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Review: The Walking Dead Episode 2

I have also reviewed Episode 2 of the Walking Dead Series, really enjoying them so far!

Click here to read my review!

Review: The Walking Dead Episode 1

Here is my review of The Walking Dead Episode 1 by Telltale Games.

Click here to read my review!

Review of Catherine

So, I’ve started doing reviews and possibly opinion peices for new site PSNPortal.com.

This is my review of the game Catherine:

Click here to read my review!

Jul 1

My thoughts on “AMY” the game

AMY (Developed by VectorCell and published by Lexis Numérique) was released on PSN and Xbox Live Arcade on January 11th 2012 (UK release date).

Before it was released I heard about it, and decided to see what it was about, predominantly because I share a name with the title character. Having read the premise, and watched a trailer video, I thought it sounded quite interesting, the premise being standard survival horror stuff, you’re playing a woman who is escaping from zombie-like enemies and the military, but with a twist, you’re looking after Amy, the title character, who is 8 years old, mute, autistic and has special powers that can help you.

So I decided I would probably buy it when it came out. What can I say? I like anything to do with zombies, and I also thought it would be hilarious for my friends on PSN to see that “Amy is playing AMY”. Yes, I know.

Then, came the reviews. In case this slipped under your radar, they were bad, VERY bad. Here is a small sample. IGN gave it 2.0, Eurogamer also gave it a 2, Joystiq were even more harsh awarding it 1.5 stars, need I go on? You get the idea. Reading those reviews, I decided that at £7.99 on PSN it probably wasn’t worth it. I was kind of gutted if I am honest. There will probably never be another game with my name, it would have been nice if it was good. Silly thing to think about, but well, I’m a silly person!

So anyway, the other day I was browsing the PSN store looking for something to download. I had a few quid left after purchasing the walking dead season pass and I was looking for something cheap and cheerful (eg under a fiver). Lo and behold, AMY was now £3.99! A shame for the developers that the price had to be cut so quickly but at this price I felt it was worth a try, despite the bad reviews I still found the concept intriguing and yes, I still wanted a game with my name on it. And now I have one! So what do I think? Let’s break it down…

Graphics

The game looks ok. Not special, but not too bad. Sadly Lana (the woman that you play as) looks a bit creepy even when she isn’t “contaminated” but hey ho it’s the apocalypse she can be forgiven for having a permanent grimace I suppose! It is atmospheric enough and looks a little too dark in places, if I am honest it is not spectacular at all for this gen of consoles but it is by no means awful, bear in mind I am judging this as a £3.99 download not a full retail game and for the price it more than does the job.

Voice Acting

It’s a bit hit and miss. Lana is ok, she can get a bit annoying, the NPCs I have met so far were pretty terrible especially Marcello who you meet in the train station, he is like the worst New York Cabbie caricature ever and that loses its charm after awhile especially if you are replaying the section after dying! Amy herself is not able to speak, this is probably a good thing, kid voices in video games generally wind me up.

Gameplay

The controls are easy enough to get the hang of, but they seem to be a little bit clumsy at times; sometimes what you want to do works and sometimes it doesn’t and you will find yourself wondering what you did wrong. This really should not happen but I can forgive it in a cheap download game, I would most likely be raging if this had been a £40+ retail title but at £3.99 I can cut them some slack. Other annoyances include tunnels that look like you can walk down them when you can’t, and animated cut scenes for things like climbing ladders or walking down steps (luckily these can be skipped). When it works, the puzzles you solve with Amy are quite fun, but I am only about a third through the game so they may get repetitive if there is not more variety further down the line. Amy can open doors for you, hack computers for you and she can copy drawings off walls to unlock special powers. Also if you get contaminated being near her and holding her hand can heal you, which is handy as if you die all your health syringes get wiped out.

One of the initial complaints when this game was released was the checkpoint system being rubbish and you basically had to play each level from start to finish, this is no longer the case as the game was patched in April. The patch also cleared up some issues with the subtitles although they are still not always perfect.

Plot/Story

It’s kind of vague if I’m being honest, at this point I do not know what Lana’s relationship to Amy is, why they left “the Center” or where the outbreak has come from. Hopefully all will be revealed, if not I’ll just make up my own story.

Replayability

I haven’t finished the game yet, but it does not have different endings so unless you want all the acheivements or trophies one playthrough will probably be enough, although given time and maybe another patch to iron out issues I may fancy another go in the future. I’m definitely enjoying it enough to want to see the ending and hopefully learn more about the backstory of Amy, but until I know how it ends I can’t say if it is a journey worth repeating.

Overall

AMY is flawed, certainly. The professional reviews linked above and many others like them almost put me off this game completely. It is important to consider that these reviews were based on the game costing £7.99 and before it was patched. Ok, so the premise is fairly unoriginal, and the gameplay isn’t perfect, and it’s not the best looking game in the world ever, but at four quid I would say you will get a decent few hours entertainment from it. It is a shame there isn’t a demo available so sceptics can “try before they buy” but in my opinion this game is not all bad. I’m giving it a 5/10. (and maybe an extra point for my name!)

Review of Bioshock: Rapture, book by John Shirley

I admit, I was a little sceptical of a book based on a video game…. I mean, look at movie adaptations of games, they haven’t gone brilliantly so far have they? But nonetheless, anyone who knows me will know I love Bioshock, and anything related to it. So when I found out about this book, it wasn’t a question of IF I would buy it, more WHEN…

So, I pre-ordered. I don’t know the work of John Shirley, apparently he is credible within his field and also award winning. Good. I don’t want to read crap. I was expecting a flimsy, poor to average read in the vein of the LOST Tv show tie-in novels (did anyone read those….painful, really….). Anyhoo, book arrived on release date, thank you Amazon. When it arrived I was pleased to discover the book was a healthily chunky 470 pages, not a slim novella in the style of the aforementioned LOST books. The story is a prequel to the video games, and covers the creation of rapture and the beginning of the rapture civil war, before the events of the first game. The story is mainly told from the point of view of Bill McDonagh (you may remember him as rapture engineer and owner of the Fighting McDonagh’s Tavern in the first game). The book details how he met Andrew Ryan, Rapture’s creator, their friendship and his part in the realisation of Ryan’s dream.

Fear not if you were holding out for appearances from other Bioshock characters, they are all here, from Sander Cohen to Dr Stienmann, Tenenbaum and Suchong, Sophia Lamb, Fontaine/Atlas, Jasmine Jolene, they are all here. I must say I was impressed, the author did his research and really invoked the atmosphere of Rapture. I won’t give the story away, but I will say I was impressed and enjoyed it, and it wasn’t far off what I imagined lead up to the beginning of the first game.

Like I already stated, I am a huge fan of Bioshock and everything in the Bioshock universe. I wouldn’t expect a non fan to be as enamoured with this book as I was. However, if you have even the slightest interest I would say this was well worth a read. It would probably work as a stand alone story too although I doubt a non-fan would even be aware of it’s existence. But maybe if you are into sci-fi/fantasy it might be worth a look.

Negative points: I thought the ending was maybe a little rushed, not a bad thing but had the book lead right up to Jack’s plane crash (start of Bioshock, for the uninitiated) I would have been very impressed. Some of the characters could have been fleshed out a little more. More Dr Steinmann and Sander Cohen would have made my day, but well, I’m just a fangirl.

Overall score? Well if you are a Bioshock lover this is an essential purchase. It only cost me £4.99 and it was worth every penny, 9/10. Not a Bioshock fan but quite like weird stories? Give this a go, 7/10. Don’t know what the hell I’m on about? Go read the sun or something.