Manchester United Set to Miss out!

Time is running out for Louis Van Gaal and his ailing Manchester United team and with the January transfer window set to slam shut on Monday, it is hard to see anyone making their way through the Old Trafford doors as the clock ticks away into similar obscurity as United’s season.

Throughout January (and several months before) Manchester United have been linked to the Worlds elite. Ronaldo, Bale and Neymar to name a few, but even with bias on my side, I find it difficult to understand the logic in these type of players leaving a World Class club that they are playing for week-in-week-out to join a Manchester United side struggling not only to win games, but that have been branded a boring team to watch.

Perhaps players will see that as incentive. Just maybe the likes of Neymar and Bale will thinking that they can be the player to bring the spark and the creativity that United are missing, however it is hard to believe they will give up the opportunity to play alongside the likes of Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in preference to playing alongside Mauroune Felliani and Jesse Lingard.

Other players have been linked, like Felipe Anderson of Lazio and Romelu Lukaku, but unless Ed Woodward works his usual deadline day magic (and is forced into paying over the odds once again) then it is unlikely that Louis Van Gaal will have no new plays to unleash…or should I say; keep on a tight, defensive-driven leash.

Louis Van Gaal needs to rally his players and finish the season with conviction. This is not the greatest Manchester United squad by any stretch of the imagination, but if you look closely there is quality, certainly enough quality to overcome the defeats United have suffered to the likes of Bournemouth, Norwich, Swansea and Southampton this season.

As they prepare for an FA cup tie against Derby tonight, the FA Cup could be the only realistic pursuit for silverwear left to Van Gaal and their performance will be monitored closely. If they once again turn out with negative, predictable tactics that ultimately ends in either an awkward victory or devestating defeat, the reminder will be telling that Manchester United, despite already spending large sums of money in recent times, need to spend a lot more.


Review – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Developer – The Chinese Room
Format – PS4
Genre – Exploration

In a nutshell….

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (EGTTR) is a walking simulator set in a Shropshire town, where you follow a glowing orb (for the most part) to reveal a sparse narrative, delivered through the exchanges of phantom characters.

Let me expand….

Now, do not allow my opening statement to put you off, because although the premise may not sound ground-breaking, what EGTTR achieves in terms of building a sense of intrigue through an often bleak and inanimate world, is nothing short of miraculous.

I will begin by suggesting that EGTTR will no doubt divide opinion. Some will quip, “seriously man, it’s not even a game. You just walk around a press ‘X’ to activate radios and shit!”, whereas others will speak highly and fondly of an unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression. It’s fair to say that neither opinion should be judged too harshly, as both assessments of The Chinese Room’s latest creation, would be right on the money.

Set in the picturesque town of Yaughton, EGTTR immerses you in a beautifully rendered environment set in the English countryside, only to thrust you into the role of a detective right off the cuff.

As you take your first (very slow) footsteps you are met with a cryptic and poignant voice-over that dryly informs you, “This is Dr. Katherine Collins. I don’t know if anyone will hear this. It’s all over. I’m the only one left”. It’s quite an opening line and somewhat hard to digest when the town in view seems so quaint and colourful.

Initially, you are left with no immediate directive of where you should start in your search for answers, in the empty town before you. The story is narrated cleverly through the exchanges of a handful of key town folk via radio broadcasts, telephone conversations and through routine ‘phantom conversations’ born out of the light sphere that appears early in the game and points you to your next objective. These interactions build the plot and how the story unravels (and how much of it) is up to you – the player – the more you explore the town and locate important pieces of intel, will determine how much of the puzzle is pieced together at the end of the game.

The two main characters in the game are Dr. Katherine Collins and her husband Stephen, who speak about a mysterious light known as ‘the Pattern’ that they discovered when looking out at the stars from the town observatory.

As the story unfolds through various exchanges between Collins, Stephen and the other town inhabitants you piece together the close and fractured relationships of the townspeople and piece by piece you learn how and why people are disappearing, as well as what ‘the Pattern’ is and what it intends to achieve.

I spent most of my time in Yaughton overwhelmed with intrigue as I looked to unravel the mystery surrounding this lifeless but yet strangely vibrant town. I constantly expected the definitive answer to be right around the corner, but even as the end credits rolled there is still no one taking responsibility to spell out exactly what has just happened. In fact, as far as I am aware there is actually no reference to or mention of who you actually play as in the game, which leaves the whole narration open to interpretation.

A key element that enrichens the experience is the remarkable score that accompanies you throughout. Angelic voices call out in tandem, creating a chilling and emotional experience. If the perfect soundtrack was ordered to accompany the story, then the Chinese Room hit the jackpot when they appointed Jessica Curry to produce the sound bytes.

Opinions will no doubt be divided when summarising either a short-lived or absurdly rewarding journey into the unknown, but I ‘m sure a majority would agree that Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a unique experience. If you’re looking for an all-action gaming experience, then EGTTR is not going to hit the spot. However, if you are looking to be immersed in a beautiful environment with a mystery to be unearthed, then this is a title worth the attentions of most.

Mesmeric and delightfully confusing, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is an incredibly emotional and enlightening experience that lock on to our deepest and darkest fears and leaves a bittersweet message for all to engage with. The message may be unclear to some and is open to interpretation, but after completion I felt a pang of sadness which quickly

Why is EGTTR so engrossing and intriguing? I believe it’s strengths are in its story telling, despite the fact that the story-telling is actually pretty vague. The narrative rumbles along with no real fluidity and yet (assuming you explored most of the town) gives you just enough direction and information to piece some semblance of a story together. I confess that I was pretty confused and after completion I took to gaming sources that could spell out the whole experience for me and it kind of how I understood it to be. ‘Alien’ light source is detected, somehow it travels to Yaughton and vaporises its inhabitants and then spreads – presumably sending the World population to the Rapture.

It’s incredibly moving and its message is poignant. Perhaps others will read into the story delivery different and EGTTR will draw out different emotions, but the way I see it is there’s a tangled web amidst a story of love, connection and not taking things/people for granted.

The characters contained within the story all play their part. There’s adultery, jealousy, conflict and despair and above all there is love, devotion and valuing what we stand for as a race.

Whether or not this walking simulator is for you will be decided in the first hour or so, however if you choose to give into the light that seduces you as you learn the truth behind this tragic and moving story, then I’m sure it will leave a lasting impression and will leave you with an enduring experience to savour.

How it Scored

+ Incredible score
+ Clever and unique narrative
+ The perfectly rendered town of Yaughton
+ Great voice acting

-Some will be frustrated by the

A blissfully serene experienced laced with doom.

8.8 / 10