Metal Gear Solid V’s Latest Patch

This short post will contain endgame story spoilers for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but goddamnit I am irrational internet fanboy level angry about this.

If you don’t want the game spoiled, read no further.

Seriously, major spoilers.

This is your last chance.

You have been warned.

Okay, let’s go.

I like to think I’m somewhat of an authority on Metal Gear’s crazy 28 year story. As I detailed in an earlier post, I’ve grown up with Metal Gear. It’s my favourite video game series of all time, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an absolute blast to play, but these pesky patches are doing a real number on it, aren’t they?

First of all, once the reviews were all out and everybody had had their say, Konami decided to patch in FOB insurance which lets you spend real life money on insuring your FOB and the resources stored there, effectively breaking any balance or economy FOB mode had.

Very sneaky, Konami. Very sneaky.

I was willing to forgive this though (Forgive Konami? More fool me) because I never really got into the FOB section of the game. Having a couple of hours of progression stolen from me by some dick in a different timezone sounded frustrating, and more importantly, not fun.

Hey, maybe the insurance is for people like me who just wanted to focus on the single player campaign and the achievements/trophies without being fucked with?

Here’s an easier and cheaper solution: Offline mode.

What I can’t forgive, however, is Metal Gear Solid V‘s latest patch.

It has all of the usual technical and balancing blah blah blah stuff which I’m not going to get into here because a) it’s boring and I don’t care and b) it is totally overshadowed by patching in a way to reverse a major plot point.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Spoilers follow.

 

If you’ve finished Metal Gear Solid V, you’ll know that after Mission 45: A Quiet Exit (Fuck that mission by the way. Fuck it so hard.)  Quiet leaves Diamond Dogs to go and, presumably, die in the desert somewhere. It’s a great story beat, and I enjoyed it far more than the awful ending that seems to come out of fucking nowhere in the next mission.

Afterwards, you can no longer use Quiet as a buddy. She is gone. You are supposed to miss her, which is pretty clear considering one of the main themes of the game is loss. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about “phantom pain:”

“Phantom limb pain is the feeling of pain in an absent limb or a portion of a limb. The pain sensation varies from individual to individual. Phantom limb sensation is the term given to any sensory phenomenon (except pain) which is felt at an absent limb or a portion of the limb.”

It’s this amazing bit of Kojima meta-narrative that really drives home that sense of loss, and it’s done really well. It’s probably my favourite cutscene of the three cutscenes the game has. Allowing you to play with Quiet for hours and hours only to take her away from you is a bold statement. Quiet is gone, and you can’t get her back. That’s it. It’s over.

Until last week, that is.

Great news everyone, you can now bring Quiet back, rendering her disappearance and apparent death completely irrelevant. Awesome!

To recruit Quiet again, you have to play Mission 11: Cloaked in Silence seven fucking times. Yes, seven. That sure sounds fun.

That’s not even the real problem, though. Why make a significant story statement just to reverse it three months later? I don’t get it. To quote Reddit user Jackenstein8098 from /r/metalgearsolid:

“There’s a reason you couldn’t save Aeris in Final Fantasy VII.”

And this is exactly my point. The reason characters die in fiction is to evoke an emotional response from the person consuming the story. It’s one of the few story points that Metal Gear Solid V nailed, and now it doesn’t matter. It was all for nought.

When I heard the news, I reached out to Konami for clarification on why this decision was made:

So far, no response.

I’ll let you know when they get back to me.

Advertisements

Fallout 4 Review

Bethesda Game Studios’ latest in it’s post-apocalyptic open-world RPG series, Fallout 4, was released last week and I’ve spent around 60 hours with the game so far, and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. The game’s setting, characters and sense of discovery have their hooks in me, and I am itching to jump back in.

2008’s Fallout 3 was released to critical acclaim, and it thrust the series into the mainstream. Does Fallout 4 fill those shoes?

fallout42

Set in post-nuclear war Boston, Massachusetts, now known as The Commonwealth in the similar-yet-strange Fallout future, Fallout 4 takes everything that made the previous game’s setting interesting and builds upon it. Capital Wasteland begged to be explored, despite remaining pretty brown and grey, and The Commonwealth begs the same but with an added splash of colour and environmental variety. There are forests, cities, farms and literal patches of inhospitable, green, radioactive wasteland for you to explore which all look definitively different from one another.

The game begins with a rare look at pre-war life in the Fallout universe, and you play as The Man or Woman Out of Time. This small section of your home life serves as the tutorial and character creation section of the game, but things quickly turn sour as the bombs begin to fall. You race to Vault 111 with your family in tow, and don’t emerge until 200 years later. The main story starts off strong, and it definitely has it’s moments. Filled with moral grey areas, it had me questioning if I was doing the right thing or siding with the right people multiple times, but like Fallout 3 and Skyrim before it, it ultimately falls flat in all of the games multiple endings. Fortunately, it doesn’t end there, as there are no shortage of side quests to conquer, locations to discover and characters to introduce yourself to. This is where Fallout 4 really shines. Most of the side-quests are more interesting and enticing than the main story, and this seems to be the norm with Bethesda’s games. There are also a tonne of sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious small stories being told by terminal logs, holotapes and where bodies are left laying that you can easily miss if you’re not paying attention which adds a real lived-in feel to The Commonwealth.

Fallout43

Most of the story characters are interesting enough to keep you pursuing their needs and wants, and some of them you love to hate, but the real character gold comes from your companions. Each has their own personality, likes and dislikes and special skills, and no two are the same. From robots, to dogs, to boring-ass humans, each has an interesting backstory. Almost all of them have special Mass Effect-style loyalty quests tied to them that you can complete, but other than earning a few extra brownie points and undying loyalty, these don’t really lead to anything spectacular. You can also dismiss them to any of your settlements throughout the game as you recruit more, but be warned, dismissing a companion is the scariest thing I’ve encountered in the game thus far. I’ve had companions (who I’ve loaded a shit tonne of valuable loot onto, might I add) disappear, only to turn up at the settlement I sent them to many real-life days later, and act as if nothing happened. To keep the heart healthy, I’ve started dismissing them to the settlement when I’m actually there instead of miles away from it, so they don’t get lost or whatever the fuck else they were doing Tuesday through Friday last week.

Another welcome change is the overhaul to many of the game’s mechanics. As expected, Fallout 4 runs a lot smoother than the previous in the series. It’s no secret that V.A.T.S was introduced to address the lackluster combat mechanics of Fallout 3, and V.A.T.S is still present in Fallout 4 (probably because it’s an iconic mechanic that is instantly recognisable and really, really fucking cool) but it’s live combat mechanics have increased dramatically. Controls feel responsive and tuned, and you can now aim down the sites instead of exclusively firing from the hip. I often find myself using V.A.T.S to scope out enemy areas instead of actually fighting with it. That’s a testament to how much the gunplay has improved. It no longer feels like you’re firing blind into a crowd of enemies.

V.A.T.S has also been slightly altered. Instead of stopping time altogether and giving yourself a moment to breathe, it now only partially slows time, meaning the pressure is never off. The change leaves you feeling vulnerable, and really adds to the tension of a fight.

Looting enemies and containers has been streamlined as well. The game no longer pauses and opens a menu for you to transfer items between yourself and the corpses of your victims/a fridge (although that window is still available with the “Transfer” button.) A window will hover over the container/dead thing in realtime and you can decide what to leave or take without slowing down the game.

Speaking of looting, it is now an essential part of the newly added crafting and base-building mechanics. Each item of “Junk” you find can be scrapped for components such as Steel, Wood. Glass, Copper etc, and it really made me sweat trying to decide what to keep and what to drop when I’d reached max carry capacity. Each structure you build or weapon you mod needs a certain amount of each required component. There are various settlements throughout the game that you can become allied with, allowing you to build structures and defenses within them to keep the settlers safe and happy. Kind of like a post-apocalyptic Sims. Although fun in theory, I felt that it wasn’t executed very well, and the game never really makes you use the feature unless it’s tied to a story beat. Weapon and Armour Crafting, however, is incredibly fun and customisable. I’m constantly looking forward to going back to my home base after a mission and seeing what utter monstrosities I can create with what I just picked up. Each mod to your weapon significantly changes the appearance of it and makes it feel like your own. You can also rename your weapons, which is a lovely little addition. (Shoutout to Splatta’ the Shotgun.)

fallout44

Armour mods don’t alter the appearance as dramatically, but work in much the same way. You can also mod your Power Armour, which has gone under a total mechanical overhaul this time around. Instead of being a wearable peace of apparel, it acts more like a vehicle that you can enter that has a finite amount of fuel. You’re given access to a set right at the beginning of the game to drive this point home. This is your Power Armour. You can build upon it in whatever way you see fit. I loved the change. Much like the weapons, it made the armour feel like something I owned and something that was unique to me, and the fuel being a finite resource moved me to only taking the Power Armour out of it’s garage when it was absolutely necessary.

For everything the game does great though, there are a couple of problems. Unfortunately, that patented Bethesda Jank™ is back. Other than the risky companion dismissal mentioned earlier, there have been a couple of times where I’ve had to reload a save because I walked off the wrong platform and got stuck in the world, with no amount of jumping or shimmying loosening the virtual grip on me.

The Bethesda Jank™ is forgivable, though. Throughout Fallout 3, Skyrim and now Fallout 4 it has been present, and Bethesda get a a bit of a free pass because no other games are as wide in scope or as ambitious as their’s. No other game lets you interact with the world the way a Bethesda game does. It’s admirable, and it’s done better now than it ever has been. It may not look or run as nicely as it’s open-world contemporaries like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but Fallout boasts levels of interaction unparalleled in video games, and I think that’s a fair trade off.

Fallout 4 has it’s problems, sure, but it’s sense of exploration and adventure easily outshine these issues. It’s world, characters and countless modifications you can make to your character and weapon make it an extremely personalised affair and no two people will play the same game twice. Fallout 4 not only fills it’s predecessor’s shoes, it had to buy new ones because it’s feet were way too big for them.

Verdict: Play this game.

 

Entering The Wasteland In Fallout 4

I finished work at 7:30am this morning, and I was awoken by a knock on the door at 01:30pm. I angrily trudged to the door half-naked, half-awake to greet my visitor with an annoyed grunt that roughly translated to “Fuck do you want?”

It was the delivery man, and he wanted to give me Fallout 4 a day early. It seems my initial impressions of my visitor were unfounded. This man is a hero.

So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to write about my initial foray into the Wasteland. Join me.

02:01pm

One may not enter the Wasteland until it has installed onto your console.

02:10pm

Still installing. Currently at 47%. It’s not too bad, though. It’s going through all the promotional S.P.E.C.I.A.L videos that were released in the lead up to the game’s launch. They’re very well done, and have that classic sinister Fallout humour to them. I made a conscious effort to avoid these videos on the lead up to release, and I’m glad I did. If I’d seen these before today, this would grate.

02:15pm

Okay, I’m on Endurance for the third time now. This is starting to grate.

02:20pm

Lift off. Start menu. New game. Let’s do this.

02:23pm

The opening cutscene is stunning. “War. War never changes.” just gave me some heavy chills. I am so ready.

02:39pm

Spent 15 minutes creating my character. This always instills me with such fear, after getting stuck with the most ridiculous looking dude in Mass Effect and Skyrim for 100+ hours. I think I’ve nailed it this time, though. Just ask me again in 20 hours.

03:10pm

I have exited Vault 111, and entered the Wasteland. It’s every bit as overwhelming and beautiful as it was in Fallout 3. The Vault section was interesting as well, but I’ll leave that for you to discover.

03:12pm

I have found an ashtray and a desk fan, but no cigarettes or power outlets. The Wasteland is an unforgiving place.

03:17pm

I just spent a good minute trying to get through a door. That next-gen Bethesda jank.

03:33pm

I have made friends with a dog. I didn’t see that coming. This is nice.

03:40pm

I really should shower. As I said earlier, I was woken up by the delivery man, and when I saw I had Fallout 4 there was no time to shower. I think I might avoid showering today to heighten the “immersion.”

04:00pm

No, I really need a shower. I’m taking a break.

04:06pm

Okay, I’m back.

04:16pm

I found a town! Crawling with raiders, though. After a pretty intense firefight, I’ve found my first NPCs. They want me to clear their town of enemies. Should be easy enough.

04:21pm

I just got absolutely splattered by a Deathclaw. That was terrifying.

04:24pm

I just absolutely splattered a Deathclaw. That was exhilarating.

04:35pm

Okay, I now have multiple quests. I’m going to stick to the main quests for now, I have a habit of getting sucked into sidequests for hours and hours and never seeing the end of the main story.

04:44pm

Hey, I found some cigarettes. Maybe the Wasteland isn’t that bad of a place after all.

04:45pm

They’re labelled under “Junk” and I can’t smoke them. I am living in Hell.

05:05pm

I’ve made friends and they’ve sent me on a mission to help out a settlement a few miles from theirs. On my journey I fed on some sort of mutated dog. Speaking of dogs, mine seems to have disappeared and my Pip-Boy is not helping me locate him. I hope you’re okay, dog, wherever you are.

05:15pm

I made it to the settlement. Their leader wants me to go clear a car manufacturing plant of raiders. I’m starting to feel a little bossed around and unappreciated.

05:23pm

I was just attacked by a group of feral ghouls. I had heard about these, but never have I encountered them in my two long hours in the Wasteland. They almost killed me, but I was somehow able to stop time mid-fight and eat some food to restore my energy. I bounced back and took them all out. I have experienced no such horror before.

05:27pm

I have radiation poisoning and I miss my dog.

06:30pm

I have completed my assault on the car manufacturing plant. I went right through the front door and came under heavy fire. After dispatching the first few waves and then running into another pack of ghouls, I discovered a back entrance that could have made my initial attack a lot easier. The Wasteland does not hold your hand. As I went deeper into the factory, things got heated. I came across a number of auto-turrets that had some serious firepower compared to my level 5 self, but I was resilient and after using every item of aid at my disposal and all of my ammo, I completed my objective. I broke my leg at one point, but that seems to have healed, somehow. The future is weird.

06:33pm

Upon leaving the factory, my dog greeted me. Where the fuck have you been, man? I have so much to tell you.

06:40pm

I made it back to the settlement’s leader and she gave me 99 bottlecaps for my efforts. I slept in her bed, because walking around with 3HP is fucking terrifying. I think that’s enough for now. I will rest here. Also, I should probably have some breakfast.

Impressions:

Initial impressions are good. It’s just Fallout 3, with some added frills, and that’s not a bad thing. The visuals are a definite improvement on Fallout 3 and New Vegas but aren’t really up to par with other games that are coming out these days. I haven’t really experienced any severe framerate issues, and apart from the aforementioned trouble getting through a door earlier on, traversing is pretty smooth. I’m finding the menus a little difficult to navigate, but I’m sure that will become second nature in time. Gun mechanics have definitely improved, but V.A.T.S is still king. Throwing grenades and Molotov cocktails is a recipe for suicide. I’ll write back with some final thoughts once I’ve experienced a bigger chunk of the game.

Fallout. Fallout never changes.

Star Wars Battlefront: A New Hope?

A long time ago, in a galaxy not very far away at all, good Star Wars games were a thing. Only 10 years ago, we were playing the incredible Star Wars: Battlefront II and Lego: Star Wars. Series like Jedi KnightRogue Squadron and Knights of the Old Republic were fresh in our mind, and whenever a new Star Wars video game was announced, people were excited. LucasArts, the developer and publisher of Star Wars video game outings, were a force to be reckoned with.

Something happened, though, and I’m not sure what. Star Wars video games became a mediocre affair, with admirable attempts like The Force Unleashed, or The Old Republic not really wowing audiences. The former being a fairly repetitive jaunt that succeeded based on the Star Wars license alone, and the latter being a free-to-play MMORPG, which is cool if you’re into that kind of thing…

forceunleashed

The much beloved Battlefront series was awaiting a third installment, which floated around development hell for years before eventually disappearing into nothing. Many remnants of what was meant to be are available on the internet if you go looking for them, and it looked brilliant, but unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

Being a fan of Star Wars and video games seemed to be a punishing ordeal. All hope seemed to be lost.

Until E3 2012. A trailer was released for Star Wars 1313, and oh man, the internet caught fire. It looked like a true return to form for the Star Wars video game division. The trailer for the third-person action shooter had an interesting premise and stunning set pieces, much like the Uncharted series, and it blew fans away. The story was rumoured to be centred around fan favourite Boba Fett at the beginning of his bounty hunting career. It was what fans had been waiting for.

1313

Then, disaster struck. As if millions of voices screaming with approval were suddenly silenced. In 2013, The Walt Disney Company acquired the Star Wars license, and in turn LucasArts. Development of the game was put on hold indefinitely. All development of future Star Wars games was handed over to Electronic Arts.

EA then announced a reboot of Star Wars Battlefront, with development being handled by DICE, who seemed like the perfect pick, considering their history with the Battlefield series. It was a match made in heaven. Who better to handle a massive scale multiplayer shooter than the kings of massive scale multiplayer shooters? But, being fans of Star Wars and video games, we have learned not to let our expectations get ahead of us. Let’s wait and see if this is what we want it to be.

Last week, the Star Wars Battlefront beta was released to the masses, free for anyone that wanted to see what it was all about, and it did not disappoint. It impressed me as a shooter, and more importantly, as a Star Wars game.

battlefront

The two modes available were just a taste of what is to come. The fast paced, running and gunning Drop Zone on Sullust, and the strategic Walker Assault on Hoth, which emulates the iconic battle from the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back, were a blast to play. Particularly Walker Assualt. I’ve experienced more great moments in that mode alone than I have in most multiplayer shooters. There is nothing more terrifying than running through trenches, pushing back the Empire’s front line, and sprinting right into the sites of Darth Vader, or more thrilling than getting that decisive shot on an AT-ST before it’s able to gun down you and your squad. The beta was a blast.

There seemed to be some balancing issues here and there, particularly on the side of the Rebels on Hoth, but it didn’t bother me that much. It’s a beta, that’s what betas are for. Also, in the movies the Empire won that battle. It’s canon. Stop crying.

There were some design choices that fell under criticism, like the lack of classes or having vehicles or Heroes be pick-ups scattered throughout the map instead of the vehicles being actual physical things the player can climb into, or the Heroes being acquired through kill streaks, but it makes the game more accessible for those who aren’t heavy into shooters. The game has a very casual feel, and has obviously been designed that way to appeal to the legion of Star Wars fans that may not be hardcore shooter fans. I’m okay with that. The bigger the audience this appeals to, the better. The original Battlefront series was a casual affair, and this new installment feels like that.

battlefront3

Star Wars Battlefront is gearing up to be the first great Star Wars game in almost a decade. The beta has convinced me to buy this game. It has given me hope that Star Wars games can be great again. However, I’m trying not to get ahead of myself. The jury is still out. The game isn’t out for another month, but what I’ve played so far has hit all the right notes.

Help us, Star Wars Battlefront. You’re our only hope.

The Top 25 Games Of The Decade So Far.

With 2015 nearing it’s end, it’s about time we started thinking about the best games of the decade so far.

Obviously, there are some possible contenders still to release in these last few months of the year, so I may reevaluate this once we hit January 2016.

A little disclaimer, before we get started: Apologies if your favourite game of the last five years isn’t on this list, but I am only one man. I only have so much time and money, and I wouldn’t feel right putting a game into this list that I haven’t actually played and basing it’s ranking on a Metacritic score.

So, let’s begin.

25. Limbo (2010)

1404071-limbo_esrb_t_720p30_st_6300kbps_53

Death is necessary if you want to progress through the dark and damp world of Limbo. Filled with traps and tricks that you won’t see coming until it’s too late, Limbo is the story of a young boy looking for his sister, and it’s a creepy jaunt through spooky forests and broken factories. It features some challenging platforming and brain picking puzzles, and is available on pretty much every platform on the market.

24. Trials: Evolution (2012)

trials

I’ve never tried heroin, but I imagine it’s nowhere near as addictive as Trials: Evolution. Taking the tried and tested formula of the critically acclaimed Trials HD and expanding on it tenfold, Trials: Evolution is more of the same and it does everything it’s predecessor did well, but just a little bit better. The leaderboards will keep you coming back again and again, and there is no feeling more satisfying than completely destroying a friend’s high score.

23. Gravity Rush (2012)

Gravity-Rush-City-Kat

In Gravity Rush, you play as a superhero named Kat, in the beautiful town of Hekesville. Parts of the town have disappeared, monsters keep appearing and attacking innocent people and it’s up to Kat to use her gravity altering powers to get to the bottom of it and restore Hekesville. It features a fun cast of characters, and Kat is one of the most likable protagonists I’ve ever had the pleasure of controlling, but how the game plays is where the true greatness of Gravity Rush shines through. Gravity Rush is truly unique, and it needs to be played to be believed.

22. Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013)

gaming_injustice_gods_1

Mortal Kombat with superheroes. With Injustice: Gods Among Us, NeatherRealm Studios have made a fun and accessible fighting game that hardcore and casual fans of the genre can enjoy. With an interesting single player story, fun online modes like King of the Hill and having the ability to pit your favourite DC superheroes and super-villains against one another, Injustice: Gods Among Us will keep you coming back time and time again.

21. Helldivers (2015)

helldivers_025

Helldivers is a fast paced, gruelingly difficult and surprisingly deep online co-operative twin stick shooter. You take control of one in a team of four intergalactic soldiers fighting off wave after wave of alien enemies while trying to complete objectives in the name of Super Earth. Helldivers is one of the most fun and intense co-operative multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had, and one of the funniest, too. Friendly fire is always on, and supply drops and reinforcements can shoot down from orbit and squash you like a bug, leading to some frustratingly hilarious moments.

20. Tearaway (2013)

gaming-vita-tearaway-screenshot-4

No game has made me smile more than Tearaway. Using all of the PS Vita’s tools, Tearaway will surprise you up until the very end. Using the Vita’s front facing camera to show your face on the screen, or watching your finger burst into the game world using the back touch pad are just a couple of the great ideas Media Molecule had with TearawayTearaway is also available on the PlayStation 4 in the form of Tearaway: Unfolded, but the Vita version is the definitive version. If you’re going to play any, stick with the original.

19. Fez (2011)

fez_screenshot

Fez is a love letter to old school video games, to a time where a pen and paper were your greatest ally. With it’s unique perspective shifting mechanic, Fez had me scribbling symbols and maps onto scraps of paper like a crazy person, trying to figure out an alien language, pulling my hair out over seemingly impossible puzzles and even leaving my game on when I went to work and leaving my girlfriend on guard duty for the infamous clock puzzle. Fez is a treat for the eyes and ears, with stunning pixel art visuals, and a fantastic soundtrack. You won’t find enemies or bosses, but you will find a satisfying adventure that will reward you for your exploration. Do yourself a favour and play this game.

18. Guacamelee! (2013)

guacamelee

You play as undead luchadore Juan, and smash through enemies and puzzles in an effort to save El Presidente’s daughter from the evil Calaca. Guacamelee! is a fast paced, tightly controlled Metroidvania, with some stellar combat and a quirky visual style. It ranks up there with the best Metroidvania games of all time, and is an absolute blast to play. What are you waiting for?

17. Heavy Rain (2010)

heavy-rain-screens_08-18-09

From the minute the game boots up, Heavy Rain get it’s hooks in you. Heavy Rain is an interactive movie by developer Quantic Dream, and it’s one of the most gripping stories I’ve ever experience in a video game. Part crime drama, part thriller, Heavy Rain will keep you on the edge of your seat with all of it’s unpredictable twists and turns from beginning to end.

16. Batman: Arkham City (2011)

batman-arkham-city-mr-freeze-4

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a superhero game done right. Batman: Arkham City took what made the original great and gave you bigger, better, more. Arkham City features a much larger environment than it’s predecessor, and one of the best Batman stories available in any medium. It also has one of my favourite boss battles in recent memory. If you’re a fan of Batman or action-adventure video games in general, Batman: Arkham City is the game for you.

15. Rayman Legends (2013)

rayman

Rayman Origins was released in 2011 to critical acclaim and was an amazing return to form for the Rayman series. 2013’s Rayman Legends took what was great about it’s predecessor and made it better. With clever 2D platforming, heart stopping time attacks and amazingly done music based levels, Rayman Legends is sure to be a blast for anyone that plays it.

14. Resogun (2013)

gaming-resogun-screenshot-1

Save the last humans! Resogun is now the measuring stick for shoot ’em ups. A launch title for the PlayStation 4, Resogun is pure fun. Smooth 60fps gameplay, a sharp difficulty curve and a techno soundtrack makes Resogun a blast, and it’s score based, multiplier focused gameplay is sure to get your blood pumping.

13. Hotline Miami (2012)

Hlm51

Indie top-down shooter Hotline Miami is a punishing exercise in discipline. Kill everyone to succeed. One mistake and it’s all over. The grueling difficulty and quick retries are what make Hotline Miami greatYou’ll find yourself saying “Okay, this time” after every single failure. It’s fantastic soundtrack compliments the intense action, and it’s music is sure to stick with you long after you’ve finished the game.

12. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

witcher

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is beautiful. It has an interesting story, and well written characters, but the real star of the show is the wonderful world you inhabit during it’s near 50 hour main story. It’s a joy to explore, and there is no shortage of things to do. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will eat up your time, whether you want it to or not.

11. Dead Space 2 (2011)

dead-space-2_11-02-14_19-26-52-57-1024x576

Alien zombies. Is there anything more terrifying? In Dead Space 2 you play as engineer Isaac Clarke, who is suffering mentally after the events of the first game. You wake up in an asylum with amnesia on a space station called The Sprawl, which has been overrun by a swarm of Necromorphs. It’s your job to get Isaac to safety, but things just keep going wrong. While not as scary as it’s predecessor, Dead Space 2 ramps up the action while staying true to itself, and any fan of the survival horror genre owes it to themselves to play it.

10. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS (2014)

WiiU_SmashBros_scrnNew02_06_E3

There is no greater couch multiplayer game than Super Smash Bros. Fun, competitive and chaotic battles between you and your friends is what Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS does best. Featuring beloved (and not so beloved) characters from Nintendo’s history, and from elsewhere, Super Smash Bros. lets you answer the question you were asking yourself throughout your childhood. Who would win in a fight between Mario, Sonic and Mega Man?

09. Super Meat Boy (2010)

485958__super-meat-boy-super-meat-boy-pc-screenshots

Super Meat Boy is simultaneously the best and worst 2D platformer I’ve ever played. Never before has a game made me shout, swear and sigh as much. With some of the tightest controls in video games, Super Meat Boy takes pleasure in watching you fail over and over and over again. The true greatness of Super Meat Boy is the satisfaction of beating that level you’ve been stuck on for the last 45 minutes, and it will keep you coming back with it’s time based leaderboards, hidden secrets and collectible bandages scattered throughout it’s 150+ levels.

08. Portal 2 (2011)

Wheatley_close-up

Stephen. Fucking. Merchant.

07. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (2014)

isaac

Randomly generated dungeons, power ups and abilities are the bread and butter of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. You start off with nothing, and as you progress through room after room of enemies, you pick up items that may make you stronger, smaller or faster. The random generation keeps the gameplay fresh and unpredictable, with one run making you feel like an unstoppable God-like being, and the next reducing you to a scared, crying baby. Isaac is a massive game that never gets boring and keeps you on your toes.

06. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

Skyrim-screenshot-5

Skyrim is one of the most immersive, deep and vast Western RPGs money can buy. You can sink hours and hours into it and still find new things to do, new dungeons to explore and new beasts to slay long after you’ve finished it’s main story. A well thought out world, well written dialogue and epic, epic battles against dragons and giants and bears (oh my!) make Skyrim a pleasure to lose yourself in.

05. Rocket League (2015)

RocketLeagueReview06

The vastly successful Rocket League is the biggest surprise of 2015. It came out of nowhere and sucked up all of our free time, and we loved it. On paper, Rocket League sounds stupid, but there’s this competitive magic to it that keeps you glued to your TV match after match. Nice shot!

04. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)

Metal-Gear-Solid-V-The-Phantom-Pain-Screenshot-8

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain falls short in a number of ways, but compensate for all of those shortcomings with the best gameplay of any game of the current generation so far. The Phantom Pain is a joy to play, whether you’re sneaking into a fortified base, or in an all out firefight against a number of enemy soldiers, you won’t want to put the controller down anytime soon. The game succeeds in making you feel like a legendary soldier behind enemy lines, and it’ll keep you coming back for more.

03. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

GTA-V-1

Grand Theft Auto V is a blast. Whether you want to enjoy it’s story, sights, or go on a full on rampage, this game has something for everyone. Los Santos is a horrible, superficial place filed with bad people who care more about their appearance and their bank accounts than they do about their families, and it is wonderful.

02. Mass Effect 2 (2010)

me2

The pinnacle of the Mass Effect series. Embark on an adventure through the galaxy, searching for clues on how to defeat the colony abdutcing Collectors. Boasting deep customisation, tight gunplay, interesting characters and an incredible planet-hopping story where the decisions you make may make or break your final mission, Mass Effect 2 is every sci-fi fan’s dream game.

01. The Last of Us (2013)

tloe

The Last of Us has it all. Great gameplay, incredible motion captured acting, a gritty, realistic setting and one of, if not the best, stories told in video games. The Last of Us will beat you around the head, kick you in the teeth and leave you emotionally exhausted but you won’t be able to stop. The award-winning story is the focus here, and it’s sure to stick in your mind for a long, long time.

A Lifelong Metal Gear Solid Fan’s Woes.

It was just after midnight, and my Mum and I were sitting next to each other, eyes transfixed on the TV. We had beaten Metal Gear REX, witnessed Gray Fox’s demise, beat up our evil twin and had just received a codec call that the base we had spent hours infiltrating was about to be destroyed. My heart was racing, and I had school in like 7 hours, but we were going to see this through to the end. That is one of my first memories of Metal Gear Solid.

Being five years old at the time, I watched my Mum play through the original Metal Gear Solid. I have gone back and played it a number of times since then, but at the time the themes and message didn’t fully make themselves apparent to me. It was the characters, the music, the atmosphere, the cutscenes! It was like nothing I’d ever seen before and I was in love. Looking back on it now, it’s funny to say, but the game blurred the line between movie and video game. It was incredible.

I’ve been a fan since. I got the demo for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty on a demo disc that came with The Official PlayStation Magazine and I played it every single day until the full game was released. I can play that Tanker section with a blindfold on. I took the day off of school when the game came out (Thanks again, Mum) and beat it that same weekend. The bait and switch with Raiden, E.E’s death and the Colonel needing scissors (61!) have stuck with me, and are some of my favourite video game moments.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was much the same story. Demo disc for days on end. Pull a sickie on release day, and play for as long as possible. The ending of that game is the first time a video game has given me a lump in my throat, and I think it’s the best game in the series. The story is solid, the gameplay is fun, and the setting is exciting. It’s a must play for anybody wanting to get into the series.

My relationship with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is nowhere near as intense as the others in the series, on account of me opting for an Xbox 360 that generation. I’ve played through it a handful of times, and it has some of the greatest moments in the series, but I don’t know it as well due to my hardware choices. Platform exclusivity is bullshit, unless it directly benefits me.

That brings us to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Before I got the game, I was looking forward to seeing how it ties the loop on the Metal Gear Saga. I wanted to see the Darth Vader like descent of Big Boss that we were promised, but after spending ten or so hours with the game I realised that wasn’t what this was about. The story is kind of there, but unfortunately it’s not the story you want. It didn’t matter though, I couldn’t stop playing. The gameplay is so polished and so mechanically sound that it begs you to play more. It’s the first game in the series where the story has taken a backseat to gameplay, and I think it greatly benefits the game. One of the main criticisms I hear from people towards the Metal Gear games is that the story is too messy and convoluted to jump into, and it feels like The Phantom Pain was designed for those people. The story is there if you want to go looking for it, but the game is about creating your own stories and moments with the tools at your disposal instead of the game giving them to you, and it is incredible.

I would go as far as saying that The Phantom Pain is the most polished game of the generation so far, and I challenge anybody to prove me wrong. There may be games that look better, but no game this generation plays better than The Phantom Pain and it is addictive.

It’s a shame we’re not going to get another one.

You don’t need me to tell you that Hideo Kojima and Konami have had a falling out, and their battle has left multiple casualties in it’s wake. It’s been all over the web and it’s victims aplenty: Silent HillsThe Phantom Pain’s unfinished story, poor Guillermo del Toro’s video game aspirations. Now, I’m not one of the people that thinks Kojima should be making Metal Gear games for the rest of his life. I am excited to see where he will go and what he will do next, but what I simply will not accept is somebody else making a Metal Gear game without his oversight.

Konami has a history of getting rid of the minds that made their properties great, and then contracting external developers to make follow up titles that don’t capture the magic that the original games did. Castlevania is one example, but more notably there is the sorry state of the Silent Hill franchise in recent years. After Konami disbanded Team Silent, there was never a Silent Hill game that reached the heights the original trilogy (and arguably Silent Hill 4: The Room) did. Where is Silent Hill now? It’s being plastered onto the side of Pachinko machines, and being crammed into genres that could not be further from it’s roots and it’s a sad, sad sight.

If Metal Gear ends up like Silent Hill, it will break my heart. Let’s hope the rumours that Konami are leaving the AAA development space is true, because if Metal Gear Solid goes the way of Silent Hill, it will be painful to watch.

PlayStation Vita Will Never Die.

I bought my PS Vita through impulse, and I have no regrets.

When I got my Vita, Sony was marketing it as an accessory to the PlayStation 4. A device through which I could continue killing people in Battlefield whilst taking a shit. Having recently picked up a PlayStation 4 this, alone, sold me. Not until I had the Vita in my hands did I realise what a marvelous piece of kit it actually is, and how many games I had at my fingertips.

Whoever tells you the Vita has no games is an uninformed liar, and you should reevaluate who you surround yourself with. Do you really want to be friends with a liar? Nobody wants to be friends with a liar.

Initially the Vita was marketed as a portable gaming system that could play console quality games, and for the most part this is true. Unfortunately, due to poor sales because of poor choices on Sony’s part (I’m looking at you, memory cards) their first party studios seem to have turned their backs on the Vita, but there are hundreds of games coming out on Vita. Tons of big games.

Okay, most of the AAA titles are coming out of Japan (Toukiden 2Attack on Titan) and a lot of them are independent offerings (Super Meat Boy, Abe’s Odyssey: New ‘n’ Tasty) but they are games, nonetheless. And most of the aforementioned games are good games.

The Vita is a lean, mean, indie machine and indie isn’t a dirty word! If Japanese RPGs or visual novels aren’t your style, the diverse library of independent titles should satiate your appetite.

But we’re looking too far into the future. Forget about upcoming titles for a second, let’s look back on the titles that are already out.

Gravity-Rush-City-Kat

Games like Gravity Rush are what the Vita does best. A sort of semi-open world game, with interesting mechanics and likable characters in an episodic story. I have never played a game like Gravity Rush. It is truly unique and I would say it is one of my favourite games based on the movement mechanics alone.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss took that “console quality” tag, and ran with it. Golden Abyss may have made some questionable choices with it’s mechanics, like holding the back camera up to the light (urgh) but nobody can deny that the game would look at home on a PlayStation 3. It did what it set out to do and the results are amazing.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is literally a PlayStation 3 game that runs on Vita. Okay, the graphics have taken a bit of a knock, but you don’t get more “console quality” than an actual console game.

Sly-Cooper-Thieves-in-Time-PS3-PS-Vita-Launch-Announcement-Screenshot-2

Killzone: Mercenary is another great example of a game that lived up to that “console quality” expectation. The game looks great, and feels like a modern console shooter. Shooters are the 3D platformers of the modern era. It’s what the masses want, and Killzone: Mercenary gives it to them.

And that’s just a few (of the few…) console quality titles we were promised. There are more out there, and there are more still to come.

There’s also the slew of fantastic indie titles. There are literally hundreds of the little bastards. Okay, you can play them on other platforms, but most of these titles are best played on Vita. Some of them just click. Games like Rogue LegacyLuftrausersHotline MiamiOlliOlli and Shovel Knight, to name a few, are right at home on the little handheld that could.

Shovel-Knight-Screenshot-001

It doesn’t end there though! When I was younger, playing my PlayStation in my bedroom and my Mum would tell me that it was time to do something that wasn’t sitting in my bedroom playing PlayStation, I yearned for some kind of magical GameBoy-like device that would let me play PlayStation on the go, in the back of my Mum’s car, or at my Aunt’s house, or on the toilet. That now exists, and it’s name is PlayStation Vita.

The little guy has access to a bunch of PSOne Classics that can be downloaded directly from the PlayStation Store. My childhood dream has literally come true!

In addition to that, there are a number of PlayStation 2 era HD Collections on Vita, that run and look better on the little guy than they ever did on their native console, with an exception or two, but lets not get bogged down in negativity here. This is a post about opening your heart to positivity, and not letting go of a dying loved one.

ratchet-vitamain

The PlayStation Vita is a fantastic little machine, and I firmly believe that anybody that says otherwise has never used one. The Vita’s following is so hardcore because the people who own them fucking believe in them.

Vita will never die, because we will not let it die.

A series of video game based ramblings by Ryan Craig, an expert in zero fields.