Sunday, 1 May 2016

Volume Review.


What can I say about Volume?
It's a marvelous game, with great atmosphere, frustrating puzzles and tremendous voice acting, and I thoroughly enjoyed every frustrating bit of it.

When I played the first level, I was instantly hooked. It's one of those games, where not only do you want to find out the story and what's going on, but you want to replay a level sixty times to improve. The levels start off fairly simple, and each time a new mechanic is introduced (for instance, the ability to temporarily render your enemies useless), you get a quick explanation, then set off on your way.

In Volume, you play as a character called Robert Locksley (Charlie McDonnell), who creates artifical renderings of locations with a VR device called Volume, using the archives of Guy Gisborne (Andy Serkis) - a super wealthy businessman, with less than stellar ethics - then robs from them, akin to Robin Hood, live-streaming the whole thing online. As the game progresses, Gisborne is locking in on you, trying to prevent you from causing any more trouble, with the levels getting trickier and more complex as you go on.

The puzzle factor is what really drew me in. I love a good brain teaser, and some of the levels really make you work out where you need to be to distract an enemy, hide from an enemy, and timing. It's all about the timing. From using the various gadgets at your disposal, to stealthily sliding around a wall, ducking down to avoid detection and quickly scooting past moving lasers, it's a magnificently crafted stealth game. One slightly confusing part was the shadows, as entering a shadow renders you completely invisible to all guards. I mean, they're AI robot guards, surely they should still be able to sense you, somehow - they don't even react when you touch them in the shadowed areas, but that's just a minor gripe.

I played Volume on the PS4, and I'd love to give it a go on Vita too, however that will have to wait as we still don't own one! So this review is specifically for the PS4 version, but I imagine there's very little difference between them.

What's great too, is that not only do you have the 100 levels to play through, and get all the trophies, and customise your character, you can also play other peoples' levels, and create your own, too. This is a fantastic way to keep your interest in the game, long after you've completed the main story. There are quite a lot of other games out there that have their own level editors, etc. but Volume's level editor really is great, and most of the time, playing other player's creations feels like just another level in the game.

There are plenty of collectible texts in Volume, too. With them spread out over the levels, these notes provide a little more insight and backstory into the game, with some being simple emails between workers at Gisborne's company (and these emails actually follow up on each other, providing multiple little background stories for you). One frustrating part about these texts is that there are trophies for collecting 25%, 50%, 75% and lastly 100% of all texts, but there is no tracker in the game for them. So you need to keep track yourself - Allan was raging when he completed the game and the 100% trophy didn't pop as he was so sure he'd clicked them all (he later got this after randomly entering a level and reading a random text, which he is sure he'd already done, so unsure if it just semi-glitched).

More of the story is given to you in the conversations between Locksley, and the AI built into the Volume, Alan (Danny Wallace). Alan explains a lot of what's going on, and pretty much eggs you on to continue on what you are doing, as he is bound to serve whoever is currently in possession of the Volume.

It didn't take me too long to Platinum Volume. Something which I was really happy about - my first Platinum, yay! The replayability is all in the level editor and the leaderboards. It's mighty satisfying to compare your own times against friends and strangers alike. Whilst I don't think I'll ever rank high up on the worldwide leaderboards, as some of the folk on there just clearly aren't human, it's nice to see that I can at least whip through a level faster than my friends.

Overall, Volume is a fantastic game, and especially great if your a fan of the puzzle-y elements. The art style is also a very cool, unique factor, and really works well in the context of the game. I'd definitely suggest buying it, plus at just £14.99 it's a bargain, considering that Cross-Buy enables you to get it for both PS4 and Vita for that one price.

Have you played Volume? What did you think about it?
Let me know in the comments below!

- V x

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Sorry!

I was going to get lots of stuff posted for you over these few days past, and the next few days also, after discovering a bundle of articles I'd written but stupidly not realised hadn't been posted.

Then, this crappy week happened and my laptop charger exploded. Laptop is already dead, so can't get access to the files.

I did get a new charger yesterday (or the day before, possibly) but it didn't work. So I need to wait and get a new one asap (which is unfortunately gonna take a while as I can't afford a new one right now).

Anyway, I can do some posts from my phone. So I am going to make sure to keep posting what I can, when I can. We've also been tidying up the house recently, so the PC table has a bit more access now, so if I can get the PC to work, I'll at least be able to get some more posts done (since its easier to do them on an actual PC or laptop, since I can then tweak my photos etc.)

I'm really sorry guys, if I could just have a nice easy life for once, I'd be so grateful haha, but unfortunately there always seems to be something messing up.

Make sure to keep checking our twitter page too, as it's the most updated of our social media pages, and it's super easy to do some quick posts on there from my phone, including some random snapshots of the collection, which I shall do to keep you all interested in the mean time :).

What's been happening for you this week?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Entries to the Asylum - Saturday 23rd April 2016.

Late post from yesterday, due to the aforementioned laptop-charger-issues. One item arrived yesterday, and it's one we've been waiting on for quite some time:

- The Last of Us 4xLP Original Soundtrack.


This set from Mondo is absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, it has long since sold out. You may be able to find them on eBay, etc, and I really would recommend picking a set up if you get the chance.

So, anything new in your collections today?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

The Super Late Edition of Thoughts on Thursday!

Welp, it's Sunday.

I missed this week's Thoughts on Thursday as my laptop charger has pretty much broken - I've now semi-fixed it with electrical tape, but this is just a quick fix. Apparently, a new charger from Dell will set me back £112, and I am not willing (or able!) to pay that.

I managed to get a quick post in on Friday via what little battery I had left before I realised just how screwed my charger is. So for now, I'm writing with a very carefully angled charger wire, praying to the gods of Alienware that it holds out just a bit longer.

I don't really have a topic for this week, as my head has been pretty much fried from the laptop not working, and various monetary issues (why can't I be rich, goddamnit!) so I think I'll just discuss various aspects of collecting...

Collecting is a hella expensive hobby. It really is. Sure, there are methods of cost-cutting, such as only buying pre-owned, or sticking to, say one item a month, or even confining your collecting habit to a specific franchise, or console. For us here in the Asylum, we have slightly opposing collecting habits to each other. We both used to want to own everything. I still do. I hate missing out on any edition, however I have calmed down somewhat in that I now tend to only preorder the things I will definitely play. Allan would much rather stick to only buying editions for franchises he truly loves, however even at that, he usually delves into the "preorder everything" mode, when he sees awesome looking editions for games he'll play, but maaaybe wouldn't have gone all out on an edition for.

We do tend to try and get as much as is humanly possible, anyway, but it is difficult, especially as editions seem to be getting more and more expensive (look at the Dark Souls III Prestige Edition!) and also, for a large number of them, they're growing in size, and it's not like we're not already having issues with space running out already!

When we first moved into this house (almost a year ago now), our collection was already giant. But luckily, we managed to fit the majority of our things on the shelves in our room, without much on the floor. Well, since then - even though it doesn't feel like we've gotten a whole lot more, we have - the floor space has been shrinking at an incredible rate. I'm also trying to document everything (again), with an Excel Spreadsheet, and needless to say, it is taking forever. I'm approximately half way through the stuff in our room so far (there's more down in the livingroom, etc) and I'm at 1053 items on my spreadsheet. And I haven't even started adding in all the info for everything so that's gonna be a pretty daunting task!

I truly enjoy collecting, and I intend to keep doing it for many years to come. Ideally, we'll be able to move into a bigger house at some point, and can dedicate a large room to the collection, but that won't be for a long time yet. Heck, at the minute, our room houses us, Eva and the collection. Once Eva is bigger, she'll then be sharing with Allan for a few years till we can get a bigger place.

We're going to get our Youtube channel relaunched very soon, as we've finally started working on the cubby hole project that I mentioned moooonths ago. We've (when I say we, I mean Allan) gutted it out of most of the decorating stuff that was in there (leftover half-filled paint tins, etc) and now it just needs a light installed, a desk installed and then fully painted, and it'll be done. It is going to be a multi-purpose cubby-hole, for Allan to draw in, but also for me to work on cosplays and store them. (The cosplay will be a little bit in the future though, as I'm aiming to be back down to target weight this summer).

Before we get the Youtube channel relaunched, I'm gonna do a couple of pre-relaunch (haha) streams on Periscope, to show you all the mess that is the collection at the minute, as well as some Twitch streams (so comment below what games you'd like to see!). And of course, I'd love to hear what you guys would like to see unboxed and/or reviewed too, so be sure to let me know in the comments! Be sure to like us on facebook and follow us on Twitter, to make sure you're always kept up to date when these things are happening!

So what are you looking forward to being unboxed the most? Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Friday, 22 April 2016

Entries to the Asylum - Friday 22nd April 2016.

Couple of entries to the Asylum today, one being:

- Ratchet and Clank [PS4].

And the other entry was a package from the lovely Monika, whom I gave my spare preorder of the Dark Souls III Prestige Edition, and she sent me a package as a little thank you :)

I will do a little post on it tomorrow, as it was so cute and I am very grateful to have communities like the one over at CollectorsEdition.org, that allows us collectors to make friends all over the world, who share the same (highly addictive) hobby that we do.

I will also be posting a few of the reviews that I've done over the past few months, that I apologise have not been uploaded yet. Just today, I discovered a folder of reviews written, but needing formatted and checked over, that I've yet to post. I'll likely only post a couple of them tomorrow, rather than them all, and then continue to post another 1-2 each day after that, so you'll have lots to read!

Anyway, have you received anything today?
Are you gonna pick up Ratchet and Clank before it hits the cinema next week?

Let us know in the comments below!

- V x


Friday, 15 April 2016

Thoughts on Thursday - It's a mish-mash!

So for this week's Thoughts on Thursday (and I apologise that it's now Friday morning, I fell asleep writing this last night!), I don't have one specific topic like I normally do. There's been a couple of things I want to discuss and post about, and I figured what better way to do that than just get it all out in this weeks' Thoughts on Thursday :) So apologies in advance for the numerous topics!

Okay, so the first topic is basically, the direction of Collecting Asylum. Our future, our intentions, our goals. Essentially.

We (I say we, but it's pretty much always me who is typing stuff up, but some of the content from reviews and such come from Allan, it's just that he's more behind-the-scenes), from the beginning, have always wanted to run a site about our love of gaming, as well as movies, comics and all the other things that we really enjoy and collect. It has definitely proven to be quite a challenge, especially since we have had a number of setbacks over the years. Plus, having two young kids means that we sometimes struggle to get stuff done for the site.

We do aim to change this, and as you can see, we've started with the regular posting of Thoughts on Thursday. There's quite a few regular things we'd like to get started, but rather than unleashing them all at once (and no doubt bogging ourselves down with it, since we'd be going from nothing to tonnes instantly) we thought it would be a better idea to incorporate one or two regular things at a time.

Right now, it's Thoughts on Thursdays. These will be posted every Thursday, and as I've said before, you can suggest topics for the following weeks post in the comments. Our Entries to the Asylum posts, whilst frequent, are pretty much impossible to make regular, as editions can come whenever really, so that will stay on it's current schedule of "as and when". We could arrange it to be a weekly update, but there are some weeks that we receive a million things, and some weeks with nothing at all (this week so far has been pretty empty, for example).

Soon, I will be incorporating the unboxings again. We got that started up again a while ago, but various things got in the way, but we should hopefully be able to get that back on a regular schedule quite easily. With possibly one or two unboxings per week (of older stuff).

We also, alongside the Entries to the Asylum, want to get unboxings done for things as and when they are received. Not necessarily every single thing, every single time. And we want to get the Youtube channel back up and running, with unboxings, reviews, Let's Plays and more, but our recording equipment is all pretty crap. We have set up a Patreon (kinda a while ago now) with the hopes that some lovely people would contribute but we understand that that's a pretty big ask. We are intending to save towards better equipment too, but this month and next month are far too expensive for that! So we'll be saving from June onwards, pretty much, but it could still take quite some time before we've got decent equipment.

We will be doing live streams on Twitch periodically, you can all suggest which games you'd like to see me and/or Allan play, both for Xbox One and PS4. Technically I could do Steam too, but I'm 1) more comfortable playing on console, and 2) Back to the equipment issues. 

Second topic is Customer Service - or sometimes, the lack thereof.

Some shops/online stores have fantastic customer service, and some have either completely awful or basically non-existant CS. Amazon are usually always on the good side of the scale for me, but yesterday was a nightmare.

As you all know, I had an un-needed copy of the Dark Souls III Prestige Edition, that I'd forgotten about, on Amazon.fr. I decided I would give the order away to someone that missed out, as long as it was someone I could trust wasn't going to try and turn a profit on it. Well, I found that person, Anjelaoni, a fellow member over at CE.org. She was super excited to finally have her own copy and couldn't have been happier.

The order was sitting as "Estimated Delivery Date 13th/14th April" basically ever since I first preordered it. Understandable - the game is released on the 12th, but this is having to make it's way over from France. Fine. Only, the 12th passed, and it still hadn't shipped. Hadn't even taken the money. The 13th passed, same issue. Contacted Amazon.fr and they said that they hadn't yet received their stock in. I figured, okay, fair enough. Typical it would happen to me, on an order that I'm forwarding to someone, but okay. Another day passes, and I can't find anyone anywhere posting about this supposed delay from Amazon.fr. I could find people who'd even had theirs shipped/had received theirs from Amazon.fr, so something was clearly up.

I spent pretty much all day yesterday, in multiple Live Chats with the Amazon.fr team, being told repeatedly that they hadn't received stock in. When I pointed out that friends had received their copies (with screenshot evidence of shipping confirmations, etc), I was told that they were liars and just trying to spread rumours. I was told that it was impossible for them to have had theirs shipped as there is no stock yet, and that if I don't want to wait, I can cancel my order.

Then, my order changed to "Estimated Delivery Date: 4th/5th July". I thought, this can't be right. And again contacted Live Chat, plus their team through Twitter, and of course, Bandai Namco themselves. Live Chat still repeated to me that they had no stock, and that I'd have to wait it out. "If you don't want it, you can just cancel and purchase something else", I was told. I explained that I was not prepared to do this as the order is for something now impossible to get for the same price. Bandai Namco replied to me stating that they had in fact passed on the stock to Amazon.fr with no issues.

Chasing it up again, I was told I was wrong, and that I'd need to wait, again.

I'd all but given up, when I went out to the shop to find that my bank balance was much lower than it should have been. Miraculously, payment had now been taken from Amazon.fr and my order shipped.

Funny what a full day of pestering them can do.

I then went on to complain to them about me having to chase up the order and even go as far as to contacting Bandai Namco, as well as being told that my friends were liars, etc. And you know what I got? A €3 refund, as an apology and as compensation. 3 EUROS. On a €450+ order. I don't know how they thought that acceptable as a goodwill gesture, but hey ho. At least the order has shipped.

It's due to arrive today, and I'm already praying that the delivery guy offers to put it in the house for me, as at 13.5kg (or so I've heard), there's no chance I'm gonna be able to lift that thing easily.

But back to the topic on hand, some places are awful with CS. As above, Amazon.fr really dropped the ball with this one. Amazon are normally one of the better companies, in terms of Customer Service, but this was really disappointing - especially as it can't just be blamed on a member of staff having an off day, since I spoke to countless people on the Live Chat.

Anyway, I think I've rambled enough for you all!

So have you had any memorable moments with Customer Service from somewhere?
Was it a good experience, or bad?
Let us know in the comments below!
- V x

Friday, 8 April 2016

Entries to the Asylum - Friday 8th April 2016.

One new entry to the Asylum today, and it was from the fantastic Indiebox!

- March 2016 Indiebox - Assault Android Cactus.

We'll be getting some unboxings up for our collection of Indieboxes so far, as well as reviews for all of the games :) And be sure to let the team over at Indie Box know what games you'd like to see get the IndieBox treatment!

So what's new in your collection this week?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x