Games of the week – The Last of Us Part II, Do Not Feed The Monkeys, Desperados III and Beyond Blue
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The Last of Us Part II
Platform: PlayStation 4
Ellie and Joel are back
Set five years after the events of the critically-acclaimed original, The Last of Us Part II sees protagonists Ellie and Joel now settled in a thriving community walled off from a post-pandemic United States. Here, players take control of Ellie as she travels in search of revenge after a violent attack. Part II has made a step-up in every sense, particularly visually and in scale, but also in its intense, brutal combat. The rich narrative and character focus should be celebrated too, with a diverse cast that engages and intrigues throughout. The Last of Us Part II is, in short, one of the best experiences available in video games today.
Skip to the end: A worthy sequel to the blockbuster original, this beautifully crafted but brutal world will stay with you long after you put down the controller.
Do Not Feed The Monkeys
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Simulation / Strategy
Price: From £11.69
Big brother is watching
Do Not Feed The Monkeys gets top marks for originality, albeit pretty disturbing, as you take on the role of a nobody who gets involved with a secret online club which spies on people. It is as strange as it sounds, though also strangely engrossing too, as you navigate between your computer, your front door and your fridge in a pokey apartment, becoming obsessed with the top secret task you’ve embarked on, all the while remembering to eat, sleep and pay your rent doing odd jobs (which take place off-screen). Despite the weird voyeurism, there is some meaning to it all – though it’s not entirely clear why. Among the cameras you catch someone spying on a celebrity, but must pick up clues to work out what is going on. Other camera feeds simply show a mundane factory, churning away. And then you can actually make a difference and help those who need it – even though, you’re not supposed to, as the title suggests.
Skip to the end: Weirdly unique simulation game that provides plenty of intrigue, but could go further in explaining why we’re spying on unsuspecting folk so that it feels a little less creepy.
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Price: From £44.99
Fourteen years after its second outing, Desperados takes us on a triumphant third entry into the wild west as main protagonist John Cooper. This real-time tactical stealth title can be complex and therefore a real test of patience at times. But there is plenty of opportunity for trial and error and experimentation, which is the standout feature of the game at large. On top of this, you have a varied mix of abilities from the characters, opening each level up to multiple scenarios. The maps are also beautifully designed, though we would have liked more oomph from the story to make this battle of revenge even sweeter.
Skip to the end: Strong return for Desperados fit for 2020, with serious complex stages that may frustrate but will also handsomely reward once overcome.
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, PC
Price: From £4.99
Get your flippers on…
A game that blends entertainment with education is never going to be an easy feat, but Beyond Blue certainly makes a deep dive at it. This simulation title sees you play marine biologist Mirai, as you document a pod of whales for a livestream. You find yourself learning a lot about the creatures and marine life in general through this gentle, easy-going type of gaming – and knowing that scientists and the team behind BBC’s Blue Planet II were involved in development is a sign you’re swimming in safe water. While you get to explore some varied parts, the contents are not always as filled as you might hope. As for the storyline, it fails to stay afloat, feeling very repetitive as you essentially ‘sleep, eat, dive, repeat’ across several missions.
Skip to the end: Lots to learn as you roam the ocean, but lack of compelling story drowns Beyond Blue’s overall performance as a game.