For Honor, what it’s like to be on the battlefield!!

Let me begin by saying that I am sorry for how long it has taken me to get his post finished and published! I started a new job recently and getting into a new routine for my shift hours has been somewhat challenging but I am back now!

For Honor has been out for 4 weeks now and I feel that is safe to say that it has already garnered a strong and loyal fanbase, and I happen to be one of these fans, you see I have had many fights on the battlefield over the past 4 weeks so I do feel as though I have a pretty solid feel for this game and its mechanics now. When it comes to the single player mode I find it very hard to fault For Honor, now as much as I have been enjoying the multiplayer aspects of this game I do feel that there is a major problem that Ubisoft need to address before it’s too late.

I would like to begin with the many good things I have to say about For Honor, the first key thing I’d like to discuss is the combat system. I don’t think that there has ever been a combat system as intricate as this, for me personally I believe that it causes the fights to feel more realistic, it’s more of a challenge requiring some tactics rather than a standard button masher. In order to successfully block or parry an attack you must first match the stance of your opponent, should you wish to cause some serious damage to your adversary you must be in either of the two stances in which you opponent is not. I believe it does take some skill to master this system and it does take practice with the hero of your choosing to learn their combos and what fighting style suits you.

The campaign of this game is fantastic, honestly I can’t fault it and I’m not even going to try, all 3 chapters are brilliant and immersive. It never feels too samey or boring, it’s exciting, it’s thrilling, it’s an all out war amongst three legendary factions. Chapter 1 sees us playing primarily as the warden with one mission requiring us to play as the lawbringer and another putting us into the shoes of a peacekeeper. For much of the wardens story we are used to an upfront battle but when playing as Mercy the peacekeeper stealth becomes our best friend.

Chapter 2 sees us play as the raider, though we do get to experience both the warlord and the Valkyrie in this chapter. The mission in which you play as the Valkyrie was a personal favourite for me across all of the chapters.

Chapter 3 wasn’t overly enjoyable for me but that’s simply because me and the orochi don’t exactly get along very well, I just can’t get the hang of using the orochi which is a real shame given how devastating they can be when utilised well in PVP. When playing as the kensei however I found myself loving the samuai, much like the Valkyrie mission from the vikings chapter I enjoyed it more than most of the other missions I embarked upon. Having said that I really do feel the need to say there isn’t a single mission I actively dislike, my inability to perform as an orochi doesn’t impact my opinion on the design of the levels.

The story itself was very well written, the idea of weeding out weak and raising up the true wolves of humanity was brilliant. What better way to determine the best humanity has to offer across three factions than to cause an all out war? Apollyon did just that, she believed that humans were born to fight not to be peaceful, she believed that war created strong warriors, whereas peace created weak beings. Unfortunately after all you go through across the campaign Apollyon does in fact win, while you may have bested her in battle her legacy lives on, her longing for war lives on, the war she created rages on.

Moving onto the multiplayer, there are several modes all of which are a lot of fun and rather challenging depending upon the skill of your enemy. All modes can be played in PVP or vs the AI.

1.      Dominion

Arguably the most popular mode for multiplayer, dominion puts you in a match of 4v4. The idea of this match is to capture zones A,B and C, once a team hits 1000 points their opponents will break should the winning team successfully eliminate all opponents they will win the battle. Make no mistake though just because you cause a team to break doesn’t mean they will stay broken, no, in fact they can rally bringing your impending victory to a halt. I have been in matches where the losing team has not only rallied but they have gone on to not just break their enemies but they have destroyed their enemies. If you want to experience the thrill of battle then this mode is for you.

2.      Duels

Now should you prefer some one on one action without the interference of team mates then a duel is the mode for you. It’s exactly what it says on the tin, a one on one fight, best out of 5 rounds. This is the only mode in which you are guaranteed and honourable fight, while you may start one on one in both brawl and elimination make no mistake that you can still be ganked, some players will abandon their duel for the numbers game.

3.      Elimination

Essentially this is a 4v4 duel, but you may get power ups to give you back health, a shield, an increase in attack damage umongst other things. As stated above be prepared to not only be outnumbered should your teammates fall in their duels but your adversary may not be as honourable as you, they may be too afraid of one on one and favour the numbers game.

4.      Brawl

The 2 on 2 version of the duel, besides a lack in numbers and power ups it is the same as elimination, meaning the chances of an unfair fight are still there. Don’t forget this is war, not everyone will maintain their morals like you.

5.      Skirmish

This is essentially dominion minus capturing zones. You are granted power ups around the battlefield. Since you aren’t capturing zones the only way to capture points is to eliminate the enemy, this is 4 on 4 all out fight to the death. There is the potential to rally in this mode should your team break just like dominion.

 

Now my major concern with the multiplayer mode is the people who are AFK but have left an elastic band around their controller to keep their hero moving. This to me is pointless and stupid! Not to mention how unfair it is in those who get teamed up with these time wasters, I know they are doing it to level up quicker but I have to ask, what is the point in owning the game if that is all you are going to do? Sure it gets you to a higher level eventually giving you reputation (essentially this is prestige) but that doesn’t make you good at the game, it makes you an easy target when you do decide to stop being lazy! Let’s say as an example a reputation 4 level 17 law bringer who has only achieved this through being lazy comes up against an orochi of the same reputation who has fought hard and earned their reputation, who is going to win? The orochi obviously.

Honestly though any player who has simply played the game properly and gone to war whatever level they may be will destroy those who have essentially cheated their way through. To those who choose to impact upon the experience of others through doing this, shame on you, your reputation doesn’t make you good, fighting and killing the enemy on the battlefield is what makes you good.

As far as the heroes go they are all very well designed, I do believe the peacekeeper, orochi and the kensei to be OP at the moment but I won’t take anything away from those who have mastered how to play as them, those who actually utilise these characters to their full potential make for an impressive adversary, though some people do prefer to simply spam the same OP attacks from these classes which are undoubtedly irritating for those who have to fight them. My personal favourite warriors are the warden, the Valkyrie and the nobushi, for me all three of these classes are amazing to play as, the warden is a good class for someone who is new to the game and the other two are good for showcasing your speed and skill.

The assassin classes I struggle to play as, I’m very aggressive in my play style and they just don’t suit that. Should you be able to master one of them though you will prove to be a valuable ally and a dangerous enemy.

In conclusion this game is easily the best game I have played so far this year, only just beating nioh, the multiplayer is fantastic except for the AFK players. Should you wish to pick this game up I shall see you on the battlefield, be it allies or enemies one thing is certain, it’s going to be a war!

Oh and if you guys are interested in not only the game but history of the legendary warriors featured in it then I recommend checking out Lee Vockins The infinite one, they have done an awesome post on the history surrounding the factions and the warriors within them. I’ll leave a link to their post below. Thanks for reading guys, I’ll be back with a new post really soon.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/121873026/posts/296

 

 

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Welcome to the family! A Resident Evil 7 review

I can’t stress enough that there will be spoilers below, if you haven’t played Resident Evil 7 yet then only continue reading at your own discretion. Never have I been more relieved in my gaming life than when I played Resident Evil 7, the Resident Evil series has been a pinnacle franchise for the survival horror genre, in fact it was a pioneer for the survival horror genre, I think it’s safe to say that we can all remember the horrors of the mansion that we treaded through in 1996, those memories have stayed with me since my first time of walking the halls of that hell hole. But I think it’s fair to say that recent instalments of the series haven’t really stayed true to their heritage and that for me is a real shame, I didn’t find 5 or 6 to be scary at all, I never struggled for ammo, the gameplay was very predictable and while I still enjoyed them it felt like the franchise was becoming stale, well the numbered entries were becoming stale. It was becoming so predictable, we knew that we were going to be killing a bunch of bio-weapons, including the monsters I.e. zombies that are created because of them. The only way this franchise could truly return to its full glory would be to return to what gave the franchise all its glory in the first place.

resident-evil-7-biohazard-miaResident Evil 7 did just that, in my mind this is a survival horror masterpiece, it was unpredictable, it was scary, it was true horror. We weren’t some well-trained agent that’s extremely proficient in combat, we were just a normal guy who unfortunately got dragged into the horrors of the baker house in Dulvey, Louisiana. I have always thought that for a survival horror game to be truly scary you can’t be some incredibly skilled character that you know can survive anything, no, for it to really terrify you, you need to feel powerless, you need to feel like the odds are really stacked against you, that your chances of survival are minimal at best. Ammo shouldn’t be handed out like candy it should be so much more valuable than it has been in previous Resident Evil games, having all the ammo that you could possibly need is like a safety net, you’re not going to be as scared because you know that no matter what you can fight back and you have a chance of winning that fight. In this game however you need to choose when to use your ammo or when to simply run conserving your ammo supply.

The story of Resident Evil 7 is set in the same timeline as the previous games, it is set just a few years after the events of Resident Evil 6. You are Ethan Winters, married to Mia Winters who went missing (presumed dead) in 2014. Upon receiving a message from Mia, Ethan heads to Louisiana where he believes she is waiting for him to collect her, upon arriving it is horribly obvious that all is not as it seems, we have clearly arrived at an abandoned property. The property belongs to the Baker family, Jack, Marguerite, Lucas and Zoe, a family that went missing the same year that Mia did. One of my favourite moments from the entire game comes right at the very beginning, of course anybody that has played Resident Evil 7 must have played the demo called The beginning hour. During the demo we play as a film crew called Sewer Gators who are there to investigate the abandoned property starting with the guest house, as the demo progresses Andre is killed, Pete and Clancy taken by jack only to be killed by someone who we can now confirm to be Mia. As Ethan, we come across the van that belongs to the Sewer Gators crew which for me was a cool moment, it was when I realised that the demo wasn’t simply a random demo that wouldn’t be mentioned again in the game, instead we find the van immediately letting us know that the demo is in fact directly tied into the story.

resident_evil_7_tgs_screen

The story really is a key factor in the success of this game, the twists and turns that came with playing through the horrors of the Baker plantation was more than enough to keep me on my toes. I have never understood people who try to create a horror game based purely on jump scares, yes jump scares are a necessity in making a horror game scary but relying entirely on them is cheap. A good story can add to the tension in a sufficient way, it brings terrors of its own that jump scares can’t supply. Fortunately, Resident Evil 7 supplies not only both of those but the third ingredient to conjure up the ultimate horror game, atmosphere. Honestly what is a survival horror game without atmosphere and this game is shrouded in atmosphere immediately, as soon as you step out of your car you get this eerie feeling, this feeling that you really shouldn’t be there. As the game progresses the atmosphere becomes thicker, more intense, there is a permanent panic embedded in you. As the story progresses we are faced with a choice, this choice will determine which ending you will receive, the good ending or the bad ending. Essentially Mia is what gives you the ending, should you choose to cure your wife you may leave together, after surviving what Evie throws at you, there is chance for the Winters, Ethan and Mia can start over. however should you not cure Mia you have sentenced her to death further into the game effectively causing Ethan to lose his beloved wife all over again.

The design of this game is fantastic, the layout of not only the main house but both the guest house and the old house is incredible, so many different areas to pass through and explore along with the puzzles that you need to solve, the first time I had to open a door with a statue I thought wow this really is Resident Evil. The way that when Ethan would be watching a video we ourselves would be playing through the contents of the video as the person at the centre of the video was nice touch, it was a choice, we didn’t necessarily need to watch the video tapes but being able to play as another character through the tape was a nice addition. The first-person perspective is new to the Resident Evil franchise with all previous titles utilising the use of the third person perspective. This was a good move by Capcom for I have always thought that first-person adds to the tension of a horror game because it’s like it is you playing it, a fact that couldn’t be more true with the addition of the PSVR since that is essentially putting you in the place of Ethan, not a place that I would wish to be personally.

jack-bakerAs we have come to expect with Resident Evil over the years we were thrown into some disturbing boss fights, from being attacked with a giant pair of scissors in what can only be described as an enclosed space to being attacked by swarms of bugs and being hunted by a mutated Marguerite. The boss fights were done in a true Resident Evil fashion, however I must say that while I found the build up to the final boss to be full of suspense, the boss itself could be considered disappointing. This isn’t due to poor design, far from it, rather it’s more to do with me finding it too easy to defeat. A final boss should pose the ultimate challenge, forcing you to utilise anything and everything to defeat your adversary, it should force you to use all the experience and knowledge you have developed throughout your time playing the game. I wouldn’t say that any of the boss fights were poor, not designed well or were simply boring because they weren’t, it’s just that the difficulty wasn’t necessarily there.

It is very rare for me to feel even a shred of sympathy for the antagonist of a game, especially a horror game that involves them trying to kill me every 5 minutes but after having completed this game I have of course garnered a bigger understanding of the situation I found myself in for the duration of the game. The Bakers were once an innocent family that had clearly never done anything wrong, but a bio-weapon in the form of a 10 year old girl changed all that. Jack Baker seemed like he was a pleasant man, as far as we can tell through what is said by various characters throughout the game it would seem as though it is just Lucas that had his problems before the family became infected but that’s not to say that he was evil, being troubled doesn’t amount to evil, the stuff we know he has done due to being controlled by Evie is pure evil. While we are on the subject of Evie now may be the time to say that as far as a villains’ motives go hers actually have some reason to it, a sad reason at that.

She wanted a family, all Evie wanted was a family to love her and look after her, sad. Off course with her being a Bio-weapon that could never happen, she was destined to be locked up, contained until there was a use for her. Upon her escape she wanted Mia to be her mother, she infected the Bakers to force them to be her family. This story isn’t a simple case of wanted to destroy or infect the world, instead there was meaning behind it, a little girl that wanted a family. Make no mistake she was indeed evil, Evie was a bio-weapon after all, who has killed an unprecedented amount of people by not only her own hands but through her control of the bakers.

I find it difficult to really fault this game, as I have already said I find Resident Evil 7 to be somewhat of survival horror masterpiece. However, I am disappointed after playing this game for one reason, but it’s not a reflection on the game itself, rather it’s a longing, a want, if Resident Evil 7 was this good then how could was Silent Hills set to be? I’m sure I am not the only one to recognise the similarities between Resident Evil 7 and P.T. So while I consider this to be one of my favourite horror games in recent memory, it’s bittersweet for me as I am one of those that thought Silent Hills was set to be potentially the scariest horror game I could ever have hoped to play.

For those of you that haven’t picked up your copy of Resident Evil 7 I can’t recommend it highly enough. If a good story, suspense and a true fight for survival is what you want then this is a must have for your collection. It is a strong contender to become the best Resident Evil game of all time.

 

For Honor Beta

This was quite the weekend for many gamers worldwide, for the past 3 days gamers from all over the globe have had access to the beta for a new game known as For Honor. With For Honour set to hit stores on the 14th February this was the last beta test for the game, a final chance for gamers to get their hands on it before release. Now I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one of the beta keys so I figured I would give you guys my thoughts on what this game is like and what I believe we can expect upon its release.

Let me start by saying to anyone who isn’t a gamer that you can forget about having a nice romantic Valentine’s day, instead you can expect your boyfriend or girlfriend to be killing people in a rather brutal fashion. They are going to be so engrossed in deciding whether or not they belong to the Viking, knight or samurai faction, while it is possible to like all 3 most people have going to have set loyalty and what better time to test out where your loyalties lie than on release day.

As I have just stated there are going to be 3 factions upon release and they are Vikings, Knights and Samurais. With each faction comes 4 classes though during the beta we had access to only 3 classes per faction but it’s safe to say that not a single class is disappointing, they all had their own unique weapons and movesets. Let me start with the Samurai,

1.      Kensei – they may be slower than some of the other classes for Samurai but make no mistake that the Kensei pack a punch, they are capable of some serious damage with quite a long range to their attacks.

2.      Nobushi – their choice of weapon is a form of spear, giving them a long range to their melee attacks, they also move with speed giving them an advantage over their adversaries.

3.      Orochi – are very similar to an assassin with great agility, they are capable of dealing some incredible damage. Due to their speed they are very capable of performing punishing counter attacks.

4.      Shugoki – now this class wasn’t available to play as during the beta, however it would appear as though they are going to be the powerhouse class for the samurai faction

Knights

1.      Conqueror – the only class from the knights to wield a shield meaning they naturally have a higher defence stat, I would also say that their offensive arsenal can easily overwhelm their opponent.

2.      Peacekeeper – they are elite assassins that value stealth proficient at sneaking up on enemies, with dual wielding daggers they are capable of eliminating their target,

3.      Warden – the best way to describe the warden would be as the best choice for beginner for the game, they are clearly well rounded with a higher defence stat than other classes but also a higher damage output than other classes too making it the perfect choice for someone who is new to the game or for someone who is struggling on the battlefield.

4.      Lawbringer – the class for the knight that wasn’t available during the beta, they appear to be capable of dealing high amounts of damage with a longer range to them, potentially they could be proficient at performing counter attacks.

Viking

1.      Berserkers – highly proficient in combat with their dual wielded axes, they have a short range to their melee attacks making them the perfect choice for those who like to be close to their opponents. A chain attack from the berserker can spell death for their opponent.

2.      Raider – a huge Viking with a two handed axe, naturally as with most giants they are considerably slow but on the flip side they can deal exceptional amounts of damage wiping out multiple enemies at a time.

3.      Warlord – utilising a sword an shield they have a nice amount of defence and can deal considerable damage when close to their enemy, they appear to be capable of counter attacks.

4.      Valkyrie – the class that wasn’t available for the beta, they have a sword and spear giving them decent defence with the ability to attack from distance rather than up close.

Upon the release of the game I will write a post about each class stating their abilities, their stats and how they are best utilised. If this is something that interests you then stay updated as I will release these as fast as I can if it will prove useful and be helpful.

While playing the beta I was highly impressed with the combat, it runs really smooth, it feels like you are truly in a battle with one wrong move potentially causing you to meet your maker. In my opinion For Honor already has one of the best combat systems that I have ever seen, every move feels real, when duelling with an opponent the way that you need to choose to defend, dodge or lunge in for an attack feels true to life that is how fight probably would have been.

Dominion, Dual and brawl were the available game modes this weekend, plenty for all us gamers to get our teeth into, essentially the modes were 1v1 (Dual), 2v2 (Brawl) and 4v4 (Dominion). Dual and Brawl are self-explanatory it is simply a case of 1 on 1 in a dual or 2 on 2 in a dual, however dominion is where it gets interesting, by far dominion was my favourite mode to play this weekend.

Dominion is essentially a battle, it’s 4v4 be that against other players or the AI. But there are hordes of minions for both teams that battle not just one another but the players too, just like in a real battle. The way to win is to capture the ABC zones, just like a normal game of capture or control from other games, killing a minion grants you 1 point while killing a player grants you 5 points. Capturing a zone earned your team 100 points, though be warned those points can be taken away should the opposing team claim that zone as their own. My favourite part of a match of dominion however has to be the ending, when one team reaches 1000 points they would rally together to finish off their opponents while the dispersed after being broken, once all 4 heroes of a team are dead after being broken the match is over. Though it is possible for the dispersed team to regroup should they also reach 1000 points thus continuing the match.

I have had an amazing time playing this game over the weekend and honestly I am very excited for this to be fully released, while I may enjoy online gaming the idea of having 3 different campaigns to play through is getting me excited. Each faction has its own campaign, the first one I will be playing through is the knight due to that being my faction of choice, what is your faction of choice?

Remember 14/02/2017 is when we can all own this incredible game, my copy is on pre-order, is yours?

Dark Souls 3, The Abyss Watchers

Welcome back to my SoulsBorne boss series.

Previously I discussed Aldrich, the devourer of gods. In my last post I mentioned how my favourite lord of cinder boss wasn’t actually Aldrich, rather it was the Abyss Watchers. There are plenty other bosses that have earned my attention from all throughout the SoulsBorne franchise but I think that I should discuss the Abyss Watchers now as I have already revealed that I hold them in a high regard. Perhaps this is because I consider this to be the moment where the true Dark Souls experience begins in Dark Souls 3.

Let me start by stating the obvious, The Abyss Watchers are a lord of cinder, beings that were powerful enough to link the flame, resurrected as a final hope to link the fire once more. They are the first lord of cinder that our Ashen one encounters on their journey, they are found in Farrons Keep. As I have already established before we the ashen one are charged with a duty to return the Watchers to their seat to link the fire once again. There is some interesting lore surrounding this lord of cinder, as their name suggests they are the watchers of the abyss, their duty is to fight the abyss much like Artorias the Abyss walker, though as we all well know Artorias himself succumbed to the Abyss turning him into the boss that we fought in Dark Souls 1.

The Abyss Watchers are the leaders of the Undead Legion, also known as Farron’s Undead Legion, sworn enemies of the Abyss they will destroy entire kingdoms should they show even the slightest sign of exposure.

“The legion will bury kingdom at the first sign of exposure” Hawkwood, in firelink shrine.

As we approach the final stretch of Farron Keep before reaching the Abyss Watchers two dark wraiths are seen fighting against the Gru making their way towards the boss room, could they possibly be attempting to defeat the Watchers too? This is a thought that intrigues me, I certainly believe that the dark wraiths did have the intention of reaching the Abyss Watchers but for What purpose, id be interested in hearing what you thoughts you guys have on this.

They look up to the wolf blood master who is heavily implied to be knight Artorias, this would make sense due to him being the legendary knight who fought against the abyss, the fact that his sword is one of two potential weapons to be received through trading the soul received upon defeating the Watchers also lends some credibility to this. With it being believed that they all shared the blood, potentially blending all their souls into one, a theory supported by the fire likely only being able to be linked by one being at a time. however if the Abyss watchers were all linked by the wolf blood they would of been able to link the fire, sacrificing their individuality in the process, thus creating a never ending war between them..

“The blood was spread amongst the Abyss Watchers, and their souls are one with the soul of the wolf blood master”

While we are on the topic of souls, now might be a good time to discuss what you the ashen one may receive in return for transposing the soul of the blood of the wolf, you receive this soul upon defeating the Abyss Watchers. The first weapon you may receive is the sword of the watchers themselves, the Farron Greatsword. this weapons consists of a greatsword being wielded in the right hand, while a dagger is being utilised in the left hand, if timed correctly you may parry an opponent with the use of the dagger creating a critical hit opportunity with the greatsword. The second weapon that you may receive for transposing their soul is The Wolf Knights Greatsword, this happens to be the weapon of knight Artorias, this is a sword designed to defeat those who have been tainted by the abyss, while this sword deals additional damage to standard enemies that have been tainted by the abyss there are also these bosses that are weak against this sword, Aldrich, High Lord Wolnir and the Dragonslayer Armour.

Reaching the Abyss Watchers is no simple task for they are found behind the perimeter gate in Farron keep, in order to open the gate 3 ritual fires must be extinguished. all 3 of these fires are found around the swamp of Farron Keep, with Grus and the effects of poison being the main obstacles for the ashen one to overcome. Having extinguished all 3 flames you may pass through the gate into the Farron Keep perimeter, there is only a short way to go now until you reach your goal.

The boss fight itself is easily one of the best not just in Dark Souls 3 but across the entire series, the atmosphere surrounding the fight was immense. the moves of the Watchers was fluent, it flowed well, they were graceful as they moved, as they swung their swords, the mechanics of the fight were smooth with no clunky movements present. It was in this moment that I truly thought this is it, this is Dark Souls!

There is a unique element to this fight, something that I wasn’t expecting to see in a Souls boss battle, one of the Watchers will attack his fellow brethren, essentially helping the ashen one by evening the odds slightly, this isn’t to say that they won’t turn their attention to the ashen one should they be closer to him than the other Watchers are. This hasn’t been seen in a souls fight before. they all share that one soul, this could be the cause for the fighting that occurs between themselves as the soul must move between each Abyss Watcher.

Hawkwood an NPC character that we meet in the fire link shrine was once a member of the undead legion, perhaps he was an Abyss Watcher himself once, for he seems to know some key knowledge about them. this theory has some credibility, should you follow Hawkwoods storyline through till the end you will have fight with him in the boss room of the Abyss Watchers, potentially this could hold meaning to Hawkwood, to defeat the ashen one where his former brothers could not. Hawkwood also happens to share the same armour as the Abyss Watchers minus the helmet.

Interestingly the boss room is blocking a secret entrance to the catacombs of carthus a place that has been contaminated by the Abyss, high lord Wolnir the boss of the catacombs fell into the Abyss himself, Wolnir appears to fear the Abyss when we fight him but that is discussion for another time. This could very well be the reason for why we find the Abyss Watchers blocking the entrance to Carthus, preventing us and any other beings from coming into contact with the Abyss.

It is a two phase fight, the first being an all out brawl between the ashen one and several Abyss Watchers, as we enter the room we see two Watchers fighting, ultimately one kills the other thus now drawing their attention to you. The fight may start one on one but after a set amount of time a second Watcher will join the fight targeting you, again after a set amount of time a third Watcher will rise who will fight the other Watchers. this continues until the health bar of the Abyss Watchers is completely depleted. following this one single Abyss Watcher rises amongst his fallen brothers utilising fire in his attacks, causing his attack radius to increase as well as dealing additional fire damage, though the move set does appear to be the same as the previous Watchers.


For someone who was new to the world of Dark Souls I would say that the Abyss Watchers could have been somewhat of a struggle for them, as I stated above I consider this to be the moment our adventure as the ashen one becomes challenging. For someone new to Dark Souls a boss fight consisting of multiple enemies could be rather intimidating, for a veteran of the series these sorts of boss fights have become common place, they are expected. For those who have indeed fought their way through the world of Dark Souls multiple times before they might have a true appreciation for the Abyss Watchers as they are a gank boss done right. Honestly I’d say this is the best gank boss fight since the legendary Ornstein & Smough, not once did it feel forced like random characters simply thrown together to make a ‘boss’ fight. No this fight had meaning, this fight displayed the eternal conflict the Watchers have amongst themselves.

For me personally I would rank the Abyss Watchers to be in my top 10 for SoulsBorne bosses if not just slipping into my top 5! When you consider the lore behind them, their eternal war amongst themselves, the boss fight itself and the atmosphere surrounding it, I find it difficult to deliver criticism about this boss.

Crash through the years, 1999

“Start your engines for another Naughty Dog production”

The final Naughty Dog production for Crash Bandicoot, Crash Team Racing was a good game for naughty dog to go out on, it had certain qualities to it that I found to be quite endearing. Now let me get this out there, I am not a huge fan of racing games in fact I’m far from it but a racing game involving my favourite Bandicoot I can make an exception. Mainly because a racing game that involves lovable characters from an already established franchise can be a lot of fun, in your standard racer such us Forza Horizon, Juiced and Gran Turismo you are simply driving around the track for how ever many laps you are required to complete for the race, for me personally I consider that to be boring. however with CTR I get to use weaponry against my opponents, yes I may still be driving around a track but there is more to it than that, I can utilise weapons which for me brings a certain element of fun that most racing games unfortunately lack.

When a franchise is as established as Crash Bandicoot was after having had a trilogy of games by now I believe that we the players have more appreciation for the characters, we understand these characters, for me that is part of what makes the game so far. Look at MARIO Kart, that is one of the most successful racing games of all time, why is that? Because it’s MARIO! There is a huge amount of love for the Italian plumber, just like there was a huge amount of love for Crash Bandicoot. I feel more invested here, there is a story to CTR, where as Forza involves me simply driving through various races with no story to it. Only so many times I can do that before it becomes tedious.

Now that I’ve got my little rant about racing games as a genre out of the way I will talk about CTR. This was somewhat of a surprise back in 1999, after a successful trilogy I was surprised to see the franchise turn to the racing genre, I thought it was going to stick to its already accomplished 3D platformer style. I believe this was a good move by Naughty Dog though, they produced a game to be proud off for their final instalment of the franchise. The story was simple, as we have come to expect from Crash which I like, no need to ruin a good game by over complicating the story.

Let me start by saying that I liked how the hub area worked for this game, when you were in a particular area of the game you are able to drive around, rather than simply choosing the race track from a list you must drive around and find the warp pads to enter a race. In each area of the game we find a computer in which we can save our progress. I thought that this was quite well done, admittedly it could become a tad bit tedious I welcomed it instead of choosing everything from a list on the screen.

You get to choose who you want to be for the entirety of the game. That’s right as much as we all love the orange fur ball it was nice to be able to play through the game as whoever we wanted, including the arch nemesis of Crash, Dr Neo Cortex. Besides Crash and Cortex the other eligible characters are Coco, Pura, Polar, Dingodile, tiny and Dr N Gin. As with every racing game there both advantages and disadvantages to each and every character as is common with most racing games. While one character may have a higher top speed another character may have a higher acceleration stat. We also have several other characters that we may unlock for use in the other modes of the game, these characters included both the bosses of the game and other secret characters that we may have seen in the previous 3 instalments of the franchise


Let’s take a moment to consider the fact that we could drive a car as a tiger cub or a Polar bear! Now I know that it was a nice touch that we could play as the typical villain from the Crash series, and as I have stated before I do love Tiny, I even did a play through as him but I jumped at the opportunity to play as Polar, admittedly he wasn’t as good as other characters but It added a slight challenge, a challenge that was needed. CTR was unfortuanetly a very easy game to me, I won near enough every single race first time, that would be the biggest disappointment about this game for me.

The tracks for this game were rather endearing, the different environments were fun, I didn’t have the chance to get bored of my surroundings, something that tends to happen on the rare occasion I play a racing game, the fact that some of the tracks were named after the characters of the game was a good addition, in some ways that gave a unique charm to some of the tracks. Being able to utilise weapons was a nice touch, blowing characters up with potions, TNT and bombs was enjoyable, it helped to prevent the game from becoming stale.

As with all Crash games we had several bosses to deal with, however instead of it being a boss fight it was a boss race. After not seeing the crazy blue kangaroo in warped I was overjoyed to see the psychotic Ripper Roo as the first boss of the game. We saw the returns of Papu Papu and Pinstripe who we hadn’t seen since the first game 3 years prior, then there was Komodo joe one of the Komodo brothers from Cortex strikes back and finally we had to race against oxide.

Speaking of Oxide I have to say that I didn’t find him to be on the same level as Cortex, his villainous prowess was somewhat pityfull, he also lacked the loveable charm that Cortex possesses, in fact I found the personality of Oxide to be rather bland, as I have mentioned in a previous post Dr Neo Cortex is on my list of best ever villains in a video game so oxide did have a lot to live up to in my eyes, shame he didn’t.

Besides the story there was a battle mode that you could play, be it with friends or on your own. The idea was to kill as many of your enemies as possible, leaving the player with the most kills as the winner. The maps for the battle mode were pretty fun, if you wanted to win then your driving needed to be on point otherwise you were going to crash left right and centre.

Usually I would dedicate a bit of time to Crash since I am discussing his games but i find that to be a bit more tricky when discussing CTR purely because we are not required to play as him at all if we so wish, whereas in the trilogy we were always controlling Crash except for a few levels in warped where we could take control of Coco. The one solid thing I will say about Crash is that he is well rounded and is even on all 3 of his driving skills.


While I do enjoy this game I wouldn’t say it was my favourite Crash Bandicoot racing game. That honour is reserved for tag team racing which I will discuss at a later date when we finally hit the year of 2005.

Next up the year is 2001, Cortex is back to his old tricks, not only does he enlist the help of a bunch of elemental masks he also has the help of another Bandicoot! Oh and the Wrath of Cortex is the first mainstream Crash game not to be developed by Naughty dog.

The switch, is it set to be Nintendos latest flop?

Well here we are, I had to share my thoughts on the Nintendo Switch and it’s suffice to say that they are not good. Nintendo seem to be developing a reputation for mediocre home consoles, the Wii U didn’t achieve what Nintendo was hoping it would and it’s my belief  the Switch will also fail to meet expectations.

First off it’s a damn tablet! With only 3 hours battery life if you wish to take it anywhere with you, not that you would as the thing is a beast! Now don’t get me the wrong I think the concept of the Nintendo Switch is actually good, it’s a very innovative idea, a home console that can be used secondarily as a portable console is ingenious and had Nintendo made the Switch as impressive as it could have been I may have been somewhat more tempted to buy it. The fact that it is only coming with 32GB storage is kind of concerning, sure the option to use a micro SD card is there for extra storage but considering the amount of storage I have on both my playstations and my xbox’s is enough to make me question why Nintendo thought giving so little storage was a good idea.

Secondly, why on earth are they releasing it in march? What sort of release window is that? It’s not near any holidays what so ever, surely the best time to release a whole new console is in the holiday season.

The controller doesn’t look right at all I mean it’s another brick! Though admittedly it does split into two smaller controllers one for each hand when you are playing the Switch on the go, but since the battery will die after a few hours I wouldn’t consider it be worth it. Not only that but the console itself isn’t as powerful as its rivals the PS4 and Xbox one, especially since the PS4 pro has now been released and the Xbox one Scorpio is due out later this year.

Finally Nintendo have decided to go for an online service to rival that of PSPlus and Xbox Live, now while this may sound good and yes it is a good idea they have stated that they will be offering a single NES or SNES game a month that will only be available for that month. The price for this service hasn’t yet been released but just based on the fact I can’t keep the game like I can with my multiple games offered by Plus and Live I’m gonna say I am not impressed. I know this may sound like I hate Nintendo right now but that isn’t true, I do like their handheld consoles and the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64 and Wii were indeed good consoles.

Honestly Nintendo you are starting to create a long line of failures, when it comes to handheld consoles you are most certainly the best though I do consider the PSVita to be a relatively good handheld console as well, the 2DS however has let you in down in this department, the thing was a brick honestly what were Nintendo thinking when they released the 2DS? But this is about the Switch, sorry for slightly digressing.

Nintendo could you please do me a favour and actually make a normal console! It’s not that hard, you’ve done it several times before, I love my N64, can you not go back to that sort of quality in your home consoles.

The one redeeming factor that the Switch has going for it is the new Zelda game, I have been a long time fan of the Zelda franchise so I truly would love to be able to play it. However since I consider that to be the only decent feature of the Switch so far I would be paying £280 for a game, sorry Zelda but you are not worth that.

Perhaps Nintendo will surprise me and I will find myself eating my own words, but thus far I am not impressed, they have a lot of catching up to do if they wish to reach the level of Microsoft and Sony respectively.

Dark Souls 3, Aldrich the devourer of gods.

After having discussed my thoughts on the Dancer of the Boreal Valley and my fascination with her I have decided to turn that into a series of posts based around the bosses of not just Dark Souls 3 but the souls series as a whole, this includes Bloodborne. There are several bosses from Dark Souls 3 that I hold in high regards, the majority of Dark Souls 3 bosses dominate the top half of the bosses from the franchise as a whole therefore I will follow on from the Dancer with another boss that shares the same game as she does.

The whole point of Dark Souls 3 is that we the Ashen one have a duty, a duty to return all lords of cinder to their chairs in the firelink shrine so that the fire may be linked once more. There are 4 of these beings, The Abyss Watchers, Yhorm the giant, Aldrich the devourer of gods and the twin princes Lorian and Lothric. While the Abyss Watchers are my second favourite boss fight of this game, being the fight that I feel truly turns Dark Souls 3 into its true souls experience I’m not going to talk about them today instead we are going to discuss Aldrich, Devourer of gods. there is plenty of intrigue surrounding the saint of the deep, he brings a fair amount of curiosity out of me.

The reason that I want to discuss Aldrich first is simple, he was forced to become a lord of cinder by being locked up, this wasn’t done for his valour or virtue but it was done for his might instead thanks to all the men he had consumed. When consuming a man one can only assume that Aldrich consumed their soul also making him the perfect choice to link the flame. Aldrich hails from Irythll of the Boreal Valley, though he became a cleric he developed a taste for human flesh, he ate so many men that he bloated like a pig and softened into sludge as a result he was locked in the cathedral of the deep.

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The Deacons are followers of Aldrich in fact they believe him to be their master, this is quite clearly shown by the fact that the Deacons of the deep are guarding the tomb of their master, the saint of the deep. We also find Deacons along the path to Anor Londo, they can also be found in Anor Londo itself with 3 of them waiting outside of their master’s boss room as he enjoys his meal. There is a lot more to discuss with the deacons but I will save that for another time. When we arrive at the cathedral of the deep we are expecting to find the saint of the deep, we don’t find Aldrich though we do discover that he has returned to his home in the Boreal Valley making this our next destination after our decimation of his followers.

One of the ArchDeacons known as Mcdonnel travelled with Aldrich going on to found a covenant dedicated to the Devourer of gods, The Aldrich Faithful. This covenant was dedicated to ensuring no one could reach Anor Londo so their master remained undisturbed, and this was with good reason. In the cathedral of Anor Londo Aldrich is in the process of devouring someone, this isn’t some ordinary man, no this is a god. Gwyndolin the son of the great lord Gwyn, is being devoured by Aldrich. Pontiff Sulyvhan locked up a member of the old royalty who we now know to be Gwyndolin, once we disturb this mass of sludge he assumes control of Gwyndolin giving him the use of not only what remains on Gwyndolin but the powerful sorceries and Darkmoon bow that he utilises. It is worth noting that Gwyndolin had fallen ill prior to be captured and devoured so fighting about likely wasn’t a viable option for this god. There is so much to discuss in regards to Gwyndolin but this is about Aldrich, Gods is plural this indicates that he may have devoured more than the one confirmed god. There is a theory that he has devoured Nito due to having the grave lord sword, for me personally I find this to be highly unlikely as we destroyed Nito in Dark Souls 1.

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Aldrich also happens to have the use of the lifehunt scythe which he supposedly learned when he dreamed of the young pale girl in hiding but who is to say he didn’t track down Priscilla devouring her just as he has done to Gwyndolin.

Now that we have some background to the saint of the deep let’s discuss his boss fight. For me entering that boss room was in a strange way nostalgic as we are now facing Aldrich in the same room that we once faced Ornstein and Smough in, I felt that this was a nice touch by from software, the fact that we are fighting a lord of cinder in the process of devouring Gwyndolin when before we were fighting to meet his sister is ironic to me. We needed to defeat O+S to meet Gwynevere, she resided at the back of the cathedral, I just think it’s clever how everything has played out here.

As I have already stated Aldrich was able to use Gwyndolin as a puppet, he used the Dark moon bow to shoot a flurry of arrows our way as well as the soul spear sorcery. In a way I found this to be somewhat sad, think about it, this all powerful god was not only being devoured but his powers, his abilities were also being used against his will, honestly I do believe that Gwyndolin was still alive during this fight. My key reason for thinking this way is that upon defeating Aldrich we receive his soul, his soul is dark blue more than likely due to the effect that the deep has had on him. However if you pay close attention you can see a smaller golden soul inside of Aldrich’s darker one, this is probably Gwyndolins giving merit to the belief that he was still alive upon our arrival.

Back to the fight. I did struggle against Aldrich to begin with, the sorceries kept hitting their mark on me and they did deal a staggering amount of damage, the only problem with getting in close to hit him was the arrows that he could shoot at me, it would cause me to retreat, for if I didn’t I would surely die amongst the arrows. When you do get in close he disappears only to reappear on the other side of the room, giving us the challenge of avoiding sorceries and arrows to get in close again. His sword and lifehunt scythe didn’t give me much trouble at all I found those attacks to be predictable making them easy to dodge. Once I was in close I could deal huge amounts of damage, being close wasn’t ever a problem with this fight. Another thing that captures my attention during the fight is the state of the cathedral, its covered in what I can only assume is the sludge or left overs of Aldrich, not to mention all the bones that you can see throughout the room, it was a gorgeous room when we were last there but now it is a disgusting dark shell of what it was.