PS4 Review – Destiny 2: Forsaken

PS4 Review – Destiny 2: Forsaken

So this review is a smidgen late, I jumped back into Destiny 2 in September and started over fresh to an extent.

I had never tried Titan or Warlock, and in pursuit of my Platinum trophy, I decided to give them both a shot and it also gave me a chance to go over the story again, something I had not done since Destiny 2 came out in 2017.

It also gave me a chance to see it all again in glorious HDR.

I recent did a full theater re-calibration, which took a good 10-12 hours to get the projector right. Something I had been slacking on for over a year.

The difference in visuals from HDR to SD was huge. Shadow detail was much better, fine little details that would be missed now subtly pop in the dark corners of a room. The increased color pallet is apparent from planet to planet. From the reds of Mars, the greens of EDZ to the glow in the Tower.

It is all richer and more visually impressive with HDR on.

The game itself in my eyes really stood up to the last year.

With major tweaks made by Bungie, many of which I honestly could not tell you, the game and the grind felt not insurmountable.

I played through casually on Warlock to the conclusion of the story, and then again with Titan until you get your 3rd super, that is all that is needed for the progression trophy.

And then I moved back to my true love. My Hunter.

It became immediately apparent that I had no clue how to play hunter any more.

I used to be a gunslinger and now I could not even remember what abilities I would load out.

So I took her for a spin through the 2 expansions (Warmind and Curse of Osiris) to get my Hunter legs back before jumping into Forsaken.

Both DLC were solid. I know a lot of people panned them at the time, but coming in fresh, a year later, they felt like really decent additions.

I decided to forgo the boost that you get with the purchase of Forsaken, and instead grind my way to max level and light level.

Which honestly did not take long at all.

Being so under leveled it was not an issue in the least to rocket up with gear 2 – 3 times my light level on every drop.

So, after all that behind me, I could finally jump into Forsaken.

Bungie has made it no secret that our beloved Cadye-6 was going to die in the game, and withing the first 30 mins, sadly he does.

But there is much more to it than that.

Bungie pulled a total dick move in my eyes. Nathan Fillion has been the voice of Cayde-6 since day one of Destiny.

And for some idiotic reason, they decided to case Troy Baker for his 30 mins of dialog in Forsaken.

Now the two of them sound a lot alike, yet there was this whole creepy imposter feeling to all of it. Like it was not actually Cayde dying, but some cheap doppelganger.

Why Bungie went this way I cannot say, I imagine it had more to do with money than anything else.

But it felt like a colossal slap in the face of Destiny fans everywhere.

Shell out the few extra grand to Nathan, and be done with it. It is not like he had hundreds of lines to drop, it was maybe 2 pages at best (and that includes the narratives he spoke for the Ace of Spades quest)

Beyond that though, the game was really solid. The one act of killing Cadye made you HATE the antagonist beyond reason, so they succeeded in their aim. Piss off the player and make them WANT to kill the big bad.

With the addition of Forsaken, the light level took a heft jump to 600.

Playing through the campaign will land you in the early 500’s (if you do it like I did, when I left in 2017 I was LL 300, max at the time)

This is when you hit the grind wall HARD. Those 2 – 3 LL gear jumps are now a thing aof the past, and you typically get gear 1 LL above you, and the majority of the time, not at all.

How the game shifts at this point though is through all your weekly bounties, and there are plenty.

Everything from Nightfalls, Strike playlist, Crucible, Hawthhorn and Gambit, all of thich net you 1 piece of “Powerful Gear” this is a guaranteed piece of gear a couple levels higher than your max light level.

And there is at least 8 – 10 of these that reset every Tuesday.

So the post game grind, while tedious, is never boring. For me it would take me from Tuesday til Saturday just to get all my bounties done. Then leave me the weekend to play another game, or tackle some of the endgame exotic quests (Like the amazing Wish Ender or Whisper of the Worm)

The endgame also has the new raid, of which I sadly did not get a chance to get into. Time restraints have stopped me from diving into that one for now.

Additionally a vast amount of endgame time will be spend in the new Dreaming City zone. This is where all the high level stuff takes place.

You will also find yourself likely enjoying the incredible Gambit PVP + PVE mode.

A first in the FPS genre, Bungie added a new mode that pits you 4 v 4 against waves of enemies in a pseudo hoard mode, collecting dropped motes of light and depositing them into a tank. When you dunk them, it sends taken to the other side and locks the opposing teams tank.

Deposit enough motes, and you summon a Primeval boss, kill it first to win.

But there is a catch.

A portal to your match will open to the opposing team, and they will be trying to kill you as well. And every kill they get on you, heals the boss.

So it is a constant cat and mouse game, balance and struggle. Do you focus all 4 on the boss to burn him fast, do you send a poison pill to the other team and stop them from summoning their boss.

All in all it is one of the most enjoyable PVP modes I have played in nearly a decade. And truth be told I am not a PVP gamer at all anymore.

Forsaken has done a good thing for Destiny 2. It has breathed new life into the game, and at the same time made it mush more hardcore appealing.

When I left Destiny 2 in 2017, it was pretty sad at how much it catered to the casual.

This Destiny no longer feels like that.

You can still be a casual and play, but now you have to earn your gear, it is not just gifted to you like a participation trophy.

That may be distasteful to some, but in my eye, why are you even playing the game if you are just sitting around waiting to be handed all the good loot.

Anyway, I digress.

If you are a FPS fan, even a solo story kind like myself, there is a ton of value in Forsaken and Destiny 2 as a whole for you.

Last thing I will touch on is the sound presentation.

This is a mixed bag, and always has been.

Out in the wilds of the galaxy, the sound is outstanding. The winds of mars, the energy of Venus, you can hear and feel it all around you in simulated Atmos.

Where it falls flat though is in the Tower, they have never fixed the positional audio of Tess and the Eververse for one. When you are even remotely close to her, she is shouting in your ear. You can even be in the hangar and in the right place still hear her. Same for Zavalah and the gang. It is bloody annoying.

I find I have to turn my audio down about 10db in the Tower and still it is a pain.

Fingers crossed this gets fixed at some point, but I feel like that ship has sadly sailed now.

A very solid 9/10, and with hundreds of hours of content, for a low price, it is a no brainer for a FPS fan.

PS4 Review – Assassins Creed: Odyssey

PS4 Review – Assassins Creed: Odyssey

From the minute I fired up the first game and stepped into the role of Desmond, I was in love and saw something completely unique and special, and hoped that this could lead to something more.

Now having played 16 previous Assassin’s Creed games, using the term fanboy for me is warranted and a bit under stated.

I have been here for the good time (AC2) and the bad (AC: Unity) I have seen the games evolve and morph with the times, mechanics change and grow over the years.

Story lines die for no reason, and new heroes arise.

So after 16 years and 16 games, how does a franchise still keep things real and unique? You launch a game like Odyssey, that’s how.

They have taken a decade and a half worth of formula, and put it in a pressure cooker. Taken most of what is good about the series and squeezed out a diamond.

For those not interested in reading the rest of this, I will tell you right now, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is one of the best games in the series, and save yourself 10 mins going over my review, and just go buy it.

For those still here, here we go.

This is hands down one of the biggest games Ubisoft has ever made.

On paper, sure Black Flag had more map to discover, but when 75% of it is water, it is not a big feat.

Odyssey on the other hand is mostly explorable land mass, sure there is a pile of ocean as well, but the land masses in the game are so densely populated with things to do and explore, it trumps any other game on the market for content by a wide margin.

For Example, here is about 80% of the full game map:


Here is just the red circle from above:


Every icon on the map is something to do. Chests to sneak in and get, people to kill, side quest to attain.

There are very likely 1000+ points like this spread over the map.

And this does not even take into account the main story, or the random things that pop up like mercenaries to kill, cult members to hunt, etc.

I went for a full 100% play-through, meaning that I revealed every single point of interest, and completed all locations.

This took me a full 120 hours to do.

And even though I am technically finished, Ubisoft is still reveling weekly new content, and not to mention new DLC for season pass holders.

The game for the first time ever allows you a choice of protagonists. You can choose a male of female character, both twins and both are identical in terms of skill tree and such, it is just an aesthetic change and a voice change pretty much.

That said, I was thrilled by the performance that Kassandra did. There has never been a more believably charismatic protagonist. She was simply amazing. From her humor to her fury, it was all very believable.

Slight Spoiler Alert

You should note whomever you do not pick to play, becomes the antagonist in the game. So pick wisely.

End Spoiler

I am glad I didn’t pick Helios though, because if his performance on the other side of things was any indication, he was kind of a cold dead fish. To me at least. Where Kassandra seethes with realism, Helios is the typical yell all the time video game jerk.

The story takes you all over Greece, chasing your past, killing your demons and at the very core, is a touching game about family. Hard to fathom that in the midst of a murder simulator you can have emotional attachments and moments.

The “real world” portion of the game was a bit of a mixed bag. Ubisoft said prior to release that the real world segments were going to factor in more heavily in Odyssey, something I was very much looking forward to as that is one of my favorite part of the series, and a major sore point for me that the real world side has primarily moved into the comics and out of the games.

Unfortunately, this is a big lie in part by Ubi, there is exactly 3 real world scenes in the game. 2 of them playable, one a cut-scene only.

And of the 2, one is gated behind one of the better side stories in the game, but will however be generally missed by most people unless you are a completionist.

What you get for that completion however is one of the best “real world” segments in the game since the days of Assassin’s Creed 2.

It also foreshadows the upcoming DLC Atlantis coming next spring. So we may be seeing more of Layla then I presume.

The core of the game has change a lot into what can best be described as an action RPG. With level grinding elements and gear progression and upgrades, to RNG drops and chests.

A lot of people complained that the game felt too grindy, and felt that because Ubisoft would sell you a EXP booster that they intentionally made the game grindy.

This friends is pure and utter bullshit.

If you play the game, and do not try to rush it or speed run it, you have plenty of opportunity to progress normally without ever reaching a point of not having a high enough level to continue.

Sure if you skip 100% of the side quests and choose not to explore anything except to go from point A to point B in the story, you will run into places that are gated, but good God people, you are now complaining that you have to actually PLAY the game you spent $80 on.

How stupid an argument….

If Ubi had not sold you the option to EXP boost would this have even been a thing in media? Not a chance.

But I digress.

The skill tree is HUGE in Odyssey and just though normal playthrough to level 70, you will still not unlock 100% of the skills in the game.

But on a positive note, you can simply reset your choice and get all your points back to reallocate if you feel you picked some crappy skills:

ac skills

Visuals in this game were jaw droppingly beautiful. When presented in 4k and HDR, the image is outstanding.

There is a lot of dark carve and crypt exploration in Odyssey, and subtle shadows dancing in the dark in HDR look stunning, crisp and clear.

The sound itself in emulated Atomos though was a mixed bag. The Marantz 8805 had a hard time placing people and ambient noise sometimes. When a character was behind you, they would often come through the rear ceiling channels.

Not sure if this is the fault of the receiver for not being able to push the sound to the right location (because it is fake emulating Atmos) or if the location flags in the audio track were just too unclear for the game to separate properly.

Over all I believe Odyssey to be the 2nd best game in the franchise, behind AC2. Which is high praise to reach in a series that has 16 games before it (not counting mobile)

If this is the new standard for Assassin’s Creed games, it is a welcome direction to go in.

An absolute 10/10 and a must play for not just AC fans, but also for anyone who like massive sandbox games.

AV Review – Marantz AV8805

AV Review – Marantz AV8805

So last year I upgraded to a AV8802, and while it was an amazing receiver, it still lacked a few things I had on a wish list in the back of my mind.

One of the major things was when I moved to Atmos, I lost the ability to use my front Height speakers and my Wides.

The unit had only 11.2 hook ups, which in honesty is way more than most, but it still was a sticking point as I had these speakers here that I had not used for over a year now.

So when they announced the AV8805 would have 15.2 hook ups, and 13.2 live signal processing, I was intrigued, but honestly still not 100% sold.

The 8802 had cost a good chunk of change, so I had not real intention to snag the 8805.

Once I started to see the reviews dropping about some of the extras, I was sold hook line and sinker.

One of the biggest upgrades in my eyes was the ability to use the new Audyessy app to configure, calibrate and tweak, and additionally swap back and forth between calibration files.

Now I will preface this with 2 things, one it does not work perfect for everyone.

I personally have not had a single issue with the app, but if you look at the comments and reviews on it, there are a lot of unhappy folks.

My take on it is, a lot of these people are in no way tech savvy at all.

I get that they bought an expensive piece of audio equipment, but that does not mean they know their ass from a hole in the ground when trying to get things in your house networked and talking.

As the primary complaint is connectivity, and that is almost solely dictated by your equipment and know how, it is easy to see that most people having problems have no clue how to use the tech.

But I digress.

Second, and this one really pissed me off. The MutilEQ app is not free. For me in Canada it was $35 (27.99 in the US)

Now I just bought a $6000cdn receiver, seriously, we need to pay another $35 to use it to its fullest?

This is a blatant money grab by Marantz, and one I am rather grossed out by.

Especially since as many folks claim, they have issues with it, and support from what I have read is non-existent.

Major oversight, or colossal FU to the customer, not sure which it is, but either way it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.


The application itself is a dream to use. Gone are the days of navigating the menu on the small screen, or relying on the display output to clunkily go through the setup.

Fire up the app, connect to your receiver, and then begin the config.

It is actually really user friendly given what you are doing here.

The prompts all look familiar as it is pretty much the OSD calibration, just in the app.

Once you roll through your setup and get the readings from the 8 locations, the file is saved on the app and ready to go.

What I did not realize out of the gate is you have to actually tell it to upload to your 8805. I was a little surprised that once I was done, and checked the receiver none of the Audyessy stuff was applied.

This part was not really clear in the app.

So once finished, you choose where to send the file, this can also be to external storage like google cloud services and such.

Once things are calibrated, and before you upload, I would highly recommend looking at the post configuration of each speaker and levels.

This is where the tweaker paradise comes in.

You can go channel by channel and adjust the frequency bumps as you see fit, you can see how well the room correction was applied. And get an overall sense of how good or bad you room is acoustically.

Now I have a fully treated room for 1st reflection point on all speakers. As well as diffusers on the back wall, and bass traps in the back corners.

And as you can see in the pictures below, my well treated room is still a bloody mess.

Here you can see the Front Left Channel, this has total treatment for 1st reflection:


Here is the Center Channel, should have no reflection here due to location:


Here we have the dual subs, this is one of the biggest fixes, having dual units is very hard to calibrate yourself, and their placement can be really tough at times.

The Audyssey cleans this up near perfectly:


Now I do have one major gripe about how the calibration is handled here.

So the way Audyessy works is you set your speakers up, be that 7.1, 11.2, 7.2.6, whatever you please, then you run Audyessy calibration.

The issue is that if anything changes with your speaker config, then you have to do a re-calibration.

So, in the case of the 8805, you can only have 13.2 channels active at one time. So you have a choice to make.

You set it up as say 9.2.4 so it includes your wides and 4 ceiling speakers. Or you set it up as 7.2.6 to include all 6 ceiling speakers and leave the wides out.

There is no way to do a one time, 15.2 speaker calibration.

Now to compensate for this, the app itself allows you to save multiple calibration files. Which kind of saves the day here.

The problem is that should you choose to switch back and forth, it is not a fast task, it can take 5-10 mins to transfer the calibration file to the 8805 from the tablet application.

So, there is no easy A/B test if you are trying to find out what mode sounds best for a particular movie.

Besides that, little oversight on Marantz part, the unit is a dream to own.

There is nothing I have not thrown at it that has not been presented with pure audio and video bliss.

I primarily use my theater for gaming. I would say it is about 80% gaming, 10% movies, 10% tv.

When it comes to games things both look and sound phenomenal.

I run in Dolby + Surround mode 90% of the time, to allow for a faux Atmos processing to be done. Throwing sound to the ceiling channels in some games sounds incredible.

Your room goes from being 2d to 3d in a click.

With games like Destiny 2 the upper level comes alive, ships flying over, bullets overhead, etc.

There are a few instances where this does not work well though.

As this is just emulating Atmos, and it is only an approximation, things can get thrown to the ceiling that should not.

For instance, in Destiny 2, some of the NPC characters in the Tower when positioned behind you, will en up om the rear ceiling channel shouting down at you.

But all in all, I see the benefit more so than the annoyance, more often than not it sounds great.

When it comes to movies though, things are outstanding.

Movies like Logan, the forest scene feels like you are right there, the wind rushing through the trees above you, the room is just alive.

I have yet to watch a movie that has not been enhanced by having all 6 channels overhead active.

Video has presented no hiccups either. With full 4k 4:4:4 pass-through I have not had a single handshake issue to day.

I have run it through the paces with 3d, 4k and SD and it all comes through just fine.

Unfortunately, I cannot speak to the advance media features though. The unit has tons of options for streaming services, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM, Amazon Prime Music, TIDAL.

None of which I sue as I have a HTPC hooked up.

Other features include full HEOS support, so you can do direct voice control for the unit if you wish via Amazon Alexa or Google Assist.

This really is the Swiss army knife of receivers.

While this is definitely one of the more expensive receivers on the market, it is hands down the most robust, sure you can look to some higher end AV manufacturers, you would however be hard pressed to find another unit out there that provides all the bells and whistles the Marantz 8805 has.

In upgrading to the 8805 I also took the opportunity to switch over my amplifiers for a couple reasons.

I used to be a 100% Rotel guy, for a good 8 years all my equipment was Rotel, that is until they did not keep up with tech and were way out of date on their receivers, that is ultimately what drove me to Marantz.

So over the years I have been toying with picking up a pair of MM7055’s and a MM8077.

This would allow me to move away from my dual RMB-1095’s and my RMB-1090 2 channel amp.

Part of the move was due to the place I am at now with my usage and listening.

When I bought the amps way back in 2002 I was using my system for 50-60% music. SO 2 channel was king for me.

The 1095 offered 350w per channel and my Def Tech BP2000TL speakers were made for being driven VERY hard.

So the need was there.

As years past, and music became way less important, to me, and movies and gaming took the front stage. It no longer made sense to have these seriously over powered amps. They were overkill, and additionally they were huge power sucks.

So when one of my Rotel RMB-1095s started acting flaky a couple years ago, I grabbed a MM7055 demo unit from Best buy for a steal.

Since then I have been toying with the idea of going full Marantz.

And I can safely say I am glad I did.

The clarity of the amps and 150 and 140 wpc is fantastic. The sound is warm and right, and dialog through my center channel sounds even cleaner to my ears than the old 1095 produced.

So now my Rotel days are behind me and my future with Marantz is looking very very bright!

One last thing I want to mention about the 8805. Some of you may be concerned about future-proofing with the new HDMI 2.1 format on the horizon.

Well Marantz has officially committed to having the ability to upgrade this receiver when the time comes. It will be a paid upgrade, at a marginal cost, or so they say.

The unit would need to be sent to Marantz as it is a major update and not just a board swap, and they say it is expected to be available sometime in 2020 once the 2.1 spec has been finalized.

If you are a movie buff or game enthusiast like I am with a big enough dedicated space to accommodate a full theater, you own it to your ears to pick up one of these receivers.

You will not be disappointed in the least.

A solid 10/10 and one of the best pieces of audio equipment I have ever owned.

PS4 Review – Unravel 2 – the sequel we didn’t know we needed (and may not)

PS4 Review – Unravel 2 – the sequel we didn’t know we needed (and may not)

So this year at the EA press conference at E3, we got a sudden surprise.

A stand out indie title from 2017 was magically getting a sequel, and surprise, it was due out the day of the announcement.

This was met with a bit of mixed emotions.

Unravel 1 was a real stand out game, a passion project by its creator, to tell a story of loss and love, a tale of missed opportunities and connections to one another.

So when we got a sequel out of left field, to a game that really said all it needed to, it was a little odd.

Unravel 2 is a mixed bag.

The heart and soul from the first game are gone, which I cannot help but feel is EA’s doing, now just rah rah EA sucks, but it definitely has a commercialize feel to it that was not in the first one, where pt 1 was so intimate and feeling.

Part 2 is just polished and sterile.

Now does that make it a bad game?

No not at all, it is just a different game. And should be approached as such.

Not so much a sequel, and just another new game.

This time around Yarnie has a new buddy. A mirror image of himself in a different color (of which can be completely customized this time)

So for one, the game can be played entirely co-op on the couch.

Best I can tell the overlying story is about 2 friends or brothers and their attempt to run away from something or someone bad. Hard to tell really as the story is a lot more disjointed than the first game.

The puzzles though and level traversal are top notch.

They all factor in the 2 players, or trickily single player in my case.

Where you have to really step back and think though some puzzles portions.

Even though it could be 100% solo friendly, I sincerely think the experience would have been much better with a partner.

You essentially meld your two characters together to continue as one until you have a time to pop apart and solve a puzzle. This can be a real pain, something as simple as one Yarine standing on a switch and the other bouncing up to grab a ledge gets a little tricky.

It would have been a simple maneuver as a pair, but solo you are fast switching characters to try to make it work.

It all worked out in the end, and provided a fun Saturday afternoon, clocking in at about 4 hours it is a perfect cold winter day game to blast through on a single day.

The sound in this game caught me by surprise, it was MUCH better than expected. The environmental effects sounded amazing in simulated Atmos. The rain, the wind, the whole ceiling was alive with ambient noise.

Visually though, I think the first game came across as a better look and fit. Again, this game had some big developer clout behind it, and that organic, earthy feel of part one was gone here, in a trade off of polish, that took that “real” feeling out of the world.

All in all a fun game, not as good as the first, but still a fun game to play.

A decent 7/10 and a recommendation for any couch co-op fans out there.

PSVR Review – Astro Bot Rescue – It’s a ME, ASTRO BOT!

PSVR Review – Astro Bot Rescue – It’s a ME, ASTRO BOT!

So if Astro Bot Rescue has taught me anything, it is that I sincerely wish that Nintendo would throw its hat into the VR arena.

Astro Bot Rescue is in every single way a perfect game, a 10/10, no questions asked.

It feels like a direct sequel to Mario 64 mixed with Super Mario Galaxy all rolled into a perfect package.

There is so many elements ripped right from the pages of Nintendo I am stunned they are not getting sued.

To date, we have not had a more polished and visually stunning VR game. Many have tried, and even amazing stand outs like Resident Evil 7 all suffer from the low res blues that is common with so many VR games.

Bland textures, grainy darkness, and horrible edges that look like teeth on a chainsaw.

Next to none of that is present in in ABR.

All 5 in game worlds are unique, and offer typical Mario like experiences. From ice worlds, under water levels, to the final worlds lava filled jump fest. It is all here in spades, and all works so bloody perfectly.

The controls are a perfect mix of both traditional 3rd person platforming, and a mix of VR touches from using your head to break barricades and kill enemies, to your controller becoming a Swiss army knife of tools.

It is worth mentioning too, that controller integration in Astro Bot is the best I have ever seen in VR.

Each level you “snap” your controller to a mold on screen, and it is rendered just like your DS3 controller in you hands, except all shiny and with glowing buttons.

You see the sticks move in VR 1 to 1. Same for button presses.

As you rescue your little stranded robot buddies, they fly around the screen and ultimately land and reside in your controller.

It is a real cool sight to behold.

The gadgets you acquire too are very well designed, from throwing stars you throw by sliding your hand over the touch pad, to a water cannon that is used to grow flowers or put out fire enemies.

Traveling through the 5 worlds that encompass 20 levels, and 5 boss fights was pure joy.

I could not wait to get to the next level to see what they had come up with.

The water levels we so incredibly well crafted and the fluid effects were just stunning.

And the boss fights themselves had an amazing sense of scale and depth. Be it fighting a giant King Kong like gorilla, or a shark the size of a Megalodon.

Sound presentation was outstanding as well, with a soundtrack that has been stuck in my head for days, to the sound of your rescued buddies flying overhead and behind you, it truly shines in simulated Atmos.

For the collector out there, there is a ton to do as well.

You have 8 robots to rescue spread over 20 levels. A hidden chameleon in each of those 20 levels, which unlocks a bonus challenge stage per each reptile.

As well there is a play area in which you can spend your coins in a claw game machine to unlock collectable statues (over 110). But it goes farther than that.

In the play areas you can go to each of the world from the claw games collections, and the items you collect will appear as interactive play toys.

So you are pretty much collecting things to build your play world.

Lastly is the challenge levels. 20 in total, that consist of a pile of short games spread over the 20 levels from the game. From timed races to gadget challenges to redoing the boss fights with a perfect goal in mind. All garnering you another 2 rescued bots each.

My only negative about Astro Bot is it was over in a heartbeat.

While clocking in at about 6 hours, it was still too short and I wish there was 50 more levels to play.

I hope Sony uses this success of ABR to spin up a new VR franchise, because I could see myself playing Astro Bot for a lot of years to come if they do.

An amazing 10/10 and a 100% must own for all PSVR users. You will not be sorry.

PSVR Review – Light Tracer

PSVR Review – Light Tracer

Back into the land of the virtual.

A long time ago I snagged Light Tracer, back when I owned PSVR for the first time (yes, I stupidly sold it) but never got around to playing it, and had written it off as I no longer had a PSVR.

So I figured may as well blow off the digital dust and dive into this little gem.

Light Tracer is a MC Escher like puzzle game, where by you girl a little princess up a tower (no so unlike the tower of Babel) to the gods residing at the top, in an attempt to save her people from a sickness that put them all into a slumber.

This plays out over 8 levels and about 5 hours of playtime.

The game is both fantastically designed, and a frustrating mess all at once.

The concept was solid, the world itself is made from floating platforms that continue to ascend. It can be turned and manipulated with the left wand, and some items can be pulled, or moved with the same hand.

This works about 70% of the time.

As there is no real sense to the rotation of the level, it can sometimes be frustrating to get the camera in the right place so you an continue or make a jump.

This frustration can be compounded by the fact that the princess is not super responsive.

She is essentially a cat (not literally) that follows you laser pointer from the wand in your right hand. You point a beam of light and pull the T trigger, and she will approach follow the pointer.

This is terribly frustrating at times when you angle is just slightly off, or you lose tracking, and on a key jump she plummets to her death.

This will happen about 200 – 300 times in your play-through.

Now that is not a total bad thing, the game would have been a cake walk outside of VR, but the unique puzzle and angle ideas really worked well in VR.

Just go in knowing you will be cursing under your breath sometimes.

The story itself is kinda cool, nothing ground breaking, and it plays out in between level cut scenes.

It came to a surprising and satisfying conclusion.

And speaking of which, after the game is over, you are shockingly treated to a trailer for the sequel, a game literally no one is talking about. It looked reeeeeeealy rough, but it was nice to know they are moving away from this to a more traditional 3rd person adventure game.

No clue when it is coming or how far along it is.

All in all a fun little weekend romp, I would recommend it to anyone looking for more puzzle games in VR.

A decent 7/10

PS4 Review – FE, ironing out the kinks….

PS4 Review – FE, ironing out the kinks….

So I stepped out of VR for a bit of a brain break and ran through FE last weekend. AS much as I love VR, a man can only take so much in one week.

I had a lot of initial reservations about the game when it came out earlier this year.

Reviews panned it for terrible controls and game play, and I had decided I was going to skip it entirely based on that aspect, as nothing ruins a game for me faster than shoddy controls.

I will tolerate plot holes, shitty graphics, and a myriad  of other issues in a game, but if you give me bad controls you are dead to me.

But this past black Friday FE was marked down to just a few bucks. So I figured even if it is dismal, I can just delete it.

Well color me surprised when it turned out to be MUCH better than I expected.

The game itself revolves around a small woodland creature, it is kinda a mix of a wolf pup and a squirrel for lack of a better description.

You set out on an adventure to save the forest you inhabit from these evil entities hell bent on enslaving all the woodland creatures.

The kicker is, unlike some Disney movie, you cannot actually communicate with them.

You speak squirrel thing, and they speak, bird, or wolf, or elk, etc.

So once you complete a series of tasks to help these creatures, like recovering eggs for the mama bird from said evil creatures, you learn their language.

Thus opening up the abilities in the game.

Once you speak bird, you can talk to the lesser birds and have them fly you all over the game. Or you can commune with some plants to have them open up and give you a seed to throw at enemies.

All of the 6 languages play out this way, each with its own realm and ability to learn that will help you through the world.

It is a solid idea that plays out rather nicely.

The story itself is a little hard to eek out, as it plays out mostly through cave paintings and flash backs found in hidden (and some obvious) stones that put you into the eyes of the evil creatures.

Truth be told, like many indie games, I had to head online to get an explanation to what I just played (one of my major gripes with indie games in general)

It was a heart warming little trip that lasted about 4 hours. But all in all was satisfying front to back.

One thins I will address is the controls.

I can see how some reviews slammed them, but I think that was honestly shoddy journalism.

The controls are different, but never did I find them painful.

Once example I will give is tree climbing, in most traditional games when you latch onto an object to climb it, you move the stick forward to traverse it.

Well in FE once you “stick” to a tree, each press of the jump button moves you up, and when you are on the top, if you press jump again, you jump off.

This is a bit annoying for about 2 mins, til you realize you cannot just hammer jump like crazy. You have to practice a little restraint.

Little gameplay quirks like this is what in my eyes sets FE apart from all the other 3d platform clones out there.

Sound and visual were every nice as well, looking fantastic on the JVC projector. Inky blacks in the forest and shadow detail really pop since my nre calibration.

Sound was amazing too in simulated Atmos, with the wind and environment of the forest coming alive up above.

All in all a great package and a fun game for a quite afternoon.

A reasonable 7/10

PSVR Review – The Inpatient – Avoid at all costs!

PSVR Review – The Inpatient – Avoid at all costs!

So moving down the PSVR road we have Inpatient.

Lets get this out of the way right off the bat.



Is it too scary? Nope

Is it too hard to take in VR? Nope

Is it a steaming pile of crap? DING DING DING, give the man a prize.

Warning, I am going to completely spoil the game here, so you dear reader, will not have to endure the torture that it is.

The game had such a solid foundation, it is about the events that preceded Until Dawn (one of my favorite horror games of all time) and was by the original developers (Supermassive Games) and was somehow completely bungled.

My best guess how is that like so many developers, indie and AAA alike, they have no concept of how to make a game in VR.

We are stepping back to the 80’s here in the floundering days of Nintendo and story telling in games.

The game like its predecessor has multiple branching decisions that will lead to 4 different endings.

What it does suffer from though is a completely lousy path to those decisions.

You start off strapped to a chair (in an obvious attempt to capture the restrained feeling of the Resident Evil “Kitchen” demo) whereby you are asked some questions that really lead nowhere.

Trying to regain you memory after some trauma. None of which ever becomes clear start to finish.

It is eluded to you are a Dr, but there is no proof of it.

The game plays out primarily with you locked in a room with you new roommate. Who is also maybe a Dr.

All in all it was hard to tell. Events happen outside the room whereby a bunch of miners turn into Wendigo, and start killing all the staff and patients alike.

How did this happen?

Who knows, it is never explained.

Your door just magically opens one day after what is about 1 week in game, you cell mate, now completely insane, just vanishes, only to show up later in the game perfectly healthy and fine.

Was it all a dream? Was she there? No bloody clue, because IT IS NOT EXPLAINED.

Are you getting a theme here?

That is In Patient in a nutshell.

Lots of small jarring conversation and events, that lead nowhere and have no context or sense to them.

Short of the Blackwell Hospital, and the Wendigo, there is ZERO ties to Until Dawn.

Or so I though.

Apparently if you do a super human series of events, make all the right conversation choices, then you get a special ending, whereby you finish the game as a Wendigo, ultimately finding out you turned into the Wendigo that attacked Beth and her friend encounter at the start of Until Dawn.

What do you get with just normal choices?

A slow ass gondola ride down the mountain, then credits. No wrap up, no “OMG we made it” moment, just a trip in silence and an elation that this turd of a game was over.

Now for the controls.

They were typical VR fare, where you have the ability to go full free rotation (my preference), the issue was primarily with controller detection. I constantly could not grab things I had to in the game, with my “hands” popping around and out of place. Trying to push buttons or turn knobs became a huge chore.

Another major issue was the pacing. This being a walking sim, you had to walk slow like molasses behind NPCs. Now I get pacing in a game, but this seemed like an intentional slog just to garner more time in the game.

The only positive I can offer here is it was over damn fast, lasing only about 2 hours total. Thankfully this was not a 8 hr game to endure.

I sincerely wish The Inpatient was a better game, because its roots were so damn strong.

But instead we have this me too approach to VR where companies feel they can just pop out any piece of crap and we will buy it.

Sadly I did, and the only bright spot here is I get to sell it used to some other sucker.

A dismal 1/10, and I do not recommend any of you play this. Go watch a Youtube video of the playthrough if you are a sucker for punishment.

PSVR Review – Moss

PSVR Review – Moss

So, furthering my deep dive back into VR I checked out the critically acclaimed PSVR game Moss.

This was one of the more refreshing titles I have played in VR.

The attention to detail in the world is outstanding. From the leaves on the trees to the dust particles in the air, you can see that Moss was made with love.

The story narrative plays out via a narrator of a story book, with you in a dusty old library, and a magical book telling of an adventurous little mouse on a quest to save her family.

At the core Moss is an environment puzzle game, solving rather simple puzzle (and a few tricky ones) to go further on your quest.

The entire package is very well crafted, and the story (while WAY too short) actually had me crying out for our little heroine victories.

The controls are spot on and out little heroine with sword and doge combat playing a significant role.

I never felt like I was fighting the controls to move along.

The only small gripe I do have is with VR in general on the PS4. This happens in a lot of games.

The game often seems to assume all us players are just hovering over our sofas. The healing mechanic in the game revolves around you reaching down and putting you hand on your little mouse. Well often times this was below my seat.

I eventually had to re-calibrate, move my camera back, and sit on the edge of the sofa instead of reclined so my hands go down father than my lap.

Now this did not happen often, but it did happen enough to irk me.

As mentioned early, Moss is not particularly long, clocking in at about 3-4 hours, it was over just as the story was starting it seemed. You feel part of a much bigger world (no surprise, you are a mouse after all) but the overlying tale seems pretty great, it is just unfortunate that things end just when you want more.

Guess it is better to keep people wanting than to end on a low note.

This is a must own title for PSVR (or PC VR). It truly showcases just how awesome VR can be when done correctly.

A solid 8.5 / 10.

PSVR Review – Transference

PSVR Review – Transference

So I am taking another dive into VR right now and blowing through a handful of games I snagged recently during the PSVR anniversary sale.

First on the roster is Transference.

I first saw a trailer for this in a stage demo last year during E3. Elijah Wood (of LOTR fame) was backing the project and involved in the development.

This game me a little hope that this game may be something different. With Big Hollywood involved in an indie game, maybe it would be something special.

Well sadly I am there to say, it was not special in any way shape or form.

It totally missed the mark for me.


I found it suffered from Indie game syndrome. Whereby someone who does not really know how to write a solid narrative sprinkle some interesting concepts around that never really gel and the story is not fleshed out unless you look under every rock or go online and try to figure out WTF you just played.


Now I will preface this with a warning. I am going to completely spoil this games story, so be wary.


This is Transference in a nutshell.


The game plays out with you in a presumably virtual world, having downloaded your “mind” into a computer, so you and your wife and child could live forever as a unit.


The concept is strong, but the game itself plays out in disjointed perspectives and family member “worlds”


It all takes place in your apartment in Boston I believe, and you roam around in a walking sim in the same apartment from 3 different “brain” dumps.


Now the main issue is, nothing makes sense front to back.


Your backstory and family interaction play out by finding old video tapes and cds that will show you a FMV video recording of certain events, from a birthday party, to you as a mad scientist.


This is all well and good, but none of it made any sense. You were a dysfunctional family, and you tried to get all of you together to live on forever in “VR” essentially.


But Why?


None of it was explained.


Your kid was not dying, your wife was healthy and sane, so there was no reason I could find that would explain why they did this.


Coupled with the fact that you pretty much had to be put on ice, literally, to stop brain function long enough for a mental snapshot to be taken.


So you would have had to pretty much bring your family to the bring of death to brain dump them.


The game itself shows you pretty much ghosts of your wife and kid and how they are “trapped” in this VR world, your child being terrified as he cannot find his parents, and your wife crushed by depression because you have not showed up.


Your purpose I thought was to reunite all of you as a family.


But nope, after 2 hours of walking around, you find 4 crystals that do… something? And then the game ends and you get a final video of you talking to you.


No family reunion, no payoff, just Meh… then credits.


What a waste of 2 hours.


The best thing I can say about the story was at least it ended quickly.


Also in true VR style, they resort to a few non-sensical jump scare.


There is some 8 bit looking monster that will charge you if you go into the dark.


Why is it here? What is it? None of that is explained, just some ominous dark force that kills you if you stray from the path pretty much.


From a VR perspective I found it frustrating on a technical level as well.


The speed for smooth turning (my preferred method) was WAAAAY too fast, even at the slowest speed in the options menu, it was nausea inducing, and I have a strong VR stomach.


You would whip around faster than a turn in a FPS like Call of Duty. Totally jarring in VR, even with brain hacks.


Additionally I found that item placement was a pain in the ass at times. Where clickable item were too low for standing mode, and too high when crouched.


So when sitting you had to bend way forward to maybe get lucky enough to be able to click a drawer to open. Or if you crouched, the draw was face level, but you could not see the contents as you were too low.


All in all, this was a terrible game. And if this is what we can expect when actors get involved in games, then please guys, stay on the big screen and let the real game devs tackle VR stories.


A horrendous 1/10 and I do not recommend it to anyone under any circumstance.