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.

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Past Blast: Chase The Express – Staying Above 50mph

What to say about the 90’s? Take That, Shell suits, Cassettes, the rave culture, Brit-pop, The X-files, The Outer-Limits, Steps, Strange but True, Sony PlayStation, VHS, Eclipse clothing, tramlines, the ear stud, Pokémon, Nintendo vs. Sega, Eerie Indiana and the Hollywood Blockbuster action movie.

In the 90’s, TV, clothing, music, brands and movies were events; they meant something. One burst out of nowhere, full of high octane action and was all thrill; that movie was the legendary ‘Speed’ starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock and Dennis Hopper. An action movie that defined a generation with cheesy dialogue, a simple plot and a 1 hour and 56 minutes adrenaline rush.

I imagine any youth of today may laugh at the above comments on Speed, yet, I’m not kidding. Speed was the must-see movie that even had its own simulator. Speed later influenced one of gaming’s beloved franchises: Metal Gear Solid. With the first Metal Gear Solid soundtrack ripping off the Speed soundtrack (seriously, someone should have been sued) and Metal Gear Solid 2’s Fat Man being inspired by Dennis Hopper’s character.

But there was one game that feels like Speed the game just without the staying above 50mph, being on a bus and Sandra Bullock – that game is Chase the Express.

Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn (let’s be honest, that title sounds like a prog album) in America, was developed by Sugar and Rockets, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan/Europe and Activision in America. It was released in the dawn of the new Millennium for the PlayStation.

You play as Jack Morton (maybe I’m reading into it too much but the main character from Speed is called Jack) a NATO officer sent to board the Blue Harvest, a train carrying the Ambassador that’s been hijacked by the KGB who now have access to nuclear bombs.

You are the sole survivor of your team after missiles strike your helicopter, nevertheless, you’ll see many characters on the way, Christina Wayborn – one the ambassador’s special police, Philip Mason – the ambassador’s secretary.  As Jack, your job is to stop the terrorists and ensure none of the nuclear bombs are detonated.

Ok, but what about the gameplay? I hear you say that – I was going to tell you if you calm down and listen. Patience is a good thing.

Chase the Express is a third-person action game with puzzle elements and item management. It features the obligatory tank controls suited for the fixed camera angles you’d expect from a game of the genre and time; however, the environments are modelled in 3D meaning you can slightly alter the camera angle.

The puzzles are your typical ‘find item, and place item in said obvious place’. Firearm combat auto aims at an enemy with a ring that will appear around them – changing to a darker colour, it indicates you can deal more damage and if you run out of ammo you always have your fists.

Stealth mainly consists of you walking to one of the side cabin, waiting for a geezer to walk past, and walking out while his back is turned. Another option is popping out of cover with an action roll or dodging certain attacks; you Souls veterans will feel right at home. The game does it’s best to mix the gameplay up with controlling the speed of a train to match another train, multiple scenarios/endings and a bomb disposal section where the wirecutter is the slowest machine I’ve had the pleasure of enduring.

The highlight of this game is by far the dialogue, writing and voice acting; it’s so terrible in that PlayStation 1 way that it provides the game entertainment and lots of charm. The lines are delivered vacantly with no emotion and are disjointed. The writing – there is a section where you speak to a character about how to disarm some missiles, his reply is just “Screwdriver”. Screwdriver… Genius.

That’s the joy of this game, it doesn’t try to be something spectacular because it knows it isn’t, the gameplay doesn’t try to wow you with some special mechanic because it’s all a poorly done version of something else, the writing and acting isn’t going to blow your mind and they know it.

What the game is, is entertainment, time out of your life for 4-5 hours. In that very 90’s way, it knows what it is and what its goal is, to entertain; not too much, but enough –  it doesn’t swallow your life in the process. If this was a 90’s movie, it would come in a triple VHS with ‘Money Train’ and/or ‘Daylight’; it’s that calibre of video game.

It cost me three pounds. If there is any PlayStation one fans/collectors who haven’t played this game and they want something they can hammer out in a day or two – give it a blast. I’ll be back soon.

the inner friend

The Inner Friend… Is Awakening – It’s Out This Year

Audio can sometimes distort the meaning, can change the perception of something. We can witness an event, but we hear someone else’s story or whilst we are witnessing the event the ambience can alter what we have clearly seen; we doubt ourselves.

Sometimes we just need to cut the talking and just watch, a picture can tell a thousand stories and gazing upon a canvass, silent movie or a photo is when we truly find something about ourselves; no external influence, only our internal thoughts to delight or dismay us, we, you, I…

The Inner Friend

The Inner Friend

The Inner Friend is a game developed by Montreal ‘s Playmind studio. Previously working on AR, VR and interactive installations, they have taken their experience on these projects onboard to develop The Inner Friend, a narrative told through the visual exposition of surreal landscapes – based on the psychology of a child and supported with an ambient/cinematic score.

As you go into the subconscious mind you need to restore memories but the further you drive the darker the world becomes – you must escape or fight horrid creatures.

The Inner Friend

Can The Inner Friend accomplish its goal? Will its minimalistic and surreal visuals draw us into the world? Will the puzzle and combat help to compliment its meaning or will it hinder it?

Like gazing upon the canvass… We will all walk away with our own thoughts and our own interpretations.

The Inner Friend

A picture can tell a thousand stories. The Inner Friend will release this year on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Desert Child game

Racing RPG Desert Child Due Out Q3

The heat is exhausting out here, the only time you get shade is when the sun sets and then, you still want to be under an umbrella. For me, well I just get on this hoverbike over here and ride, for pleasure, for pay; it makes no difference.

Racing RPG Desert Child Game

The hot air turns cool. Of course, it can get pretty hot then let me tell ya – but when I ride, it’s like, what’s the word, Zen, you know… Free. It’s then I forget about the earth and its bullsh… ha, sorry kids, its nonsense. That’s not the life for me; the life for me is up there, Mars; and I’ll do whatever it takes to get there. Me and my trusty Judy here, my hoverbike.

Desert Child game
Dine on a range of interplanetary cuisine with sweet buffs to help you win

Hell, I’ll race, hunt bounties and deliver drugs; whatever it takes… Oh, you don’t like that? Listen, kid, you may snarl away to yourself as you’re reading this on your phone, tablet, but out here you do what you can for a buck. Breaking the law? Nah man, it’s survival. It’s the difference between having a meal and rummaging in the bins for scraps.

To me, I see as I’m playing some RPG, life-sim, racing game; the more points I get, the better the ranking, the bigger the taking. Man, I sometimes see the scores with my very own eyes I get that absorbed in it. Pfft, don’t look at me like that, I’ve got rent to pay and noodles to eat. I might even customize I, Judy, here.

Desert Child game
Race, shoot, and get better! Designed for replayability, with secrets that keep you coming back

I know you don’t understand but look, kid, if you want to survive out here you should do the same, earn what you can and get your ass to Mars.

You’ll see me soon kid, by Q3 you’ll understand and if you see me, you’d better shoot first kid; like I said, just think you’re on your PS4, Switch, Xbox One or PC… It makes it easier.

Desert Child game
Hunt bounties, deliver drugs, throw races – do anything you can to earn cash

Desert Child, that’s who I am. And that’s who you’ll be”.

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.

Bujingai Swordmaster

Past Blast: Bujingai Swordmaster – Surprisingly Rare

As I approached my favourite stall at the Doncaster Video Game Market, looking at all the obscure splendours, I thought: ‘It’s these obscure games that make me attend these events’. To dig into gaming’s past, games ignored on their release and games still ignored today.

As I’m looking through the PlayStation 2 games I hear my fiancée’s voice staccato with excitement to my left. There in her hand was ‘Bujingai-Swordmaster’, there was one of these obscure splendours. I hand over the game with my money to the merchant.

“You know what, this game should be a hell of a lot more expensive. This is a surprisingly rare game”, says the merchant consciously grinning.

“I know, I’ve been after it for some time,” I say, noticing the crowd look at the case in a curious bewilderment.

“Not got the demand, which is a shame because it’s a really good game”, replied the merchant as he’s bagging it up.

“Well, no one has heard of it”.

“I know, thanks mate,” I said, taking the bag from the merchant.

“Thank you”.

I walk off in search for more obscure splendours.

Bujingai Swordmaster

Bujingai Swordmaster

Bujingai, Bujingai: Swordmaster (in Europe) or Bujingai: The Forsaken Forest (North America) is a beat em up/hack and slash game with loose puzzle-solving and platform elements.

It was developed by the legendary Taito Corporation in collaboration with Red Entertainment and published by BAM! Entertainment in North America and 505 Gamestreet in Europe.

The game was exclusively made for the PlayStation 2 and was a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Taito. Due to the anniversary, some exceptional talent worked on this game, with Toshihiro Kawamoto the character designer for Cowboy Bebop, Yosuke Kuroda the scenario writer Trigun and the main protagonist modelled after J-pop Icon Gackt.

So again, all this talent but I bet you just walked past this game?

Well, here’s what you’ve missed out on or for you retro collectors out there; here is what you can get and get for a reasonable price!

Now when I played this game, I didn’t pay that much attention to the story. I had a vague idea of something going on, but I’ve done some research (I read the Wikipedia page…) and here’s what I’ve got.

A 100 years ago an accident of an environmentally friendly energy source has wiped out 70% of the world’s population and in the process has wiped out the government.

All the remaining survivors have gained special powers from earth’s energy – in swordplay and magic. You play as Lau Wong, a human exile who returns to earth to battle his training partner and friend Rei Jenron – who has been possessed by an ‘Evil Spirit’.

Yohfa has been kidnapped, and numerous portals have been opened allowing demons to take over the Asian city Bujingai; it’s up to Lau Wong, to save Bujingai.

Bujingai Swordmaster

As you can see, not an Oscar-winning narrative, but this game isn’t about the narrative, it’s about gameplay.

The gameplay is simple, with two attack buttons and a jump button. The jump allows you to glide and run on the wall, then the light attack button acts as a counter if pressed at the right time.

The counter is where the game shines, you have these gems in the corner of the screen based on how many times you can defend before taking damage. When the counter kicks in, your mouth will drop, and you’ll salivate at its splendour.

Like all hack and slashers around this era, you have a combo counter; in this game, the combo counter runs out the more you are on the ground, so the game encourages you to jump around, gliding through the air and running on walls like some crazed Chow Yun-fat.

The unspoken genius of this game lays in the hands of the sound designers. It’s like listening to the nostalgia of old samurai and kung-fu movies. Those vivid swooshes of the sword, that ting and swipe of steel on steel, the swooping of bodies gliding in the air, those synthesized laser beams, and last but not by a long shot least, the sound of the loose fabric clothes contending with the force of its wearer.

It’s in those details in sound that gives the game authenticity.

Bujingai Swordmaster

Bujingai isn’t a masterpiece, the environments aren’t that exciting, the glide mechanic never feels like you have complete control of where Lau will go, and the game is repetitive.

But the excellent sound design mixed with the outstanding choreography of the fighting animations is just a fun gameplay experience; it’s a shame it doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

Well, now I must give it a blast because it was so dirt cheap.