Control PS4 Review

I have a real love-hate relationship with this game. It’s visually stunning and has some of the most intensely satisfying gameplay I’ve ever encountered, however, it’s brutal to say the least. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this overwhelmed by a game before, and not because of the story.

You play as Jesse Faden, a young women with a mysterious paranormal past who’s on a mission to find the whereabouts of her younger brother Dylan. You straight away find yourself in a NYC building known as The Oldest House, the nexus of paranormal activity and protected by a secret government agency called the Federal Bureau of Control. Soon after arriving you realise the building has been occupied by a paranatural force known as The Hiss. Amid the confusion you become the FBC’s new Director and not only must you locate your brother but you’re now set with the task of regaining control and battling these extradimensional forces. The story itself is a real mind bender!

Jesse possesses a range of paranormal abilities including telekinesis and levitation which you harness by binding to certain Objects of Power throughout the game. You’re also armed with a gun which is upgradable by collecting different materials, plus you have the option to construct more service weapons along the way. Apart from upgrading weapons you can also assign personal mods which give you increased stats like health recovery, energy, damage and accuracy. As you explore and fight your way through this stunning open-world environment you will claim area’s known as Control Point’s. These become important save points and areas you can fast travel between, not to mention places where you can upgrade and construct new weapons.

The game constantly challenges you with boss fights, puzzles and side missions, and this is where my biggest gripe comes in. Control is hard, there’s no doubt about it. What makes it even tougher is there’s no difficulty setting. Add in long loading times plus distant respawn locations & you’ll soon understand the true definition of “Frustration”. I can’t even count the number of times I died and had to wait (for what seemed like eternity) for it to load and then run back through to the boss fight. Like I said before, some of these fights were brutal and took me over 10 times to beat. As rage-worthy as it was though I felt a real sense of accomplishment after getting through each chapter.

I did feel there was a lack of focus on the upgrade and construct menus in the beginning leaving me to figure it out on my own. Not that it was hard, it just didn’t give you much guidance. The game did however present new ability training levels in an area known as the Astral Plane allowing you to master your ability before tackling real-world enemies.

The characters throughout the game were intriguing but for some reason I didn’t feel any solid connection to them. This never actually bothered me though. The story was gripping from start to finish and I think it was its sheer uniqueness, wild visuals and perfect gameplay that made it so brilliant. There are level designs such as the Ashtray Maze that will leave you speechless. Control is dark, twisted and provides an epic journey into the paranormal world – it’s also frustrating as all hell. Remedy Entertainment did an amazing job with this game but patience is key. You will be tested!


Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order PS4 Review

We all expect a certain level of finesse when it comes to the Star Wars franchise so I was eager to jump in and see what the all hype was about. I’m still unsure if I actually enjoyed it, it was ok I guess but it wasn’t unique and some of the characters felt a little too generic. I suppose it was entertaining enough to finish even if it was very cookie cutter. It’s like the devs copy and pasted a bunch of action adventure games together and slapped a Star Wars skin on it. It could’ve been passed off as a Nathan Drake spin-off ~ Uncharted in Space. The climbing, swinging, sliding & even the force pull and push to move crates around gave me total Uncharted vibes. The puzzles were very reminiscent of Tomb Raider games too.

The story itself holds its own within the Star Wars universe & you can tell that it’s set very close to Revenge of the Sith in the whole timeline. You play as Cal Kestis, a Jedi student now in hiding due to the galaxy-wide Jedi eradication imposed by Emperor Palpatine. Without giving too much away, you set off with a small resistance group to restore the Jedi order and regain your long forgotten powers. I felt that the game didn’t really come into its own until Chapter 5 though, right towards the end.

My favourite chapter was probably Kashyyyk where you climb and explore the Origin tree, once again this was very adventurish. Although the game is quite linear it is possible to get lost without checking your map which provides a three-dimensional hologram of the area. You’ll use this quite a bit to find unexplored paths & doors. The skill tree was a nice touch as were the meditation circles which acted as a save point and allowed you to rest up & regain your health. I also liked the way the recollection of your Jedi powers were spotted throughout the game & presented as memories where you’re sent back to the Jedi training room.

I wasn’t a fan of the long loading and respawn times or the bugs where you could walk/fall through certain parts of the terrain. Some sections of the game did feel a bit cheesy too like attempting to land on a huge flying monster known as Gorgara. The characters were colourful but not completely loveable. BD-1 had so much potential and with a little more personality would’ve really drawn you in. Some of the stormtrooper head movements in sections were very robotic which was odd.. and what was with those wookies? They looked awful.

Regardless of website reviews and ratings the gaming public generally like all Star Wars games. I mean c’mon, it’s Star Wars and there are lightsabers. People love Star Wars and will always find the best in it. I didn’t hate this game but it wouldn’t be something I’d play again. I would however play a sequel if that were to happen because that ending I didn’t see happening. That was the most exciting part of the game.

If you’re a Star Wars fanboy then yes, you’ll love it, but if the movies don’t grab you then the game won’t either.


Aorus 15G XB Notebook Review

So I just wanted to cover a few of my personal hypes & gripes with the new Aorus 15G XB from Gigabyte. After 2 weeks of use there’s actually not a lot I can fault with this laptop. It’s one of five new Aorus 15G models, this one being the XB priced at AUD $3799. The other 4 Aorus 15G models all feature different CPU’s, GPU’s, RAM and Display configurations and you can see the full breakdown via the link in my bio. Although this might sound expensive for a laptop the value for money is exceptional and I urge you to check out other online reviews as they all rate this as one of the best gaming laptops on the market.

Two big positives for me are the RTX 2070 Super GPU together with the 240Hz 4ms Display. With ray tracing enabled and all performance settings configured to their highest it was running Modern Warfare consistently at 120fps. The colour accuracy was on point & the whole experience was as smooth as they come.

The Windforce Infinity cooling system works extremely well and features two fans, 5 heat pipes & 4 exhaust vents. This leads to a heat dissipation increase of 30% over previous models & the keyboard/touchpad transferred no heat through to my hands even after 3 hours of non-stop gaming. The fans did get noisy when operating at maximum settings but not as noisy as other laptops I’ve heard. Once I had headphones on this wasn’t a real issue.

A huge thing to keep in mind is that it features the worlds lightest OMRON Mechanical Keyboard & they’ve managed to squeeze in 2.5mm of key travel (compared to the standard 1.8mm) while keeping the laptop at just 2.2Kg and only 25mm thick. This is a big factor for me and together with the 15″ design found it to be the perfect size all round.

Now the camera placement is not ideal as it looks up at you, however it does feature a slideable privacy shutter. It also allows the laptop to achieve an ultra-thin bezel. For me I can let the camera gripe slide as it’s not something I use anyway.

Other postives to mention are the 2x M.2 NVMe SSD slots allowing you to upgrade and increase your storage, along with a 94 watt-hour battery which is quite an improvement over previous models.

Overall this is a beast of laptop and I highly recommend it if you’re wanting to get into PC gaming and use it for content creation/streaming. I wish I didn’t have to hand it back! Thank you @gigabytenb_anz for the opportunity to get up close & personal with this amazing bit of tech.


1917 4K Movie Review

1917 is a technical masterpiece with remarkable cinematography, so beautiful it’s almost too perfect. The acting and score was exceptional however as a war movie I felt it did lack a little bit of that grit that other similar films have. None the less it is extremely engaging and should be enjoyed for the storytelling and brilliant techniques used to create this 2 hour continuous feature film.

If you haven’t already seen the movie (or trailer), 1917 focuses on two young British soldiers, Schofield and Blake, at the height of the First World War who are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers – Blake’s own brother among them.

This film deserves to be watched in the highest resolution possible and I highly recommend the 1917 4K Ultra HD release with Dolby Vision HDR. It’s displayed in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio so you will see black bars top and bottom for that ultra widescreen presentation however that doesn’t detract from the overall experience, plus we’re used to that these days. Due to its native 4K filming and transfer together with Dolby Vision, 1917 really is picture perfect. It doesn’t get much clearer than this. The contrast between the blacks and whites are phenomenal and the colours highlighted throughout the changes of scenery are spectacular. My favourite scene which highlights the beauty of 1917 in 4K is by far the night scene with the burning building. Absolutely breathtaking.

And don’t forget to check out the bonus features which include directors commentary, featurettes on the cast and score plus an in-depth behind the scenes look into production design & the challenges they faced while creating this epic one-shot movie.

1917 is new to watch at home on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.

Thank you to @ownyourkicksau for this review copy.


Predator Hunting Grounds PS4 Review

Being a Predator fan I stepped into this with positivity however I was left underwhelmed pretty damn quickly. For those who experienced matchmaking issues in the beta, I’m sorry to say they’re still there. Queue times exceeded the on-screen estimates and I was constantly left waiting for over 10 minutes.. 15 minutes and longer.

When I did load into a game my ping was over 200ms. I haven’t seen those sort of times since the PS3 days. Granted it could have been the time of day I was playing and no Aussies were around but still, it shouldn’t be that high. Now I mention the PS3.. the graphics look extremely aged and remind me very much of the early PS3 era. I’m sure it would look semi-decent on a 27″ PC monitor but on a my 42″ and especially 75″ it leaves a lot to be desired.

Gameplay isn’t actually too bad. The controls are intuitive and the jungle is well designed. I felt like I was running around with a predator chasing me…That’s if a predator was actually in the match. I played games as Fireteam where it was just us running around completing objectives and not a predator in sight. Predator controls took a little more getting used to but it was fun becoming the Predator and hunting high in the trees. Another small gripe was the interaction with guns & ammo.. holding Square took a little longer than other FPS which is an annoyance when you’re targeted by an enemy.

This game has so much potential! Fix the graphics and matchmaking then we might have something worthwhile assigning the Predator brand to.


Concrete Genie PS4 Impressions

This heartwarming title by @pixelopus was an absolute pleasure to play. The story & gameplay bring a totally new experience to the PS4 while almost creating its own genre. It’s so unique, short & sweet, that you won’t want to put it down until you complete the story which you can accomplish in just under 7 hours. 🖌️ You play as Ash, a lonely young boy stuck in a town called Denska. Once a thriving fishing village it’s now overtaken by a darkness, evidently caused from an oil spill that poisoned its waters. When bullies steal his sketchbook and litter the pages he must roam the town to find his missing art. It’s during this search he discovers that one of his drawings has come to life on the walls of Denska. Ash is then tasked on bringing the town back to life by painting it’s buildings and awaking other ‘Concrete Genies’ along the way.

While that’s the basis of the story you still have basic puzzles to solve throughout each chapter, bullies to avoid and there’s even a few “boss fights” – I don’t want to spoil it 😊 Not once did I get bored or feel it was too repetitive. This game is bright, fun and quite relaxing. In aroundabout way it delves into personal struggles, bullying and isolation which are real global issues these days. I really loved where they took this game and can recommend it to all gamers. I actually think it would be the perfect title to introduce newbies to the world of gaming.


Final Fantasy VII Remake PS4 Impressions

What an experience! @squareenix did a stellar job of re-imagining this classic and bringing it to life on the PlayStation 4!

They’ve taken the beginning of the original and expanded it into one epic 40+ hour Action RPG! Once you grasp the battle system and tactical commands you’ll be hanging for that next boss battle 💪 Remember to keep strengthening your characters though as this game will definitely put you on your arse if you’re not prepared! It’s a challenge to put it lightly.

The amplified story together with spectacular visuals and cutscenes, right down to the epic soundtrack have me wanting more! Hopefully we get that too 😊 The unknown journey will continue..

For those unsure of the story, in a nutshell > Shinra Electric Power Company dominate over Midgar and it’s up to you, Cloud Strife, Ex-SOLDIER turned mercenary, together with your your band of eco activists known as Avalanche, to bring Shinra to their knees.


Death Stranding PS4 Review

Death Stranding by Kojima Productions 💙 After 4 years of waiting, watching and wondering, he has delivered and it is everything I hoped it would be!

At its core Death Stranding tells a story of a cataclysmic event which has torn the country apart. You’re now in a fractured society haunted by BT’s trying to draw you in to the ‘Beach’ or halfway point to the afterlife, along with terrorists and mules to cause you even more stress. It’s your job to link outposts to the main network and help build the new United Cities of America.

Although the story/gameplay may seem a little confusing at the beginning, it all builds to an epic ending with a deeper meaning, something so simple yet beautiful. I honestly can’t say any more, you’ll need to play it for yourself.

There are so many amazing points I could talk about from the characters, the cutscenes, the music, the landscape, the connections to other players around the world, right down to his brilliant style of gameplay techniques where he’ll have you doing something so simple (like climbing a never ending ladder) in a particular location with particular music, which a lot of you will think *wtf* but what he’s doing is making you reflect.. to think about the story and the characters.. He’s pure genius and players of his previous games will see this shine through in Death Stranding.

Essentially yes, it’s an open world game so it involves getting from one side of the map to the other, & yes it has tasks to complete just like every other game. No it’s not just about walking and yes there are vehicles, guns, stamina & health to use and worry about. The only difference with Death Stranding is that you need to manage your cargo, protect it & stay balanced.

This game is pure perfection and although open world games with an epic story that gradually builds may not be for everyone, it is certainly for me and my GOTY vote 👌


MediEvil Remake PS4 Impressions

I never thought I’d be playing a remake of this classic PS1 title on a beautiful 75″ Sony LED in 4K ~ it doesn’t get better than this!

MediEvil stays true to the original right down to the odd camera angles and sometimes buggy gameplay. This isn’t a bad thing though. Those familiar with the original will also notice some very small changes with the addition of trees/plants and different placement of items, along with new background areas which was necessary for its widescreen presentation. I think Other Ocean did a brilliant job with this remake and I honestly can’t fault it.

So whether you’ve played as Sir Dan in the past or not, I highly recommend grabbing MediEvil on PS4 and playing it with friends & family. Pass the controller around and have a laugh as you battle your way through each level.


Days Gone PS4 Preview Impressions

Recently I had the pleasure of playing SIE Bend Studio’s new title ‘Days Gone’ in an epic 2.5 hour session and I can honestly say that I was BLOWN AWAY!

If you love action-adventure survival games as much as I do then you will fall in love with Days Gone. I’ve been hyped ever since playing 10 minutes of it at PAX but after sitting down to play from the beginning of the story it’s all I’ve been able think about… I’m not joking!

Set in a post-apocalyptic open world you play as Deacon St. John, a former outlaw turned bounty hunter/drifter who lives by his motorcycle. As you ride through a Freaker infested landscape you must complete a range of tasks & objectives all while building your inventory, repairing/upgrading your motorcycle and fighting or helping people you meet along the way.

There are 2 types of Freakers you’ll encounter, Newts & Hordes. Both act differently depending on the time of day, so you need to stay on your toes! Stealth is a must in this game & you’ll quickly learn how to approach and take down an enemy.

I usually worry about controls and player mechanics in new games but I had no problems diving straight into this. The menu is extremely intuitive & you’ll be switching through weapons & crafting items in next to no time. It’s one of the best layed-out menu systems I’ve used in a while.

I was also fortunate enough to sit down on the day and have a chat to Emmanuel Roth, Senior Animator at Bend Studio. We spoke about the development and back story of Days Gone and that the game will take roughly 30 hours to complete. That being said, I’ve only played 2.5 hours and my mind is absolutely racing at the thought of what’s to come.

SIE Bend Studio have created a visually stunning open world and the cutscenes will have you glued to the screen. The story, gameplay and love between the characters will put Days Gone up there alongside other PlayStation exclusive classics. This game is the real deal! Initially I didn’t pre-order the Collectors Edition but after getting immersed in this epic game I scrambled to find one to put my name to.

Ink it in guys! The PS4 exclusive ‘Days Gone’ will be available April 26th 2019.