GTA V launched in September 2013 and has since earned Rockstar a mammoth six billion dollars in revenue. Arguably this is not from game sales but is attributed to the successful longevity of GTA V Online. Rockstar focused their creative energy towards dropping new heists, missions, flying cars and more and wow did the GTA V community love it. In fact there GTA Online is one of the biggest streamed video games on YouTube Gaming as I write this. That's impressive considering GTA V is almost six years old! We are not here to hash out the marvellous wonders of GTA Online. Oh no. It was GTA V's main campaign that reeled me in back in 2013 and if anything I've played the GTA V main story 95% more than I have ever been online? This makes me questions why Rockstar never gave the gaming community GTA V Story DLC? Why did they focus solely on GTA V Online? I don't have a definitive answer on this. I can speculate that Rockstar were so happy with the GTA V story that there was no need to expand it? Or perhaps Rockstar quickly realised the monetary value of online gaming gaming? Kotaku interviewed Rockstar's director of design who also could not give a definitive answer on why GTA V did not have any story dlc.
I recently completed GTA V in 2018 live on stream and purposely stayed away from GTA V Online. I wanted to go through GTA V one more time. Once again I donned the shoes of Franklin, Trevor and Michael amidst the crime ridden city of Los Santos. There was nothing that felt stale about getting behind the wheel again in Los Santos. I would go as far to say that I cannot think of another game released around the same time as GTA V that held up this well.
GTA V got a boost with a HD re-release which added more detailed textures, better lighting, vibrant colours and more. GTA V really does look great even in 2019 specifically on the current generation consoles. In fact Grand Theft Auto V looks pretty decent on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Over the Grand Theft Auto history I cannot specifically say that any of them have bad graphics but even if they did I believe GTA V holds its strength in the gameplay over anything else.
We start the GTA V campaign with Franklin. Franklin oozes personality and adopts a sense of swagger that is familiar with that of Carl Johnson from GTA San Andreas. I'd argue that its that sense of familiarity between personality traits that reel you in from the start of GTA V. Not to mention that Grove Street is right around the corner from Franklin's house. Now that is some serious gaming charm.
Rewind to 2013. I remember seeing the character switching for the first time and being blown away. GTA V was the first Grand Theft Auto game that allowed player changeability and it was jaw dropping. Now in to 2019 and Grand Theft Auto V still draws a smile on my face each time I change characters. Switching to Trevor can often lead to seeing him stumble out of a strip bar with his pants down or him waking up blind drunk behind a dumpster! That never gets old! The truth is that the three main characters in GTA V all add something unique to the campaign. The specialist activation (Franklin: Slow motion driving, Michael: Bullet time and Trevor: Red Mist which allows him to deliver more damage to enemies whilst taking less himself. Changing characters during heists' provides the ultimate rush! Seeing all of the characters work in unison (including using their special abilities) is rewarding.
Los Santos and Blaine County make up the predominant areas for GTA V. Even after full campaign completion I'm certain that there are areas that I am yet to grace. At times I felt like areas of Blaine County grew stale both on launch and here in 2019. For me it feels like like Red Dead felt at times. Fortunately you don't have to drive, ride or fly too far in order to be back in civilisation. I would have liked to have seen more urban areas versus rural but this is a small gripe.
There's one thing we can say about GTA V in 2019: GTA V is a truly epic experience! It's a crying shame Rockstar did not give enough love to the story in terms of DLC. Now do you prefer Grand Theft Auto online or the main story?
Posted by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
Please note: This review will contain dramatic and experimental prose, irony and cynicism for comedic effect and the entertainment for you, the reader.
It’s a cold winters day and probably an awful day at work -the one that pays, yet ultimately destroys spirit and humanity- when I check my mobile phone for to see if I have any messages regarding the death of or dying family member; the only time I ever get a message. To my astonishment I had received an email, though not my typical email of a refund from organization I’ve never dealt with, or the gold mining company in Beliveau that need £1000 transferred to their account, so they can set up their business and pay you back in millions; an offer no idiot can refuse. This email was from the publisher Digirati and the opportunity to request a review code for Pipe Push Paradise. Pipe Push Paradise is a 2D puzzle involving, you’ve guessed it pipes.
You have arrived on an island your uncle lives. Your uncle being the islands plumber has been out of action for the pass few days and the island needs running water. It’s up to you, a silent protagonist to fix the islands plumbing problem.
It was about a week later when I received the code. When I got in I rushed to my switch and typed the code in. ‘This Product is not available’, but it is available, I can see it on the store, it’s right there. I email the contact at Digirati explaining the situation and… Nothing.
Very few games capture the essence of being on vacation somewhere exotic quite like Pipe Push Paradise. It’s bright or tropical colour pallets mixed with this simplistic childish character design that seems to be popular in warming climates just sets that tone. If the visuals do not do that for you, the relaxing guitar melodies will. It’s freeform style of play only heightens this relaxing nature, the guitar playing is free, and taking its time, and just going nowhere in a hurry, it says “Hey relax, you’re on holiday, just chill out”.
After a further two weeks, with no contact out of nowhere I received another email. “Sorry for the delay, it has been crazy here, please find new code below”. I had not been forgotten. The anxiety, the worry of feeling that the developer may think I’ve done a fast one had subsided. Once again, I rushed home to enter the code.
In theory, Pipe Push Paradise is simple. You have one section that has water coming out, and using the surrounding spare pipes you must put them together so the water flows into the exit pipe (or is it entry pipe as the water flows in?). However, the talented developer Corey Martin takes this concept and develops it extremely well.
Resident Evil 2 was released 1998 on the the incredibly successful PlayStation. In fact the Resident Evil franchise has been fruitful on all consoles and arguably gamers have seen some interesting twists across all of the RE games. Now here in 2019 Capcom delivered an astounding remake of an already amazing Resident Evil 2 experience. Without dwelling on the original release of Resident Evil 2 I want to talk through my experiences of completing the Leon and Claire campaign in the frightening new rendition of Resident Evil 2. Both campaigns were completed on standard difficulty. I played through on a base PlayStation 4 model. I was surprised at how good the Resident Evil 2 Remake looked.
Don’t ask me why I chose to complete Resident Evil 2 with Leon first; I just did. My first play though took just just under eight hours to complete. Within the first hour I burst through the front door of Raccoon Police department and felt immediately engrossed.
The 2019 Raccoon Police Department had some stark differences compared to the original Resident Evil 2 release. Most noticeably were the stairs (left and right) leading straight up to the second floor. What I felt was a sense of where shall I go first? when entering Raccoon City Police Department for the first time. I liked this feeling as it added to my sense of bing lost. I went in to the Resident Evil 2 remake with high expectations of wanting to be scared. Did I feel scared? Yes I did. Within the first hour of playing the RE 2 remake I encountered multiple zombies and jump scares alike! I remember the age-old trick of shooting zombies that are half slumped against a wall. You never truly know if they are dead or not? For me; I felt the this was a key aspect of the Resident Evil 2 gameplay. That feeling of shooting the half slumped zombie and it actually killing it before it got you or that disappointment of wasting a bullet because the zombie cop is actually dead.
‘Remember: In paradise they’ve lost all of desires, pity, love- they are the blessed, with their imaginations surgically removed (the only reason why they are blessed)- angles, the slaves of God….’
We- Yevgeny Zamyatin (first published in 1924).
The story of Kromaia Omega (PS4) is ambiguous, upon awaking your father who tells you about four gods who must be defeated to break the circle. Everything else in the story and narrative design is left to speculation. Conversations with your father feel more like poetry, purposefully left to interpretation. Playing the game, you feel there is something more going on, from the biblical use of language, the tribal totems and architecture; you don’t play through the levels but you transcend through the spiritual landscapes. My brief knowledge on religious text, I couldn’t help but think of the Fallen Angels perverting humanity.
Aesthetically, the game is gorgeous. Clearly inspired by wonderful ‘Rez’, using simple geometric shapes, ancient iconography and a neon colour pallet. However, Kromaia Omega drops the digital, opting for an organic look with each level having its own colour scheme and identity. Though it’s when you are battling enemies and racking up a combo your screen becomes a spectacle, with colours, shapes and light filling your screen; it’s very close to simulating the visuals of being on some strong narcotic. At times you need just get lost in the spectacle of it all, only to be snapped out of your meditation by your significant other saying “So?”, naturally you respond “Yes” and then get shouted at because ‘Yes’ doesn’t answer if you want Chinese or Pizza takeaway.
Furthermore, the sound design and music compliment the visuals. The electronic soundtrack is more nuanced than you may think, with elements of Krautrock, glitch, rock and ambient drives the atmosphere of the game. It’s the change from delicate music to energetic that establishes if you are cruising or blasting through the level.
The sound design really bursts you with energy and sometimes makes your hairs stand up on edge. The emulation of sound in zero-gravity makes the explosions sound meaty that erupts from your television the higher the combo. At times its all overwhelming yet is part of the reason you just zone out due to it synchronizing with the visuals.
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 was hailed a success by gamers and critics alike. What with a revitalising and stable Battle Royale mode that took the majority of us by surprise; Black Ops 4 seemed to take the Call of Duty multiplayer vibe back to its roots: simple and effective at its core gameplay mechanics.
At the time of release there were no micro transactions. Reviewers like myself happily sang Black Ops 4 joyful praises whilst tucking in to a few rounds of Kill Confirmed. Little did we know that Micro Transactions were conveniently due to appear early Nov in the form of CoD points. What else should we come to expect of Video Game publishers like Activision who so famously tainted the shit out of Destiny 2 with content pay walls, micros transactions and more. Thanks Activision. Perhaps one day Bungie will once again rise to its former glory of the Halo days? Now here we are in to 2019 and the Black Market of Black Ops 4 is well in to fruition. In fact the mere term of Black Market is shady in itself. We know that the Black market resembles the tier system of the Fortnite Battle Pass. The more you play the more you unlock. In Black Ops 4 you can, you’ve guessed it, pay to unlock tiers in order to look super cool in front of you friends with your florescent new gun skins. Now there’s a Reddit user who calculated that it would cost approximately $200 in order to unlock all of the tiers OR you’d need to pump in over 200 hours of grind. Now we know that there are gamers out there who would pay and that is okay. But on top of paying for a full price game AND then paying approx 4 times the game value to unlock al tiers seems preposterous to me. Now let’s talk about the red dot:
Over the last two days conversation had been circling about the red dot reticle that had appeared in Black Ops 4. It’s unbelievable at how much scandal a red dot can cause within the gaming world. The reason for this uproar is that this red dot reticle costs $1. That’s right gamers! You have to pay to access the dot. On top of the red dot and your CoD points Activision also installed another pay wall call the Black Ops pass. Currently any owner of the Black Ops Pass will have access to 2 additional multiplayer maps and a new battle Royale character. So now we’ve paid full price for the game, we’ve spent money on CoD Points and we’ve paid over $40 for the Black Ops Pass?
In 2019 I have to ask myself if the gaming industry cares about its fans at all? Luckily there are pockets of the community where these types of scams and pay walls do not exist. Even Fortnite is a free to play experience.
Posted by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
It's been a rough start for Bethesda's Fallout 76. What with a current Metacritic user score of 2.5 it seems fair to say that Todd Howard blatantly lied about the new technologies going in to Fallout 76. Fallout 76 as it stands today is a total mess. The lack of any qualitative quests, shallow NPC dialogue, poor graphics (even on an Xbox One X and high end PC's), stuttering frame rate (as low as 9 fps according to Digital Foundry) and feeling like a skeletal RPG, at best; Fallout 76 leaves a lot to be desired.
Since launch Bethesda updated Fallout 76 to include some improvements. These include C.A.M.P Crafting Improvements, overall stability fixes and more. Even after these arguably mild improvements Fallout 76 feels like a broken mess across all platforms which have led to many gamers questioning whether Fallout 76 will ever redeem its status within a decent Fallout library. More importantly will fans ever trust Bethesda Game Studios again?
Now rest easy wasteland wanderers; Bethesda issued this statement claiming Fallout 76 will be getting a mammoth update very soon. The new Fallout 76 update will include "new Vaults opening, a new PvP mode, Player Vending and much more".
The question now is what will that look like? We've heard Bethesda Game Studios make their promise of greatness prior to the release of Fallout 76 and sadly they did not deliver? As if they did not learn anything from No Man's Sky's Hello Games! So now we wait. We wait to see if new features like Player Vending will be flexible enough to allow gamers to set their own prices? Here's to hoping that the Fallout series will once again become great.
Posted by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
The world is a circuit. Everything is connected, if it’s by handheld devices, home appliances and the cloud space. Whether you think it or not, we are all being accessed, evaluated and being led down a path by a marketing machine; if you like this, comment, share… Slowly we are losing our free will and we don’t even know it. People fear the machines taking over but they are unaware it’s happening right now, we are monetised. The game is question is Dex, developed and published (published physically by Bad Land Publishing) by Czech company Dreadlocks Ltd. Dex is an Action RPG, 2D side-scrolling platformer focusing on non-linear gameplay, exploration and conversing with NPC’s.
Set in the future, you play as Dex. A young girl who has been targeted by The Complex, an oppressive security organisation controlled by corporations. Hacker; Raycater, informs you The Complex are coming for you. Upon speaking with Raycaster he tells you that you are the Fragment of Kether whom is a supreme Artificial Intelligence developed by ‘The Complex’. You join the resistance in stopping The Complex oppression other Harbour Prime, the games location. But there maybe more to yourself than you originally thought…
Dex also features many side quests that really build Harbour Prime as a living location. Like many RPG’s, it’s these small contained stories that end up being more impactful than the main quest. Stories such as a young male drugged up working as a sex worker against his will, reuniting two long lost lovers or dealing with a stalker of a famous singer; it’s in these side quests that Dex’s narrative and world building really shines.
As a cyber-punk title, Dex art direction is heavily inspired by the pop culture reference within that genre such as Blade Runner, Akira and Ghost in the Shell. Light pollution merged with the grit of a contaminated cityscapes drench your screen like a layer of dirt. The team did a nice touch of each area having its own economic class, the further you leave the main city the more gentrification and depravity you come across.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the most anticipated games of 2018. Alongside triple A titles like God of War; Red Dead Redemption 2 was hyped to a monumental level. Unlike God of War; Red Dead Redemption 2 is cross platform on the PS4 and Xbox One. At this stage we know that PS4 players will be privy to exclusive online content before Xbox One players. My personal view on this is one of disregard simply because I've focused more on the main story over, say GTA V Online. Naturally, we can expect a big following for Red Dead Redemption 2 online though; the question is, will it ever be as big as GTA V Online? For now we won't be able to deliver a definitive answer. For now we have around 60 hours worth of main campaign in Red Dead Redemption 2 to become accustomed to.
So far I've streamed every second of my Red Dead Redemption 2 experience. As I write this I am approximately 20 hours in. First impressions of this new Wild West Adventure are overall positive. There's an element of mystery surrounding Arthur Morgan and his gang as Red Dead Redemption 2 kicks off. Literally, it's a mystery. That's because the entire plains are covered in snow. Snow that continues to fall as the early missions play out. The entire first chapter is a snow showered tutorial that was steadily drip fed to us. From this we can conclude that Red Dead Redemption 2 cannot be judged on his beauty, draw distance or wild west appeal. It is not until the snow starts to thaw that we really start to see the beauty that is Red Dead Redemption 2.
Arthur Morgan is part of a gang. A gang that is led by Dutch Van Der Linde. Whilst other NPC's in the camp have key roles to play in missions, robberies and such like; it is clear that Arthur Morgan is the breadwinner of the camp. The Camp becomes an essential place to heal, rest, laugh, re-supply and obtain crucial missions. If anything I would encourage you to get as many upgrades in to your camp as possible. With each upgrade, stalls become more effective at stocking food, medicine and ammunition. Oh and let us not forget the all important Fast Travel. We'll talk more about that later.
Red Dead Redemption 2 takes no prisoners. Well sometimes it does if there's a bounty on your head and you get caught. Joking aside, Red Dead Redemption 2 can seem harsh at times. What do I mean by harsh? For some RDR2 is not interesting at all. Endless horse rides across baron landscape can feel laborious and meaningless. The mini map and large world map gives very little sense of scale so what seems like a short ride cane often be a 15 minute horse ride. Herein lies that little issues of Fast Travel. You must upgrade Arthur's wagon be unlock fast travel and as of yet (a mere 20 hours in) I have only been able to fast travel from camp. As soon as you're out in the wilderness, you're on your own. You might think this is a trivial point! Of course the Wild West is baron. Of course it can seem monotonous at times but you'll be surprised at how many people in my chat have disliked Red Dead Redemption 2 because of this.
On the whole Red Dead Redemption 2 is a stunning game. I've found there to be a variety of missions and a decent level of challenge to suit all play-styles. Be warned though the combat mechanics are AWFUL. I found then when trying to run in to cover Arthur sometimes stutters and resists! Additionally, the Dead Eye ability is not seamless at all. I've died unnecessarily far too many times due to clunky combat controls. Here's to hoping that Rockstar patch this.
The towns in Red Dead Redemption are breathtaking. There's nothing better than after a long horse ride; approaching St Denis and seeing the large industrial chimney's bellow out smoke. It's in these moments that Red Dead Redemption 2 really shines. Every town is different in terms of social class, wealth, opportunity and looks. Take Valentine for example. Valentine is one of the first towns you come across once the snow thaws. It's a typical Western setting with muddy roads, two saloons, a stable, a bank, a grocery store and a gun smiths. The outer skirts are predominantly farm land. Compare this ti St Denis which has a lot more diversity in social class, shops and more. Now I'm no Western historian but I think Red Dead Redemption 2 contains some of the deepest environments yet.
Another key feature of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the dialogue. Rockstar have always put a lot of time and effort in to delivering a fantastic storyline to their games. Red Dead Redemption 2 is no exception. Of course the familiar character; John Marston returns but there's a wealth of other new characters to. During missions Rockstar cleverly utilised the travelling as key moments to tell story. Arthur and whomever he was travelling with (usually mid-mission) would break out in to conversation for the entirety of the trip. The excellent script coupled with a catchy soundtrack made Red Dead Redemption 2 ooze charm. Charm is something I believed the first game lacked.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is fruitful experience and you need not have played the first before diving in to this. It falls down in the shoddy combat mechanics. Will Red Dead Redemption 2 be 2018's Game of the Year. I do not believe so. Should you buy it now? 100% yes.
Blog by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
As he looked around and lay witness to the chaos that had fostered by his very own doing, he began to understand something he had not yet perceived. That piles of bodies that were only moments ago the undead, that these carcasses were once living people… like him. These now empty shells before him start to show remnants of their past; Doctors, Teachers, Bankers, a Secretary, a Police Officer are now just fragmenting of a world that once was. It was at this point, he decided to get ice cream.
Yakuza over the years has turned from a niche darling to a flagship title, with remakes of the first two games and now PC ports, the eastern answer to Grand Theft Auto has finally broke the western market. And rightly so. Yakuza is a sweet and sour type of game; two opposing flavours combine as one delicious whole. Sandbox design with arcade brawler, dating sim and arcade classic collection, melodramatic story meets self-aware camp comedy genre; the designers want you to be absorbed in the story and world but they -like Kojima’s team- know why you are here… too have fun.
All video game series have black sheep in the family. A game that may have been misunderstood at the time or just didn’t have the right dance moves to stand out from the crowd, leaving it to walks home alone… with a kebab for one. That game is Yakuza: Dead Souls.
Yakuza: Dead Souls is developed and published by Sega exclusively for the PlayStation 3. Initially schedule for release in Japan March 2011 only to be pushed back to June 2011 due to the earthquakes and Tsunami that hit the country. Here in Europe and the folks in North America wouldn’t see the release until the following year in March 2012.
Acting as a spin off/alternate timeline succeeding the fourth game, Yakuza: Dead Souls uses the established sandbox action adventure with RPG elements gameplay but this time adding the genre of Survival Horror with the inclusion of zombies and monsters acting as the threat instead of rival gang members.
Quantic Dream are a game studio with a difference. See choice is everything! That’s also true in life too. So why not make a few video games that perpetuate the notion of choice determining the direction? Easy! Actually the concept sounds more logical than easy. Quantic Dream games like Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls and Fahrenheit provide challenges like no other. The latest edition to the Quantic Dream library is Detroit: Become Human. A story that allows players to take control of three main protagonists in a world which views artificial Intelligence both an asset and the enemy. In Detroit: Become Human we play as, Connor; an upcoming aid to police enforcement. Markus; a hired hand (or butler of some kind) to some savvy rich chap and finally, Kara; a maternal type who is hired to be a maid/baby sitter/cook by Todd. You get the picture. The three all have very different backgrounds and motives within the rebellion. I found it enriching to watch each character progress through Detroit: Become Human.
In essence Detroit: Become Human is whatever you want it to be. As I just completed the game on live stream, I tried to play the bulk of Detroit: by making decisions I would make in real life. You may choose a completely different path; to which different outcomes would occur. All three protagonists have very different personalities but at times their traits are tested. Early on in the game Kara has to make decisions on how to deal with her human owner. Without spoiling too much of Detroit: Become Human, Kara not only has her own A:I wellbeing to consider but has to consider Alice’s safety too. Alice is Todd’s daughter and it is clear from the opening this relationship that Todd is not the best role model for Alice. He drinks too much, smokes too much Pot and clearly does not know how to keep a neat house. Alice is scared of him as Todd often flies off the handle; unprompted. What is Kara’s role within this dysfunctional father/daughter relationship? Well A:I done have feelings right? They don’t feel sympathy, empathy, fear, anger or love do they? The short answer is: you are wrong. In Detroit: Become Human Artificial Intelligence; it could be argued, is the wrong term. What we realise very quickly is that Kara is able to question Todd’s approach. Kara has to make decisions on how to help (or not help) Alice. The rift between humans and Artificial Intelligence is what drives Detroit: Become Human’s foundations. The rest is up to you.
Detroit: Become Human is a game that will push your decision making. At times your decisions are forced to be made within a certain time limit which adds to the pace of the game. Be prepared for your palms to get sweaty! Ultimately I enjoyed the connection between the game and myself. Detroit: Become Human got my heart racing and at times I felt the devastation of knowing that I made the wrong decision within seconds of making it. By then it was too late. Detroit: Become Human does not give you a second chance so every decision has to be made with certainty. This is not a bad thing. Arguably it makes for great replay value as Detroit: Become Human can be played multiple times with multiple different endings. I believe Heavy Rain had over twenty different endings. It is reported that Detroit: Become Human has over forty different endings!
Does Detroit: Become Human surpass previous Quantic Dream games? I would say that it is not as good as Heavy Rain but it is much deeper than Beyond Two Souls. If you have not played either of those two games then all I can say is that you really will enjoy Detroit: Become Human. If you have played Heavy Rain and beyond Two Souls then I firmly believe Detroit: Become Human will give you a run for your money.
For the most part Detroit: Become Human flows. The pacing can easily slow down at times when the script becomes stagnant. At times certain scenes seem awkward, with stale lines of dialogue. This is a minor detail and perhaps it is something you might not experience when playing. In addition, I found that some tasks did not have a big enough purpose. When Markus played the piano in the mansion it seemed to serve no purpose other than to extent meaningless dialogue. Ultimately these small gripes do not detract from Detroit: Become Human being a fantastic addition to the PS4 library. It might not be on the same gripping level as Heavy Rain but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Is Detroit: Become Human worth buying? Given the replay value alone I would say that it is a must own PS4 game. Even if you chose to play Detroit: Become Human only once you’re going to get an experience that stems much further than the crippling generic woes of a, say a Battle Royale game. If you don’t buy Detroit: Become Human then I believe you are truly missing out. Happy gaming!
Post by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
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