Yakuza 0 (PS4)

I had heard good things about the Yakuza series for years prior to picking up a game as it is made by SEGA and channels a spirit similar to Shenmue.

But I didn’t expect a masterpiece.

Yakuza 0 captures all the good elements of a well-written crime story, then pairs them with the beat-em-up style of old arcade fighting games like Tekken and Streets of Rage.

This game is massive. I picked up Zero around the end of May 2017 and I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down for a month as it was so addictive.

Alongside the main story, there are 100 sub-stories, a variety of mini-games, challenges and even fully playable retro SEGA titles from the 80s such as Out Run, Space Harrier and Super Hang-On.

It’s odd to see a world of SEGA games before Sonic the Hedgehog.

Onto the music – each fighting style has its own badass track that really gets you amped for caving a thug’s head in. Unfortunately you don’t get long enough to listen to some of the tunes because the characters quickly become so overpowered you can easily beatdown enemies in mere seconds.

The disco has a song inspired by and featuring the likeness of Michael Jackson (renamed for legal reasons). With the help of a man resembling Stephen Spielberg, you also get to direct the iconic Thriller music video while M.J moonwalks down a street packed with zombie actors trying to bite him.

Despite I’m nearing the end now, I’m glad I have five more titles to follow the story (six including Yakuza 6 which was out in Japan 2016) because it’s so good, I’ll be lost when I complete the game.

Well done, SEGA.


Japanese clothing store UNIQLO are known for their collaborations with big names like Pixar and Star Wars. 

This month (May) they teamed up with Nintendo for UNIQLO Grand Prix 2017.

Last year they held a worldwide contest to have fans design their entire line, with the grand prize including a trip to Japan to meet legendary Mario and Zelda creator – Shigeru Miyamoto.

The rules of the contest were to submit an original T-shirt design from a list of Nintendo games and then 25 designs would be chosen. Miyamoto himself would pick the winning design.

According to the UNIQLO website they received over 16,000 entrees.

I felt most of the winning designs to be a little lacklustre considering how many submissions were made.

First place was a generic 8-bit pixel art Super Mario. I could have sworn one of the conditions were to not use official artwork but whatever, it’s up to them.

The only design I genuinely liked was about halfway down the list and it was Mr. Resetti from Animal Crossing with the text “Life can not be reset” which I thought was pretty dark for Nintendo.

UNIQLO stores are fully decked out with Nintendo decorations and cardboard cut-outs of their video game characters. 

The UTGP 2017 range is currently available online and in store.

If you’re quick, you might catch the Mario and Luigi mascots in London.

Mafia III (PS4)

As expected of a 2K game, it’s full of terrible glitches that make it barely playable. It’s also very slow, uncoordinated and lazy. 

I’m pretty sure boats and cars didn’t used to suddenly flip meters into the air after clipping a stone on the driveway. 

It’s intent was to make the player feel compassionate about tough times in the 1960s but it’s so dull it’s given me plenty of reasons to steer clear of that decade. 

The voice actors lack enthusiasm and the narrative is as cringeworthy as Burke’s stereotypically drunken-Irish character.

Lincoln can be described as a physically fitter yet immensely thicker Franklin Clinton – except devoid of personality. 

The game plays like sitting down and listening to your senile grandpa tell an overly-dramatic and incessantly racist tale about the poor quality of life in the 1960s. 

This is the worst Grand Theft Auto clone I’ve played, and that’s counting Simpsons Hit & Run and the original Saints Row. 

If you like games that go on forever with boring dialogue and cutscenes that can’t be skipped – you will love this game.

For your sanity, don’t play this game…

Lara Croft GO / Hitman GO (PS4 + PS Vita)

I bought a PS Vita back in January this year (2017) and so far have only found about 10 games worth playing. 

The PSN store was selling this Square Enix bundle together for about £7.99 last month with cross-buy included.

I didn’t expect much from a couple of mobile games but the sleek design and clear narrative of the GO series compliment Tomb Raider and Hitman. 

Since they’re mobile games – either one is great to pick up and play on the go. 

They’re puzzle games littered with references to their own history. 

The games aren’t particularly long but are heavily rewarded with trophies (and an easy platinum). 

Sitting down steadily focused – you may finish either one in about 4 hours but I like to savour puzzle games and solve them without help. 

I hadn’t played Tomb Raider since the SEGA Saturn days. I had little interest in catching up but this simple game has inspired me. 

I’d like to see more games in this style. 

Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

Having heard constant good things about Horizon Zero Dawn, I was sceptical at first about genuine quality but the graphics in its trailer had me hooked. 

Knowing that Guerrilla’s Decima engine would later be powering Kojima’s upcoming project: Death Stranding (with cameos) had my curiosity. 

I took my time enjoying the game but eventually got platinum in about 50 hours. 

There were a lot of things I liked and disliked about HZD and I’m not usually into open world hunting games but overall I was impressed with this game. 

The machine designs were particularly interesting as they reminded me Yoji Shinkawa’s mechas from Metal Gear and Zone of the Enders.

Gameplay felt a bit like a combination of Metal Gear Rising (stealth striking) and Phantom Pain. 

The post-apocalyptic futuristic design was like Destiny meets Far Cry Primal but it delivered an original experience. 

Climbing mountains for collectibles was a bit awkward. You need to find ledges with little to no help or manually hop stones on a cliff side which could be fatal without warning. 

I was caught in the landscape multiple times where I plunged to my death, sometimes far from a campsite having not saved any progress. 

If you don’t like running around and stopping to pick up every plant in sight, you had to go to a merchant and buy individual supplies with no option to multi-buy (until a later update) which needlessly added time. 

Death Stranding easter eggs; dog tags, handcuffs and a weird baby doll. 

The first of three I found (stranded necklace) gave no indication other than being marked by a purple light that it was very rare.

When I collected the item, I found it had no option to view the model in your inventory so you need to go into photo mode before collecting it. 

It has fairly easy trophies but it’s a big game. I recommend Horizon Zero Dawn.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – Banned Footage DLC

Resident Evil 7 has nearly been out for its first month and surprisingly includes paid downloadable content already.

The two DLC volumes include:

[Volume 1]

Night Terror (a Clancy survival mini game, similar to Call of Duty zombies)

Bedroom (a Clancy puzzle game that channels Stephen King’s Misery)

Ethan Must Die (a ridiculously hardcore Madhouse mode with randomised item crates, bomb trip wires and sentry guns)

[Volume 2]

21 / Survival (a Clancy mini game where you play cards against another hostage under Lucas Baker’s hysterical gaze)

Daughters (the prologue to RE7 – play as Zoe and witness the moment Eveline seizes control of The Baker family)

Jack’s 55th Birthday (play as Mia and gather food for Jack Baker in a comical Donkey Kong 64-style mini game)

Realistically this all should have been free DLC or at least kept the crowd waiting a month or two. 

Particularly ‘Daughters’ which is scene-setting for the plot of the game.

Most modes don’t usually last longer than 10 minutes and ‘Ethan Must Die’ is insanely challenging for the sake of it. 

Current world records are no shorter than 14 minutes the last time I checked.

If you’ve completed the game, you’ll know there will be FREE DLC coming in spring (Not A Hero) with more to follow.

Paid DLC will most likely be on sale at some point so if you’re stingy about full price content – enjoy the spoilers.

I understand cash-grabbing opportunities like this but they still leave a bad taste in the mouth of fans. 

Not me. I went all-in and am pleased to have had the deluxe experience of RE7.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (PS4) – SPOILERS

It took me half a day but I finally completed Resident Evil 7.

I was going to play it through PlayStation VR but unfortunately it was making me sick and I didn’t want to slow down for feeling dizzy so I’ll play it in VR later.

The demo and aesthetic RE7 showcased really got me hooked on this release, and it was a satisfying addition to the series – which wasn’t hard following RE6.

I have a few petty complaints about the new game’s design and story but most importantly the mechanics of this game went back to its roots, mimicking the original Resident Evil.

You get a bag with limited space and a trunk in the save room to store your spare weapons, ammo, herbs and key items. Just like first Resident Evil.

Many of the puzzles are throwbacks to RE, like clocks and animal themed keys.

The first creature design seemed very bulky and sharp. Pretty intimidating for a basic low-level enemy. They introduced a couple of others that were slightly different (one had a big claw and another crawled) but that was all there was.

I was hoping for something crimson or some crazy giant rats or gators. But no, just an army of oily creatures like the ones in Resident Evil 6.

Halfway into the game, you find a lot of bees (which again is something found in the first Resident Evil) but they don’t really pose much of a threat, kind of disappointing.

The boss battles showed depth and dramatic change in character design but they felt very limited and confined within the small space of the Baker house.

You do get to explore more areas beyond the Baker house but then it just goes underground and all over the place. I always wondered how they figure out complex maps but the solution this time seemed to be “they’re on acid.” 

Psychoactive-stimulants? Kinda lame.

Unfortunately, towards the end of the game they went overboard with the strange black oily substance and each boss fight became more and more ridiculous. 

The absolute end left me the most confused – something that actually tied to the previous titles, the appearance of a character named ‘Redfield’ (the credits display Chris Redfield). This ‘Redfield’ resembles nothing of the one from RE5 or RE6.

Possibly the first RE, but if it’s set after RE6 that wouldn’t make any sense, it would be like what Capcom did to Frank West – completely change his age, voice and personality.

Another thing that confused me was his helicopter had ‘Umbrella’ on the side. Chris was last seen in BSAA and quoted as hating Umbrella, so either this is a new Umbrella or this isn’t Chris Redfield.

The game then promises some free DLC entitled “Not A Hero” which will definitely stir up some crazy fan theories. 

Digging around a little myself, I found the mystery character looks more like the old design of HUNK from Resident Evil 2 (similar features, blonde hair etc.) and if he’s using Chris Redfield’s identity, it could develop into an excellent story.

Now to play it again in VR…