Bank Holiday Weekend, Bank Holiday Weekend! Woo, And I get Tuesday off too as a ‘Privilege Day’ for her Majesty’s Birthday. Great stuff, anyway’s here’s what we’ve been getting up to.
God of War
“Don’t be sorry, be better!”. Poor Atreus. So a couple weeks late for this one, but I took the dive and bought what many are saying is the best game of this generations consoles. It’s quite the statement. I’ve put in about 4 hours so far and in terms of levelling up skills and equipment Kratos is what I guess you’d consider in this stage of the game weak. But god damn if he ain’t still an absolute bad ass. In the very early stages of the game you’re thrust into what I guess is a mini boss battle against a chap known only as a Stranger. In term of introducing you into a game and teasing what is ahead it was absolutely epic. The surrounding forest being obliterated as Kratos and Stranger fight in a battle that resembles something you’d see in Dragon Ball Z. From then on there are plenty of awesome battles against hordes of various enemies with some more threatening enemies scattered in along the way.
I love the Norse mythology to this game. One scene where Atreus lectures Kratos about Thor and his battle with the World Serpent who most definitely deserves that name after you see what he does by simply getting out of a lake. You get plenty of really cool little history lessons throughout the game from surrounding characters and if you happen to be a fan of Thor from the Marvel side of things, so much of what is discussed in the game rings bells as it’s discussed in God of War.
I don’t need to tell anyone that visually this is something special. Sony can hit big first party studio games out of the park and they’re going to look stunning. But God of War’s transition from game-play to cut-scenes and then back to game-play again is insane. You are essentially playing the game via cut scene quality visuals. It’s superb. While only early days for me so far I am loving what I’ve had so far. From my first intense battle, meeting some entertaining and epic characters and travelling through the realms much like the mighty Thor does over in the Marvel world using the Bifrost. It’s just epic. Only being so far into the game I cannot tag it game of the generation, but it’s doing a damn good job of convincing me so far that I could end up with that opinion.
Last week you might have read that I’ve been playing Farming Simulator 17, and I still am. However before making that purchase I took up the 7 day free trial of PSNow to try Farming Simulator 15 as it’s on there to see if I’d enjoy it. But wait Murr, why are you talking about Farming Simulator in a section clearly headed as Killzone? Well as I liked the bit of FS15 I’d played, I put my card details on the PS4 and ordered FS17. I then forgot to take said card details off the PS4 so auto enrolled after the PSNow trial for a month. So rather than be to annoyed about it, I figure I’d make the most of it and try play as many games as I could while I’ve got it. So far I’ve only made a proper start on one game. Killzone, the first game in the series that was controversially tagged as the ‘Halo Killer’ back upon release.
Well I’m over half way through the campaign and I can confirm that the tag of Halo Killer is not true. I haven’t played Halo 1 in years, possibly a decade or more, but I can remember the campaign being more entertaining than Killzone. Perhaps that the nostalgia in my head remembering it how I want to remember it. But Killzone’s campaign doesn’t come close to the epic-ness that was Halo 1. I will say though that I cannot remember the PS2 being able to put out visuals like this. Now of course we’re some what spoiled now with the staggering visuals that we can see today on the Xbox One X, PS4 Pro and a powerful gaming PC. So looking at the picture below, it’ll look terrible. But after a few hours of playing and adjusting to those visuals, you think back to what console was putting in this performance and it’s actually not all that bad. Perhaps the magic of Guerrilla Games who just have an edge of their games visually that look brilliant. I’m somewhat rushing through the campaign too so perhaps that’s why I’m not as high on it as perhaps I should be. But it’s quite refreshing playing through a campaign of a first person shooter where you don’t stumble across 1 of 6 different types of collectables. I miss those times where you could progress through a level and only worry about what you might face in the level rather than looking behind every sandbag or bunker for an audio log or photograph or war letter.
Time certainly hasn’t been kind to PS2 games. But having played GTA3 again end of last year, and now Killzone, it is a reminder that the PS2 when pushed could pump out some pretty impressive visuals for the time.
Bonus – I met some huge wrestlers
On Saturday I was at Twickenham Stadium in London to watch the Aviva Premiership final. It was a great day out and I got to see England hero’s such as the Vunipola brothers, Itoje & Owen Farrell do their thing on the pitch. When that and the Champions League had finished we headed back to our part of London by Kingscross and stopped into 5 guys at just gone 11pm for a late night drunk burger. What happened next would leave me and 2 friends left with our mouths wide open (burgers in our mouths an all). The Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes from NJPW & ROH wandered into 5 guys. No one knew who they were, they were free to order their food and chat and hang around as friends would without being pestered for pictures. That’s of course until I built up the courage to ask them. I waited for Cody to pay for his meal, and when he was in the queue waiting to collect I asked him for a picture. He was so nice and normal asking how my day had been and what I’d been up to. Sort of too starstruck to answer properly (and very drunk after a day session) I managed to mumble out I’d watched some rugby then tried to flip the convo to him asking how he was doing. As well as thanking him for the picture something like 20 times in a 10 second burst. As I sat back at my table with friends, one of my other friends went to the Young Bucks who were now sat next to each other and asked them for a picture, I followed and asked if they’d mind taking a picture with me too. They again were completely fine with this and again I was overly thankful to them for taking the time. Naturally the adrenaline and excitement was so high to us 3 guys who knew who they were. Our walk back to the hotel was over in a flash as we repeatedly said to each other we couldn’t believe what had just happened. I shared the pics of on social media, tagging them in twitter. When waking up the next day the they had liked the picture. Just further adding to my disbelief. What an awesome 15 minutes it was in 5 Guys.
State of Decay 2
A long while back I was looking forward to State of Decay 2, the first one was pretty good fun, and the sequel looked to build on that with the addition of co-op and some other general improvements across the board. But that was a long time ago and that excitement had kind of disappeared. I’m still signed up to the Game Pass with Xbox and PC though, so I decided to download the game and give it a go.
If you don’t know State of Decay 2 is a zombie apocalypse game where you try to build a community to survive by finding other survivors and gather resources to get upgrades and supplies. It’s exclusive to Xbox One and Windows 10 like Sea of Thieves, and so far it has not been that well received by critics, although it seems like the the public are a little more forgiving.
After a couple of hours of solo playing I have to say that I’m feeling pretty ‘meh’ about it all. At its core it’s an ok survival game with some interesting community building aspects to it. But it just feels so clunky and un-polished. It’s crashed on me numerous times, the controls feel wishy washy and non-responsive a lot of the time, the vehicle controls are bad at best. The people you meet don’t seem very interesting or even very real.
At the start of the game you get to pick two starting characters to play with, there are various ones to choose from and I picked a couple who had met and started a relationship during the apocalypse and stuck together throughout. I was interested to see what would happen if one of them died – would the other one care? No, no they don’t, not even a mention of them after they were gone…. It’s these little things that kind of build up and eventually ruin the immersion a bit. To me it seems more like the characters are role playing an apocalypse rather than living one, like some kind of interactive theme park where you get to spend the day surviving against actor zombies – how cool would that be by the way!
I’m willing to give it a bit more time, because it’s kind of casual fun and I’m going to try and convince a friend to jump in and play as it will probably be a bit more fun with others, but right now as a solo experience it doesn’t really make me want to go back to play. It’s just a bit disappointing that after so long State of Decay 2 doesn’t quite live up to the expectations.