In 1997 we were a couple of years into the PlayStation 1 life cycle. A lot of games had already been
released over here in the UK and across the world by this point. Certainly in the UK, we didn’t get a
lot of JRPG’s in this time, nor was the JRPG genre as prominent or as popular as it is now. Developers
Squaresoft had always had their previous Final Fantasy games all on Nintendo Systems. That all
changed. Sony managed to acquire Final Fantasy 7 to be exclusive to PlayStation. Good job too.
Square had major reservations about bringing FF7 to the Nintendo 64. There was no possible way
they could get what they wanted to bring to the game in a cartridge. The benefit of CD-ROM was
more information could be put on the three disc masterpiece that we got in 1997.
I consider Final Fantasy 7 to be one of if not my favourite game of all time. I was in awe of this game.
From the opening credits and the opening bombing mission, I knew this was going to be all kinds of
awesome. I could go on for ages about what FF7 means to me, I am sure it means the same to many
other gamers all across the world. For years around about the 360/PS3 generation, rumours had
been circulating that Square Enix was about to unleash a full remastered version of FF7 for current
It never materialised until one day June 15 2015 at E3. We finally knew that it was coming. We didn’t
get much more info than that. As later press releases came along we found out that it was coming to
is 2020. However it would not be the full game. FF7 Remake would only cover the events that
happen in the story in the city of Midgar. So in the grand scheme of things we was getting a remake
of the first six hours playtime of the original game.
When this was announced and we saw gameplay, cinematic sequences and the battle system, I was
not optimistic. I certainly had my doubts. Just because it looked good, would we miss the great
story? Would the battle system hold up to the classic turn based combat? How could they create a
massive game using only Midgar as the main and only World?
So it’s time to sit down, relax, have a brew if you like and let’s get into this review of Final Fantasy 7
Remake. I just want to point out that this review will have spoilers as I feel I cannot do the review
justice without mentioning storyline elements of the game. This is also just the main game review,
this does not count the “Intergrade” extras with Yuffie. When a game comes with two discs, you
know nowadays it’s going to be a game with some real meat on the bones, so fingers crossed for
Right off the bat, a player like me is looking for that nostalgia wave to flood me with all the motions
and feelings I had twenty or so years ago. That definitely happens as the original theme plays with
your close up of Aerith and the camera pans out to show you Midgar in all of its glory at night. Only
then to zoom back in to Cloud arriving in at the train station ready for the first bombing mission. At
this point I was happy as a pig in muck. This was going to be good.
When I hear of remakes or remasters, I always wonder if the game has enough nostalgia for the
older players, and whether there enough new mechanics in the game to make it feel fresh, whilst
also welcoming new players to dip their toes into a new genre or new franchise. I personally feel the
game does this. All of your classic themes are remastered and remixed to bring them into life. My
confession is I will listen to the updated battle theme on loop whilst I do my housework it’s just so
Like we said earlier the game had to be fleshed out and given more content to the story in order to
make a small segment of the original feel like a full epic saga. The game is broken up into eighteen
chapters and to complete the game without any side quests you are looking around 35 hours. Which
is pretty much the standard for an RPG these days. Square Enix have done a fantastic job with this,
making sectors 5, 6 and 7 into sprawling towns with lots of areas to traverse in between them. Some
sections of the game (especially in the sewers) does feel like filler rather than anything else and
those are the parts when the game can get tedious.
However, there are sections in the game when you spend time and complete missions with Wedge,
Jessie and Biggs. These three members of Avalanche didn’t do much during the original game. But
here we get a real introduction to them and their characters and what makes them tick. They are
great additions to the cast of the game. Speaking of the cast. You will only be able to control four
characters during the game. Cloud, Barret, Tifa and Aerith. Our trusty ally Red XIII does join the party
towards the end of the game, but you are not able to control him, or have any influence on what he
does. For me that was a shame, but I can understand why, as he gets introduced so late into the
game, there wouldn’t have been much point in building his stats or Materia XP with him.
The characters are great though and all the voice acting is fantastic. I really think Barret impressed
me most out of them all. He acts and sounds exactly as I expected him to. My only quip with the
voice acting, and this is coming common place in most JRPG’s is the over use of characters nodding
or making a move and doing a HMPH noise. I get it’s a more of a culture thing of the Far East, but it
gets annoying (even more annoying when your wife starts copying it too).
On the whole the plot pretty much follows the original game. The game takes you from the first
bombing mission to the end battles just after escaping the Shinra building with Red XII in tow with
you. There is one massive over arcing twist within the overall plot with the spirits that are flying
around intervening in your quests and missions but I don’t want to spoil that. I personally did not like
this about the game, why change something when it isn’t needed. I don’t think it adds anything to
the current plot and that left a bitter taste in my mouth.
The combat system has had a few tweaks and changes about it. You can opt to go for the classic
traditional gameplay if you wish, but I decided not to. The action takes you moving around the arena
where you can dodge and avoid enemy attacks. When you control your party leader (mostly Cloud)
you can attack with your sword as a regular hack and slash type move, and as your ATB meter builds
at the bottom, you have the option of using an item, casting a spell or using an ability. Your partners
will be controlled by the AI, but you have the option of flicking between them in combat to best
utilise their attacking skills. I much more enjoyed the game when I did it this way as I felt at first it
Materia is freely available in the game by finding in chests, or by purchasing at the various item stops
around the game. Again all the classic Materia are there, Fire, Ice, Thunder etc. The one missing
Materia from the previous game is the “All” Materia. This has been replaced with an alternative
called Magnify (and there is only one orb of it in the game…). The same premise applies with Materia
than you fit it into various slots within your weapons and armour to give you capabilities of casting
magic or being immune from certain spells. A new addition to the game is the ability to upgrade
weapons using SP acquired throughout the game. The SP can be exchanged for further Materia slots,
higher attack power, defensive boosts and so on.
I am in no doubt that FF7 Remake is a truly wonderful game. It was a wonderful experience to play
and I didn’t bother me one jot that I played the entire thing in Easy mode. I like a challenge but in
RPG’s I much prefer to play an easier difficulty in order to keep the storyline flowing. Is it perfect?
No, but it’s pretty damn close to it. Hours can easily fly by playing the game, it looks wonderful, and
the music gets a massive Chef’s Kiss from me. It’s a magical orchestral score. The gameplay is spot on
and nearly everything added to the game, fleshed it out, gave more meat on the bone and enhanced
that experience from two decades ago.
But I have a problem. A major problem. If it took so long for Square to make this first instalment,
how long will it be until the next instalment? Square haven’t said anything. We do know we are
getting Final Fantasy 16 coming soon, surely this must be their next focus. Also what will happen in
instalment 2? How many instalments will there be? What happens to the characters whose XP I’ve
built up, the HP they have amassed and the weapons I have developed. That’s a big can of worms for
me, but I’m certainly excited for the next game. I want to see what the likes of Nibelheim, Costa Del
Sol, Gold Saucer will be like. But most important of all. How will they depict Sephiroth killing Aerith.
I cant wait to find out. Until the next time. Keep Gaming.
Guest Blog post by Adam Foster @AngelicWiganer / @snoopfozziefozz
Up until this review, I had never played a Dragon Quest game at all in my life. In Japan this franchise is essentially a cultural phenomenon, it’s massive. I read articles where Enix and later Square Enix would only release a new Dragon Quest game on a Saturday. This was due to prevent kids skipping school and adults skipping work, just so they could play the latest release. I’d had the game for a while in my backlog, I picked it up on a whim and thought it may be worth a go. My inspiration for buying it and playing it was from YouTuber Happy Console Gamer.
Johnny speaks so highly of the franchise and how much joy it had given to him from his early years in gaming when the game was known as Dragon Warrior (due to a trademark issue) on the NES. So we are now up to the eleventh game in the series. All of them have followed the traditional JRPG formula over time, except for Dragon Quest X which ventured into the MMO universe. Various spinoffs have been released such as Dragon Quest Builders. But as I said this is my first foray into this IP and before I go into depth about the game, I say this. Why did I wait so long???
Before we go in depth into the review, I need to say I am reviewing the original version of the game. I am NOT reviewing the definitive edition which was released a year or so after this one. I also want to add that I will try to review this without spoilers. No one wants their experiences ruining. The old saying in life goes as follows. “If it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it.” That’s exactly how I feel about this game. Dragon Quest XI is probably the most cookie cutter JRPG game I’ve ever played, it feels like a pair of old slippers, that fit perfectly even after a long time. That is not a bad thing. You can play this game, leave it for a week and seamlessly go back into it where you left off. I didn’t ever at any point struggle with getting back in to it because the gameplay is simple and effective.
Nobody can deny that Marvel and all of their IP’s have been flying high in a numerous media tie in’s over the last twenty years or so, and it certainly peaked with the Avengers. I’d go on record to say that even if you aren’t a comic book fan, all of the films in the MCU have been good to fan bloody-tastic. It would make sense that for AAA films we get AAA games wouldn’t it? Now before we proceed; I was lucky enough to get the PS4 version of the game of Marvel Avengers but you get the PS5 Upgrade for free as a digital download as soon as you pop the disc into the PS5 which was nice!
The basic premise of the story initially focuses on a young protagonist, Kamala Khan who attends a fan appreciation day to celebrate all the Avengers and all they have contributed to the world. During the celebration, an attack on San Francisco occurs putting thousands of peoples lives in jeopardy. We then flash forward to a number of years later and it’s shown that during this attack and the years following that Kamala has developed powers that manipulate her limbs, such as increased reach, stretching, punching and so on.
The Avengers are nowhere to be seen having all split up as the world blames them for the recent attack. The baddies in question are intent on taking over the world and there have been a spate of missing people (who also have new abilities). Kamala decides she needs to reunite the Avengers in order to stop AIM from taking over the world and prevent its immediate destruction I would describe the game as an Action game with elements of RPG’s. As you make your way through the storyline and each subsequent chapter, collecting Avengers along the way, you will gain XP which will obtain you Skill Points which can be used to increase levels of combat and new moves to use. There is also the options to increase and modify armour and accessories along the way. Each new Avenger also becomes playable as you progress through the game, but you will realise and also learn to pick which character suits you best which is a nice touch.
Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably one of the most hyped video games since Grand Theft Auto V back in 2013. The success of The Witcher 3 on PC and all major consoles left big boots to fill when it came to CD Project Red’s (CDPR) next adventure. Fast forward to December 10th 2020, and after Cyberpunk’s multiple delays the gaming universe was finally graced with the release. Sadly that release has fallen flat on its face and us gamers are not happy. Cyberpunk 2077 has been branded “a buggy mess” and even more so on base Xbox One and PS4 consoles. It warrants the question; why did CDPR bother releasing such an ambitious game on base consoles? Why not exclusively release on the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X? I believe money is the most obvious answer. Not everyone has been able to acquire the latest generations’ consoles which would have meant a very large portion of the market not being able to play Cyberpunk 2077.
So here we are, two days after launch as I write this! I have been live streaming Cyberpunk on my PS4 Pro. The textures seriously lack, rendering takes quite a few seconds (especially on vehicles), the city feels drastically empty and the combat is very lethargic. In summary, I completely agree that Cyberflunk is a broken mess. Gamers unable to see the console performance prior to launch too. All previews and reviews showcased PC footage. CD Project Red also provided reviewers with the actual review footage. That’s right!! The embargo did not allow reviewers to capture their own gameplay. That is a red flag right there. I would go as far to say that this is very misleading in the marketing of Cyberpunk for console gamers. To cap it off Cyberpunk 2077 is rocking an eye watering and painful Metacritic score of 2.3 on PS4 as I write this. For a game studio as big as CDPR this is unacceptable. In fact I believe it is heartbreaking for gamers that are trying to play on base consoles. With most other game developers I would be worried that the game would be broken forever but as we know, CDPR are a dev team that show long term support for their games.
Days Gone is much more than a game to me. Days Gone is my perfect escape from reality. Survival is a concept that we live by everyday. Most of us do our best to look after ourselves in order to survive the strongest way we can. Days Gone is no different. Survival takes a different notion in Days Gone and in particular Deacon is guided by finding his one true love amidst a Post Apocalyptic, Freaker infested world. This is not a review of Days Gone so if you are here for a review then I suggest you read no further. If you’d like to hear about why Days Gone is an important game to me then read on.
A Dilapidated look
Days Gone’s world is immense. Broken bridges with nests flailing out of them, overgrown plants and vines consume the cemetery, tunnels that are so packed full of broken down cars you have no choice but to go slow and sketchy NERO checkpoints that lurk on corners! Days Gone delivered a vivid world that I become immersed in each time I played. I felt captivated the rain hitting the broken tarmac of the long roads! I enjoyed traveling the dangerous roads in different towns, taking risks to stop for gas at the gas station pumps whilst hearing a Freaker make ground behind you. Days Gone executed the environments in such a way that I felt continually immersed.
It’s not all gritty though. Extremely late on in the game Days Gone starts to deliver some new weather fronts that I was not expecting. Snow capped mountains produce equally as much danger as the lower broken roads that hug the riversides. The key here is the timing though. I felt intrigued by Bend Studio’s decision to introduce a more varied weather system so late on in the game? For me Days Gone was the gift that kept on giving which is one of the reasons I could not stop playing it.
Deacon was both trapped and free at the same time; bound by his mission to find his wife yet freed by the open road being able to travel between various settlements. The more missions Deacon completed the XP we could spend on improving the experience. For me I found that fine tuning my bike was rewarding!
Man of Medan seems like a long awaited title from Supermassive Games; developers of Until Dawn. Like Until Dawn Man of Medan is an interactive horror game that forces players to make timed decisions. Each decision impacts the proceeding storyline, characters and more. Man of Medan is the first chapter of Supermassive Games' Anthology series (The Dark Pictures). Supermassive Games are set to release a new chapter within 6 months of the previous. The next chapter is called Little Hope which seems to ooze Silent Hill Vibes. Once you beat Man of Medan there's a sneak peek in to Little Hope pegged for a 2020 release. It looks brilliant!
Building up to Man of Medan's release I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. Horror games with nautical backdrops don't really float my boat. In fact the ending of Resident Evil VII felt flat to me as we were stuck on that damn ship! Dark, damp and dreary ships! I can think of much scarier settings for a horror game. The question remains though: did I enjoy Man of Medan? The answer is: not as much as I enjoyed Until Dawn; which for me had a much more appealing backdrop, more characters and a longer story. Man of Medan is slow to kick off. A group of upcoming divers hire a boat, which includes a confident female tour guide. With a crate of beer the five of them set sail in to the South Pacific Ocean. Without spoiling the story the five of them find themselves in a hostage situation and end up slamming directly in to a missing Ghost Ship from the 1940's The true horror seemed to start from this point in the game which was already over one hour in.
If you've played Until Dawn you will be familiar with the choice based narrative of the game. Choices or there lack of will impact on the bearing of the next stage of the game. I found the opportunity to make decisions somewhat slow and frustrating. Frustrating in a sense of there only being three choices each time. I would have preferred to have more options to choose from as this would have increased the pace a little.
Man of Medan had some surprising jump scares. Could there have been more? Absolutely. I felt that the balance was tipped in favour of Man of Medan feeling more like a Walking in a dark ship simulator rather than a pacey horror game. I would have loved to have had more jump scares, however trivial.
What is better than a game that drenches you in bone crunching nostalgia vibes that instantly transport you back to your childhood? Five games that drench you from top to toe nostalgia right?! I recently picked up the July copy of Retro Gamer Magazine and checked out a new game called 198X by a Swedish dev team; Hi-Bit Studios. What immediately struck me about 198X was just how stunning the pixel art looked. There's a luscious blend of styles ranging from steam punk to a Blade Runner-esque, Ghost in the Shell type vibe sprinkled with some Outrun on top. I reached out to Tobias Bjarneby (writer and director) and he sent me an awesome insight in to 198X the game.
198X is an ecliectic mixture of the best gaming genre's from my childhood. We have The Beat 'Em Up, The Shoot 'Em up, The Racing Game, The Ninja Game and The RPG. Let us dive deeper in to the world of 198X.
Why do you think there remains so much nostalgia for arcade games?
"Arcades used to be these magical places. There you’d find the coolest and most impressive video games, with futuristic qualities far beyond what you could play at home. These towering machines were more than just games – they were portals to other worlds.
To me, this is the perfect setting for a 1980s coming-of-age story. Of course, 198X is hardly the first game to be heavily influenced by 80s arcade games – but what we’re doing is to put those games into context, capturing the atmosphere surrounding them.
We tell a story about discovering an arcade and finding new worlds in its games. 198X is a video game about falling in love with video games."
Where did the idea for 198X originate?
"Before all this I’d been working as a video game journalist and editor for 25 years, producing hundreds of magazines and several books. The core of our development team also founded Stockholm Museum of Video Games in 2016, so you could say that 198X is an extension of our previous work with preserving and celebrating video game history."
What challenges have you faced through making 5 distinct different games?
The big challenge was defining the essence of these games and their distinct era. Why do I love Out Run so dearly when I couldn’t care less about modern racing games? How come the opening stage in Final Fight, the first deadly slash in Strider and the initial boss encounter in R-Type had such a huge impact on me?
We found the answers not merely in graphics, sounds and core mechanincs, but in the context, presentation and gameplay variation. Visiting an arcade in the 80s was all about finding new experiences, swiftly moving from one world to another. Driving your Ferrari under the blue sky, then cleaning up the streets of Metro City, suddenly soaring over the rooftops of 2048 Moscow and further out in space to face Dobkeratops. This is what 198X is all about. We are not making just another beat ’em up or ninja game – we are using these games to tell a bigger story.
Left 4 Dead made its mark in amongst gaming fans, casual players and critics alike. Left 4 Dead 2 released 10 years ago on the Xbox 360 and PC and since then the game held up pretty well. Left 4 Dead held its appeal and value… until now.
Last week Saber Interactive launched World War Z on to the PS4, Xbox One and PC. World War Z has been heavily compared to the Left 4 Dead series on the Xbox 360. I’ve been live streaming World War Z on the PS4 and I am hooked.
What is World War Z (Game)?
World War Z shares similarities to Left 4 Dead. The campaign cane be played both online and off-line. If you choose to fight the undead offline; you will be in a squad with 3 other AI characters and then online with actual humans (friends or randoms).
There are 5 initial difficulty settings (or rather skulls). Put simply the higher the skull count the higher the difficulty! I started off on two out of five (normal) difficulty. Playing through the campaign online is much easier than offline. I found the offline AI to be slow and clunky so I would highly recommend playing online. If you’re an unfortunate soul who has no friends then rest assure that there are plenty of other players to be randomly team up with.
There are currently four countries to meander through when it comes to slaying the zombies: USA (New York), Israel (Jerusalem) Russia (Moscow) and Japan (Tokyo). There are three levels to each city except for Tokyo which has two. Each country offers players the same in that there are literally hundreds of thousands of zombies to kill at anyone time. You can expect the undead to to rather quick though, same as they were in the World War Z movie. Saber Interactive obtained the movie license which is pretty neat! The frightening movie scenes in which the zombies climb up one another to penetrate walls is also in the game! You can expect tense moments, high adrenaline and an absolute load of laughs!
If campaign is not your thing then you may enjoy jumping in to multiplayer! World War Z serves up game modes such as Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and more. Teams of four players are pit against each other but it does not end there. This is not a Call of Duty game! Expect waves of angry zombie hordes to flow through every multiplayer game! This adds a lot of tension and a lot of reward. Experience Points can be gained by killing zombies. In turn these can be spent to boost your weapons and your class levels. We’ll talk more about that later.
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.
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