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Tuesday 4 April 2017

Let's Play | March 2017

I'm a huge gaming fan and also have been, ever since my parents bought me my first PS2 for Christmas the year it came out. I can still remember sitting there eyes glued to the screen losing hours of my day, and entire weekends. It. Was. Awesome. While other kids were outside climbing trees or generally enjoying the outdoors I was inside frantically trying to win the Royal Rumble using my created superstar on WWF SmackDown Just Bring It.. impressive I hear you say, and you'd be right!

Clearly I don't have quite as much time on my hands these days what with a full time job, but I still like to keep up to date with the newest releases and play as much as I can. March is usually quite a dull month for new video games to hit the shelves as most are still in development right up until the big Christmas rush in November. However, there were a few notable releases in March from Bioware and Guerrilla Games so I thought I'd share my thoughts on them.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Where to start with this game? It's unlike anything I've ever played before and that's why I had to call it out first. Think of it as a mixture between an incredibly well written RPG like Oblivion or The Witcher 3 thrown together with a 2017 version of Jurassic Park's mechanical monsters. Sounds good right? Horizon Zero dawn is a game that combines flawless combat with role playing elements that will make it hard to tear yourself away. 

Unlike many games, you'll find yourself really caring for the central characters, including the spritely Aloy which is the main hero. There are some quite profound themes within the story that involve the player making decisions that can result in plot-twisting deaths and actions that really feel like they've made an impact on the world around you.

Despite a strong story the side quests can often become a bore, and are clearly added to the experience as a way to level up more quickly, which isn't uncommon at all in these kind of games but often become repetitive and bring you out of the game world when you realise you're fighting the same enemies over and over again just to access chests filled with better weapons and armour. Combat is where this adventure really shines. Aloy utilise bows, slingers, electric wire and all kinds of devastating attacks to down her mechanical enemies and they are all a joy to use and often with real precision.

Across a vast and open world filled with things to do, Horizon Zero Dawn is a joy to play from start to finish and an experience that I won't be forgetting in a hurry. Truly a must buy! Available from Amazon here.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

The other big March release was a new Mass Effect game from Bioware, which has to be one of the most hyped games I've seen over the past year or so since it's teaser announcement a while back. Unfortunately, despite some great story telling and combat mechanics, this latest venture into deep space suffers from some quite serious (yet hilarious) character animation glitches that will leave you wondering how this managed to get released so soon, and in fact why on earth you paid £50 for the privilege. 

It's certainly not all bad news though, even in the graphics department. The game has an incredible opening segment that looks stunning and instantly drops you into the actions as you and your team of space explorers begin the hunt for a new planet for the human (and alien) race to call home. 

It's just unfortunate that the gameplay gets very stale very quickly. You'll find yourself carrying out the same "go here and kill these guys" or "go there and capture this base" missions over and over again, which is a shame because there's some great story telling going on underneath all of that but the missions are just so boring! There are some also some beautifully crafted conversions in the cut scenes which are where the graphical glitches just ruin the experience.

All in all it just feels unpolished. A game still very much in development, filled with gameplay bugs and an open world that just feels empty a lot of the time. One to pick up in the Black Friday sales I think! Available from Amazon here. 

What games have you been playing recently? Any recommendations? 
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