Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Stuning game, audibly and visually.
A mystery game I’ve wanted to play for some time now as the exploration was rewarding. The fact the game didn’t spoon feed you it made the puzzles naturally engaging; just wish there were more of them as it felt rather too short.
Well worth a play.

Far Cry 3 & Blood Dragon

Spoliers…

Far Cry 3

Overall I was disappointed with this game. It lacked what made the first game special.

Vaas was an interesting antagonist with some depth it seemed, but he fell flat and to the side… the story as a whole wasn’t that remarkable. It never hit that high note it seemed it was promising with it’s mysteries; always teasing greater things ahead.
The only time I felt it got somewhere was with the Ink Monster battle, during one of the Hallucinations. It was a simple battle but epic, and naturally I expected harder and grander battles ahead…

.. . but then you were greeted with severely unrewarding QTE boss battles.

There was no drive to explore either, as everything was mapped out. You can purchase maps to relics for very little cost. Which leads to the fact that I didn’t need to preserve cash as it was easy to max out the wallet, even after fully upgraded.

The guns felt great to use and the graphics were lovely; rarely a bug was encountered.
It would’ve improved gameplay vastly though if there were options to remove these immersion breaking features. My eyes kept settling on the mini-map whilst playing which is a such a shame.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Blood Dragon was incredible. It delivered the stereotype perfectly, where the other one failed. Humour was on-point and the action was solid.
Still suffered from some of the negative points as the other, but because the main core worked well, the negative impact was little.
Definitely worth a play through.

Yoshi’s Woolly World [Wii U]

Addictive; fully clocked the game in a short time. Definitely recommend playing it.
You needn’t use the badges — they have no penalty but they’re mainly aimed at a more relaxed play style and children. There’s no other use for the jewels either, hence ending up with the 500k balance of them.
Sometimes frustrating as the ‘Ground Pound’ move is mapped simply to ‘Down’ which is also the move to create a yarn ball. This caused me to pound off below the screen which infuriated me on the more challenging maps. Also, the sound of Yoshi when you ‘Flutter Jump’ is quite irritating but you can normally shut it out, the other sounds and music are lovely.

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Chinatown

Absolute classic, shame I hadn’t seen this earlier. It still remains one of the best watching now. I think most will know this, as it’s always been recommended. Don’t need to say much else — it just needs a watch.

Alien: Isolation

Glad I got back into this game.. I got to a point where I couldn’t advance; couldn’t locate Dr. Morley. I found the whiteboard and scoured the area but all the ways to his route were locked, and the Alien kept annihilating me.
Recently I rewatched Alien, Aliens and Prometheus which pushed me to get back to playing, but still couldn’t advance. Reluctantly I checked online for same issues and realised it was a common bug that wouldn’t trigger the quest to advance, so I had to replay the level… in hindsight I should have done that first – it wasn’t far either.
Avoiding the Alien fresh after a long hiatus was difficult initially, I’d forgotten how hard the AI was. It actually broke the immersion sometimes, especially seeing the Xenomorph walk down a corridor only to be grabbed up from under an open vent down the opposite way…

The atmosphere was sublime, a fitting counterpart to Ridley Scott’s classic. The way of getting around and scrambling through vents was stressful in the right way. Excellent design choice to have save points and a processing time as well – avoids scum saving and adds to the urgency. I felt the keyboard and mouse play style couldn’t really work well as it was difficult to sneak and peek without the analogue controls.

The face huggers were damn annoying — kinda in a good way though as they panic you. I recommend fire for those fuckers, as it’s ridiculously hard to shoot them even with a shotgun sadly. If you have to fight the Alien, save the flamer and just use bombs, there’s enough parts to keep the item count near the upper limit too. If you can’t fully construct something still put parts into it to leave more room in your main inventory. Never found much use for the smoke grenade but if you’re out of things to throw for distraction then use these, otherwise save your parts for the better bombs.

*spoilers*
The ending was a bit of a let down… the Aliens outside in space didn’t feel right… There was enough tension built in just moving in the space suit.

Still need to get the other DLC. Crew Expendable was nostalgic but too short. Also – that bastard main vent traversal was hard, takes a lot to make the Alien retreat, and relying on solely the directions from Lambert was not going to happen on Nightmare difficulty.

 

Kimyô na Sâkasu [Strange Circus]

The imagery and the darkness were well portrayed. The scenes of child sexual abuse were never visceral on-screen, transitioning well and blending with the mother in the right places; yet still impactful. The gore was pretty heavy but not as controversial as I thought it was going to be; possibly because it was out in 2005?
Quite surreal at times, although some of the acting, especially near the end, really let it down, Hiroshi Ohguchi played an excellent part as the perverted father though. Not a terrible film by any means, but it didn’t really grip me as I wanted it too.