Entertainment Fanatics Podcast #1 PlayStation Experience and YouTube Glitches

We talk about the incredible Playstation Experience as well as ongoing YouTube issues and other smaller stories.

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How and Why ‘Pokemon Go’ has changed my life for good

‘Pokemon Go’ has finally hit the UK after we have heard so much hype from mainly the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Was it worth the wait?

If I called myself a Pokemon fan my brother would disagree strongly and that’s completely fair. I have dabbled in the Nintendo Gameboy, DS and Gamecube games but never got very far or completed any of them. I could understand why it was addicting but it just never really grabbed me all that much. However when a mobile phenomenon like ‘Pomemon Go’ comes out I think anyone would be lying if they said they weren’t at the very least intrigued why a mobile game is so popular. Think about it we have had many popular mobile games, ‘Clash Of Clans’ and ‘Candy Crush’ just to name a couple. I will admit I am not well versed in mobile games as I much prefer playing on console or PC so when a mobile game grabs me it has to be exceptional in one way or another.

Now let’s look at ‘Pokemon Go’ purely as a video-game. The interface and functionality are OK but nothing spectacular and to be honest I have had more than a few crashes just in one day. With a standard opening asking you to name yourself and customise your character using some preset settings there’s not a lot of individuality which is a shame. You choose your starter Pomemon, either Squirtle, Charmander or Bulbusaur and on you go to be a Pokemon master. From there on there are a couple more pop up hints as you approach Pokestops and PokeGyms (yes I came up with that right now and it works) but other than that you are left to fend for yourself and I both enjoy and get frustrated by this. 

The first time I saw Pokestops near me I wondered what they were and it was exciting to first approach one and see what would happen. I have no issue with Pokestops and find them user friendly and exciting. I am not level 5 yet so couldn’t comment on how the gyms work but from what I have seen they also look self explanatory except from some combat touch controls that apparently aren’t really explained. What I can tell you with confidence is that when you enter into your Pokedex and items this is where my issue is. You’ll see a list of all the Pokemon you have colected so far and when you tap into one of them terms candy and evolving come up and it is more than a little confusing without some research. Having some experience with the franchise I knew what evolving was but to someone new they would have no clue. Each Pokemon also has their own separate CP (Combat Points) and what you ideally want to do is increase their CP as much as possible before evolving so you evolve into the highest CP possible. None of this is explained and I learned all of this through watching informational ‘Pokemon GO’ videos on YouTube.

I haven’t even talked about the most important feature of ‘Pokemon GO’. In order to collect items from Pokestops and visit PokeGyms you will need to physically travel to these locations. What a fitness program right! There are issues however with this feature too. The GPS is quite buggy and you have no idea where a Pokemon actually is, all they give you is a general idea of distance, no direction and this is quite frustrating. This feature by far though is what is the greatest thing about ‘Pokemon GO’ and the reason I am writing this article.

For you to fully understand why ‘Pokemon GO’ has had such a profoundly positive impact on me and many others I need to take a second to talk about myself (don’t worry I’m not looking forward to it either). I suffer heavily with anxiety and depression as well as many others. I rarely want to leave the house or engage in social events as I am just never mentally inclined to. Long story short huge effort is always needed. So last night I see an outline of a new Pomemon that I wanted to catch and in order to do that I would need to go for a walk outside my house. I know, scary right! I was shocked that at 10:20 pm last night I was walking around and getting some exercise for around 20 minutes. It was a lot easier than if I tried to make myself just go for a walk in general because I had a objective, to catch that Voltorb and Spearow! No other method I have tried has ever been this effective and that ‘Pomemon GO’ has achieved this I think is pretty phenomenal. 

I put myself on the line here because mental health is a hugely personal issue to me and one that is growing every day due to stigma and people afraid to talk about it in fear of being told they are attention seeking or negative. I am terrified writing this so I hope this has brought someone peace that they are not alone and others to help fight for the people that are scared to themselves. 

Video games often get a bad rap and I am overjoyed to finally see them being noticed for the good they do which is a lot, trust me! 

I was inspired to write this after watching this video by Gamespot. It seriously affected me.

How Pokemon GO helped me get up in the morning

I hope you enjoyed this article and learnt something too. Please let us know about your own experience with ‘Pokemon GO’ and whether you agree about video games being good for people and if ‘Pokemon GO’ has helped you. 

Giana Sisters Dream Runners Review: A repetitive platforming experience

I would like to prefix this review by stating I have not played the previous titles in the Giana Sisters series and this is my first.
The Giana Sisters Series started as a 2-D Sidescroller where you controlled one of the sisters (Giana or Maria). There was actually a lot of controversy surrounding the release of The Great Giana Sisters as it felt so similar to Super Mario Bros.

Giana Sisters: Dream Runners (sequel to Twisted Dreams), the multiplayer platformer is developed by Black Forest Games and was published by EuroVideo Medien.

Giana Sisters Dream Runners platforming gameplay is drastically different to previous titles in the series. Whereas in previous entries the emphasis was on being slow and accurate with your platforming Dream Runners takes the series in a much speedier direction. Pun intended. You are expected to play through tracks as fast and efficiently as you can. But is it fun?

When I play a 2-D platformer I expect punchy, exciting and satisfying gameplay. I unfortunately with Giana Sisters: Dream Runners just felt like I was going through the motions and after a few races felt like I had played the whole game. 

The four gameplay options available to you at the main menu are ranked, local, quick match and custom match. You will spend most of your time in Ranked and Local when learning the gameplay mechanics. Local you can play with up to 3 bots ,local players or even fill up the party with online players that can join. Ranked throws you online where you are ranked on how well you do in races and will rise or fall according to your performance. I definitely felt the game lacked content at 9 tracks.

Races work by players looping around the same track and if you fall behind you are automatically excluded from that part of the race until a player wins. The player who manages to still be standing after everyone has fallen behind wins a star. Once a player is awarded three stars they win the race. You have an assortment of power ups to use against your rivals to win the race from boosts to minion-like creatures that will attack your rivals. My biggest issue with races was because the tracks just loop round, even one race starts to feel repetitive. On top of that if you haven’t unlocked any characters (there are four) you get one base character with a different colour for each player. Ultimately though this isn’t good enough to determine where your character is and found myself multiple times not able to find mine. As tracks can get very busy in certain parts you really have no clue where your character is. 

One thing I did enjoy was the art style of the game. Dream Runners took inspiration from other 2-D platformers like Sonic and Rayman and it was an exciting blend of the two. 

That being said the pivotal part of 2-D platformers is that the gameplay must be fun and interesting so the art style doesn’t save it I am afraid. After played the game for 30 minutes I honestly didn’t want to play anymore. I felt like I had to play for a few more hours to give it an honest review. If I am enjoying a game I will sit there for hours playing it but I had to take breaks with Dream Runners as I simply wasn’t enjoying it. 

I cannot say Dream Runners is a bad game as it functions well but the game just didn’t excite me. I didn’t get that addictive feel when I play a platformer wanting to master every track. The game is fine for a few races when your friends come round but that is the problem and how I would describe the game. Fine.

The Evolution Of The Arkham Trilogy: A look back at the greatest superhero video game series ever made

Please note this article was written in the past for a different website but as that website is no longer active I thought I would upload it to my own. All written content I own and was all written by me.

With ‘Arkham Knight’ being released tomorrow on 23/6/15 here in the UK I thought it was a good chance to reflect and discuss how the trilogy has evolved from ‘Arkham Asylum’. Please note that I do not include ‘Arkham Origins’ as it was made by a different company and I will be avoiding plot details as I want anyone who has not experienced this awesome series to go in as spoiler free as possible.
Before ‘Arkham Asylum’ came out there wasn’t really any games that were very good for Batman fans. A tie in for ‘Batman Begins’ that was average and a few beat em’ ups. So when ‘Arkham Asylum’ was announced there was a lot of hope. We as fans were skeptical when the game was shown at E3 as all was shown was combat and we thought we were just going to get another beat em’ up with a graphics upgrade. I remember it was being released on my birthday and I couldn’t wait. How wrong we were! When ‘Arkham Asylum’ was released our fears were shattered instantly. Intuitive combat, gadgets and stealth gameplay that was truly remarkable and unlike anything we had ever really seen before. So many collectables with the riddler taunting you with each of his riddles, and how satisfying the feeling was when you figured them out. And particularly gruelling challenge rooms focused on combat or stealth. The icing on the cake was the voice actors. Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy returned to revisit their iconic roles. The downside was that the boss fights were a bit too repetitive and being enclosed in an Asylum felt a bit limiting. Why the down face Bats? ‘Arkham City’ is being released!

‘Arkham City’ truly addressed everything that needed improvement or alterations from ‘Arkham Asylum’. The combat was improved to near perfection adding in double counters, more special moves than you could handle and the biggest map you could ever want to glide around and really feel like Batman. The plot and gameplay was so absorbing with once again countless riddles and boss battles that were by far improved from its predecessor. Every boss fight was unique and completely fit the character perfectly. My personal favourite involves a very intelligent character that requires you to take him down a different way every time using the environment and gadgets at your disposal. With major plot twists, fan favourite characters and the once again returning voice cast I am really excited to see how they are going to top ‘Arkham City’ with ‘Arkham Knight’.

Before we talk about ‘Arkham Knight’ though let’s discuss the game mechanics and go into more detail.

From day one Rocksteady knew and implemented the ethos of the Batman universe perfectly and that has continued throughout with surprises for Batman fans. It is clear from the first two games that Rocksteady live and breathe the Batman universe and have crafted their games with the upmost care and attention to detail. 

The combat from the games can be as basic or advanced as you like. On an easy difficulty you can probably get through the game button mashing but when you learn the combat system of how to counter and keep your combo going it creates a whole new intense experience as you have to time things perfectly. I will say though that especially in ‘Arkham Asylum’ I have been hit unfairly from not being able to counter as I am in the middle of a movement which can get frustrating during harder parts of the game or challenge rooms.

The gliding in ‘Arkham Asylum’ was very simple. Hold ‘X’ on the Playstation or ‘A’ on the Xbox to make Batman glide with his cape. But once we got to ‘Arkham City’ it was all about gaining momentum and height by an all new gliding mechanic. Dive bombing while gliding to regain the momentum and height you need.

Stealth is at the very heart of what Batman is all about. A huge part of the Batman universe is the fear aspect of stealth. And there are many different ways you can strike fear into the henchmen. Very few games come close to what they achieve here. There are so many different ways to stealthily take enemies down. You can simply sneak behind an enemy and take him out or you can grapple gun to a high structure and and hang behind them for a particularly satisfying and humorous takedown. These are just two of the many different and unique ways you can use stealth and fear to your advantage.

So what new additions are going to be in ‘Arkham Knight’. I would suggest if you want go in completely spoiler free I would ignore this part but these are extremely minor spoilers. I was lucky enough to see a 10 – 20 minute demo of ‘Arkham Knight’. The major new addition to ‘Arkham Knight’ is that you will now be able to drive the Batmobile and the way you can combine this and combat is really interesting. The set pieces are still as awesome as they always have been. And of course due to the ending of ‘Arkham City’ the plot is going to be very different and from what I saw from the demo I am really excited to see how it all plays out. 

I hope you enjoyed this look back at the Arkham Trilogy so far and are looking forward to ‘Arkham Knight’. 

Infinite Warfare Trailer Released

As all ‘Call Of Duty’ fans know by now this afternoon in the UK we will be getting our first look at ‘Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare’. This was assumed to be mainly a trailer and a Q and A. Well, the reveal trailer has just been released on the official ‘Call Of Duty’ YouTube channel. Make sure you watch until the end for what will undoubtedly be the most talked about 20 seconds of the whole trailer.