Thursday, 20 September 2018

Soul Reaver 2 walkthrough online!

I have finally had some time to record all of SR2 footage, so now I have all of Soul Reaver games covered. I must say I am still considering doing a Playstation or Dreamcast run of SR1 at the moment, but I´ll see. This still leaves BO1 and BO2, but maybe one day... Recording via Shadow play made things a lot easier as OBS would not work for SR2 and Fraps just creates uber large files (I do not have that much space on my hdd). Below are all the links to the walkthroughs I have done so far for the three LOK games:


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And if anybody missed Defiance, here is the first part:

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Here is my pc Soul Reaver walkthrough:


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

London Film and Comic Con 2018

I attended LFCC first time this year as after attending several MCMs at London Excel I felt a need for change. This time I wanted to do another Legacy of Kain cosplay and felt like it is time for me to portray an ancient vampire. I got inspiration for my fellow friend Lucinvampire and her Janos costume. My attempt was not at any ancient in particular, but you can spot the resemblence to Janos´s outfit. It took me quite a while to figure out the details, especially the wings. 

I ended up cannibalizing some parts of my previous costumes (practice which is not unknown to most cosplayers). Luckily, none of those pieces were damaged and I can freely use them between costumes (like boots or ears). My golden boots got another spray paint layer and also I have made new thicker leather guards for them so they would not bend as easily. This time, I glued my ears with spirit gum, so did not have to worry about losing them.
Since last year I have done Raziel´s bat wings, I felt like trying feather wings for a change. Getting feathers was the easy part, how to attach them securely to the construction was another. I wanted them to be posable as well, so I have used alluminum wire with cloth for the main body, like I have done for the bat wings. I have attached all the feathers in small horizontal rows using velcro strips (hook and loop) and in the end, I ended up stapling them all on. The glue from the velcro was not strong enough to hold securely (at one point, all of it peeled off), so the stapler worked really well. For the main body I have used black leggings (I had wet look tight trousers ready but it was just too hot that day), white robe and blue see through blouse. For my face I wore my white eye contact lenses (those are actual prescription ones) and painted my face blue. For my hands I used painted witch fingers to create a tri-claw effect. Painting my hands was the worst decision, unfortunately, as I could not touch anything at all, which was super frustrating and I wish I would have gone for gloves instead (that is already on the list of improvements). The wings, which were the part I worried about most, were the sturdiest piece of my costume in the end. None of the feather layers fell off and even when I was walking, they were joyfully bobbing up and down with me.

Baziel finally did his long awaited Moebius costume. He did the snake staff with the ball all on his own (I painted the snake red and yellow). I was really worried it would not hold but with a bit of glue gun and screws it all held together really nicely! Moebius´s costume is actually quite complex, but I feel we improvised well and I got to use my lame sewing skills to create a v-shape in the back of the tail and attached shoulder pads (originally from an executioner costume).

As to the convention itself, it was cheaper than MCM by a bit and I wanted to see what a Friday felt like there for comparison. After we got off the train we went the wrong way at first for few minutes, there were no signs for regular visitors so we ended up going all the way around the venue just to get in. We waited in the queue for about 10 mins and then got in without issues. Maybe it was due to Friday being quieter than the rest of the weekend but I was a bit underwhelmed by the stuff inside. There were plenty of opportunities to shop for merchandise but it felt a bit lackluster, especially when compared to MCM. These were just two interconnected halls with not much going on that day. There was practically no seating throughout the whole venue (if you do not count the panels) and while there was a blue mat in the middle to sit down on, for people in costumes it was impractical to sit down completely. I think better solution was to provide any soft stuff to sit on or even bean bag chairs, as MCM has done in the past. I was not interested in the panels, so after about 2,5 hours of constant walking, we got exhausted (it was 30 degrees outside that day) really quickly. The airconditioning did not work too well in the main halls.


Within the first ten minutes we got first photo opp and while we spent only like two or three hours there total, we got several people stopping us and taking pictures which always makes me super happy. I even got a professional photographer take pictures of me. The result was pretty stunning compared to the pictures taking by me on my phone. He is pleasure to pose for and definitely give him a follow @Colin Eastaugh.

Overall, it was a good experience, even though we left earlier than I´ve thought. Met my awesome friends again which made everything worth it. Next time, however, I will be at MCM London this October, sporting some new cosplays on Friday and Saturday. Be sure to stop by and say hello! I will reveal what I am cosplaying later on.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Interesting LOK related videos


Hello all,

here are two interesting videos for you to look at. First one is an interview my SoulRev coleague, Francesco, talking about game development and also shining some light about our project. We are still kicking even though things not always go as fast as we would wish. Second one is the well known Hylden aka Patrick Johnson who just joined Patreon and it showcases first video footage of Soul Revenant as well. You can now support his artwork or even request to make models for you.



Thursday, 28 June 2018

Amy Hennig is forming her own indie studio

According to the latest article on Eurogamer, Amy Hennig confirmed that she left EA and is no longer working on ther Star Wars game which underwent major changes and is not the same game she has been working on. Amy was visiting Gamelab conference in Barcelona when she was approached by Eurogamer. She disclosed the following:

"I'm working independently and staying independent. I just started my own small little independent studio and am consulting with some people. I'm hoping to bring some people on board, I would love to have a little company of about six to eight people, 15 at the most, and do some more projects, do some VR stuff - I'm consulting with some VR companies and doing a ton of research because I haven't played a lot to immerse myself in it." 

After years of working for EA, this news is perhaps most exciting in a while in a world of Legacy of Kains. While she might not be thinking of returning to the franchise, given that Square Enix owns the series, this still might bring interesting games from Amy Hennig´s amazing talent for writing and directing. We can always hope that LOK has not completely left her mind but wish her all the best in creating her new projects, this time without the pressure of a publisher behind her back.

 Source: Eurogamer

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Shadow of the Colossus Review



Shadow of the Colossus is a legendary game and rightfully so. By coming to PlayStation 4, the players can finally experience the game as the authors intended, that is without any technical compromises. How did the new studio Bluepoint manage with this remake?

It was 2006 and I somehow got to this gem on PlayStation 2. I must say that I've missed its predecessor, Ico, which was hard to find back then, but I got hooked on this unusual game where your sole goal is to defeat all the bosses. The original game, however, was plagued by the lower framerate, which was sometimes dropping to intolerable values. Despite that, the game was highly praised and got great reviews. In 2011, Sony has released a remaster with higher framerate for PlayStation 3, made by the very same Bluepoint. So why are we returning back to the colossi again for the third time? I can only assume that during the remastering the game they thought the game would look a lot better in current gen graphics with modern shaders and particle effects, so they have called upon Japan Studio for help and guidance. Thus, Bluepoint have created all of the art assets from scratch and all the previously low-res textures received a well deserved upgrade while keeping the source code and animations intact. If you think this was a waste, watch a video comparison of all three versions. On a regular PS4, you can achieve a stable 30fps, while PS4 PRO gives you the option to play in 60fps on 1080p resolution.


SOTC has a story full of emotions taking place in a seemingly empty world. It´s primarily inhabited by the sixteen colossi, which our main hero must kill if he wants to resurrect his girl. It would be impossible to achieve in the land of the mortals, however, Wander has heard about a strange foreign land, where a god called Dormin can resurrect the dead. Determined, Wander embarks upon a long journey into the Forbidden land, where entry is punished. As soon as you see the weirdly structured bridge for the first time, you can recognize Fumito Ueda's signature architecture from Ico. You'll find many ruins and empty building which silently tell the tales of the old battles or the lives of its people. Wander, however, did not come to learn about these interesting tales of the old civilizations. After he gently puts down Mono on the altar, an ancient voice speaks out. Realizing that you are carrying the sacred sword, Wander is given his first task. Not heeding Dormin's warning that the price for this deed might be too high, Wander gets on his trusty steed, Agro, to fulfil his mission to take down all of the sixteen majestic colossi.


This is just a short intro, but the game contains minimum cutscenes and focuses mainly on gameplay. The game gives you a vast world to explore which is fun to traverse. In order to not get lost, you can always check your position on the map or just use the landmarks to orient yourself. You'll find plenty of unique rock formations, Stargate-like rings in the desert or pillars jutting out of the ground around that one corner. If you ever feel you lost your objective, there is an easy solution. Your sword is not just any random weapon. It reflects sunlight which can help you light up dark areas or, most importantly, point to the precise location where the next colossus is hiding. If Wander would try to get into this land on foot, he would probably still be running on that super long bridge you find at the beginning of the game. Luckily, his companion, mare Agro, is really fast and can tackle long distances with ease. You do not control her directly but by pulling her reins to turn or stop. You need to give her a kick to go faster. It's very effective and galloping across the plains never felt so majestic before this game. Agro will usually always try to reach you, but if you ignore her, she will try to keep herself occupied by eating the grass or drink from a spring you found. Sometimes she will start walking into the distance on her own but you can always call her back with a shout or a whistle, if she is too far away.


The world of SOTC is mostly deserted but beautiful. Wandering through centuries of nature unspoiled by human hands is thrilling and is accompanied by her serene sounds. From the rich green forests full of chirping to the wind blowing around statues half buried in countless sand dunes. You will visit several lakes, full of fish, whose silence is interrupted by Wander's splashing in the water. There is no time limit to achieve your main goal and that gives you the opportunity to just stop and look around. To think about how this ancient, crumbled city used to look like at the height of its existence. It´s so easy to just take a stroll through the forest, catch a few lizards to get an improved grip or search for the exotic fruit, which prolongs your life. You can even try to latch onto a passing flying hawk or a fish and see how long can you hold on for. There are lots of different things to do to keep yourself occupied in between the hunts for the colossi. This is strengthened by the stunning visuals, which changed quite a lot since PS2 was around. While the former blocky design was necessary in the past, now it's just a choice in places, where it actually fits. Many times I've stopped just to look at closer at those sharp textures on the rocks and ravines to make the best screenshot. Particles were also improved. Your horse now leaves hoof prints in the sand and Agro's tail and mane playfully flutter in the wind. The fur on the colossi bends as you climb over it as well. There are other effects like light mist above lakes and inside forests, sand coming off rocks in the desert and I have never seen so many patches of lush green grass in one place.


The battles with the colossi could be regarded as their own levels and are the biggest draw of the game. Every colossus has a different design, size and behaviour. Some are more aggressive than others and in order to beat them, you need to search for their weak points. Your bow serves more to draw attention of the colossus to that tiny human on the ground, which is you. Your special sword, on the other hand, is the only thing which can do any damage, though, and has to be stabbed into the glowing spot until enough of the black fog escapes. Once you have conquered the beast, it helplessly topples into a rubble of rocks and sand, as if it was just an empty shell. To climb upon such a monster is not easy. Luckily for Wander, part of their bodies is covered by thick fur which he can grab onto. It's not possible all the time, however, and you might need to find a way to flip over the colossus to reveal a climbing spot. Holding onto the alerted enemy is not an easy task either, as it will start to rock backwards and forwards as soon as he finds out that you are on his shoulder. This is where Wander's grabbing strength comes into play. You start with a small circle, which depletes rather quickly, but by eating lizard´s white tails, you can improve it significantly. The lizards are usually hidden around the checkpoint shrines but catching them is not easy as they are fleeting. If you manage to hold on (taking breaks on your grip can replenish it much faster at a risk of falling off), you have to search for the colossus' weakness which your sword can expose. Each glowing mark will take several charged up stabs before you have to move to the next one, but it is usually between two or three before the colossus succumbs to your will. The difficulty of each fight varies and while some are harder than others, it is not overly difficult. Sometimes you just need to use your environments to your advantage and lure the colossi where you need them, whether it be by hiding so it can't see you and it is fun to find out what works. If you'll take too long, Dormin will also give you a hint on how to proceed. The whole fight can take from several minutes to half an hour, depending on your skills and knowledge of the game.


The source code of the game stayed while all the 2D and 3D objects where swapped out for their higher polygon versions. Bluepoint did an excellent job here while adhering to the structure of the original. The viewing distance has been vastly improved and now you can see 3D objects in  the distance with ease. Graphics are not the only one which received an update, however. Even though the voice over, sounds and music stayed the same, they were all improved and now sound much higher quality. It is a joy to listen to Agro's hooves hitting the ground or immerse yourself into the majestic orchestra which accompanies your efforts to slay the beasts and fuels your efforts. Other times it can evoke a calm, melancholic atmosphere when you discover new locations. The intro and outro tracks bear a strong emotion but you should definitely listen to the whole soundtrack as it is brilliant. The controls were a bit clunky in the original but the developers have made Wander's motions more fluid and added two more modern control schemes. Unfortunately, both of them place the horse control on the triangle, which you need to hold down and it is very uncomfortable if you're trying to move the camera around with your right thumb at the same time. I have solved this by setting the horse command to R2 and grab to R1 instead in the PS4 settings and it was a lot better this way.


To beat the game for the first time takes about 8-10 hours. It is a bit of a shame that Bluepoint did not try to go further and bring back the missing eight colossi, which did not make the cut in the end. Throughout the world you'll find many deserted places, which almost beg for another epic confrontation. Time trials are back and if you beat enough of them you'll get extra items just like in the original (different weapon types, masks, or even a parachute). The main menu also offers concepts and screenshots to look at. At the beginning, you can choose from three difficulties – easy, normal and hard. I recommend going for hard as the colossi have more weak points this way and take longer to kill, as the game itself on normal seemed too easy. After beating the game you'll also unlock new game + and you can play the game in different screen filters. There is a newly added photo mode which is nice but I was a bit disappointed you can't position the camera freely.

SOTC is still a unique title just like when it came out originally. If you have played it back then, on PS2, it won't harm to refresh your memory again in a much better visuals and in high-res with stable framerate. Even if you already own the PS3 remaster, this is a perfect remake worthy of your purchase. Thanks to Bluepoints hard work, new gamers can now fully enjoy this masterpiece in the shadow of the colossus.

Score: 10/10

+16 unique colossi battles
+ horse riding
+ stunning scenery
+ technical improvements
+ orchestral music
+ time trials
- static photomode
- controls still need tweaking

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Review

Celtic warrior Senua is embarking on a treacherous path to save her beloved from death. Accompany her on this journey to find Senua's true self!

Do you go through this as well? After finishing a game you feel empty. You want more, but you know that repeated playthroughs will never be the same as the first time. I think I felt like this after finishing SOMA and more recently, Talos Principle. Both games make you think about things which you do not stop and ponder about on a daily basis. What is consciousness? In Hellblade, Ninja Theory got together with professionals and doctors to show us how mental health issues can affect an individual. The game offers a bleak, but interesting insight upon a psyche of a suffering person.


We learn who Senua is and where she comes from as the game goes on. At the beginning, we witness how she tries to reach Niflheim on her little raft, the land which is the entry to Helheim, her final destination. In Viking hell it is Hela, the ruler of death, who is the only one capable of returning a lost soul back from the Underworld. Getting to Helheim will not be easy. The bridge is guarded by a giant door with two large emblems and in order to unlock it, Senua needs to delve deep into the domains of Viking gods Surtr and Valravn. It is up to you which you go through first but both offer a very different experience. If you know about Surtr and what he is, you can already guess that this path will be like walking through inferno. He is the god of fire and Senua has to step a foot on the scorched ground, which still bears the screams of the people which burned to death there. To get through this fiery place, Senua must activate Surtr's signs scattered across the land. Touching one will materialize the moment when the fire consumed everything and you have a short time to get out of there and avoid choking to death. 


Luckily our heroine is not helpless, she is a skilled warrior after all and knows how to handle her sword. Later on, she will even master slowing down time as certain enemies can only be damaged in that state. You have one button for a light attack, second button for a heavy attack, one for dodging which is very important, and last one is for blocking. As I have been playing the Devil May Cry series for several years, this felt a bit too simplified to me and while you can lock onto enemies, you cannot really chain combos too much. The battles do not happen often and are usually spaced in between puzzle sequences. On higher difficulties the enemies get a lot tougher and dodging is something you have to master. I definitely recommend a gamepad, though, a keyboard might not be too comfortable.

Second boss is Valravn, the master of illusions and will drag you through a dark forest, where nothing is as it seems. If you ever get stuck, know, that looking at things from a different angle can help a lot. The way forward is blocked by raven insignias and to do that, you have to align the correct three symbols. If you persevere and kill Valravn, the way to the bridge will be open. It is not, however, the end of your journey, but merely a beginning to understand Senua's past. The game has some interesting mechanics up its sleeve but you have to discover that on your own.



All of this is merely a vehicle to express Senua's true feelings. Those, who are going or went through something similar, will understand. It is best to describe as being lost in hopelessness and fear, to know nothing will make you happy. Just like Senua, who lost everything. You will just know that something went horribly wrong in her past, something she chose to block out. Something which will never fully heal and caused other personalities emerge in her mind. She is not alone on her journey – there are others, voices of encouragement, cowardice and fear, but also of bravery. They are always present, just like the darkness which sleeps within our heroine. You will hear their whispers, quiet or loud. If you are unsure on where to go, some will mock you. Others will doubt your abilities. It is something I had not experienced it before in a game and it hard to explain and better to hear on your own. Besides your own voices in your head there are also other characters, which emerge over time. Druth is a mysterious ally, whose purpose is to guide you. His stories tell you more about the Viking gods and their customs. Throughout the game you'll also find rune stones and if you find them all, you´ll receive an extra scene at the end. Senua is not by any means ordinary and sees symbols and faces everywhere, where normal people see mundane objects. Sometimes it´s just a play of shadow and fire, but it's enough for the symbol to appear. The search gets progressively harder, but there are indicators on the screen if you are close enough to one.


The graphics are beautiful and the game supports 4K resolution as well, if you have a good enough pc to run it. The sunset views above the bridge leading to Helheim, the fiery paths of Surtr, or storms in the dark forest are just a few environments which you will keep pressing F12. Senua's own character model has been made with the slightest details and sometimes it is hard to believe, she is not real. I must applaud the developers here, because it gives Senua more credibility and she also has a natural face mimicry. How she looks at you, the player, feels unique, like you are there with her all along. It is hard to not feel the oppressive uneasiness together with her. That is the price which is worth to pay because Hellblade is an experience which no other game can give you.


The sound engineering is done exceptionally well and it is recommended to play only with your headphones on, otherwise you might miss a lot. The voices, which haunt Senua throughout the game, have various volume and are important part of the game. The voice acting is professional and particularly Senua's voice actor sounds impactful (she received an award for it) and she did a great job on portraying Senua's pain. She definitely belongs to one of the best video game characters introduced to us in 2017. The music is more atmospheric and changes dynamically, depending what is happening on the screen. It will reside in the background when solving puzzles, other times it rumbles when you are slicing through your enemies. Sometimes even you are not sure if the developers are just playing you, or there are legitimate reasons to be alarmed. The biggest minus is that some mechanics are being repeated maybe too often (especially the puzzles which consist of lining up the symbols) and the fights can get a bit taxing over time. However, as the game is only about 8-9 hours long, which passes quite fast, these faults do not interfere too much.

You should know the least before playing this game. Do not watch the videos, maybe look at a few screenshots. Play this with your headphones on and best at night. Leave yourself to be dragged into the dark world and engulf yourself into darkness together with Senua and her alter egos. Stand against her worst nightmares and grab your sword tightly into your hands. Only by witnessing the truth you can overcome the hardship which awaits you. There is no way back, the raft is gone and the world of unknown stands before you.

Score: 8,5/10
(PC version)
+ exposure of mental health problems
+ great atmosphere
+ believable characters
+ beautiful visuals
+ audio
- repeated puzzles
- fights can get repetitive after a while

Upcoming game reviews

It´s been a while since I posted frequently but that is about to change. I have decided I will start posting game reviews for new and older games in English. I have been a review writer for ten years now but it was always exclusively in my native language, Slovak. Many of them are published here. It is time to change that and while I still write the reviews in Slovak first and then rewrite them to English, it is not a mere translation. I find myself changing few things here and there, so it´s not an exact copy of the text. 
 
I was on hiatus from writing for like a year but the recent games which I got to play gave me inspiration to start writing again. It´s notably Shadow of the Colossus remake for PS4 and Hellblade: Senua´s Sacrifice. I might write reviews for some of the other games I have played recently too. Since the original reviews are all in Slovak, I felt it is time to broaden my reader base and make it possible for them to be read by wider audience. I hope you´ll enjoy reading these reviews as much as I had fun writing them.

London Comic Con October 2017

I have been postponing a round up of last year´s MCM Comic Con for a while and it is time I have shared a blog post about it as well. I have posted the photos on my Ancient´s Den facebook page but have not really shared my experience.

This time, we bought priority weekend tickets and got a hotel nearby to avoid going backwards and forwards between the days. I must say it was still quite exhausting but worth it. The first two days I have cosplayed as wraith Raziel again. I have used the wig from my Lt. Raziel cosplay and it was a bit better but I still ordered another a new, shorter haired wig afterwards. Again, I was battling my cowl falling down constantly so I´ve put on a rubber band, but that proved too painful after a while. Luckily, my contact lenses did not fall out this time!

Friday was very casual and I have really enjoyed myself. Lots of people recognized me again, so it made me happy and we have seen lots of amazing cosplays I have never seen before! I´ve never been to MCM on a Saturday and I think I´ll avoid it from now on. The sheer volume of people in comparison to Friday was overwhelming. We got to see the professional cosplayers masquerade  which had fellow Slovak and Czech cosplayers taking part. I was a bit sad to learn none of them got in first three places, as their cosplays were masterfully done (kudos especially to the Predator and his well done presentation!), the act I actually liked the least won for some reason and it did not think it was too fair... We also met up with some of my friends that night, fellow Lucinvampire, Nat, Inrezairo and others. Lucinvampire had her awesome hooded Kain costume from BO2 and was the only other LOK cosplayer (besides Bazielim being a vampire worshipper) during the weekend that I had seen.

Sunday was again more relaxed but it had a lot higher volume of families in, so I think I´ll stick with exclusively attending Fridays only from now on. It can be challenging if you have large wings or tail to fit in places. I had my Regina cosplay on, which did not suffer from being bulky but had its own discomforts - my heels had to be patched up so I could endure the pain of slightly tighter boots and the "wetsuit"-like overal I had on was not too flexible in certain places either... We still had a good fun, though, and I would have gone again. It was a good experiment to see if I can last three days of cosplaying and certainly having a hotel nearby helped a lot. We slept well and were just 15mins bus ride away from the venue. Also, the looks on people´s faces and driver´s heads turning as they pass you are hilarious.

However, few weeks ago MCM Comic Con was bought out by a new company and one of their first moves was to massively increase the prices, which I think is outrageous. For October 2017 we payed £50 for a priority weekend entry per person, this year it was increased to £65, which is 30% increase in price! No reason for this increase was given so far and I am not sure anything will actually change, so sadly, I have given up on going anymore to MCM. Luckily, I have discovered that there exists a lot more affordable option at London Film and Comic Con which takes place in Olympia. Friday afternoon entry is only £12, which I think is really good price, so for £26 I can have 2 Friday tickets, while at MCM that would only be for 1 ticket. It will be my first time there, so I am curious and excited to see the venue. See you there!

(on Imgur with captions)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Raina’s top ten games of 2017

Hello there!

I primarily want to stress these are the games which I have played or finished during 2017, not games published during that year. I still have a big back log of older games I need to go through. I really want to play AC Origins but still need to finish AC Syndicate which kinda bores me, unfortunately. I have been introduced to a new series, however, and I do not regret it. I see the "YOU DIED" screen too many times per day now, I must say. Dark Souls are something you start playing and think this sucks or that you suck as a player but you keep going and going and then suddenly 30h have passed and you wonder where did the time go. It reminds me back to the days when I was trying to beat the Dante Mut Die mode on DMC3 and DMC1. I am hoping the upcoming remasters for pc will be improved ports, those games deserve it. My next one on the play list after that is probably DS2 and 3, with Bloodborne awaiting me on ps4 as well. One of my other to do lists is to finally record a full playthrough of Soul Reaver 2, which is long overdue and I should start on that shortly, hopefully.


1. Persona 5

10/10


We had to wait for almost 10 years for another Persona sequel and damn, it was well worth the wait. Easily the most fun I had in an jrpg in a long while and enjoyed it thoroughly. P-team listened and improved the things from P4 and overall, P5 is a masterpiece with excellent story, fun mechanics, catchy songs and improved combat. It took me 160h to finish this beast of a game and was the sole reason I got a PlayStation 4. The only gripe is that the affinity to elements is not present (like it was in SMTIV:A) and Hama/Mudo skills are back to being chance based (SMTIV had them damage based), luckily the new curse/bless attacks remedies that. Overall, Persona 5 deserves its place on the top of my list. Who wouldn´t want to be a Phantom Thief? You´ll never see it comiiing!!!


2. Prey

9/10



I bought Prey in a sale and was only told that it is like Bioshock so I was not sure what to expect (I always got bored of Bio1 and never finished it). I was wrong – Prey delivered in every regard. The last time I got really hooked into a game this much was SOMA. Now Prey has its own tricks up its sleeves and the gameplay is very non-linear. You can kill whoever you want, even NPCs and the story reacts to your choices. Talos 1 Station is huge to explore and the Typhon enemies are formidable (hearing their footsteps and muttering is always freaky), not to mention the Nightmare enemy... It´s weird that the game got progressively easier as you went on with more powers and guns at your arsenal, but it was always a challenge to play and provided enough different settings that blasting Typhon never got boring. I happily searched every cabinet and drawer just to get more resources and craft more items. It never feels tedious in Prey and many things are optional (my final time was 33h, which is superb for an fps). Recommended to play with headphones on, I really enjoyed Prey and hope it will get a sequel.



3. Hellblade

8,5/10


I´ve only heard a few things here and there about Hellblade, looked at the screenshots which looked really nice but it was mostly the portrayal of mental health issues which intrigued me. Now, having witnessed Senua´s internal suffering and her resolve to fight against it resonated deep within me. We all bear our battles in our heads, against the demons clawing their way into our skulls and whispering truths and lies alike. Senua´s darkness stems from many factors, which we as players get to see as she fights her way to Helheim, the hell of her own making. All the supernatural elements feel real and when you have to face demons with giant axes, you have little time to think but to dodge and deliver a deadly blow. Hellblade is about 9h long and even though I wished for more, it gave me proper chills, not from the fights, but from the endless void which Senua is surrounded by. The game shows us that the pain and suffering within is just as real on the inside and Hellblade is definitely an experience like no other.



4. The Talos Principle

8/10


Talos Principe is a hidden gem on this list. The only thing I knew about it was that it was about puzzles in outside areas. That´s what it is on the surface. Its true value, however, lies within. In simple terms it discusses the nature of life and what is considered as being alive, but this notions has many colourful interpretations and the game lets you decide and express yourself. You can even leave messages for other players. Talos captivated me by its complexity of story, which you can actually completely skip, and is one of the big surprises on my list (and it has damn hard puzzles for which you need to erase all what you´ve known about puzzle solving and employ a fresh look). The conversations in this game are masterfully done and felt like a reward after each puzzle area solved.



5. The Last Guardian

8/10


After the troubled development of being originally a PS3 game and almost not releasing, TLG finally saw the light and was released on PS4. Having played and enjoyed both ICO and SOTC, I had to buy TLG as well, as I admire Ueda´s work in general. The characteristic landscapes and structures, the strong bonds between the characters and a mysterious story in the background, all of it is back in TLG. I am aware of the negative press given to Trico and it´s AI, however, I wanted to see for myself before I condemn the game. I must say I only experienced trouble a few times, when Trico would not jump somewhere. It´s behaviour is really lively as an AI can currently get and I got attached to the creature, just like the boy did in the game. It was a fun ride and I loved solving puzzles with Trico´s help. If you like previous games from Ueda, this one will not disappoint you. It has a few technical issues (mainly framerate drops in some areas) but nothing which badly hindered my experience.




6. RE7

9/10


Resi is back in this fresh new form of a first person perspective and it really did wonders. After a rather bland action and explosion based RE6, the series felt stagnating and in a need of a proper revivel. All this was achieved in 7 - back are the haunting close corridors and narrow pathways, puzzle solving and real fear of your character´s life. First person perspective adds a lot to the experience and being back in a mansion like environment makes me reminiscence a lot about RE1. Even the different key types are back. Well done, Capcom, for bringing RE series back on its track. Looking forward for the next one!

7. Dark Souls

8,5/10

 

People were not kidding about the games being hardcore. I never really tried it until recently and then put it down when I did like 5hp damage to a skeleton at the beginning and kept getting really frustrated with enemy respawns. I have picked it up again upon a friend´s recommendation and with the fan fix, it plays a lot better. I still die a lot and I am already almost 30 hours in, it definitely made me return to it every night. The game does not hold your hand, it just throws you into the world and you are left to fend for yourself. No map, no hints on where to go, only your resolve to kill that knight enemy again and again until you finally succeed. Repetition has usually a negative connotation, but for Dark Souls, it´s a necessity. You will die over and over, only to either throw the controller against the wall or keep trying. It is a true test in patience and of your fighting skills, but something inside you makes you want more and you´ll keep coming back to it.

8. Journey

8/10

Journey starts simple. It teaches you can walk, jump and… sing. Singing a tone is very important in the game, as you wake up pieces of cloth around the world and the more you have, the more powerful you get. It sounds really weird on paper, but the beautiful environments and fun puzzles make this game unforgettable. Primarily, it teaches it´s not the final goal, but the journey, which matters. A truly wonderful game.



9. Tale of Two Sons

8/10


This little game was gifted to me ages ago but I never took the time to try and play. I am glad that I did in the end. The controls are tricky but cleverly done – you control both brothers with a thumb stick each, which takes time to get used to but it adds to the unique experience. The game displays many emotions even though you just observe and do simple things – brotherly love, helping others with daily tasks, showing kindness, courage and ability to come to terms with sorrow… It´s a very humble experience about life which I recommend to play through.



10. Edith Finch

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The steam reviews were promising one of the best story telling experiences and they were not wrong. What remains of Edith Finch is a strongly story driven game which takes only 2 hours but it is very intensive experience. You witness the final moments before the mysterious deaths of the long deceased family members and you are not there to solve them, but to learn more about their lives. Despite being really short (you can finish it in 2 hours) and more of a narrative oriented walking simulator, I thoroughly enjoyed it.