PSRevision: Uncharted 2 & 3

You start, hanging off a train carriage suspended over a snowy cliff. No-one knows how or why, all you hear is that insecure creak telling you to climb forth and follow the yellow-piped road. As you scramble upwards, trusty-looking ledges begin to buckle under the insatiable tension. Carriage furniture starts to snap loose, whiffing past your nose as you leap between the inner sides of this vertical first-class deathtrap. You leap back, forth and all around, avoiding falling stools, lamps, glasses of Blossom Hill and boxes of square teabags. As you finally reach the top, you fling yourself forwards, body in flight, arms outstretched, until you grasp the frosty cliff-face, praying the tumbling carriage overhead doesn’t clap you in the face into the abyss below.Uncharted 2

This is Uncharted; the summer blockbuster of video games. You’ll run through obscene set-pieces, shoot hundreds of bad guys and giggle wildly at Nathan Drake’s quips as he charms every breasted AI in sight. He’s unstoppable. He’d sleep with your gran if her framerate was locked at 60, then snatch-grab your sister while rolling out a burning Aztec temple onto a getaway moose.

I mean, you’d probably let him too. His mix of Hollywood good-looks, ability to pull-off two shirts at once and extensive knowledge of archaeology is something young men burdened with reality can only dream of. Games as a medium offer unique perks when faced with characters like Nathan ‘dreamy’ Drake however, either you guide them through the righteous path of saving the world, or you watch them fall under that jeep during a high-speed chase on sadistic repeat.

However you decide to enjoy Uncharted 2 or 3 (I skipped the first because the rest of the world seems to have forgotten about it), you’ll find it’s a rapturously grand old time. Sure, the gunfights feel like a showdown between Fisher Price toys and the token ‘guy in armour’ enemies are pretty dull, but it does pretty splendidly what it sets out to do. That is, provide a fun and breezy piece of entertainment jam-packed full of explosive moments which pull off the Hollywood blockbuster schtick better than most movies today.

Saying that, I did leave Uncharted feeling strangely disconnected from it all. The constant stream of action hit a point where it felt like I was tied to a rope and dragged across a series of cinematic triggers. Look, blast down that helicopter, run past those armoured goons, catch up to that aeroplane, cue zippy one-liner cutscene, blow up that tank, oh, did you want to look for secret treasures? Oops. Watch out for that spider swarm, there’s a red barrel over there, shoot it quick and toss back that grenade. Oh wait, this isn’t Uncharted 3 yet. WHAT?

While you can often smell Uncharted’s game designer pushing you on with a bag of party poppers, I appreciate it’s a design choice. That’s cool. Personally I prefer The Last Of Us which, while still incredibly linear, has an atmosphere and some breathing space where I didn’t feel so bad exploring every last corner of its world for silly collectibles. Uncharted 3 shows an attempt to experiment with the ‘mood’ through some trippy desert sequences, but it unfortunately still amounts to pushing forward on the analogue stick and waiting for the sparks to fly.

This all sounds a bit downbeat, but I still really enjoyed both titles for different reasons. To cut this stream of nonsense and prove it to your cynical heart, I’m going to lay out my favourite things about each game below in a simple ‘pros’ system which all the reviews seem to love these days. It’s efficient, easy on the eye and mildly lazy; everything I love in an article.

Uncharted 2

+ The shoot-out train bit

+ Climbing in the mountain with the guy who can’t speak English

+ Getting angry because you can’t throw back those pissing grenades

Uncharted 3

+ The sandy bit

+ Nathan Drake’s neck scarf

+ Getting angry because you CAN throw back grenades and they hit the pissing wall.

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PSRevision: The Last Of Us

The infected apple of the Playstation’s eye, Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us is seen as a crowning achievement of the past generation. Bestowed with previously mythical gaming awards like ‘best performer’ and ‘best story’, it catapulted narratives in the medium to an island of newfound integrity built on a sea of Cormac McCarthy novels. So as Sony gears up to release a remastered PS4 version, does it still stand up despite the passage of time which has clawed at our sour cheeks?the last of us

Silly questions deserve silly answers, so of course it bloody plums my goat. I actually finished The Last Of Us a while back, but because of my tragic need to ingest new titles during the post-release hype storm, I’ve failed to garble some words about it. It deserves one hell of a garble too. While it is everything you’ve probably already heard; moving, visually stunning, terrifying with a brilliantly bittersweet aftertaste, one thing The Last Of Us is not, is a Christmas game.

Cast your mind back to Christmas Eve 2013. Tinsel curled around trees, golden paper littered house-bound wrapping stations and warm alcoholic drinks were the ‘hip’ thang. As Winter stroked its frosty finger over door handles nationwide, everyone huddled around the box and waited on the usual promise of crowd-pleasing television. Once Rod Stewart’s Christmas show appeared, many thought festive cheer had been cast into fairytale. A term whispered by pixies in the woods under nightfall and scratched into stone walls by horny aborigines. It became a cutesy phrase for a simpler time, when a food coma in front of the TV wasn’t a psychological weapon.

We all sought refuge in our own unique ways, so I chose to immerse myself in a world where human civilisation was at the brink because a viral infection was turning everyone into fungal explosions. A creepy, pleasingly violent and scrupulously tense place where my natural equilibrium could be restored. But as I reached the game’s bleak ending, the idea of sitting around a table pulling crackers and testing how many sherry’s it would take for G-ma to hit the deck, seemed almost impossible to deal with. I was sucked into this grim world of relentless survival and no amount of Roy Wood was bringing me back.

It was odd, because I took a while to warm to the game initially. After the emotional slam dunk opening, the game loses a bit of steam in setting up the world, introducing the game mechanics and pushing the two central characters together in a natural way. Once these shackles are loosened and the relationship between Joel and Ellie begins to collide with other survivors however, the game quickly blazes back into remarkable territory and never lets up.

I’ve had a fair amount of time to nurse my opinion on The Last Of Us, yet I still remember it just as fondly as when I completed it. It isn’t the nerve-shredding moments against the Clickers that stick out in memory either, but the quieter moments between Joel and Ellie. Whether it’s the bickering during a cruise down a desolate highway or some of their little exchanges as you scavenge through rooms in abandoned houses, it’s a game that pulls you into the little details despite the monstrous picture blowing up around it.

That isn’t to say the game is short on memorable gameplay sequences, the cat and mouse chase between Ellie and David might be one of the most tense I’ve ever experienced. A face-off where you desperately try to outflank a lone man with a machete inside a burning restaurant, all while trying to avoid broken plates or debris that could give away your position. I found myself not driven by wanting to progress or to hear the satisfying twinkle from a new trophy, but because I actually wanted Ellie to get her own back on this twisted nut job. Even despite the uncontrollable organ circus which was booming beneath my rib cage.

In not so many words, I loved The Last Of Us. It brought ruin and misery to my Christmas spirit yet still remains a beloved gaming chestnut inside my soon-to-be-collapsed heart. I’m unconvinced on the idea of a sequel, yet if they announced one tomorrow I’d rain bricks from the sky like a satanic pigeon to get my paws around it. Even if my crime of passion pleas are not accepted in a court of law, at least I’d be locked away in another space where I could play The Last Of Us all over again.

You know, in those prisons that let you play video games all day which totally exist?


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Mario Kart 8 bangerz

How would you define joy? The Oxford English Dictionary calls it a ‘vivid emotion of pleasure arising from a sense of well-being or satisfaction’. Maybe it’s a beloved memory, like waking up on Christmas morning or bashing the shit out of Hungry Hungry Hippos. Well whatever your definition, it’s wrong. Joy is an audio file from Mario Kart 8, and it’s here to re-evaluate all our miserable lives.

It has everything. Bouncy brass sections, scaling guitar riffs, groovy bass lines, thumping drum breakdowns and even a ruddy saxophone. If there was a musical formula to cause unstoppable contortions to the human body, this song would be the experimental explosion that was locked away in the test phase. Confined to a dark bunker underground in fear that our race would forever flap around in leafy bamboo skirts atop country hills, halting our progression as a civilisation.

This is only the intro music too. If you trawl through some of the remixed music tracks from retro courses, you’ll find jams that will make you believe someone is suspiciously grooming your ear lobes. Hearing the reworked version of the N64’s Rainbow Road theme somehow caused the same gasping relief as seeing brown sauce dolloped on a platter of cheese on toast. Then there’s Yoshi Valley. A track that is pushing me towards learning to drive, solely so I can wind down the windows and bounce past opposing vehicles smacking a steel drum on the passenger seat.

It’s further evidence that when Nintendo soundtracks are flexing their fully orchestrated guns they’re almost untouchable. Super Mario 3D World and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze were both bombastic treats in the music department, elevating both packages into even more memorable delights. It’s an area of video games that is often overlooked by many, but when executed right, astonishing music can turn great titles into gold-standard classics.

My anticipation for Mario Kart 8 has certainly hit the rafters thanks to the music. The early glowing reviews may have helped a little bit, but after all a new Mario Kart is the much needed cup of tea during a console cycle. Reliable, satisfying and when mixed with the right amount of graphical sugar, oh so sweet. So gather your friends, clear the throat for an intense verbal showcase and remember what video games are really all about. Being a dick and loving every passing second.

(Here’s that Rainbow Road track, if you used to have an N64 I’d keep a cold cloth to hand)

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PS-Revision: God of War 1&2

As I currently work my way through old Playstation titles that I’ve tragically missed as an Xbox 360 owner, I’ve decided to share my experiences with each exclusive as they dance between my fingers and thumbs. It’s a series of posts that I’ve decided to bunch up under the PS-Revision title, or PSR for short. I know you enjoy a good acronym, so that one’s on the house.

THE HOUSE OF SPARTA.god of war 2Coming into the God of War HD collection for PS3, my expectations were pretty high. Kratos now stands toe-to-toe with other signature Playstation icons like Lara Croft, Crash Bandicoot and that rapping dog made out of paper, there must be something pretty special about the series to achieve such a loving place in the hearts of Sony aficionados. Turns out, that something is getting vexed to the max and clapping minotaurs into Greek architecture. And it’s really bloody fun.

It’s oddly lethargic too. My nights for a couple of weeks involved nestling up on the sofa, bundling up frustrations collected throughout the day and channeling them into the decapitation of a giant cyclops. It helps that you control a character that just seems to be permanently pissed off too. Kratos shouts his way through encounters with mythical gods, tears open undead spleens and even climbs around walls like he’s cursed with an everlasting bonk on. He’s brilliant, and I think a Kratos dedicated section should be included in every form of digital entertainment.

Having been spoilt with Bayonetta and its insane array of bosses however, some of the God of War beasts did feel a little underwhelming. The first title in particular, which starts out with a battle aboard a ship with a three-headed dragon waits until the closing moments before it cranks up the ‘epic’ dial again. God of War 2 does fix this, with a generally more fulfilling experience that flings you from one spectacular scenario to another without much breathing space, but I never felt the crippling fear that comes from an overwhelming boss fight in either title.

I think back to the lake monster of Resident Evil 4 or the battle with Gohma in Ocarina of Time, and I was terrified. Chest-pounding, get me out of here, I’m going to throw up an anorak, terrified. They’re relatively simple too, but as is the case with any first date, it’s all about the first impression. Our mind needs time to imagine the unthinkable, to revel in the worst case scenario so anything that emerges will become the fresh face of hell itself. You’ll stagger over to the table, sit down gushing with sweat before an accidental brush of the boob during an overenthusiastic welcome. These are the boss battles you remember. The ones that cause panic before they’ve even begun.

This gut-wrenching build up is ruined by the instant cinematics that play as soon as you enter a room that’s geared for a boss fight. I want to walk in an area, take in the scenery, imagine what’s going to trigger that cute little animal to turn into a five-headed death machine, and then shake out a nervous dump in the corner. It’s a niche ask, but I’ll throw it out there in the hope that a game developer reads this and meets me halfway during this epiphany.

While I’m yet to play God of War 3, my time with God of War 1&2 (mostly two) has been very much enjoyed. The combat has the best mix of gore and button-bashing satisfaction around, and even the puzzles are surprisingly decent for an action title. It also holds the crown for some of the most bizarre quicktime events I’ve seen, from mashing someone’s face into a stone tablet to watching a bedside lamp rock back and forth as Kratos performs sexual acts with two ladies. A sequence that, looking back, might be the most understated sequence across the entire game.

Alright the latter was an optional mini-game, but you’ve got to collect all the Trophies right?



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The ‘Never Let You Down’ music theory

I think I just posted a link to Rita Ora.

Did that just happen? Just listen to it once and cast the memory of this blogpost into the darkest pits of your mind. You’ll feel clean, I’ll feel clean and the whole world will continue to spin until everything rots into a giant toffee apple orbiting the Sun.

Only problem is, that pop dynamite ear worm is still nagging away isn’t it?

I’ve tried to explain to myself why Rita Ora’s latest single has had such a tight grasp around my listening lobes recently. It’s perfectly natural Adam. It’s why these things sell so well. She just caught you at a vulnerable time, watching the Michael McIntyre chat show in a glum hotel room desperate for any kind of positive escape. You’re a victim Adam and you need support.

But then I found an explanation that made sense of my iTunes library and didn’t completely crush my own self belief. Any song entitled “Never Let You Down” or with some mild variation on the words, is guaranteed to be an absolute banger. It’s a music formula that seems to have gone unnoticed for years, stemming across genres from rock to hip-hop and even to album tracks that you perhaps weren’t even aware of. It’s a joyous thread that transcends diehard fanatics from every musical spectrum into one beautiful music-loving happy family.


If you don’t believe me, I’ve cherry-picked some examples below into an intentionally ‘thread’ like fashion. This metaphor is going to sing dammit.

Alright WordPress just does it like that, but I’ve delivered a scenario where the Honeyz followed by the Beatles seems perfectly reasonable. What else could you possibly want?

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Oscars 2014 Preview.

The Oscars are a drag. We know it, whoever has sat through its three hour running time knows it, heck we’re pretty sure the actors/actresses know it too. So let’s look ahead to the ceremony and see what will most likely pan out at this year’s event, saving us all the bother and giving us time to bleed the radiators.wolf of wall street2

As with every academy award season, a handful of films have been thrusted into the limelight for our viewing chops. This year sees the plights of slavery going against sci-fi blockbusters like Gravity and drug peddled stockbrokers in The Wolf Of Wall Street. That’s without mentioning the surprise turnaround of Matthew McConaughey in the Dallas Buyers Club, or the impressive belly acquired by Christian Bale for American Hustle.

But who is going to come out on top? While many will be hoping to see Leonardo DeCaprio claim his long overdue Oscar, judging by the relatively conservative academy panel, we’re perhaps more likely to see Chiwetel Ejiofor bag the best actor gong for 12 Years A Slave. His performance ticks all the academy boxes of surefire Oscar success; tender, historic, brutal and no sign of cocaine abuse off a lady’s caboose.

Judging by the winners of the Golden Globes back in January, the best actress nods will be plucked from a pool of Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o. If Adams wins, expect baskets of tears and a slightly overlong tale of triumph, Blanchett will charm us into a coma, Lawrence will ramble like an excited puppy and Nyong’o will be so surprised she’ll explode into a fountain of confetti.

In fact the whole event looks set to be a bit too lovely this year. Talk show extraordinaire Ellen DeGeneres is presenting, so don’t expect anything quite as outlandish as Seth MacFarlane singing “we saw your boobs” with a gay men’s choir like last year. Pharrell is on board to sing ‘Happy’ from Despicable Me 2, but we’ll be deprived of classic Essex bantz courtesy of Adele. Happy, Ellen and no Essex bantz? What kind of Oscars is this?

If history at the academy awards has taught us anything however, it’s that the truly bizarre moments sometimes have to drip from the bosom of spontaneity. Who could have predicted in 2011 that hosting duo Anne Hathaway and James Franco would drop more clangers than a politician in a council estate? Let’s not forget when George Clooney awkwardly claimed in an acceptance speech that Hollywood contributed to the awareness of AIDS and the civil rights movement. Smug levels that made an entire room of Hollywood A-listers feel a little flustered.

So our enjoyment of the 86th Academy awards essentially relies on an intern screwing up the batch order of Iceland Chicken Goujons for the pre-party buffet. Bale will kick off, Dame Judi will throw her Dench credentials to the wind and the whole evening will dissolve into a ticking time bomb waiting until Jonah Hill cracks out the “lemmons”. In a world where the Oscars aren’t such a sick-inducing parade of the beautiful, this would be a fairly reasonable prediction. As it stands the “biggest entertainment celebration of the year” will most likely amount to a pat on the back for Gravity and 12 Years A Slave, featuring a guest spot from Jennifer Lawrence falling down the stairs again.

That bathroom definitely needs grouting.

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F-Zero Is My Crack.

So Wii U, you’ve had a relatively bad time of late. Your financial prospects have been slashed, the other next generation consoles have been reasonably well recieved and there are currently only about four games that are set to be real “must-buys” for the system. Not even the year of Luigi could save your pretty gloomy prospects.

But what is that I see? A flickering light in the distance, zooming at 2000km/h to the sounds of throbbing 90’s trance with added boost power. It’s circling around loop-da-loops, colliding with any futuristic machinery that gets in its way. It’s the messiah, the unashamed bearer of child-friendly ecstasy wrapped in a magical Nintendo foil that locks in all the taste. This is F-Zero, and its return is long overdue.f-zero x

While the idea of a Nintendo fan requesting a new F-Zero game is the equivalent of a mouse scraping at the cheeseboard, the last installment, F-Zero GX, was released on the Gamecube way back in 2003. That means it has been over ten years since we’ve seen the franchise. A statistic that should make anyone familiar with F-Zero GX crumble and weep into a cold turkey induced coma. All we’ve had to tide our addiction is the baffling and irritatingly teasing Captain Falcon’s Twister Race contained within Nintendo Land. A mini-game that was like steering the wagon of an American pioneer with a NOS boost kit.

But at a time when Nintendo seems to be solely relying on its primary core franchises like Mario and Zelda to sell systems, what could really help boost the prospects of the Wii U is some more left-field entries. We need more games in the vein of Bayonetta 2 and Kid Icarus: Uprising for the 3DS, which came out of nowhere and provided more flesh to the 3DS library at a significant time of need. There are so many old IP’s that could be revived which would increase the appeal of the Wii U. Star Fox, Earthbound, Pilotwings and where the hell is Pokemon Snap?

In my own brain however, F-Zero is the game that could create a real buzz around the console once more. It’s sleek, slick and absolutely tough to the core. Racing games have recently strayed away from the futuristic aesthetic in favour of realistic and contemporary environments. A new F-Zero title therefore would hurtle from space like an apocalyptic meteorite zoning in on an unsuspecting Skoda. Alarming, unstoppable and exuding a confidence that could only come from having the glitziest pair of galactic space balls in the business.

To spread my enthusiasm, I want to end by engaging you the reader. Switch on the music in the link below and sink into a world of extreme imagination. A place of thumping rock and electronic infusions that tests your sense of sight for all its worth under a wave of visual black magic. You’ll feel slightly sick, you’ll be at a speed that I’m not even sure exists, but you’ll be trapped in the most addictive combination of mind, music and perilous space machines that exists outside of severe substance abuse.

Want to save the Wii U Nintendo? SHOOT US A FIX.

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The Full-Time Movie Awards 2013.

Here we go again. It’s time for the awards show that treasures the minuscule, celebrates the forgotten and gleefully claps at crossovers, cameos and Jennifer Lawrence. A place where we can admire the pocket gems of wizardry contained in some of the best films of the past six months. As Christmas is upon us, there might even be a little peak at what the future holds in 2014. All you have to do is mindlessly trudge through this festive back-slapping knees up that doesn’t make an awful lot of sense.

So take your seats, sneak out the vodka from your handbag and grab a quick selfie with that bloke from Emmerdale. The Full-Time Movie Awards (sponsored by JML) are about to commence!

Marvels Most Disappointing Post-Credits Scene Of The Year Award. (Sponsored By Marvel) 

Winner: Thor: The Dark World – Getting Off On A Crap Balcony.

I thoroughly enjoyed Thor: The Dark World. It was a silly, escapist fun that contained some snarly delights from Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. I enjoyed it so much I insisted on seeing the post-credits scene promised at the very end of the reel. So I waited and waited some more, only to find my dreams of Avengers cameos swiftly excreted upon by Natalie Portman flying the piddly romance balloon with the Thunder God. I mean really, do we want Portman grinning or thunder hammers swinging? Oh no, not like that. Filthy animals. ALL OF YOU.thor and portBest Use Of A Wasted Eddie Marsan In A British Feature Award.

Winner: Filth – Eddie Marsan Popping Pills.

Now from inter-dimensional hammering to getting REET hammered, this award serves to recognise exceptional use of a wasted Eddie Marsan in a motion picture. While the drunken debauchery featured in the sci-fi pub crawl of The World’s End was worthy of note, the top prize goes to the animalistic jiving found in the brilliant Filth. After being unwillingly coaxed into taking some pills in a shifty nightclub, Marsan is unleashed upon our screens partying like it’s 2099 atop the Starship Enterprise at light-speed. Sadly Eddie Marsan isn’t here tonight to receive his award, he’s too much of a fuckin’ lad.marsan manThe Brian Blessed Fellowship Award For Bellowing Laughter. 

Winner: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Caesar Flickerman.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire might be my favourite blockbuster of 2013. It was vastly superior to the original and pushed the serious themes tickled at in the first movie to bleak new heights. Luckily, the flamboyant cackle of Caesar Flickerman was on hand to keep us smirking through the class oppression, teenage torture and revolutionary upheavals. The world of fictional show-business doesn’t have time for that. Hair needs to be pruned, dresses need to be set-alight and the chuckle of a generation needs its audience. Someone needs to be around to make Peeta Mellark not look like a complete tit too.

flicker gifBest Screenplay For Continuous Bad Luck To An Individual Award.

Winner: Gravity – Poor Sandra Bullock

If there was one thing to take from Gravity, it’s that space can be a cruel mistress. You struggle to breathe, a mere nudge can send you careening to your death and floating debris can swing round and knock your friends face off. Sandra Bullock survived all of this even with a babbling George Clooney floating around. Oh and her space station is set on fire and she nearly dies crashing to earth. Then the sea has a pop too. Jesus Alfonso, leave the poor strong-independent-woman alone.gravityyy

The Cumberbitchin’ Moment Of The Year In Dragon Form Award.

Winner: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Bilbo Vs. Smaug

Alright I’m cheating a little here. But with so many Cumberbitchin’ moments in one year, it seems only fair that he receives a second gong for his efforts. Specifically his work in helping to create the brooding, sinister and downright amazing Smaug. A character that manages to have more personality than the majority of the human/dwarfish/elvish cast. Hopefully if Peter Jackson continues to tamper with the source material, we’ll see a savage dancing dragon parade that bakes all the dwarves in a fiery feast, leaving Smaug and Bilbo to fly off into the night for a spin-off adventure. G’warn Peter. bilbo smaugThe Outstanding Contribution To The Art Of Making My Pants Wet For 2014 Award.

Winner: X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

I promised a look at 2014, so here’s a trailer that has already circulated the internet for approximately two months. Even if you’ve already seen it, it’s worth watching again just to glimpse at the monumental cast that is set to grace our screens over a small two hour period. It includes Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Stewart, Nicholas Hoult, Sir Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence and even the possibility of some other random X-Men cameos. I’m going to lie down now and scrape at the calendar with a chisel. Goodnight.

Feel like I’ve missed something worthy of recognition? Drop it below!

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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Stepping out of Grandma’s house, you gaze out towards the vast ocean that separates you and the beginning of adventure. Stunningly vivid colours that wash into the distant lands, seagulls perched atop lookout posts and grass patches just waiting to be sliced. This is Outset Island, the retirement home of the Legend of Zelda series. It’s so lovely it almost makes the promise of another puzzle-solving marathon seem unappealing. You want to stay with your Grandma, laugh at that kid with the ridiculous runny nose and cause reckless torment to the pigs wandering by the sea.

Thankfully the adventure that lies ahead is The Legend of Zelda:The Wind Waker. A bold, beautiful and incredible journey that deserves many gamers re-evaluation. Overlooked by many at the time of its release, it stands as perhaps the best 3D Zelda title of the past decade. Now as a HD remake is about to hit Nintendo’s Wii U console, it seems like a perfect opportunity to rediscover the magic behind one of my favourite games of all time.wind wakeerrr

Released originally back in 2003 on the Nintendo Gamecube, the Wind Waker arrived when Nintendo was experimenting with some of its key icons. Luigi was wielding vacuums, Mario was handling water packs, Donkey Kong needed bongo peripherals and Metroid acquired an extra dimension. However, it was the unveiling of cel-shaded Toon Link at Space World in 2001 that ignited worldwide outrage. Forums exploded and expectations of a natural successor to the Nintendo 64 classics were smashed, leading many gamers to abandon ship to caress their beloved Playstation 2.

As the years passed and comment sections grew weary, the game finally released to critical acclaim and a general feeling that the outrage had been silenced. It took the classic Zelda level design, threw in a few surprises and applied a timeless graphical coating. The charming aesthetic invited Disney comparisons and the creature designs are still some of the best ever committed to the series. From the mighty presence of Valoo to the adorable Makar, every character had a personality that seemed lightyears beyond what we’d seen before in a Zelda title.

This personality shines through in the Wind Waker’s more wackier moments. The bizarre Elvis lookalike on Windfall Island, wind deities that resemble frogs and the ravenous birds that sound sexually frustrated whenever you’re in their vicinity. It’s a bittersweet death when you have to fire an arrow at a horny bird, especially when it probably had to deal with this terrifying buzzard for a mother.big bird

I’ve appreciated the Wind Waker more as the years have trickled on by. From the surprising stealth segment in the Forsaken Fortress to the offbeat humour that litters the cut-scenes. Each dungeon feels just as memorable as the last, and it’s arguably the last Zelda game that has managed to capture a sense of wonder as you step out into its world for the very first time. Something I felt was missing in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword.

Combat wise it is perhaps the finest of the series. Skyward Sword may take the innovation crown by successfully executing 1:1 sword motion controls, but its battles felt a little too calculated and rigid. The Wind Waker in comparison improved the lock-on system in Ocarina of Time in every single way. Managing to be smoother, faster and more satisfying thanks to some simple audio cues that made basic attacks sound like a painful backhand to the buttocks.

Sadly, not everything was perfect. The Tingle fetch-quest before the final stretch of the game was the glaring mistake in an otherwise fantastic package. It was tedious, unnecessary and dragged the pace considerably. But this issue has been addressed for the Wii U remake, meaning the cumbersome chart process is only required for three items rather than eight. If don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, this is basically a very good thing.

So if you haven’t tried The Legend of Zelda:The Wind Waker, I urge you to dedicate some precious time to its existence. It provides a stunning introduction to an alternative Zelda universe that still holds up brilliantly against titles released today. Maybe now the internet has matured and is more accepting of creative experimentation, it will finally receive the recognition from gamers it deserves.

Alright that’s bollocks, but it was a nice thought for a moment wasn’t it? Here’s a nice trailer as a reward for that positive thinking.


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It’s time to get deep. Over the past couple of weeks I have bizarrely started to analyse my life from an outward perspective. Looking at how I seem to operate in my own little world and what delivers my required fixes on a regular basis. And I’m not just talking about my internet history.

Why you ask? I don’t even know why. It’s since I’ve acquired a new job dealing with an art I hold most dear (VIDEO GAMES) that I’ve started to realise how my life is an endless cycle of boxes. I love looking at boxes, I buy boxes, I write about boxes, I’m surrounded by boxes in my room and now I sell boxes, arrange boxes, stack boxes, clean boxes, recommend boxes, I’m a mother-fucking box machine.

I’m not the only one out there either. Plenty of us relish in boxes and sleep happily knowing that we’ll wake up faced with a monumental tower of boxy-goodness. Friends may come over and lovingly compliment our vast range of boxes. Heck, some might even ask if they can borrow our boxes to admire in their own spare time. You’ve now acquired so much boxed magic that you’ve become a pocket retailer yourself, distributing to the unfortunate like the Mother Teresa of home entertainment.

But then something like GTA V releases and your mind is ripped apart by the volumes of joy contained inside one simple little box. People have queued up for hours, preordered and attended launches in the middle of the night just to get their hands on that box. I’m pretty sure we would be oblivious to an alien invasion around the GTA launch window. The news will pick up on it of course, but they’d probably angle it as a necessary purge of corrupted youth, tainted by the natural enjoyment that comes from causing immeasurable chaos in a beautifully constructed virtual city.

There isn’t a whole lot to this ramble. I just think it’s pretty strange really. If there’s a insightful metaphor or moral epiphany that should be washing over me right now then please let me know. Maybe I’ve sunk so deep into introspection that I’ve lost my ability to pick up on such things. Either way, it seems my life at the moment is nicely packaged into boxes. Lovely.

To bring this pointless tale to a hip-shaking end, here is a cracking song that is currently providing the soundtrack to my violent outbursts on GTA V. It also features the words ‘dirty’, ‘white’ and ‘boy’. So if it isn’t placed on this blog, where else will it find such a loving home?


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