Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Last Of Us -  A Modern Masterpiece

Following the success of their previous franchises (Crash Bandcioot, Jak and Daxter and the Uncharted series) Naughty Dog started development on their next big project. They began work on the last of us in 2009 following the release of Uncharted 2 and formally announced the game in December 2011. Neil Druckmann was put in charge of developing the story and it's characters and following the games release in June 2013 it's safe to say he did an amazing job. Not only did it contain a heart felt story and a young strong female character, it also felt very real despite it's horrific and extraordinary themes.

What's it About
The game focuses on two main characters and how their paths cross in a post apocalyptic setting. A strain of a fungus known as Cordyceps (It's real btw look it up) has mutated to a level where it can infect and take over the brains of human hosts with no known cure, vaccination or antidote. The infection has spread at a faster rate than the government and army could handle and has taken over the majority of the United States. The country is in turmoil with little pockets of civilisation still remaining in quarantined areas which are heavily policed and small rations of food and supplies are given. Other groups either travel across the country as nomads or take over more distant and hostile areas.

Joel is one such resident of the quarantined zones, and his area has been suffering from ration shortages for while now. A middle aged man who lost his daughter Sarah in the early days of the apocalypse he now works as smuggler both within and outside of the quarantine zone with his friend Tess. Here they meet Marlene, the leader of a rebel militia known as the fireflies who oppose the leaders of the quarantined zones. She offers them boxes of arms in return for smuggling Ellie, a teenage girl to the fireflies main base at another destination in Boston. From here the three of them will experience a journey of twists, turns, joy and disappointment until everything finally slides into place.

This game will make you cry and you won't even complain. I would easily put this down as one of the best stories ever in a video game period. The relationship between Joel and Ellie blossoms into one of a father-daughter relationship, that seems so so real. The characters met upon the way feel very real although not all of them are the nicest people you could meet. It gives a very dark view into the psyche of people and how we would behave in a apocalyptic type environment. There's also a competitive multiplayer feature to this game that adds just many more hours of enjoyment to the overall experience. Trust me in saying you will love this game.

Naughty dog were also not afraid to make some bold choices when making this game and their decisions really payed off. Gaming in general never really focuses on female characters and has been viewed as quite sexist from time to time. However this did not deter Druckmann one bit. Despite pressure from many retailers they downright refused to remove Ellie from the cover as she was an integral part of the game. And this decision has earned team even more plaudits from fans and critics alike.

Final Thoughts
Now although I only got to play this through its remaster on the PS4, I still managed to fall in love with the story and the characters. It is genuinely one of my favourite games of all time and the story is better than most movies I have seen especially as of late. I would encourage any gamer or story lover in general to give it a go. The score is amazing too and really makes the scenes come to life. The ending will really make you question your morality, and if you have any sort of a heart at all there might even be a few tears. Roll on Part 2.

Final Rating: 10/10

Saturday, 4 February 2017

No Man's Sky - What Could Have Been


No Man's Sky, I sigh just thinking of the name. An ambitious project undertaken by Sean Murray and his team at Hello Games back in 2013, it first came into mainstream media attention back at E3 2014. A game that promised much more than any before it, with an almost infinite number of "Earth Sized" planets to explore each with it's own ecosystem, wildlife and resources to discover. But despite these promises there's only one word I can use to describe this game; Empty.

What We Got

Now to call it a bad game would be unfair, the problem was that it was advertised as so much more. Over-hyped would be an understatement in relation to how much people were looking forward to this game that was in development for over 3 years. Countless push-backs from it's original and predicted release date just made the problem worse, as many had hoped for an October 2015 release as the game looked polished and ready to go. When it finally released in August 2016 we had been waiting too long, and we expected too much of a relatively new independent or "Indie" developer.

Although some of the planets look spectacular and are thriving with plants and animals most of them just appear dull and barren. To even find a decent planet one must stray off the paths the game advises you to follow. I also think the game could have done a lot better with the intelligent species that are found across the galaxy. I think having towns or cities would have been a spectacular addition but instead there is 4 or 5 little base like settlements that get all too repetitive.
There's also a lot of animals that just look absurdly unrealistic and many of the aquatic animals can be found stuck in the sky or the sand. The original product was broken and full of these kind of bugs which sadly is the case with games these days in general. Games are rushed to meet consumer demand and are rarely a finished product when they are released, a big problem in the industry today. NMS was just another example of this growing problem.

Although the recent foundation update fixed most of these issues and in my opinion really improved the game, it was a case of too little too late for Hello Games. This game could have went down as one of the best of all time, but now tops most lists of disappointments. I'm not going to lie I do really like this game but after the first week or two of pure amazement the wonder and awe just ceases to exist. No multiplayer features was also a big let down, as flying around space discovering new worlds with your friends could have been something truly unique.

Final Thoughts

It may not have been what I was expecting but it was still a solid game, and for Sean Murray and his team it was a solid first outing into the world of Triple A's. And although it may bring up the question what could have been, I would still give the game a standing ovation for what it tried to achieve.

Final Rating: 8/10

Friday, 3 February 2017

Introduction To My Blog

Hello My Name is John Whelan I'm Irish and I am 19 years young. I am doing this blog as part of my social media technologies module in college. Here I will review both recent and classic video games and give my opinion on what makes them either good or bad. I've been playing games since I was around five years old So I have plenty of experience coming into this project. I've had a Ps1, Ps2, Ps4, N64, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, DS, 3DS, Wii, and an Xbox 360 so I'm not short on variety either.

If you like or dislike my opinions throughout this set of blogs be sure to leave a like or a comment and let me know why you do or don't agree with me. If you would ever like to message me my gamertag is LegendOfArkham on PS4 or you can find my email at I look forward to hearing your feedback as it lets me improve the way I write these blogs or how to judge a games effectiveness. I also hope to carry out a few playthroughs on my corresponding YouTube channel which you can find under my name/google+ account or use this link here:

Thanks for reading this short introduction and come back every Saturday evening GMT (Including Tomorrow) for my next review. I will leave a poll alongside each Blog so you can decide what game you would like me to review next. If this project takes off or even does as well as I hope it will I may even continue it after this module has finished :) And as always, thanks for reading.