Ghost Recon Wildlands & Knuckles

Hello old friends, all 12 of you that read this.

First of all, yet another long hiatus. This time due to nothing in particular. I could say it’s due to getting ready to be a dad, but my girlfriend is covering preparation for both of us. It could be because I am working hard with year end coming up, but… no. I am fairly relaxed about it all (because I am so dedicated and efficient, potential employers). A friend of mine always makes me very aware when I haven’t written for a while with lines such as “If only someone I know had a blog and could write about Sonic Mania so I knew whether or not to buy it”.

Well here is said blog, bucko.

I have been playing many things recently, so I won’t write a never ending list, but the highlights have been Dark Souls 3, Ghost Recon Wildcards and Sonic Mania.

Dark Souls 3 is a game I have had for a long time, played for a while, drifted away from it and never came back. I started again with a new character and a new spirit. It turns out, I am not terrible at.Dark Souls. I don’t know what it takes to be considered good, but my kill/death ratio is above 1, so I will take that as a win. I won’t review it here, but it’s slow, methodical descent into the darkness is just what I need to brighten up my day, especially when my character has a cool hat I stole from a corpse.

Ghost Recon Wildlands (henceforth abbreviated to GCW) is a game I had heard mediocre things about. Not quite Far Cry, sort of Splinter Cell and a splash of The Division, but always less than the sum of it’s parts. A drab, cliché story about some drug lords that need legally murdering by some butch army fellows and a lot of guns. Not necessarily a recipe for success. However actually playing the game is a different story. I have skipped all the cut scenes and dull dialogue and what I have found is a fun, blow-uppy 3rd person shooter. If anyone played the original Mercenaries on PS2, this is the hotter, younger cousin of that game. You can jumps in a helicopter, fly across the map, annihilate a village, find a new gun and continue. With integrated online co-op, the only down side I can see is it getting a little repetitive. The gunplay is excellent (except an annoying first person iron sights mode, but this can be switched back to 3rd person with a click of R3) so I can see myself using this as a go to no brainer for a little while.

Sonic Mania could be seen in a similar light. I’m not really playing for the story, it reminds me of a retro game and I kill Bolivian drug lords in it. One of those is not true.

Sonic Mania looks, plays, sounds and feels like a Sonic game done right. It has elements and remixes of classic Sonic levels, fantastic level design and ingenious boss fights after every stage. I cannot recommend it enough, especially only at £16. I am playing on the Switch, which I think is the best place to play. The game offers autosave, so can be played on the go, turned off then restart back where you were on the big TV. I’m not sure how much I can say without constantly referencing the original Sonic games (before he became 3D). If you loved the classic Sonics, you will love this. If you hated them, you will hate this, as if you told me this was a long lost Sega Saturn Sonic game, no one would question you, it is that faithful. Made by a hacker/programmer that had previously updated Sonic CD roms and made them available online, this is a true love letter to 16-bit era Sonic.

That’s all I have for now, I have told myself to write more frequently as I have played more games then I let on, but will tease you with titles such as Shadow Tactics… consider yourselves teased.

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