I cannot recall the last time I was so packed full of anticipation as I learnt that there was a playable demo available on PSN for the upcoming Silent Hills. I leapt even higher to learn that Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro would be the joint mastermind behind our next Silent Hill(s) plot. Some have doubted such a duo but me, I believe it to be one the of the greatest gaming production duos to date. On the one hand we have the remarkably creative genius behind the Metal Gear Solid and Castlevania series and on the other, a director that boasts the likes of Blade II, Hellboy and Pans Labyrinth to his lengthy list of visuals. Whichever way you chose view this partnership there is no denying that the playable teaser for Silent Hills delivered a very strong start. In relation to this partnership Kojima was quoted as saying "we originally wanted you to pee your pants. Now we want you to shit your pants". So the goal is clear from the get go!
I smiled as Kojma's gimick titled "7780s Studios" greeted me at some of the first screens. Obviously I knew that this studio did not exist so I asked, What did it stand for? A little bit of research led me to find that '7780s' is a code for Silent Hills. Kojima cleverly used '7780' as this is a postal/zip code for a location within the Shizuoka region of Japan. In English the location translates to 'Quiet Hills'. 'Silent', another name for quiet and we have 'Silent Hills'.
Upon my first patrol through the corridors of mysterious house, I began to think that I was missing something. I couldn't interact with any objects, although there seemed to be plenty in my path. I didn't know who I was, why I was there and what my goal was. I conceivably guessed that my objective was to escape from the house. But I was playing a Silent Hills demo and the path was not that straight forward. NO, I found the game play to be packed full of puzzles that were not obvious AT ALL! The game play looped with each loop containing subtle changes of which I started to pay great attention to by the third loop. Aside from frustration, I felt full of wonderment; I wanted to know what had happened, who I was and why this 'fun house' contained broken clues to the story. This really was becoming one of the most THRILLING gaming teases I had played.
At all times, I felt on my guard, just waiting for a scare. I have played all of the Silent Hill games on past consoles and I am used to patrolling through dark environments and having the crap scared out of me. I was not let down by the NEW Silent Hills or P.T experience. There's a scene in the demo with a fridge that is suspended in the foyer. What happens, or rather doesn't, felt disturbing to me. I won't spoil it by fully divulging the details but I felt as though I needed to progress AS I WANTED THE NOISES TO STOP! Unfortunately there was a tricky puzzle around this part so I had to suffer the noises for quite some time. Typical right?!
In order to progress through the loops there were puzzles to solve. Naturally, clues were sparse but due to the nature of the environment, closed, repetitive, small; it wasn't long before I started to decipher the puzzles within this tease. Here is a SPOILER so DO NOT read the rest of this paragraph if you do not want to know. There are six pieces of a portrait that need to be collected in order to progress. Admittedly, I struggled to find all six pieces but if you use the 'zoom' function in certain area you will see the pieces. Here is the location of the most cleverly hidden piece: Located within the 'pause' menu. Pause the game and ZOOM in to the brain on the right. A piece of the picture will appear. The final portrait is located to the upper right of the digital clock and will automatically piece together as you find them.
I think that we have come a long way since with first Silent Hill demo but I feel that the series has always remained true to its roots: eerie, mature, gory and twisted. I could go on. I now find it incredibly IRONIC that the first EVER demo for Silent Hill was bundled in to Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation 1. BRILLIANT!!
Overall, the Silent Hills demo is a fantastic tease that made me ask many questions. I am eager to play more and hopefully gain some answer to those questions. Playstation 4 owners can download the P.T demo from PSN for free today. GOOD LUCK ON THE LAST PUZZLE. That's all I shall say on that matter!
Gemma ~ Juicy Game Reviews
I slipped 'The Last of Us' Disc in to my Playstation 4 last weekend and chose to embark on my first taste of the games DLC: Left Behind. As we know, this DLC is bundled in to the Remastered version of The Last of Us, a title in which claimed over 200 awards including numerous 'Best Game' awards. Hand on my ticker, I ABSOLUTELY ADORED THIS GAME and playing through Left Behind added to my already HIGHLY SATISFIED feelings.
Left Behind continues to adopt a colourful, inviting, intriguing and boastful array of environments, even more so in a upscaled 1080p resolution. We play as Ellie, our joint protagonist from the main campaign. Eliie continues to show strength and courage and she meanders her way through labyrinths of Clickers on her quest to help heal Joel. Now, let me just add something here. I DO NOT WANT TO SPOIL THE STORY. If you have not played the main campaign then let's just say that Ellie and Joel BOTH help one another. After all, this games central nervous system stems from survival. Needless to say, the Left Behind DLC forges the gaps within the main campaign and it does so incredibly well. For me, I found there to be a sweet balance of total peace mixed with stealth to pulse racing action. I felt connected to Ellie in a way that the main campaign did not allow for. She was alone (during one half of the DLC), driven, gutsy and determined! Naughty Dog did a phenomenal job of creating Ellie's character and slowly allowing her to evolve across the main campaign and in Left Behind.
The second part of Left Behind (or the first whichever way you want to look at it) portrays the prequel of the main game in which I was introduced to Riley. I learnt that Riley was the best friend of Ellie and had been away for some time. The two meet again for the first time and the story unfolded from there. Again, I was absolutely floored at how Naughty Dog had pieced this slice of the pie together. The backdrop was in a mall (and this was DEFINITELY my favourite aspect of the DLC) in which Ellie and Riley patrol through whilst locked in conversation. I found their conversation to be incredibly entertaining especially when the two friends were trying on masks in the Halloween Store. I found these moments to be incredibly tender that allowed me to learn about Ellie and Riley's friendship. They were very close and compassionate towards each others cause and I felt touched by their relationship (oh wow you should see what happens after the water fight). Again, FIRST CLASS character development from Naughty Dog.
Towards the end of Ellie and Riley's ploy, I ended on a pinnacle moment. WARNING SPOILER ALERT....... it was the moment in which Ellie had got bitten. I was gripped, totally gripped at how this moment happened. I've said before on my YouTube channel that I LOVE it when a game connects with me in a way that my body responds. This truly was an amazing experience and I am thirsty to play through the next chapter of The Last of Us.
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I have JUST read the most ridiculous article about the 'direct correlation between playing video games and drinking, smoking and unprotected sex'. It was ridiculous, not just because I do not agree with it, but because of the COMPLETE LACK OF EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE!!!!! Whilst this blog is not about reviewing a video game as such, it is about reviewing a prevalent topic linked directly to this HUGE virtual world.
I am going to swear in this blog because I am HIGHLY passionate about video games and how they affect our social interaction. I will not name the author nor will I name the source as I do not want to be sued. I will not directly quote from the article either. What I will tell you is that this is tabloid slander at its fucking finest. The article makes the MOST obvious comparison to the Grand Theft Auto series (which is a load of shit right from the get go!). Naturally, this game introduces players to a wide array of criminal activity SO, it's no wonder that this SHIT article mentioned this game in it's title. It suggests that 'Scientists' studied 5,000 American teenagers across four years and found..... WAIT FOR IT...... that the teenagers that played the most adult rated video games (yes Grand Theft Auto) were more likely to have unprotected sex, smoke and show signs of aggression!! I have a huge qualm about this statement. Firstly, this article DID NOT tell us what kind of background these kids derived from. There could have been a TON of factors that led to showing delinquent behaviour. Let's stream a few: Family breakdown, poverty, too much money, bad role models, abuse, domestic violence could potentially be linked. NOTHING! We are told nothing about the kids. To add personal context, my cousin has played video games (Including ALL Grand Theft Auto games) since the age of FIVE! He is now sixteen. He has never been in trouble with the police. Never smoked. Never consumed alcohol. Never skipped school. Never showed any signs of promiscuity and IS GOING TO COLLEGE IN SEPTEMBER TO STUDY GAME DESIGN! Do the maths!
The very same article uses incredibly flimsy definitions like 'Scientists'. Are we serious?? 'Scientists'. This is such a broad term. In addition, if we are going to present findings that condemn video games to hell then surely we should be more specific about the researchers?? There are NO names mentioned of any of the researchers which makes me question the validity of such loose findings. Naturally, I am thinking that this is another, albeit, WEAK attempt to dent the culture of video gaming and all that venture in to the virtual world of gaming. Additionally, there is no mention to ANY of the 'scientists' names. Therefore, we are unable to cross reference any of this for validity purposes.
In the title of this blog I asked: "Are we all doomed?" My answer is "no". Simple, we are not doomed. I accept that media can influence violent crimes. Note that I wrote 'influenced' as opposed to 'caused'. My personal opinion is that for those individuals that dare break the law; do so for many reasons that are too complex to discuss here. Video game playing may be a coincidental factor in the path of those individuals. Finally, we can scour the internet ALL DAY and find many positive stories about how video games are linked to improving logical, reasoning and problem solving skills in people of all ages. For this, I am grateful. I have been playing video games for twenty six years and I have never broken the law or deliberately harmed another human being. Now I'm going to spend my evening playing Grand Theft Auto V. Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.
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