Inheritance of Crimson Manor

I found myself playing as private assistant to a famous railroad owner, known as Hadley Strange (a very strange name indeed!) and it seems that I have been working for him for the past 10 years. As soon as I arrived at his beautiful mansion, I found an envelope addressed to me at the gate with cryptic instructions to follow. Something about helping Hadley Strange with a mission of his or bringing it to fruition.

Where was everyone, I thought; why is this place deserted? Well a newspaper by the door gave me the answer I was looking for. It seems an accident took place, which resulted in the mysterious disappearance of 5 members of the Strange family.

The Victorian manor is a joy to navigate and it is packed full of secrets—hidden passages, underground cellars, and a fascinating shape shifting library. It appears that Mr. Strange is a very peculiar sort of person with many secrets. One telegram found at the parlor addressed to his name reveals a research he’s been working on outraged the Victorian scientific society and as a result was rejected.

It’s difficult not to point out the resemblances between Crimson Manor and Resident Evil—from the map layouts, to the mechanical puzzles, to the overall atmosphere. It felt like walking into a more polished Spencer Mansion. Am I complaining? Certainly not! The massive house was a joy to explore. They’ve done an excellent job with the setting.

Each room was littered with puzzles. I would say straight forward puzzles—nothing too complex. At times, they were buggy, but nothing a quick exit and re-login couldn’t fix.

The entirety of the story is related through the family’s correspondences and journal entries. At times the game tries to be inventive and uses environmental storytelling. Around the half-mark I pretty much predicted what the ending(s) is going to be.

Overall it was a decent game, but I found myself feeling slightly bored at the lack of action. To be fair it is purely a puzzle game, but then I didn’t really get the same reaction playing The Da Vinci House or The Room games, which were also puzzle games. What made Crimson Manor slightly disappointing for me was how the tension builds up slightly at the beginning, giving you the impression that there’s something sinister going on, but it never really delivers to fulfill the atmosphere and vibe it’s triggering. On Steam, it is categorized as a horror game, which only contributes to setting false expectations for it. I would describe it as more of a mystery/puzzle adventure. The only eeriness you get is from navigating an empty house—no jump scares, cut scenes, or queued animations. It’s a good choice of game for someone looking for a relaxed puzzle mystery.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for design
  • 3/5 for Puzzles
  • 3/5 for plot
  • Game Platform (played on): PC
  • Game Link | Click Here

DyingLight + DLC (Lore)

The following is a thorough and detailed summary and timeline of what transpired in the game DyingLight and its DLC, “The Following”. The post includes information on the characters, events, enemies, and lore. DyingLight 2: Stay Human is to be released on February 4th, and takes place 15 years after the events of its prequel.

Disclaimer: I take no credit for researching or creating the information written here. The content is fully researched by its rightful owner, Game Harry, which can be found on the YouTube channel: Gaming Harry. The purpose of this post is to summarize the video’s timeline to make it easy for myself and possibly others to stay up to date with the events of the game before the launch of the sequel.


The Main Plot Line

Kyle Crane, one of the Global Relief Effort’s (GRE) agents was dropped in the fictional Turkish city Harran. A viral outbreak, which turns people into zombies has taken place, but Kyle’s mission is to locate Kadir Suleiman, a man who stole a classified file from the GRE and is using it to blackmail them.

Shortly after dropping in Harran, Kyle gets attacked by both zombies and a group of men who belong to a gang. In the process of getting away, Kyle gets bitten by a zombie and as a result becomes infected. A woman named Jade Aldemir finds Kyle and rescues him, where he’s taken to a shelter called “The Tower”. At the shelter, Kyle also meets Jade’s younger brother, Raheem, who teaches Kyle the basics of Parkour.

When Crane’s infection escalates, he goes to meet Dr. Zera, who administers him with a shot known as Antizin. The medication does not cure the infection but tries to keep it in control. He then learns that Dr. Zera is trying to find a cure for the virus, but the gang Kyle met upon his landing, known as Rais’s gang, has been stealing all the Antizin they could get their hands on once it’s dropped by the GRE in Harran. The Antizin is used by the gang to extort people in the city. Another Antizen drop was scheduled at sunset, and Kyle is asked to help by setting traps around the building as a distraction while the Antizen is picked up.

During setting the traps; however, the man known as Brecken gets attacked by Rais; as a result, Kyle must take his place to secure the Antizen instead. He reaches the Antizen drop, and when he radios in the pick up with the GRE, they tell him to destroy the Antizen except for one to keep it for himself. This way he might be able to force a meeting with Rais, by buying the Antizen from him directly and confirm his identity (that he is Kadir Suleiman). When Jade contacts Kyle, he lies and tells her the dropped supplies were looted.

At the tower, the group debates over who should go to Rais to ask him for the Antizen. Kyle volunteers to go. He makes his way to Rais’ area, meets him, and finally confirms his identity. He also meets Rais’ quarter master, Kareem. Kyle is deliberately asked by Rais to complete a set of shady and unethical tasks and if he completes them, he is promised two crates of Antizens instead of one. This was obviously a mission to get rid of Kyle, but when he survived, Rais does not stick to his promise and gives Kyle 5 vials of Antizens instead of the two crates. Rais then asks Kyle to bring him Jade, who he wants to fight in an arena for his gang’s entertainment.

Kyle contacts the GRE to tell them he does not want to work with Rais anymore, but they remind him of how important the stolen file is and to stick to the objective; in other words, deliver Jade to Rais as he was told. Instead, Kyle cuts ties with the GRE. He returns to the tower to tell Jade about failing to get the Antizens and chooses not to fill her in on what Rais’ plans. At this point they also find out the GRE will be halting the Antizen supply drops.

Jade and Kyle invade the facility Rais uses to store the Antizens but find nothing. What they do find is a collection of plastic explosives. Shortly after, Raheem uses some of them in an attempt to eradicate a nest, to which Kyle already warned him not to do, but the mission goes wrong and Raheem gets injured. He then gets bitten and turns; Kyle has no choice but to take him out.

The situation gets slightly out of hand when Jade overhears a conversation between Kyle and Brecken to find out what has happened to her brother. She takes off without warning. Meanwhile Dr. Zera gets kidnapped by Rais and his thugs.

In an attempt to rescue Dr. Zera, Kyle gets captured himself by Rais and then thrown into an arena to fight several infected. After he survives, Rais reveals that he already knows Kyle is working for the GRE and tells his men to publish and leak the file they’re after. He then informs Kyle that that what’s inside the file is data revealing the GRE’s plans to use the virus and weaponize it for profit. Rais then tells his men to get rid of Kyle. He manages to escape and injures Rais instead. When he finally finds Dr. Zera, it’s already too late, but before Dr. Zera falls he tells Kyle that he gave Jade his research, which must be delivered to another doctor named Camden, who is located in the old part of the city.

The ministry of defense plans to firebomb the city in order to control the outbreak, then claim there were no survivors. Kyle hooks up with a new group in old town and tries hard to bring attention to the world that there were still survivors in Harran. Every attempt Kyle makes is stopped and the signals are removed, which only indicates that the defense already knows there are survivors but chooses to look the other way. Kyle then uses a radio tower to send one final signal, which puts a stop to the raid plan.

The GRE contacts Kyle and instructs him to return Dr. Zera’s research in finding a cure, and in exchange they will extract him from Harran. He cuts all contacts with GRE. When he returns, he finds out that Rais has kidnapped Jade and when Kyle finds her, Jade has already been bitten and is turning. Rais gives them a single shot of Antizen, to which Kyle decides to administer in Jade, but she chooses to save him instead. She then turns into an infected and Kyle has no choice but to put her down.

Kyle then faces one of Rais’ men and then delivers the research sample Jade was carrying to Dr. Camden. The latter tells Kyle that he’s very close to finding a cure but needs the rest of Dr. Zera’s data, which is currently in the hands of Rais. The GRE struck a good deal with Rais already. In exchange for the file, he’ll get extracted from Harran. Kyle refuses to let that happen and then finally faces Rais and kills him.

A GRE chopper arrives on site, but Kyle defies them and chooses to return the data back to Dr. Camden, who is certain at this point that a cure will be made. Kyle stays and helps the remaining survivors of Harran.


The Following (DLC)

Kyle and his group encounter a survivor that informs them that there is a group of people who are immune to infection, even if they get bitten and then refer to someone called “the mother“. Although not totally convinced but desperate for a lead to follow, Kyle decides to investigate. Dr. Zera’s research progress isn’t going well and the Antizens are growing scarce.

Upon reaching the countryside, Kyle stumbles on survivors there, who set up a cult and call themselves “Children of the Sun(aka The Following), worshipping what they refer to as “the mother”. Eventually Kyle gains the trust of the “faceless”; a group of high leaders of clan, who reveal to him that there’s nothing supernatural about their immunity, and that it is in fact a type of elixir in their possession that behaves similar to the Antizen. The “faceless” also share they’re currently working on a cure and invite Kyle to work with them. Once they succeed in their mission, they’ll give Kyle his share of the cure to take it back to Harran.

He is then assigned to work with a man named Attila, who’s working on a project for “the mother”. He also learns more about her and finds out that her real name is Jasmine and that she was the wife of a military colonel. Her husband participated in the initial experiments which lead to the outbreak, and he was bitten and died. Before taking his own life in a ritual, Atilla gives Kyle a code.

Meanwhile Kyle also learns that Rais’ men are still operating and in full swing. They’re approaching the countryside in search of the cure themselves. They blow up the dam, which is the mother’s base. By the time Kyle reaches there, everyone and everything is destroyed. Shortly after, Kyle meets Jasmine; the mother. She removes her mask and reveals to Kyle who she really is—a volatile! Unlike the other infected; however, she remains in control, particularly during daytime and turns violent in the dark.

She informs Kyle that all military experiments are hidden in the dam, and that the elixir was not a cure. In fact, upon consumption, it turns people into volatiles. She believes the only way to solve everything is to summon the sun god (basically a nuke!)

At this point in the game Kyle must decide what to do—either to agree with her, use Atilla’s code and launch her sun nuke, wiping out everyone and everything in Harran to eradicate the virus, or defy the mother and will be forced to drink the elixir.

If the player chooses the second option, Kyle will fight and kill the mother, takes whatever is left of the vials and leave the dam, upon which he realizes he is turning into a volatile himself.


Gaming Harry’s lore video covers interesting aspects of the game that are worth clarifying.

Rais – Kadir Suleiman

Rais used to be a colonel in the military, hired by the GRE to establish control in Harran at the onset of the outbreak. Part of his responsibilities was to protect Dr. Zera and Camden while they searched for a cure. Rais agreed to the GRE’s terms in one condition—that they would extract his disabled brother, Hasan, from Harran. The Ministry of defense did not agree to his terms and his brother was eventually killed by the infection. Utterly raged by what has happened to his brother, Rais abandons his military post and his responsibilities towards the doctors then reinvents himself as Rais and establishes a gang for himself. He and his gang members took control of Harran’s quarantine zones and eventually stole the GRE’s sensitive file—code named, “tempest”.


The Global Relief Effort (GRE)

The GRE is a humanitarian organization related to the ministry of defense. They’re tasked with dropped relief and medical supplies to people throughout Harran. Prior to assigning Suleiman, they deployed a man named Amir, the same man who saved Jade and Kyle at the beginning of the game. He is also the man who helped Camden and Zera escape the city, although the men got separated, which explains why each doctor is working at a different part of the city. The GRE sent Kyle after this. They weren’t certain that Suleiman was Rais and needs Kyle to confirm his identity. Rais later tells Kyle that the GRE wants to use then sell the virus for profit.

When Rais leaks the content of the file to the world and reveals the GRE’s true intentions, the latter finds itself in a tough situation, and in order to save face, they tasked Kyle of helping Dr. Zera to search for a cure. Obviously this is just to trick the public into thinking that the GRE was fully invested in pursuing a solution to the outbreak.


The Outbreak

Although it’s unclear what is the origin of the game’s outbreak, the military experiments in the dam are pointed out as the instigator. According to Gaming Harry, it is possible that the elixir they have been experimenting with infected test specimens, who found themselves out of the testing area and spread it to the entire city. The onset of the outbreak in Harram is captured in the Dying Light novel, “Nightmare Row” by Raymond Benson.


The Infected

The stages of the virus can be seen in the variety of enemies in the game. The first stage is depicted with fast running enemies, who still seem to be aware and alert. They pound but do not appear to be inclined to bite. The second phase are biter enemies. They lunge at their preys, but at times can turn back into virals.

Special mutations include:

  • Toads: Spit acid
  • Bombers, who explode
  • Goons—very tall but slow
  • Demolishers, the largest beasts
  • Screamers infected infants
  • Bolters–docile that feed and hide
  • Volatiles—the most aggressive

Volatiles are a little different from the others. They’re recently turned infected, that seem to have been integrated into a nest or a hive. They only come out at night, as they’re extremely UV sensitive. There are standard volatile enemies and there are alpha ones. The latter have more damage resistant. They also seem to be immune to camouflage (when a player tries to use zombie bits to blend in). The third type of volatile is the Night Hunter, which is considered to be the deadliest.

Song of Horror

Song of Horror is a survival horror game created by the Spanish studio Protocol games. The game initially released in 5 installments, with the first episode in 2019 and the last in 2020. At the end of the same year the studio published the entire collection for PS4 and Xbox. I played the game on PS5, thinking that enough time was dedicated to flesh out all the early bugs players were experiencing, and for the most part my gameplay was smooth except for one terrible bug in Episode 4 that left me frustrated, especially when I was at the very end of that segment. I had no choice but to repeat the entire episode again using a different character and somehow that worked. On the up side, the studio is still trying to patch some of these bugs, but since some of them are happening randomly, it seems to be difficult to completely remove them. So in case you’re interested in playing this game, just be forewarned that there are some bugs to encounter, and it might help to look up their locations.

Now on with my review. The story begins with Daniel Noyer, a man who works in a publishing company. One day, Daniel gets a call from his supervisor informing him that they’re somewhat in a pickle due to the disappearance of Sebastian P. Husher—an author that they’re dealing with. The manuscript scheduled to be published the following week has not been delivered yet and so Daniel is asked to visit Husher’s house to see what’s going on.

Upon arriving at the Husher’s manor, Daniel encounters some unusual paranormal activities, which later he finds out, are connected to a music box that Husher was in possession of. This music box was an antique piece given to Husher by his friend Farbar. Both men were vastly interested in the mystery behind this music box and the curse, which seems to be driving its listeners insane.

Needless to say, Daniel embarks on a long journey to find out exactly what has happened to both men and what is causing all of these weird activities.

During Noyer’s adventure, you—the player—gets to control many different characters, some of whom are related to the story in some way or another. The game’s biggest caveat is its permadeath feature. Once a character dies, it’s gone forever. If, and when, that happens you get to control one of the other two characters you are at liberty to choose within that segment, and continue from that point onward. If you lose all three characters within an episode then you must repeat that episode from the beginning.

I, personally, am not a huge fan of permadeath. For me the biggest reward in playing survival games is the exploration factor and obviously the story. Often what kills your character is opening the wrong door or picking the wrong item, and to me that’s not only added stress but limiting my gameplay and exploration.

As a result, I chose to play it without the permadeath feature [insert-BOO-noise here]. I’m not sorry that I did. though. The game still offered a challenge through various puzzles and mini-games.

Unlike other games such as Until Dawn or Man of Medan, Song of Horror isn’t really a walking simulation. In fact, you don’t get the option to choose conversational outcomes to determine the game path. Instead, the playability is focused on collecting and exploiting items, solving puzzles, and QTEs, which is probably why I enjoyed this game and played it through till the end. Not a huge fan of pure walking simulations.

The puzzles were a bit complicated and not always in a good way. I got the impression that they weren’t designed to be user-friendly. Often times the solution is almost too particular and random for any person to figure out. For that, I shamefully played the game with a walkthrough in some segments.

The world design for me is by far the most beautiful aspect of this game. I absolutely loved the publishing/historical themes and getting the opportunity to explore archives, libraries, university offices, antiquarian shops, historical abbeys, manors, WWI hospitals, and so on. I can’t think of any other game that collectively had, at least to me, that many interesting locales in one single game.

Is it a perfect game though? Far from it. Although the story unfolds well in the beginning, it drags on in the final episodes, and in some parts does not make sense. I also did not enjoy some of the eerily disturbing content, which I thought was borderline sickening. Overall, I still think it’s a fantastic horror game to play.

My final score is 4/5 ★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 5/5 for design
  • 3/5 for Puzzles
  • 4/5 for plot
  • Game Platform (played on): PS5
  • Game Link | Click Here

Sekiro’s Final Boss

Word of Caution: The following post contains spoilers to the game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The post contains information and a video footage of the game’s final boss.

It has been two years since Sekiro released (where does time go?!). I thoroughly enjoyed the game up to the final battle, at which point I dropped the game after countless tries. It has always been bugging me, but I remind myself that I’m not a completists or a perfectionist when it comes to games by any means. Having said that, I did finish every Miyazaki game I played, which probably warrants that nagging feeling.

It took a couple of days to get back into the game and roughly over 48 hours to finally beat the final boss and what an exhilarating feeling to finally do that. Despite it not being particularly described as a souls-game, it’s not different from Miyazaki’s other games. Except in this game, the final boss is a collection of 4 stages. Each one is unique with enough antics under its belt.

Genichero’s first stage is similar to Genichero’s battle, which the player has already beaten at that point. It’s a very fast-paced sequence that isn’t particularly harder than the first battle you face him in, but because of the pacing, you’re very prone to making mistakes and all it takes is one mistake for the entire battle to fall apart. This is probably something that I have always liked about Miyazaki’s games, is that the lower rank enemies are just as capable as bigger ones to challenge you, no matter how advanced you are in the game.

Isshin’s first phase is slower than Genichero’s, but the range of his sword attacks is massive. By far, it’s the most forgiving stage of the battle, but any wrong turn and you’ll pay the price. The two phases after this are the most gruesome. Isshin’s third phase, in my opinion, is the most challenging. At this point he abandons his sword and reveals a long deadly spear and fashions a gun. His movesets are so erratic, bizarre, unpredictable, and highly predictive of your own. Although he only has a handful of moves, he alternates them remarkably well depending on your own moving. In the final phase, Isshin maintains almost very similar movesets to his previous phase, except now he has a couple of new special attacks: two types of lightening and a wide arc charged attack. He’s also slightly faster and deadlier.

My strategy for the battle is the same as any souls game. I spend a few tries simply blocking to observe and memorize the movesets of the opponent. There’s no point trying to beat them at this point. The goal is to memorize the moves so well so that I could fall back onto muscle memory when and if I need it, especially when things suddenly go out of the ordinary or I need to focus on the next sequence.

For Genichero, I try to be as aggressive as he is and a bit more. If I give him space then his movement becomes wider and out of control. So for this stage, I try to keep him defending as I can. Eventually his breaks and he’ll fall.

For all four stages of the battle, I do not aim to defeat by means of attacking. Instead, I focus on building their posture bar through deflecting and then breaking their posture. It’s useless attacking. It will take a long time and put you more at risk of taking damage yourself, unless you’re doing the “tanking or cheesing” method, which is basically cheating and the game wasn’t designed to be played that way. At the same time, my own posture builds up as I deflect, so it’s an ongoing struggle to maintain the balance between attacking, deflecting, and allowing my own posture bar to deplete before charging. If my posture breaks at any point then I’m unmovable and basically sitting duck for a fatal blow.

For Isshin’s second and third phases, I deflect 90% of the time and only attack 10% between his own deflecting, if and when I get the chance like immediately after he lands an attack or when his back is turned. Some of his attack combinations are very long and I struggle to counter them without breaking my postures, so I try to get away, let him attack, and then counter the final special attack he does with a Mikiri encounter. The last phase continues the same way, except now whenever he jumps to perform a lightening attack, I wait a little for a second or two and then jump touch the lightening and throw it back at him. So overall, without attacking him, deflecting, countering with mikiri and using his own lightening should fill up his posture bar fast to finally break him down.

I absolutely loved the level of detail that went into designing the battle, and frankly every other battle in the game (Owl’s battle being one of my favorites). It’s not always fun playing Miyazaki’s games. They’re usually slow in the beginning, and I often find myself losing hope and confidence, but I also absolutely love the ability to see myself progress through active strategy. Once you get it, you’ll see yourself finding a way out. This is usually referred to as a motto souls-games fan often use—“Get good!”

The following video is of my gameplay against Sekiro’s final boss

Meridian 157 | Game Review

Don’t you just love it when you stumble effortlessly on a really good game? That was the case with Meridian 157. A point and click puzzle game by Nova Interactive Ltd. It is comprised of 3 parts so far- A prologue and 2 chapters.

Meridian157-1

You begin the journey as detective David Zander who is investigating some kind of mysterious weather condition in the Pacific Ocean but eventually winds up in a deserted island. You can’t help but feel like you’re not alone there. Along the way you stumble on an excavation site and a mine field. The remnants left behind by those before you guide you to uncover a big mystery and that things are not really what they appear to be.

Meridian157-6

The prologue is a free download and short in comparison to the following 2 chapters. For around $2 each, you receive a well lengthen game packed with mini games & puzzles. What seems like a straightforward game at first eventually grows and the story becomes exceedingly interesting.

Meridian157-2

The game is very well written and that is evident in the lore. Unlike other games, the notes and entries you pick up feel authentic. The narration picks your curiosity and you start wondering about really going on in this world. On top of that, the puzzle difficulty is no joke. There were instances where I found myself thinking “that can’t be what they want me to do– it’s too complex” but it turns out it really is and it’s just a joy to finally solve a puzzle.

Meridian157-5

There are no extra fluff in the mechanics of the game. You are simply given an inventory to pick up items and in Chapter 2, you can further combine them. There’s also a nifty camera for you to capture clues to help you crack codes and solve puzzles (and boy will those be handy!).

Meridian157-7

What I really liked is that each chapter centers around a theme or an area and then segments into parts. Once you finish a section, you transition to the next. Over time this creates a feeling of progression and the game becomes dynamic.

Meridian157-3

I felt very sad when I finished chapter 2 as I felt closer to finding out the truth as ever. According to the developer; however, it won’t be long before Chapter 3 is released!

If you’re looking for a mind bending fun puzzle adventure on the iPad, reasonably priced with great puzzles, look no further!

My final score is 5/5 ★★★★★

  • 5/5 for gameplay
  • 5/5 for design
  • 5/5 for Puzzles
  • 5/5 for plot
  • Game Platform (played on): iPad
  • Game Link | Click Here