Grand Theft Auto V: The Game That Changed My Mind

Grand Theft Auto V was initially released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in September of 2013, the game was then released again in November of 2014 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Grand Theft Auto V was also later released for PC in April of 2015.

Initially I was not a fan of Grand Theft Auto at all, I thought it was full of gratuitous violence, sex, and drugs (and I mean honestly it is), and I hated the game because of it, that is until my boyfriend bought for himself one Black Friday a couple of years ago. At first I rolled my eyes as he installed it, but he began to play and he asked me if I wanted to give a try (at first I said no), I took the controller in my hand and just started to mess around and before I knew it, I looked at my boyfriend and said “This is actually fun”. My mind had been completely changed and when he bought the game for me for Christmas the next month I was thrilled. Grand Theft Auto V became one of my all time favorite games.

The story begins when characters Michael, Trevor, and Brad attempt a robbery in the town of Ludendorff in North Yankton but fail and Brad is arrested. Nine years pass and Michael is now living under witness protection in Los Santos with a new last name, De Santa. We meet Franklin, a young man working for a corrupt car salesman. Franklin ends up befriending Michael after he is given the task of repossessing Michael’s son’s car. Fast forward just a tiny bit and Michael finds out his wife is cheating on him with her tennis coach, so Michael decides to destroy the coach’s mansion, but soon discovers that mansion is actually owned by a Mexican drug lord named Martin Madrazo. Michael and Franklin then pull off a jewelry heist to pay off Madrazo. Trevor hears about the heist on the news and shows up at Michael’s house after believing Michael had been dead for the past 9 years, but I’ll stop there before I give away too much. The three characters Michael, Franklin, and Trevor all have their own separate stories throughout the game, but their stories also intertwine as they work together on various missions and heists.

GTA V allows the player to switch between characters (Trevor is my favorite, he’s a bit of a loose canon) throughout the game, this keeps the game interesting and helps it feel fresh the entire time. It’s easy to feel more invested in one story or character more than the others but the game is never boring. If you’re ready to commit a whole lot of crime and not face any real life consequences, I suggest you check out GTA V if you haven’t already, it was one hell of a time.

Advertisements

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn is an action/role-playing game that was developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Horizon Zero Dawn was released in North America in February of 2017.

The story of Horizon Zero Dawn follows the main character Alloy, a girl who’s birth is surrounded by mystery and controversy, the controversy of Alloy’s birth and very existence is seen as a curse which leads her to be shunned and cast out by her tribe and the rest of humanity except for Rost, a man who is also an outcast and shunned. Rost takes Alloy in and raises her as his own. Humanity is now living in the very distant future where nature has reclaimed the planet and the people of Earth have all gone back to living primitive lives, but animal-like machines roam free.

When Alloy is a child she finds a now ancient relic, a device known as a Focus. The Focus allows the user to scan and store information instantaneously. As Alloy grows older and reaches the proper age to be able to compete in a Proving in order to gain acceptance into her tribe, also know as the Nora tribe. However, after Alloys competes and wins the Proving competition, Rost is killed in an ambush that had been organized by a suspicious man who also happens to have the same device that Alloy had found many years ago, the Focus.

Alloy is knocked out during the attack and then brought to the sacred Nora mountain to heal, there is a very large and mysterious door within in the mountain, the door had never reacted before, but begins to do so but only in the presence of Alloy. Alloy is then appointed a Seeker and is sent out to retrieve information about her birth, the machines, the ancient technology, and how or why the ambush took place.

Horizon Zero Dawn has a vast open world that is ripe for exploration, the player is allowed the ability to roam far and wide on their quest for knowledge. Along the way Alloy will need to fend off the machines as well other enemies, but while doing so Alloy will also acquire new skills and the ability to trade machine parts for other needed items. If you looking for a grand adventure, I suggest you check out Horizon Zero Dawn if you haven’t already.

Until Dawn

Until Dawn was developed by Supermassive Games and released for the PlayStation 4 in August of 2015. Until Dawn is an interactive drama adventure game that essentially gives the player the power to choose their own adventure, with every decision the player makes having some sort of effect on the game’s story at large.

The story begins a year earlier in 2014, a group of teens get together for an annual winter getaway at the Blackwood Pines Lodge which sits on top of Blackwood Mountain. A few members of the group of teens decide to play a prank on one of the other teens, a “nerdy” girl named Hannah, the teens trick Hannah into thinking that her crush Mike wants to meet her privately in a bedroom, unbeknownst to Hannah the other teens are already hiding in the room. Hannah soon realizes that it was all a prank and runs out of the lodge into the snow and darkness, Hannah’s twin sister Beth then runs after her into the woods. Beth catches up to Hannah but the two then realize that someone or something is watching them, so the two begin to run until they reach a dead end, the edge of a cliff. Hannah and Beth lose their footing and fall off the edge, the two sisters hold on for their lives but when the someone or something reaches out for them the sisters fall to their deaths.

A year later the rest of the teens return to the lodge because Hannah and Beth’s brother Josh wants the group to get back together in memory of his sisters. The group meet up at the lodge but eventually split up and go their separate ways, this is when strange things start happening, now the question is whether or not they will all survive Until Dawn.

The survival of the characters lies solely in the hands of the player, and though in my 3 play throughs I still haven’t quite been able to keep everyone alive, Until Dawn is still a treat for anyone who is looking for a decent scare. Until Dawn doesn’t have much to offer in terms of gameplay aside from lots of decision making and choosing different paths that will effect your characters, but the narrative heavy game is perfect for anyone who just wants to go along for the ride. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking it out.

Tomb Raider Definitive Edition: The Rebirth of a Franchise

The Tomb Raider reboot was initially released in 2013 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC and an updated version known as the Definitive Edition was released for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2014. Tomb Raider (2013) reinvents Lara’s character and revamps everything you think you already know about Tomb Raider and gives new life to the franchise.

As a child I remember playing Tomb Raider on the PlayStation 1, but even if you’ve touched a Tomb Raider game before I think it is pretty safe to say that Lara Croft requires no introduction. The story follows a young Lara Croft before she becomes the badass that we all already know. Lara goes off on an expedition in search of the lost Japanese kingdom of Yamatai, however things don’t exactly go as planned. Lara and her crew are shipwrecked by a storm, before Lara has a chance to do anything else she is hit on the head and later wakes up hanging upside down inside of a cave. Lara narrowly escapes the cave but soon realizes that she’s been separated from the rest of her crew, so now Lara must attempt to find her friends as she endures the elements and find a way to survive on this island. On her journey Lara begins to discover that things are not what they seem, the island turns out not to be uninhabited, nature might not be what’s causing the storms, and some of the fellow survivors on the island may not be who they seem.

Tomb Raider is a very fast paced action/adventure game that keeps the player on their toes and does not slow down throughout the entirety of the game, Lara Croft must endure endless brutality both from the environment and in combat. The game has a lot to offer in terms of combat, platforming, and puzzles, however if you are looking for more of a light hearted, character driven game I’d suggest looking towards Uncharted instead, but if grit is what you want Tomb Raider is the way to go and I highly suggest you check it out if you haven’t already.

Resident Evil 4: Blending Genres

Resident Evil 4 is a survival horror game with a heavy emphasis on action, this emphasis on action really does well to set it apart from previous Resident Evil games as well as pave the way for future games to come. The game was initially released as a GameCube exclusive in 2005 but was also ported to the PlayStation 2 during the same year, Resident Evil 4 would go on to be ported a few more times after this including it being ported to the Wii in 2007 as well as to PC, it was later ported again this time to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011, and ported AGAIN to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2016, plans for another port were announced in 2018 for the Nintendo Switch which is said to be coming some time this year.

Resident Evil 4 follows former Raccoon City police officer Leon S. Kennedy who is now working as a United States government agent and is sent on a mission to find and rescue the U.S. president’s daughter, Ashley Graham. Leon arrives in a small Spanish village where his driver’s are killed and he is attacked by the villagers soon after. The people of the village turn out to all be infected by parasites known as Las Plagas, these parasites make turn the villagers into aggressive killers, but that’s not the only thing making them go after Leon, the infected villagers are also followers of an evil cult called Los Luminados. Leon must now contend with the infected villagers as well as stop the cult in order to find Ashley and bring her back to the U.S. safe and sound.

Resident Evil 4 is a bit of a departure from the quiet and creepy survival horror that Resident Evil was previously known for as Leon traverses through the village guns blazing on his mission to save Ashley. Though the game may not be as scary as some would like it still offers the player an extremely fun experience. RE4 is perfect for anyone who is looking for a shoot ’em up kind of game with a horror flare, if you haven’t already, I strongly urge you to check it out.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Drake’s Fortune is the first game in the Uncharted series developed by Naughty Dog, it was initially released for the PlayStation 3 in November of 2007 and was later re-released along with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception as part of the Nathan Drake Collection for PlayStation 4 in 2015.

The story follows Nathan Drake as he along with a journalist by the name of Elena Fisher are covering a story about the burial site of Sir Francis Drake who is said to be one of Nathan’s ancestors. Nathan pulls a coffin out of the water and brings it back onto their boat, however upon opening the coffin it is then revealed that the coffin is empty, with the only thing left inside the coffin being a leather bound journal. Before being able to look inside the journal the two are attacked by pirates and must fight in order to get away.

After escaping the journal is opened and the goal of the game is then revealed, find El Dorado. Nathan recruits his long time partner Victor Sullivan, also known as Sully. Nathan and Sully decide that they need to track down the treasure of El Dorado before the pirates that had previously attacked Nathan and Elena can get to it. The two abandon Elena on a dock and head off into the Amazon (the jungle, not the website) in search of the lost city of El Dorado. Along the way Nathan and Sully soon discover that El Dorado was not in fact a place, but a giant golden statue that is already gone upon their arrival with clues pointing to it being taken centuries ago by the Spanish conquistadors.

Nathan finds another page of Sir Francis Drake’s journal which appears to be a map pointing to a small island just before he meets the main villains of the game. It is now a race to find the statue before it can fall into the wrong hands.

Uncharted is an action/adventure game with a lot to offer. Nathan Drake is mix of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, he has a big personality and a lot of character making him easy to love. The game is very character and story driven game that is perfect for anyone who is ready to go along on an adventure and the combat does well to keep you on your toes. The game also offers platforming and puzzles that help to keep the player busy and interested in between combat and cutscenes. If you’re ready for a great story and an exciting adventure, I urge you to check it out if you haven’t already.

The Evil Within: An Underrated Survival Horror Masterpiece

The Evil Within is a survival horror game that was developed by Tango Gameworks and directed by none other than the creator of Resident Evil, Shinji Mikami, it was released in October of 2014 on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, as well as on PC.

I received the game as a gift upon release, but with me being a total n00b, I never quite got around to beating it until recently, and honestly I am so glad that I finally gave the game another chance and didn’t allow the game’s initial difficulty to deter me from giving it another chance and finally seeing it through. The Evil Within has been overlooked and even criticized by many, but it has easily become one of my favorite games, and here’s why.

The Evil Within starts with the main character, Detective Sebastian Castellanos, along with his partner Detective Joseph Oda, rookie Julie Kidman, and Officer Connelly riding in a squad car on their way to respond to a distress call at Beacon Mental Hospital. When they arrive at the scene they find the main lobby littered with corpses, as they detectives look around they discover one lone survivor, a doctor by the name of Marcelo Jimenez. Sebastian proceeds to check the nearby security monitors when he notices a strange man in a hood somehow warping around and killing the other officers the previously arrived on the scene when the strange man then appears right behind him as Sebastian suddenly blacks out.

Sebastian wakes up tied by his feet and hanging from the ceiling of what appears to be a nightmarish butcher shop as the “butcher” drags bodies away before chopping them up. Sebastian realizes that he needs to make his escape, he reaches for a knife lodged into one of the bodies hanging in front of him and cuts himself down from the ceiling. When the “butcher”, also known as The Sadist walks away Sebastian must sneak up and grab a set of keys that he sees hanging in the next room in order to make a break for it. Sebastian triggers an alarm alerting The Sadist who then chases him down before Sebastian narrowly escapes and thus the game has begun.

The Evil Within does a great job of establishing the world of the game right within the introduction. I was immediately drawn in by the disturbing and grotesque horror aesthetic that really drives home the point that this game is not for the faint of heart.

Skipping ahead and without telling you everything, I’ll try my best to summarize the rest of the story, which though it can be confusing at times is what really sold me on the game along with the environment.

This nightmare world that Sebastian and the rest of the group are now in turns out not to be real at all, it is all a simulation of sorts. The characters are all plugged into a giant machine known as STEM and the strange hooded man from the introduction is the host, the main villain, Ruvik. Through STEM the characters brains are all connected allowing them to experience the same nightmare world, but the only one in control of this nightmare is Ruvik. No one has ever made it out of STEM alive, but Sebastian is determined to escape.

I wish I could go further into detail about The Evil Within’s story but I do believe that anyone reading this should really go and play it for themselves. The gameplay can at times be difficult but worth it and the story when completely revealed in the game is mind-blowing to say the least. I do believe that any confusion in the story is entirely intentional further adding to the nightmare that is The Evil Within.