Posted in New Games

Final Fantasy VII Remake

I almost can’t believe that it is finally here. I have waited so long — we have all waited so long! But finally the Final Fantasy VII Remake is upon us, and personally it’s more than I could have ever hoped for! I will try to keep this mostly spoiler free, but for those of you who have not yet played and want to jump in with nothing spoiled at all, I suggest you put off reading this for now!

As most of you will know by know, this is only the first release of what will be an episodic remake of VII, and it is based on your time in Midgar (which in the original game was just disc 1 of 4!). It feels so good to see so many of the places we know so well get a full makeover, fleshed out and teeming with life! Many new aspects have been added to the game to achieve this including new places, people, plot points, mini games and features.

We will get to meet all the existing characters who we are already so fond of, as well as a whole host of new characters, all of whom fit into the world we know so well.

One of the biggest changes between the remake and the original is the battle system. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the original, Final Fantasy VII was before the time of active battles in the franchise, and so it worked on a turn based system. This meant choosing whether to attack, cast a spell, use an item etc. once each party member was ready to do so. But now, everything has been totally revamped to fit in with the current style of the franchise. This means totally active battles, controlling only one character (but being able to switch between your party members), moving around the battlefield, dodging, parrying, experiencing a true battle. So where do spells and such come into it? Well, as you battle your party will each have an ATB gauge that fills overtime. The gauge is split into segments, and these segments are used to perform abilities, and use your spells or items. No more spamming potions and phoenix downs! You’ve now got to have your characters be strong enough to survive taking a few punches if you want to heal up in a dire situation!

One of the many things that the Final Fantasy franchise is known for is have beautiful soundtracks. FF7: Remake is absolutely not an exception to this rule. The original game has some iconic tracks itself, and of course we will have to wait for future episodic releases before we can hear it all, but what I have heard so far is exceptional. A perfect balance of nostalgia from the redesign of existing tracks, and pleasure of experiencing the new tracks for the first time. Besides the actual background music, there are also CDs to be found around the world, all of which have a retro/nostalgic feel whilst also having their own themes.

There were many pivotal moments for me whilst playing – meeting the characters that I already knew so well and seeing them truly brought to life, being surprised by how much I suddenly adored characters I already knew and didn’t care about (shout out to Jessie, Biggs and Wedge), and seeing iconic scenes and places from the original.

I won’t forget the moment Aerith was revealed after her makeover any time soon.
Jessie, a character I never cared about. The Remake has changed my opinion entirely.
Almost every interaction with Aerith feels so meaningful – also her garden is stunning.

So of course, being the same game but remade, the plot is virtually the same … right?

You are of course following the same characters and the same story, but it is not entirely identical. In fact, I noticed some key additions (and even differences) as I played. How about the mysterious ghost-like entities that seem to harass the party at pivotal plot points? And Avalanche … weren’t they just a tiny group? Now apparently a small delegation of a much larger group? And Aerith … I don’t know about the rest of you that have played, but something feels different. Of course, she is much more fleshed out just like everyone else, but in a way that just makes it more obvious. It’s almost like she has an awareness of some sort. I have a theory in mind, but I’m not going to get into that here.

So in short, Final Fantasy VII Remake really is everything that I hoped it would be, and that much more on top of that. I totally recommend it for anyone who enjoyed the original game, and for any RPG fans who never got a chance to play the original! In fact, the game is so good that I actually payed full retail price for it just because I wanted to get it as soon as it came out. Trust me, that almost never happens.

  • Platform: PS4
  • Release Date: 10/04/2020
  • Genre: Fantasy RPG
Posted in Gaming Journals

Vinland: A Hobbit’s Tour

Like so many others, I have been playing an awful lot of Animal Crossing: New Horizons during this strange period. After all, wouldn’t we all like to go outside and see our friends right now? Animal Crossing has been an interesting placeholder for that, especially seeing as my friends can actually come to my island.

And as it is the first Animal Crossing game in the franchise that has allowed you to decorate and terraform your island as you see fit, I have of course been very busy building an island that I would be please to call home.

Now I would like to take you on a little tour of my fair island, so please sit back, relax, and enjoy your virtual trip to Vinland.

Welcome to Vinland!

Vinland – an island where community and nature come together. Although most of the island has been transformed into a friendly town, there is still much of the island which has been left to nature.

Vinland’s central plaza where locals gather to chat or meet visiting vendors.
Take a walk through the central district to see Vinland’s vibrant flower fields.

We have large fields of blooms which attract all manner of insects, as well as provide a colourful view as you get around the island.

We’re lucky to have a beautiful shopping district.
The shopping district is split on both sides by stunning waterfalls.

Our shopping district is never far away, no matter where you are on the island. You’ll find Nook’s Cranny, Able Sisters, and even some amenities along the streets. A waterfall sits besides both establishments, providing the district with a natural border.

We have beautiful beaches for you to relax on.

Vinland has a number of beaches for you to enjoy, but the most popular is just by the gorgeous tulip field, with a great view of the planes as they come to and from the island.

Take a walk through our shell path to our public park.
The park is a great place to pass the time.

We are proud to boast a spacious park where everyone is welcome to meet up with their friends and unwind on the various toys available. And once you are done there, you can take a short walk through the shell arch pathway straight to the beach.

We have a clifftop nature reserve with some stunning scenery for you to enjoy.
Enjoy the sea view, head down to Redd’s cove, or climb further up.
See Vinland’s water source and how far it stretches across.

We have a number of different natural areas for you to explore. You can take the clifftop pathway by the flowing river and watch the waterfalls on the cliff, head down to Redd’s Cove for a quiet moment of peace, explore the source of the river and hop over the waterfalls, or walk through our wild lily field whilst helping yourself to the native fruits.

Feel like visiting? Come and stay in our campsite, located in our oriental district.

Our oriental district spans the eastern edge of the island, you’ll think you have taken a trip to Asia with out bamboo groves, the blooming azaleas, and the beach-side rock pool. Why not bring a tent to stay the night in our peaceful campsite where you can listen to the sounds of the bamboo and the beach with the scent of the hyacinths in the air.

We have residences set up in our busiest areas.
And our more quiet areas.
Vinland residents are often out and about, enjoying their wonderful town.

Our residents live all over the island, but distance is no matter as everyone likes to visit their island neighbours and explore the island.

Coming soon, Vinland’s natural outdoor concert arena.

Vinland’s latest attraction (nearing completion) is our exciting outdoor concert arena! Just head down the steps from our clifftop walk to find yourself in this tiny valley, and you just might be treated to a concert with the best acoustics you’ve ever heard, and even a sea view while you enjoy the show!

Posted in Game Lists

Have You Ever? Gaming Edition

Check out A Geek Girl’s Guide original Have You Ever? post! If you feel like joining in, feel free to copy and paste the questions at the bottom of this post.

Rage quit a game

To the best of my memory, I can only recall doing this once. Earlier in the year I bought the Kingdom Hearts collection as it was in the sale, and the series has been heavily recommended to me by various friends … After playing through the torturous tutorial and then being beaten by the boss at the end of it (after seemingly making no impression on him at all) … I decided enough was enough and quit with a lot of annoyance and disappointment.

Earned all achievements in a game

I think there are quite a few that are missing an achievement here and there, but there is one title where I managed to snag every trophy – Dragon Age: Inquisition. This was before the DLC however, and I haven’t quite picked up all of those, just the odd one or two missing.

Pulled an all-nighter gaming

I have actually never done this. It’s not irregular for me to stay up quite late, I’ve got no problem with that – or even with getting up early … but for whatever reason, I have never stayed up the whole night gaming.

Livestreamed your gaming

Never, but I do watch quite a few livestreams. I have often thought that it looked like a lot of fun, but I’m not totally sure. What would I play? Would anyone watch? Is it complicated to set up? I think I’ll stick to being an audience member for now.

Pre-ordered a game

I don’t often pre-order, I usually prefer to wait patiently for a sale (not like I don’t have plenty of other games to sink my teeth into), but every now and again there’s a title which I don’t mind paying extra for, just so I can have it as soon as possible! The most recent example being Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Bought a game and never played it

Far too often. Disturbingly often. Problematically often.

Been jumpscared by a horror game

Oh yes. All the time! That’s just part of the fun when you’re playing horror games.

Had a set squad for a specific game

Not really … although I guess I do have a group of friends on Animal Crossing, we visit each other’s islands, buy gifts for each other, confer turnip prices … that sounds like squad activity … right?

Bought a game on multiple platforms

No. Of course not. That would be absurd and wasteful. Who would buy Skyrim on PS3, PS4, and PC?? Only a fool, that’s who! … Okay, okay, it was me! I’m the fool! On the plus side, all three purchases were cheap offers.

Got a console for the games specifically

I guess the Nintendo Switch would be the best example of this. Lots of games and franchises I love that I would only get on the Switch!

Want to do this tag? Just copy the prompts below!

Rage quit a game

Earned all achievements in a game

Pulled an all-nighter gaming

Livestreamed your gaming

Pre-ordered a game

Bought a game and never played it

Been jumpscared by a horror game

Had a set squad for a specific game

Bought a game on multiple platforms

Got a console for the games specifically

Posted in Game Lists

Pokémon Generations: A Hobbit’s Ranking

Towards the end of 2019 I took part in Adventure Rules’ Charming And Open project, where we each offered the other a question which had to be answered in the form of a blog post. My question to the blogger was what his thoughts were towards the designs of the different generations of Pokémon, and his thoughts in the ideas behind them.

Reading his response got me thinking about my own thoughts on each generation, so of course I felt I should share!

So without further ado, here are the Pokémon Generations Ranked By Me!


Unova … Generation 5 was a bold attempt at a completely fresh Pokedex, no previously encountered Pokémon were found in Black and White. To Unova’s credit, there were a lot of ‘Mons that I thought had strong designs behind them, some that I instantly liked – but Unova is at the bottom of this list because of the sheer number of Pokémon that I specifically do not like in this generation.

So, starting with the starters – I would have to say that these are the most lackluster of all the starters we have seen so far. I have to admit that I hold a bit of a personal grudge against Tepig – He was the third consecutive Fire starter to take on Fighting as a secondary type. The third one. Who could have possibly thought this was a good idea? It’s something that has always annoyed me, and to make matters worse, I didn’t actually like the evolutions of Tepig anyway, so there was no saving grace. Snivy and Oshawott I actually have no strong feelings about, good or bad. They simply are what they are.

As for the box legendaries, Reshiram and Zekrom? Honestly, the less said here, the better. I don’t think they look good, I don’t find them appealing to use in any way, and I didn’t really enjoy any part that they actually played in the game at all. Without a doubt they are some of my least favourite legendaries.

There are actually a lot of Pokémon that I really like in Generation 5. There are plenty that I could show you, but I have chosen the best of the best below.

And now for the worst of the lot – these are the Pokémon that I simply cannot abide. These guys are the reason for Unova being at the bottom end of this list for me, with a special mention to Conkeldurr, Scrafty, Vanilluxe and Klinklang.

#7 – generation 4 – sinnoh

Sinnoh brought us over 100 new Pokémon to add to the Pokedex, and there were definitely some solid designs in there! But for me, it wasn’t all good.

The starters were good, with excellent themes being used. Turtwig would grow to be Torterra who clearly takes inspiration from the “World Turtle” concept, Chimchar was an adorable little fire monkey who would later become Infernape, possibly inspired by characters from Asian myths and legends, and Piplup who evolve into Empoleon, quite clearly representing Emperor Penguins and the famous Napoleon Bonaparte. My only complaint about these starters is the fact that this was the second generation in a row that we were given a Fire/Fighting starter. While I do love Infernape, I felt like this didn’t do the ape any favours.

The Legendaries of this generation for me were ….okay? I don’t dislike them by any means, but I don’t like them a huge amount either. I thought that the Time/Space theme was good, but I just don’t see it.

There are more than a few Pokémon that I really like in this region, and here are some of my favourites from the lot.

There were a lot of new evolutions of already existing Pokémon that arrived in Sinnoh – while I personally felt like some of them were simply not needed or well designed, most of them I think were fantastic! Below are the evolutions which I felt really stood out, with my personal favourites being Weavile and Gallade.

Sinnoh finds itself near the bottom of this list as there were so many Pokémon that I just didn’t like. The worst offenders here would have to be Wormadam, Lickilicky, and Probopass, but you can see some of the others that I disliked below.

#6 – generation 7 – alola

Alola saw us going to more tropical climes on our Pokémon journey, and also found a number of ways to challenge the conventions that have been held sacred by the main games of the series up to this point.

The starters were a great bunch for me, I really liked all three (but Rowlett and Litten have the edge over Popplio) but one of the things that set them apart from the others is the unique typing! Rowlett becoming Grass/Ghost, Litten becoming Fire/Dark, and Popplio becoming Water/Fairy. And all three reflected these types in their designs superbly.

The Legendary Pokémon, Solgaleo and Lunala … ehhh? While I liked the Sun/Moon theme they display, that’s pretty much all I like about them. There’s not much else I can say about them, I just don’t find them very memorable or iconic, unlike so many Legendaries that came before this pair.

Alola had a lot of tropical Pokémon to show off, some of the designs were really enjoyable to see.

Alola was the first region to introduce regional forms! A number of Pokémon originally from Kanto were revitalised with these new forms, and these are my favourite of the bunch.

There were only a small number of Pokémon from the seventh generation that I didn’t really like, and here they are.

#5 – generation 8 – galar

The most recent generation, as I write this, Galar took inspiration from the country that I call home, the United Kingdom. I simply love some of the designs that can be found in this generation!

Galar’s starters boast an interesting theme, Grookey representing musicians, Scorbunny representing football players, and Sobble (eventually) representing secret agents.

Possibly one of the biggest reasons for Galar being so low on the list, Zamazenta and Zacian just … were’t my cup of tea (couldn’t resist the phrase here). When I look at some of the Legendary Pokémon that we have had in the past, I can’t help but feel like although the story behind them was fleshed out and interesting, the actual design of the pair was found lacking!

Although I found the Legendaries to be disappointing, there were plenty of regular Pokémon who left a lasting impression on me, here’s a few examples!

Not only did we get a whole host of new Pokémon to feast our eyes on in Galar, but also a few Galarian forms of Pokémon we already know and love! The list of these new forms is quite small, and if I had to choose the best of them I would go with Rapidash, Farfetch’d and Corsola.

#4 – generation 3 – hoenn

Hoenn being a tropical region brought us lots of exotic Pokémon, and the designs of these new Pokémon definitely reflect that, with a truly exotic feel to them.

The starters for this generation were quite strong, but only two of them kept my interest for the whole evolution line! Mudkip was the only one whose evolutions I did not particularly like.

The legendaries were particularly strong in Hoenn, Kyogre holding dominion over the seas, Groudon over the landmasses, and Rayquaza being the neutralising force who can calm them both.

So let’s take a quick look at the best of the designs found in Hoenn, according to me.

#3 – generation 6 – kalos

I really liked a lot of things about the sixth generation, I would say that there was an incredibly solid design behind most of the new additions to the Dex. And of course, Pokémon X & Y and Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire brought us more than new creatures, it also brought us Mega Evolutions! This new feature revitalised some of the older designs, meaning that some old favourites had newfound viability on the competitive battling scene.

The starter Pokémon had a really strong theme behind them which I thought was quite imaginative. They were based on typical classes found in Fantasy RPG genres, Warrior, Mage, and Rogue. But although I liked the idea, I didn’t like all of the starters. I didn’t like the Chespin line, I loved Fennekin and Braixen, but not Delphox. However, Froakie’s line I thought was great at all three stages.

I also thought that the legendary Pokémon of Kalos held a very strong theme, life and death, and particularly liked the design of Xerneas, clearly representing the iconic idea of a “Life Tree”.

As I said before, there are plenty of Pokémon that I want to point out for their designs, so let’s have a look at them!

And I have to include the Mega Evolution designs here, here are my favourite Megas.

#2 – generation 1 – Kanto

It’s probably not a surprise to find the original 151 so high on this list! These guys are of course very nostalgic to me, I was around 6 or so when I was first introduced to Pokémon Red. I didn’t understand an awful lot of what was going on, but I loved the Pokémon I was seeing, and a bit of patience led to me eventually getting the hang of it!

There are some here and there that I don’t much care for in the original 151, but on the whole I think the designs that have been used here are pretty phenomenal.

The starters are absolute classics – I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t love a good Charizard! And Mewtwo? Can you really get any better than the original legendary Pokémon found after a grueling trek through Cerulean Cave?

There are many Generation 1 Pokémon worthy of some attention, and I could list so many more than what I have. Instead of just showing you a filled out Pokedex, let’s look at a small selection!

#1 – generation 2 – johto

There’s no doubt in my mind about Johto being my favourite generation. I’ll admit that part of this is down to nostalgia, I can still remember the excitement of finding out that the games that I had instantly fallen in love with were getting a sequel! And that there were going to be another 100 Pokémon? Amazing! I never would have guessed that the franchise would grow as much as it had done, but I couldn’t be happier to say that it has.

The second generation was a total success in my eyes – The starters are without a doubt my favourite from all generations, Chikorita and Cyndaquil in particular, and I feel the same way about the legendaries – Lugia is one of my all time favourite pocket monsters.

And there are plenty of regular Pokémon besides who I feel need to be mentioned, so here are some of the stand-out examples!

Posted in Nominations

Real Neat Blog Award – Part 2

I actually received two nominations for this award, so a big thank you to DanamesX from Tales From The Backlog! Please take the time to check out the blog and all the awesome posts you will find there!

The Rules
  • Display the logo
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog
  • Answer the questions
  • Nominate 7-10 bloggers
  • Ask these bloggers 7 questions

Questions And Answers
Yes or No?

Well, the positive person in me says “Yes! Always yes!” But the cautious part of me is eyeing up that “No” as well …

Do you experience any aches or pains in your body?

Luckily not, I’m fairly active in my day to day life, so it’s not often that I am struck down by any aches or pains. I do seem to feel the cold a lot more than most people though, and that can often feel like an ache for me!

If you could create a new type of sport, what would it be or similar to?

This is quite tricky … I’m honestly the least sporty person you will ever meet. However I did used to love playing Blitzball on Final Fantasy X (even though it is just football but with swimming). I reckon the leisure industry could do worse than adding Blitzball to the list of competitive sports!

What is a game that is generally received as bad but is your guilty pleasure?

This question is driving me crazy – I can’t think of anything I play that people don’t like! How about Fallout 76? Generally considered something of a failure, but since the huge update I have been enjoying it a lot!

Do you prefer writing with a pencil, pen, or keyboard?

Well, as a left handed writer who has spent most of his life finding that one brand of pen that is comfortable and doesn’t smudge … I’m going to say keyboard. Faster, clearer, neater, easy to go back and change things, what more could the smudging leftie need?

When was the last time something made you laugh so hard?

I’m fortunate enough to be able to say that recent days have been full of laughter for me. These are strange and uncertain times, but family and friends are the key to working through it! I’m lucky enough to be blessed in both of those departments, and my next laugh is never too far away.

Do you play an instrument? If so what is it? If not, do you have an interest in learning how to play one?

An ocarina – badly. I really want to learn how to play it properly, but besides that I have absolutely always wanted to learn how to play the piano! So many of my favourite soundtracks have excellent piano pieces, and I often daydream about lazy Sundays in my PJs, tickling the ivories with whatever tune pops into my head!

My Nominations
  1. Brink from Brink Of Gaming
  2. Pieterjan from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog
  3. The Gaming Diaries
  4. Shoot The Rookie
  5. Mid-Life Gamer Geek
  6. Thero from A Reluctant Hero
  7. Jack from Screen Streams

My Questions
  1. What is you favourite video game franchise?
  2. What was the last video game to really tug at your heartstrings?
  3. Is there a hobby you wish you could get into?
  4. Would you say you are more introvert or extrovert?
  5. What’s your guilty gaming pleasure?
  6. If you had all the resources and manpower you could possibly need at your disposal to make your own video game, what genre would it be?
  7. Do you have any surprising/useless talents?
Posted in Nominations

Real Neat Blog Award

A big thanks to Kelly from Why We Play Games for the nomination! Please take the time to have a look at her blog to see all the fun things she writes about.

The Rules
  • Display the logo
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog
  • Answer the questions
  • Nominate 7-10 bloggers
  • Ask these bloggers 7 questions

Questions And Answers
What is your favorite video game genre?

My immediate thought is that this is going to be a bit of a draw. I have always been a sucker for Fantasy RPG games for the heavy story elements and the wonderful worlds. But the simulation genre has also been one that has stuck with me for a long time! There is something strangely satisfying about the genre … especially considering that menial tasks often play a big part of the games in this genre.

What is your favorite music genre?

I absolutely adore 80s pop music, if I put music on then the chances are it will be something from my 80s playlist. I like the odd modern pop song here and there, and some alternative, but for the most part I’m not overly keen on modern day music.

What games do you play when you want to relax?

I have to admit, I can’t think of a single title. I think for me gaming as a whole is a relaxing hobby, regardless of what it is that I am playing. Actually, I take that back – I probably wouldn’t put Until Dawn or any of my other horror games to relax!

What are your favorite hobbies?

Gaming is of course the obvious answer here, but that’s not the only thing I get up to. I love to bake, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried my banana bread. Reading is also something I absolutely love, and I have recently started getting into manga. And then there’s sketching (sometimes I post my sketches on my twitter) – a bit of a lost hobby for me which I have recently taken up again!

What shows or movies are you watching right now?

First and foremost is The Crown on Netflix. Haven’t seen it yet? GET ON IT. And I’m also loving the fact that Studio Ghibli films have finally made their way to Netflix.

What is your favorite video game and/or TV series?

This is such a dangerous question. I could literally go on for ages trying to debate this! If I don’t think about it too much, the first thing that starts floating around my head is The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. It may not be the perfect game, but I get too lost in everything amazing about it to notice that. Even after all the time I have put into it, there are still plenty of new places for me to thoroughly explore and secrets for me to discover. In fact, maybe I should have given BOTW an honourable mention in the earlier question regarding which games I play to relax. A gentle piano soundtrack accompanying me across a hauntingly beautiful landscape with stunning visuals… Perfect.

What helps you feel calm?

Self-care is very important, and I believe I have perfected an art here! Hot bubble bath, hot chocolate (the sweeter the better – I’m thinking …white chocolate and strawberry), sweet treats (homemade preferably – feels more satisfying), a mellow playlist to listen to, and PJs/blankets/woolly cardies. Oh yes, I am absolutely a 90 year old man in a 20-something year old’s body.

My Nominations
  1. Anna from The Reel Anna
  2. Rachel and Kris from Double Jump
  3. Stephen from Honest Gamer
  4. The Elder Blogs
  5. Jett from In Third Person
  6. Adventure Rules
  7. Kim from Later Levels

My Questions
  1. What is you favourite video game franchise?
  2. What was the last video game to really tug at your heartstrings?
  3. Is there a hobby you wish you could get into?
  4. Would you say you are more introvert or extrovert?
  5. What’s your guilty gaming pleasure?
  6. If you had all the resources and manpower you could possibly need at your disposal to make your own video game, what genre would it be?
  7. Do you have any surprising/useless talents?
Posted in Recent Games

Fallout 76 – Wastelanders Update

Like so many other fans of the franchise, I was eager to buy 76 when it was released. While I did enjoy it for a while, it ultimately got boring fast, for the very simple face that it wasn’t a true Fallout game. A vast open world … with no NPCs? No quirky characters or bizarre storylines, just endless fetch quests given to you by robots, or triggered by holotapes.

Sadly, this was never going to be a hugely popular design choice, and my interest soon disappeared. But not all was lost – a few months ago I heard that a free update would be headed our way, the Wastelanders update. NPCs would return to Appalachia, bringing factions for you to interact with, new storylines to take part in, all of which has been carefully intertwined with the existing story to allow both new and old players to take part.

Without a doubt I am grateful for the attempt to rescue this game, as I really did feel like it could have been so much better than it was. By no means is it anywhere near perfect at this point, but it is a whole lot more playable. It feels much more like a true Fallout game at this point, and by extension it feels much more like it was meant to be experienced solo. Unfortunately I think there is a real lack of proper quest-sharing which makes playing as a team rather difficult and ultimately uninteresting.

Sadly, there does still seem to be a lot of instability in Fallout 76. I have found that it is not uncommon for the game to suddenly crash, particularly while I am trying to take part in public events. Of course, being completely online means that nothing is really lost, so I don’t hold too much of a grudge against it.

Let’s not forget that this is a Fallout game at the end of the day, and that means that there are still lots of good things about it. A lot of adaptations had to be made to the usual Fallout style of gameplay to make it work as an MMORPG, and I think they did a pretty good job of that. The core mechanics of the game are the same, but with some serious changes to what happens when you level up, changes which I actually prefer to the usual format. And we have a whole new region of the wasteland to explore, Appalachia. I’ve always loved seeing the fictional nuclear wasteland in the Fallout franchise – the level of detail and design is a testament to the imagination and skill of the team behind it, not to mention a cautionary tale for us to bear in mind.

I’m hoping that we will receive more gradual updates that might offer a bit more stability to the performance of 76, as well as a few more content updates. But for now I’m enjoying coming on each day; completing daily tasks, taking part in events, building my C.A.M.P up a bit more each day, and taking on tougher challenges each day as my character levels up.

I would recommend that players who bought this and abandoned it ought to come back and see if they like the changes that have been made, but if you don’t have it already … maybe wait until it’s in the sale.

  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Release Date: 14/11/2018
  • Genre: MMORPG
Posted in Recent Games

Man Of Medan

Last year when I wrote about Until Dawn, I said I would be picking up the next game that the creators had worked on, Man Of Medan, and that’s exactly what I did do.

It certainly has an interesting plot, but I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil it for any of you who might want to play this yourselves. There are plenty of secrets to discover while you’re poking around on the creaky, old ship – without a doubt there’s plenty more for me to find.

There are of course some mechanics which are carried across from Until Dawn. Pictures hidden around which show you premonitions, relationships between each character which are affected my choices and actions, traits which are emphasised or replaced with other traits depending on your choices, and then of course different paths and actions you can take as you play through the game.

Unfortunately there are some ways in which Man Of Medan is lacking somewhat. Until Dawn felt like a much longer experience, with lots of secrets, lots of story, lots of places to explore. But Medan seemed to wrap up a lot quicker, I was actually slightly surprised when I realised I had reached the ending. Part of me wonders if this is in fact because the main bulk of the game takes place on a ship. We’re not talking about a luxury cruise liner, but a military freighter. There’s not much in the way of variety when you’re looking around the ship – once you’ve seen one section, you’ve pretty much seen it all. Perhaps the game is intentionally shorter because the creators thought it would be too boring to spend so much time there?

Another difference is the lack of a clueline. Until Dawn had a feature that I particularly enjoyed where every time you found a secret that was related to the incident that happened there many years ago, it opened up a small portion of this so-called clueline, which was essentially a video for you to watch which explained the events that took place in the past. The unlocked portions were so tiny, that you would have to be some way into the game before you could really start to piece things together. I really missed this feature as I was playing Man Of Medan, and I felt it was a shame not to include it.

I will definitely be playing more of the game though, to make different choices, see what other things are hiding for me to discover, and see if I can get everyone to survive (I may have accidentally got three of the five characters killed …). Also I really want to try out the co-op features that have been introduced and see how that is handled!

So ultimately, although I did prefer Until Dawn, I still feel Man Of Medan is quite a good game, and I recommend it if you see it on sale!

  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Release Date: 30/08/2019
  • Genre: Interactive Horror
Posted in Game Lists

My Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters

The recent release of Final Fantasy VII Remake has brought the franchise back into the limelight for many of us long-time fans, and seeing the characters revitalised with so much expression and detail has got me thinking about the different characters through all the games I have played, and which of those are my favourites! This will be a list focusing on the protagonists and party members of the games, and not other important characters, so without further ado, here’s my ranking of the best Final Fantasy characters!

10. Garnet

Someday I will be queen, but I will always be myself.

Garnet Til Alexandros XVII of Final Fantasy IX is the princess of Alexandria, adopted daughter of the maddened Queen Brahne, and love interest of protagonist Zidane. One of the most remarkable things about her character is the personal growth that she goes through as the game progresses.

She and Eiko are both white mages and summoners, so many players will probably lean towards one or the other instead of using both equally. Personally I always found Eiko annoying, so Garnet was always the white mage for me! Considering her role in the party and the story on the whole, she is certainly one of the best party members in IX in my opinion.

9. Terra

What am I feeling? What’s going on? Please… tell me. Who am I? Who!?

I always found Terra to be an intriguing character, with so much personal growth and development. She suffers from amnesia, so you actually get to know her as a character as she gets to know herself and discovers her past.

I think you really get invested in Terra as the game progresses, and honestly I think that’s a pretty impressive feat considering the low tech nature of Final Fantasy VI. Without 3D models and cutscenes with voice acting, you are largely left to your own imagination to flesh out the characters, creating a character in your head where you decide how they sound and how they look, so the fact that Terra and her story continue to be one of the main characters that stand out for me simply has to be mentioned.

8. Freya

To be forgotten is worse than death.

Freya is another character from Final Fantasy IX, and she is my second favourite character in the entire game. I have always loved the Dragoon class in the series, so I was instantly taken with her as a party member – but I also think she has a great design. Considering that her race means that she is in fact an anthropomorphic rat, she actually looks really mysterious and stylish.

She is a character who has faced her own fair share of tragedy having lost both her true love, and her hometown. A large segment of the game is focused on trying to save Burmecia, and then Cleyra after the former fell to the attackers. I would even go so far as to say that this part of the game that was so heavily focused on Freya and her people is one of my favourite parts of IX, if nothing else it is definitely one of the parts that sticks in my mind the most.

7. Lulu

No matter how dark the night, morning always comes, and our journey begins anew.

Calm, collected, and cool, This is the best way to describe Lulu the black mage of Final Fantasy X. She is a guardian to the summoner Yuna, but also has a deep personal relationship with her, acting in many ways like a big sister to the young pilgrim.

She is a poster girl for goth mages everywhere with her all-over black style, and she is undeniably cool when battling! In battle Lulu will often make amusing little quips to her opponents as she casts powerful spells at the. “Anyone thirsty? Need a light? Don’t look so shocked. Let me break the ice.” These are just some of the quotes that Lulu can use as she casts her water, fire, thunder and ice spells.

6. Yuna

I’ve… learned how to smile… Even when I’m feeling sad.

Oh Yuna … Final Fantasy X was the first FF game that I really got into. I had played others before but this was the one that reached into my heart and put Final Fantasy among my most treasured franchises. Yuna was a big part of that.

Quiet and meek, but strong-willed, Yuna really was an amazing character. As a summoner, she could call mighty Aeons to her side to assist in battle. This was something I always loved to do, particularly for the amazing summoning sequences, and the amazing special attacks they could pull off! She also acts as the white mage for the party, but thanks to the Sphere Grid levelling up system, you really could mould her into whatever character you wanted her to be. I personally liked to make her a white/black mage hybrid so that she could heal the party and then deliver devastating offensive spells!

I loved her role in the story, particularly as I think X has one of the best plots that we have seen so far in Final Fantasy. The summoners were tasked with making a pilgrimage across the land to pray for the strength to defeat Sin, an ever-present threat who haunts the world. This is the basis for the story as you travel from temple to temple to collect the Aeons who sleep there before eventually making your way to defeat Sin, and making some shocking discoveries!

5. Aerith

I won’t let you do it! The future is not only yours!

So originally I had 9 characters in mind and was trying to think of the 10th. As much as I like Aerith, I wasn’t sure if I wanted her on the list or not. After playing through quite a lot of the VII Remake, not only is she absolutely on this list, but she is No. 5!

If you know anything about the Final Fantasy games, then you will probably know what happens to Aerith, but I won’t mention that here – just in case. I liked her in the original game, but I think that’s all I could realistically say about her. She was a nice enough character, but I certainly didn’t feel like she was all that useful in the party. Her combat skills were always somewhat lacking so I would always find myself choosing other party members over her.

But all of that changes now. VII Remake has given Aerith a whole new lease of life, with her combat potential completely reworked, and I actually really enjoy switching to her in combat to make the most of her magical abilities.

Combat isn’t the only thing that has been fleshed out for her! Seeing her with so much vibrant personality is a real treat, and I feel the remake has really done her justice! In particular, playing through the Wall Market chapter has been such a pleasure, and I don’t think anything could have prepared me for Aerith’s entrance after getting all dolled up for presentation to Don Corneo!

4. Vivi

How do you prove that you exist…? Maybe we don’t exist…

Vivi, the best character in Final Fantasy VIII without a shadow of a doubt. Rocking the classic Black Mage appearance of a shadowed face with glowing eyes, blue coat and pointy brown hat, his story is one of existential crisis. He doesn’t know what he is or how he fits into the world.

Vivi starts off as very shy and withdrawn, completely lacking confidence and even being quite clumsy. He grows to be brave and more than capable by the end of the story. The relationships he builds with the other party members are strong and meaningful, Zidane becoming like a brother to him, and even the arguably unlikeable Steiner formed an endearing bond with the little mage.

3. Auron

Guard your emotions first, then guard your summoner.

My favourite character in Final Fantasy X, Auron is quite frankly … one tough cookie. An experienced warrior, a previous guardian of Yuna’s father who was also a summoner, and a quiet but assured bastion of strength and experience for the rest of the party.

Sometimes characters in Final Fantasy can feel quite similar to previous characters that have been seen, or at least follow very similar trends. But I feel like Auron really stands out as one of the unique warriors of the series. Auron appears similar in many ways to samurai, as he wields katanas, uses bushido, and seems to have many other traits and quirks that link up well with samurai.

I have always considered Auron to be one of the strongest characters, both in terms of literal strength and as concept of character.

2. Quistis

You know, the boys often choke on this test when I come with them. I guess my charm makes them nervous.

Quistis was an instant hit with me. She means business in battle with her whip, she looks cool and stylish, and as a blue mage she is able to learn many different abilities from the many enemies found in the game, which makes her one of the best characters to keep in your party if you ask me, particularly once you get Quistis to learn … Bad Breath!

At the beginning of Final Fantasy VIII she is an instructor in Balamb Garden, where Squall is her difficult and hard to approach student. She frequently finds herself failing to get him to open up to her, demonstrating an awkward relationship to start with. Although she loses her position as an instructor, she maintains her somewhat authoritative figure in the party by acting like a big sister towards the others.

1. Squall

Everyone has to take care of themselves. I don’t want to carry anyone’s burden.

Squall is without a doubt my favourite character from the Final Fantasy franchise, and I’ve often felt like he is so under-appreciated. His weapon of choice – the Gunblade – is a gun and a sword in one, he has a stylish appearance, a great rivalry with his fellow classmate Seifer, even an epic opening cinematic that shows them battling and giving each other matching scars!

But the best thing about Squall is his character development in the game. He is quiet and standoffish, never letting himself get close to anyone. But over time he warms to the people around him, opening up more, and slowly learns to express his true feelings to those around him.

Posted in Recent Games

House Flipper

You know, it’s a weird phenomenon … most of us probably don’t enjoy doing chores, or at the very least have certain chores that we really don’t enjoy doing. So then, why is it that certain games, such as today’s feature, are so enjoyable and satisfying to play?

House Flipper is exactly as it sounds – you take on jobs flipping people’s houses, and the jobs that are needed to be done vary a fair amount. The one you will probably see the most of is cleaning. A lot of these people have dirty, filthy, disgusting houses, covered in stains, rubbish, and in the worst case scenarios … cockroaches. If you put me in one of these houses, I would probably freak out and run for the hills. And yet, putting myself in there virtually and methodically cleaning each room from top to bottom (because yes, sometimes there are even stains on the ceilings) is somehow very soothing and fun.

So besides cleaning, you will also get to paint, take down walls, add new walls in, fill wall cavities with plaster, lay new tiles or flooring down, install new plumbing objects such as showers and toilets, and buy new furniture as requested by the client.

If I had to complain about one thing, it would be that I don’t find the painting or tiling to be particularly enjoyable. It’s a long and tedious task when you have to do all the walls of a room, and although you can unlock perks as you play the game to make the task easier, it still feels like a real struggle to get through!

Besides taking on jobs to do specific work in houses, you can also buy houses to remodel as you see fit, and then either convert it into your own home office (much better than the tiny shed you start out with), or you can sell it on to one of the interested potential buyers to try and turn a profit.

I wouldn’t say House Flipper is the kind of game you would spend a particularly long time on, I find it most enjoyable to play in small bursts, maybe do one or two jobs in a single play session. But the small sessions that I do play, I find to be very therapeutic.

  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Release Date: 17/05/2018 (PC), 25/02/2020 (PS4), 26/02/2020 (Xbox One)
  • Genre: Simulation