Ghost Recon Wildlands

First Impressions of the Latest Ghost Recon Game From Ubisoft

So, I picked this up over the weekend at the behest of some of my regular online comrades. They definitely had to talk it up a bit to me, but I was already on the lookout for another cooperative online game and felt that a break from the humdrum repetitiveness of Battlefield 1’s endless rounds of conquest would be a blessing. Taking down a drug cartel? In a map that’s probably one of the biggest I’ve ever seen? With lots of guns? Yeah, sounds great.

So far I’ve played for only about ten hours, half with friends and half with the 3 AI counterparts that replace your real life buddies whilst playing solo. I prefer the AI. That may seem harsh but hear me out. When playing solo, you are automatically given the role of leader, for obvious reasons. What you say goes and that’s that. No questions asked. Want your team to hang back whilst you silently infiltrate an enemy base? Done. Want to assign targets to your squad and silently explode their heads simultaneously? AI is your friend. Playing with real life friends however can often feel like no-one’s in charge and your all playing your own version. Sure, we might scope the area using our tiny flying drones and binoculars from a nearby bluff, before throwing together a swift action plan designed to get us in and out with maximum stealth but that all quite swiftly goes to shit when someone charges round a corner, gets spotted, enemy reinforcements are called and we all either run away and hide or almost immediately get wiped out and have to start all over. And that’s with people I know well and communicate (seemingly) effectively with. I have yet to try playing with a group of randoms as I feel with certainty that the experience would be so, so much worse.

The actual game itself though, not too shabby. The setting of pretty much the entire country of Bolivia looks and sounds great. Not being familiar with Bolivian topography I’m afraid I can’t comment on the accuracy of the ragged hillsides, sweeping plains and barren deserts, but it’s a damn nice place to explore. Ambient noise, combined with a pretty stellar day/night cycle and dynamic weather make for a pretty stunning overall experience. There are plenty of ways to get around with vehicles seemingly abandoned at random all over the place, and there’s always fast travel if you really can’t be bothered driving/flying.

The combat feels good, and the stealthy option is without a doubt the best one 100% of the time. Seriously. Going in ‘loud’, especially on some of the larger bases you have to conquer is a sure fire way to satisfy anyone’s sadistic need to view the loading screen tips over and over. Mission structure is pretty basic so far (go here, kill this guy, don’t kill that guy etc.) but we’ll see how that pans out as the story line continues. Oh yeah, the story. Something about a drug cartel in Bolivia. And a bad guy with some really crazy tattoos and a big coffin/statue thing. Difficult to get invested in from the start but that’ll improve… hopefully.

I’ll leave it at that for now but keep an eye out for the full review once I’ve put a little more time into the game, as it’s way too early to reach any solid opinions on this one yet. Think I might need to find some new friends as well. If any of you see this, well, sorry about that.

SToo

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Swords, guns and… bricks?

What I’m currently playing and why. Some insight.

So I figured that any visitors to my blog since it got started might be thinking ‘Hey, this guy SAYS he likes games, but what does that mean exactly?’ For all anyone knows I could be sitting in a darkened room, curtains drawn, mindlessly playing my way through thirty games of FIFA a day just waiting on my collection of classic PS1 games finally selling on Gumtree so I can spend it all on packs for my Ultimate Team. Well, I’d like to put to rest any doubts that anyone may have. In this post I’ll be explaining what I’m playing at the moment, giving some insight into the kinds of games I enjoy. I wont be going into much detail regarding the games themselves, aside from a brief overview, as I plan to do some more in depth reviews in the near future. Lets begin.

Nioh

Nioh, developed by Team Ninja and published by Koei Tecmo and Sony Interactive is quite frankly a game that is right up my street. Based (loosely, oh so loosely) on the life of the historical English samurai William ‘Anjin’ Adams, the game takes place at the beginning of the 17th century in Japan. Put simply, it’s an action RPG. That really doesn’t cover it though as the game is complex from the beginning with tons and tons of weapons and armour, basically all of which are unique and are rained on you with Diablo-esque frequency right from the beginning. Options for crafting, online play coupled with leaderboards and the ability to respec your character on a whim all mean that your first playthrough of the game is highly enjoyable.

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It is a genuine pleasure learning the nuances of the myriad ways that all the different weapons, stances, armour sets and ninja style techniques can all come together. Not giving too much away at the moment as I plan on doing a full review of the game within the next week or so, but after plugging about 170 hours since release into this, I can assure you the replayability factor with this game is high, with more content on the way soon.

 

The Last of us Remastered

I know I’m super late to the party on this one but I’ve had a £10 PSN card burning a hole in my digital pocket for a few months and couldn’t resist this for such a bargain price. I’m sure most of us have heard of The Last Of Us, developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony. Having never played the original on PS3 (2013 release) or the remastered version (2014) I figured it would be a nice distraction from the slaying of demons in feudal Japan.

 

I was not wrong. Switching from the high octane hack-n-slash gameplay of Nioh to this was indeed a shock to the system. Instead of rushing face first towards a pThe-Last-of-Us-Remasteredack of vicious demons, bandits and the undead, I now find myself skulking around darkened corridors and car parks with a brick in my hand and 3 bullets for my revolver. Not to say that it’s not a great game, it really is. I wont be reviewing this one, but I do plan on making a post on it soon. It’s very cinematic, and as such the character and voice acting is superb, some pretty darn emotive stuff right there. Again, more on that later though.

 

 

 

Battlefield 1

I’ve never been able to resist the call of a good first person shooter. Thinking back to the days of online Halo on my clunky old Hewlett-Packard PC or even to COD4 makes me pretty darn happy. COD is a young mans game these days if you ask me, and none of the other console FPS releases have really tickled my fancy. BF1 is good, but it’s not great. Not yet anyway. Developers EA DICE have a reasonably good track record of steadily improving their games over time, and I see no reason why this latest iteration of the battlefield franchise will be any different. The campaign is one of the best I’ve honestly played in years, seeing the Great War from different angles instead of viewing it all play out from one perspective is a refreshing change. As we all know however, the real lure of any FPS comes in the form of online multiplayer.

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Giving us the same game modes as previous ‘fields games feels like a cosy return to home for many long time players of the franchise and with the addition of a few new pretty sweet game modes, (War Pigeons!) it’s got it’s charms. I still play regularly but as with any online FPS it can become frustrating, although that’s definitely more about me than the game itself. The servers are solid, and the gunplay feels tight and accurate but at present I feel like it just needs a little more in the way of weaponry and maybe some customisation, but again that’s just me. More to come on this one in the next week or two as well, so I shall say no more.

 

So, that’s all folks! Those are the three games that I’m currently getting stuck into at present in the greatest volume, although I’m still occasionally dipping my toes into Skyrim, Bioshock: The Collection and up until very recently Tom Clancy’s The Division. That last one’s a bit of a sore spot for me at the moment, more details to come later. As always thanks for reading this far and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any criticisms or commentary.

SToo

Bungie back at it again!

Confirmed announcement of Destiny 2: WillItHaveAMoreInventiveName

Surely this is good? The picture below, posted to the official Bungie Facebook page in the last hour or so is not so much of a hint, it’s just a straight shooting announcement. Hopefully more news will follow in the coming days, but suffice to say it’s happening.

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Although there was a little leak in previous weeks from a retailer in Italy we now have the confirmation that the internet has been clamouring for. I played a lot of Destiny when it first launched and although it wasn’t in the greatest shape back then, those who stuck with it were rewarded with numerous DLCs, patches and updates. Growing up playing Halo (My first taste of a proper online shooter), gives me a strong sense of possibly misguided nostalgia driven faith in Bungie. Lets hope they leaned some stuff, particularly in the narrative department. I don’t even have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain. Remember that? Nuff said.

SToo

Gaming Wonders or: How I learned to stop worrying and love blogging… maybe.

Allow me to begin by saying I know almost nothing about blogs/blogging/vlogs etc. This is an attempt to no longer find myself aimlessly screaming into the void, and to channel my energy (both positive and negative) into creating something wonderful. I undertake this with the hopes of starting some discussions or, simply finding some like minded weary web travellers to share in my reflections.

My name is Stoo. That’s all your getting. I am 30 years old, I live in the London area and I am a lifelong passionate gamer. I have, on the whole, been a console gamer for the majority of my life. I started hammering my dainty little fingers against the clunky keys of the C64 which was followed by an couple of inherited Amiga computers. From then on I’ve dabbled in PC gaming but stuck mostly to consoles, with a definite preference for the Japanese made shiny black one. I’ve owned all the Sony consoles along the way, and will probably continue on that route. So there you have it, I have announced my allegiance. Please don’t use it against me if the console war ever finally steps up a notch and has us throwing disks at each other across a barren wasteland littered with the crushed remnants of DualShock controllers, fashioned into crude but effective clubbing instruments. Anyway…

As I’ve already stated, this is an attempt to channel my thoughts and feelings towards modern day gaming into something productive. Many a friend and family member has often felt the onslaught of my most recent tirade regarding the ‘next big thing/game’ or the next ‘I cant believe (Insert developer/Game Title) have done blah, blah blah.’ Usually these rants are reciprocated with nothing more than stoic grunts or some oh so subtle attempts at a rapid topic change. I realised recently that blogging could be the answer to the many plights of the modern gamer.

I chose the name GamingWonders, because it resonates well with my  sense that as gamers now, we are living through a time of great change. Technology is fast evolving. The gaming industry moves swiftly. Developers come and go, studios come and go but new ones always rise to take their place. So sit back and wonder, take it all in. This is a great time to be alive and to love video games. ‘Wonders’ however, has its darker side as well. Sometimes I ‘Wonder’ what the hell is happening at some Dev HQ’s, or I ‘Wonder’ about short sighted decisions made by massive companies that are ultimately undone. Do developers feel intense pressure to please their consumers or are they just in it for the money? Is it right to charge full price for a game, then ask for more to unlock content that’s already on the disk? These are just some examples of commonly touted issues that I’m sure anyone with an interest in gaming will have seen popping up in the last few years. I’m not saying I have the answers, but I’m sure as hell not getting anywhere ranting into the void.

Hence a purpose is revealed and the antagonist reveals the machinations of his devious plan in great detail, at the opening of the third act. I hope to update this blog at least several times a week. My intentions are to focus on probably only one or two big issues in gaming, but I will also make a point to highlight any important news, upcoming big releases or controversies. Having never done this before I welcome criticism, and encourage anyone who has read this far to get in touch. As a bonus, I’m also a huge movie fan and may occasionally make allusions to movies and whatnot.But don’t count on it.

SToo.