Gaming Playstation 4

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (Remake)

Game: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Developers: Vicarious Visions

Publisher: Activision

“Building bigger and better on a solid foundation”

Today’s review is centered around the second game of the trio from the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. I guess you can call this the middle child of the remakes, I thought of this when I had finished the game and was quite pleased with what I had experienced. As stated in the previous post(Crash 1 Remake) I never owned the original Crash Bandicoot games, so my experience will not have many if any comparisons to those games.

Our little sister.

The first thing I noticed when I started the sequel to Crash Bandicoot 1 was that I realized that this is a remake more than ever. I say this because, in my experience there is usually a graphical jump between games, as I think maybe the developers just get better at designing their product with the continued lifespan of the system they are putting the game on. However this wasn’t really the case in my experience, this game looks pretty much the same as the first Crash game in the remake trilogy. I guess you could make the argument that they do use a bit more stuff in the levels than the first remake, but it still seems to me that the overall graphical power output is relatively the same.

Side Note: I wonder when the original games came out if there was a noticeable difference in graphics quality.

One thing I will say that I did like this go around compared to the original game was that they immediately let you use Coco, who is Crash’s younger sister. I actually preferred using her and for a while now, I’m not really sure why. At first I thought it was because her character model seems to be a bit more compact than using Crash and this would allow me to make easier jumps. If you remember the core dna of this game as with the first, is to progress through each level while breaking as many boxes as possible, collecting as much fruit, and dying as little as possible, while going as fast as you can to reach the finish line.

But when using Coco I could be wrong, but I don’t think her slimmer player model really makes a difference. Next I thought that it was because her clothing color scheme was better as I feel she didn’t blend in with the level as much when compared to Crash. But by the large death count when alternating between Crash and Coco for comparison I believe this is also a wrong idea. After using Coco more and more compared to Crash I realized I just prefer to play as Crash’s cute little sister over him.

Side Note: Coco is better than crash, plus all bosses are Crash only, so it’s only fair she gets all the normal levels.

Enough rambling about my reasoning on why I like Coco over Crash. Another thing I noticed this go around was that there were more cut scenes this time as such:

You can really feel the big brain time happening.

This doesn’t look like much because it is simply a picture, but when you actually get to witness this in game, it feels more like a Saturday morning cartoon more than ever. (4Kids TV anyone). And to make it feel even more like a kids TV programming that you can interact with, they decided to give it more of a story as compared to the first. Although not anything special, it still gives a solid reason to your actions.


It’s really simple actually, you are told that there are enemies that want to do you harm. So you work with Cortex to collect the crystals in hopes of stopping them. The end(I won’t spoil anything).

While the story is indeed simple and may even seem more so than needed based on how I wrote what it was above. I still think it is far above what was found in the first game. One flaw with the story this time around is that I feel was a bit of a mis-step was how the bosses were used. Outside of what I believe is that the last two bosses that you face, I am not sure why they were even there to fight you outside of I guess cortex telling them to, who is supposed to be working with you? Now I know I could be wrong here but it was just an observation, I was more focused on the battle itself, rather than why we were fighting.

Note: Overall I would say this time around the boss battles are better, I won’t spoil anything, but none took more than a few tries.

The core of this experience as compared to the first entry in the trilogy to me is definitely more fleshed out. The levels are less repetitive in general but there are definitely some offenders in this department. But while there are some that do repeat they usually aren’t copy and paste but should rather be thought of as an extension of each other. Also the level variety has gone up this time around, as in the gimmicks are better. 

For instance this was one of the more frustrating levels:

Don’t sting me Mr. Bee.

By this image you may not be able to see, but I am playing as Coco and am currently hiding underground. Why is she hiding you may ask, well this is where the bees can’t sting you of course. Notice I said bees and not wasp, those bastards can bury underground and wreck you in real life. In all seriousness however, I actually struggled with this level more than I’d like to admit.

Now while the bee themed level, where you hide underground was pretty intense I thought it was still a solid level. One level that while I liked in theory, in execution I think they could have cut it out of the game, this is the level I speak of:

Jet packing in space, shirts are for losers.

Yes there is a space jetpack level this time, and it is unique. So much so that it was pretty disorientating to the point where it started to give me motion sickness. I wish I could have just skipped this one, the difficulty wasn’t in the design of the level but my tolerance to its visuals.

I think that about covers it, the game looks about the same as the first Crash game in the trilogy, but does add a bit more to the background. The story is simple and easy to understand. The boss fights are more interesting this time around. The cartoon TV show aspect is stronger than ever. The level design is overall better than the first, but I do feel largely they weren’t as difficult. I don’t really have much negative to say about this game, from start to finish it was a better outing than the first game.

Rating: 7.5/10

–  Small improvements on a solid foundation, makes for a good sequel.

Gaming Playstation 4

Crash Bandicoot 1 (Remake) -This is not the old school Mr. Bandicoot

Game: Crash Bandicoot 1 (Remake)

Disclaimer: This is all an opinion.

As the title says, this is not the Crash Bandicoot that you have play back on the original PlayStation. While I must be honest, I did in fact not own any of the original Crash games back in the PlayStation era, or any that came afterward.

I was a Spyro kid.

With that being said, I did in fact play a considerable amount of the Crash games during my childhood, although Crash 1 was the least played. However, this was so long ago in my memory that I had actually forgotten almost all of the game except for very key moments. So, I was delighted when I booted up the first game and was greeted by a great overhaul of pretty much everything that encompassed the original version.

Looks like a Saturday morning cartoon.

The photo above is the re-creation of the first level from the original game and it looks awesome. It looks so good that it is actually deceiving. For whatever reason the visuals trick you into this false sense of a Saturday morning cartoonish adventure that you would view, but since this is a video game you are able to participate in the actions being done on screen.

But wow was I mistaken, this game was one of my hardest and most infuriating times with a game in years. I lost so many lives during the first couple of levels I was tempted to trade or sale the game just so I don’t have to go through with seeing the ending.

A classic, now with more facial fear.

There were many levels in this first outing with Crash that had me stuck receiving endless game over screens from my consistent loss of player lives. That constant evil laugh I heard over and over again taunting me, making it personal. I would name the levels, but I think it would be a disservice to ruin your surprise if you have not played this or the original game yet.

I was having such a hard time with some of the levels I started browsing the internet to see if other people were having such a hard time with this game as I was. During my searching I came across a small confirmed piece of info that shook my spirit. The developer on record changed the slippage of Crash movements and altered the geometry of the level I believe (I could be phrasing this incorrectly). So, this did in-fact conclude that this is not the Crash I remember.

The evil one here is wearing blue shorts.

Even though this is not the Crash I remember, because if I recall correctly Crash 1 wasn’t nearly this hard, that doesn’t mean this is a bad decision on the game developers. Although much more challenging than anticipated I still enjoyed myself for the most part. And felt an extreme amount of relief when I finally reached the end credits.

What’s impressive than anything is that I found out the developers of this remake trilogy didn’t actually have the source code of the original games. This means they made everything from scratch, to which I must commend them. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this game considering I am not one for the platforming genre. If you are wholly against more difficult platforming games even if you have played the originals, I am not sure if I would recommend this to you. But if your feeling bold, go for it.

Rating: 7.0

A solid foundation after decades still holds up today.

Gaming Playstation 4

Marvel’s Spider-Man – My First Blog Post

Marvel Spider-Man

The 2018 hit video game developed by Insomniac and published by overlord Sony

Opening hours

The game starts out with a beautiful cutscene in Peter’s apartment filled with minor details that you may not have noticed at first glance the way the camera is panning across screen. But most importantly the cutscene showed us, we the player the type of Spider-man we will be playing as this time around:

Yes you guessed it a college graduate struggling to keep his finances together like the majority of us, because he was sold a dream that ultimately for the most part does not exist anymore. This hit so close to home that I almost cut the game off and gave up before the adventure even started. You may ask yourself why would you almost do that over something so remedial in an opening cutscene, well let me tell you. It is because I play video games as a form of escapism, and to my dismay I must state how dare this game reminds me of real-world issues such as the ridiculous wealth disparity distribution that is only getting worse in our modern-day society.

Next Peter jumps out of the window and boom they dropped you into the city doing the one activity that is hands down the most important aspect of a Spider-man video game, which is the feel of web slinging. This singular mechanic of the game is 100% the most important for experiencing the feel of the correct type of immersion as the webslinger. If I could paint a mental picture of the feeling that this gave me, I could only describe as a form of holy enlightenment with the halo 3 main menu theme playing. As you are webbing sling across the city you fight some bad guys along the way to give you a taste of the combat, which in my opinion is just more of the same from the batman arkham series. However this combat system has a feeling that is more natural because Spider-man is a superhuman and not some goth billionaire that magnetizes to nearby enemies but I digress. Along the way you are introduced to some other aspects of the core gameplay loop such as very light puzzles and towers (sigh), and met a few of the main characters such as Fisk, Dr. Oct, Mary Jane, Aunt May, and others. 

The Loop

Now lets talk about the core loop of gameplay you will be experiencing during your foray as Spiderman, this section is probably going to be a major factor in determining in whether you are going to enjoy the majority of the game. The core loop involves Combat, towers, collectables, photo spots, small crimes, hide outs, research spots, and side missions.

First lets talk about the combat, this system is very simple in the beginning but much deeper when delved into, again if you have played the batman series it’s pretty much the same but customized for the web head. The combat has multiple aspects to it that you can utilize to fit the scenario or play style, this includes stealth which takes a while to understand the feel and how the enemy perception works, due to the landscapes you fight in usually having vertical layers. Then there is the brawler’s style which will probably be what you will use most of the time in combat, but this is not due to the other styles being unviable but for the simple fact you probably started in stealth but you alerted the enemies, literally every time, maybe it’s just me. Last is the webslinger style which I used the least because If I’m being honest, I wasn’t fluid enough to make it look cool, and if we as gamers don’t feel cool when playing video games what really is the point to the adventure.

Next is collectibles, and I mean seriously this game could give any Nintendo collection-based game a run for its money, but the worst part of this incredibly large part of the game is this:

Weird heroic pose looking at the worse part of the game

No seriously what is this, when I first saw a TOWER that I had to hack I might have let out the loudest, deepest non pleasure based moan in my entire life. You may think I’m overreacting but I beg to differ, you may see a simple tower that opens the landscape you will be traversing but all I saw was a dated fossil that game developers keep using because true creativity involves risk and oh lord you don’t want to jeopardize the bottom line of the company.

Outside main missions to progress the game’s story the main activity that you will be doing involves combat, which includes small crimes of a few varieties (recycled content) and hideouts of the various factions (large scale small crimes). Not much to say on this section because it really is just combat oriented gameplay and a way to gain experience.

Last part of the loop is the side missions and Harry’s research lab spots, this part of the loop is a mixed bag of task that you will be doing to keep Spider-man busy in between main missions. Some of them have small stories with them which I won’t spoil because a few of them are actually good but majority of them are just there to give conversation for Spider-man to speak dialogue. If I had to boil it down to what you will mainly be doing, I would say most of the activities are mobility challenges, which some people may really enjoy because the movement to this game is very fluid for the most part.

The Nitty Gritty 

I will start by saying look at this:

Going for a casual jog

You might can’t tell because of the angle due to the fact that Spiderman is literally vertically running up the side of a skyscraper but this game is quite beautiful at times. If I had to compare, it would be when you have been drinking at a bar and you have enough alcohol in your system to not be classified as drunk but you are way past the point of tipsy. The night has been moving at a steady pace since you had your first drink and by this point you are trying not to go any further because you don’t want to get sloppy. Then on your way out of the bar, eyes heavy from the intoxication and probably the lack of sleep that you have been receiving because on a subconscious level you have nothing but distain for your 9-5. Your mind wonders in the mysterious realm of non-dream sleep, realizing you have no point to the way your living your life and how you throw away literal years off the calendar achieving nothing other than just being a number in the system that unfortunately is rigged in a way that you will probably never get to where you are trying to go. You decide to bring the night to an end because your tab is getting to be a bit much so you head for the door to leave.  Walking toward the door of the bar you look to your side to see someone that you hadn’t noticed all night. Maybe it’s due to you being drunker than you realize but this person causes time to come to a crawl as your hormones begins to surge causing the person to be much more sexually attractive. You hear last call from the bartender and this sets your mind apace, you drunkenly try to keep yourself together to walk over to them. You come close enough that your slightly blurred vision comes into focus and the light is hitting them at the perfect exposure level. As you take all of this person’s pure beauty in, you forget to breath becoming lightheaded stumbling toward them barely catching yourself before crashing into them. The alcohol has finally set in you are heavly intoxicated to point where even after such an embarrassment of an approach you decide this person has too much raw sexual appeal to let the opportunity pass. That is how good this game look sometimes other times it’s just ok.

That may have taken a turn you weren’t expecting but let’s continue there are a few more points that I would like to hit upon such as:

Osborn was going to shut down Harry’s dead mom’s research stations, why would this even be a thing if it is shown that he loves her.

JJJ is still the best character in the Spiderman universe

Camera is immersive but way too close, this is the real difficulty in the game

Why did they get rid of Osborne’s waves, this guy had the best waves in all of marvel by far, if you stare at them too long you would get seasick, and I never saw him wear a wave cap/durag his stuff is all natural

Game is littered with openworld jank:

Should I jump?

Look at that foot…Come on guys do better

My question as with many other superhero games, where are all the other superheroes in the world, like they don’t see this huge city literally burning

MARY JANE as the romance…WHYYYY always MJ.


This game is pretty much a glorified collect everything and do small task kind of game but I still somewhat enjoyed it. The story took awhile to really get to where it was going but the ending is definitely worth it and leaves high expectations for the future. If you have ever played Spiderman web of shadows this game is overall the updated version for the PS4.

Rating: 8/10

Spiderman fan – Must Play
Non Spiderman fan – Enjoyable but not missing anything you couldn’t get from elsewhere.

Gaming PC

Burnout Paradise Remastered – Smashy Crashy Car Games Need To Come Back

Burnout Paradise Remastered is the 2018 edition of burnout paradise that came out in 2008, a whole ten years in between releases. I never played the original when It came out or at least I think so, in 2008 I was in my last year of middle school and I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t super in video games at the time.

Opening title screen

The game starts out with a pretty decent opening cutscene that explains what you are doing and why you are doing said activities. The starting area to the game is called Paradise City, and in my opinion it is actually a really good looking city considering that this game is originally over a decade old. I guess the remaster did it’s job of giving a fresh coat of paint.

My starting license

From my experience in the game first you get a starting license as shown above, and then successfully complete activities such as racing, stunt jumps, causing property damage, etc. In all honesty I mostly enjoyed all the activities except the one activity where you have to reach a certain score in a time limit by doing things such as jumps, drifting, etc. By completing these activities you get an upgrade to your license, getting access to better cars, and harder activities.

First car is a beater with a heater

See that car above that was my baby at the start of the game, me and her went through some hard times. Especially during events like the one called marked man, where the other racers proceed to crash into you to total your car during a set time limit.

An event known as burning route was a way to upgrade your car. I did a few of these but the be honest the upgrade only applied to the car that you were specifically using and the upgrade wasn’t really worth it as the races were kind of difficult. They remedy this necessity to do these specific events by literally just handing you cars as you progress through the game.

Nice wreck visuals

The crash you see above came from my favorite activity known as take down, which is where you are supposed to make as many cars crash as possible. This activity is so high octane, maybe it was just me but it definitely got my adrenaline pumping every time. I think my personal record is 25 take downs.

Oh yeah I almost forgot to mention another way to unlock cars is by smashing into them during the open world. This type of chase in my opinion was always the most difficult activity to win, because your cpu opponent did not let up off the gas at all. More than half of the time was just trying to catch up to the opposing car, during this high speed chase you are pretty much a speeding bullet trying to aim at the target.

Final license

Ok final thoughts on the game. This game was much better than I went in anticipating. The activities are all supposed to be done as fast and reckless as possible giving you a surge of adrenaline as you barely miss oncoming traffic. The car selection is quite large so i’m sure there is a vehicle for any taste you have. I beat the main part of the game in about 8-10 hours, I didn’t do the dlc even though it was included in the game because I felt that I had my fill. This game is pretty cheap or free if you have EA origin on pc, has tons of play time and replay ability if you willing to engage in it.

Rating: 8/10

Gaming Playstation 4

Middle-earth: Shadow of War – Too boring to finish

Ok so per the usual a few words before I dive in. I put around 20 or so hours into this game, and this was nowhere near enough to complete it, I only got to act 3 of 4. So truthfully I did not complete the game but I did do my research and watched videos of what happens past the point that I stopped. I will not speak much on the story because their is a whole lot of it and in my opinion none of it was really that gripping. However please continue reading because I’m going to explain why I stopped.

So the game opened with a pretty good recap of what happened in the previous game, and to my delight it actually wasn’t that bad looking:

Decent looking cutscene

Now I know when looking at this screenshot it doesn’t have much context but honestly this is probably as pretty as the game gets, i’ll show what the bad stuff looks like later. But anyways after the opening cutscene you see a few new faces, but I’m not really sure since it has been years since I last played the first installment.

Even though it had been a long time since I played the first game there were definitely a few things that I did remember. One was that I still don’t really understand the whole importance behind the ring stuff, like yes I understand that it is powerful but I don’t know it just never really hooked me. I’ve seen the LOTR and Hobbit movies, played Shadow of Mordor, and even tried to read the Hobbit book, I think it’s safe to say this particular high fantasy series just isn’t for me. Another thing that carried over from the first game is how boring Talion looks:

Caveman face

Look at that face, jeez he could be a stunt double for a caveman. At one point you meet this spider lady named Shelob, and as usual I have a few questions with the way things flow in games and movies. This time in a cutscene she literally just takes the ring that Talion was wearing and just automatically knows how to use it, again I know this is fantasy but how do people just understand how to use these super powerful and mystic items. To be honest I don’t think things work like that, i’m a windows user and if I had to all of the sudden use a mac, there would be a lot I wouldn’t know how to do instantly, and there is nothing mystic about that.

The game goes into a piss poor tutorial that was literally probably more of a waste of dev time that they could have been used better in maybe tweaking Talion’s face. As some time goes by, you find out that the game is broken up into act, and how to progress to the next act is a mystery to me so I just decided to do all the missions because it didn’t really signify what was important to the main plot and what wasn’t. One thing that I do have to say is that stealth feels really good and is smooth for the most part, of coarse outside the typical open world jank:

Am I really hiding

Now maybe you can’t tell from this image but is it just me, or is that grass not thick enough to hide me? And I know that yes you kind of turn translucent when it says your hidden but from my understanding only certain characters can see when Talion is using Celebrimbor powers outside of attacks. So in essence the normal Uruks (orcs) should be able to see him, oh yea the Ururks are this games grunt enemy. Plus that person i’m with that has the blue highlight over her head, her name is Idril, it says she is hidden but clearly she is standing in the open literally next to an enemy( the normal open world stuff).

Oh yeah, before I forget my worst enemy has appeared yet again, I don’t understand why it just won’t leave me alone, I don’t want any trouble:

It is watching me this time

What is that?? It my fine folks is a TOWER and what is that tower used for? It’s used to take a look at the map however this time you get to use some sort of scope to see all the wonderful useful collectables that you should totally collect because they are vital to the experience. I really just can’t seem to escape the dreaded towers.

Speaking on the collectibles there are multiple different kinds such as hidden words, spider memories, and umm idk other ones that could be something similar to coins. The spider memories are used to piece together Shelob’s story, but when you collect the spider tokens you have to do this little puzzle by rotating this glass chandelier type object, and you have line up the broken glass shards to reveal the picture. When that happens it unlocks a silent movie that doesn’t really have context to it (Applause) absolute genius design. But that isn’t even the worst part, some of the pictures your supposed to rotate and align might be something like a picture of flames, do you people even understand how hard it is to see what is going on when that happens. Eventually you just start randomly rotating the image and try to find where the vibration is strongest.

That goes into my next point, the visuals in this game are down right kind of ugly sometimes:

Why does it look so bad

This game came out in 2017, why is it so ugly.

Now let me get into the meat of the game which is the nemesis system. This part of the game is the component that will consume most of your play time. You fight Uruks to take over and command that patch of land that you are currently in. The Uruks are structured in something similar to military rankings and you are supposed to work your way through all of them until you reach who I think is called the warchief, he is like the big bad of the area. You work your way through the Uruks by either killing them or dominating them, killing them makes them drop upgrades but drops are pretty much worthless unless you kill an Epic or a Legendary enemy who from what I could tell are somewhat rare. This is what a special version of the Uruks called Olog-Hai look like:

Actually was a pretty cool guy

The Nemesis system you can definitely tell is where a very large portion of the dev time went because these guys literally have more personality that any of the characters in the cutscenes/story stuff. This system is actually pretty deep, if you wanted to put in the time and effort, you won’t be disappointed if that is your thing. 

Lastly I will hit on a few things that I didn’t like or didn’t think was needed:

  • Outside of the warchiefs in the story missions you have to gain intel on them first to find their locations or just randomly run into them as you traverse the world.
  • I really don’t like this combat style, it’s just more batman
  • Again Uruks have really cool personalities
  • Camera is absolutely stupid sometimes
  • Why did there need to be so many collectibles
  • The in-game move set doesn’t match what you can do in the cutscenes
  • Taking over forts, means taking over the area and is time consuming
  • Siege battles are pretty cool but kind of repetitive
  • You can only dominate Uruks that are your level and under, if they aren’t you shame them so they can come back to rematch you at a lower level or you out right kill them
  • Missions are pretty bland but quick
  • Some missions are locked behind requirements to pad the gameplay

Ok so back to what I stated at the beginning of this review, I didn’t finish this game even after putting so much time into it, it to me was extremely boring. And pretty tedious, the game even mocked itself a few times saying stuff like, “oh they have more armor now, this is just tedious.” I don’t like the combat and that is pretty much what your doing all game, and this game is down right ugly sometimes. I think i’m going to take a break from open world games for awhile.

Rating: Boring/10