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Ark Survival Evolved PS4 Review – Is It Worth The Price? – 2017 Launch In-Depth Review [GAME REVIEW]

In this post, I’m going to be sharing my Ark Survival Evolved PS4 Review and answering the question “Is it worth the price?”

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My Experience

I’ve been fiending for a survival game with a big multiplayer element for a long time. I saw games like Day Z and H1Z1 on PC and I hoped that one day we’d get a similar experience on consoles. Ark was the first survival game like that that made its way to PS4. I played it for about 3 months while it was still in Early Access back in January of 2017. I played on official servers and I created and ran a tribe that eventually became the Alpha of the server we lived on.

Gameplay

Ark has a few different ways to play the game that drastically change the experience. So for the gameplay section of this review I’m going to cover the experience of single player, PVP multiplayer on official servers and then on unofficial servers. I did cover the experimental “no tame” servers in another review but I have never played the primitive plus mode or multiplayer PVE.

Singleplayer

Singleplayer in ARK is basically an adult version of Minecraft. You don’t really have a set goal and your thrust into this world and expected to find a way to survive. You can try to complete the “story” and get to the ending but that aspect of the game is clearly an afterthought. This is not a story focused game, but you can immerse yourself in the mystery of the world and work towards uncovering the mystery while you build a place to live and tame dino pets.

The early game can be hard and you’ll likely die a lot but once you get your bearings and get a decent base up the challenge fades. Singleplayer clearly wasn’t the focus of the game and it shows. You can have some survival fun in single player but you will be missing out on the true fun if that’s the only way you play the game.

You can change a lot of the rates on single player to make the game less grindy, easier or harder depending on your preference.

Multiplayer PVE is basically single player with other people around. You can trade with other players and possibly get griefed and trolled e.g a tribe may lure an angry Dino to your base. You can also show your creations off to strangers on the internet.

Side note – The AI of the dinos is completely trash in this game. Many strategies for taming or killing dinos are based on exploiting the terrible AI. Of course, strong dinosaurs can still kill you if they catch you but other players is where the real danger lies.

Multiplayer – Official Vs Unofficial Servers

Official Servers

The experience on official servers is likely the experience that most people picking up the game will have. This experience may include waiting for 20 minutes or more trying to get onto your home server because it’s full of players. At the time of this review there is no queue system to join a server and the best way to get into a crowded server is to spam the join button and hope you get in or someone leaves. The devs are continuing to add new servers so these problems may decrease in the future.

The official PVP experience is extremely geared in favour of large tribes. If you plan to play solo on an official server it will likely be a waste of time. There is a good chance that you will log on and find your base has been destroyed and your belongings have been robbed. Experienced players or people that push through these initial losses will learn from their mistakes and eventually build a hidden base with defences, but none of this guarantees that your base will be there when you log back on.

That’s the risk you take when you log off in Ark and it’s also a very interesting part of the game. When you log off, your character goes to sleep and stays in the game world. You can be robbed, imprisoned or even turned into a living blood sack Mad Max style. Your base is also able to be broken into and completely destroyed. Any dinosaur you’ve tamed may be murdered and harvested for hide and/or meat by someone who just likes to see things die.

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Playing in a small tribe can also be similar to playing solo. The advantage of joining or creating a tribe and playing with people is that you can get more things done in a shorter amount of time. The more players the better, in theory. Finding people you trust can be very difficult on Ark’s official servers. Ark rewards the most toxic and ruthless behaviour. You may find yourself betrayed and robbed by someone who you thought you could trust. You might lose everything you’ve built because someone had a bad day.

The key to succeeding in Ark is developing alliances and good relationships. Politics are a very big part of Ark and if you and your tribe do not play the politics game then it is unlikely you will last long. I’m an introvert and I don’t really like to talk to people too much, but Ark forced me to do just that and I’m a better person for it. I formed alliances and created partnerships and talked to a bunch of people on our rise to Alpha status.

An Alpha tribe is the most powerful tribe on the server. You may join a server where the Alpha tribe has created rules or extorts players with threats of destroying their base. Or you might join a server where the Alpha tribe doesn’t get involved with what’s happening on the server. A smart Alpha tribe stays in the shadows because they are often the target of ambitious tribes or raiders from other servers.

Let’s talk about the dinosaurs in Ark. There are a lot of dinosaurs in ark, over 100 right now and the devs are continually updating and adding new dinos. Most of the dinosaurs have a useful ability like being to gather resources efficiently or providing buffs to other dinos or players. Taming the right dinos and playing as efficiently as possible is very important. However, taming useful high level dinos is usually a time consuming and grindy process.

You will generally have to knock a dino out, keep an eye on it and feed it while it’s unconscious for hours sometimes. This is not fun. If you have other tribe members online at the same time or you were smart enough to lure the Dino back to your base before knocking it out then you can multitask and do other things. But waiting hours to tame a dino that can be killed in less than 10 minutes is silly. You can create something called “kibble” in order to tame dinos quicker but the set up to create kibble is a long process in itself.

And that’s my biggest problem with the official servers. The rates are ridiculous. The amount of grinding and boring tasks that you need to do in order to have a couple hours of fun is wildly unbalanced. You can spend a whole week in real life preparing to have one day of PVP. It can be like spending all week at a boring job just so you can go out on the weekend. It can become very much like having a second life, and that second life isn’t always fun.

The devs seem to want you to devote your life to Ark in order to be successful at it. It rewards players who sink an unreal amount of time into the game over skill. Skill can definitely help you but the levelling system and the time it takes to get anything noteworthy accomplished make skill much less of a factor.

Most of the action on PVP official servers consists of people attacking bases while their opponents are offline or PVB (Players Vs. Base). A legit strategy in Ark is to wait until your enemy is offline so you can destroy their base, steal their stuff and kill their dinos. It takes so long to gain resources and dinosaurs that it’s not worth the trouble of risking losing those for the sake of having a real PVP fight over just attacking people when they can’t defend themselves.

The combat isn’t the greatest. Both melee and ranged combat are mediocre at best, but the sheer choice and options that you have in terms of dinos, weapons, armour and strategies make up for the janky combat.

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Unofficial Servers

Unofficial servers are run by players, either from a second console or a rented server. On these servers the owner can change many of the rates and options in the game to create a customised experience. For example, on my rented server, harvesting is 15x the normal rates so that the game is less focused on grinding and more focused on actually having fun. There are many aspects of the game that can be adjusted to find the right gameplay style for you.

I’ve had more fun on my unofficial rented server than I ever had on official. I can control who plays on my server and I can also create rules for people to follow to keep the experience fun for everyone.

Ark is a great sandbox and having the ability to host or play on an unofficial server allows you to play the game the way you prefer.

Of course there are problems with unofficial servers too. You may experience admin abuse on a server that you join or the server can go down and you may lose all your progress. You could very well experience an official server going down and you losing all your progress too but it is much more likely to happen on an unofficial server. The servers hosted from a PS4 or Xbox are especially unstable and prone to crashes or data loss.

Since I’ve rented my own server from Nitrado I haven’t experienced any problems and the server runs just as well as an official server, minus all the grinding and the trolls. I’ve only opened my server up to patrons to ensure the future of the server and keep it up for the long run through donations and such. The $3 monthly payment is more than worth the amount of time you save grinding and being wiped on official servers.

On unofficial servers with higher rates you can actually engage in PVP more often and with less worry.

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Updates

There are frequent updates which add new features, dinos and fixes. The game is still full of glitches and things not working as intended. On an official server you can lose hours of progress because of a glitch but on a server with boosted rates it generally isn’t that big of a deal.

The toxic community

Since Ark promotes devoting your life to the game it makes sense that it attracts a lot of toxic people. You will find people who have no lives and spend every waking hour playing Ark. These players tend to be quite elitist and unwelcoming to new players. You will also find people who just love to troll and ruin people’s days. This is what you should expect on official servers. Of course you can also find some cool people and not everyone is a dick.

Graphics & Sound

The graphics are pretty good. For a game of this scope and size, the graphics are more than good enough. When you fly past big bases the frame rate does drop but it usually smooths out after the base has loaded in. Frame rate drops are a common thing in the game but it hasn’t hampered my experience too much. The sound, however, is mediocre. The actual sound of the dinos and environment aren’t that bad but, even after launch, you still can’t tell exactly which direction a sound is coming from.

The music is pretty good though.

Is it worth the price?

Ark Survival Evolved is currently £43.49 on Amazon. To be honest, there is a bunch of things that I couldn’t cover in this review because of how deep and big this game is. I have had a bunch of fun playing Ark and it is one of the most unique and wild experiences I’ve ever had in a game. There are so many possibilities to experience, so many hours of fun and also so many things that may make you rage quit.

If you want to play this game solely for singleplayer then you should wait until the price drops to about £25. If you want to play on official PVP servers then I don’t think this game is worth the time or money. If you want to play on an unofficial PVP server then this game is definitely worth the price and you are going to come away with many many hours of fun. You can apply here to join my rented Ark Survival Evolved Server for the PS4.

Here are some pros and cons to help you make the decision for yourself:

Pros

  • The game is very deep
  • This is truly a sandbox game with many possibilities
  • There is no game like this on consoles right now

 

Cons

  • The tutorial system does not do a good job of covering the deep aspects of the game
  • Playing on official servers is a tedious grind that ends up feeling more like work than fun
  • The game is full of glitches

If you want to buy Ark Survival Evolved then please use the Amazon link below. It will help out the channel at no cost to you. Thanks for reading, let me know what you thought of Ark Survival Evolved in the comment section below and if you want to check out the rest of my reviews you can click on this playlist.

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Join my discord channel to play Ark Survival Evolved with me and get involved with the community. You can also find a bunch of Ark Survival Evolved guides and gameplay on my channel.

I’ll see you in the next review.

5 Best PS4 Games Coming Out In 2016 (In My Opinion)

There are a bunch of games coming out this year and if you’re like me, you don’t have limitless cash to throw around and you only want to spend your money on the very best games.
Well, I’m here to help you make better gaming decisions, stop spending your salary on candy crush gems and start saving your money for these great games coming out this year.
Here are the 5 best PS4 games coming out in 2016 (in my opinion).

1. Overwatch

There was a considerable amount of internet hype surrounding Overwatch before I even knew what it was. I purposely stayed away from Blizzard’s marketing efforts and this game was not on my horizon at all when it came to games I’m planning to buy this year. All that changed when I played the open BETA. Oh my days, this online multiplayer shooter is so ridiculously fun.
All of the 21 heroes available in the BETA were interesting and there is someone for everybody. The strategy involved in switching your hero in order to counter a particularly troublesome player on the enemy team added an enjoyable layer of depth to the game.
I had a blast playing this game and I can’t wait until May 24th comes so that I can play the full game and shoot a bunch of people in the face online.
Release date – May 24th

2. No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky seems to be an open ended sci-fi RPG. You can explore planets, galaxies, space stations and more on your quest to journey to the centre of the universe. Or you could become a pirate and attack trade ships on your mission to be the richest criminal in the universe.
No Man’s Sky promises freedom and countless procedurally generated planets to explore. You can even name any species, planets or elements you come across first.
This game is apparently a multiplayer experience, but not much has been revealed on how it all works.
This is most likely going to be a game that I will be streaming heavily on my YouTube channel, travelling far into space where no man has travelled before to find fortune and mystery.
Release Date – June 21st

3. Mafia 3

I didn’t play the first Mafia game (I think it was primarily a PC game), but I did play Mafia 2. Mafia 2 was cool. Not mind blowing, but it was a good experience. I’m hoping that Mafia 3 is going to be the best game in the trilogy.
In Mafia 3 you play as a black guy, which is great because I’m black and I can relate, but that’s not the reason I’m excited for this game. The developers are claiming that this game is going to be open world, not kinda open world like Mafia 2 but a proper open world. I love open world games and I love anything Mafia themed or crime themed. The gameplay from the trailers and press reveals seem to be action packed and exciting, the developers also hinted at a layer of strategy and planning within the game, which would be sick in my humble opinion.
But time will tell if the developers will deliver on their promises. I’m not expecting Mafia 3 to have an open world with things to do like GTA 5 but I am expecting a compelling story and fun gameplay.
Release Date – October 7th

4. The Witcher 3: Blood And Wine Expansion

The Witcher 3 was an amazing game that I never had the time to play. Luckily, since I started streaming, I’ve now finished it and I’m ready to experience the expansion packs. I’ve heard good reviews of the Hearts of Stone expansion pack (I’ll be streaming that on Tuesdays until this expansion comes out) and that looks like it’s going to be very fun.
The developers haven’t revealed much about this latest expansion pack, but we do know there is going to be a whole new region to explore. This means a whole load of main quests and side quests, probably new monsters and maybe even new gameplay mechanics.
I’ll definitely be getting this, but if you haven’t got The Witcher 3 already, you should probably go get that. It’s a great game and the hours of gameplay you’ll get out of it is well worth the money.
Release Date – May 31st

5. Battlefield 1

The Battlefield series is one of my favourite online FPS series ever. The epic scale of the battles and the amazing moments that are created in your moment to moment gameplay are exceptional.
However, Battlefield Hardline was mediocre. I’m looking forward to this next instalment in the battlefield series simply because it’s a battlefield game, but I am currently very torn on this game.
I despise WW2 based games and Battlefield 1 is going to be based on WW1 so I’m very skeptical. I like playing shooters with automatic weapons, not single shot rifles and all that old stuff. They do however have shotguns in the game, so that may be my go to weapon if there are no automatic rifles but I am very unsure at this stage. I’ll keep my eyes on this game on the road to its release and I hope that I can be swayed towards it, but right now I’m sitting on the fence.
I included this game in this post because I believe in Battlefield’s ability to win me over. I definitely need more information and gameplay videos before I’m fully on board, but I am looking forward to a new battlefield game nevertheless.
Release Date – October 21st
What games are you guys looking forward to this year?
Let me know on Twitter or come and catch me live streaming everyday from 7pm to 12 am (GMT +1) on YouTube and tell me there!

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How To Grow Your YouTube Gaming Channel Fast 2016

If you’re having trouble getting views and subscribers on your gaming channel I’m here to help. I’m going to share 10 tips on how to grow your YouTube gaming channel fast in 2016.
Now I ran a poll on Twitter asking whether I should make this post and the result at the time of me recording this was 48% yes and 52% no. Well, I’m not going to listen to Twitter because I have a burning desire to make this post. Every day I’m sent links to Youtube channels and every day I throw up a little bit in my mouth at the terrible unorganised channels I see with no sense of direction. This video is a public service, but it’s also a selfish post. I don’t want to see such crappy YouTube channels ever again. So I want to pass on the knowledge that I have amassed from my time on YouTube to you guys. I know that most people are lazy and won’t take any of this advice or act on anything in this post so I’m cool with sharing my secret sauce so to speak.
I’ve got around 8,550 subscribers at the time of writing this post and I’m getting over 100k views a month. I’m growing pretty steadily and although I’ve still got a relatively small channel, I think I can help a lot of your channels out, especially if you’re just starting out.
So let’s get into it:




1. Focus Your Channel On Making Tutorial Videos And Tip Videos

Firstly, if you have a low amount of subscribers, e.g. less than 20k, then focus your channel on tip videos, tutorials and reviews. You can focus on whatever game you like as long as it’s mildly popular, but we’ll get into that later.
Tutorials, tip videos and reviews are what we call hygiene content. This is content that will draw people into your channel. People actively search for things like “what is the best gun in Call of Duty”, most people are not searching for “CyborgCockroach’s Call of Duty Black Ops 3 Story Walkthrough Part 9”.
Let’s plays and gaming commentaries are great content for existing subscribers, but they are near enough useless at attracting new subscribers unless you’re posting a let’s play of a new game and you’re posting it early. To put it bluntly, if you have 23 subscribers and you’re posting let’s plays and gaming commentaries, nobody will care. There’s a slim chance of you being discovered by new people this way and it’s pretty much a waste of time.
I’ve got tip videos and tutorial videos that have over 100k views, but on normal gaming commentary videos I’m lucky to break a thousand views.

2. Pick A Game That’s Mildly Popular

Right now my channel is focused on EA Sports UFC 2 and I’ve done that for 2 reasons. First of all I love the UFC games. I’ve loved them ever since I played UFC undisputed in like 2009, so focusing on this game is fun for me. I enjoy every video I make about the game as I really enjoy the franchise. Secondly, I got it when it came out (which was about two months ago), so it was mildly popular. Nowhere near as popular as Call of Duty or Minecraft, but those games have a bunch of big YouTubers playing them already so the competition is wild. There’s not nearly as many channels covering UFC 2 and that gives me a good chance to be discovered. And because I’m making helpful tip videos and tutorials at such a rapid pace, I have a good chance to be the go to channel for tips and tutorials on UFC 2. Think about it this way – it’s much better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.
And make sure it’s a game you like. If you like it, you’ll make much better content and you’ll be excited to do so. If you’re not having fun, you’ll probably end up burning out and quitting. Being on YouTube is hard work when you do it right and if you want to be successful, so it needs to be hard work that you enjoy.

3. Turn Your Subscribers Into Fans

Livestream or do gaming commentary videos to showcase your personality and build a relationship with your subscribers. This is called hub content. You can also do vlogs and that, just make content that showcases you so your subscribers can connect to you.

4. Create Playlists

90% of the time when I click on someone’s YouTube channel that’s sent to me, it looks like complete and utter crap. A big reason for this is they aren’t utilising playlists. If your channel just consists of your uploaded videos from way back when you need to change that asap. It looks unprofessional and it’s hard for anyone to see what your channel is about. All they know is that you’re an amateur or – even worse – you don’t care enough to be organised.
Create playlists for every game you play at the least. You can also segment those games into other playlists based on the series you’re doing.
Also make sure you actually put these playlists on your channel so people can quickly navigate through your channel. You don’t want to make it difficult for people to find something that they like because a lot of people are lazy and will just leave your channel.

5. Create Channel Art

If you don’t have channel art, your channel looks like you just started it. Even if you did just start your channel, you don’t want it to look like that. A new viewer might come to your channel and think “Well, no point subscribing to this guy, he just started on YouTube, how do I know he’s not gonna quit in two weeks?” If you want to be a big YouTuber, present yourself like one, work as hard as one. Make sure your channel art lets viewers know what to expect from your channel. Communicate your value proposition and what kind of content you make in your art so people can quickly know if your channel is for them. Check out my channel art as an example and the channel art of other YouTubers you like.
You can make channel art real easily using an online service like Canva.

6. Be Consistent

Create a video schedule or a livestreaming schedule and stick to it. Make sure you come up with a schedule that you can keep up though; don’t try to post or stream everyday at first. I’d suggest you go for no less than posting some sort of content 3 times a week at least (meaning videos or streaming sessions). Any less and your channel is probably gonna grow at a snail’s pace and I doubt that’s what you want. Pick a schedule that works for you, I post new videos on Tuesday and Thursday and I livestream every day from 7pm to 12am except for Thursdays and Sundays. That schedule works for me, but it might not work for you.

7. Use Tags Effectively

Tags are super important when it comes to getting your video to rank higher on YouTube. When I first started actually using tags, I looked at what big YouTubers were doing and basically copied their strategies. But then I learned that what most of the big YouTubers were using tags super ineffectively but because they were already big and had loads of subscribers it didn’t matter. It does matter for me though. The suggested tags that YouTube feed to you are trash. Don’t put the tag ‘video game’ and ‘PlayStation 4’ on your video. It’s a waste of space. Who do you know that types in action adventure game into the search bar on YouTube when they’re searching for Metal Gear Solid gameplay? Not a lot I bet. And that’s one of the suggested tags that I was given when I was uploading Metal Gear Solid V videos. Instead, what you want to do is focus on long form key phrases that people are actually going to search for. Let’s say you make a video on how to block transitions in EA Sports UFC 2 (that’s actually one of my videos – plug alert). Instead of entering tags like “EA Sports UFC 2” and “how to block transitions”, enter “EA Sports UFC 2 how to block transitions”. You’re much more likely to rank for longer search terms than shorter ones and when someone enters that exact phrase, your video is more likely to come up.

8. Use Descriptions properly

Think about what keyword phrase you want to rank for and include that in the beginning of your description. I also include the title of my video in the description and some promotional links. This is important too, but more important is getting that key phrase in your description so you can rank highly.

9. Use Titles properly

Structure your titles effectively. Use punctuation and find a style that’s right for you. You need to try and come up with titles that will grab your viewer and explain exactly what’s going to be in the video. Put some thought into your titles and try to focus on a search term or key phrase. Include the game name and whatever you’re showing in that particular video e.g. Fallout 4 – How To Change Your Appearance (If Dr Crocker is Dead). This title has the game name in it and it tells you exactly what I’m going to be showing you. It’s very specific.

10. Use Twitter

Twitter is a great resource for you to connect with other YouTubers, connect with your fans and promote your content. Don’t just spam people though. Post interesting things on your timeline and, in addition to that, post your videos.
If you want help with building your Twitter account, gaining followers and staying active in order to get more fans and subscribers, I offer a Twitter marketing service that is paid. Check out my portfolio and contact me if you’re interested.
That should be more than enough information to allow you to start growing your channel much more effectively. If you want any more tip videos or more information on any topics I’ve gone over in this post, leave a comment down below and make a suggestion for another post and I’ll try to get to as many as possible.
Please share this post as much as you can to help anyone else with a gaming channel.

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3 Upcoming PS4 Games That Look Sick

You want PS4 games, but you don’t want to waste your money and get something crap right? Well these are some upcoming PS4 games that I have the utmost faith in.

1. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

If you’ve played any other Metal Gear Solid game you already know they’re always quality experiences. If you’re a little unsure about this one (I have no clue why you would be), check out the gameplay preview up above. Make sure you put some ice in a bag and have it ready so your head doesn’t overheat and explode.

2. Fallout 4

I didn’t care about Fallout 4 at all until I saw their E3 gameplay reveal. Now I care. They’ve really stepped up their game this year (no pun intended) and they seem to be making breakthroughs in the industry of gaming. Please just watch the video above and behold the greatness.

3. Until Dawn

Until Dawn seems really similar to Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls made by David Cage. This game, however, stars Hayden Panettiere (the cheerleader from Heroes) and is a horror story set in a cabin. You get to make choices that will determine whether the 8 friends staying at this cabin live or die. Apparently you can keep all of them alive or get all of them killed, so you’re going to be forced to make tough choices and probably forced to play through it more than once. Check out the gameplay preview above.

What upcoming Ps4 games are you looking forward to? Leave a comment below and let me know!

5 Reasons Why I Play Video Games (And Why You Should Too)

Video games are the only piece of media that is uniquely experienced by everyone that consumes it. Even the straightforward, linear games will provide a different experience for different people because everyone reacts differently. That’s why I enjoy reading reviews and watching walkthroughs – to find out how different people went about completing the same challenge. It usually provides interesting insight into how people act under pressure.

These are 5 other reasons why I play video games:

1) I’m addicted to self-improvement

Jay Carteré | Jay Cartere |5 Reasons Why I Play Video Games (And Why You Should Too)It’s fun to get better at a game and show off my skills competitively – like, say, verses a friend in a fighting game or cooperatively in games like Borderlands or Minecraft.

2) It forces you to think strategically and think quickly

When you’ve got 3 enemies shooting at you and one of Jay Carteré | Jay Cartere |5 Reasons Why I Play Video Games (And Why You Should Too)them decides to throw a grenade to flush you out. You’ve got to think very quickly about how to dispatch your enemies and also avoid being blown up or riddled with bullets. Of course, the depth of strategy and quick thinking required varies in different games, but I tend to enjoy games that make me utilise my brain power.

3) It’s fun

I don’t need to explain the concept of fun do I?

4) You can do it at home relatively cheaply compared to other forms of entertainment

Jay Carteré | Jay Cartere |5 Reasons Why I Play Video Games (And Why You Should Too)You may spend around £15 to go to the cinema and watch a film for about 2 hours, however the price of most new games are around £40 – £45 and that’ll usually give you over 20 hours of entertainment (or despair if you bought a shitty game). And if you play multiplayer and/or complete the story more than once, your value for money sky rockets.

5) It’s a stress reliever

Jay Carteré | Jay Cartere |5 Reasons Why I Play Video Games (And Why You Should Too)Nothing beats shooting some guys in the face after a stressful day listening to people chat bullshit in your ears. There are so many different choices to choose from. If you don’t want to engage in tense action and have your reflexes pushed to the limit you can opt for a more peaceful adventure in a game like Minecraft. There’s something for everyone.

Do you play video games or nah? Tell me on Twitter

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