Archive for June, 2012


Castlevania Finished!

A couple of years ago I picked up Castlevania: Lord of Shadows at a bargain price but like a whole host of games that sit in my games cupboard I haven’t found very much time to play it. Recently though I managed to give it a little extra attention and now I’ve finished this two disc epic adventure.

Gabriel prepares to dish out pain!

Castlevania is a well loved game with a long lineage behind it, but how does this latest episode hold up?

It’s a beautiful game in which well crafted characters inhabited a sprawling world that has been lavished with attention. The gameplay takes the form of exploring this environment, fighting beasties and solving the occasional puzzle, and it’s always well signposted as to what you should be doing next. The story is epic, and although it drives the game well it still somehow seems a little removed from the action, probably because it is largely told through cut scenes. More on that in a later post though.

As you play through the game you’re kept engaged as the increased abilities of the main character – Gabriel – increase, and as he explores new areas and encounters new enemies. Some things I particularly liked about the game were the sheer size and detail of everything – character models, environments – this game is of a scale that I’ve never seen in any other game of the genre, and when I say scale I mean really big things with really small detail. I really likes the fights you have against Titans – huge monsters that you have to climb all over to defeat. This reminded me of another game that I have heard of, but have never had the chance to play called shadow of the collossus. Also, you can harness some larger enemies such as wargs, or really creepy giant spiders and ride them as mounts using their unique abilities to give you access to unexplored areas.

Even though it seems a little way removed from the gameplay the story is still engaging, but I did feel that it was trying to be a little too clever for it’s own good. Overall Castlevania is an epic game that kept me interested for a long time. Now it’s finished I feel like I deserve a rest! but the big question is do I go back for more and download the heavily criticised downloadable content, or do I just sit tight and wait for the sequel to make an appearance?

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Kinect

A few months ago my better half bought me a Kinect for my birthday. So far I’ve been pretty impressed with the motion tracking. I haven’t really found an easy way to “game” the system in the same way that people were able to with the Wii. It appears that the easiest way to be successful using the Kinect is to do what you are meant to.

So far I’ve been playing Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports (1 & 2) and Dance Central 2. Although I didn’t really expect to be a fan of the Dance game I was surprised to say that once you get over the initial embarrassment it is very enjoyable, presenting a level of challenge appropriate for an uncoordinated individual such and myself and ramping it up slowly.

All the sports games are good too. I think my favourite game so far is the basketball. The sports games are also complimented with a nice persistent feedback and a feeling of continuous progress by levelling up your avatar according to your performance.

I still can’t really see Kinect being a long term replacement for controllers, but it certainly is a lot of fun in the right context, and my neice and nephew love it.

As I’m sure everyone knows the Olympic Games are being held in London this year, and so at the moment the Olympic torch is on a tour around the country. Recently it passed through Hull, and I was really pleased to see that one of the people honoured with carrying the torch is the infamous Bee Lady of Hull.

Jean Bishop collecting for AgeUK in Hull

You can spot the Bee Lady of Hull, and it’s hard not to in her iconic bee outfit, collecting for AgeUK in Princes Quay shopping centre in Hull. Having collected £87,000 Jean is still collecting, with the nonagenarian is still collecting, with her sights set at a target of £100,000. I was very happy to see her charitable efforts honoured in such a special way.

Jean Bishop carrying the Olympic flame

You can now donate money online though Just Giving