The games that shaped me as a gamer part 2 – Reader’s Feature

The games that shaped me as a gamer part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Jak And Daxter – what Naughty Dog did before Uncharted

A reader continues his reminisces over the most influential games from his past, and moves on to the PlayStation 2 era.

My last Reader’s Feature covered the original games that defined my early days as a gamer. Now I will tackle the PlayStation 2 and Xbox era, with the same caveat that those mentioned are not always the best, just the ones that had the greatest impact upon myself.

Pro Evolution Soccer 1-6
I had dabbled regularly in this series in the PS one days, back when it went by the name of ISS (International Superstar Soccer). Even then the pure joy contained in the gameplay was much in evidence. However, FIFA was a constant distraction because most of my friends couldn’t possibly play with made-up professionals like Castro or Miranda.

When it was rebadged as Pro Evo the quality level sky-rocketed and it became impossible to ignore. The spontaneous and absolutely not scripted (apparently!), action was fantastic and with the only distraction being school I spent an obscene amount of time learning all its quirks and tricks.

I knew it was something special because even staunch football despisers like my brother would be enraptured within minutes of giving it a go.

Unfortunately, the next generation signalled a significant loss of form and I didn’t return till its recent resurgence.

Jak And Daxter
Strangely, I remember being very hyped about Naughty Dog’s first foray on the PlayStation 2. Strange because I never really got into the Crash Bandicoot games on the original PlayStation, although I still consider Crash Team Racing the best kart racer of its time.

Once I received this as a Christmas present in 2001, very few games got a look in for the next few months. I don’t think it was as genre defining as Super Mario 64 or Galaxy, but it just played so well and with its only standout feature being the world being streamed with no load times, felt so connected and alive with tremendous animation and glorious use of colour.

Shadow Of The Colossus
As the PlayStation 2 grew in stature and popularity it became known not for its power but for the sheer variety of software that made their home on the system.

This was the time for more experimental projects to show their hand and Fumito Ueda’s masterpiece was the ultimate culmination of that.

I actually played this before Ico, but even after completing both of them I still prefer this. As much as I love GTA III, its open world delights set off a chain reaction whereupon the template Rockstar laid out was taken up by way too many less skilled developers.

Shadow Of The Colossus felt like a riposte to all these bloated excuses for adventures, and introduced a loneliness and sparseness to the adventure genre again.

No distractions, and a story that would be filled in by the player forged a desire in me to push on and constantly regret my battles with the colossi. Combat in games changed for me after this, because it gave me an enormous sense of loss every time one of the beautifully designed creatures fell for the last time.

Project Gotham Racing 2
By now I had decided to take the plunge and pay out for an, Xbox because quite simply there were too many games being released that I wanted to try.

This was my favourite, a glorious mix of arcade and simulation that handled like a dream and reinforced my preference for track-based racing as opposed to the more freeform experiences prevalent today.

It also was the first time I ventured online, as the Xbox Live revolution took off. I still prefer my multiplayer locally based, as my next choice proves, but I have always found leaderboards intoxicating as you trim milliseconds off best times and watch your world rating tumble.

Mashed
Coming from the original developers of Micro Machines this was the only 3D interpretation I took to. The simple reason is that it sticks to the principles that made the originals such a success.

Granted it did lack personality with the bland environments and rote vehicle designs, but the beating heart of multiplayer magic remained.

As the Xbox had four controller ports it became the natural home for Mashed and its later expansions.

By reader baby machine-5 (PSN ID)

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

The dark side of the gaming community – Reader’s Feature

The dark side of the gaming community - Reader’s Feature
Kingdom Come: Deliverance – does the gaming community have a problem?

A reader offers a controversial view on gaming’s attitude to race and social issues, and the vitriolic manner in which it is often discussed.

We need to talk about gaming’s attitude to race and social issues.

It polarises instantly and brings vitriolic discussions from both sides of the debate. This turns into shouting AND A LOT OF CASPLOCK pretty quickly.

But the reaction to criticism of the developer of Kingdom Come: Deliverance around racist undertones in the game has been huge.

Fandoms are a funny thing. It’s easy to judge the whole fanbase of something from a small minority – whether it be sports, cartoon animals, or supernatural romances by Stephenie Meyer – who are voicing their opinions the loudest.

However, we all have things that we’re passionate about in life and will spring to their defence if we feel they’re being unfairly criticised.

Gamers, for the most part, are excellent people who are passionate about the games they spend time with.

But Gamergate was born as a sexist lynch mob from the very beginning, and nothing about that has changed.

If anything, they branched out into various other bigotries.

And that’s where we are with Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

Developer Daniel Vávra has been accused of ‘actively denying the presence of people of other skin colour or ethnicity in [his] game and thus promoting a racist worldview’. More widely, writers have accused him of being ‘racist and sexist with revisionist notions of history’, all accusations he denies.

Vávra says, ‘The nationality of other characters reflects what we know about Bohemia [where the game is set] around 1403. Thanks to intensive research, this knowledge includes entire family trees and property rights.’

Vávra’s ‘political correctness is censorship’ stance is provably false; by its very definition. Censorship can only take place if the government or an arm of the government is involved, so ‘freedom of speech’ is not a valid defence.

And, judging by the overwhelming response to my letter about him, a lot of people think I’m a social justice warrior (SJW) who want me, at best, to shut up and, at worst, dead. I really am tempted to call gamers ‘the worst kind of people’, even though it’s the tiniest of minorities.

But medieval ideas of ‘race’ were very different from what they are today, the Journal Of Medieval And Early Modern History has argued.

While 15th century Bohemia (the westernmost part of the Czech Republic, where the game takes place), was mainly full of white people (which I previously misinterpreted), the multi-ethnic relationships within Silesian communities in Bohemia draws into question whether 100% white is an accurate representation.

Regardless, Vávra’s push for ‘historical accuracy’ is still problematic.

While DailyDot has already questioned whether the game is sexist (the writer thinks it is). Vavra wants there to be an open discussion about equality in gaming.

But according to Kotaku he also wants those he views as SJWs, and other progressive thinkers, to be excluded from the conversation.

If Gamergate really did have issues with the means and not the message, then they wouldn’t be so quick to hurl abuse and threats at anyone who asks that some consideration be shown over representation in something as ultimately insignificant as a video game model.

Perhaps, when people such as Vávra and his supporters feel excluded from the conversation, the fault may just be on their end and the views they hold, views which society has rightly become less tolerant of in recent years.

Sadly, I’ve seen a lot of comments over the years that suggests there is an intrinsic problem with bigotry and anti-progressive attitudes within the gaming community.

It may still be a loud, reprehensible minority that’s doing the shouting but these people cannot be safely ignored, especially not in the light of the rise of far-right activism and the resurgence of white supremacy movements.

Whenever somebody does raise concerns about equality in gaming, even those that use a perfectly rational tone, the response from some in the gaming community is usually one of mockery and ridicule, even full-blown hatred and bigotry.

As much as we like to think of the gaming communities growing into new areas for different ‘types’ of gamer, whether people realise it or not, the first instinct of many gamers is to try to downplay or belittle anybody who suggests that the gaming community has a problem with bigotry, often to the point of flat-out stating that people should not be discussing these issues at all.

It’s gotten to the point where trying to discuss anything remotely progressive is impossible because the very well mobilised minority jump on it and, as a result, bigoted behaviour becomes normalised, even encouraged.

This leads to the feeling of it being an old boys’ club, where anybody with a critical eye or who suggests that improvements could be made is slandered and cast out.

Frankly, I would much rather live in a world full of ‘SJW snowflakes’ – where everyone is basically just begging for a hug – than the hateful opposite that is starting to become the more readily cited tone of discourse.

So what can be done about it?

People way more researched than me have discussed removing anonymity online, building more into ‘intelligent gaming’ and so many other potential ‘fixes’.

But the issue still remains and, if anything, is becoming an even bigger issue.

The problem of bigotry in the gaming community is very real and very visible, but it’s not always shouting in your face. It can be subtle, and some may not even realise they’re doing it.

The first step to tackling the problem is to acknowledge it exists.

It’s all well and good to say, ‘Don’t feed the trolls’ but from what I’ve observed over the years doing so has only caused things to get worse, not better.

So if you see someone talking about hate speech, bigotry or even just the use of language in gaming, or is suggesting someone in a prominent role in the industry has views that are problematic, think about why.

Are they really making out that this is a big problem, and the offending thing or people should be banned, or are they just offering a critical eye? Are they speaking from lived experience? What if you were in their position?

After thinking about that, if you still feel the need to jump in with comments about how the author is virtue-signalling, being too sensitive, tarring all gamers with the same brush, or saying something along the lines of, ‘Oh so I’m a bigot, am I?’ and exaggerating their statements to belittle them, then you need to honestly ask yourself what that says about you.

By reader Andrew Middlemas

The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

Video gaming’s bad parenting lessons – Reader’s Feature

Video gaming’s bad parenting lessons - Reader’s Feature
The Last Of Us – is Joel a good dad?

A reader explains why you shouldn’t expect good parental advice from video games, with a tongue-in-cheek look at Resident Evil and Tomb Raider.

Video games can teach us a lot about life. That is, if the question was whether or not you should shoot something in the face instantly (SPOILER: the answer is yes). But what about other less shooty questions? What wisdom could we mine from video games? As an example, I thought I would look at parenting advice. How to look after a child, teach it, and bring it up. So let us use many years of gaming knowledge to shine a light on this problem, a problem as old as time itself…

Resident Evil and babysitting

Resident Evil is a great resource for teaching folk about the subtle art of child rearing. Of the many great examples I’m going to focus on Sherry Birkin from Resident Evil 2, and her stellar parents William and Annette Birkin. So, Bill and Annie are busy people, way too busy to look after their vulnerable 12-year-old highly impressionable daughter. What was their noble task, you may ask? Well, it was the noble endeavour of bioengineering a deadly weaponised virus which threatens the very existence of mankind itself.

And how did they keep this potential catastrophe safe? Why by fashioning it into a snazzy pendant and giving it to their 12-year-old daughter! They did give her a good shot at survival by teaching Sherry remarkable vent climbing and running away skills, as it is a struggle for two experienced law enforcement professionals to keep a hold of her.

One final parenting tip, as a mum don’t stand under badly balanced pipes in an earthquake situation, or as a dad do not mutate into an amorphous blob and pursue your daughter in a mindless act of destruction and death. I can’t stress that last point enough.

Tomb Raider and teaching

Tomb Raider has taught me that good dads instil in their children an insatiable hunger for knowledge, which drives your precious daughter onto greater and higher heights. Even if that does seem sort of pushy parenting. What you don’t want to do is leave your mansion strewn with half-discovered secrets of unfinished adventures and then go missing.

This will leave your daughter with more daddy issues than Batman, and more driven ambition to solve all your mysteries than Sherlock Holmes on steroids. So teaching good, but going missing bad.

Healthcare and The Last Of Us (spoilers)

The Last Of Us teaches a lot about fatherhood, after a wobbly start of course. Joel’s second surrogate daughter Elle has a longer innings but in a hostile world inhabited by walking fungi with attitude problems. Joel does an admirable job showing Elle how to survive, and she demonstrates it on two occasions with massive aplomb. One occasion in a bar, which had me out of my chair, literally punching the air with her diplomatic solution to a difficult situation, and the second when she is left to fend for herself. Elle shows her inherited mettle by procuring food and maintaining shelter while Joel has a wee nap.

However, it’s not a cornucopia of good parenting examples, there is that one time when Elle is in the middle of an operation that Joel has some concerns around the procedure and applies a rather more ‘industrial’ solution towards a group of healthcare ‘professionals’. So good survival training, bad dealing with healthcare. (Though I might have done the same thing.)

This is probably what the hysterical tabloids think gamers think as they’re playing a game, ‘I must go out and imitate as quickly as possible!’ Well, that’s not the case, and we are usually bright enough to look at games for what they are: pieces of interactive fiction with no more life advice than Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein or Fight Club.

That’s not to say there’s no wisdom to be gleaned though and hopefully I’ve managed to open the door a crack to let some of that light flood in, you’re very welcome world.

By reader Dieflemmy (gamertag/PSN ID/NN ID)

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

10 of the worst: fighting game bosses – Reader’s Feature

10 of the worst: fighting game bosses - Reader’s Feature
Street Fighter V – M. Bison has always been a pain

A reader names the fighting characters that have annoyed him the most over the years, from M. Bison to Shao Kahn.

Hello again! I bring another YouTube-style list for your good selves to either grumble about or nod quietly in agreement with. You may notice that this list is exclusively bosses found in fighting games. Not that there aren’t zeroes to be found in other genres, like Murai and the helicopter from Ninja Gaiden; or bosses so pathetic they were better off staying at home, like the Act 1 boss from Sonic & Knuckles 3’s Launch Base Zone.

But we all know that fighting games are notorious for dreadful bosses and yes, they are worse than anything else. Special mention must go to Street Fighter IV’s Seth. If he made you suffer I’m not trying to say that your pain isn’t real – I suffered too – but it was inconsistent. Some characters, even on the maximum difficulty, could cut through him like he wasn’t there. While others really struggled to make a dent. So he’s not here. These guys, however, are.

10: M. Bison, Street Fighter II

My rules for this list are that these bosses are in no way at all enjoyable to confront or eventually defeat. And for every other boss on this list, even on easy, the difficulty spikes conspire to rob you of any joy or satisfaction from the bout. Bison is beatable on the lower difficulty settings, but you won’t get to see your chosen character’s ending unless you stick to normal or higher.

In which case, Bison jumps around the screen like a maniacal grasshopper. He absolutely loves hitting you with head stomp, followed by a flying heavy punch. He also seems to have total air superiority. You try any sort of jumping attack and it will be countered nine times out of 10. If you had no trouble with the Mega Drive controller’s chunky, stone age D-pad, then you could counter with dragon punch-style moves. Which I was never able to do, but I did see a highly skilled player score two perfects against Bison on the highest difficulty setting as either Ken or Ryu. Bison does not like dragon punches.

9: Dark Tengu, Dead Or Alive 2

I’ll be honest, this guy isn’t very hard. The wind blast attack that he can do with his wings is extremely cheap and will hit you from any distance. What really kills this guy is his whole look. Sorry to be shallow, but this guy just looks ridiculous. Tengus aren’t that intimidating anyway, at least to Western eyes, but this guy takes the cake, the biscuits and even the ice cream. The long nose, white fur, angel wings, and those really high geta (high platform sandals) are bloody hilarious. On seeing him for the first time, a friend of mine remarked that he looked like a womble.

8: Jinpachi, Tekken 5

Oh Tekken. Just… why? The boss here is Heihachi Mishima’s dear, old dad. Clearly terrible hair runs in the family. Bad news for Kazuya in a few years’ time. And Jin. I think. It’s hard to keep up with the whole Tekken soap opera that is the Mishima family.

Jinpachi also has a demon mouth for a belly. And a screen-filling laser that he likes to use. A lot. As well as other ‘pleasant surprises’. Tekken usually does quite well with its endings, but it does charge a steep price for them.

7: Azazel, Tekken 6

I really have no idea where Tekken’s fascination with so-called arcade killers comes from at this point. I’ve paid £40+ for my game – to keep. Please stop presenting me with cheating bosses! Azazel is huge, has multiple attacks that can take off a third of your health and more, and he cannot be thrown. But if you think beating him in arcade mode is bad, just wait until you try to do it in free-roaming scenario campaign. That’s a treat.

6: Hazama, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

How did this happen, BlazBlue? Why would you hurt me like this? The boss of the first game was tolerable, if still not actually fun. For the record, there have only ever been two entertaining boss battles in fighting games. They both belong to Power Stone 2. Pharaoh Walker (What a massive animal! But it’s not unstoppable – aim for its head…) and the gangrenous Doctor Erode. This is because they play more like something out of Contra/Probotector.

But I digress. Hazama is a green-haired cowboy, who is also Cthulu. Or something like that. The plot of BlazBlue makes even the craziest anime shows seem coherent. Fight him in arcade mode and you’ll find out that he has more health than a late game Final Fantasy boss – and it can regenerate! Thankfully his attack power or aggression aren’t too bad on the easier settings. Not that it will matter. It’s less a fight and more a siege.

5: Shao Kahn, Mortal Kombat (IX)

Now it’s time to get really smelly. Strangely, Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat II is a pussycat. Then the third game came along. If his appearances were only limited to that, he’d still make it on the list thanks to that sledgehammer of his that eats away a quarter of your health! But for the reboot, unless you are amazing, only the cheapest of moves will succeed. He’ll also glow during some attacks meaning they can’t be interrupted.

It’s interesting that all bosses that NetherRealm have created since have been far more manageable.

4: Gill, Street Fighter III

Yes, you knew this git would get a mention! Resurrection! If you know what I’m talking about straight away then you’re probably shuddering a little right now.

Gill, who I pronounce as ‘Jill’ instead of fish gill even though I know that’s wrong, is one of the most vicious opponents here. He can keep the pressure extremely high even when the difficulty is low. Then, if you beat him – he’ll come back to life! Ha! It’s enough to drive a fellow mad! But not me, gurgle.

Also, he looks like one of those old Fruit Salad chewy sweets which I don’t think you can buy anymore. So he looks stupid too.

3: Galactus, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate Of Two Worlds

This one’s just tragic. How can something this spectacular to behold be no fun to play at all? First you fight super strong clones of Al Wesker and Doctor Doom – who can kill you easily enough on their own – then it’s Galactus who is armed with not just one, but several one-hit kills. And you’re on a time limit. It’s like the developers thought of all the least enjoyable things they could think of and then just threw them at you. You will never want to touch arcade mode again. No kidding.

2: Alpha 152, Dead Or Alive 4

For a time, I thought nothing could be worse than this. Not only is it a clone of Kasumi, the most boring female character in the history of the genre, not only does she look like a creepily sexualised puddle (don’t think too much on that image) but she gets to take advantage of a counter system that has always favoured the computer.

Her attack power is massive. She’s much faster than anybody else in the game. If you get hit with a counter and your health is slightly less than 50% then you’ve either lost or you might as well have.

Alpha 152 represents the nadir of Tomonobu Itagaki’s blackened soul and his terrible attitude towards the player. And for this boss alone I wish him every failure in life, he deserves it. Yes, she really is that bad.

1: Unknown, Tekken Tag Tournament 2

This girl is so bad that I gave her her own feature way back when. And she’s still the worst. And just like Galactus that’s such a shame as she was okay in the first game. The liquid latex look is a bit… weird, but she does look sinister and demonic.

But you can’t set the fights to one round, you can’t let her start any combos or you may find yourself on the receiving end of a 100-hit string and then demon hands can come out of the ground, covering the entire surface in a black vortex that then sucks you under and leaves that character only one hit away from death and forces you to switch over – as it’s a tag team game, you see. After beating her, I thought to myself: ‘Gosh, I don’t ever want to do that again.’ Hell, I almost didn’t want to play fighting games again. Damn you, Namco. Damn you to hell.

But, breathe… and rant over. What do you guys think? Am I too much of a noob with some of these entries, any nightmares that escaped my notice? Do tell!

By reader DMR

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

Why I think Resident Evil 7 is a 10/10 game – Reader’s Feature

Why I think Resident Evil 7 is a 10/10 game - Reader’s Feature
Resident Evil 7 – back from the dead

A reader offers his review of the most recent entry in Capcom’s classic survival horror series, and gives it a perfect score.

Resident Evil 7 is a game that marks the start of a new era for the franchise. In Its opening hours, you will have no other choice than to run away from any sign of danger. By the final hours, you will have enough weaponry to take down anything in your way. It’s the expert pacing that runs throughout the game that makes this a fantastic game that delivers on every level and leaves you craving more once the final credits roll.

The setup of Resident Evil 7 is basic: Ethan receives a video from his wife Mia who has been missing for three years after taking a babysitting job. A new video from Mia gives him her location and a warning to stay away. Of course, Ethan doesn’t take the advice, or the game would have been an out-of-context, one minute long cut scene that cost you £50. All joking aside, you arrive at an unknown residence where you’re about to have a very long night.

The first immediate change from previous Resident Evil titles is the shift from the over the shoulder third person view to a first person perspective. This new way to experience a Resident Evil title is a brilliant change that increases the scare factor. From the very start, just walking up to the main house is a tense affair. Every sound effect is something to double guess, and only raises its paranoia-inducing level as you progress. The walk is a tense one, especially when you can see a figure just up ahead at points. Once in the house, the first person POV comes into its own. The corridors are narrow and claustrophobic, making you consciously aware you have nowhere to run should you end up meeting any people along the way.

In terms of gameplay, you will generally be given an area to explore and scavenge through without danger looming. These areas normally contain puzzles, like matching an object to fit an outline in a painting, or simply finding the next key to open a new area. It gives a purpose to each room, and little mini-games to play with. To explain properly, there are several old TVs about the place, each with a VHS player that can be used should you find a tape. It lets you take control of the person in the tape, drip-feeding you more story or simply a better knowledge of what lays ahead, with fear and intense moments galore.

When you aren’t exploring, you will be taking on the game’s several family members in intense boss fights, or finding the means to kill or get past the incredibly creepy slime creatures, all whilst finding the special animal-related keys to access doors within the family home. It’s a clever mixture with each family member linked with locations, and several puzzles made to give you, for instance, a shotgun. But whilst you can see it you must work to get it. Nothing is that easy to acquire, but neither should it be.

The excellent pacing I mentioned at the beginning is down to its subtle shift in mechanics. For the first few hours, you are defenceless against the Bakers, and it’s very much a case of hide and seek as you try to work out where to go and what to do whilst under threat – leading to some brown trouser situations should you be caught. This is also where the game shines, as all you can do is hide or run. Whilst all this is happening, you must figure out where to get to next. You eventually get to a space under the house, which you move through to find yourself in the laundry room and all is quiet. Here you find a save point, a green ammo box and a safe spot.

In any of the rooms with these items, you are safe from whatever should lurk beyond the closed door. The ammo box is made useful throughout the game to store items taking unnecessary space in your inventory, which comes in very handy in the later stages when you have plenty of ammo and weapons to carry. The game also introduces first aid meds that heal you with a press of R1 should you possess any, and the use of chem fluids you pick up throughout allows you to use the games crafting system.

Should you, for example, have chem fluids and a herb in your inventory, you can combine them to craft a first aid bottle. The same goes with handgun ammo crafted with gunpowder instead of herbs. This gives the game another layer and means that exploring every room is worth it should you come across any of these items. Just make sure you have enough space, or some backtracking is needed to transfer items to your ammo box to make space.

Story-wise, Ethan is likeable enough but remains silent the majority of the time. The Baker family are the best part about the game, as a meal with them around their table proves. Jack, the man of the family, is kind but creepy, his sly grin making your skin crawl. Marguerite, Jack’s partner, is a formidable presence, whilst son Lucas is a loose cannon ready to explode at any given moment. The different dynamics each family member possess elevates the boss fights ahead. Yet there is no sign of daughter Zoe, who you see on family photos around the house. Where is she?

The boss fights are well put together, and include a burning car, an epically gory chainsaw fight, and a nerve wracking fight in an old abandoned section of the Baker residence. They all live up to the promise the main story sets up, and are all memorable in their madness and stay with you afterwards. The story evolves after every boss fight, and the matter of Mia’s SOS call and her deceptive lying to Ethan is handled so well that you won’t know why until it hits you. The narrative is spot on and the added story you find within notes around the place only enhance the tragic revelations to come.

As this wouldn’t be a Resident Evil without monsters, the slime creatures are some of the weirdest and grotesque creatures I’ve come across since the clickers in The Last Of Us. They stand around seven foot tall, and are introduced in the claustrophobic corridors of the lower floor. You get a hint that something is coming as black mould infests the walls around you. They walk slow, but just the squelchy noise from them moving is enough to make you shudder in disgust. And trying to land a headshot can be tricky when they are constantly swaying their heads. This is made more intense should you be cornered and need to kill them with no space to move.

The combat manages to feel satisfying throughout, with each weapon feeling both real and unique. The pistol, for example, takes skill to line up headshots, and the urge to land every shot only ups the stakes. By the later stages, you will have access to a machine gun, flamethrower, and grenade launcher to name a few. All of these handle nicely and makes you feel safe even when there are plenty of enemies, yet you still must be accurate and not become complacent. You never feel totally in control.

Along the way, you also collect antique coins, which are used to unlock three items: a stabiliser, which when carried with you gives increased reload speed; steroids, which dramatically increases your health and lessens damage taken; and finally a .44 MAG revolver. I managed to unlock the steroids and stabiliser which gave me an extra edge in combat and boss fights, but never made me too invincible.

Resident Evil 7 is a brilliant game that is effortlessly paced throughout, utilising its (new) first person perspective to the maximum and proving that the franchise is far from finished. It has interesting and terrifying characters, a story that will keep you guessing and a harrowingly life-like setting backed up by great and often subtle gameplay mechanics, and enough tension to last you a lifetime. It’s definite proof that any franchise can revive itself, if it’s bold enough to take the risks. You no longer have to be sceptical of the series’ future as number seven is just the beginning.

Score: 10 out of 10

By reader Charlie Ridgewell

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 – Reader’s Feature

Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Super Mario Odyssey – it’d take a cold heart not to love it

A reader continues his journey through the magic of Super Mario Odyssey, and records his progress via its versatile photo mode.

One of the best things about the Mario series and Odyssey in particular, is its sense of whimsy. Anything goes as long as it abides by the number one rule: it’s fun. Having an urban city setting with semi-realistic citizens seemed like a really oddball choice at first. And indeed it is oddball, but in the best possible way! The game takes constant delight in surprising you, throwing the weird and wonderful your way at every turn.

The whole game has a palpable sense of freedom, adventure and invention baked into its design. Each new kingdom offers the same sense of wonder and excitement you have in the real world when you arrive in a strange new destination. I would like to think my photos convey some of that excitement, but like with real holiday snaps they can’t compare with the experience of the real thing. You’re just going to have to visit these beautifully realised worlds yourself!

(WARNING: I haven’t included any bosses or major secrets but if you want to stay completely spoiler free you may wish to stop reading now.)

Portrait Shots

Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Mickey Mouse eat your heart out!
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Mario gives it his all performing Shakespeare
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Always wear the correct attire for your environment!
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Captain Toad always know where it’s at
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Pure glee! Makes me happy just looking at this shot
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Mario helps out New Donk City’s tourist board
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
That was one wild night in Tostarena!
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Wrong clothes again! How embarrassing!
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
In the navy! Yes, you can put your mind at ease!
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Arrrr, here be dragons

Landscape Shots

Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
3D Super Mario Maker? If only!
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Another perfect landing. 10/10!
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
It’s like a fairytale…
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Hot under the collar in the Sand Kingdom
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Super Mario Crime Fighter!
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Not quite a grey and brown shooter…
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Mario attempts to blend into his surroundings
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Mario’s about to add some spice to this soup
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 2 - Reader’s Feature
Out of this world! What a game!

Well I hope you enjoyed my humble selection of photos and thanks very much for reading!

By reader Ryan O’D

Click here for the same reader’s feature on Zelda: Breath Of The Wild’s photo mode

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 – Reader’s Feature

Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
Super Mario Odyssey – the world’s best wedding photos

A reader makes good use of Super Mario Odyssey’s photo mode, to show why exactly its his new favourite video game.

How do you make what is already the best game ever even better? Add a photo mode of course! Super Mario Odyssey would have been my favourite game ever without it, but being able to take photos of Mario’s exploits for the first time adds a whole new layer of fun to the adventure.

It’s amazing how much character Mario has without the need for any words. He is just so photogenic! Especially with his new expanded wardrobe. Who knew I’d get such excitement from dressing a short Italian plumber up as a sailor and taking photographs of him?! So without further ado, please enjoy a selection of my snaps from my Odyssey with Mario.

(WARNING: I haven’t included any bosses or major secrets but if you want to stay completely spoiler free you may wish to stop reading now.)

Action Shots

Mario the action star, he's not called Super for nothing!
Mario the action star, he’s not called Super for nothing!
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
He can run (faster than a speeding dog!)
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
He can jump
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
No really, he can jump (think of his poor knees)
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
He can throw his sentient hat (of course!)
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
He can launch a sombrero wearing sheep
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
He can swim with the fishes
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
He can catch a Jaxi without any awkward small talk
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
He can crawl inside your head
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
He can smash up the place (what a vandal!)

Artistic Shots

Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
Here I try to capture the translucent nature of existence
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
Mario in his experimental white period, pretentious moi?
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
You can really feel the warmth coming through this scene
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
Mario in a stark avant-garde caveman piece called Deadbones
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
An impressionistic shot of a psychedelic landscape. Someone’s been on the mushrooms
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
This is titled Journey, no plagiarism here
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
Black and white makes it more aesthetically pleasing, don’t you know
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
I really think, someone needs to go to Mushrooms Anonymous
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
This piece sold for a million coins to a mysterious rich collector named Captain T.
Super Mario: a photographic odyssey part 1 - Reader’s Feature
An astute use of colour conveys a welcoming scene

By reader Ryan O’D

Click here for the same reader’s feature on Zelda: Breath Of The Wild’s photo mode

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.