By now I would imagine you would have seen the first episode of the HBO The Last of Us TV adaptation of the game. When you know that scene is going to come in advance it can be hard to prepare for the emotions that no doubt will tear you up inside and give a sense of grief that you dread and at the same time look forward to. In the moment leading right up to this part my heart was slowly breaking and I became fidgety as I said to my wife “I am not ready for this again.” Where Joel who is played by the amazing Pedro Pascale carrying Sarah through the ravaged city to get to the river due to her ankle injury and (prepare for a spoiler here) get stopped by a army bloke pointing a gun at them both while asking his boss on what to do. While Joel pleading with him not to shoot as they are not infected, my heart literally stopped as he opens fire and while Joel was shot his daughter was and to see the grief, sadness, helplessness watching his daughter die in his arms made me cry inside and to see the scene fade into black. Devastating.
Now back when this game came out in 2013 and saw this for the first time I had felt sadness but I was not a parent back then. In 2023 I have a daughter who is nearly 6 and a son who is nearly 3. Seeing this moment again as a father literally broke me and I would imagine every father who saw this. If she was not asleep I would have gone and held her close to make sure she knew she meant the world to me. Even writing this I feel the raw emotion of that moment asking the question “How can you want to make a parent feel this sense of loss and sadness?” Following this part and looking at what Joel has become 20 years later with no remorse and just throwing a dead child who was infected into a fire really shows how much time can change a person who has been through a sense of loss or a huge emotional life change. It will be very interesting in seeing how this show goes forward in mirroring the game. Granted if you have played both The Last of Us games then it won’t be a surprise.
There are other games that playing again with being a father that just break me down and no doubt other parents too. I am only mentioning a few others but there will be moments in games that pull you into the emotional pit for lots of other reasons.
The next one that ties in the most emotional is Season 1 of the absolutely brilliant Telltale series of The Walking Dead. If you know then you know! You play as Lee Everett escaping a car accident while being escorted to jail for killing someone who his wife cheated on him for at the beginning of the outbreak. Coming across a little girl called Clementine who hid in a treehouse in wait hoping her parents were going to come back. That never happens so Lee takes her with him in search of her parents while meeting other characters along the way. I’ve always loved voice actors and Dave Fennoy who plays Lee struck the perfect tone and emotion with the dialogue and then Melissa Hutchinson who played the sweet Clementine is one of if not the best pairing for these characters. Lee would teach Clementine moral values and closeness of being a parent while as the player we make those difficult decisions for them.
Through 5 episodes seeing character deaths and trauma it all leads to the final episode called “No Time Left” was always going to be a tough one to prepare for. Back in 2012 these episodes were released once every few months and the previous episode ending on the bombshell that Lee was bitten by a walker it wouldn’t be too hard to presume that it won’t end well for Lee. Yup! That does come to pass but getting there is always the most difficult to process as a gamer and as a parent. You get to see even more the close bond Lee and Clementine have while Clem sees her parents as walkers but knowing Lee has not got much time left. He wanted to make sure she was safe and did everything he could to teach her on how to survive. I will never forget how this made me feel even the choices you pick to say to Clem in those final moments. I wasn’t a parent at the time but I cried like a baby as Lee gave her a choice but clearly he wanted to be shot so he didn’t become a Walker. Clementine clearly crying to feeling the grief of having to let go. His final words to Clem “il miss you” to be reciprocated back while the brilliant soundtrack tearing on the heart strings as you chose to either Shoot or leave him there in handcuffs. Still crying while realising the start of the game he was in those handcuffs and ending it the same way. It took me a long time to get over this and the first real game since Gears of War 2 ( we will get to that next) that really shook me. I revisited the whole game series when the collection was released with PS Pro and Xbox One X enhancements and my daughter was only less than a year old and boy when I got the this part again I just trembled, same feelings as before but thought about what would I want if I was in this situation myself. Obviously make sure I didn’t get but by a walker but would I want her to leave me cuffed and turn into a walker or be put out of my misery? A huge credit to the game developers in the creative decisions and giving us the choice on what to do. I think I would rather be put out my misery as long as I knew she was safe and could look after herself.
The final game for me would be Gears of War 2/3. I’m linking both these games together as it serves one characters purpose. Dom losing his Wife Maria in Gears 2 was just heartbreaking, while there wasn’t much reference while playing through the game to Dom actively searching for her when you see her in a prison tomb and see his grief all for show it is one great big swift kick in the crotch. While you play as Marcus as the main character in a band of 4, the others being Baird, Cole Train and Dom there is the passion, teamwork, humour and emotional attachment. You are left playing thinking how would we feel as Dom in that situation and as Marcus who is the leader of the Squad seeing his bestie go through it and how to keep Dom going forward. It isn’t until Gears of War 3 where this pays off for better or ultimately worse when there is a battle and clear that there is no hope unless a sacrifice is made. Yup Dom decides to take a vehicle and smash it into a bomb to blow the whole area up and kill all of the Locust. All with the plan to see his Wife Maria again in the after life. Once Marcus realises he doesn’t want to lose his friend and the game playing the instrumental of “Mad World” while Dom blows himself up and the rest of the squad hurry to avoid the blast is one of pure genius. Yes we feel grief but also I think a sense of relief that Dom can now be at piece albeit now we feel what Marcus is feeling losing his best friend.
These are just a few examples of games that hit hard, games that make us feel in scenarios where we have invested in the characters and feel the grief as the developers have wanted us to feel. Make no mistake they can hit you in ways you may have experienced yourself or can relate to but never feel alone in it, talk openly and honestly with family, friends and the community.
Guest Blogger: @BeardedGreen1/Beard's Blog
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
Hi Team 24 I am back with another review. I do apologise for the lack of content lately. I had been tied up in Balan WonderWorld and Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise. There will be reviews of them to come, once I get over how poor they were to play. So it’s with great pleasure that I get to review this PS5 exclusive title from Sony and Insomniac.
The Ratchet and Clank series is one of Sony’s most valuable and most loved IP’s. Ever since its inception on the PS2 way back in 2002, we have seen a number of games and sequels released on all Sony’s hardware since then. The tried and tested formula of 3D Platforming combined with a third person shooter has proven to be very successful. In addition to that, we’ve been treated to a great cast of characters over the years to fill out the great stories which have always been fun.
We knew that Rift Apart was going to be one of Sony’s flagship titles within the PS5’s first year of being available to the masses. Its debut on the PS5 Showcase, gave us a small insight as to what we were able to expect in terms of the graphics and the new rift function which would essentially pull players into new dimensions and areas of the map instantly without any slowdown, pop ins or load times. Truly showing that this was a next generation game and showing off the power of the PS5.
Our story here once again pits our favourite Lombax Ratchet and his buddy clank against the evil Dr Nefarious who once again is plotting to take over the galaxy. Nefarious this time is trying to use a tool called the Dimensionater in order to cause chaos all over. We are also joined this time in the alternative dimension by another Lombax call Rivet and her partner Kit. In unison they must stop the evil Doctor to restore balance to the galaxy. A simple story but well told throughout.
One of my friends had the game and played it before I had (usually the case with my backlog). I wanted to gauge his opinion of the game before I started it. I always ask my friends if they have the game what they think of it. Just to get a different perspective or opinion and try and appreciate the little nuances that may matter to them, but not matter as much to you. So I said to him “What’s it like?” His response “It’s amazing, like playing a Disney Pixar movie". That is a pretty bold statement. After five minutes of playing I could see exactly what he meant. This is a truly wonderful game in my opinion.
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.
Back in 2018 Insomniac Games treated us to an epic piece of gaming. In my humble opinion Spider-Man was one of the finest games I’ve played. Not only on the PS4, but in all my years as an active gamer. Being a fan of the Marvel universe and all of its characters, I felt Spider-Man was as near perfect experience of how playing the web slinging superhero could be. The graphics were great, the music was a delight and most importantly the combat was spot on.
Roll on to 2021, we knew from Sony’s press launch that Miles Morales was going to be a launch title for the PS5, but also would be available on the PS4 as well. I didn’t get my PS5 at launch, (believe me not for the want of trying) I got it a few weeks ago, but I knew the one game I wanted to play first above all was this one. For some reason I felt drawn to it. The footage I had seen made it look so close to a real life Hollywood blockbuster in your living room, where the player had the control in their own palms.
I want to try and review this spoiler free, as I feel to get the most out of the game you need to avoid them. I believe it’s better for the player to make their own opinions and experience the storyline and twists first hand. That being said we do have a great cast of characters here who fill out a number of roles within the story.
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