seifer Almasy
The rivalry between Final fantasy VIII’s Squall Leonhart and Seifer Almasy is one that I have always loved. They both grew up in Balamb Garden, and have frequently come to blows.
Seifer is eventually recuited by Sorceress Edea to be her knight, taking a completely different path to Squall who is given the mission to assassinate Edea. Seifer appears a number of times throughout the game to hinder the party’s progress .
My favourite battle with him triggers the appearance of Odin, a powerful GF (assuming you have recruited him). Odin has a small chance at the beginning of every battle to use his powerful Zantetsuken skill, which will cut all enemies in half, instantly winning the battle. But when Odin goes up against Seifer, the skilled swordsman in fact manages to strike the GF down, putting him out of commission for good!
Seifer as an antagonist isn’t inherently bad, but rather he is a skilled and ambitious young adult who doesn’t quite fit in thanks to his rash and rebellious nature, until he was manipulated by the Sorceress.
Another entry from the Final Fantasy franchise – Sin of Final Fantasy X.
Sin is a gigantic monster who is best described as a calamitous force in the world of Spira. When the settlements of the world get too large, or start to rely too heavily on Machina, Sin will appear and destroy whatever it can find.
Final Fantasy X has a huge religious theme, and as you might have guessed, Sin is portrayed as the “divine punishment” to the people, and the reason why they must try so hard to atone. Each encounter with Sin is full of tension and intense pressure, as the possibility of destruction is so real once it turns up.
For those unfamiliar with the story, summoners will travel to temples across Spira to complete a pilgrimage, and at the end of this pilgrimage the summoner will call the Final Aeon, which will fight Sin. The hope is that it defeats Sin for good, but that will never happen as there is much more to be told about the origin of Sin.
Sin also has a very bizarre design – one which you don’t get to fully appreciate until much later in the game, as in the early stages of the story it appears in the water most of the time. And as for the actual creation of Sin, there is a very elaborate backstory behind how it came to be, and how it keeps coming back after being defeated.
I think Sin makes for an incredible antagonist. As you travel through Spira, you will see a lot of destruction caused by Sin, and you will meet people who have been affected by it, and the journey to destroy Sin feels like a truly epic tale – one that won’t be forgotten by me any time soon.
6. Zachary Hale Comstock
You’ve all played Bioshock Infinite right? You all know what the deal is with Comstock right? If this information has some how passed you by and you want to play Bioshock Infinite to discover what happens for yourself, MOVE ON.
So, we’ve had the guy who was in our gang, who we spent time with, who then turned on us.
We’ve had the guy who we played as who then turns out to be the killer.
And what do we have now? The guy, who is you but from a different universe!
I don’t think my mind has ever been blown as much as it was when I played this game, and the penny dropped the Comstock was in fact Booker Dewitt, and that Elizabeth was in fact Booker’s daughter, Anna Dewitt.
Again, this is an antagonist with religious overtones, but instead of divine punishment, we have a prophet – you will hear a lot of his prophecies and beliefs as you play the game. The story-crafting here really is phenomenal, with countless tiny details all adding up to make an elaborate backstory.
The uniqueness of Comstock’s backstory and identity truly make him one of the most unforgettable antagonists out there.
5. Skull Kid
This is in fact two separate characters; Skull Kid and the spirit of Majora.
Skull Kid, much like Seifer, is a troubled character, who is corrupted and manipulated by a powerful force. He steals Majora’s Mask from the Happy Mask Salesman, but the spirit sealed within starts to control Skull Kid, causing him to wreak havoc across Termina, the world that Majora’s Mask is set in. This ranges from poisoning the swamp, freezing the home of the Goron’s, blocking paths with boulders, to forcing the moon to fall from the sky.
I first played Majora’s Mask when it was released in 2000, when I was 7 years old … at such an age, this game felt a lot scarier than it actually is. The themes throughout the game are much darker than what is usually expected of a Zelda game, and Skull Kid felt particularly menacing. I wasn’t actually able to complete the game as a child because there were some parts of the game that I just found too frightening to tackle! (Of course, now I can breeze through with ease)
As you get closer to the end of the game, you learn that Skull Kid is just a kid who misses his friends, and that he isn’t actually an evil character. By the time I reached the end of the game, I actually found him to be quite endearing.
The spirit within Majora’s Mask eventually abandons Skull Kid, leading to a very surreal final boss battle.
Skull Kid will always be memorable to me, partly for how disturbing and creepy he was when I was younger, and partly because of how I feel about his character now that I have seen his story.
Demise is the final boss of The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and what a boss he is.
You will not see Demise’s true form until the very end of the game, as the main antagonist that you face throughout the game is in fact Ghirahim, but he only acts as a servant to Demise.
I really like Demise’s design, he truly emanates an aura of pure evil and malice. The final battle with him is quite simply … epic. Phenomenal battle music, a breathtaking battlefield, and a genuinely tricky but enjoyable battle against him.
But most importantly, Demise gives us answers.
The main villain of the Legend Of Zelda series is Ganon, and it was never incredibly clear to fans of the series why Ganon keeps appearing across the various titles … until Demise is defeated in Skyward Sword! It is at this point where Demise leaves his curse behind, claiming that his hatred will be reborn over and over to haunt Link and Zelda’s descendants in a never ending cycle – and this is the explanation for Ganon.
As a long time Zelda fan, I will always remember experiencing that battle for the first time, to then have that bomb-shell dropped.
3. Frau Engel
Wolfenstein’s Frau Engel is simply put … evil. She is a devoted Nazi, so devoted in fact that she states the Nazi agenda is more important to her than her own daughter.
You will bear witness to her evil personality a number of times throughout Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.
The New Order features a disturbing cutscene where Engel’s face has been horribly disfigured, and she gets right into Blazcowicz’s face to taunt him, before being flung aside by B.J.’s companion controlling a robot mech.
In The New Colossus, she relentlessly hunts down the protagonist B.J. Blazcowicz, even going so far as to get his father to lure him into a trap, where she then captures him and beheads him on national TV.
There are probably few characters who you will find yourself hating more than this Nazi (which really is a testament to the character’s design), and so I would say that Frau Engel is one of the greatest video game antagonists out there.
Now, if you haven’t played Portal, chances are you’ve at least heard of Portal.
GLaDOS is the main antagonist of the game, and wow, is she a good one. She hates you. She really hates you. She does not have a problem showing you how much she hates you. Never has there been a more sadistic, sarcastic, sassy character. She is always ready and prepared to chastise you for whatever action you’re about to make.
But everything she does is in the name of science, and if you cooperate you get cake. Right?
One more thing – Still Alive. Once you complete Portal and the credits roll, GLaDOS starts to sing. And as it turns out, GLaDOS can sing!
Ganondorf of The Legend Of Zelda series, the third Zelda entry on this list … I wonder if that might be one of my favourite franchises?
Ganondorf is just one half of the character though, as he can transform into Ganon, which is his beast form. He appears across a number of Zelda games, and in each instance there is a powerfully unique design.
My first encounter with Ganondorf was in Ocarina Of Time, and I was instantly taken by him as an antagonist! He has such an obvious air of evil and power, which is fitting for the bearer of the Triforce of Power.Ganondorf feels like a truly epic force to overcome in this game, especially by the time you reach the second part of the game – seven years after he steals the Triforce and reshapes Hyrule as he sees fit.
In Wind Waker he is actually referred to as Ganon, even though he is still in his Gerudo form. His appearance in Wind Waker is a stark contrast to the bright, bubbly setting that is the Great Sea. Such a strong design, and an excellent final boss battle to boot – he absolutely left his mark on this game.
Twilight Princess didn’t reveal Ganondorf until later in the game, with the main antagonist appearing to be Zant – but Zant was in fact acting in service of Ganondorf, who he reveres as a God. Once again Ganondorf has an excellent design, but what truly stands out for me is the spectacular multi-stage final boss battle. First he possesses Zelda’s body and attacks through her, and then transforms into his massive beast form … the next stage is a heart-pounding horseback battle on a huge open field, until finally Link and Ganondorf face off in a one-on-one sword fight.
Ganondorf makes more appearances across the series, but for me these are the stand-out appearances that make him my all time favourite antagonist of all gaming franchises.
Democracy 3 is a politics simulation game where you are the leader of the country (finally a chance to see what all the fuss is about)! When you set the game up you will get to choose which country you want from a number of options, and you’ll set various other options before you jump in.
I will be the first to hold my hands up and say that I know very little about politics, much less than I should know. Despite this, something about Democracy 3 makes me keep coming back for more.
You will spend most of your time staring at the same screen, which shows you all the laws that are in place, all the problems you suffer, all the situations that are happening, as well as your popularity with the various demographics. To me this screen is reminiscent of a mind map (going back to my primary school days now) where there are the different sections; transport, law and order, public services, tax, economy, welfare and foreign policy.
How it works is that you have a set amount of “Political Capital” each turn, which you then spend on implementing new policies, or changing/cancelling existing ones. This is going to be a true test of your management skills, as you will find at the beginning of your term in office that the country is facing plenty of problems for you to tackle. As well as that, you also need to be wary of your funds – the economy will take a serious downfall if you allow the country’s deficit to get too out of hand!
Each turn will show you how the state of the country has changed following your policy changes, as well as informing you of any situations that arise. And you will also be informed by any potential plots that might be underway … it’s impossible to keep everyone happy, and some groups may resort to extreme measures if they are displeased with your leadership.
On top of this, your cabinet members may decide they don’t like the way you’re leading the country – something you’ll want to keep an eye on! Your cabinet members are the ones who generate your Political Capital, and they will generate less for you as they get more displeased with your actions. Each one has loyalties to different demographics, and if they don’t like you, then the cabinet member won’t like you either. If you can’t satisfy them, you’d better get someone else in who is more suited to your play style!
It can be very tricky to keep everything perfectly balanced – there will almost always be something that comes out of no where to throw a spanner in the works! I could be running a perfect country, and yet someone (usually capitalists…) will still see fit to plan my assassination.
Election day is the other possible way for your leadership to come to an end – as important as it is to make changes that are beneficial to the country, you also have to bear in mind what the voters think! Implementing too many policies that annoy the public will spell disaster for you once election day comes around.
So all in all, this has become one of my favourite simulation games – and I daresay it’s even managed to teach me a thing or two about politics!
Protagonist’s are pretty important. More often than not they will be the one on a game’s box art, and they’re the ones who you will be spending most of your time with in-game. Getting a protagonist right is a pretty crucial part of designing a video game – who wants to play a game where they hate the main character?
So I thought why not share some of my favourite protagonists, and the reasons why I love them!
10. Jonathon Reid
Vampyr’s Jonathon Reid is an intriguing character. Besides his devilishly suave fashion sense that puts my wardrobe to shame, and his cheek bones that are sharp enough to be used as a weapon, he has an internal struggle that he must come to terms with as you progress through the game.
As a doctor, he is sworn to cure the sick. But as a vampyr, he is thirsty for human blood. This rather different plot point means that you have the option to decide what the good doctor will do, and how he will react to the various opportunities that are presented to him.
In general, I just really like Dr Reid’s character design, and he would probably be among my top picks for potential cosplay ideas … if I could actually grow a beard as slick and suave as that!
9. Max Caulfield
I find Max Caulfield way too relatable. Awkward? Yep. Geeky? Yep. Takes too many selfies? Yep.
Because of this, I feel like I developed a quick connection with Max as I played through Life Is Strange. I found myself feeling incredibly sympathetic towards her choices and problems, making the gameplay all the more impactful for me.
In particular, there is one scene which destroyed me, the end of Episode 3. It was so heartbreaking, because I knew that I would want to do the same thing for my friends, as she did for Chloe. Seeing the consequences of these actions was devastating, and it was enough to make me cry (a rare occurence – kudos to you, Life Is Strange).
So the main reason why Max finds herself on this list is for using her relatable personality to build up our connection, only to tear me apart with phenomenal story-telling.
The Villager. He/she doesn’t have much to say (or anything … at all), and yet they’re full of personality!
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the villager is in fact the mayor of the village! And what a good mayor they are! Pulling weeds, planting flower bed, bringing in new and exotic fruits, investing in the development of the town, donating bugs, fish, fossils and artworks to the museum, and still finding the time to wander about the village, greeting the residents and checking in on them, doing the occasional favour for them and forming lasting friendships… what? That doesn’t sound familiar to you?
That might be because you know the villager from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! The villager has brought a lot of tools to the fight, like an umbrella, a watering can, a pot, balloons, and even an axe!
Even when the villager is brawling with enemies, they still manage to maintain their sweet disposition!
7. Squall Leonhart
Squall Leonhart of Final Fantasy VIII is my favourite protagonist from the franchise.
He is cold and unfeeling on the outside, but inside he is surprisingly insightful, and even somewhat sensitive. His voice is trapped in his head as he struggles to express himself, so he remains silent and stoic.
As the game progresses, Rinoa Heartilly and others eventually manage to pull him out of his head, and we get to see Squall finally express himself and grow as a person.
On top of this I really enjoy Squall’s design. His appearance meets what you would expect when you think of a “cold, uncaring mercenary”, and his weapon of choice was quite unique for the time of the game’s release – the gunblade!
6. Commander Shepard
Well, why wouldn’t you love Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard?
First, thanks to the Renegade/Paragon system, Shepard can actually be portrayed as two very different characters, who make very different choices through their space journey.
I’m a goody-two-shoes, so Paragon is my preferred option, but I have played a Renegade Shep, and that can be just as fun.
Shepard is also quite the romancer, but then I suppose if you were trapped with the same people on a spaceship for so long, it might be difficult to not want to jump into bed with the person in the next cabin.
With all the different paramour options, it leads to lots of different cutscenes and romance plots which help build Shepard’s character even further.
A galactic hero who is known across the galaxy for his deeds, and can pretty much have whoever he wants. As a certain Cerberus agent once said, “Shepard is a hero, a bloody icon”.
Aloy, the protagonist of Horizon: Zero Dawn, is another character where I don’t have anything bad to say about her.
She has a spectacular design, with stunning details to her player model. She has a good heart and always wants to help the people in need who she comes across without so much as a second thought.
She is strong and intelligent, and empathetic, with a quiet dignity – she truly is a remarkable character.
4. Peter Parker
Anyone who has read my Spiderman post will know how I feel about this rendition of Peter Parker – I love him.
He looks good with an excellent character design, he has access to a whole wardrobe of Spidey suits (once you unlock them), and he has the goofy sense of humour and awkward social skills that we all expect to see!
I have honestly never enjoyed Spiderman as much as I have whilst I have been playing this game, and that is really saying something.
3. Arthur Morgan
Red Dead Redemption 2’s Arthur Morgan is another character that can be played in a number of different ways.
His appearance can differ so much thanks to the huge variety of customisation options that we have been given, so you can dress him up as a roguish cowboy, or a suave gunslinger, or however you want him to look!
Arthur will be presented with a great deal of moral choices as he progresses in his journey through the West. Sometimes it can be difficult to see exactly what is on Arthur’s mind as he makes these choices … or rather, as you make these choices. Thankfully, Mr Morgan keeps a rather detailed journal, where he writes about all the people he meets and what he gets up to, and even jots down a quick sketch of wildlife and flora as he finds them in the world!
The journal is what truly bonds you with the character, as you read his innermost thoughts about what is going on around him. My first play through I ignored the journal, my second play through I read it as I progressed. The difference in how you perceive Arthur as a result of reading the journal is huge.
By the time you reach the final mission, you know there’s only one way that it’s going to end, and you find yourself not wanting to start the mission. That’s how I felt anyway!
2. The Inquisitor
Again, we have a character that is shaped however you see fit.
With intense character customisation, and things like your race and class affecting the story in various different ways, there are lots of different ways to play as the Inquisitor.
Once again you will have many opportunities to show what kind of character you are through dialogue options and important quest decisions.
I have had several play throughs of Dragon Age: Inquisition, and each one feels so vastly different based on the choices I make, it really makes it feel like each decision you make is important.
Much like Commander Shepard, the Inquisitor has a number of different romance options, and I feel very much the same way about how these pan out – excellent character building, and not just for the inquisitor, but for the romanced characters too!
Also if you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time crafting the best armour and weapons for the Inquisitor, and tinting them as well so that you truly look the part!
Link … which Link?
Link from Ocarina Of Time was the one who got me into the Zelda franchise in the first place, and by extension video games in general. In my eyes, this Link made the famous green tunic truly iconic across the franchise, as he was the first Link to have such a strong character design in game.
Link from Breath Of The Wild has to take top spot though. The Zelda team outdid themselves when designing him! With a huge assortment of clothing options to choose from, including classic green tunics for those who are lucky enough to own the matching Link amiibo, Link can truly look however you want him to look!
This version of the hero also has a lot of skills that have not been seen so far in a Zelda game! He’s a strong climber, able to scale sheer cliffs! And put him in the right clothes, he’ll even swim up a waterfall for you! He can even surf his shield down slopes! If you want a less intense way down, why not just jump and paraglide down?
Link even takes on cooking in this adventure, and he must love it if his little hum is anything to go by! And he loves his food too, with a satisfying tummy pat whenever you eat a meal!
Make sure to watching his temperature though, he’ll need to wear special clothes or drink elixirs to survive in some of Hyrule’s more harsh climates. But the clothes and elixirs won’t stop Link from having rosy red cheeks as he traverses through the extreme temperatures!
One skill he still has not picked up, is one of the most basic skills of all. Speech! I know that Link is mute to allow you as the player to better assimilate yourself as the protagonist in your head, and I guess it works because I have no problem imagining that!
I would day that the only fantasy RPG that has had more of my time dedicated to it would be Skyrim, and this is bearing in mind that Skyrim is currently 8 years old.
I had never played a Dragon Age game before (or even heard of the series to be quite honest!), but my friends were quite excited when this game was announced, so I looked into it. The premise seemed like something I could get behind so I decided to give it a go, but I was not prepared for how much I was going to enjoy this game.
The story is phenomenal, and there is a huge amount of story to get through, and with so many side missions as well, you are not going to run out of things to do any time soon.
The character creation is mostly good – you will pick your race, gender and class, and then you will create your character, and while the creator does have a fair amount of choice. Unfortunately one thing that I don’t like is the green atmospheric setting that the creator is in. I have sometimes found that when fiddling with various skin tones, hair colours and complexion options, the end result can sometimes look different when you get into the game.
The characters are all so wildly different, there will no doubt be characters that you like and dislike, as they all have such unique personalities. You are given conversational choices when speaking with your party members, which will often shape what they think of you, and this is also the case with many of the in-game actions and choices that you will make. Everyone will have an opinion on what you do, and you will find that some party members like your way of thinking more than others.
You also have the option to romance certain people, as long as you fit the bill with regards to who they like .. for example, one character will only be interested in human or elvish females. There isn’t a romance that I haven’t enjoyed so far, all the ones I have attempted have been well-crafted, and display a different side to the characters in question, a vulnerable side which you would not get to see otherwise.
Crafting is a big deal in this game. You will not be using a lot of the armours or weapons that you find in this game – not if you’re a thing like me. There are many resources to be found and gathered in the world, which can in turn be used to craft equipment for you and your party, and this is the best method of kitting yourself out as you can create something that best suits your playstyle, as different materials give different bonuses.
The game has several different provinces for you to explore and journey across, with your base acting as a hub world for you to do all your crafting, socialising, and choosing which province to head off to. All of the provinces you will visit are vastly unique, each one acting like a separate open world, without too much restriction on where you can go besides the level of the enemies in that area.
I have created many characters on this game to play different options and styles, as there is certainly a lot of replay value here. There are a lot of variations within the story and the social aspects between different races and classes, a testament to how much thought has gone into creating the mindset of the characters.
Something I must mention is the soundtrack – there are very few games that have a soundtrack as excellent as this. Dramatic battles, heart wrenching cut scenes, vast open worlds .. all of these things are perfectly complimented with the corresponding tracks.
The DLC for this game is possibly the best that I have ever played, Trespasser in particular. I frequently see the GOTY edition for sale for less than £10, and I always think about what a ridiculous bargain that is. If you haven’t played this game and you’re fan of fantasy worlds, you should definitely give it a go.
Platform: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Now this is an interesting one. Like many avid gamers, I bought the very first Assassin’s Creed game, and I really enjoyed it, it felt very different to anything I had played before. Then with Assassin’s Creed 2, I felt that it was even more enjoyable, with a more interesting main character, but there was a point where it felt like it was just the same game in a different setting with no huge changes or innovative features. I believe Brotherhood was the last one that I played. By this time, I felt like I had played enough of the franchise, and lost interest in it.
For some reason, after all this time Assassin’s Creed Odyssey caught my eye. I do enjoy Ancient Greece and their mythologies, so that was already enough to pique my interest. It features a huge open world which is another massive plus for me, and it also has an equipment setup that you would expect to see in an RPG. All these things put together were more than enough to make me want to check this out and see what it’s about, and I ended up making my first Assassin’s Creed purchase in a long time.
For me, it is such a breath of fresh air compared to the older games – the format has been completely rejigged, and it really has paid off. You can pick to play as either Alexios or Kassandra, so having the choice to play as a male or female is another nice change to the series.
There hasn’t really been an element of this game that I haven’t enjoyed yet – the story that I have completed so far has been interesting, the actual gameplay is excellent, I like the changes that have been made to the combat since I last played Assassin’s Creed, and I do love the seafaring so far! Having your own ship and crew and sailing around Greece, bombarding pirate ships, boarding them and plundering their treasures – it’s all good fun! The game world is simply stunning, it really is something to behold.
This is the kind of game that makes me want to take my time to slowly make my way through the story and various missions, so I can really take in the world that has been created for us gamers. It has certainly restored my faith in the series, and I shall be keeping an eye on future releases from now on.
Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (Japan only), PC
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)
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 “HuntPass” (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 Umbral. 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: https://playdauntless.com/roadmap/
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)
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)