Oops! I was supposed to come back and post an update on my progress on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, wasn’t I? Last time I posted, I was just two back-to-back dungeons from the end, and hoped to finish the 2.0 campaign that week. Though I didn’t post, I did finish the game!

So what have I managed in the last two months? Well, I’m coming up on the end of the 2.x content patches that lead into the first expansion, Heavensward. I’m just at the start of patch 2.5, having just (literally just – as in, about two hours ago) defeated the ice primal Shiva. I’ve also finished my Augmented Ironworks gear set, but have since glamoured it to look like the Daystar set, as I really wanted a new look after months with the Ironworks gear. You can see how my character currently looks below.

I’ve also been working through the Hildibrand questline, which is genuinely quite funny. It’s made me laugh a good few times so far, as I follow around the bumbling inspector Hildibrand and his ever-faithful assistant Nashu. The last thing I did was fight, err… Greg on a… conspicuously large bridge. Ahem. It’s been a lot of fun.

I’ve also recently got a new tattoo. More on that to come.

So now I’m on the cusp of level 59 and just have patches 2.5 and 2.55 standing between me and my first expansion. My Free Company pals are still miles ahead of me – two of them have now finished Stormblood, the second expansion, while a third is partway through it – but they’re still hanging around to help me out. My plan is to finish Stormblood before the third expansion drops, which should be sometime around June next year. I really want to be able to look forward to new content releases, rather than seeing them as some far-off thing I’ll get to a year or two later. I’ve a long way to go, but I’ve picked up the pace a bit recently. So here’s to getting myself through Heavensward (and also being able to unlock some new skills, something I haven’t been able to do since hitting level 50!).

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Back in July of last year, I wrote about my return to Final Fantasy XIV‘s realm of Eorzea, after some time away. I thought it was about time to update where I am with the game, but first: a short recap.

I first played FFXIV when it was in beta phase 3, which is when Square Enix let in PlayStation 3 players for the first time. I’d never played an MMO before, though I had been tempted, but being a big Final Fantasy fan, I decided this was the one to break my duck. It also helped that a friend also wanted to play, and though he didn’t get into the beta, we both picked up the game at launch, and I rolled a male elezen archer called Khroma Midgard.

Before long, I’d joined a Eurogamer forum-based Free Company and got through a handful of dungeons, but my friend drifted away from the game as he wasn’t a fan of the ongoing subscription. My other guildies had also rushed ahead of me, and though I’m sure they’d have been willing, I didn’t want to ask for help, as I felt I’d be holding them back. Though I managed to advance him to Bard, I abandoned poor Khroma Midgard at Haukke Manor, never to return, never to run that dungeon.

Though I’d managed to put over a hundred hours into my first ever MMO, it always bothered me that I hadn’t finished the Main Scenario. And I sure as heck missed that world; I’d drop in from time to time – one such time being when I bought a PS4 and received a free upgrade to that version of the game – but I found that everyone else had moved on to other Free Companies or servers. At that point, I basically dropped the game entirely, occasionally casting glances at content patches and update news, but not meaning to return.

So what changed? I returned to the game partly because of Noclip’s excellent documentary series into the game’s turnaround, helmed by Naoki Yoshida, but mainly because a member of the Destiny group I joined last year, who had also played FFXIV in the past, expressed an interest in returning. An interest in starting again. It was the perfect opportunity for me to do the same, only this time on PC. So I re-subbed. And then I created a new avatar, one that would represent a new beginning, while also calling back to my original adventurer in Eorzea. I made a female Miqo’te healer, and as she was a Keeper of the Moon, I named her Khroma Moonsong.

khroma moonsong

So, after nine months back, what have I achieved? Well, I joined a new Free Company right from the off this time – indeed, I think I was the fourth player to join – I’ve become a White Mage, and I’ve long since passed my previous roadblock of Haukke Manor. I’m now less afraid to ask for help from my fellow Free Company members, most likely because they’re made up mostly of members of the Eurogamer Discord community, so I find myself interacting with them daily outside of the game. I’m still far behind everyone else – I’m just slow at games, okay? – but I know I can always ask for help when I reach a dungeon or trial.

My goal for last year was to finally finish the A Realm Reborn 2.0 Main Scenario, which I didn’t quite manage. But I’m almost there now; the last thing I did in-game is defeat Rhitahtyn sas Arvina, one of the main antagonist’s most ardent followers. What stands between me and the end of the game I started more than four-and-a-half years ago is two eight-player dungeons. I’m nearly there! I hope to finally finish this very soon, and will update when I do. After that, I have more quests to do before tackling both expansions. Can I get Stormblood finished before the next expansion comes? Maybe that should be my next goal!

As for our Free Company, Eorzean Gaolers (EG, for Eurogamer, geddit?), we’ve grown a bit since I first joined. We’re now up to 19 members (though a few of those are lapsed), and it’s been really enjoyable for me to help newcomers to the game learn the ropes and get through dungeons; there are plenty of great guides out there, but what I feel a lot of higher-level players forget is that sometimes us newbies don’t really get MMOs. Often it can help to discuss early-game stuff with players who have walked that same path, and it’s really rewarding to help people see how much fun they could be having in Eorzea. Especially as the game now has an incredibly generous trial period, meaning new players are always joining in.

We’ve also since bought our own Company Estate in the Goblet, and after a lot of grinding for Grand Company seals (and having to suffer through the Aurum Vale with a random tank and DPS, ooh lordy never again), I finally managed to get my own room in the house a little over a week ago.

khroma's lunarium

Now I just need to spend tens of thousands of gil decorating it. So far, I’ve changed the floor and walls (as a Conjurer of Stillglade Fane, I needed to bring a bit of Gridania with me to the Goblet, so went with a bit of greenery), and added a Glade Fringed Rug, a few Hingan benches, and a bed. It’s a bit spartan at the moment, but I want to add to it over time, rather than throw a load of stuff in there and then decide I don’t like half of it in a couple of months. Anyway, there’s no rush as I still have tonnes of content to play through, and right now, there’s an in-game event to celebrate Hinamatsuri that awards a Far Eastern doll display. I guess I’ll put that in there when I get it.

Out in the real world, I now have the FFXIV lorebook Encyclopaedia Eorzea, as well as all of the excellent art books, including the latest Stormblood book. I’ve glanced through that and the two Heavensward books (while trying to avoid spoilers!) and I’d say they’re an absolute must for fans of the game, filled with beautiful art and concept pieces from across four years of Final Fantasy XIV. It’s safe to say I’m in deep now, and this time I don’t intend to get drawn away from Eorzea again. (Also, I really want this)

I’ll most likely post another update when I finally finish the 2.0 questline (hopefully this week or next!), but for now, here’s one more shot of Khroma, lazing in her room, with her ever-faithful Relm minion close at hand.

khroma relm bed


Two years after it first debuted on PC and PS4, Frictional’s latest slice of terror finally arrives on Xbox One. Rather than the interdimensional gothic horror of Amnesia, however, Soma opts for a near-future science fiction setting, and looks to ask questions about what it means to be human.

You awake in a Toronto apartment in 2015, in the body of Simon Jarrett, a poor sod who’s recently suffered a traumatic accident. As a result, he’s off to have a brain scan as part of an experimental trial; a pair of scientists have come up with a way to model the brain, allowing them to test out different treatments in a virtual setting before applying a working therapy plan on a living patient. Simon travels to the lab, takes a seat to begin the scan, and a helmet is lowered over his face before his vision fades to white.

He wakes up a hundred years later.

Clearly things didn’t go to plan. Simon awakens to find himself in a dilapidated, decaying industrial area, seemingly devoid of life, with no explanation for this sudden shift. Exploring our surroundings, we discover Simon has somehow been transported to an undersea research complex in a post-apocalyptic earth; after a comet struck the surface, the members of the PATHOS-II facility became the last remnants of mankind, and set about a plan to preserve humanity. And yet, at least to begin with, we can’t seem to find any people here, just murderous robots that seem intent on stalking poor Simon through darkened corridors at the bottom of the sea. On top of that, there’s some strange growth infecting everything in the station and its surrounding environs, apparently reanimating and controlling organisms for its own ends. Soma‘s vision of our near-future is a reassuringly chunky, almost retro-futuristic one, which makes its setting, and by extension its fiction, broadly believable, and at this point you’d be forgiven for being reminded as much of Creative Assembly’s Alien Isolation as anything from Frictional’s back catalogue.

Nothing good happened here.

While you’ll spend a fair amount of your time in SOMA creeping around creepy abandoned facilities by yourself, Simon isn’t alone during his journey through the thermal plants, factories and research labs that make up the PATHOS-II Initiative’s clutch of facilities. Fairly early on, you’ll meet Catherine Chun, a former member of the team that guides you toward your objectives and engages in frequent debates on the nature of the self. You see, while Soma can be a terrifyingly visceral experience at times, especially when being chased by the awful victims of the aforementioned infection, its true horror is more existential in nature. I really don’t want to spoil the story – which is interesting, thought-provoking, and genuinely gripping, and should definitely be experienced first-hand – but much of the thrust of Soma rests in exploring what makes us human, and where our sense of self – our very consciousness – resides. There are some genuinely chilling and unsettling moments in Soma that have nothing to do with creepy monsters or jump scares (though there’s plenty of those, too), and it’s all the more effective for its undersea setting, the pressure of the unfathomable depths pressing down on you and reminding you you’re almost alone in the world, often with nothing but your own thoughts for company.

Crucial to the horror experience is pacing, and Soma is excellent in this regard, too. You’re never in one place doing one thing for too long, and as soon as you start to think you might be getting a little too comfortable in any one location, you’ll be whisked off to another part of the North Atlantic shelf to do something else. Like Frictional’s other games, and increasingly common to the genre, you’ll spend a lot of your time simply exploring the environment and hiding from ungodly terrors (you’ve no means to defend yourself, of course), while also solving a decent amount of puzzles. These won’t tax your grey matter too hard, but you will at least need to engage your brain for a minute or two, and most are enjoyable.

You’ll also spend a significant amount of time out on the sea floor, often trudging between stations. At first, being surrounded by vast, fathomless nothing feels oppressive, with your vision and hearing severely curtailed by the deep, dark depths. This feeling never really goes away, but after a while you’ll start to appreciate the relative freedom, and there’s a sense of (again, relative) serenity to these sections, especially as you come to realise you’re rarely in any mortal danger when out in the water. Of course, there’s still that sense of foreboding, that crushing dread that the game has been instilling right from the start, when Simon awoke in his apartment in 2015 and you had a sense that things weren’t quite right, and it’s to the game’s credit that it manages to keep that tone throughout. It’s never less than unsettling, and the fact that Soma manages to offer an ending that can leave you both horrified and elated is quite something indeed.

See, now isn’t this much nicer?

There’s also dozens of documents to read and audio recordings to find that will flesh out the lives and experiences of the now-absent PATHOS-II team if you care to explore. Aiding that is a new gameplay experience called Safe Mode, which allows you to play through the game immune to its various monsters. Before playing, this sounded like an odd addition for a horror game, but having now experienced Soma – and again, I’d like to stress that its horror is more rooted in existential dread than monster closets – it makes perfect sense. This is a world you will want to explore, and sometimes you just can’t – if a monster’s patrolling an area, you will have to sneak past, or maybe even try running and see where that gets you. My natural inclination in narrative-heavy games is to explore every inch of the world, and I couldn’t quite do that in Soma. I’m seriously considering another playthrough to experience Safe Mode for myself.

It’s a world you should experience for yourself, too. If a mix of Amnesia, Alien Isolation and System Shock sounds like sweet, terrifying manna from heaven (hell?), well, why haven’t you played it already?


As you may know, last Tuesday saw the release of the Xbox One X, Microsoft’s second bite at the current generation cherry which aims to redress the power balance seen between the base PlayStation 4 and Xbox One since they released back in November 2013. As the Xbox One has been my primary platform this gen, I decided to pick one up, and you can check out our unboxing of the ‘Project Scorpio’ edition console over on A Game with Chums.

Having bought a 4K television in the middle of last year, I’ve been waiting for this console to push some ultra high definition content to it; I have previously borrowed an Xbox One S for a few days, and found myself wowed by Warcraft: The Beginning in 4K/HDR, but I was really looking forward to seeing how games fared on the new system, especially favourites like Halo 5: Guardians, which uses dynamic scaling on original hardware, sometimes reaching as low as 1152×810. Even unpatched, the game should run at a full 1920×1080 at all times, plus receive forced 16x anisotropic filtering, cleaning up textures at oblique angles and making the game just look better all around.

Fortunately though, Halo 5 was one of the (many!) games slated to be updated for the One X, with many patches dropping before the new console even went on sale. In the week running up to release, I had a good handful of my games updated and ready to go on my external hard drive; I just needed to plug it into my new console and get going.

Obviously, being a massive Halo fan, Halo 5 was the first game I wanted to try when my system arrived, and the results were immediately obvious. The game just looks so clean now. It still uses dynamic scaling, but now both the upper and lower bounds are far, far higher. Texture filtering has also been improved, and though the core assets are untouched, the fact that resolution and filtering are so much better just means you can see far more detail than you ever could before – even down to tiny incidental text on weapon models. Halo 5: Guardians was always a pretty game, if a bit blurry. On Xbox One X, it looks spectacular, and I can’t wait to see what 343 can do with Halo 6 on the new machine.

The next game I wanted to check out was Gears of War 4. Honestly, I thought this game looked absolutely ridiculous on the base Xbox One, so I was intrigued to see how The Coalition would update it for the new machine. The answer, apart from a much higher rendering resolution of course, is higher resolution textures. The game already offered HDR if you had an Xbox One S (and I did try it out on that console when I borrowed it – it looked great), but the higher fidelity textures are the real standout here. With the game looking so crisp and clean at 4K, the upgraded texture work really shines, and the game looks absolutely phenomenal. Every time I load the game up, it drops my jaw.

Gears 4 already looked fantastic though, and the game that has impressed me the most so far, offering the biggest leap from base hardware to One X, has to be Dishonoured 2. Just look at the image at the top of this piece, a screenshot I took of the Dreadful Wale’s engine room – it could pass for a bullshot! The textures and materials look spectacular, and there’s not even a hint of aliasing.

Dishonoured 2 is another title that has received upgraded textures, and the difference is immediately apparent. Everything seems to have been improved, from geometry to textures to skin shaders; just take a look at our video below, where you can immediately see the upgrade in texture work on the door behind Captain Mayhew. Then pay attention to the Captain herself, who looks far more detailed than she ever did before. Where her face seemed a little flat on the Xbox One, you can now make out creases, scars and freckles in her skin.

It’s a massive upgrade. When Arkane announced Dishonoured 2, I was extremely excited for it, and watched all the footage the Lyon-based studio put out. I thought it looked wonderful. But when my Xbox One copy turned up, I was a little underwhelmed by it, visually. The excellent art design shone through of course, but it didn’t look great on the console. One Xbox One X it looks like the same game on a different generation of hardware, the leap is that big. In fact, it looks so good that, after recording the above video, I decided to shelve my One X-enhanced Gears of War 4 playthrough to play this instead, finally getting around to my high chaos Corvo run (I previously did a zero kill Emily playthrough).

It’s safe to say that I’m incredibly happy with my purchase, especially as I already had the TV for it. Now I can play console games in the highest fidelity and watch some more UHD blu rays. And that’s without even mentioning how small and quiet the machine is, or what it can do for backwards compatible Xbox 360 games. This thing is an absolute monster, and I can’t wait to see what developers can do with it going forward.


Now that Hallowe’en is over, and with it our month-long Month of Horror, we’ve started a new series over on A Game with Chums. If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy, as we are, you’ll know that 2017 marks the thirtieth anniversary of Square’s storied RPG franchise, and we couldn’t let the year go by without celebrating that in some way.

We’ve raided our game shelves to make a collection of videos showcasing the first hour of every mainline entry in the series, all the way up to last year’s Final Fantasy XV, and we’ll be putting them up on Wednesdays and Fridays, starting today with the original Final Fantasy (well, kind of the original; we played the Origins version). You can watch it below, and please leave us a comment if you enjoyed it.

We’ll be back with Final Fantasy II this Friday, and we hope you’ll come with us on this journey. If all goes to plan and the technical gremlins leave us alone for a bit, we expect the final video to go up on December 20th, which is just two days after the original Final Fantasy was released in Japan back in 1987. It’s almost like we planned it.


You know a game takes its scares seriously when the first thing it asks you to do is turn off all the lights and refrain from tearing your gaze from the screen. Yomawari: Midnight Shadows even implores you to promise not to break these rules. You might wish you did.

Much like last year’s Yomawari: Night Alone, Midnight Shadows begins with a little girl and her dog. While we, unfortunately, had to witness the demise of the former protagonist’s cute little pup Poro, here we’re introduced to Yui, who has headed up into the mountains near her quiet little town to bury her beloved pet. I think Nippon Ichi might have something against dogs.

If you’re new to the Yomawari games, you might find yourself somewhat mollified by the cutesy chibi character designs and beautiful hand-drawn art. Do not be fooled. This is a bleak world where bad things happen. Much like the first game, that charming art gives way to an oppressive atmosphere, exaggerated by some incredibly minimalist audio – which frequently uses nothing but natural sounds like the rush of a river or the wind through the boughs of a tree – and some severe vignetting that darkens the periphery of your vision, forcing your focus to the centre of the screen, and hiding the terrors of the night in deep shadow. This is not a relaxing game to play. Even before you’ve seen anything out of the ordinary it’s put you on edge.

Of course, you’ll discover very early on that things are not normal in this town. The opening of Yomawari: Midnight Shadows – which I don’t want to spoil – might be the bleakest thing I’ve seen in a video game, and I honestly still don’t quite know how to feel about it. Dressing this segment up as the opening tutorial amplifies its effect substantially; “Ok,” you think, “the game’s teaching me how to play. I just hold X to pick this up. I push this over there. There were go. Aaaand… Oh. Oh God.” You’re lulled into a false sense of security, because you’re just being taught the controls, right? Nothing bad can happen in a tutorial. Yet with a few simple button presses, Yomawari: Midnight Shadows makes you complicit in a genuinely shocking act. And you’re only ten minutes in.

Returning players will note many similarities beyond just a little girl and her dog. Indeed, Midnight Shadows both looks and plays almost identically to the 2015 original, and that’s not a bad thing. What we have here is kind of an isometric 2D Silent Hill, where you’re tasked to explore an apparently-normal town where things have somehow gone very wrong. After the opening segment, we’re re-introduced to Yui, who has come to the mountain overlooking town with her friend Haru to watch a fireworks display. It turns out Haru is moving away and the girls are saddened that they will soon be separated. Haru, of course, doesn’t want to leave her friend, and declares that she’s not going anywhere. She’s going to stay with Yui forever.

As darkness falls and the girls head home through the woods, they begin to hear strange noises. Eerie apparitions flitter in the corners of their vision, and finally they hear a voice. Armed with a torch, Yui volunteers to go and take a look, and instructs Haru to hide in the bushes. Heading through the woods alone, she comes across something lying in the middle of the path. Bending to pick it up, she realises it’s the red leash she had used to walk her dog. We’re instructed to jump into the inventory to view it, so we do just that, reading the little text description and OH GOD WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!

Christ. You’re not even safe in the menus.

We cut back to Haru, who emerges from the bush to find Yui gone, her discarded torch lying on the ground nearby. She sets off through the night to find her friend.

As you make your way around town, investigating points of interest for useful clues, you’ll note the cues Yomawari: Midnight Shadows takes from the earlier Silent Hill games. The inspiration is apparent too in that bleak, oppressive atmosphere, and there’s the roaming monsters and spirits that appear to block your path and chase you down. In Yomawari however, you feel more vulnerable than in, well, the vast majority of games, to be honest. It’s not just because you’re a little kid that can’t fight back, seemingly abandoned and alone in a town with no friends, no adults, no signs of normal life. Yomawari uses the children’s innocence to underscore just how miserable all this is; there are no adults around, strange spirits are roaming the streets, and yet for all that, the town looks normal, and Haru doesn’t even question it, doesn’t wonder where her parents are. She just wants to find Yui again.

The foreboding mood is fostered by that crushing sense of creeping dread that the best of Japanese horror cinema does so well, where even mundane, every day things will set your teeth to chattering, like the rustling of litter or the buzzing of a sodium streetlight. And of course there’s the scares. The majority tend to consist of jump scares, and I’m usually pretty immune to those, but there’s something about this game, something that makes me jump out of my skin whenever some multi-limbed grinning horror bursts from a seemingly-innocent little alleyway and chases me down a dark street when all I want to do is get back to the safety of home.

Luckily, Haru can hide in some of the scenery around town. If you see a bush or an A-board, you can duck behind it to escape the night, and you’ll see your chosen hiding place illuminated in the centre of a black background, the roving terrors that are following you picked out in red as they near your hiding place. You’ll hear Haru’s heartbeat pounding in your ears as they get closer, and even though you’re sure they can’t pull you from safety, your already-frayed nerves will be at breaking point until they start to move away, and you think it might be safe to emerge and continue your journey.

When you do, you’re just back out in the night, with the monsters, the dark, and the rushing of the wind.

It’s been a while since I posted about my YouTube channel, A Game with Chums, so I thought I’d throw up a short update.

As Hallowe’en is now upon us, I’d like to point out that we’ve been playing horror games all month on the channel, and tomorrow, October 31st, our final video goes up. We’ve been continuing with our let’s play of Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn on Mondays, and then uploading a random horror game every Wednesday and Friday, until last week when we decided to go all out in the run up to the day itself, and post a new one daily. Here’s our latest one, which went up yesterday.

This was our first time playing Forbidden Siren, so we weren’t great at it. It was pretty tense though! Below you can also find the latest part of out Until Dawn let’s play. Things escalated pretty damn fast.

Here’s the list of all the games we’ve played so far for our month of horror, as well as the platforms we played them on. Why not catch up before our final video goes up tomorrow? I’ll also have a timely review for you tomorrow as well.

Project Zero || OG Xbox
The Evil Within || Xbox One
The Thing || OG Xbox
Yomawari: Night Alone || PSTV
Layers of Fear || Xbox One
The Suffering: Ties That Bind || OG Xbox
Dead Space || Xbox One
Corpse Party || PSTV
Condemned: Criminal Origins || Xbox One
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth || OG Xbox
Resident Evil Revelations 2 || Xbox One
Silent Hill 2 || OG Xbox
Forbidden Siren || PS4

If you happen to check out any of our videos, please do let me know what you think below, and come back tomorrow for that final video and spooky review.