Life Is Strange 2 - Episode 1: Roads Review

Life Is Strange Season 2, Episode 2: “Rules” – Review [PS4]

With the last episode that came out in September, Life is Strange 2 is now back with episode 2, titled “Rules”. I’m happy to return to the brothers Daniel and Sean who, after a tragic incident, got separated from their wolf father and their haven.

However, nobody said life would be easy for the two young wolf cubs. Because even though they are wolves, there are still hunters out there that mean them harm. In their hope to find peace, there are prices to be paid.

Finding themselves in the state of Oregon, the boys have found a temporary safe space in the form of a cottage, where they can practice Daniel’s newfound telekinesis abilities. It’s still winter, and they have not been sheltered much from the cold.

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Being on the run for so long, one learns to appreciate the small things in life.

Daniel has been sick for a while, and he seems to only get worse by the day. They’ve learned the hard way that nature can be as cruel as people – but they have no other option but to move on. Not only do they not have medicine to cure his illness, but they are also running out of supplies. They have reached the bottom line: they cannot stay in the safe confines of the cabin anymore.

The boys decide to visit their grandparents: a decision they would gladly avoid if they could. Not just because they hesitate to ask for help considering their runaway-status, but also because these grandparents are the parents of their lost mother, who left them when they were young – leaving a void in the young boys’ hearts.

As they arrive in Beaver Creek, Oregon, they find their grandparents’ lovely-looking house. If you’ve played The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, you will recognise this place: because they are, in fact, the neighbours of Chris Eriksen’s family. Captain Spirit himself. Finally, this is where the two stories intertwine. They approach the grandparents’ door with scepticism, thinking about how this scenario can go in different directions: they can accept us, or they can banish us from the grounds. Luckily, the former seems to be the case.

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Making new friends.

However, Daniel really wants to get to know his mother, who she was and where she might be now. But we cannot hide the fact that this is a very sensitive subject for the two grandparents. They don’t want to talk about it, and they do not want the boys to sneak around in the house and find any information about her, either. More specifically, they are not allowed to enter her room. So what do two young, curious boys do? The exact opposite of what the grown-ups tell them to, of course!

The grandparents worry about their neighbours, the Eriksen’s, and we are told to keep an eye on them. Therefore, since Christmas is just around the corner, the boys decide to join Chris and his father to attend a Christmas market. The boys do what they can to make each other happy, and it often lies in those little moments where they can pause and just enjoy being boys.

As always with the Life Is Strange universe, this episode is an emotional rollercoaster. With a masterful soundtrack composition, they combine the soundtrack with the songs from Captain Spirit, which really brought back all the emotions I felt then.

Finally, a series of unfortunate events forces the two wolf brothers to leave Beaver Creek altogether. As I said; it’s not easy being these two young cubs. The episode ends as they are forced out into the great unknown. This episode contained so much emotion, and I’m excited to see where this adventure is headed!

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The Walking Dead: The Final Season "Broken Toys" Review PS4

The Walking Dead: The Final Season “Broken Toys” Review [PS4] – An Emotional Comeback

Wow. Who would’ve thought in September that we would be back here now?

The shot heard around the world was that Telltale Games had shut down. For good. In the process, we lost a fantastic game company, and games like The Wolf Among Us disappeared with the tide. Perhaps it was a good thing that, at the time, they had already started The Walking Dead: The Final Season. If not, chances are I wouldn’t be here now, writing this review.

Thanks to the creator of The Walking Dead universe himself, Robert Kirkman’s game studio decided to pick up where they left off, bringing people from Telltale in to help give the series the end it deserves. Since it’s been a while, let’s briefly summarise the previous episode, shall we? Reader warning: this review might contain some spoilers. However, I can say that the episode is good, and that you should play it. 

We met a character we haven’t seen since season 1; Lilly. If you don’t remember her, she’s the mean one whom you may or may not have left on the side of the road. She was a bad person then, and she is a bad person now. The difference is that she now has a group of raiders supporting her, treating her as their leader. Things got heated when Clementine, AJ, and their group of rebellious teenagers had to defend the school from Lilly’s invasion. Sacrifices were made, and hope seemed lost.

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We managed to capture Abel, Lilly’s right-hand man. As always, Clem has to do the dirty work and interrogate Abel to find out where the raiders have taken the other kids. We will find out where they are, no matter the cost. Even in a post-apocalyptic world where one would think humans have to work together to survive, they still choose to find reasons to hunt and murder each other.

There is a small war going on, and Lilly’s group of raiders are kidnapping people to fight for them. This ultimately means that their hidden lair is where we need to go to save our friends. Queue “Eye of the Tiger”. In the meantime, figuring out how to infiltrate their base might take some time; and they are going to need help. Who better to turn to than James, our only other friend outside the school? He has a different philosophy towards Walkers than most people, seeing them as innocent people rather than mere monsters; believing their soul still exists inside what deceivingly looks like an empty, broken vessel.

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The night before everything is supposed to go down, Clementine has a dream. A dream which threw all the feels upon The Walking Dead fans who have been following this series since the very beginning. Flashback to the train-scene from Season One – and in comes our sweet, sweet Lee. Clementine’s substitute parent. This scene was one of the most touching since the first season for several reasons: 

  1. The fact that whenever Clementine needs a safe space, it is with Lee, on the train where he taught her everything she needed to know to keep her safe.
  2. Whenever Clementine needs help and feels insecure, Lee is the one to give her advice.
  3. The scene makes an incredibly touching transformation between child Clementine and adolescent Clementine.
  4. This scene is everything.

When I managed to recuperate from this very emotional scene, I took a step back to look at the gameplay. Like I mentioned in the previous review, the combat system is still very unforgiving. One mistake, and you’re dead. But I guess that makes sense when you’re living in a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic world.

Since it was the first episode given out by Skybound Games, players were warned that the episode might contain some bugs. They were already aware of the problem and suggested to players what they could do to fix it. When playing it myself, I didn’t encounter any major bugs, just some audio disruptions, and some bad transitions between scenes. Nothing that ruined the experience, which I’m pleased with.

This was, all in all, a solid comeback for the series, and a worthy continuation of what Telltale started. I was impressed with how the episode was basically an emotional rollercoaster, and I’m excited to see what the final episode of The Final Season will bring. If everything goes according to plan, the last episode will be released on March 26, titled “Take Us Back”. I don’t think I ever will be ready to say goodbye. But all good adventures must eventually come to an end.

Still. Not. Bitten.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season PS4 Review

The Walking Dead: The Final Season “Suffer The Children” Review [PS4] – Abandon Hope?

For the first time in a very long time, I don’t know how to start a review. Do I continue as usual? Do I start with explaining what happened? I guess pretty much everyone knows by now.

Telltale Games went bankrupt. I don’t think you could’ve missed it. Some grabbed the opportunity to yell out “I told you so!”, some responded with anger for them not being able to finish one project before jumping onto another, and some responded with sadness and apathy.

I didn’t really realise just how much these news upset me when I first read about it. But the fact is, I am truly upset about it. To me, Telltale Games wasn’t just a game company. It’s someone I have followed from the beginning, someone who inspired me to pursue my passion for games. And to see them basically vaporise like that was…. bizarre, to say the least. But it’s not a new phenomenon.

Fear not, my friends. Ask, and ye shall receive. The creator of The Walking Dead universe Robert Kirkman’s game company Skybound announced that they will be picking up the pieces left by the ruins of Telltale, to see The Final Season through to the end. Even though this is beyond great news, I’ll personally believe the series will have an end when I see it in front of me on my TV-screen.

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Like these two, I’ll be waiting.

If you look away from the business and economic aspect of the video game industry, Suffer The Children is all-in-all a very good episode. I will, like the review of the last episode, try and create a spoiler-free review as much as possible.

Episode 2 takes us back to the school and the group of teens we met in the previous episode. There can never be enough drama in one episode, so needless to say there are some things Clementine and AJ have to take responsibility for. As a consequence, they are thrown out of their safe haven.

Unfortunately, they don’t get very far before a group of raiders catch them. This is where we meet a familiar character whose face we haven’t seen since season one. However, this face wasn’t friendly then, and is sure isn’t friendly now, either. This person has become the leader of this horrific group, and they don’t hesitate to threaten Clementine as they give a clear message of what they want; the children at the school.

We learn that there is a small war going on; there is a feud between two groups of people, and the group that catches Clementine and AJ is kidnapping (or as they call it, “recruiting”) children to make them fight for them. Yep, that’s messed up.

However, hope is never lost; with the help of a kind stranger, we manage to make our great escape. If the series would go on, I’m sure we would form an even stronger friendship with this character at some point. The kindness of this stranger teaches us about strengthening the right bonds, and we learn that most people react a certain way for a certain reason, and by learning that reason we understand what makes them tick. 

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It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

Technically speaking, I noticed that the loading screens could, at times, be incredibly long. In addition, the controls felt a little off sometimes. The combat system was very unforgiving, and the game’s own tutorials kept feeding me the wrong controls. Yet, an analysis of the controls in this episode feels like missing the bigger picture.

All things considered, the ending of this approximately 2 ½ hours long episode feels like the biggest cliffhanger ever. When I finished the episode the news of Skybound taking over hadn’t come out yet, and I felt betrayed. Now, there might be hope. Some light at the end of the tunnel. We are in the middle of a story, and the threads are starting to unfold.

I thought I was ending this review feeling sad and frustrated. Even though Telltale as a company may be over, the talented people behind the name are still out there. And some of them will most probably be joining Skybound and create a proper ending to the series, completing an important chapter in video game narrative history.

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting. Patiently.

Life Is Strange 2 - Episode 1: Roads Review

Life Is Strange 2, Episode 1: ‘Roads’ Review [PS4] – We’re Going On An Adventure!

It’s been 3 years since the very first season of Life is Strange came out – and it gave us so much in terms of storytelling, where they explored how to deal with sensitive issues through the eyes of a teenager.

In the meantime, we were served Life is Strange: Before The Storm and The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. In my opinion, they’ve only gotten better at it.

If you played the approximately 2 hour long adventures of young Chris Eriksen and his alter ego Captain Spirit (which is 100% worth your time by the way), then the decisions you made there will somehow carry over in Life Is Strange 2. I probably should have made a review on Captain Spirit, because that was truly an unforgettable experience. As usual, my final verdict for the series will be given at the very last episode.

Now, Dontnod Entertainment and Square Enix are back with Life Is Strange 2 – with brand new characters, location, and storyline. We meet Sean and Daniel Diaz from Seattle in Washington, age 16 and 9 respectively. They are seemingly normal boys – Sean has a crush on a girl which he plans to hit on at an upcoming party, and Daniel is a boy who loves candy and to play with his toys.

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Playful big brother Sean.

That is, of course, before everything is destined to go down the drain in a fashionable Life is Strange-style. A supernatural occurrence takes place in their home, forcing the two brothers to escape, and wandering on the United States’ roads on their way to Puerto Lobos, a place in Mexico their father once called paradise. The boys live in a community where their background sadly plays a factor – which is evidently why they are on the run. The news reports them missing, and the cops are looking for them.

Based on the small amount of money they carry – it is not going to take long before they run out. This, eventually, leads to them having to beg other people for food.

Gameplay has improved, and the game looks much smoother now than it has before. As always, the soundtrack of the game is an experience in itself. You can always expect the Life Is Strange-series to contain excellent music that adds to the widely immersive world.

A theme that turns out to become an important aspect of the game is racial discrimination. Even though they have, from their father, clear roots in Mexico, they still identify themselves as Americans. However, when they start to feel exiled from the States, they cling to their Mexican roots. One thing is witnessing it on a general basis – another is witnessing it happening to these young boys. Defenceless and innocent, they become the victims of violence, both verbally and physically.

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Brotherly love.

To put it mildly, these incidents are hard to watch. It’s a bold move from the developers, but at the same time, I feel like they are doing the right thing. As a consequence of the tragic event, Sean has to take on a parenting role for Daniel. As a 16-year old, he is still too young to be Daniel’s substitute parent, but it’s what they have.

Taking on this parenting role is of course not fitting for Sean. He has to keep his mask on for Daniel all the way until they finally meet a kind soul who sees them for what they are; kids just trying to survive. This stranger briefly becomes a guardian for the two boys, giving them what they need to keep on going. We, as adults, take on the role of a child in crisis. It’s an unfair and difficult situation, but I think it is an important subject to discuss. A 16-year old is never supposed to be set in that position. Sadly, that is the reality of many.

Life is Strange 2 takes on a more serious note than the other seasons. I’m predicting that this season will be an adventure like no other. We watch them as they grow up, joining them on their ups and downs. Because there will be plenty of them. As usual, Life is Strange creates a moving story about these two boys that I felt an instant connection to. I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going.

Life Is Strange 2 is available on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season PS4 Review

The Walking Dead: The Final Season “Done Running” Review [PS4] – The Beginning Of The End

The Walking Dead is back. And this time, for the very final season. Telltale Games have expanded The Walking Dead’s universe through 4 seasons, in addition to 400 Days and the mini-series Michonne. We have arrived at the end of the road with our dear Clementine, where we will hopefully receive an answer to the question we’ve been waiting for; will she lead the same fate as Lee?

I won’t be giving scores on each episode but will give a final score for the season in total. Therefore, these reviews will be short (but sweet). With that said, I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, but as the series goes on, I will eventually be forced to talk about relevant events.

It was with a heavy heart that I sat down with TWD again, with the first episode “Done Running”. I can always appreciate ending a series when it’s good, but at the same time, I’m not at all ready to say goodbye.

Ever since the first season was published, I have spent a lot of my time on these games. I don’t mean just playing the games – that alone truly opened the world of storytelling in games for me. But they also inspired me to write my bachelor’s thesis on TWD Season 1, studying the video game alongside the comics; combining my passion for games with my studies. Even though I will most likely never have a conversation with someone from Telltale Games, I have a lot to thank them for. And I cannot think of a better opportunity to do that than with these final reviews.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season PS4 Review
She’s all grown up!

As always, the choices we make will have consequences as the story progresses. However, it will now also have repercussions for AJ – the little boy we came to know in the previous season, whom Clementine has become a parent-figure for. Our choices will have an impact on what kind of person he will grow up to become, how he is shaped as a human being.

In this episode, Clementine and AJ meet a group of kids at an abandoned school, who have created their own society and are generally living in peace. They get to know some of the kids there, they get their own room, and they are served food. Though I gotta say, accepting the kindness of strangers in this game feels weird and unnatural.

In terms of gameplay, some things have changed from the previous season. Because we now have our own room, you can gather collectables to decorate Clementine and AJ’s room, giving us a nice sense of finally belonging somewhere.

In terms of combat, you can choose to incapacitate the zombies before killing them, making it easier to deal with larger packs. In addition, I really have to praise Telltale Games for their development from season 1 regarding the graphics. It doesn’t just look better, but the shifting between scenes no longer have those small pauses they used to have, now they just smoothly move from one scene to another in one coherent motion. I love it.

But, as we have seen throughout the series, all good things must eventually come to an end. Nothing ever stays peaceful in the world of The Walking Dead, and one thing I’ve learned from these games is to never believe in a first impression. Towards the end of the episode, things start to get dramatic and increasingly intense. It ended with my mouth hanging open, saying: did I do that?

The Walking Dead: The Final Season PS4 Review
Watch this space.

In a way, I feel that as Clementine has grown, so has Telltale Games as a company. As an avid fan, among many others, I feel like I have been following their journey to the top; they went from being one of the smaller ones to becoming one of the most significant game developers when it comes to storytelling in games.

“Done Running” is a great start to the final season, and even though there have already been some surprising turns, I’m guessing that we haven’t seen the half of it, yet. The title is a good description of their momentary sanctuary, and just looking at the other titles for the remaining episodes makes me nervous. All in all, the episode looked amazingly good, it tugged at my emotions right away, and this is only the beginning.

So far, The Final Season is looking very good. One episode down. Three more to go.

Graveyard Keeper Review PC

Graveyard Keeper Review [PC] – One Grave A Day Will Keep The Ghosts Away

Advertised as “the most inaccurate medieval cemetery management sim of the year,” I went into Graveyard Keeper expecting to find something weird, funny, and moderately inappropriate. What I found was something… very close to it.

Graveyard Keeper is indeed a resource management game made by Lazy Bear Games and tinyBuild, who are also the creators behind the fighter management game Punch Club.

You are thrown right into the game, witnessing our protagonist’s rather unfortunate fate, which leads him into a curious conversation with Death himself. Suddenly, we are being teleported back in time (year 204 to be exact) and are assigned the role as a graveyard keeper. You receive in your possession an old, abandoned house on a hill, with an even older and rustic graveyard next to it. 

Enjoy your own little bizarre and slightly disturbing utopia by creating a garden, tidying up your graveyard and home. However, to do these things you need to unlock different technologies. As your skills and experience as a graveyard keeper expand, you will also unlock different ways of preserving and taking care of the bodies you receive.

Graveyard Keeper Review PC
It may seem complicated at first, but as you get into the game, things gradually fall into place.

Research and upgrade your characters’ skills by collecting red, green, and blue «points» – which kinda look like regular ol’ gems. Different gems are required for different techniques:

Red: represents hand-crafting skills.

Green: knowledge about the nature of things and nature itself.

Blue: spiritual knowledge of the immaterial world.

Collecting these points takes quite some time in the beginning, making the game feel very slow-paced. However, once I learned more skills, the game naturally became more interesting.

The fact that almost every single action in the game consumes energy feels like both a blessing and a curse. While this is not necessarily a problem in itself, one might discuss that each action takes too much energy. This becomes a little tedious when you eventually have plenty of tasks to do. A grave situation indeed!

Visually, Graveyard Keeper has a lovely retro style design. With that said, the geographical design of the game feels quite big. It feels like the distance between each relevant quest site is too far, and it takes me forever to get there; maybe an auto-walk button would come in handy. But hey, at least the game has really pleasant music that I can listen to while I walk!

Graveyard Keeper Review PC
One grave a day will keep the ghosts away… literally.

The voice effects of the characters are funny and reminded me a little bit of the voices in Undertale. The characters want you to do quests for them, and in return, you gradually build a friendly relationship with them. While the dialogue has many good intentions of being funny, I cannot exactly say that it tickled my funny-bone

Even though the dialogue isn’t top-notch, Graveyard Keeper has a morbid sense of humour. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and that is kinda refreshing. For example, the local tavern is in dire need of meat for their delicious meals. And well, since you have flesh in abundance, you don’t really have to tell them where it comes from, right? … Right?

As you progress further in the game, you will also receive different recipes you can cook, so that you can restore the lost energy. Perhaps you might have some use for the flesh that you’ve been extracting too – if you know what I mean.

Being the graveyard keeper feels like a minor task in the game, compared to the tons of other stuff you can do: keeping a farm, a garden, working as a blacksmith to fix around your home, and doing various quests for the other villagers. The game runs in a day-and-night cycle, with different weather, even though I didn’t get the feeling it affected anything regarding gameplay. The characters’ availability, on the other hand, depends on which day of the week it is, where each day is indicated by its own symbol.

Moreover, Graveyard Keeper can become rather tedious. One example is being able to only pick up one thing at a time when you have to move quite a distance, making each task long and dreary. If I could pick up two things at a time, that would reduce the workload. If these glitches could be fixed, being a graveyard keeper wouldn’t be such a dead-end job… 

Though I must say, after I’ve laid my character to sleep to regenerate his energy bar, I kept finding myself automatically playing another day. Looks I’m just dying to play more… Because even though the game definitely has some flaws, it is nevertheless an entertaining game with a lot of potential.

I believe that the game could become excellent if it received more updates. If you like grinding games, Graveyard Keeper will definitely give you many hours of entertaining gameplay to dig into.

P.S: I hope my editor doesn’t give me the graveyard shift after this!

Graveyard Keeper is available on PC and Xbox One.

My Child Lebensborn Review [Android/iOS] – A Heartbreaking Journey Through War

My grandmother was 21 years old when the Second World War ended. Even though she was not herself a child born of war, she remembers the stigma and negative attitude that existed around children with a German father and Norwegian mother; the war didn’t necessarily end for some of these poor children. I remember her telling me stories that for her family, it was the drastic change in society that made the biggest impact.

Before I continue, let me explain the word “Lebensborn”. During World War 2, children of German soldiers and Nordic women were registered to the Nazi’s “Lebensborn” program and were just one of many examples of the Nazi’s twisted look on race and genes. When the war ended, the Lebensborn children became especially vulnerable to injustice and abuse, both through adoptions and placement in children’s homes and by the treatment from general society.

Made by the Norwegian game developers Sarepta Studio (also the creators of Shadow Puppeteer), My Child Lebensborn tells the difficult story about children born of war, and the hardship of surviving the aftermath of the Second World War in Norway. You adopt either Karin or Klaus, young children abandoned by their parents. As the sole caregiver for the child, the player has to help them survive in a post-war society filled with hate.

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The game has a lovely hand-drawn art style.

My Child Lebensborn is a story-driven nurture game, where each day is split up into four parts, morning, midday, afternoon, and night. During each part of the day, you have two or three “energy bars” – each action you take depletes one of these bars. I have to feed Karin, give her baths and take care of her; reminding me very much of Tamagotchi in terms of gameplay. This also involves buying and making the food, fixing her clothes, and reading bedtime stories.

Karin goes from being a happy child, feeling hopeful and eager to meet the future – to becoming a child that questions her own existence, the spark of life taken from her. And it is my job, as her protector, to restore it. Weighing your choices carefully is important because they shape and form the child as a person – will you fix Karin’s clothes because they were ripped up by the mean children at her school, or read her a bedtime story to calm her down after other the kids were picking on her? Work overtime to earn more money for food or go home to a child that is lonely and scared?

Prioritising is painful in this game, and I constantly wish that I had more time. The dialogue is as sweet and joyful as it is brutal and honest, and it’s up to the player to balance resources and the child’s emotional needs, where each choice you make will have an impact on the child’s personality and view on life.

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Parenting a child born of war is far from easy; as the child becomes older, Karin eventually starts to question her own history, wanting to know more about her parents, and why the other children at their school are being so mean to her. This is where the interesting parts of the game come in; the events that happen in My Child Lebensborn are based on real events, which makes them all the more powerful. While it baffles me that people have the ability to be so cruel to a child – or to anyone for that matter – it hurts me even more that I feel helpless to do anything about it.

Because of the game’s design, the only downside would be the inevitable pattern of repetitiveness. Except for some days that carry special events, most days are exactly the same gameplay-wise. Because of that mechanism, I felt like the story went a little bit too slow. When I wanted to know more about the story, I still had to finish every chore before I could move on to the next day, which was frustrating when the storyline peaked. But I guess it’s like that by design; we’re supposed to be on edge, eager to see how the road is being paved for this child.

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You don’t have to be a Norwegian to play this game, nor have much knowledge of the country’s history. Even though this is a story being told from a small corner of the world, they are not exclusive to Norway – children from all over the world suffered the same fate, regardless of the conflict, where they are, or what their cultures are.

My Top 3 Games For Travelling

If you’re a student, summer vacation might be here or just around the corner; or maybe you’re taking a well-deserved break from work.

When I’m travelling, I usually have a book and a portable gaming console in my backpack. I think we all can agree that there are moments in our travelling where we have to just… wait. So, what better way to spend that time than with some good games?

Before I begin, here are some of my criteria for what makes a game suitable for travel:

  1. It has to have a quick and easy save function.
  2. Simple to flip up, easy to put down. It must be easily detachable; can’t really start an adventure on one of Telltale’s games, if you know what I mean.
  3. It has to be fun, of course!

My Top 3 Games For Travelling

I used to have my Nintendo 2DS, but now I am fortunate to have my Nintendo Switch, which brings me plenty of different games to play when I am away from home.

This is my top 3 list of games I like to play when I’m travelling:

1: Pokémon (Red, Yellow, Blue)

You probably thought I was going to say Pokémon Go, right? Nah. It’s not the real deal. While I quite like Pokémon Go, that is not what I reach for when I choose to play a game from that universe.

Top 3 Games For Travelling

I always turn to the classics, and they are so nice to play when travelling. Even though it’s easy to get hooked, it is a game that is easily “detachable,” (unless you’re fighting a gym leader, then everything can wait!) where you can play small parts of the game and leave on short notice if needed.

2: Starsceptre

Starsceptre is an excellent action-packed retro shooter where you can play levels without having to worry about losing progress. The levels are fairly short, and it automatically saves after each level. I even wrote a review for it here on Nitchi (even though it has changed quite a bit since then, but for the better, if you ask me!). Excellent if you want something retro, fun and challenging.

Also nice if you’re not in possession of a Switch or another portable console, as Starsceptre is available on your iPhone or iPad.

Top 3 Games For Travelling

3: Stardew Valley

Making this game available on the Nintendo Switch might perhaps be one of the best decisions Chucklefish ever made. If you want something to calm you down after the continual stress involved with travelling, this is the game for you.

Top 3 Games For Travelling

Stardew Valley is a slow-paced, farming game, very relaxing when you need a breather. If you need to save quickly, just go to bed (the save function), but on the cost of cutting the day short.

With the Switch, gaming on the go has never been easier. Let us know if you have any suggestions for other games that are nice for playing on the go!

Happy travelling – see you in a month.

Detroit: Become Human Thoughts

“Are We Friends?” – Thoughts And Reflections On Detroit: Become Human

Would you, as a human being, enter a relationship with an android (if it were as real as us)? Would you trust an android with your children? Do you believe technology to be a potential threat to mankind?

With its release a mere month ago, Detroit: Become Human gained instant recognition and fame. If you haven’t played the game yet, I must warn you that this article will contain spoilers.

Thoughts And Reflections On Detroit: Become Human

In Detroit: Become Human, we follow the three protagonists Markus, Kara, and Connor. Categorized as “Deviants,” an error in their program allows them to stray from their given tasks, becoming autonomous individuals. They each have their very own personality and unique way of interacting with things, creating three very different stories that eventually intertwine.

The game offers some of the best interactive gameplay and storytelling I’ve experienced in a while, and I was very hesitant to let these androids go when the game was done because I had grown so attached to them. Following their story was much more engaging than I would have imagined, and I genuinely care about each of the protagonists. However, should I feel conflicted that I feel empathy and care for these androids, machines made to serve us?

Detroit: Become Human Thoughts
Chloe quickly became one of the most interesting characters in Detroit: Become Human.

I want to shed some light on a different character in Detroit: Become Human. One that surprised me with her presence and unexpected “conversation”. Serving as Elijah Kamski’s servant (the guy who created androids), Chloe is the first female android to pass the Turing Test, a psychological test that checks if a machine may possess the abilities to demonstrate intelligent behaviour equal to a human being.

But that is not what fascinates me. The fact that she was displayed on the menu-screen, she was the first face I met when I entered the game, and the last when I was exiting. She went from being formal, robot-like in her speech and attitude, to becoming a sentient being, commenting and questioning the choices I had made in the game. Even though our meeting with her in-game was brief, Chloe was a character that I continually looked forward to seeing again. Because she was unpredictable. When at one point she asked “are we friends?” my jaw dropped by surprise. I said yes. Yes, we were friends.

After she asked that question it was interesting to just sit there and observe her reaction. When it became clear that she was paying attention to the choices I made in the game, and even giving her own opinions on them, she gradually realized just how much of a self-thinking individual she is. As soon as she realized that she had said something that was outside of her program, her gaze became gradually more unfocused, and her facial expression turned into uncertainty and doubt… and sometimes fear?

These small, yet intriguing interactions with Chloe made me just sit on the menu for several minutes to wait and see if she said something else. That is how involved I got.

The incredibly hostile attitude of the human beings in the game is not necessarily a way that I would have reacted myself, even though I can, in some ways, understand the panic. Some don’t even render it a discussion, because it is easy to just discard the thought as “ridiculous,” and just throw it away.

Aren’t these androids a product of our own mistakes? Will humanity fall by their own hands?

Detroit: Become Human Thoughts
Is the scenario of androids leading a revolution real?

Historically speaking, Homo Sapiens, that’s us, get most of the blame for the extinction of several animal species, including different human species. Being the remaining Sapiens, we are used to being on top of the world. We are used to being the only creatures being able to converse and develop our language as complex as we do.

Many people are afraid of technology going too far; but when is it too far? Take for example Sophia the Robot, the first robot to gain a citizenship in Saudi Arabia, a country that only recently allowed women to drive. Even though Sophia is not nearly as lifelike as the ones in Detroit: Become Human, I think my point still stands. At this rate, the idea of our creations becoming autonomous seems to be a more and more relevant topic of discussion.

Are the androids simply a projection of who we want to be?

The game developers have made sure to portray the androids as “better than us,” both morally and physically, and that may be why the thought of them becoming sentient beings scares us. However, these are all existential questions that might never be answered, but I think it’s fun to contemplate them now and again, anyway.

Detroit: Become Human is a game that discusses these issues thoroughly and, in my opinion, pretty convincingly.

Detroit: Become Human

What To Expect From Detroit: Become Human

The release date of Detroit: Become Human is just around the corner, and I have taken a little look at the demo. So, if you’re still on the fence about whether to buy the game and want some more information about it, read on…

From the creators of Beyond: Two Souls and Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream has now created a science fiction adventure game called Detroit: Become Human. 

What Makes Us Human? 

That is the question as the player joins the story of three different androids in a society where they are mere slaves, designed to do our every bidding. What happens when they realize that they are, in fact, self-thinking individuals though? You will be challenged to answer moral questions, leading the androids onto different paths, ultimately to different end points.

Will they stray from their given paths, or will they fulfil their originally designed program?

What these three androids have in common is that they have all broken from their original programming, as the player helps them adapt to their ‘new life’.

Detroit: Become Human
The visuals are amazing!

Connor (played by Bryan Dechart from True Blood; The Remaining) is an android designed to investigate crime scenes, assisting the Detroit Police Department in tracking down so-called deviants – androids that have broken their program, leaving their owners and/or turned to crime.

Will you remain cool and calculated, or will you begin to feel sympathy for your fellow androids, and consequently begin to question the orders you are given?

Markus (played by Jesse Williams from Grey’s Anatomy; Cabin in the Woods) is one of the androids that have broken free from his programming, and he is the one that might be the cause of an android revolution. He becomes a part of a movement that wants to liberate the android population – but in doing so, will you resort to the pacifist route… or to violence?

Kara (played by Valorie Curry from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2; Blair Witch) is a deviant on the run with an innocent girl she has sworn to protect, and Kara must accept the inequalities she faces… or strive to rebel against them as she keeps the girl safe.

Detroit: Become Human
I mean, seriously. Look at these details.

Hostage Situation

In the demo, you play as Connor, who has been assigned to assist in a hostage situation. A rogue android has taken a little girl and is threatening to kill himself, taking her with him.

As Connor, you have to search around the apartment and piece together how this could have happened in the first place. By scanning and analyzing the crime scenes, there are small things in the environment Connor can interact with, challenging his abilities to be empathic.

After you’ve created a good picture of the crime scene, the time has come to confront the criminal; and save the girl.

Deducing from the mere half hour it took to play this demo; I must say it looks pretty darn good. How about visually stunning, as well as having some super smooth gameplay.

The narrative design is familiar if you’ve played Quantic Dreams’ games before, where each decision you make will shape and form the outcome of the story.

How you control the androids will have an impact on their life – if you decide that they will have one. Because there is a catch; if the path you choose leads to a character’s death (and yes, that can even be one of the protagonists), the story will move on nevertheless.

So be mindful – otherwise, a second or third playthrough might be in order.

In other words, if you categorize yourself as a science fiction enthusiast or just love a good story in video games, Detroit: Become Human is probably for you. Something different perhaps.

It’s out on PS4 this Friday.

A Way Out

A Way Out Review [PS4] – A Criminally Good Co-Op Adventure

As they say, there’s no “I” in “team.” From the man who has believed in this mantra since his previous game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Josef Fares is the director of the co-op exclusive A Way Out. Made by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts, this is a game I have been looking forward to ever since it was announced on E3 in 2017.

A Way Out is a textbook action-adventure game, but it’s unique in so many ways. As mentioned, there is no single-player option. You can play either local co-op, with a traditional split-screen style, or you can play online with another player. I chose to play the game in local co-op, so I can’t comment on how the game works online. From my experience with Fares’ previous game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, I knew local co-op would not be a problem, as Brothers offered an amazing co-op experience.

A Way Out Review

At the beginning of the game, each player has to assign a character, which can be described in these short terms:

  • Meet Vincent Moretti. Smart and strategic, Vincent prefers the stealthy route when it comes to handling situations and is not one to be underestimated. Vincent is convicted of murder, and the game opens with him being lead into prison. Outside the prison, Vincent is in a somewhat rocky place with his very pregnant wife.
  • Meet Leo Caruso. Tough, honest, and never afraid to do things the hard way, Leo is a stubborn man who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Leo is already an inmate when Vincent entered the prison and was convicted of grand theft. Outside the bars, Leo’s faithful girlfriend and their beloved son are waiting for him.

While the two men have each taken a very different path in life up until this very moment, Leo and Vincent’s unique stories are connected into one fantastic storyline. As they slowly get to know each other, they find out about a common enemy, a con man named Harvey – the sole reason for them being in prison in the first place. Queue revenge-plot!

Prison is a dangerous place to be and escaping it isn’t easy. Leo and Vincent are determined to get out. How else are they going to get their revenge? So, walk around the prison, do your chores, and make discreet conversation with the other inmates to gather information on security, how the prison is built, its weaknesses, etc. Do everything you can to make the prison break more manageable, without letting anyone else know what you’re planning.

A Way Out
Take a break from the “escaped convict” life, and play a round or two of tic-tac-toe with your partner!

There are bound to be some fights in prison and this is no different. The fighting scenes are well-made, and in the very first one Leo and Vincent must work together in a ‘fighting circle’. The fights are badass, smoothly shifting from Leo’s perspective to Vincent’s – and it works really well. The quick-time events are terrific and so much fun. Three words: slow-motion scenes. However, there are also stealth-missions while inside the prison; one is the distraction, the other does the dirty work. The reliance on both of you to do your job is exciting and serves for some very refreshing gameplay.

The question on everyone’s mind is; how did they get there in the first place? The storyline moves back and forth between past and present, giving the player a right amount of story both before and after their escape from prison. And yeah, that is not a spoiler, by the way. The majority of the game does not actually surround itself with after prison; it surrounds itself with what happens after their escape. Leo and Vincent’s reunion with the world is not necessarily easy, as they finally must encounter the problems that have been waiting for them outside the bars.

What I really like is how A Way Out integrates the co-op factor into every single aspect of the game – with masterful success. Upon completing a task, such as opening heavy doors and climbing certain obstacles, you are dependent on your partner to help you. That’s just the minor things. The game is extremely interesting in how it presents a variety of different ways of getting through multiple situations.

The two escaped convicts have their own methods: while Leo prefers brute force, Vincent wants more stealth. Most importantly, the players actually have to agree on the choice. And let me tell you, that can definitely create some tension on each side of the couch. This also creates some great replay value – I would like to find out if the story unfolded differently if I had made other choices.

A Way Out
The nice pacing of the game makes each moment all the more engaging.

When it comes to dialogue and script, there is an excellent synergy between Leo and Vincent and it is well-written, intriguing and thrilling. The voice-acting was good, and the synergy between the voice-actors was just as good as the characters in-game. The emotions change quickly from witty commentary that made both me and my partner laugh out loud, to severe conversations that created a pit in our stomach.

Visually, A Way Out is a stunning action-game with perfect pacing. Like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, the game knows that it has beautiful scenery, and gives the player plenty of chances to slow down and observe, before throwing out a fast-paced challenge. As Leo and Vincent naturally must spend a lot of time outside, the game really gets a chance to show off incredible lighting and with perfect corresponding ambience.

The more I think about it, the more I realize the different nuances implemented within. In different instances of the game, the perspective changes. Some parts use the classic GTA top-down style, others it’s a Tekken/Street Fighter style. Josef Fares has made some bold decisions by adding a lot of variety, but somehow it just works perfectly and feels refreshing.

There is also a distinct change in audio when each character has separate conversations. If the players are exploring on different sides of a scenario, then the one who started to speak first will have the highest audio or the ‘focus‘ of the conversations. When one of the characters encounters a critical discussion, the game will automatically focus more on that. It’s an excellent way to focus on the essential things, and even though it was a bit confusing at first, it worked surprisingly well.

It wasn’t until I played A Way Out that I realized how much I’ve missed classic split-screen co-op. Nothing beats it. Where have all the good ones gone anyway? Because if I had to find a flaw in this game, I would say that I wished it was just a little bit longer… I wanted more, and though I know that wishes like that are often a double-edged sword, A Way Out is so much more than a get-out-of-prison game.

[There’s a huge twist at the end, a true turning point of the story; if you’re playing with someone in the same room, there might or might not be a problem. And that’s all I am going to say about that].

Little Nightmares Episode 3: The Residence Review

Little Nightmares – Secrets Of The Maw Episode 3: The Residence Review [PS4] – Is This The End?

Never-ending darkness. The only safety is from a small ray of light coming from your tiny flashlight. A creaking sound comes from behind you. You turn around, but of course, there’s nothing there. Your heart skips a few beats as you hear a child laughing in the distance. They’re watching you. Then, you start to hear small steps. Slow. But then the pause between each step becomes shorter. Someone’s coming…

The last and final episode of the Little Nightmares’ DLC is out, at last, and is titled The Residence. As the world of Six and The Runaway Kid has unfolded, we have eventually gotten more horrifying insight into what might exist in the Maw. However, there is one character left that has yet to tell her story; the Geisha.

Some say that a person’s home describes a lot about their personality. We get to explore the residence of the Geisha, who surrounds herself with creepy-looking dolls and plenty of books. What exactly this says about her we never fully know, but I am sure that there are several possible theories to why she’s so interested in literature and porcelain figures. All I can do is make an educated guess and say that there must be a quite uncomfortable and scary story behind her character.

Little Nightmares Episode 3 Review
Hello?… Hi. Nice place you got here.

The episode starts out eerily silent, but it doesn’t take long before you hear a song coming from a small music box. The song fades away as we explore further into the house, and the player eventually encounters a new enemy: small, dark apparitions with small masks. What makes them even more creepy is the fact that they have the look and laugh that resembles children. The only way to attack them is to shine at them with your flashlight, so hold on to that thing, because it is going to save your life. With that said, the mechanic instantly reminded me of Alan Wake, where you have to focus your flashlight on the ghosts to weaken them.

In contrast to the previous episodes in the DLC, The Residence gives you a greater illusion of a more open-world. We are much more free to explore, as there is not necessarily a given way to go. The puzzles don’t have to be solved in a certain order, and they feel more intricate and detailed. Roughly, The Kid has to find dolls that are scattered around the Geisha’s residence and put them in their proper place.

While this might seem simple at first, the complexity of finding each doll easily swallows the time. There is also a stronger action element, which is interesting and refreshing compared to the previous episodes in this DLC. As if my stress levels weren’t high enough playing this game!

Looking at the episode from the puzzle side of things, The Residence was definitely one of the more challenging ones. It is also the shortest, where I used up approximately 2 hours at a relatively slow pace. However, in those two short hours, we discover the terrible fate of all those who have suffered the wrath of the Geisha – with a pretty huge twist at the end… well, of course, I’m not going to reveal this now… play it for yourself and find out!

Little Nightmares Episode 3 Review
The eye sees everything.

What Little Nightmares masters is the continuous suspense of not knowing what is in the next room. It gets really intense at times, and I love it: I had to remember to stop once in a while and take a breather. However, this universe’s definite greatest strength is its take on the concept of fear. As we have seen before in various shapes and forms, The Residence wants to see our reaction to darkness, masks, and creepy inanimate objects such as mannequins.

The Little Nightmares universe will always hold a special place for me. I followed the game when the working title was “Hunger,” and I remember going to a lecture where the narrative writer of the game told the audience how the game would play on people’s nightmares, and I thought, “There’s no way that I’m going to miss out on this game!” The borderline between horror, thriller, and uncanny valley is unique, and I have yet to see games that use these elements the same way that Little Nightmares do.

At the end of the episode, I got an achievement that said: “we’ll meet again.” And I cannot help but wonder; is this a suggestion that it might not be the last of Little Nightmares? Are we truly finished? There might not be anything special behind it, but it certainly peaked my curiosity. Even with all these questions, I don’t know if we will ever receive an answer.

The Runaway Kid’s story has come to an end. With beautiful scenery and masterful storytelling, this has been a memorable experience. What the Little Nightmares universe is so good at doing, is to tell my brain to be ready to hit the emergency panic button, and then cranking my anxiety up to the maximum. It starts out in uncomfortable silence before increasing to a horrifying crescendo.