Uncharted 4 Review

Uncharted 4 Review

I recently finished my play through of Uncharted 4, my first in the series. Its a tremendous game, so here are my thoughts.

I originally was going to start with the Nathan Drake collection as it has been free to play on Playstation but thought I’d first look at 4. Mostly because its the most recent so everything would be at its best technically.

Before going into this game I already knew a few things such as its an action adventure game. Its similar to Lara Croft in that you treasure hunt, has a good story and its linear.

I chose to play on hard as recently I’ve been doing that for all of my games. I’m not the best at games, especially shooters. I fair better at more fantasy RPG like Assassins Creed or Diablo but want to get better and have a challenge.

My first impressions were very positive.

I have to say my first impressions were positive. It puts you right in the middle of a story in a boat getting away from some enemies before bringing you back to a more sombre home life of the main character Nathan Drake.

The story goes through several chapters to really get going and set you off on your adventure.

That adventure is to find the pirate treasure of Henry Avery to help pay off a debt.

It hunting this treasure that this game really starts to really show off why it’s so highly regarded.

This game is hands down one of the best visually and it came out like 4 YEARS AGO.

I was constantly just taking time to look at the beautiful scenery Naughty Dog had created here. Mix that with the great character models and attention to detail it was one of the best all round packages.

Naturally on your adventure you have to run into a few bad guys. I enjoyed the combat, for the most part but I would have had a better time playing on normal difficulty. It felt like I had to be John Wick just to prevent myself from getting overwhelmed.

The enemies are aggressive and towards the end of the game take several headshots to take down. So if you’re not quick, you’re surrounded. Mix that with the low health pool Nathan has and its game over. Often.

In addition to this there’s the stealth. I fucking hate the stealth in this game. I am no stranger to the stealth aspect of games but this one wound me up. There would be occasions where the person that ‘sighted’ me would have their back to me or no line of sight (like a fucking cliff between us dude!).

While I’m ranting about the unlikely, lets talk about the grenades. They just appear next to you. There was an occasion early in the game where the only person left alive was shooting me, but I had a grenade land on my toes. I get it, you want me to change position but make it realistic.

Just look at it.

Anyway, back to the good. Which is everything else. I loved the story, its well paced and it’s tense and keeps you hooked. The characters are interesting and you love hearing their little bits of small talk about their lives. The puzzles, they’re not the most challenging but give you something to think about. The mix of things to do such as driving, platforming, combat, sailing and more keep this game feeling fresh. And lore collecting makes you explore more, this game really is a true great.

If this game is on your ‘to do list’ put it to the top. Its not too long to play ~20 hours and is so worth it. I haven’t played through the multiplayer or anything else so there’s more if you want to return.

All in all this is definitely a treasure worth finding / 10.

p.s bonus points for that protagonist being called Nathan. Every time they complained about Nathan, it felt personal as we share the name.

I do just want to take a moment to say, if they’re making a film for this series and it is Tom Holland. I hope they get it right. We’ve had some casualties in that department and this series won’t deserve that treatment.

The core material is good enough to make something worth watching, Lara Croft wasn’t bad but this can be better. Sounds unlikely with the trouble going on with it production.

Why Films, Games and TV are Good for Mental Health.

Why Films, Games and TV are Good for Mental Health.

In this post I will explore what mental health means to me, and why I think that films, games, TV and more are good for it. I also have some recommendations for feel good watches.

Its Mental Health Awareness Week and that’s why I think it’s a good time to write a post like this.

It’s important to look after yourself and that takes on so many various forms and isn’t the same for everybody.

If you ever need to reach out, please do. Even if its here on this blog.

Mental Health and Me.

My own mental health is not something I have always reflected on. Those that know me unfortunately know I’m extremely rational. Things make sense in black and white. I always thought if I’m sad, don’t be. What a fucking idiot.

My second year of uni should have taught me this wasn’t the case and looking back, I am certain I was suffering with depression. I was a mess, all over the place, I’m surprised some of my friends stuck around. I will be forever in their debt. I also apologise to those I lived with, they didn’t deserve my erratic, crazy behaviour because I didn’t deal with my mental health well.

I finished this year in particular getting extremely ill on an attempt at a working holiday. When I came back, it was only uphill. I met my fiancé shortly after and couldn’t be more grateful. She is the love of my life. She’ll read this and well yeah.

I also struggle to burden people with my thoughts. I have that trait of ‘no one wants to hear’ so I don’t tell anyone. My biggest challenge these days is thinking that the people I like talking to don’t want to, so I wont. Sometimes this gets a bit much but I know how I can help myself.

I am coming to terms with what mental health means to me.

It’s taken a long time.

I however have spent a lot of time reflecting, thanks to a certain little virus. I am coming to terms with what mental health is to me and how I live with it.

To me mental health isn’t about being in a mood (she always asks if I’m grumpy just to make sure), its about being uncharacteristic. I know that something isn’t quite right when something isn’t happening like it should. Do I take ages to get to sleep? Is my sleep disturbed? Am I eating regularly? Do I want to play games? Watch a film? Go out? Can I concentrate?

If the answer is no, then I should look after myself. As I said, I’m quite rationale so one thing has to mean another. I struggle in the grey areas that mental health brings out. These grey areas blur all these things together and you can’t figure anything out, so you just don’t.

All of a sudden you’re just sat in bed all day, spilling tea and can’t be bothered to do anything about it and just reach for another biscuit.

This goes from a few hours into a daily pattern for weeks. Everyone knows you’re fine because you said are.

Its important to understand if you’re not. I did this for a year and punished myself for it. I ruined my degree and probably spoiled one of those life events you’d get an achievement for on The Sims.

I did however find that I coped with what was going on around me by renting movies from Blockbuster. Its not even that long ago I just loved the walk and back. Playing games (mostly on my own) and watching TV shows recommended through Tumblr.

These all helped me get through a difficult time. They didn’t mend me, or necessarily make everything okay but they did take my wandering mind away from the grey.

So why Films, Games and TV?

At the top I said these were good for Mental Health. I think this because they are, extremely. Most people will admit that by now they’ve binge watched a show. That could be Game of Thrones, Top Gear, Love Island or a documentary about monkeys.

Everyone that has will have said they were engrossed, couldn’t get more and stopped thinking about anything else for that short period.

Some professors will tell you that media is a form of escapism (bet its Stuart Hall, it was ALWAYS Stuart Hall). They’re right. The stories we get involved with aren’t our own, so we prefer them when things get difficult.

Mental health doesn’t have a reason sometimes, it just goes a bit down.

Without them we would spend more time in the grey areas of our own head. The same applies for films albeit for a shorter period of time. But this could also mean a trip to the cinema, potentially with friends. This time is so invaluable and could have been the springboard you didn’t realise you needed.

Video games allow for more engagement but serve in the same purpose. They let you live out another life completely. You could be a treasure hunter, demon slayer, soldier or race driver. I love playing a good game more than anything. If I enjoy a game, sometimes that lifts me generally and it goes back to being black and white.

Mental Health doesn’t have a reason sometimes and it just goes a bit down, but for the same reason, watching Finding Nemo could be the medicine and you come out of it feeling okay. Below are some of the recommendations I have if you’re looking for a feel good experience.

Feel Good Recommendations

Black Mirror – San Junipero

First up is Black Mirror’s San Junipero episode. Black Mirror isn’t known for being feel good or happy. Charlie Brooker’s creation is a commentary on how we interact is technology and the dystopia this creates.

Most of the time it is dark, thought provoking and pretty grim. San Junipero is not the same however. Arguably Black Mirrors greatest episode this follows the journey of a woman called Yorkie (played by Mackenzie Davis) looking out for someone that made them feel something for one night.

Through Yorkie’s explorations through various time periods and settings we realise that San Junipero is a alternate reality designed for those that are towards the end of their life. It allows them to live young and free again.

This episode is so heart warming when it ends you wont help but have a smile.

Bring It On

This is for one of my best friends.

Recently I sat down with some of my friends to discuss what feel good looks like to different people. One of them mentioned the film Bring It On. To them feel good was more about what they remember bringing them joy and holding onto that.

Bring It On is nothing special as a film. It is a sort of coming of age/ underdog movie about a cheerleading team. Kirsten Dunst leads this pic trying to make her team champions and prove to everyone she can do it. Meanwhile there’s teen love stories, great tunes and humour.

Films don’t have to be The Godfather to be good though. This film brings more joy to someone that some of the greats ever would and that to me is great.

Die Hard

John McClane is some peoples Santa

From that conversation came Die Hard. One of my best friends will turn to some great action to feel better. Why not hey? Just seeing some great fight sequences, or chases or edge of the seat moments can help us feel more alive and give us a thrill.

Die Hard is a Christmas movie like no other. Its one mans mission to save his wife and other from a Christmas party gone wrong. One of the most iconic films to date.

There’s plenty more as well Brooklyn 99 (Netflix), Finding Nemo (Disney+) and Stardew Valley (PS4, Xbox and PC) are all brilliant, feel good forms of escapism. I know my fiancé would turn to something like Star Wars, Enchanted or Stardust for a good ol’ movie day.

All in all, without my love for Media (and music massively), I’m not sure how that year at uni would have gone, probably worse. Also now, whenever I’m feeling a bit out of character I turn to something like these above and think ‘I can’t wait for that’ and always feel a little better afterwards.

Find what works for you, share yours and we can all help each other when things get a bit more grey.

The Snyder Cut – Why I Don’t Think it’s a Good Thing.

The Snyder Cut – Why I Don’t Think it’s a Good Thing.

Warner Bro’s announced this week that the much campaigned for ‘Snyder Cut’ of Justice League will be shown on HBO next year.

Snyder seems to be teasing a ‘darker’ look to Justice League

While I am looking forward to seeing what the ‘re-imagining’ would bring, simply because of my love for superhero films, I do not think that this is overall a good thing.

It Gives to Much to Fan Power

Fan power is a dangerous game. For the most part the film industry generally doesn’t care for fans thoughts pre or post production. You’ve never seen a twitter poll from the casting team have you? If they did care, this very studio would have avoided using Amber Heard in Aquaman. We team Jack Sparrow here.

Giving into fans in this way hands them the creative opinion few feel they should have and that could have a domino effect. I imagine its too late for Star Wars but could we not see a J J Abrams number 8? or 10? After all that’s what the series deserves.

Its quite dramatic but this campaign will be repeated, particularly against Warner Bros.

Its only a matter of time

“But Nathan (that’s my actual name FYI) the fans do dictate the film industry by not watching films, reviews etc“. That’s a fine point and that’s how it should remain. Batman v Superman was bad enough, Suicide Squad didn’t help (I’m being kind) but Wonder Woman was cause for Celebration. Maybe Patty Jenkins should have had a say. In the end, we should have not gone to the cinema and protested with our wallets as there wasn’t any evidence to suggest they deserved our money.

This pressure from fans could increase if a release isn’t up to the fans standards. Studios are used to a bad review or a loss, but media campaigns are arguably worse.

My point here is that unlike taking feedback on board (again very rare a production company would) caving into fan pressure is a scary journey that could lead anywhere.


Who Actually Gains From This?

The fans? Sure lets stream it on an American service that requires a subscription. What about those outside of the US (not sure how I’m watching it just yet)?

Also there is a cost. Likely a large portion of their target audience have bought cinema tickets, blue rays and then a subscription the eventually watch something that they hope will be at their standard.

Furthermore, a small portion of this audience paid for the campaign to release this cut.

Zac? Well he’s going to be known for not having enough pull to give him the time needed to create a film and potentially needs a couple of attempts.

The crew? They likely are sick of this, the initial release was badly received and that will impact any creative person. Moreover, some will now have to work on it again, what if its badly received again? Kick a person while they’re down don’t we.

The cast? Maybe it’ll only enhance their profile with the PR that will come from this. Surely we won’t want more Batfleck? We have Pattison now, unless, another campaign?

Warner Bros are the only ones that might gain from this, financially of course but still its been a massive cost so far.

It Could Just be a Bad Film.

Have we considered this? This one is Marvels fault. Firstly they stormed ahead in the superhero race, that up till the cinematic universes, DC were well ahead in.

Wrong film, wrong time.

Have we considered this?

Next Marvels worst in the MCU is Iron Man 2 and that is still watchable. Age of Ultron is their least favourite collection film which is still way better than Justice league (love me some Ultron, maybe I’m bias? Nah surely not). Anyway I digress, Warner tried to catch up quick and it didn’t work. They were last in the race and tripped over their shoe lace.

Maybe, however, this film as a result of trying to catch up, is, just bad. They haven’t taken time to establish the characters in this universe.

I love The Flash but he’s a passenger in this film. Cyborg seem to be complex as a character and would make for an awesome story on its own. Aquaman is a laughing stock, no thanks to appearances in Big Bang Theory and Spongebob Squarepants.

The plot relies on Superman being a one man army, everyone else is useless in comparison and the tone is all over the place. This could be wrong film, wrong time.

Snyder is relying on his favourite slow motion action sequences and fan favourite characters to carry this film. Unless he’s writing a different version of the film, surely not?

Image subject to copyright.

To Conclude…

I think the Snyder cut is damaging for the film industry and Warner and DC’s relationship, could lead to more of the same and more studios taking less risks.

No one will want to take on a big franchise for fear of getting it wrong and receiving the same back lash and that would be a huge shame. Film is art and art isn’t never repeated. Lets keep it that way.

What are your thoughts? There’s a whole counter argument to this that I’m happy to hear.


Killing Eve Season 3… We’re Getting There.

Killing Eve season 3 started of with a bang and a mystery but hasn’t been able to match those heights (similar to the ones Kenny stood from) or those of the previous seasons.

Season 1 was all about establishing these characters and season 2 was full of Villanelle and Eve’s unusual infatuation that began to blossom.

Season 3 doesn’t quite know where it is. We know who the characters are and no one new is really worth talking about. Eve and Villanelle know their own status quo but have cold feet to explore it further. The murder mystery just has not been that much of a focal point.

Carolyn seems to be the driving force this season what with everything seemingly being linked to her. Fiona Shaw does a brilliant job playing her.

Todays episode really pushed everything forward after last weeks charming reuniting with Villanelle’s family. We got some bits of information that really came from the left field, delivered in a very British drive down the country roads. Eve seems to be making steps and has grown a pair of cahones in Barcelona. Also never taking her on a first date to bowling.

Villanelle seems to be realising what she has probably wanted all along. Out. Thing is, what is out for her, she has no one? Maybe she has Konstantin but he’s more concerned with his actual daughter.

All in all I think we’re finally getting there with this season. Its taken a while but these last couple of episodes have felt closer to the show I know and love.

Let me know what you think so far!

Waiting to be killed/ 10

After Life Review

After Life Review

The Ricky Gervais Netflix original has just aired its second season, so what’s the deal with this emotional telling of grief?

You could be forgiven for hearing that the British comedian and part time actor, known for his sarcastic commentary on this world, has written and directed a new series and you’d rather miss it, thank you very much.

Seasons 1 and 2 now showing on Netflix

But here’s why maybe, just maybe you should take a (small 12 x 30 minute episodes in total) amount of time to give it a chance.

After Life is a simple concept, how do we cope with grief? It centres around an early 50’s character named Tony that recently lost his wife to Breast Cancer. In a P.S I Love You style she left him a video telling him not to be the, how do I say this, grumpy old man (she uses a not so nice ‘C’ word i’d rather not include), that he inevitably will become.

“It will make you laugh and cry in equal measure”

If you’ve lost anyone or know anyone who’s been through cancer, grab some tissues.

Does he listen? Does he fuck. She asks him to do one thing. Since Lisa departed Tony has taken the opportunity to say whatever he would like because being nice doesn’t get you anywhere. Throughout Tony talks about the want to kill himself and would have, if it weren’t for his dog. He refers to this like a superpower because if he ever went to far, he’d commit suicide and that would be that.

Once we get past the establishment that Tony is played by Ricky Gervais the show begins to let us into his life. We see his job, the regular people he meets and what he’s been not getting up to. The cast are charming and full of people you mostly recognise for one reason or another.

Tony and Anne – Something in common

Its an honest as possible take that suits Ricky down to a tee. His comedy works because he explains why ‘its like a superpower‘. You excuse his behaviour, when once you may have found it not so funny or original.

The humour is consistent but not overbearing and its balanced by the emotions Ricky displays when he explains why everything is so painful. The lowest parts come when he is watching his old videos of Lisa, dealing with drugs or alcohol and seeing his Father in a care home. You’re sad for someone that used to be so happy.

“A charming slice of village life”

Tony impacts all the characters he meets and takes several steps of development in grief in season 1.In season 2 he realises its too far and dials back to his comfort zone but is less of a dick to everyone around him.

I wouldn’t expect too much of the other characters or development. They’re likable and we get to know them slightly but not attached. This can be frustrating as throughout season 2 Tony does get ever so slightly tiresome (we get it you’re Ricky Gervais and Tony is sad).

Just as you start to feel this way you’re reminded of why Tony is like this or the show shares another video and charms you in a sad kind of way.

Overall After Life does a very good job of letting you into one mans journey through grief and trying to move on. its a charming slice of a little village life and what loss can do to you and those around you.

It will make you cry and laugh in equal measure.

Definitely going to TV heaven out of 10.

p.s If you’re struggling with anything please, please reach out. We should all take care of ourselves and each other at all stages of our life. Some people do some great work for example Samaritans or Mind.

Why my Fiancé Loves Animal Crossing.

Why my Fiancé Loves Animal Crossing.

What is it about this game that has everyone hooked? A 3rd party perspective.

On March 20 my fiancé was eager to get started with Animal Crossing. In fact soooo many people were but why? I had only heard of it because of this release as if the previous version on the Wii was some stellar experience that needed an update.

But, I did what any fiancé would do and facilitated the purchase of both a Switch Lite and the game. Little did I know the world I just bought a ticket to.

Image courtesy of Nintendo

She’s never really played games that much. We would play Skyrim side by side at the start of our relationship and Destiny online together. She played Assassins Creed: Origins because of her love for Egypt but nothing since.

My expectations were pretty low, I thought a few days, maybe a week and she would be over it. How wrong was I, 220 hours later?

No longer was I the main male in her life. Tom fucking Nook had taken over like some weird sugar daddy. Was I complaining? Actually, no (despite the profanity earlier). I could get on with almost anything.

Animal Crossing has tasked her with finding mostly lovable pet like ‘villagers’ homes on the best island possible. Mr Nook finances it and you repay interest free.

To decorate your island you need to find items and crafting ‘recipes’. These are mostly random because ‘how do they have so many things?!’ There is a shop so a lot can be bought.

‘Not what my island looks like now’ – Fiancé 12/05/20

You make money by collecting just about anything and selling it back to the island. Some things are worth more and the quickest way to get rich is to sell Turnips.

BUT you don’t just sell turnips. Oh no no no. Any ol’ amateur can sell a turnip, but on your island you are the Wolf of Animal Crossing and will conquer the turnip stock exchange. You will bathe in turnip funded riches.

For some however your island is not good enough to be rich so you must explore. Your friends may have good stocks (turnips), maybe a social media follower or even a stranger from the internet. Animal Crossing lets you explore other peoples islands, which is pretty cool.

Going to another Island instantly makes you a exterior and interior designer with years of experience, casting your opinion on others hard gamer hours. Its like going to use someone’s homework and commenting on their handwriting. Everyone’s island is different so you could do this all day. ‘Oooh I like that’, ‘I haven’t got that item’ and ‘there’s too many flowers’ are some of the things you’ll here.

If being a crafty stock market dealer isn’t your thing, maybe you could try tarantulas? fish? fruit? There are so many ways. Tarantulas maybe the most rage inducing as you try to master the run, swivel & catch technique (or set up a trap). However just like any other game, various profanities are shouted if that spider nabs you on the knee.

Size does matter.

She’s at the point where villager choice is a thing, It seems that villagers pose you with a choice should they stay or should they go. The right answer depends on your affection for a villager. Nothing would make you happier seeing a villager wear a gift of clothing (this must be a rare chance they appreciate the free rent, food, clothes and friends) but some can rightfully fuck off because I want space for Raymond.

Villagers are like some weird and quite literal Farm Market with a whole host to select from and purchase in the form of Amiibo’s (or from other peoples islands). This absolutely impacts your island life as no one wants to talk to Isabelle everyday.

However all of this cannot be achieved in mere normal people time so what you gonna do? Become a god damn Doctor Who that’s what. Time travel is real and its a moral choice. Some do, some don’t, but who wants to wait till tomorrow, right? Some things like buying clothes, art or special vendors are on a daily refresh by Nintendo so you’re only half a Time Lord really.

All in all, I have so much respect for this game and its simple concept. I’ll never play but I’m glad she does. Her ups, downs and investment are what a good video game is all about. Cheers Tom.