When games give you an emotional kick in the crotch

By now I would imagine you would have seen the first episode of the HBO The Last of Us TV adaptation of the game. When you know that scene is going to come in advance it can be hard to prepare for the emotions that no doubt will tear you up inside and give a sense of grief that you dread and at the same time look forward to. In the moment leading right up to this part my heart was slowly breaking and I became fidgety as I said to my wife “I am not ready for this again.” Where Joel who is played by the amazing Pedro Pascale carrying Sarah through the ravaged city to get to the river due to her ankle injury and (prepare for a spoiler here) get stopped by a army bloke pointing a gun at them both while asking his boss on what to do. While Joel pleading with him not to shoot as they are not infected, my heart literally stopped as he opens fire and while Joel was shot his daughter was and to see the grief, sadness, helplessness watching his daughter die in his arms made me cry inside and to see the scene fade into black. Devastating.

Now back when this game came out in 2013 and saw this for the first time I had felt sadness but I was not a parent back then. In 2023 I have a daughter who is nearly 6 and a son who is nearly 3. Seeing this moment again as a father literally broke me and I would imagine every father who saw this. If she was not asleep I would have gone and held her close to make sure she knew she meant the world to me. Even writing this I feel the raw emotion of that moment asking the question “How can you want to make a parent feel this sense of loss and sadness?” Following this part and looking at what Joel has become 20 years later with no remorse and just throwing a dead child who was infected into a fire really shows how much time can change a person who has been through a sense of loss or a huge emotional life change. It will be very interesting in seeing how this show goes forward in mirroring the game. Granted if you have played both The Last of Us games then it won’t be a surprise.

There are other games that playing again with being a father that just break me down and no doubt other parents too. I am only mentioning a few others but there will be moments in games that pull you into the emotional pit for lots of other reasons.

The next one that ties in the most emotional is Season 1 of the absolutely brilliant Telltale series of The Walking Dead. If you know then you know! You play as Lee Everett escaping a car accident while being escorted to jail for killing someone who his wife cheated on him for at the beginning of the outbreak. Coming across a little girl called Clementine who hid in a treehouse in wait hoping her parents were going to come back. That never happens so Lee takes her with him in search of her parents while meeting other characters along the way. I’ve always loved voice actors and Dave Fennoy who plays Lee struck the perfect tone and emotion with the dialogue and then Melissa Hutchinson who played the sweet Clementine is one of if not the best pairing for these characters. Lee would teach Clementine moral values and closeness of being a parent while as the player we make those difficult decisions for them.

Through 5 episodes seeing character deaths and trauma it all leads to the final episode called “No Time Left” was always going to be a tough one to prepare for. Back in 2012 these episodes were released once every few months and the previous episode ending on the bombshell that Lee was bitten by a walker it wouldn’t be too hard to presume that it won’t end well for Lee. Yup! That does come to pass but getting there is always the most difficult to process as a gamer and as a parent. You get to see even more the close bond Lee and Clementine have while Clem sees her parents as walkers but knowing Lee has not got much time left. He wanted to make sure she was safe and did everything he could to teach her on how to survive. I will never forget how this made me feel even the choices you pick to say to Clem in those final moments. I wasn’t a parent at the time but I cried like a baby as Lee gave her a choice but clearly he wanted to be shot so he didn’t become a Walker. Clementine clearly crying to feeling the grief of having to let go. His final words to Clem “il miss you” to be reciprocated back while the brilliant soundtrack tearing on the heart strings as you chose to either Shoot or leave him there in handcuffs. Still crying while realising the start of the game he was in those handcuffs and ending it the same way. It took me a long time to get over this and the first real game since Gears of War 2 ( we will get to that next) that really shook me. I revisited the whole game series when the collection was released with PS Pro and Xbox One X enhancements and my daughter was only less than a year old and boy when I got the this part again I just trembled, same feelings as before but thought about what would I want if I was in this situation myself. Obviously make sure I didn’t get but by a walker but would I want her to leave me cuffed and turn into a walker or be put out of my misery? A huge credit to the game developers in the creative decisions and giving us the choice on what to do. I think I would rather be put out my misery as long as I knew she was safe and could look after herself.

The final game for me would be Gears of War 2/3. I’m linking both these games together as it serves one characters purpose. Dom losing his Wife Maria in Gears 2 was just heartbreaking, while there wasn’t much reference while playing through the game to Dom actively searching for her when you see her in a prison tomb and see his grief all for show it is one great big swift kick in the crotch. While you play as Marcus as the main character in a band of 4, the others being Baird, Cole Train and Dom there is the passion, teamwork, humour and emotional attachment. You are left playing thinking how would we feel as Dom in that situation and as Marcus who is the leader of the Squad seeing his bestie go through it and how to keep Dom going forward. It isn’t until Gears of War 3 where this pays off for better or ultimately worse when there is a battle and clear that there is no hope unless a sacrifice is made. Yup Dom decides to take a vehicle and smash it into a bomb to blow the whole area up and kill all of the Locust. All with the plan to see his Wife Maria again in the after life. Once Marcus realises he doesn’t want to lose his friend and the game playing the instrumental of “Mad World” while Dom blows himself up and the rest of the squad hurry to avoid the blast is one of pure genius. Yes we feel grief but also I think a sense of relief that Dom can now be at piece albeit now we feel what Marcus is feeling losing his best friend.

These are just a few examples of games that hit hard, games that make us feel in scenarios where we have invested in the characters and feel the grief as the developers have wanted us to feel. Make no mistake they can hit you in ways you may have experienced yourself or can relate to but never feel alone in it, talk openly and honestly with family, friends and the community.


Backlog: Destiny 2….

I played Destiny 2 back when it first launched. Thought it was ok too similar to the first one and then just didn’t play it again. When the forsaken edition released I also got this and played for an hour then stopped. Yet now in September I found myself wanting to play after watching a XboxOn stream looking at the new Season content with pirates called Sea of Plunder. Mastodon

I thought that this looked impressive with the enemies and how tough it looked. Then by chance the DLC packs for the game were on sale so I decided to impulse buy. Booted Destiny 2 up and then thought that the opening missions that this wasn’t what I remembered from playing it back then. The First Light missions took me back to the first Destiny and this wasn’t a good sign, was so close to just leaving it again. Forsaken story is cut and so is the original story, but when I got to the end I saw that there was more to offer with strikes, the customisation, the multiplayer plus the season content. Especially knowing the new Expansion that Is due next year is making me think about getting the pre order in. Hoping there will be new achievements added though.

Spent 9 hours playing Destiny 2, my light level is 1543 and playing a ruck load of the season content. Although when I booted up the game last night I was introduced to the initial mission of The Witch Queen with the cinematic which I found was epic. The gun play was brilliant with how tough the mission was so I think I might leave the rest until I have Tackled Beyond Light and Shadowkeep while blasting the weekly season content. This is without touching Crucible or Raids or even dungeons!

Really pleased with Destiny 2 and will play this for a long time to come

You are on my mind Immortality…. that’s a good thing?

Before going to bed last night as I finished my 2 hour session playing Immortality went to the loo, shut the windows, turned the lights off downstairs and I felt cold, had the music to some of the clips on my head and kept looking over my shoulder. I had not felt like that from playing a game before.

Immortality is a game from Sam Barlow and the team at Half Mermaid. Previous games such as Telling Lies and Her Story are great and have enjoyed them. It is very hard not to spoil anything by writing my experiences but the point to playing Immortality is scrubbing through 3 films that Marissa Marcel features trying to find out what happened to her. All in small clips where you have to rewind, fast forward and highlight objects which takes you to another clip.

Playing on console really adds the tension where vibration kicks in at what the game feels an important part to stop,rewind or fast forward. When you do there will be strange occurances which will leave you uncomfortable and quite frankly confused. It is at this point after an hour playing Immortality for the first time that it hooked me, wanting more,

This is after 2 hours. I really didn’t want to go to bed last night. Tonight I will find out more of what has happened.

PS. Wear a headset and turn the lights off. You won’t regret it

It’s all about the Odyssey….Again

If you have read some of my previous posts I have been playing Assassins Creed Origins. Now the story is done and yet still have lots to do on it I decided I would start Assassins Creed Odyssey. Since the release I have started, stopped and started again but now like I did with Origins it is time to focus on getting the story done.

The Ezio Outfit with legendary stats

3 hours in playing as Kassandra I am just about to leave the first island in search of killing The Wolf. All side missions and Question Mark areas done on level 7. Il keep up to date on how I am finding it but since Odyssey had its 60fps update I can say that on the Xbox Series X it definitely performs really well.

Let the grind begin

The End of Origins

After 27 hours of playing time I have finally finished playing Assassins Creed: Origins. I have to say that this is the first of the series that I have completed. The last part of the main game came quite quickly and didn’t want it to end. To see the retribution for Aya was great but and only a small but, after playing as Bayek through most of the game it was disappointing the final mission and the final Assassination as Aya and not as him.

Some of the cut scenes worked really well in wrapping the story up and the “Origins” of the Creed but I felt meh after the end. Unlocking New Game + is interesting and I am sure that will be on my list with the game however I still have more side missions to do, more exploring of the map, more crafting and then the DLC chapters ahead. No doubt I will clock over 35 hours and hope to max out the rest of the Abilities for Bayek.

I have started to play Assassins Creed Odyssey again from scratch so I may very well end up playing the story on this. The Last of Us Part 1, Saints Row and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Collection to play too this will take a lot of my limited time.

Have you completed Assassins Creed Origins? Did you enjoy the story? How long have you spent on it? Let me know in the comments

Saints Row Baby!

16 years ago Saints Row first graced our presence and now in a matter of days the rebooted game will be released. Time will tell if this will be popular and sell well, with gamescom this week and Goldeneye reaching the 25th Anniversary on Wednesday we may very well end up with that released on Xbox and Switch on the day.

Here is the Story Trailer. I have the Notorious Edition preordered on both Series X and PS5

It only took over 4 years but…..

When Assassins Creed: Origins first came out I had the excitement to want to play this game, it had the hallmarks of something different for the Series. Load it up get playing for the first 15 or so minutes and then I felt nothing. Felt that the graphics were poor, screen tearing and a huge amount of stuttering in the cut scenes. Even worse I had no connection with Bayek and was bored. Up until now I just left it in the pile of shame. I felt pretty much the same with Odyssey and Valhalla too. Odyssey had a 60fs patch for Series X and PS5 and up until recently on the 2nd June the same 60fs patch was released for Origins. I decided to give it another go. I am very glad I did!

With fresh eyes and the update to the game I started playing again 2 weeks ago and much to my suprise the game gets better after the first half an hour or so. Taking an interest in Bayeks past and for why he does what he does the main missions actually mean something and the voice acting is stellar. I spent most of my opening few hours just taking screenshots and using the in game photo mode. Some of which are included in this post. I didn’t just want to blast the story as for one side missions and exploring boost the player level and is needed to progress and two if I did that I wouldn’t be playing some of those extras and hunt for treasure. It’s hard to avoid spoilers for Assassins Creed: Origins after all these years but I was not expecting to see who I saw as a main character a few hours in. That got me hooked even more.

I only have time to game for a few hours in an evening if lucky but I know that when I start this game that there’s always side missions to do, look for question marks which often show a cave or a bandit camp and then some loot to get. There’s Saints Row coming out this week and I know that is one I want to really get my teeth into, when I knew Extreme E was coming to Forza Horizon 5 I played hours upon hours and enjoyed my experience and both games are on Xbox Games Pass. Totally a no brained. I am at 20 hours on Origins and even if I complete the game soon the DLC I also own will take me even longer. Last night I completed some of the main missions and all I think about is playing it more and more.