E3 – Bethesda swing big with new IP and VR but drags with over saturation of Dishonored 2

Bethesda, the publisher, is the bringer’s of such fantastic titles as Fallout 4, Doom, Wolfenstien and Dishonored. Last year’s conference was incredible for them as they dropped the megaton bomb known as Fallout 4 on us and we lost our minds. This year they have kept that trend alive with a slew of new announcements designed to empty the wallet, revitalize older games and give us new fun tools we didn’t even know we wanted!

Quake Champions

First out the gate is Quake Champions, the third in “Hey we have these older awesome games we can make and you guy ate up Wolfenstien and Doom, so let’s go for one more” series. As with many of the first person shooters put out by Bethesda, Quake harkens back to its roots, then adds those flavor nuggets of modern game mechanics to give us (hopefully) the perfect blend of fast paced arena based combat. The only downside in my opinion is its PC only, but it is understandable when they are wanting the game to run at 120hz with an unlocked frame rate.

Elder scrolls Legends

The Elder scrolls Legends and Elder Scrolls Online both made an appearance which is cool, though I will admit neither game is in my wheel house. Legends is a digital trading card game, similar to Hearthstone and while it is still in beta, if you are into those types of games it looks to boast a fairly robust battle system for you to sink your teeth into. The other Scrolls was their MMO, Elder Scroll Online, and they revealed that there will no longer be a hard level cap for players trying to group with their friends. If you are high level and you want to jump down to help a friend just getting in, you get scaled down and vice versa. The problem I see with this though is that if you don’t have to do the lower their stuff as a new player because you can just join up with your high level friends, how is loot and the economy in general going to sustain itself. *shrug* either way, good news for ESO fans.

Skyrim remastered

Keeping in the Elder Scrolls universe, Skyrim is getting a remaster for both PS4 and Xbox One! This game is revamping the games look with higher-res textures and the like, as well as the top mods, sans the nudity ones, for players to re-immerse themselves into a monster world. As someone who has sunk over a thousand hours into Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim combined, I am pretty excited to delve back into this much better looking world .

Prey logo

Switching gears completely, Bethesda kicked off a series reboot/refresh (whatever you want to call it) with a kick ass trailer for Prey, giving off a killer survival horror-shooter type vibe. I have not played Prey in MANY years, so I don’t know what to expect from this new iteration of the franchise. I am hoping to have a rock solid single player campaign to sink my teeth into for this. Cannot wait!

Fallout 4

We then transition into Fallout. They announce a few new DLC packs, one of which is being able to take the iOS/android game Fallout Shelter, and basically do that in-game! This is huge as it allows you to get super meta with your game and build a settlement truly from the ground up. They also announced Nuka World, a seemingly run down theme park you can fix up and start using. I didn’t look too much into it as I was still geeking out over the Vault DLC. On the small-scale aspect of new content, they also announced a pack that will give you items like lifts, and allow you to make weird contraptions. I don’t know what the appeal of that is, but hey, you can do more stuff in your town now. Closing out their Fallout section they dropped a bomb on us, and that bomb is Fallout VR! Not a ton was revealed about this but I know many people who are looking forward to getting this going and replay Fallout in VR.

Dishonored 2

Bethesda’s last game was Dishonored 2. The game looks great, as they have expanded upon their unique look at the world and how they blend their awesome architecture with stylized characters and powers. If you are a fan of the first game, you will be super stoked for this second game. There is a problem here though, this demo/trailer/announcement KILLED the momentum of the conference, which was moving along at a decent pace until this point. The demo dragged on, and turned my excitement for the game into a “meh” over all. Another theme E3 has had this year is pacing problems, and Bethesda was no exception to this rule.

The conference itself was mostly well done minus the issues I mentioned above. Lots of cool games to look forward to, even if some of them are PC only, and that leaves us other games like Wolfenstien for next year so it’s likely we will see Bethesda again, which is news I can get behind.

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E3 – EA conference about games, sports, sports and games and a shit crowd

I am a little salty at the moment. I was playing Overwatch just before watching the EA press conference and was getting my ass handed to me by a trio of Tracers, and that salt carried over to their conference, and it’s not actually what you expect.

Shitbag audience

The people at the North American theater for EA’s conference were shit. Plain and simple shit. They were incredibly quite, almost uninterested in the conference itself and generally made an “okay” conference worse due to their collective attitudes. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect the Woo girl from the Bethesda conference, but at least some polite claps as stuff, otherwise why the fuck are you there. On the opposite side of the pond, the UK crew with Peter Moore at least had some cheers and clapping going on for some of the games being shown, which was a welcome reprieve from the collective NA toadstools. That rant out-of-the-way, lets talk about the actual games.

Titanfall 2

Starting off, I have to say Titanfall 2 is high on my list of games to pick up. I really enjoyed the first one and with the ability to play on PS4 now, I am going to be all in. Both the single player and the multiplayer trailers looks pretty awesome, though I will admit that the former was a bit duller as we didn’t get the bombastic combat moments and explosions from the latter. The multiplayer trailer does show one important thing though, everybody is “stealing” idea’s from everybody, zip lines, gravity grenades, ground smash’s, it seems like the only unused idea Team Fortress 2 has left is its beloved hat economy. Besides that though, looks quite enjoyable, and I hope it runs as smoothly as shown. One might worry about this game and Battlefield 1 being launched so close together but I have a feeling they actually wont, however I will talk about that below.

Fifa 17

Both types of football made their faces shown, and as a FIFA fan, I found myself drawn to proper football, and not American grid iron. What interested me about FIFA is not only the gameplay, from one-off and seasons, but this new “Journey” mode, similar to other EA sports title single player like career modes. It will be an interesting twist for the series to go with as you battle, strategize, and play the game both on and off the pitch. With a new collision engine, better ball control and improved shot placement I think FIFA 17 will have another blockbuster year in sales.

brackets_v4

The other football shown was Madden 2016/2017 and their new challenge draft modes. This image above was from yesterday’s bracket games from the eight best players in the world as they battled it out for fifty thousand dollars. I don’t follow this myself, but its cool how EA is getting more into the e-sports scene as it helps those who enjoy that kind of thing and allows for more people to become involved with it. Madden looks good still and I am sure it will also do well in the up coming season.

Fe

This game looks interesting, Fe one of the small dev teams that EA is helping support is putting together a cute little title which seems to run in the same vein as Journey or Flower. You are wandering around the world with no prompted direction, so the user is literally the driving force for the story as you resume your dark fantasy looking woodland friends, and battle what I assume are the representation of humans destroying the ecosystem. A fun looking title, and a good move for EA to start helping the little guy out as they continue to make strides to change their “worst company in america” image.

visceral-star-wars-game-e3-2016-teaser

Now we start getting into the real meat and potatoes of the conference. . . . or at least we would have if there was anything of actual note to show for EA and their massive Star Wars push. Every game is at LEAST a year out and their entire section of this presentation was a series of dev diaries and other essentially sizzle reel of star wars images. This was the second most disappointing aspect of their conference as while the sports games and Fe were interesting, Star Wars should have been a juggernaut of content to get people excited. We instead get humdrum into and “hey stuff is happening at some point between here and when we all turn to space dust”.

Andromeda

Speaking of space dust the “information”, if you could call it that, about Mass Effect Andromeda was so sparse and useless that I was literally at a loss for words for how terrible that portion of the conference was. Sitting in the basement with friends watching and I turned slowly to them and asked if I had stroke, because I didn’t hear any information and clearly I must have blacked out. EA drops two of its three big balls with poor messaging, lackluster information and seeming inability to put cohesive thought together.

Battlefield 1

Thankfully the last, or at least seemingly biggest, ball rolled through with a strong finish. Mid conference their half trailer was another blunder, but a full trailer at the end of the show made up for that. Another big, bombastic, and beautiful shooter is on our doorsteps that should keep a good chunk of the community happy. While I have concerns for this games release date, which I will comment on below, I am looking forward to getting a squad together to roam the trench’s.

If you stayed around after the conference to watch the 32 v 32 battle with a bunch of celebrities and YouTube gamer’s you got to see four important things. Firstly is Snoop Dog smoking a blunt on camera and being an average player with a close second, in terms of importance, being Snoop Dog after he finished his blunt and started wrecking house. The third note worthy thing is how even in a pre-alpha build the amount of great visual cues and destruction they have. We saw planes hit buildings and not get destroyed, which is to be expected at this stage, but rain pattering off your weapon, fog, dust and debris obscuring vision, and the zeppelin crashing down on the map WHEN it gets destroyed and permanently altering that area of the map which is really cool to watch. The fourth and final thing however is the release date. The build they showed for the play session said pre-alpha, and with only four-ish months before it’s launch I have almost one hundred percent certainty that this will be pushed. Either to November or sometime mid next year.

That being said, I thought there was some good info, some shit crowds, and a serious lack of Star Wars and Mass Effect news, which was irksome to say the least. Let’s hope the big boy conferences are much better.

X-Men Apocalypse Spoiler Review: The good, the bad and the blue skinned

X-Men Apocalypse is the the third movie in a the the series, and much like the first trilogy, with that god awful movie Last Stand, Apocalypse is the worst of the three. Now before I get a torrent of hate for comparing this to X3, let me explain. Singer’s latest entry into the X-Men franchise is pretty good. It has its problems, which we will talk about below, but it is SIGNIFICANTLY better than Last Stand and there are a lot of positive moments we can take as we move forward with this universe.

First thing I have to mention is my dislike of Mystique. I like the comic book character, and I like Jennifer Lawrence as I believe she is a talented actress, but I have not liked how this trio of movies has pushed her into the spot light as a character who traditionally, coming from the comics, has been foe to Xaivers school for the gifted more often then not.  In this film Lawrence either does not want to be there, especially in costume as I have heard it is a pain in the ass to get into, or they wrote her dialogue so poorly that nothing could help it as the wooden and sometimes lifeless projection of “character motivation” that I grew bored of her almost instantly.

While it’s understandable to see why she is in “human form” most of the time as she doesn’t want to be seen as a hero due to the events in Day’s of Future Past, her actions also lack any real urgency or impact. I found that she drifted into and out of each scene as every other character was more appealing in some way. The final battle of the movie further showcases her inability as a character to make real differences up until the point she becomes a damsel in distress at the hands of Apocalypse, but more on that later.

Apocalypse 2

On the flip side, almost all of the remaining cast had stand out moments in both dialogue, visual aesthetics and displays of power. As we have come to expect, the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (or Max Eisenhardt from the comics)  is on point. Both Michael Fassbender and James MacAvoy continue to be a solid foundation for this universe to rely on. It has been said by many others, but it is incredible that Fox found two pairs of actors to play these character so well. The bulk of our emotional growth comes from Magneto, who gets to push not only the agenda’s of Professor X in the beginning of the movie by “living among us” as Charles wants, but then the subsequent rage at the loss of his family due to his past and the eventual turn around at the end of the movie to see what his actions in siding with Apocalypse have wrought.

Another great addition to this movie are all of the new kids, both literally as “kids going to school at the X-mansion” and new actors stepping into the roles of Jean Grey, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm and Angel/Archangel, and Psylocke. While the weakest performances from the the last two on that list, as they had basically nothing of note to do, the others stand out as actors and actress’s to look forward to in the X-Men cartoon X-Men in the 90’s movie coming out in a few years. The display of powers for Storm, Cyclops, and his sort lived brother Havoc (spoiler, it looks like he dies like a idiot due to over zealous chest-beam action) look fantastic, while Nightcrawler, Jean Grey and Psylocke have situational power uses which look cool, but didn’t get to see them enough. The standout powers for me however have to be Magneto’s as he literally rips the earth apart and causes some major damage every time he goes full bore.

While the first seventy five to eighty five percent of the movie was really enjoyable, it was the last fifteen to twenty percent that killed the momentum. Apocalypse as a character looked great, had cool visuals for his powers and a fun cadence to show his level of anger/zeal for the tasks he was doing, yet when it comes time to use “melt your skin cause I did that forty five minutes ago to a dude” again in the main fight as an attack, or at least a threat that the X-Men could dodge/defend against we get nothing. As his horsemen start getting picked off/leave he resorts to a flame shield (because reasons) and the climax of the movie turns into a episode of Captain Planet where the five kids are all blasting Captain Pollution with elemental damage. We also never really get to delve deeply into his back story and why things were the way they were. There was so much material to potentially let viewers in on and we left each scene with a constant “wait, why didn’t he just do ‘x’ or ‘y’ with his powers like he did before”. Incredibly frustrating.

On top of a disappointing final fight, I have to mention Psylocke as she cut a car in half, had a thirty second fight with Beast, then fell out of a plane only to use her psy-blade as a pickaxe and slow her decent down a wall, which by the way would have ripped her arm clean off. . . . just saying. Her character was so underused and frankly poorly managed that the only good thing to come from Olivia Munn was a movie credit for her, and a really well designed comic-to-screen costume for us.

While this seems like such a downer for the Apocalypse, I will add as a highlight for me the Wolverine cameo. I really enjoy his character and while the Weapon X suit was not realized to its fullest (like why the fuck could you see his face, it should have been a full visor. Really we all know its goddamn Hugh Jackman) he did get to murder a ton of dudes and that was okay for me. As stated above the ending was a downer but the movie was pretty enjoyable, and if you have not yet seen it, I do recommend going to watch it. It is a fun popcorn movie you can mostly turn your brain off for. Lets hope that the next movie is a bit closer to the comics and we see something like this.Apocalypse 3

E3 predictions – Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony and all of their games delayed into 2017

It is nearly upon us, the super bowl of the video game world that sets up the rest of the year for immediate releases, or delays, and draws us a map for each companies plans moving forward. If the header image doesn’t give it away, I am talking about E3 the Electronic Entertainment Expo. I have written this article three times to date, intent on releasing it on Friday the 10th (tomorrow) yet each day I find some of my predictions were outed, which is both great I was correct/incorrect but annoying as I have to re-tool my thoughts. So I said fuck it and am posting this list after these final revisions. I will be discussing the ‘big three’, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony.

XBox-One-Logo

Microsoft is currently sitting in second place in terms of units sold for their console, and as their library of strong games continues to grow, such as the upcoming Gears of War 4, their conference has the chance to bring a lot of interest with their already announced titles. However as this is a predictions piece, lets talk about the rumors and what I think is going to be shown.
Scalebound gets a finalized release date with full trailer as well as a Collectors edition with the Rider and mount statue: While this title has been pushed to 2017, which I think it the theme of this years E3, they have not given it an actual date for when. I predict that this will be the second or third full length trailer video shown.

Crackdown gets a new trailer with specific release date of 2nd week August: Crackdown has been very quite this past year, and I think the game is rife with fun and bombastic game play elements that will be picked up on by the people who enjoyed the previous games and other titles such as Sunset Overdrive. I think this is the second full trailer they play.

Forza Horizon 3 will get a teaser trailer and a have a loose fall/Q3 2017 release date: Racing games are an odd breed of game lately, as we keep seeing them announced, with titles like Need for Speed, and Rally racing, yet they never seem to dominate the mind space of major news sites. Forza Horizion, and Gran Turismo on the Playstation, seem to be the exceptions to this rule and I believe this E3 Horizion 3 will make its debut.
Halo Wars 2 gets a full length trailer and release date announced. Release date is Q3/Q4 this year: A friend of mine is a HUGE Halo Wars fan, and has been patiently waiting for the next game in the series. With a lighter first party line up this year I think we will see this game as a September or November release.

Scorpio gets a small but strong presence in the middle of the conference, talking about their “future proofing” of the brand. Xbox One gets a price cut OR Xbox One Slim is announced: This seems like a natural progression for Microsoft as they battle it out for supremacy in the ‘console war’. With a tease of information and some concepts plus the price drop/Xbox One Slim will make a lot of people sit up and listen.

E3 Playstation logo

Sony is currently enjoying a comfortable lead in this generations sale’s which is insane as they have released very few first party games/killer apps. Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, and. . . well that’s all I care about, but still they are keeping the focus on them by sliding up to third-party developers and getting the spotlight on games like Activision’s Destiny and Call of Duty. With many of their games getting pushed into late Q4 or early Q1 of next year how will they hold up?

PS4k/Neo gets small mention in the middle of the conference giving brief outline with more at PSX: As news continues to come out before the conference, I caught the article(s) that PS4K wouldn’t be a major player at their conference, so the slight revision to my initial guess, a full 10-15 minute discussion about it, was axed in favor of what you see above. I also think the PS4k/Neo will be available at PSX.

God of War Full trailer and release date of Q4/Q1 of next year to stuff an already packed 2017 even fuller. This will be the first trailer they lead off with. The name will be “God of War: Ragnarök: God of War has been a long time in the making, and rumours are VERY strong that it will make its appearance at this E3. I think it will be delayed from this year though, best case scenario being a November launch.

Gran Turismo Sport will have a full trailer and DLC/Collectors edition will be announced. This is to compete with Forza announcement: Like Forza Horizion prediction this seems likely as a way to boost awareness of the game as it will be one of the few triple A first party titles seen this year.

Bend’s game will finally get some screen time and we will see what the hell has been going on for the past 800 years (or 5, if you are counting): This is a prediction a lot of others are making as well, but it just seems like its time for them to shit or get off the pot. I don’t even know if I care what the game is at this point, I just want to know there is an actual game being made, and not a smoke and mirrors show.

Playstation VR will have about twenty minutes of stage time as they talk about launch games and their “launch window” line up. One full game will also be demoed as they talk about the system and a new bundle will be announced of PS4/VR with Camera for Holiday season: VR is coming, and E3 seems like one of the two best places to deliver its message, the other being GDC, and I am putting my money on E3. With a smattering of titles for launch and a launch window of “exciting new titles” there is a lot to talk about.

e3-nintendo-logo

Nintendo is in a weird place. They seem to give zero shit’s about being a part of E3 on the one hand, as they do their own conference via the ‘Nintendo Direct’ but on the other hand they still have a decent presence there with their floor show and slew of games they bring. This year however they are in transition to the NX (X gonna give it to ya) so they are bringing only the bare essentials, which is Zelda, Pokemon and. . . . comfortable shoes to stand in line to try other’s demo’s? Definitely the weak one of the bunch currently but there could be some smaller titles that shock and awe.

Legend of Zelda looks fantastic and makes us all want to play it right now: Not a super hard prediction to make on my part, as I am a big Legend of Zelda fan and I want to see that series take the next evolutionary leap in RPG’s which is the larger, more open world style, Legend of Zelda that gives us a chance to explore to our hearts content.

A new Donkey Kong/Diddy Kong game will be announced for Wii U and 3DS AND NX. Wii U/3DS will be released this fall and NX version released same time as the console: I like Donkey Kong, in Smash he is my fourth pick after Captain Falcon, Ganondorf, and Bowser. I think it is ripe (he he banana pun) for Donkey and Diddy to make an appearance, especially after Tropical freeze did so well for the series.

Pokémon/Pokémon Go will take up fifteen minutes of their direct and many new Pokémon will be shown: I don’t play Pokémon, nor do I plan to. Nothing against the series as I have enjoyed the other games I did play, but I don’t have the time anymore and personally I would prefer a console version. I think this will be big for fans of Pokémon while a moot point for non fans.

Mobile games and their Mobile Partner will take up fifteen to twenty minutes of the Direct, with more information about mobile games of Nintendo properties being revealed: This also seems like a no brainer, but their partnership has been going for a while now and I think they will start to push these games into the spotlight.

Metroid is revealed as a launch title for the NX, CG trailer for the game and it looks to be a return to Metroid Prime quality: This is my “pie in the sky” prediction as Metroid is one of those games everyone talks about, but it seems no one buys as they don’t have the greatest sales. Could bode well though if it was a launch title and looked like something the masses wanted, unlike the last Metroid announcement.

Nintendo world will have its own five minutes of glory as they introduce new games and themes for both the Wii U and 3DS, talk about (but not show) how it will transition to the NX with more details later in the year: Nintendo land seems to always appear like that drunk friend you didn’t invite to the party, so I imagine it will be brought up again and I will roll my eyes, because I am a jerk and I personally have no interest in this.

Those are the big three, and while this is my first written predictions list, I have a feeling I am going to get a couple of points/correct guesses. Many of them safe, but I am feeling confident about Donkey Kong and God of War name. I will follow-up once this is done with how poorly I guessed 😀

Thanks for reading.