E3 2017 after action discussion.

Right, while the convention floor is still active the press conferences have been over for a day or two now – time to talk about what I liked and what I disliked from the various conferences. Starting things off we have the dislikes; that stupid VR headset that Sony is pushing onto the market. Sure I get it, the company wants to sell new tech to consumers; with that said I feel that it is going to go the way of the Kinect and just be a trend for a while before people realize just how annoying the device can be especially to those who wear glasses, or suffer from motion sickness. Now I can hear the comments now: “get contacts you noob,” or “get drugs and get better noob;” right okay you try putting a piece of plastic onto a sensitive eyeball and see how “fun” that can be, and no a person should not have to buy drugs just to overcome motion sickness for a consumer device – the only time the pills for motion sickness are needed is if they are traveling or they serve onboard a warship and need it to get through the day (or any seafaring vessel for that matter – this is from a memory of a documentary showcasing submariners).

Having to wear a headset and headphones to play games when there is a perfectly good 4k TV in front of you, or a nice large flatscreen or a decent PC monitor is insane – you spend how much money on the TVs and monitors and you want to wear something over your face to play? Why not just throw all that stuff out and stare at a wall instead with your VR headset then – save money in the long run?

 

VR was marketed heavily at Sony, and this seems to be the direction they wish to go in terms of toys for their console. This is fine by all accounts, but for me in particular I think I will avoid the VR headset; not my cup of tea. Moving along we have EA and their heavy emphasis on sports games; there are other genres out there, you know? Football, soccer, SOCCER! Alright we get it, soccer and football are great sports and people love them – could you stop shoving almost an hour worth of sports games in our faces and show us something new? Medal of Honor could use a revival, and what about Bioware – are they not working on a project? Then again Anthem was announced via the Microsoft conference and to be fair you have to spread things out to keep people interested – I understand the marketing needed to be done here. Still, just nothing but sports for a good 40 minutes was taxing; not a fan of that.

 

Positives, it was nice to see the Nintendo Switch get some third party games. Not since the Game Cube have we seen some major third party titles appear on a Nintendo device; sure there may be some that I have forgotten but to me it feels like an eternity since we saw something neat like 007 or Full Spectrum Warrior appear on a Nintendo device. Definitely a welcome move in my opinion, one that could see the Switch become more active with gamers as time passes on.

 

Microsoft unveiling backwards compatible original Xbox games was a nice surprise; without a new Halo or Gears game being announced the conference was entertaining but not exciting. Sure I would like to try out Anthem, but if previous E3 shows have taught me anything it is wait for the final product to be released along with a review – hope is the first step on the road to disappointment. Quotes aside yeah the original Xbox games were fun, and it would be nice to play them again on a modern system. Cross-platform play was also a nice announcement, and while I understand PS4 players are upset over no-crossplay keep in mind that Microsoft owns the Windows platform and the Xbox consoles – crossplay benefits them a lot more than it does Sony which only has the Playstation system. Sony, however, has a lot of strong exclusives so they can market their console as a purely story-driven experience rather than a multiplayer one – see if that format works for them in the long run.

 

E3 was good; lots to look forward to and lots to despise as they release – such is life as a gamer. Thanks for reading folks, be sure to keep track of Thoughts and Topics for new blog posts, and I shall see you next time.

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Sony’s E3 2017 press conference.

Games, games, and more games – Sony did little talking and just threw out games. This time around the press conference just delivered trailer after trailer, and a lot of the games announced were for the new Playstation VR headset; definitely will not be playing that as I am not a fan of wearing something on top of my glasses. Get motion sick, wear glasses, or just dislike wearing a thing over your face while gaming on your couch? TOO BAD YOU WILL BUY IT TO PLAY ON PLAYSTATION – WE”RE NUMBER 1!!

 

Frustration aside, they announced some ready-to-go titles like Uncharted The Lost Legacy, what appears to be story DLC for Horizon Zero Dawn, and one other title that I cannot remember off the top of my head at the moment. Overall a good line up for upcoming releases, with some appetizers for the future: God of War, Monster Hunter, and Shadow of the Colossus – amazing stuff.

 

Starting off with God of War, it seems the protagonist is actually the Kratos from the previous Greek mythology games and it appears that he has migrated north to start a family (I was under the impression that it was a look-alike). Instead of chain-blades and a Spartan shield and spear we have a magical axe that marks a departure from the typical gameplay that we are familiar with; sure axes and chain-blades fight the same but it appears that the axe will perform differently than the older weapons. Apart from that the trailer seems to indicate that Kratos will explore his past as he goes off to fight the Norse gods that inhabit the new region he now lives in.

 

Monster Hunter, what a strange choice for the Playstation. After hunting a giant dinosaur we see the character sit down to cook meat which, if it is an actual emote, might be a fun animation to play around with in-game. Apart from that my only experience with Monster Hunter was from the Nintendo handheld devices, so it will be a new take on the series – more to come as details unfold.

 

Finally Shadow of the Colossus – never played it in-depth on the older playstation but I know a lot of people were waiting for a new game; a fan base like that should mean, ideally, that the game is bound to be something special once it hits the market. Apart from the trailer showing off the giant beasts we see little that will inform us of the game; more to come on that one as well I suppose.

 

Unlike the Ubisoft press conference which featured a bunch of stuff I have absolutely no interest in (Dance games, racing games, sports…) Sony seemed to focus in on what makes its system attractive to its customer base. While it does little to convince folks like myself to cough up the extra dollars to buy a system, the games coming out for the system are unique, fresh, and ultimately fun to play (looks like, anyways) – really looking forward to at least see the story movies as these games come out.

 

One note to write on before closing this post, Detroit Become Human looks great. Sure it can be a colossal failure, but right now with the info we have available the game looks good. All we ask for is meaningful choices, and it appears to deliver that; furthermore the facial animations are really good, and there are titles where realistic graphics adds to the experience – this is one of those titles. Looking forward I am hopeful that the Playstation will deliver some quality games in the coming year – here is hoping, however, that VR is not going to take over the system completely. Similar to the Kinect the VR headset looks to be a trend and games being developed for the headset is resources taken away from conventional games development – should this be the reality for the system there will be a lot of pissed off gamers.

 

Anyways folks this concludes the Sony press conference post, thank you all for reading and I shall see you next time.

Bethesda’s press conference.

Right so Bethesda did their press conference last night around 9pm pacific time and it was sort of lackluster. A lot of the announcements throughout the conference were all current issue games (out on the market already) and they were simply adding more to these games (Fallout 4, Skyrim, etc). Yet despite the lack of new titles announced (Wolfenstein 2 was announced – more on that later) I was not entirely disappointed with the Bethesda conference; sure a new title (brand new IP) would have been nice but it is also nice to see them support current games and keep their players happy.

 

Now the Creators Club kind of has me worried that it would eat away at free mods and replace them with paid ones. Now it seems that this service is for Developer-made mods, but if they start throwing in ordinary Modders into the mix with no free option then I would be worried. Sure Modders deserve to get paid for their work, but you don’t take something that has been free forever and make it mandatory to pay because: “F-you give me money.” When the program gets more details we will know exactly what they are up to over there at the studios.

 

Alright now to the actual new release: Wolfenstein 2 The New Colossus – wow was that a good looking trailer. Now I will be honest I am not a major fan of the series, however I can see the beauty of said title set in an alternate history where the Axis forces – specifically Germany – have won the war against the allies (and with strange futuristic technology as well). The trailer hinted at the game taking place in the American deep south which could be interesting depending on the writing and the environment design – we shall see.

 

Wolfenstein 2 looks promising, and the best part about the entire conference was that everything – EVERYTHING – will be out this year (unless they push it back – it can happen folks, it can happen). Overall the conference was not terrible, but it wasn’t all to exciting either; this of course is dependent upon the viewer and what their expectations were going in. Anyways folks that’s it for this one, thanks for reading and I shall see you next time.

XBOX GAMES!!!!!

Hello folks,

 

Just finished the Microsoft Press Conference for E3 2017 and they announced Xbox original games will be backwards compatible on Xbox One – wow. Initial thought: “surprise?” However after the feeling had sunk in it is great, we will see Crimson Skies along with other classic Xbox games coming to Xbox One this fall, and here is hoping Unreal Championship 2 will appear as well.

 

The press conference itself didn’t announced much regarding Xbox games; they only teased it with the opening animation for the original Xbox, and everything before and after was exclusive games from big and small studios and showcasing their main line up. The press conference itself was good, and it was better than EA so at least there was that. Looking forward to later on we have Bethesda tonight, and Sony and Ubisoft tomorrow.

 

Let us see what else E3 has in store for us: thank you all for reading and I shall see you next time.

E3 2017.

E3 is just around the corner, and I am quite excited to see what is in store for us as the press conferences begin to roll on the weekend. Interesting thing to note is now they seem to have the press conferences on the weekends with Sony and Nintendo working on Monday and Tuesday in that order. This sort of started about a year ago when Bethesda did their press conference for E3 on a Sunday – I can recall watching it on my machine as they unveiled Doom and Fallout 4 in a single release. This isn’t a bad idea as a lot of people would love to watch the conferences live (myself included) but may lack the time to do so as it lands on a work day. Now with this new set up people can enjoy their gaming news while still on a weekend – say goodbye spouses and +1s because the gamers will be completing an annual ritual in honour of gaming!

 

Right now as it stands there is only one game I an keeping an eye on and that is Battlefront 2. Being a story set between the Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens and from the Imperial perspective I am hopeful that the game will turn out to be every bit as enjoyable as the trailers advertised. Looking back at some trailers and press conference previews for games in the past, these polished advertisements can land us in a pool of disappointment if the game turns out to be trash – here is hoping it does not follow that path.

 

Presently Microsoft has no heavy hitters set to be revealed at the show. Right now we know Halo and Gears will not be there, and with those two out of the way it looks like only Sony will have exclusives being previewed – I wonder what Microsoft is up to over in their studios. Sure we “can” expect a Perfect Dark sequel, but I want Unreal Championship 2; now if Microsoft announced Xbox original games coming to Xbox One that will be like GoG announcing a host of classics on their digital distribution platform – I will definitely dig deep to get my hands on a few titles from back in the day.

 

All in all it is an exciting time to be a gamer, and here is hoping this years’ E3 will deliver on some wonderful previews – I say previews and not games because the end product displayed at E3 is not the final product so we can only review the trailers at face value. Thank you all for reading and I shall see you next time.

Gears of War 4.

There might be a gap in my memory; I recall saying that I would not consider Gears 4 if it did not have the Retro Lancer as a weapon you can use in the loadout menu – whether or not I said that I cannot remember. Fast forward to last week and there I was playing Gears of War 4 with the Retro Lancer in Horde mode: I think I made a good call reversing my decision to avoid this game.

Gears of War 4 is the latest Gears game, and it feels alive – alive as in there is a large active community and you will always find fresh items in-game like weapon skins and maps to enjoy as the as the game ages. Now returning to the Retro Lancer issue, I play Horde mode online more often than multiplayer – I dislike the shotgun only nonsense that goes on as the shotgun is the only effective weapon in multiplayer when everyone is popping about from cover to cover firing off shells at one another. Now the Retro Lancer is available to a couple classes in Horde mode, and what made me switch over to Gears 4 after sinking almost six years into Gears of War 3 was the fact that classes were not locked to specific characters unlike Gears of War Judgement. Similar to Gears of War 3, you pick the character you want to play and that is it – the classes are where the skills and weapons are organized, not the characters.

 

Thus I picked the Scout class because of the increased melee damage and the Retro Lancer and shotgun combo made me feel all warm inside – being able to choose a character from the COG list also helped. Now about two weeks in and I can honestly say that I really like this new Gears game. Foot steps this time around sound a bit more believable; previous gears games had a heavy metallic “shook, shook, shook” noise to them when you jogged and sprinted (you don’t really walk in-game, not unless you push very lightly on the controls). This time around the sound of jogging and sprinting is more akin to boots slamming down hard on pavement – something that adds to the immersion when playing.

 

Characters and weapon skins are unlocked via cards you collect from credits you earn in-game, and you can further earn scrap to make characters by destroying cards you do not want and saving up the scrap to further unlock specific characters and/or cards – you can also buy card packs with real money if that is your cup of tea. There is also an E-sports scene in Gears 4, though I don’t compete so I could not tell you how that scene is and whether or not it is worth the effort.

 

Now the real meat of the game is the Horde mode for me – campaign was alright but Horde mode is where all the fun lies. This time around you are given a fabricator – a box that can construct whatever defenses you need and can be moved once it is set up. This new feature in Horde mode means instead of setting up a base, you can set up a defensive position and place as many turrets, barricades, decoys, and weapon lockers you want all over the place provided you can collect all the power drops that come from dead enemies. This new feature is nice; it allows players to use the environment to set up their defenses and choose an optimal spot to place the fabricator – a welcome change from Gears 3 that limited you to pre-set defensive positions once a base was established and all you could do was upgrade the defenses – if you needed more defenses or space you had to set up a new base.

 

Gears of War 4 turned out to be a surprise for me; being dis-satisfied with Battlefield 1 and disappointed with Titanfall 2, Gears 4 being a familiar yet new experience was a welcome change. Going forward I might focus in on a specific sub-set of games to purchase – saves me time and money and helps me avoid misery. Now that is not to say I am regretting my purchase of the Titanfall 2/Battlefield 1 duel pack, but I am unhappy with how the games have evolved as of late – the whole issue of delayed bullet time in Battlefield 1 and the fact that Titanfall 2 feels boring and stale made me re-think my interest in First Person Shooters altogether. Doom was alright, and Far Cry 4 turned out to be okay in small bursts but left me disinterested in finishing the game. Here’s to a successful Gears 4 – more combat, more close quarters action, and more bayonet charges – thanks for reading everyone.

Another round of Gwent!!!

Right Gwent – good game! Now to be more detailed, the game is similar to the mini-game found in Witcher 3 but some of the leader cards have changed and the game will feel familiar to those of you who have played Hearthstone. Gwent, being a stand-alone title now, must have these features in order to attract players to the game rather than turn them off completely if it was released as just a copy-paste of Gwent from Witcher 3.

Now I have the game for both PC and Xbox One – the game, as it stands, is a free open beta and judging from the FAQ the business model going forward is to have it release as a Free-to-play with card pack sales for the game. Now playing on PC you get a free range of motion in that you can just mouse directly over whatever you want and click on it per se, whereas the Xbox version you need to go step by step (ie: up past the siege, ranged, and melee rows of your side before viewing the cards of the enemy that are on the field in their respective rows) in order to scroll over a card you wish to view. After sinking in some time into the game I can safely say that playing with a mouse is a lot more interesting than a controller when it comes to Gwent – user experience may vary.

 

The game’s interface is also different from the Witcher 3 version, and the weather effects have changed since Witcher 3. However with all that said, ultimately Gwent is still Gwent and anyone who has played Gwent in the Witcher 3 will feel right at home with this game. Run through the tutorial to get a good handle on the game, and then off to the races you go.

 

A note before I end this post for today, Gwent on PC will require you to register with GoG – the digital distribution site for CD Projekt Red; Xbox has no additional registration. Thanks for reading folks, and we shall see you next time.