For the love of the game


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What have I been up to lately?  I’ve been actively trying to finish some games.  I completed Call of Duty Advanced Warfare recently…the campaign was not bad but seemed to just end all of a sudden, and the presence of Kevin Spacey didn’t bring a lot to the party.  I haven’t really got into the multiplayer as on first few attempts it kind of annoyed, and it’s new exo-suit abilities didn’t really enhance the gameplay as was suggested.

Otherwise I have been getting back into what I’d call Xbox One’s hidden gem, namely the underrated and sublimely fun Sunset Overdrive.  This game is just pure joy and so entertaining and funny.  Helps also it’s one of the most vibrant and beautiful game world’s I’ve seen in a long time – if you have an X1 you owe it to yourself to play this game.  It’s exactly why I fell in love with videogames, and feels so refreshing in an industry obsessed with online shooters and war games.

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I also recently downloaded the indie title The Escapists, a throwback, purposely old-school looking top-down RPG where you’re an inmate in a prison and must figure a way out to escape, whilst at the same time going about every day prison life, like going to the canteen, doing the laundry, buying items off fellow inmates, doing mini-missions for people and exercising.  It’s very different and so far I’m really enjoying it.  Also on the indie-front I’ve been playing the acclaimed Limbo, a strange, creepy platform game where you’re a little boy who must navigate a wealth of traps to go who knows where in a black & white gothic nightmare.

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I really should get back to The Evil Within, but that has proved more annoyingly-hard than fun and well, I’m in more of a fun-seeking mood of late.  On a side-note I picked up the medieval fantasy action game Lords of the Fallen, but that’s proving very tough too…which I should have guessed as it’s very much modelled on famed bastard-hard franchise Demons Souls.  It’s very cool looking though (despite some surprising frame-rate issues on the PS4!), and I like the customization elements and the setting as a whole, so I may persevere.

I’ve been into videogames for a very long time and apart from my interest in movies, it’s my other big love.  Yet it’s also one I don’t dedicate myself too enough sometimes … yes I buy games and play them, but I get distracted easily, let life get in the way and sometimes end up with a pile of games I don’t end up finishing.  It’s sort of like that now, but I’ll get there … at least with most of them.

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Birthday fun and reflection


Well I turned 39 yesterday and it was a really enjoyable day, despite the fact I was at work.  I am fortunate to have many really good colleagues and friends at work and they all made a fuss of me, giving me cards, prezzies etc.  I also had money and gifts off my family which included the ‘Atlas Limited Edition’ of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare for Xbox One as well as the official, limited edition Call of Duty Xbox One control pad.  The game itself seems pretty decent but I’ll report more on that in another post.

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At times like this, especially as I approach forty, I certainly find myself reflecting on life, and especially the past year, which emotionally has been very up and down.  Some people come into your life and have a dramatic effect on it, then before you know it, they are gone for good.  It’s certainly hard when that happens but sometimes can’t be avoided.  Yet when I look to the things I have managed to achieve, the loving family I have around me, and the genuine friends who are still in my life, I do realise I have a lot to be thankful for.

I love writing this blog, I love watching movies, playing games, and I love my job … it challenges me and makes my life something once upon a time I never thought it would be.

I also want to thank anyone who regularly reads my posts, occasional visitors and the community here as a whole.  You’re a joy to write for and make this a very rewarding hobby.

Ramblings…


Well it’s a bit of a lazy Sunday so thought I’d write something on here.  This past year has had a few ups and downs … personally I’ve gone through some depression.  However I think I have overcome most of it, and looking to a future where such a thing isn’t at the forefront of my thoughts (at least not as much).  I’m concentrating on more positive things, like friends, family and my job, hobbies etc … things that make me happy.  I suppose it’s all about appreciating the good things in life, rather than focusing on what’s missing from it.

In the coming months, as far as this blog is concerned, I have some stuff to look forward to.  On the gaming front Destiny is just around the corner … preloaded it on my Xbox One last week, and well it’s been agonizing waiting for it to unlock but it will finally be available on Tuesday.  I’ll report back on this long awaited, much anticipated game next week.  Also got Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare pre-ordered, along with Sunset Overdrive.  Both look amazing.

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The Netflix challenge has hit the skids a bit, as I was feeling like it was less about movies I wanted to see, and more about doing the challenge, so not sure if I will go back to it.  An interesting ‘experiment’ none the less.    Some movie’s on the horizon include reviews of the Blu-ray release of Spirited Away, one of my favourite Studio Ghibli movies … add to that Hayao Myazaki’s swansong The Wind Rises.  I also have the 15th Anniversary of The Green Mile pre-ordered, so will finally give my opinion on this much loved prison drama. 

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Towards the end of the year, it’s possible I may own a PS4.  Can see that happening.

In other news:  I have been closely following the news on my favourite band Garbage and looking forward to what they have planned for next year.  They intend to re-release their debut album to mark it’s 20th anniversary, as well as their sixth studio album that they have been working on for the past year or so.  Also a tour has been hinted at and if they make it back to the UK I have, to name one of their best tunes, made a ‘vow’ to see them this time around.  Exciting times to be into this band who seem to really be in their element these days.

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Well enough from me for the time being.  Please remember to check back often for movie reviews and general ramblings and I’ll make sure to keep the content coming.  I appreciate all my visitors and subscribers, those that press ‘like’ or offer their comments etc.  Makes this little blog really mean a lot to me.

Craig.

Gamescom gameplay stand-outs


I have kept a close eye on this week’s games convention in Germany, Gamescom and some of the gameplay videos that have surfaced really impressed me.  I think there were some exciting reveals, even if the increasing focus on Indie titles leaves me a bit cold (I tend to find these budget games get a bit boring after a few plays…).  But I’m all for the blockbuster franchises and games like Call of Duty Advanced Warfare and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looked very impressive.

My highlights though remain these two:

Quantum Break

Format: XB1

Developer: Remedy

 

Assassins Creed Unity

Format:  XB1 and PS4

Developer:  Ubi Soft

 

Sadly at the moment only AC has a release date (pencilled in for Oct 28) but Remedy seem to be keeping tight lipped about when we’ll get our hands on the very cool looking QB.  Either way, lots to look forward to for gamers.

Modern Warfare 3 – impressions


This needs little introduction.  The biggest video game franchise in history, at least as far as sales go, and the widest played online multiplayer game in the world.  Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare franchise reinvigorated the Call Of Duty brand, bringing into the modern-day and hitting us hard with total realism, glossed over with Michael Bay-like fireworks.  It’s the blockbuster of the video game world, and one of my favourite game series ever.

This time around you’re after a Russian terrorist who brings about World War 3, and you are sent in with your team to stop him.  This is a game filled with ‘oh my god’ moments of action and spectacle, with a globe-trotting storyline and production values that set it apart from almost any other game on the market.  Infinity Ward this time have teamed up with new developer Sledgehammer Games, and each mission and each fire fight feels like its been designed with absolute immersion and Hollywood-like excitement in mind.  I’m almost done with the single player campaign, and have experienced some amazing moments, none of which I will spoil for you, all I’ll say is … its brilliant, well crafted, and longer lasting that previous instalments.

Now onto the reason 90% of fans love this franchise … the multiplayer.  Again you have a variety of maps to play on, and a reward system that enables you to upgrade weapons and install new perks to help you in your quest for online supremacy.  Not much has changed from the well-honed formula of MW #1 & 2, but this time with new mode Kill Confirmed where you collect dog tags of your fallen foes to increase points for your team – it seems more addictive than ever.  As can be expected, the online lives or dies depending on the time you put into it and how good your reflexes are, but when ‘in the zone’ it can be an adrenaline-fueled joy, and one I will be returning to again and again.  Add to this modes like Spec Ops, Domination, Free-For-All and the classic Team Deathmatch, and this is one game that just keeps on giving.

Modern Warfare 3 is the best Call Of Duty yet, no question … and a flagship title regardless if your playing it on PC, Playstation 3 or XBOX 360.