Saturday, 28 May 2016

Vans X Nintendo Line.

So this week we saw the launch of the Vans X Nintendo collection, and I have to say, they are beautiful. I love them all, but I wish that the Zelda ones came in a laced version, as I'd much prefer laces to slip-on, especially since the Zelda ones are exclusively in slip-on.

I'm not normally a lover of Vans, usually sticking with Converse as they are my typical go-to shoes (and in all honesty, I've never owned a pair of Vans before!), but I definitely want to collect all of these ones.

With a price range of £52-60 for Men's and Women's sizes (and slightly less for kids), we certainly want to get them all. 
Black & White Super Mario Villains 
Sk8-Hi Nintendo Controller

Black & Purple Donkey Kong

Khaki Duck Hunt

Super Mario Bros

Nintendo Super Mario

Grey & Red Zelda Slip-ons

Old Skool Nintendo Console 
Pale Pink Princess Peach

Sk8-Hi Nintendo Console

Genuinely want them all!

Which ones do you like? 
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Killzone Visual Design Art Book!

I recently received this stunning book from the team over at Cook and Becker. It is the Killzone Visual Design book, and my oh my is it beautiful.

The front has this beautiful spot gloss/embossed Helghan writing, and of course the Guerrilla Games logo (whom we previously sent some artwork to, and received a nice letter back from!)

The back, fairly simple with the Playstation logo. The cover itself is nice and sturdy, and I really like the comparison between the matte and shiny on the cover, definitely makes it stand out (as well as the white on black).

As it says on the front, it is to celebrate 15 years of Killzone, so if you're a big fan of the Killzone series, then this book is definitely for you.

Inside is an opening statement from the Studio Director of Guerrilla, Hermen Hulst, as well as Sony Worldwide Studios President, Shuhei Yoshida. Spanning 208 stunning glossy pages, the book is full of some of the most beautiful, intricate and downright stunning artwork I've ever seen for the Killzone series. You think the games look good? Wait till you see the artwork!

Below is just a small sampling of some of the artwork shown in the book, but if you want to see more, you'll need to buy it! Available here from Cook and Becker, the standard artbook is £32, and £85 if you want the Collector's Edition version (which I hope to get at some point in the future).

As I said, the artwork is just beautiful. I'm very happy to have received this phenomenal book from the team over at Cook and Becker, and am really excited to see what they have in store for the future. If you don't already know, they do amazingly gorgeous artwork for a variety of games. Very high quality and completely jaw-dropping to look at. I own one piece of their artwork so far (Above it All - Mirror's Edge) and I really hope to buy more in the future, however for gamers on a tighter budget, the pricing of the standard Killzone Visual Design book is perfect, so I really hope they bring out more in future.

From us here in the Asylum, just like the book says, Thank you!

Have you ordered the Killzone Visual Design book? What other books would you like to see them do?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

No Man's Sky DELAYED!?

Yep, you read that right. No Man's Sky has officially been delayed till August 12th (in the UK). Luckily it's not a huge delay, but it's a delay nonetheless, and one we're very gutted about as we were super excited to get to play No Man's Sky at last.

The one thing that we don't mind too much about the delay is that it gives us more time with all of the fantastic games that have come out this month. So hopefully by the time of its release in August, our recent backlog will have diminished ever so slightly.

We really can't wait to dive in once it comes out, and we will definitely be getting some Twitch streams on the go for you all, as well as a review/unboxing of the Limited Edition!

Also really hoping we'll be able to review and unbox the stunning Explorer's Edition, but unfortunately we don't currently have the funds for it, so will be trying desperately to get one before they inevitably sell out!

What are your thoughts on the delay?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Friday, 27 May 2016

So what is Overwatch, anyway?

You didn't seriously think we were done talking about Overwatch, did you?

As the title says, what is Overwatch exactly? Overwatch is a first-person shooter, developed and published by Blizzard. As mentioned in my previous post, Blizzard's previous games have included primarily PC only games, including the likes of World of Warcraft.

Amazingly, us console players were treated to the release of Overwatch, and my, how we've lapped it up. With a Beta that was one of the most played things on both consoles during its Closed and Open periods, and the release massively exceeding Blizzard's sales expectations, causing them to struggle to keep up with demand of both physical and digital copies, it's definitely off to a strong start.

It's a multiplayer only game, which caused a bit of disappointment to fans who'd hoped there would be a strong story presence, but with the four animated shorts that have been released so far (and with the promise of more for a "second season"), explaining a rich backstory throughout, as well as small character interactions in-game which more than make up for the lack of a single-player campaign. The various shorts released so far gave insight into one main character at a time (with other characters appearing as enemies, etc) explaining a bit of their history, and showing them in action.

"Recall" follows Winston, a scientist who also happens to be a genetically-engineered gorilla. He is desperate for the days of heroes to return. He struggles to decide whether or not to reunite the agents of Overwatch, whilst Talon agents attack his lab at Watchpoint: Gibraltar.

"Alive" follows Widowmaker, a Talon assassin who is on the hunt in London's Kings Row, trying to track down her prey.

"Dragons" follows Hanzo as he explores the history of the Shimada clan, returning to his family home in Hanamura to reflect on the past, before an unknown assassin comes, and reveals to him a surprising secret.

And finally, "Hero" follows Soldier: 76 as he investigates the Los Muertos gang members and their illegal activities, when he has to step in and save the day for a young girl.

All four shorts are exquisite, and really drive home the stories of these characters, without the need of a traditional story mode in-game. That's not to say we don't hope for some form of story-mode down the line, but for now the multiplayer is enough, as it is fantastic on its own. My favourite of the shorts would definitely have to be "Dragons" (same goes for Allan), as it is beautiful and really well told (not that the others aren't, of course).

There are currently 21 characters to choose from, in four different classes. Offense includes Genji, McCree, Pharah, Reaper, Soldier: 76 and Tracer. Defense has Bastion, Hanzo, Junkrat, Mei, Torbjörn and Widowmaker. Then there's the Tank class, containing D.Va, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Winston and Zarya. And lastly, the Support class, with the fewest characters (currently): Lúcio, Mercy, Symmetra and Zenyatta. And with more characters to be released free of charge in the future, I really can't wait to see how they all play, too.

Each character has a completely different set of weapons, abilities and Ultimates. And each can be very different to master, so it's natural that you'll end up with a favourite or two that match your playstyle well, and that you've comfortably learned how to play best as. For instance, Allan's favourite characters are Hanzo, Genji, Junkrat and Zenyatta - although as of tonight, he's starting to really enjoy playing as Pharah, too. For me, I'm a big fan of Winston and Hanzo, as well as Mercy.

The game is fast paced, fun and very addictive - especially when playing well with a good team. And whilst there have been some buggy moments at times, it hasn't affected the reception of Overwatch at all.

We'll be doing an unboxing at some point tomorrow of the Collector's Edition of the game, and I can't wait to show off some of the artwork from the stunning artbook. So be sure to check back tomorrow for even more Overwatch from us!

What did you think about the animated shorts? How are you liking Overwatch?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x 

Asylum Reviews: Overwatch [Xbox One].

Overwatch is finally out and we love it.

We'd already played a good bit of it throughout the Closed and Open Betas, and now that it's finally out we are addicted (sorry Uncharted 4 and Doom, I'll come back to you soon!)

It's an amazing game and it's safe to say it was to be expected coming from Blizzard, whose previous titles include the likes of World of Warcraft and Diablo. And with the previous games they've released being primarily PC games, when this was first announced we assumed it would also be a PC only game, and we were super stoked to find out it wasn't.

From the animated shorts giving us the story that an otherwise online-only game would normally be lacking in (and leaving us desperate for more), to the various events staged around the world, such as the gigantic "action figures" and the Launch Celebrations at various cinemas, Blizzard has not only done the game well, but the promotion has been executed fantastically, too.

Overwatch is an easy game to fall in love with. There's lots of variety to the characters, with four different sub-classes of player: Offense , Defense, Tank and Support. And with 21 characters to choose from between those classes, you're sure to find a character that fits your playstyle well. The game is also highly accessible to a large number of players that wouldn't otherwise fall into the FPS-playing category. If you're not so great at attacking, and being out there in a firefight with the other team, you can play as someone like Mercy, healing your teammates from the sidelines. And don't worry, playing as non-offense characters isn't detrimental to your progress, as all teammates/characters are just as important as each other. For example, a team playing with everyone as the same character, or the same class even, usually won't fare well against a team that is balanced and working well together (well... maybe with the exception of a Bastion-centric team, haha).

It's bright, it's colourful, and most importantly - it's fun.

It's not one of those games where you always feel like you're at a disadvantage to other players if you're at a lower skill level. Not doing so well as Zenyatta? Then switch to Winston. Don't like how Tracer plays? Try out Hanzo. It's all about switching around and seeing what characters you like, and especially learning the ins and outs of the characters: who they play well against, what characters are best suited to you for what maps, and how to take advantage of the different Ultimates of the characters, etc.

I can certainly see Overwatch being popular for a long time, and with it already building momentum for the eSports scene, it won't be long before we see big teams headlining events for it on a regular basis. #CokeESports are already doing a lot to promote Overwatch, including sending out amazing Loot Boxes to various YouTubers - which I won't lie, I'm totally jealous of, so Coke, hook a girl up, eh?

There's also loads of tips out there that are great for helping you learn the ways of Overwatch, and perfecting your matches. And with any and all future DLC being given to us for free, rather than people having to pay for extra characters, just further gives more reason as to why I think this game will stand the test of time, and I can certainly understand the high praise it has received elsewhere so far, so we'd definitely have to recommend it to everyone, and their sister's dog's best friend's cousin. 

What are your thoughts on Overwatch? Have you settled on a favourite character?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Entries to the Asylum - Thursday 23rd/Friday 24th May 2016.

One entry to the Asylum from yesterday and one the day before, and both are from a game that we've been excited for for a very long time: Overwatch.

Thursday 23rd May

- Overwatch Promo Tracer Cup.

Friday 24th May

- Overwatch Collector's Edition [Xbox One].

On Thursday, Allan took one of his younger brothers to the Vue Cinema over at the Edinburgh Omni Centre to see the Overwatch Launch Celebration, which actually turned out to be severely disappointing.

Tickets cost £21 odds for the both of them, and then train fare for the return journey to Edinburgh and back for them was almost £40! And then the showing, which was advertised as 2hr 20mins ended after just over an hour, and then was handled fairly badly by staff (who, to be fair, were pretty confused about the situation, themselves). 

They had expected to see lots of new stuff, considering that all of the Animated Shorts combined would equate to much shorter than the advertised running time, but other than a short behind the scenes segment, everything was stuff they'd already seen. Granted, they did enjoy seeing everything on the big screen (and getting to see them made them - and me - want an Overwatch movie even more!) but the fact that it cost so much, and that their travel time was longer than the full showing, they were still pretty disappointed, especially as the screen just stopped after around 1hr 10 mins, and then after around half an hour of waiting around, unsure what was happening, they were told by staff that there was no further footage to be shown, they weren't sure entirely why it was so much shorter than advertised, but if anyone wanted to leave a contact email address, they could, although "there's no guarantee anyone will get an explanation, and nobody will be refunded". So, yeah. Handled pretty badly, to be honest.

They did however, each get a promo cup with Tracer on it (they later noticed some people had Widowmaker cups, so they were a little gutted that they didn't get to see all of the ones available), which advertised #CokeESports too, so those were a nice surprise, but still not really worth the almost £60 that they spent on the trip.

Anyway, have you got Overwatch? And did you attend any of the Launch Celebration showings?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Monday, 23 May 2016

Entries to the Asylum - Friday 20th May 2016.

Another forgotten entry due to all the stuff going on here of late! One entry from Friday:

- Soul Eater Premium Edition [Bluray].

Very happy to finally have this edition, after a whole load of faffing around on Amazon's end, they ultimately couldn't provide me with a copy, but luckily I managed to get a promo copy (therefore, without discs) from Funimation, so very pleased with that.

We will be reviewing the Yearbook, as well as Soul Eater itself, very soon, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!

What new stuff have you guys gotten lately?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Entries to the Asylum - Thursday 19th May 2016.

A couple of entries from Thursday, that I didn't get around to posting (apologies again, so much has been going on here lately that my head is a little fried!)

- Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Special Edition [Xbox One].
- Battleborn Preorder Bonus Figure [Rath].
- Battleborn Preorder Bonus Figure [Orendi].
- Battleborn Character Cards Pack [Too many to count!].

Haven't opened up all of the Battleborn card packs yet, and don't really intend to open every last one of them anyway, but arrrgh! I am still missing 10 cards from the set. Two of the ones I'm missing apparently come inside some of the game cases (and are only found in those cases), but that still means that there are EIGHT cards that I've yet to find, in probably 100+ packs that I've opened so far.

Currently looking forward to the release of Overwatch, which will be out on Tuesday! Really excited to get and unbox the Collector's Edition, although I must say, I kinda wish the Soldier 76 statue was colourful, rather than the black/bronze effect it has, but I dunno, maybe once I see it in person, I'll like it more.

What have you got recently? Are you looking forward to Overwatch?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Entries to the Asylum; Friday 13th May - Saturday 14th May 2016.

Having to combine yesterday and today's entries, as yesterday we received:

- Doom Collector's Edition [Xbox One].

But it was damaged. The Revenant statue included in the edition has a light up base, with a fan rotating inside it, however the battery compartment of ours was entirely stuck shut. Took it back to GAME today however, and got a replacement, so yay!

And today we got:

- Battleborn Preorder Bonus Figure [Montana].
- Battleborn Character Cards Pack [x19].

Today's entries were leftover preorder bonuses that my local GAME store had in. They had a tonne more of the Battleborn Character Cards Packs, but they told me to just help myself to them, but I didn't want to take too many haha, so I literally just grabbed a handful and that was me :)

I actually really like the figure of Montana, although I am a little gutted that I now need to get the other 4 somehow to complete the set :P

I will be posting a photo-unboxing on here later of the Doom CE, so check back for that!

What have you gotten recently?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Entries to the Asylum - Wednesday 11th May 2016.

One new thing for yesterday, forgot to post, oops!

- April 2016 Indie Box: Galak-Z.

Really happy with this month's Indie Box. The packaging is different from previous ones (with a little window to show the figure inside). It's really cool, and I'm excited to see future month's releases :D

Have you subscribed to Indie Box? If not, WHY THE HELL NOT?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Entries to the Asylum - Tuesday 10th May 2016.

Two new entries to the Asylum today, one physical and one digital:

- Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Libertalia Collector's Edition [PS4].
- The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth [Xbox One].

Excited to play Uncharted 4, especially after what we've seen of it so far. And the steelbook included in the edition is stunning. I'll be sure to get up pics for you all soon!

Afterbirth is something we've been waiting on for a long time, as we're both massive fans of The Binding of Isaac - only issue is that Allan is fantastic at it, and I completely suck. But regardless, we've been really excited about Afterbirth coming to consoles since it first was shown, and it's even better that it came to Xbox One (as initially it was just stated for PS4), so we'll be playing a lot of that over the coming months.

What new things have you gotten recently?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Monday, 9 May 2016

Asylum Reviews: Party Hard [PC/Steam].

Again, this is another review from my huge backlog of reviews to be done and reviews that I stupidly had already done, but saved as opposed to publishing! So, apologies again. As you can see, I'm now in the process of uploading/posting them all, so lots of stuff to read these next few days (doing them over a few days rather than all at once).

Moving on...

This game is addictive, fun and frustrating as all hell.

The basic premise of the game is that you play a guy who finds it hard to sleep due to parties going on nearby. Sooo, he decides to do something about it. And by that, we mean massacre everyone.


The objective of the game is simple. Complete the task of killing everyone at the party, without being caught. There are various ways to help prevent your capture: 1. Never be seen mid-murder/near bodies, at least enough to raise suspicion. 2. Pin the blame on someone else when the cops arrive (can generally only be done once per level) and 3. Run from the cops: dodging out of windows, taking shortcuts and just trying to stay as far from them as possible.

Now, evading capture isn't always easy. If someone spots you killing (or is suspicious enough to think you may be the murderer), they will call the cops. If you can kill them before they call, then that prevents the cops from arriving. However, this could easily lead to someone else spotting you, in your mad-dash to kill the first witness, the second witness and so on and so forth. If the cops arrive, one will chase after you. On the first try, he'll get tired out quickly, and will give up chase fairly fast if you keep your distance. If they arrive because of a body, but you weren't seen (therefore the call was just about the bodies piling up, and not because the murderer was found), you can pin the blame on someone else (which will be signified by a little pair of handcuffs above their head), causing them to be arrested instead. You still have to finish the level, though, so doing this means you pretty much won't be able to do it again this level. There's also disguises, various shortcuts to help you stay away from the cops (however a Mario type character will appear if you do this too much, forever blocking that shortcut), and a variety of hiding spots for you to plank bodies after killing them unnoticed.

It's a fun yet infuriating formula for a game. And one that I enjoyed immensely. The average level can be done in a short amount of time (at least once you've gotten better at the game), so it's a great game to come back to whenever you've got a couple of moments to spare. It also has a variety of different levels to choose from, which are in different locations with different themed parties.

On Steam, which is where I played it, I've racked up a decent amount of game-time on it, considering I don't tend to play games on my laptop too much, as I'm more of a console player. However, it has now been released on Xbox One and PS4, so I'm eager to play on those, too.

Some reviews have pinned the game as being sick, and bemoaning the lack of remorse of the character(s), as the game is solely about killing - no choice like a lot of other games, where players might sway into the killing side of things, such as GTA - but honestly, in my opinion, sure there are bad people in the world. Sure, the media likes to blame games for promoting this kind of violence, but come on. People need to stop undermining gamers. It's a game, pure and simple. If I play Farmville, does that automatically mean I'm gonna go start up my own farm? Or Arkham Knight... and go be a masked vigilante, à la Batman?

No, it doesn't.

Same way as films don't do this, either. Anyway, that's a rant for another day!

Have you played Party Hard? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Asylum Reviews: Pewdiepie: Legends of the Brofist [Android] [Steam].

So here it is, finally: my Pewdiepie: Legends of the Brofist Review! This review covers both Steam and Android :)

So, who is Pewdiepie, I hear you ask? Wait, shut up. No, I don't. You know who Pewdiepie is, don't you? Who doesn't know who Pewdiepie is, at least in some sense, nowadays?

Anyway, Pewdiepie: Legend of the Brofist is Pewds' first game, developed by indie studio Outerminds, It's actually a great little game, especially for those who are a fan of the mega-star YouTuber and his friends.

The game follows Pewds as he travels through the world defeating the Barrel Army that have taken over, to save his fans. As the game progresses, you find and unlock other playable characters, including Cutiepie Marzia, Markiplier, Jacksepticeye, CinnamonToastKen and Cryaotic. The YouTubers all provide their own voice-work to the game, instead of it being a dialogue-free game, which is a nice touch.

It's a really fun platformer, with various collectible items to be found throughout the game, such as hidden in piles of clothing, snow, etc. And after the purchase cost of the game, that's it. There's nothing to buy in order to progress through the game or add new characters, which makes a welcome change to the typical Android/iOS formula (which is pretty much always "freemium games").

From the developers whose last game was the hugely addictive Tadpole Tap, this is another game hugely enjoyable and a fun way to pass the time.

And for just £3.99 on mobile devices, and £5.59 on Steam, it's a nice, cheap option if you're looking for a new game to try out :)

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

- V x

Friday, 6 May 2016

Thoughts on Thursday [Late Edition] - VGA Grading/Sealed Collecting.

So this is a subject I've wanted to do for a while now, but other stuff usually distracts me from it, haha. As you all know, I'm not a sealed collector. Far from it. I understand the mentality behind a lot of sealed collecting: the want/need to keep items in pristine condition, in order to retain the value, and in most cases, cause the value to increase. I get that, I do.

But for people like us, who have been in and out of work, as well as juggling collecting with the vastly more important family side of things, sealed collecting just isn't something we want to do, regardless of if we could afford it or not.

Sure, we preorder things, so when they come, they're sealed. But we open them, and we can't afford to buy two copies, so we have one to open and play, nor do we want to buy a CE to keep sealed and a standard copy to play. We want to see and use the items inside the CEs we buy. And for the whole second-hand buying aspect of collecting, well, if we went for sealed only for all of the things we've ever bought, I can guarantee it would've cost us a hell of a lot more moolah to amass the collection we have now.

And not to offend sealed collectors, but it's so boring! There have been a few things I've bought sealed off of other collectors in the past, who have then been mildly horrified to discover I've then opened it. But if you're gonna spend the money on these things, then I say enjoy them. 

Enjoy the shit out of them.

VGA Grading (and other grading authorities) are something I don't quite understand either. I do like the acrylic cases to put stuff in, but you can buy those separately. And to send something off to these places to grade, to get back a score like 85? I mean, I know that 85 is a good score. But anything less than 90 just seems pointless in sending, yet most things I see somehow have a 85 rating. Plus, sometimes these collectors will send something, thinking it's in great condition, only to have not noticed something about it, and get it back with a score that will actually hurt its resale value.

At the end of the day, I collect because I enjoy looking through everything in our collection. I like seeing all the cool things, and I don't have the money or the space to have to double-buy everything, just for the sake of keeping a copy sealed.

It seems that a lot of those who get their games professionally graded, do so purely to potentially increase the value, and list for sale of eBay (or elsewhere) pretty quickly after grading. As a result of VGA Grading, a lot of games prices have been blown to extreme proportions. I don't think I'll ever buy a VGA Graded game, as it would kill me to not be able to open it, and I think I'd eventually just smash the damn thing open, hoping I don't wreck whatever is inside.

One benefit I can see to VGA Graded games on the aftermarket is that, you will undoubtedly get what you pay for. There's been a number of occasions where a particular edition has been on eBay or wherever, and I've bought it, and upon arrival, it has not been in the stated condition, or even looking to be the same copy shown in images, with dents, chips, broken parts, etc. This happened, most notably, with a copy of the 300 Collector's Edition waaaay back. I bought it, and when it arrived, the Spartan helmet statue was broken, the outer box was completely bashed in and the plastic window was pushed in. But the shipping box was perfect. Seller tried to say that it must've happened in transit, and when I posted the photos as proof that the shipping box was perfect, I was then accused of doing it myself. I couldn't quite understand that, as what would that gain me, other than my money back and a completely ruined edition, but hey. It didn't matter anyway, as I got my refund, and binned the damaged edition. Still have yet to rebuy it, as that situation just made me not bother anymore, haha.

I expect that this subject will be one which receives a fair bit of backlash, as I know a lot of sealed collectors out there, but most already know my viewpoint (same goes for the people who flip editions, in regards to my Scalping post a few weeks ago), but I'm genuinely not trying to offend those who do it for good reasons, just explaining my views :)

So what are your thoughts?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Entries to the Asylum - Wednesday 4th May 2016.

Forgot to post this yesterday, but here are our new additions to the collection:

- The Legend of Zelda - Nendoroid Link: Majora's Mask 3D Version.
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - Nendoroid Venom Snake: Sneaking Suit Version.
- Arcade Block: April 2016.

Absolutely loving this Arcade Block, it's the best one we've had in a while. Inside it is:

- Fallout 4 GITD T-Shirt.
- The Legend of Zelda Multi-tool.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Mousepad.
- Assassin's Creed Blind Bag Figure [we got Adéwalé].
- Borderlands Funko Pop [we got Claptrap, woo!]

All really good things in this month's box, and definitely well worth the money.

Have you received anything new lately?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Dark Souls III is HARD.

I know, the above title needn't even be written. You all know it already. 
But fuuuuck me.

I got the game a little bit early, in order to review it. I've been playing it every day, and I'm still barely into it. As some of you may know, I love games, but I'm not the greatest at them. I do have my strong suits, but Dark Souls is not one of them, as much as I really love the style. I am a panicker. I start shrieking at the screen at the tiniest of things, and don't really think my plan of attack through, thoroughly enough.

Take Iudex Gundyr for example. The dude is basically your tutorial boss.
Took me 6+ hours (over a period of a few very infuriating days) to beat him. THE TUTORIAL BOSS. Since reaching Firelink Shrine (which is directly afterwards), I've been progressively getting a bit better, grinding a little to get souls to level myself up. Defeated Vordt of the Boreal Valley in a couple of very frustrating hours, did the Curse-Rotted Greatwood on my third or fourth try. 

Currently on the Abyss Watchers, and holy fuck I don't think I can do it.
First few attempts, I was like "I'm getting nowhere", like, getting killed within seconds, kinda thing. Then I lasted a bit longer to discover that a third one appears, who will semi-help you. Changed my strategy a little and voila, defeated the Abyss Wat- WAIT. Why are you coming back to life? And why are you ON FIRE!?


I'm probably on Day Four now of my quest to defeat the Abyss Watchers. Still nowhere near ready. Just can't seem to devise a plan to defeat the one that comes back to life all fiery and shit. HE IS THE BANE OF MY LIFE. At least when it comes to Dark Souls.

It's a cruel, punishing, infuriating, stressful, hair-tearing-out monstrosity of a game. But it's addictive as hell. The sense of achievement and pride you get when you finally defeat a boss that's been brutally kicking the crap out of you for days is part super-satisfying, and part exhausting. You just want to relax after you defeat them, like "I'm out, done for the day", but then it calls you back in, and you're then stuck on another boss for another few days, repeating the cycle all over again. Adding to the sheer addictive-ness is it's beautiful art style, and genius character design. Part of what I love about Dark Souls is all the cool, creepy and some downright terrifying enemy designs.

A full review will come eventually, but I fear that it may end up being waaaay in the future. Like Futurama future. Possibly.

I also plan on doing some Let's Plays/Twitch Streams soon, if that would interest you all. It may be a little frustrating to watch me stuck in the same bit for 72 hours, but hey, at least you can laugh at me, right?

How are you finding Dark Souls III?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Asylum Reviews: Volume [PS4].

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

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