My Game of the Month – October: SOMA

Technically this game came out in September. Technically this is my blog, so my rules. Technically I was still playing this game in October so there you have it!

I’m going to apologise in advance by saying that a few chunks of this blog post will be ripped from my review of the game that will feature in November’s issue of Quench (Cardiff University magazine). Still, all my original writing so don’t worry about that, I’m not a plagiarist!

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I love a good horror game, and you know what, SOMA has got to be at the top of the charts for horror this Halloween. Albeit a relatively slow start the game really escalates and intensifies the more you play, spiraling into some crazy fast-pased game of cat and mouse with horrific undead scientists and giant fish (not kidding). The atmosphere is perfectly created, it really makes you feel lonely in the eerie quietness of the ocean or the long, cold metallic corridors only accompanied by the odd flicker of a broken door switch or the lovely howl of an abomination. A pretty to-the-point summary that I wrote for the review feels right to put here:

“From the creators of the infamous Amnesia series and Penumbra games, Frictional Games have created yet again another quality first-person horror game. The same people who made you terrified of water monsters have placed you in the middle of the ocean, kind of funny that isnโ€™t it? Instead of crawling through castle dungeons and stinky morgues, in SOMA you have an entirely different world to survive. This one consists of flickering light, Alien-esque corridors and the pitch black abyss of the ocean.ย  It feels surprisingly fresh; although many people are likely to compare SOMA to the Bioshock series, these are very different games. We can all agree that Bioshock was more action than horror, SOMA is all horror with a hint of puzzle solving.”

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ย Yeah I quoted myself. I went there. Again, I won’t spoil the story on this post simply because that’s what makes this bitter adventure so sweet. Reaching the finale is a breathtakingly fresh dystopian vision of a future humanity. The whole game makes you step back for a moment to think about the value of life. In this underwater world where robots think they’re humans and man-eating piranha-like fish devour anything not protected by lights, is it worth it still fighting to survive?

For an epic adventure containing chilling atmospheric set-pieces, intense cat and mouse chases (where you cower for your life) and a brilliant thought-provoking story line give SOMA a go. You won’t be disappointed trust me.

If you want to read my full review for the game pick up a copy of Quench if you’re in and around Cardiff, otherwise head over to:ย http://cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/quench/ where it’ll be posted for next months issue.

Alexander Jones

My Game of the Month – September: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

For someone who hasn’t invested in the Metal Gear series at all, I’m impressed that the works of Konami and Kojima were able to convince me to get this very impressive game. As a teen I had always heard of Metal Gear but it never appealed to me, maybe it was the complicated story line or the fact that your character had a crazy beard, I wasn’t sure (I was probably jealous of his strong beard game). But anyway, I ended up playing the very similar, less bizarre Splinter Cell games. To be honest though, I never truly understood what they were all about either, I’m sure if I played them all now I might just understand. Now that I’m an adult, I feel strong enough to approach Metal Gear, which I have realised whilst playing The Phantom Pain doesn’t matter because it turns out nothing makes sense anyway. Good job Kojima you madman.

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The main story is very serious, you deal with nuclear weapons, massacres and body mutilation it’s actually quite depressing, however the game is still able to slip in a fair number of silly elements which I know for a fact is a continuing theme throughout the series. If you’re into that then this latest installment want disappoint, want to send sheep or hedgehogs flying into the air using fultons? You can do that. Want to force your horse to defecate on the spot? You can do that. Want to beat up your Mother Base staff to raise their morale? You can do it. In The Phantom Pain everything is possible, almost. That’s one of the big positives for me with this game, I love sandbox environments and you have that. You can approach most missions however you’d like, you can choose from a range of buddies (who all have their own unique skills), your equipment, character, vehicle, everything. You can literally go in sneaky without any alarms or you could go in guns blazing, it’s up to you. Personally, I prefer the stealthy option, until I do something stupid and trigger an alarm, then I go loud. I usually die when that happens anyway.

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I haven’t finished the game as of yet but it still makes my Game of The Month for that very reason, there’s a lot of content here, you can get at least 40 hours gameplay for the average gamer. As a newbie to the Metal Gear universe I must say I’m very impressed and enticed to play more. I totally recommend this game to anyone who loves stealth games or even if you’re looking for something different from the generic shooter, you should give this a go.

Alexander Jones

New series: My Game of the Month

I’ve decided to create a series of reviews and opinions on games that I find the most enjoyable and worthy of each month. I think this will help maintain an updated blog each month as well give me a space to talk about some of the games that I have really been enjoying. This is definitely the best time to begin as loads of great games are on their way to release in the coming months. Hopefully you enjoy reading my opinions and like to see what I’ve been playing. My first Game of The Month will be Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

These pieces won’t necessarily be full length reviews, they will probably vary in size. I can always edit them to make extra comments after playing them.

Alexander Jones