Black Mirror Season 3 Episode 1 Review

Black Mirror the show featuring standalone dramas that tap into the publics unease about technology and the modern world returns as a Netflix Original series. The first episode ‘Nosedive’ starts the series off very strongly. At first it might seem like the show has softened up from its usually dark themes. Lacie lives in a world where everybody can be rated out of 5 starts instantly, the higher you’re personal rating the more privileges you get in life such as nicer apartments, fast lanes and even access to work. Thus, most of the people in the show are extremely polite, always friendly and fixated on maintaining their social media so that they can maintain or increase their rating. Public life and homes are often immaculate, always clean and organised. The forced interactions, the constant use of technology and the perfect surroundings quickly create a feeling of unease, where everybody seems fake and overly perfect to the point of coming across as insane or psychotic.

Lacie the main character is a solid 4.2 rating, but to afford a new apartment she needs to achieve a rating of 4.5. Her opportunity arises when an old friend invites her to her wedding and makes her the maid of honour, the right speech amongst these 4.5 ratings and above is exactly what she needs but a few unfortunate mistakes can spell disaster very quickly in this world. The hour-long episode is split nicely into 3 sections the first showcasing and establishing the world and Lacie very nicely, the next showing her unfortunate spiral downwards as she travels to the wedding and lastly leading to a truly superb and well executed finale with a very powerful and poignant message.

This is exactly the kind of dark, satirical viewing which is expected of Black Mirror and it has been delivered in spadefuls here, in what is funnily enough a near perfect execution of its ideas and plot, with great acting, directing and just about everything else in between.

Black Mirror season 3 episode 1 easily gets a 5-star rating. Just don’t make any unfortunate mistakes for the rest of the season okay?

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Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration Review

Celebrating 20 years of one of gaming’s most iconic heroes in spectacular fashion.

 

The award winning sequel to 2013s Tomb Raider reboot finally arrives on the PS4. Unlike its predecessor this game doesn’t focus on Lara being marooned on a dangerous island and instead focusses on Lara undertaking her first Tomb Raiding expedition as she follows the trail of a mysterious prophet said to be immortal. The story primarily takes place in the cold desolate region of Siberia a drastically different region from the previous game which blends together wilderness, soviet installations and other interesting and curious locales which are a joy to explore. This isn’t an open world but a majority of the game and side tasks take place in big richly detailed hub areas, with more linear story driven moments linking these environments together. The game is truly at its best in these large hub areas with countless collectables, optional puzzle tombs, side quests, challenges, hunting and thrilling story missions to do at the players own pace.

One of the game’s biggest strengths is its diverse gameplay which blends seamlessly together rather than feeling like separate segmented bits of content. One moment you will be engaged in an all-out gun fights the next you could be exploring a tomb or crypt or hunting deer to make upgrades to Lara’s skills and weapons or you could simply be clambering around the environments on the hunt for more resources and collectables. The content on offer here is brilliant that is if you’re the kind of player that likes to see and do everything, otherwise the main story alone can be completed rather quickly. The game is at its best when everything is rolled up in one package as some segments of the game are often a bit weak. Combat for example has changed very little since the previous game and this is certainly one of the games weaker aspects, many of the games puzzles are also a tad too easy, sometimes even trivial. And while this game like its predecessor is brilliant they are very similar to each other and that familiarity can be off putting.

Overall this game offers an interesting if somewhat anticlimactic story, rich and diverse gameplay and hours of content to stick an ice pick or two in. This is in regards to the main game alone, what makes this package truly exceptional is its plethora of additional content all included on the disk. Detailed below.

Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch, reuse of environments, reskins of enemy’s, a predictable and somewhat uninteresting story, relatively little new content or ideas and yet… still a satisfying and fun little side quest which sits nicely alongside the rest of the main game.

Endurance Mode, Here the focus is on survival as players are dropped into the wilderness which changes each time you play. This is a fun mode in which players have to contend with a hunger and coldness bar and see how long they can survive whilst collecting artefacts to escape with. While this mode is very fun and challenging it can get somewhat ridiculous the longer you survive, such as two bears chasing after you while a flame trooper attacks you whilst also getting shot at with arrows by another faction, yup it really does get that crazy.  Includes Coop to improve survival rates.

Cold Darkness Awakened, easily the weakest piece of content in the entire game, essentially Tomb Raider with zombies, this mode feels uninspired and gets pretty boring very quickly. Fight zombie like enemy’s, solve some puzzles, really not that great and highlights many of the weaker aspects of the games combat systems.

Blood Ties, explore croft manor as Lara in an attempt to save it from the evil clutches of her fiendish uncle. Mostly an explorative story driven journey though croft manor with countless collectables to find and a small sprinkling of puzzle solving. Also included in Blood Ties is Lara’s Nightmare in which Lara yet again fights off zombie like enemy’s. The tight confines of the manor and the emphasis on making every shot count means that they work much better here than in Cold Darkness. This segment of content is short and not particularly re-playable but still an enjoyable addition to the overall package.

The game also includes a plethora of additional weapons and skins as well as a new difficulty mode to boot. Also comes in some well-presented packaging where the game case is in fact a mini art book. If you’re looking for an action packed adventure game brimming with content, you can’t go wrong with this amazing 20 year celebration.

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