Zelda: Breath of the Wild


It’s over a year now since Nintendo’s hugely successful Zelda: Breath of the Wild was released to much critical and commercial success.  The game which launched the Switch and was the swan song of the Wii U has generally been regarded as one of the best of all time. It looks great, plays fantastically well and there is so much to see; it’s near perfect……  and I don’t like it!  Here’s why….

I started to play this game on my shiny new Switch and so of course, I was very excited.  The first thing I noticed was just how good the game looked. OK, so it’s a little bit ‘cartoony’ but at the same time the world of Hyrule does feel real and the bright vibrant colours seem to enhance the strange land you find yourself in.

We begin with Link being woken up by a mysterious female voice, finding the Sheikah Slate, some clothes and leaving the Shrine of Resurrection.  A little cinematic sequence showing us Hyrule begins and ends and I remember thinking, ‘Wow! This looks darn good!’.

And then I started to explore this huge world.  Fortunately the first part of the map has relatively easy enemies and simple to find Shrines, in fact the game kinda holds your hand through it.  ‘What a nice gentle introduction to the game’, I thought and indeed it is.

I get the Magnesis Rune, use it, exclaim ‘Wow! That looks good!’ and of I go exploring and killing a lot of Bokogoblins.

I go at a slow pace, exploring every nook and cranny, plodding along with the story until I hit the 5 hour mark and then something occurred to me…..

I’d solved Shrine puzzles, found Runes, killed Bokogoblins / Cursed Bokogoblins, had a good look around, picked up weapons, broke them and picked up some more, but, I noticed, the amount of hearts and stamina I have, is exactly the same as when I started.

Now at this point I have a confession to make, I have never played a Zelda game up until then.  They just did not appeal to me.  Hell I thought Link was actually Zelda, that’s how naive I am about the Zelda games.  The one thing I thought I knew was that Zelda is an RPG game.

Of course I now know this is wrong, massively wrong.

I was playing Zelda at the same time as I was playing Fallout 4 and so I had it in my head that hours of exploration, killing monsters and collecting things would result in health increases, exp points and my stamina increasing.  They do not in Zelda, never have done, never will do.

And so it occurred to me that after 5 hours, apart from moving the story along ever so slightly, I had actually achieved very little.  Link was still this unfit dude who gets killed with a couple of thwacks from Bokogoblins arm.  WTF!?!?

Of course I now know that you collect Spirit Orbs from solving the puzzles in the Shrines and you then exchange them for more hearts or stamina.  This one realisation massively turned me off the game, I mean, what is the point of killing monsters then?  Why go exploring?  What is the payoff?

You can literally walk around exploring and killing for days on end and you would not have levelled Link up one little bit.  Not a sausage.

This led me onto the realisation which would actually take all of the joy out of the game for me, Zelda is actually not a big game, it really isn’t.  It’s 120 Shrines, 4 bosses and 1 big boss.  That is it!

Concentrate on these elements and you can whizz through the game in no time, or that’s my theory anyway, because sadly once I realised exploration achieved little and monster battles produced nothing more than some extra breakable weapons, I gave up.

Now it’s probably not the game’s fault.  I had an assumption and it was wrong.  Zelda is not RPG, you have never levelled up in Zelda games and it’s always been about puzzle solving and boss battles.  But I thought it was and so my level of disappointment was high.

I will go back though and I will complete it, I just need to get over the fact it’s a different game to what I thought it was.  Oh and I do need some time to get over the menu system, OMG it is so clunky and cumbersome.  There is nothing worse than in the middle of a battle, the sword breaking after 2 hits and desperately mashing buttons to try to bring the menu up so that you can select another weapon!  The in-game shortcut seems hit and miss and many a battle has ended with me, weaponless and on my arse!

Sorry, but the menu system really makes me want to launch my joypad.  However, as the joypad in question is a £280 Switch, I decided that was not wise and so had a beer instead!

So there you have it, I am in the minority.  I recognise that this is a great game and richly deserves the praise it gets.  I understand that, I really do.

But as it stands, unfortunately, Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the perfect game I don’t like.





PlayStation VR


For my birthday I was lucky enough to receive a Playstation VR. Now that I’ve had enough time to give it a proper run out, I thought I’d give a quick review of Sony’s offering into the growing market of VR Technology.

So is it Virtual Joy or Virtual Boy?

This blog is not going to go into the Technical Specs, there are many bigger and better blogs out there that go into that level of detail if you’re interested. As far as I was concerned, it worked via some kind of magic that would have got you burned at the stake in medieval times. This belief was shattered when I unpacked mile upon mile of cable.

Unfortunately it’s not magic, but cables, a camera and a small box of tricks which looks like your PS4 and XBox One have been ‘interfacing’ behind your back and produced an offspring.

Once connected to the PS4, you can kiss goodbye to that tidy entertainment hub you painstakingly set up as clutter clogs up the front of your system. That being said, once it is set up, it’s incredibly easy to use. Turn on the PS4, insert game, whack on the headset, put in the ear buds and you’re good to go!

The headset itself is comfortable and not at all heavy or unevenly weighted. It’s fits nicely over a pair of glasses so even speccy idiots like me can wear it! The earbuds provided give a good clear sound and deep bass and are actually high quality considering they’re just bundled in with the headset.


The first game I tried was The Inpatient, a game where you find yourself in a mental asylum with no clue as to who you are or what you are doing there. You start off with a doctor interviewing you, (more like interrogating as you are strapped into a chair) and getting close up to your face. This was my first ever experience of VR and oh…. my…. word, it is awesome!

It’s so hard to explain the experience, but instantly I felt totally immersed. I was in the darkened room, the doctor was right in my face and I swear I could smell the tuna sandwich he had for lunch on his breath. It was stunning.

I did the obligatory look around 360 degrees, (nearly dislocating my spine) and the fact the room is around you is such a weird experience. Then I looked down and saw a differnt body to the one I was used to and my mind was blown!

It felt like reality! Virtually!

After the interview, the game gets going properly and essentially you are exploring a mental asylum and every few minutes something leaps out at you to scare you. Now if this was a normal horror game, I would laugh it off, maybe wince slightly, but with a VR helmet and earbuds in, it felt as if someone really was leaping out at me and screaming in my face! I am not ashamed to admit, I nearly had several trouser accidents throughout my first hour of playthrough!

The next game was Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, in which you ride a rollercoaster and shoot at absolutely everything! The sensation of riding the roller coaster is good, but OMG when clowns leap out of nowhere scrambling to get into your cart, it is scary, really scary!


Then I popped in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Now I’ve not jumped at an RE game since RE3: Nemesis in which that bloody Nemesis creature would just burst through brick walls relentlessly pursuing you; since that game it’s been a steady decline and away from horror and a move to an action shooter. RE7 was surely going to be a disappointing shoot fest?

I was wrong.

I will probably do a full review of RE7 at some point as I’m still only at the beginning, but wow, what a return to form. I jumped so high and so many times that my ceilling resembles swiss cheese!

I was jumping at silly things, like the maniac girlfried who you know damn well is around the corner waiting with a knife to attack you, but still it’s brown trousers time once she leaps out screeching and trying to perform amateur butchery on you!

The final game I tried was Drive Club: VR and again this is brilliant. The sensation of walking onto a track and looking around you car is hard to describe, but yet another wow moment. The game itself is fun, (I love arcade style racing games and so this ticks the box!) and it’s the little things that impress me, such as the fact you move your head to look at the rear view mirror and then looking into the corner as you approach it. Again, a full review will probably posted at some point, but early thoughts; impressive!

My verdict on the PSVR is that it’s brilliant. If you’re a console gamer rather than PC, such as myself, then this is your only path to VR at the moment and boy, it is fantastic!

Yeah you look a bit silly and I was told the cat was given me a very odd look as I ‘stared’ at it whilst waving 2 sticks with light bulbs on it, but it doesn’t matter as you are in a totally different realm.

It’s still pricey and I was lucky enough to get it as a present, but if you do have some spare cash or a birthday coming up, and you own a PS4, try to get one, you will not be disappointed.

30 Day Video Game Challenge – The Rest of the Days.

So it’s becoming painfully clear that I do not have enough hours in the day to do the 30 Day Video Game Challenge. This is OK, I’m pleased I started the challenge and it has taught me that this blog will be a weekly or twice monthly blog and I certainly won’t be blogging everyday!

But I did want to finish what I’d started and so I thought ‘let’s just whizz through the remaining days and post them as one blog’. At least I then get a sense of acheievement, but at the same time I can stop sweating it and I can go back to my quest and the ultimate reason I actually started this blog, to find a game that does not frustrate me to a point where I launch my joypad across the room!

So here we go with the rest of the 30 Day Games Challenge:

Day 9 – Saddest Game Scene.

Joel’s daughter, Sarah, being killed near the beginning of ‘The Last of Us’.

Day 10 – Best gameplay.

Not really sure what that means, but I’ll say GTA IV, everything feels smooth, nothing’s clunky and there’s a ton of things to make you go back for more.

Day 11 – Gaming system of choice.

Megadrive – the console that elevated a mild interest into an addiction.

Day 12 – A game everyone should play.

It’s not for me to tell anyone what to play, but I would suggest everyone should try Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it’s just an all round well produced game with lots for everyone and for all ages. (BTW, I have a blog coming up about this game, for whilst it is all these things, it’s just not for me. I’ll explain why later….).

Day 13 – A game you’ve played more than five times.

As I never complete games in one sitting, nearly every game I’ve ever started, I end up playing 5 times! I guess this means a game you keep revisiting, so I’ll say GTA IV.

Day 14 – Current (or most recent) gaming wallpaper.

I’ve never changed the wallpaper on any console I’ve ever played, so I’ll say ‘original’.

Day 15 – Post a screenshot of a game you’re playing right now.

As I’m console based and I’ve not worked out how to do such technical wizardry, I’ve pinched one from online:

Day 16 – Game with the best cut scenes.

Final Fantasy VII had great cut scenes and one of the earliest examples of a game using cinema quality cut-scenes from memory. At the time it just looked so epic and you would whizz through the game, hoping to get to the next cut-scene as it looked so good, (bit dated now, but hey, that’s progress!)!

Day 17 – Favourite antagonist.

Neff from Altered Beast. For his catchphrase ‘Welcome to your Doom’ which makes me laugh and smile to this day, happy memories from a great game!

Day 18 – Favourite protagonist.

Lee Everett from The Walking Dead: Season 1. A good man with a chance of redemption and just a thoroughly likeable and relatable individual.

Day 19 – Picture of a game setting you would like to live in:

Day 20 – Favourite genre.

Sandbox games which allow you to leave storylines and explore. GTA series, Fallout, Saint’s Row, that kind of thing.

Day 21 – Game with best story.

The Walking Dead: Season One, I just loved the dynamic between Lee and Clementine and how their 2 stories come together, develops and oh, that ending!

Day 22 – A game sequel that disappoints you.

Dead Rising 4. After the much hyped return of Frank West and the setting of Willamette, it was m’eh! at best!

Day 23 – Game you think had the best graphics or art style.

The Last of Us Remastered. The Last of Us looks simply stunning on the PS3, so when they ‘polished’ it up a bit for PS4, I was sceptical. Boy I was wrong! They made something awesome even more beautiful and to date the best looking game on console in my opinion.

Day 24 – Favourite classic game.

Altered Beast. Not the best classic game, but one with so many memories for me.

Day 25 – A game you plan on playing.

Being a big fan of The Last of Us, I want to try some more Naughty Dog games and so I’ve purchased the Nathan Drake collection and my plan is to start at the beginning with Unchartered: Drake’s Fortune.

Day 26 – Best voice acting.

Generally voice acting is still really weak in games, but Dave Fennoy, who voiced Lee Everett in The Walking Dead: Season 1, did a fantastic job.

Day 27 – Most epic scene ever.

Not a great game, but as you emerge from the crashed plane in Dead Rising 3, the sea of zombies that greets you is amazing. I had never seen so many zombies blocking your way in a game before and it was mind blowing!

Day 28 – Favourite game developer.

Rockstar, have they actually done a bad game yet? Well, yes they probably have, but the GTA series, Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire are awesome, so there!

Day 29 – A game you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving.

Saints Row The Third. This was my first SR game and until this point I just thought of them as a poor GTA clone. I saw it cheap in a 2nd hand store and thought, why not give it a go. I am so pleased I did as it’s brilliant. It’s looks good, it’s funny and it does just enough to not feel like a GTA clone.

Day 30 – Your favourite game of all time.

It has to be GTA IV. The only game I have 100% completion on, a game I’ve lost days, let alone hours, playing and a game I come back to occasionally to mop up any achievements I’ve not yet earned.

So do you agree with my answers? Please feel free to comment, suggest or ask why there’s no mention of Metal Gear Solid below!

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Day 8

Day 8 – Best Soundtrack


“Hey, hey, c’mon on over and have some fun with Crazy Taxi”

“Ya ya ya ya ya”

And then The Offspring’s “All I Want” belts out as you drive around in a colourful and “Keerazy” city and I am in pure gaming heaven.

I love The Offspring, so any game which heavily features their music was always going to be a winner for me. The inclusion of another excellent punk band, Bad Religion, was just the icing on an already rich and very rewarding cake.

The game itself is simple and a lot of fun as you pick up passengers in a time limit and try to earn as much money as possible, (and believe me, you want to better that total again and again!).

I could equally have put Crazy Taxi 2 here instead as it’s purely The Offspring’s soundtrack, but the original just shades it for me.

Honourable mentions would include WipEout 2097 with Prodigy’s Firestarter, which just fitted in so well with the game; pretty much anything in Forza Horizon 2 and the wonderful squelchy synth of Space Harrier 2, which to me has so many happy memories but unfortunately included hearing ‘Arrrrrgggggghhhhh! Get ready!’ a lot, but that’s a story for another blog…..

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Day 7

Day 7 – Favourite Game Couple

This one is a dilly of a pickle for me. The problem is that I have spent the vast majority of my life playing driving games such as Metropolis: Street Racer, Forza Horizon, Burnout etc and as such we rarely know the protagonists name, let alone whether they are in a relationship. So this has kinda stumped me!

So the answer I’ll give is a crappy one, but honest!

My favourite game couple, based on the fact they are the only one I can think off, is Johnny and Aisha from Saints Row.

I like them because they help me to answer this question!

But also because they are clearly in love and whilst Johnny is a bit of a dick, his world falls apart when she is killed. The anger, pain and ultimately revenge Johnny goes through, is love in it’s rawest form and shows that, yes, he’s an asshole, but he’s also capable of feelings.

And they look ok together.

So that’s it, short and sweet. It was either Johnny and Aisha or my driver and the Ferrari F40 I picked up in Forza Horizon, which would have been weird; and wrong on so many levels.

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Day 4

Day 4 – Your guilty pleasure game

I don’t think I’m alone in this one, but my guilty pleasure game is probably the original ‘Angry Birds’.

When you are meeting a friend down the pub and they are running late, you have a choice of what to do to kill the time.

You could sit at your table, staring and smiling at your fellow drinkers, which is OK, until you realise you’ve become that weird one at the bar who keeps staring and smiling at people for no reason.

Or you could take a newspaper to read whilst you wait. The only problem with that is when you pop the paper on the table, despite the fact you could have sworn the table top was bone dry, it actually contained the Atlantic Ocean and now the paper is only good for papier mache work.

Or you could search Google Play / App Store and find a game to while away the time and that is how I found Angry Birds.

Now I’m not a big fan of mobile games, but I find Angry Birds really addictive. I like the simplicity of it, I like the daft noises the birds make and I like the fact that back in the day you paid your 79p and you got a full game, ad-free, (or you could play it for free, put your phone in airplane mode and the ads wouldn’t load!).

Over time, Rovio have managed to spoil it by introducing ‘special powers’ which you can earn occasionaly throughout the game, but to have any real stock you need to pay extra. I don’t know why Rovio went all EA on us, but the fact they keep going back to the original Angry Birds, adding more into it, but accessable only if you’re willing to pay for it, really does make me want to launch my joypad, (or in this case phone!).

But the essence of the game remains in place today and due to things like trying to get 3 stars on each level or beating your previous high-score, there’s always a reason to revisit it and revisit it I often do!

I haven’t bothered with Angry Birds 2 yet, as I really don’t like mobile games freemium ethic where you pay to win, (why can’t we just pay £10 for a full game?), but I suspect in a few months time I will give in and have a new guilty pleasure….

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Day 2

© Rockstar Games

Day 2 – Your favourite character

My wife does not recall seeing much of me in the summer of 2008. She has managed to forgive me and we can joke about it now, but I have to admit I was spending a lot of time with someone else. His name was Niko Bellic and he is my favourite video game character of all time.

GTA4 blew my mind, it was vast, open, unrestricted, funny and sheer brilliance. There was so much to explore, so much to do and I threw 100+ hours into it. It is the only game to date in which I have 100% completion, (my proudest gaming achievement), and I couldn’t have done it without the instantly likeable, Niko Bellic.

I like Niko because he’s just an honest guy, trying to make ends meet after rocking up to Liberty City with nothing. (He did not realise he’d still have nothing once he got there, but that’s thanks to his cousin Roman, who may have slightly exaggerated how successful he had become!) He doesn’t let this set him back and does whatever it takes to survive.

He’s family focused and spends a lot of the game protecting Roman, despite the fact Roman is more slippery than a Teflon coated eel. In the end, he doesn’t want to do most of things he ends up doing, but has to for family or just to put food on the table.

He also views Liberty City with the same eyes as we do, a crazy place, full of weird characters, doing the stupidest things. And it is for all of these reasons that I find it so easy to relate to him, to like him and to invest my time into finding out what happens to him.

Without any spoilers, at the end of the game you have to make a decision that is really not good for Niko and there is no way to end the game without doing so. It made me want to launch my joypad and to send Rockstar Games a terse email! How could they do this to my Niko?!

We learn in GTAV that he probably does end up living happily ever after and that’s good, I pleased to know he’s done alright.

I may never see him again, but it OK, I’m not sad, after all, we’ll always have the summer of 2008.