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#Together We Can


It’s fair to say that the last few weeks can be described as a whirlwind for the majority of people across the country. We are going through something that is likely to change the way we view the world and how it runs forever. However, there is a much more pressing reality that we must pay attention to which is what we can do to stay safe and help our communities in this time of need. 

The COVID-19 crisis has not only put a standstill to our daily lives but also caused some catastrophic damage to the drinks and hospitality industry, with Sky News saying the virus has caused ‘irreparable" damage as bars, restaurants and pubs are forced to close their doors for months. Not to mention the monumental losses for the people on the ground such as bartenders, waiters and waitresses who are made redundant with  Big Hospitality tallying the number at 26,000. 

With news and numbers like the above coming in constantly, it's hard to feel like you can help those who have found their world turned upside down in the crisis, especially as we’ve been ordered to stay indoors unless in the cases of essential travel or daily walks (which might I add IS an example of doing your part). With this in mind, it’s worth commending the sheer numbers of people who are actually responding to the call for help, from the NHS receiving 500,000 applications for people offering to volunteer and people doing what they can to help those directly in their own communities.

This has not just stopped at a grassroots level as brands have also been doing their part to help as and where they can. An example of this being Kopparberg teaming up with the Licensed Trade Charity which has been helping to support the hospitality industry for over 200 years, providing financial assistance, as well as practical advice spanning debt, housing, employment law and benefits to those in the drinks industry.

Now here’s where you can help, Kopparberg is donating a case (yes people, a CASE) of their gin and/or cider to their supporters who donate £20+ to the Licensed Trade Charity Go Fund Me, who are aiming to raise £25,000 to support those directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

If you’d like to donate and find out more information about the cause, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-the-together-we-can-campaign. In a time where there are so much uncertainty and tough news, its more important than ever for us to do the small acts of kindness that make big impacts to the lives of those you help as #togetherwecan.


Elyse

Statement: Collaboration

Working Through My Steam Game Library | What Sucks & What's Awesome

Isolation's got me upping my game guys!

I’ve been a long-time part owner of this blog yet I barely blog, you normally see me on Twitter or procrastinating. But, I really have zero excuses now as I am homebound with nowhere to go and nothing to do and a wife who is moaning at me because she’s still working and I’m not. Happy wife, happy life so I need to change this otherwise she may just kill me before COVID-19 clears.

My reason for not blogging so much in the past is that I’ve had issues with my writing in that I struggled to find my ‘’true voice’’.  I worried about it being taking out of context or being too child-like or too snobby but, ya know, I’m so past worrying about that.

So here goes…

My passion among many things is gaming. PC gaming to be precise. It’s been my passion since I was a young boy and well, I’m not young anymore. This being said my passion for gaming has never gone away. Over the years I’ve played so many game variations, my Steam store games list is a real scroll-a-thon filled with variation upon variation of games. Some so obscure I’ve not even played them and some are amazing but I’ve simply forgotten I had them due to the library being so vast.

Elyse has challenged me to do a PC games series, going through my list on Steam and giving real opinions on whether they’re worth it or not. I plan to do three games in each article but, be warned, some really are obscure thanks to Kinguin mystery packs.

First up is:

♥  12 is Better Than 6 by Ink Stains Games 

Cost: £1.74 - Usually £6.99

This game is a hand-drawn, top-down shooter game with a stealth aspect throw into the mix. You take the role of an escaped Mexican slave whose goal is to flee to the United States, the year is 1873, and you are being chased by people who rather keep you enslaved. The first thing that grasped me was the art style of this game. It's all hand-drawn with pen and paper and, I understand some people might turn their noses at this, but I can assure you that it is visually pleasing, with it's black, white and red colours! (It's very bloody at times). The game features a fully-fledged soundtrack which, I felt, really brought the game to life and complemented it well.


The shooting mechanics are really good, with pressing the right mouse button to cock your gun and left click to fire, so you really have to be careful when trying to take out one of your enemies, you might be able to take those bastards out with one hit, but so can they, and they really want you dead! I found myself having to repeat parts often and re-thinking my strategy for getting past certain areas. 

This game was released in 2015 and I really think that it has aged well. I'm not sure exactly when I added this game to my Steam library, but it was a few years ago, anyway. It definitely falls within the category of "Why the hell haven't I played this before?" one and I genuinely cannot find any fault with it.



If you are wanting to give this one a try and don't have access to a PC, and have a Nintendo Switch, then this is available on that too.

Rating: 

♥  Breathing Fear by LunarPixel

Cost: £1.99 - Only available on the Humblebundle page

Breathing Fear is another one of those games where you have to progress to unlock the story because at the start I had no idea what the heck was happening. It's a spooky game, with a few jumps scares, which when coupled with creepy piano impact noises, had me jumping at least a few times. You start off with nothing other than a flashlight, which acts as your time limit, once the timer reaches zero, your heart rate will start to go up. Once it reaches 70, you're dead. 

To counter this, you'll need to find ways to keep your heart rate down. Things like alcohol, soothing music and praying will give you temporary relief from your slow descent into madness, you know, the usual nerve-calming things, but be warned, these things can only be used once. Limited batteries for the flashlight can be found but they are few and far between. 



Visually, the game graphics are very low resolution and some people might find it hard to make out what is what and, with the added darkness, it makes it even harder to see what's going on. That being said, I really like the pixel art style.


The sound is okay but eventually will start to grate on you, the crow sounds when going outside, for instance, made me want to stay inside the house because it was annoying as hell.


I never had the patience to actually sit through the whole game as it was far too linear for me, you really have to do everything in a set sequence and doing that multiple times just bored the tits off of me. 

Rating: ★★★

Castle Crashers by The Behemoth

Cost: £1.99 - Usually £9.99

This game reminds me of the old Golden Axe games from the late 80s. That's a good thing in my books, as I loved that series! Castle Crashers is a side-scrolling, hacky wacky, type game where you have to save the four princesses and a gem that was stolen from the King's castle, where you, and depending on how many people you are playing with, were attending a party.

There's a lot of slapstick comedy that will give a few laughs, but the thing I liked the most was the role-playing game aspect. As you slay and conquer the King's enemies, you will gain experience points which will help you progress to the next level. As you gain levels you will be able to improve your strength, magic, defence and agility. All of these attributes will help you take down your enemies easier and allow you to progress quicker. You'll also pick up gold and weapons upgrades from enemies, with the gold allowing you to purchase upgrades and potions for healing your wounds because, to be honest, you'll get a lot of them! 


There's not much in the way of dialogue and all of the stories are told to you through what is psychically happening on the screen, so if you have a wicked imagination, this is the game for you. You'll fight all manners of beasts, from catfish (a literal cat with fins on it), a huge hairy troll and battering ram thingy, to name but a few and there are loads of minor enemies to fight along the way. 

You make your progress through the game using a huge, Mario type, map and each place of note can be accessed from here. You can return to all of these places and all of the enemies will be returned to their original state. This is particularly good if you want to test a new weapon and see how much it has improved your damage output.



I've had this game in my Steam library for a long time, and although I have played it on the Xbox, I have never played it on the PC. Word of warning though - if you are not used to playing with the keyboard, then a controller might be needed for this one as the keybindings are a bit shit, you are warned about this on the initial loading screen, though. 


Overall, this is a graphically pleasing title with a decent soundtrack and I will definitely be going back to this one! 

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★
So, that ends part one of this series. 
Have you played any of the above? If not, would you be likely to try them after hearing about them? If you have any recommendations for this series drop me a line over on Twitter or in the comment section below. 


Stay safe!

Connor

Statement: Nothing to Disclose

Resident Evil Resistance | Open Beta


Another Resident Evil title has just opened for beta testing by Capcom. I caught wind of it the other day on Twitter and had no idea it was even in the works and what's more, it's a multiplayer game and comes packed with the Resident Evil 3 Remake out on the 3rd of April.


The game is a 1 vs 4 survivor/escape game where you and four other goons are put against the so "mastermind", whose goal is to stop you from escaping. The mastermind is another player who is able to view the progress of the survivors using security cameras littered around the map and place traps and creatures using a deck of cards that have nice, or not so nice, pictures denoting what they do. The cards range from, spawning zombies to weaponising the current camera you are looking through, isn't it nice to be able to shoot at an unsuspecting person, whilst they are trying to fend off a zombie that you placed just a moment before?

 The survivors, who you will most likely control 90% of the time because people will almost certainly want to play as the mastermind, have their own set of skills, ranging from healing to hacking. All of these skills can be used in some way to help you progress through the map.

With that out of the way, I can get to the story. The survivors are people infected by the T-virus and must find their way out of an escape room type facility, they aren't willing participants, obviously, and their role is to provide combat data for Umbrella, the bad pharmaceutical company throughout the franchise. The game is listed as non-canonical which, for purest like myself, is a bit shit, but whatever. All of the survivors are pre-named and have a bit of a back story that will tie them into the Resident Evil universe in some way, such as a park ranger who is good with firearms and a chemist with healing capabilities.

There are six-characters available to choose from. First, you have the damage-dealing characters. Samuel Jordon, an ex-boxer, is really good at punching and using his "dash punch" attack, he can hurl himself forward into the nearest enemy, damaging them with his fists. Becca Woolett, who has the ability to use her "bullet storm" attack that, for a brief time, gives her unlimited bullets. 

The support providing characters are Valerie Harmon, a chemist that has the ability to activate a passive healing effect, that will, over time heal her teammates; Martin Sandwich, human bait by the sounds of it with that name, or as Capcom intended, the engineer with the ability to create traps and finally, January Van Sant, the hacker, who can disable security cameras, making it harder for the mastermind to see that specific area. The tank character is Tyrone Henry, a fire officer who is able to use his "rally" ability, which increases the morale of his teammates in the way of decreasing damage taken by enemies.

The first thing I noticed when jumping to the game, aside from the decent graphics, was the controls, they feel weird, and take a bit getting used to with the keyboard and mouse, you might want to try a controller for this one. The controls were only an issue when playing as the survivors, the mastermind controls are very minimal, and to be honest, I had more fun playing as it. Other than the shitty controls, the game itself is pretty good and the voiceover from the mastermind is a creepy and sinister touch.


Throughout the game, you will collect "Umbrella Credits" that you can use to purchase weapon upgrades, healing items and repair kits and running against the in-game time limit (The timer goes up if you carry out a task that is deemed as a success) you will definitely need better gear.

I couldn't help but notice how much better this game would have been in first person, like Resident Evil 7, or the option to change between the two, perhaps dedicated servers for each camera view?

As it is, this game is a good way to get your team style, zombie fix and as I will be purchasing the Resident Evil 3 remake, I will, no doubt, be playing this.

Rating: 

Connor

Statement: Nothing to Disclose

9 Facebook Pages You'll Love


I used to write about my favourite internet peoples years ago and they seemed to go down well with everyone. My reason for doing this was to help you guys find some great new pages that inspired change, positivity or just sheer enjoyment. I know that I just love to relax by page hopping, finding pages that made me want to be a better person and could push that change or guide me in some form.

Then Youtube happened and Tik-Tok and Instagram and people stopped caring about blogs and Facebook, you know, the slower social pages. So, I'm bringing it back! Bring back the slow living mentality where uploads don't need to be done multiple times per day, bring back the filter-free images and real-life words that go alongside those images.  

Here are nine of my favourite pages. Some are bloggers, some businesses and some just creative geniuses. Either way, I hope these inspire you in some form. 


Anthropologie | I love Anthropologie, it reaches my hippy-soul like no other shop and I constantly feel inspired, like each handpicked item is so well curated that you can just imagine getting rid of everything you own and adding a few Anthropologie items here and there and really rocking the whole minimalistic, Marie Kondo - does it inspire happiness type of life, am I right?

Nectar and Stone  | Simply put, these are sweet works of art. Based in Australia I believe but again they inspire me to be creative. To enjoy colour and patterns and simple touches. I've no idea how they make half of the things they do, and so well, but here you go...enjoy! 

Liz Earle | Naturally active skincare that makes you glow. Liz Earle were innovators of nature-based skincare regimes way before it became a 'thing'. If it's not broken why go elsewhere, I reckon your skin may thank you for it. 


Gretel Creations | Cute crochet collectables. I really love this creator and what she does. I did own the pink fairy above however, I lost her during my separation. See, even adults can enjoy a crochet doll. 

The Freckled Fox | Such a sweet blogging mama, I love reading her updates on life and the sheer amount of gratitude she has even for the smallest of things. Her pictures are incredible also. One to check out if you love a good social blogger. 

Sweetapolita | Cookies, cakes, pastel tones, shiny tones and SPRINKLES. This is sprinkle-porn. Literally sprinkle-porn. 



Crazy For Crust | Food. Enough said...? No, OK Crazy for Crust create what looks to be the simplest but most mouth-watering sweet treats that I've come across. These are really hearty but family orientated recipes that you will have to fight the urge to continually try. 

The Sunday Girl | Scottish beauty blogger Adrienne blogs about current brands but with a no-bullshit mentality. One to trust if you're looking for great images with reliable opinions.  

The Whole Daily | Nutrition, fitness, lifestyle and from a holistic perspective. If you're looking for a less stressful way to up your game, then this is the page for you to check out. 

Are there are others that you'd recommend? If so, drop them below in the comments or Tweet me on Twitter 

Elyse

Statement: Nothing to Disclose