2017 Video Games Tag

Recently, this set of questions has been popping up a lot on Twitter. Although it’s not really classed as a tag, the questions seemed to be a good starting point for a blog, so here we are! The entire question list was pretty long so I’ve picked out some of my favourites. Enjoy!

Very First Video Game

Image result for twilight princessSo my very first video game was The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. When I was a kid pretty much all of the family games came from car boot sales, so when my stepdad picked up Zelda and brought it home I was thrilled to see a purchase that wasn’t Wii Sports/Party/Play. I was instantly obsessed with this game and finished Twilight Princess in under a week! It’s been nine years since I completed Zelda for the first time and its always stuck with me. It will always be the game that kindled my love for video games. Thank you, Zelda!

Best Soundtrack 

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To me, Journey is the game to play if you want to relax. It’s the game that I come back to when I want to kill time and just enjoy my surroundings. Whilst I was on my second play through I took a backseat from the story and began to notice how peaceful and moving the soundtrack was. Ranging from soft mellow tones and sudden louder tempos that mirror the mood of the game perfectly, the soundtrack to Journey is mind blowing. I’ve actually bought the soundtrack on iTunes and I listen to it when I’m working or driving somewhere because I find it so relaxing. Even if you haven’t played Journey (what are you waiting for?!) everyone should listen to Austin Wintory’s beautiful score, its simply breath taking.

Picture of a Game Setting You Wish You Lived In

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Abzu is a somewhat similar game to Journey, but set underwater. The use of soft colours and dreamy light makes the atmosphere in Abzu so calming and tranquil. I love swimming and the warm, tropical waters that fill the world of Abzu seem so peaceful to lose myself in. I’ve often found myself admiring screenshots of this game for far too long simply because I’m astounded at how good and well-executed the game design is. Similar to the game Journey, Abzu also has a soothing soundtrack which would make living in this watery world even more peaceful and relaxing. Sign me up!

Your Current Favourite Video Game

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At the minute I’m immersing myself in The Last Guardian and I’m absolutely in love with it! The graphics, the art style and the story are incredible. The seven year wait between announcement and release have been completely worth the wait for me, as the game delivers on the hype ladled on it effortlessly. Not only do I love the gameplay but I love Trico! The huge cat/dog/bird hybrid plays the role of your companion throughout the game. He acts so much like a real animal that I find myself constantly watching him, waiting for him to sneeze or scratch his ears so I can mew at him with adoration.

A Game You Thought You Wouldn’t Like But Ended up Loving

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As  I stated in a previous blog post Bloodborne is a game that I would have normally avoided had I not seen all of the rave reviews. On a whim I bought Bloodborne and that’s a decision I’ll never regret. On my journey into Yharnam I found myself unveiling a rich backstory and lore that was hidden behind the brutal slaughter of its fierce beasts. To this day, its my second favourite game of all time. which brings us to..

*drum roll please*
Your Favourite Game of all Time

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I had the good fortune of playing the Last of Us on both the PS3 and the PS4. Both times I played it I was astounded by the quality of story, gameplay and graphics. Naughty Dog have always produced fantastic games and The Last of Us is no exception. With incredible voice acting and a cast characters whom you feel a connection with The Last of Us is a first class game. I’m a sucker for post apocalyptic stories and when this was released I just knew that I would love it, and I did. The Last of Us is easily my favourite game of all time and I’m hoping that its successor, The Last of Us Part 2 will be a worthy successor. See you soon, baby girl.

 

 

 

 

 

My Favourite Books of 2016

2016 will probably go down as being a pretty disappointing year. Mine wasn’t too bad but at times it definitely wasn’t all sunshine and roses. I did however read some outstanding pieces of literature. Thanks to Goodreads, I now have a rolling log of all the books I’ve read and I’ve been looking back at some of my favourites to remind myself  how amazing some of them were. Here comes my favourite five of 2016!

Number 5
My Husbands Son – Deborah O’Connor

My Husband's Son by Deborah O'Connor

I loved this book mainly because of its ending. I was expecting a completely different conclusion to the one that O’Conner produced and although at the time I was annoyed by this, after a few months passed and I’d had more time to think about this book, I decided that I was suddenly a fan of the unexpected ending. This novel is so unlike most other missing child genre books, I’ve read a lot of these books. Usually the ending is pretty predictable, missing child gets reunited with family, and all is good again, simple. This book however, is a little different than that, its fantastic, brilliantly driven, with intriguing characters and amazing story line.I  won’t spoil it the big twist, you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

Number 4
The Beauty of The End – Debbie Howells
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I was drawn to Killing Kate based on the blurb on the back. The premise that a serial killer has been murdering people who all share a similarity with you sent shivers down my spine. The book is fast paced and gets into the action almost right away, which is something that I actively look for in thriller novels. I spent the whole book accusing almost every character of murder because the actual identity of the culprit was hidden so well in the text that the twist genuinely shocked me. I was so in love with Killing Kate that I bought Alex Lake’s other novel, After Anna before I’d concluded this novel, which to me is a sign of a very talented author.

Number 3
The Beauty of The End – Debbie Howell
The Beauty of the End

I’m a really big fan on Debbie Howells, and could have placed her other novel The Bones of You in this spot just as easily, but for me, Beauty of the End took the winning spot. There is something so beautifully elegant about the way that Howells writes, the words flow on the page as she tells a story of  Noah, the ex-lawyer thrust back into the life of his ex April, who is in a comma and also the lead subject of a murder investigation. This book is hauntingly alluring and it did something to my perspective of the world. Its also important to note that I think this is the most beautiful cover of a book I’ve seen for some time, the cover mirrors the ghostly beautiful content inside. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, it deserves to be read.

Number 2
Only We Know – Karen Perry
Only We Know by Karen Perry
One of the very last books that I read in 2016, a book that I finished on Christmas day itself was Only We Know by Karen Perry. (pen name for  duo Karen Gillece and Paul Perry) To this day I’m not sure what I loved so much about this book, apart from the fact that I loved the premise and the closeness of the three main characters Luke, Nick and Katie that they remained drawn together by this secret even though they themselves had grown apart. Throughout this book there are many twists and shocking reveals which kept me on my toes and kept me turning pages. Overall a fantastic book and for a long time after I finished it I was in awe of how well the story had tied together. To this day I’m still thinking about how powerful this novel was.

Number 1
The Night Book – Richard Madeley
The Night Book by Richard Madeley

I was completely blown away by this book, I read it mid July and the fact that I could still remember every detail of it by December definitely told me that I would be thinking about this book for a long time. A bit of backstory is needed here, I normally don’t read books that are set before the 2000’s, its just a reading habit of mine, and when I realised that this book was set during the hottest summer of 1976, my heart fell slightly.  Never the less I had paid money for this book and was determined to finish it. I was astounded by how much I loved this book. quickly forgetting is time and setting as I began to delve into the story and the characters. I read this book during the hottest day of the year that we had in the UK and that aspect made me feel like I was in the novel. The thing that made me love this book is that I felt so connected to the characters, I understood their strife and the issues they had to deal with. This book stayed with me and I couldn’t really ever get it out of my head, therefore it is my 2016 book of the year.

‘You Died’ Bloodborne Ranking of all Bosses, Part Two

In my last post, ‘You Died’, I talked about some of the easiest Bloodborne bosses I’d faced. Now it’s time to talk about the hardest ones, the ones that had me throwing my controller across the room and swearing incoherently at the screen! So, here’s a countdown of the eight hardest Bloodborne bosses:

 

8- Blood Starved Beast

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This boss is actually pretty terrifying. He has two folds of skin flapping off his back and bones that protrude out of his poisonous body. The poison aspect of the Blood Starved Beast is something that really put me on my back during this battle. So many times I had whittled him down to low health only to die unexpectedly thanks to the slow poison that had been building up during the fight. Along with his poison, The Blood Starved beast gets deadlier the lower his health gets, gaining speed and attack boosts once you half his health. The only good thing about this fight is that antidotes are littered around the arena so you can cure your aliment throughout the fight. Since Bloodborne is a game that relishes in dark and disgusting bosses I think they found a real winner with this guy.

7- Moon Presence

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During my play through I received items called ‘One Third of Umbilical Cord’, I didn’t know what these things were but as any curious player I decided to use them. I continued through my game play and when I finally beat Gehram The First Hunter I was over the moon. I had beaten the game and was ecstatic that I had overcome such a hard challenge, then all of a sudden cue cut scene. Cue next boss floating down from the sky and cue my annoyance that I had to fight a second boss straight away with only ten health vials and hardly any items to boost my attack. Turns out that I didn’t need to be concerned as the last boss of the game for me was surprisingly easy! The Moon Presence spends a lot of his time just standing there watching you, leaving him open to attacks. The easiest way to take down the Moon Presence is to stay close to him but take care to avoid his tail. This boss secretes a black ooze that will prevent you from healing up. Apart from this however he isn’t much of a threat and can be killed without too much effort.

6 – Ebrietas Daughter of The Cosmos

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I really didn’t want to kill Ebrietas. After I entered the boss room and died almost immediately to her headbutt attack, I decided that I should do some research about her. As well as being a Great One, she is the only Great One who wants to coexist peacefully with humans. This fact made me feel like a monster and honestly after that I didn’t want to kill her. But I had pledged to kill every boss in Bloodborne, including optional bosses. So she had to go.

5- Mergo’s Wet Nurse

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The design of Mergo’s Wet Nurse is incredible. She wields six scythes with such flawless and flowing movement that you can’t help be captivated before she slices you to pieces. I was genuinely scared of this boss, I felt under levelled and under prepared throughout the whole fight. At one point the screen goes dark and the Wet Nurse summons a clone of herself to attack you as well. I found this part of the fight very stressful and I died a lot. It maybe took me over ten attempts but the Nightmare was finally slain.

4- Gehram the First Hunter

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After spending the entire game sitting down and counselling you during your Hunt, Gehram the First Hunter decides he wants to challenge you. Not only does he run towards you, he can now jump ten feet in the air and bring his scythe down on you at unavoidable speeds. I really struggled with Gehram, and as one of the three potential end game bosses I knew that he would be a problem for me. Gehram is pretty easy until you whittle him down to half health, at this point, he gains boosted speed and switches his weapon to a curved sword and blunderbuss. At this stage he will also hold out his hands and stare at the sky, I mistakenly thought I had found a glitch and continued to stand next to him and attack away. This was not a glitch. I was obliterated in a massive AOE attack that killed me instantly. After that experience I was more careful with my timing and after a ten-minute fight I executed The First Hunter.

3- Rom The Vacuous Spider

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I never thought that a fat misshapen spider would ever cause me this many problems. I had heard rumors about Rom and therefore was apprehensive going into the boss fight. And wow it was a lot harder than I ever expected it to be. My first issue with Rom the Vacuous spider was her army of spiders that she summons upon entering the fight. These spiders are a serious pain, if you get trapped by them they will easily stunlock you to death. The second problem with Rom are her magical attacks, these can come from both the sky and the ground underneath you, and are only avoidable if you run away from the boss you’re trying to defeat. Finally the third thing I struggled with was Rom herself, every time you get close enough to her to get in a hit, she body slams you to you ground, taking the majority of your health at the same time. I hated this boss. In the end my winning tactic was to run in with the cannon, take a shot and run away like a coward before her mass of spiders could take me out. When I finally killed Rom, I threw my controller on the bed and sat in silence for five minutes in awe of what I had just accomplished.

2- Martyr Logarius

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When I was exploring Castle Cainhurst I stumbled upon Martyr Logarius and instantly regretted it. I struggled the most with arcane attacks throughout the whole game so I knew that I would struggle with a Boss who only used them. In my first few attempts I died to his magic attacks without even touching him or lowering his health bar. I really thought that I would have to ignore this boss and go ahead and finish Bloodborne without killing this guy. I left the Martyr alone for a long time before I attempted to come back and fight him again. I hated this boss so much and had so much trouble with him that I will definitely be avoiding castle Cainhurst in my next play though of Bloodborne.

1- Father Gascoigne

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Dam you Father Gascoigne! I have never hated anything as much as this boss. I don’t know much about other players but I felt so triumphant after finally beating the Cleric Beast that I naively thought that I would find the rest of the game a breeze. After my first defeat to Father Gascoigne I simply brushed my death off as lack of knowledge for the boss and tried again. After my twenty-fifth death I began to get cross and my controller spent more time in the air or on the floor than in my hands. I really hated that a boss this early on in the game (the first mandatory boss) was so difficult. I had hardly any problem parrying Gascoigne and getting him down to half health, but I just could not get past his Werewolf stage. I really did think that this would be all of Bloodborne that I would ever see because I just couldn’t get past this him. I so desperately wanted to get to the Cathedral Ward and finish the game but for a long time Father Gascoigne was like a big red stop sign blocking my way. On my thirty fourth attempt (Yes it really did take that long) equipped with as many Molotovs as I could hold I somehow managed to kill Father Gascoigne. I have never felt so relived in my entire life. Screw you Father Gascoigne, screw you.

The World of The Wind Waker

The Legend of Zelda is easily my favourite video game franchise. In times of sadness, loneliness or boredom, I’d often go to the spare room and escape into the kingdom of Hyrule. These days I play on a more competitive level, meaning that I’m challenging myself to complete as many Zelda games as possible, the most recently completed: The Wind Waker. This game is amazing. Honestly, one of my favourites.
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I know that Wind Waker gets a lot of mixed reviews, mostly due it its extreme change in style (the cartoony theme was a significant alteration from earlier games such as Ocarina of Time or Oracle of Ages) and for some reason, lots of people didn’t like this.
I, however, love it. When I first got into LoZ over six years ago I believed that the current game I was playing, Twilight Princess was a unique individual, so when I came across the other games I was amazed. Since that moment I decided that I wouldn’t be happy
until I got to play Wind Waker.

It took me three years to save up and then find a working GameCube and game. And I finally got my hands on the combo after my sixteenth birthday. Annnnd two years later I’ve finally completed it. My exams annoyingly detained me from enjoying myself. That’s student life for you. Anyway that’s all beside the point. The Wind Waker has left a lasting impression on me; I want to talk about it!

By the time I’d completed The Wind Waker I already had finished, Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword, Spirit Tracks, Oracle of Ages, Majora’s Mask and A Link between Worlds. I guess that this meant I found the actual game play easier to grasp which lead me to pay more attention to the world. Here are the three sections that I found the most interesting.

Travelling

Sailing was super-fun for me, I used to aimlessly float around in the ocean and visit all the different islands just because I was in utter awe of how expansive this world was. Within my first four hours of the game I’d achieved little of the story line in favour of mass exploration. I loved that each separate island – and there’s forty nine islands all together – had a completely different theme and feel. The treasures that can be found in them, the mini games and new enemies you encounter, it all made sailing to new places exciting and alluring for me. My personal favourite is the infamous Forsaken Fortress. It shows how the islands can range from completely eerie and dark to homely and bright. Some players don’t enjoy the sailing aspect, but without it you wouldn’t be able to fully explore the world, all the treasure charts and the watch towers would be pointless and I personally believe that the game would be much less without it. So sailing gets a thumbs up from me 😀

The Enemiesmoblin

The foes in Wind Waker are hilarious. If you are familiar to Zelda games and of course their enemies you’ll know that they come in increasing difficulty. The enemies in Wind Waker though have an added sense of humour. So that even within the peril of battle you can have a slight giggle when they lose their weapon, gawk and then run over to it sweating with arms raised in the air. And who hasn’t done a fist pump when a clumsy Moblin takes out its own comrades with an attack aimed at you?! It’s not just the added comic effects; to me the foes seem much more realistic, in the sense that they seem to complete tasks. For example, when you come across them on their floats, they appear to either be searching the sea with their telescopes or having a snooze. This makes sneaking up on them and taking them down even more thrilling!

Triforce Charts and Shards

Arggghh. This is the bit that I hated the most from the entire game! Once you reach a certain point in nearly every game (this is not just reserved for the Legend of Zelda series) it suddenly takes a turn from being fun and entertaining to suddenly hard and sometimes, a little boring. For me it was the tedious section after the defeat of Molgera and the completion of the Wind Temple. I made the mistake of not collecting information on any of the islands on my journey except for the main ones so I had to go back to every single island. That’s at least 46 pieces of All- Purpose- Bait for that stupid fish lurking around each bay. And that’s over two hours of my life gone. It’s fair to say that it may have slightly tinted my love for Wind Waker. I still love it. It’s still a brilliant game, but I did not enjoy going back and forwards across the Great Sea, being chased by Seahats and Sharks and constantly being pulled into the path of Big Octos. So it’s fair to say that I didn’t really like collecting the Triforce Charts and even then after that collecting the Shards and enough rupees to decipher said charts! Urgggh. I’m assuming that the next time I play this game I shall hand the remote to someone else to complete this bore some task.

Overall though it was a fantastic game, I loved so many things about it and, as expected so many things about it annoyed me. But none of the things that annoyed me will put me off this amazing game and I’m certain that this won’t be the last time that I type up a blog about The Wind Waker.