CyberPunch83's Blog - Apr to Jun 17 (36 followers)
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Jun
19
PermalinkAfter the Party
This is my second in a series of E3 coverage, looking back at the games, the press conferences and everything in between. On Friday we looked at EA and their standalone EA Play event and Bethesda's showing at the main show. In keeping with the order of how I looked at the publishers and their games, this time we will be looking at Microsoft and Ubisoft, two of the largest publishers on the Xbox. Going into the show, we knew what Microsoft would be showing with regards to hardware, and they did not disappoint in that category.

Welcome to the Xbox One X. Formerly known as Project Scorpio, the so-called most powerful game console ever made will be available November 7th in most regions for $499 or your local equivalent. In a way, I'm not surprised about the name, keeping everything consistent with the naming style started with the Xbox One back in 2013, then followed on with the Xbox One S, and now the One X. The other name I had heard thrown around as a possible candidate is the Xbox One Elite, similar in nature to the Elite controller and like the old Xbox 360 Elite console from back in the day.

The biggest claims for the console are processing power and 4K output, to sets that can output in 4K. As someone who doesn't own a 4K TV yet, I won't exactly be rushing out in November to replace the Xbox One I have now. There are probably at least a few people who may regret buying an Xbox One S when they were new, knowing full well this one is around the corner now that the stats and price are known. The funnest and likely unintentional takeaway from this conference is if you plug 'one x' into Google, you get a 2006 studio album from Canadian band Three Days Grace.

The second hardware announcement is original Xbox backward-compatibility. This is a huge deal, since the 360 had the same capabilities, and since the Xbox One is a more powerful console, there is no reason to not have it available. Plus there has always been cries from fans to bring back or reboot some franchises last seen on the original Xbox. This is Microsoft's big chance to gauge the actual fan support and maybe even bring some of those games back in an HD remake, or just a long-awaited sequel. I am very excited to see where this can lead for Xbox as a platform.

Game-wise, the largest announcement from the show was Forza Motorsport 7. Proving the rumours false for now that there won't be a third game added to the Forza development cycle, 7 is putting the Motorsport series back in territory it has not seen since 2011. Porsche has, or possibly had, an exclusive license deal with EA for their vehicles to prominently feature in their games. Everyone else that wanted them had to make a DLC pack, which was the case for Motorsport 4 through 6. Now, Porsche seems to have returned to the fold, with a 911 GT3 featured on the reveal and maybe even on the cover art.

Moving from a first-party publisher to arguably one of the largest third-party game pushers, Ubisoft. Starting off the show with a brand-new logo seems like a bold move, especially when said new logo is the old one with the colour removed and the inner swirl pattern changed to an unfortunate extent. The single biggest announcement from the French publisher was an official announcement and confirmation of Beyond Good & Evil 2. Rumoured to be in development since 2007, BG&E2 finally is here, real, though not with any sort of concrete release date or other important information yet. That likely comes later.

For those of you who play other console, a Super Mario and Rayman universe crossover game is now a thing, called Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Don't expect to see that one on an Xbox One X. Transference is a VR-exclusive game introduced by Elijah Wood, and we all know how well tech and games fare when they are introduced by Frodo. That's about all we know about that one. The Crew 2 was revealed and appears to be adding boats to the sequel for the cross-country racer we all have only because it was free on Games with Gold a few months back. Also seen was a pirate game called Skull & Bones that totally isn't aping Assassin's Creed IV.

Speaking of historical big, open-world games, Far Cry 5 got its share of attention at the show. Bringing the setting home for many, to the US, firmly setting the game in modern times and adding new features like planes into the mix. As soon as a fast-travel option like aircraft become available, expect the map to grow exponentially in size. After a lower than expected reception for both Far Cry 4 and Primal, one must wonder of this series is due for another year off as well, similar to Assassin's Creed, which is only just coming out of its own hiatus this year. Don't worry, I have a standalone blog in the works for that one.

Coming up on Friday: the last of the E3 coverage, and a return to our usual programming.
Posted by CyberPunch83 on 19 June 17 at 18:12 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Jun
17
PermalinkThe Dust Begins to Settle
The Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone for another year, and in its wake lies game trailers, announcements, vertical slice, and some of the worst merch and swag a marketing team has ever come up with. With the annual party and celebration of all things new and upcoming out of the way, it's time to round up what was seen this year, in the same order the games were previewed here over the last couple of weeks. This means we start away from E3 itself and at the other games event held at the same time, EA Play.

Sure enough, FIFA, NFL and NBA Live all got some attention and love at the show, showing off cover athletes and some new features. No mention on NHL 18, apparently that game will be getting its own showcase come June 21st. It gets harder and harder each year to iterate on annual franchises like these, and as much as the sales are always pretty strong, it gets to a point where you may need to take a year off and really innovate the game. When this current generation started would have been the best time to do that, but that likely won't be happening at all now. However that's another blog for another time.

Other news from the event included some surprising news about Star Wars Battlefront 4.. I mean Battlefront 2. Not that one. This game is very closely following the Titanfall 2 approach of the second game containing everything the first game should have, namely a single-player campaign and free DLC. Better late than never only goes so far. There will still be microtransactions, but for the most part these remain optional. Free DLC means no Season Pass as well, since frankly the less of those we have, the better games are as a form of entertainment and as an industry.

Two new games were also announced at the show as well. A Way Out, from the developers of Brothers is a co-op title based around escaping from a prison. Looks interesting enough, and relatively unique because co-op focused games like these aren't really seen on consoles much anymore. The larger game announcement from this show was Anthem, a brand-new IP and franchise from BioWare. It's a game where you pilot and fight mechs. Forgive me for saying I've heard that pitch before. However with Mass Effect in slightly unknown, probably-hiatus status after Andromeda, this could be the title that gets BioWare back on track.

Back to the actual show itself after that small detour, and now looking at Bethesda. Their 'Bethesdaland' teaser poster came true, with The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus being announced. Those must have been the two 'Under Construction' places on the poster. Both games getting sequels is hardly surprising, since both games did well in their respective genres and were well deserving of sequels. Oddly, in the case of Wolfenstein, for a game franchise that's been around since 1981, this is the first game to be called Wolfenstein 2.

Also announced was a new Dishonored game, not even a year after the release of the second entry in Bethesda's second-newest franchise, behind The Evil Within. I"m honestly surprised Called Death of the Outsider, this game follows Billie Lurk, who will be familiar to players from the last two DLC released for the first game, The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches. She was the second in command to Daud, the protagonist of those two DLC chapters, and now she gets to star in her own game. Whether or not this game is effectively Dishonored 3 or 2.5 remains to be seen. Expect this game mid-September.

To the disappointment of many, Elder Scrolls VI was not announced at E3, and for that reason, some people are saying Bethesda's show was weak overall. I don't think that's the case, since not every year can have a Fallout 4-sized announcement. Speaking of Fallout, you will soon be able to play Fallout 4 and DOOM on VR for those that wanted support for those games on those platforms. If you're one of those people, go nuts. I'm sure you will find a lot to enjoy there, especially when using those paid mods you will now be able to purchase for Fallout 4. Yeah, I'm not sure about that one either.

One last note on Elder Scrolls: yes, it will be coming to the Switch. We basically already knew that from the reveal trailer for Nintendo's latest console that Skyrim will be getting full Nintendo integration, or at least the closes thing to full Nintendo integration without being Japanese and being at least 30 years old as a franchise. You can use a Link Amiibo to dress your character in-game as the hero from the Legend of Zelda games. A nice way of welcoming this game and indeed this franchise to a Nintendo console, since this is their first taste of the Elder Scrolls series.

Coming up on Monday: part two of the E3 2017 debrief.
Posted by CyberPunch83 on 17 June 17 at 02:27 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Jun
12
PermalinkStanding at the Door
As you read this, E3 is either close enough you can taste it, or already ongoing, In the case of the latter, you should probably be reading the E3 coverage since this will already be outdated in some fashion by then. However in the event you are reading this on Monday, the same day this is going up, this is the last part in a series of looking at the major publishers relevant to the Xbox and what they will be showing off to the public at E3 this year. You probably already have an idea of what to expect since little has been leaked in the last week, so let's take a look.

One thing I have not mentioned up to this point is the attendance itself for the show. This is the first time E3 has been open to the public, rather than previous year's tradition of only allowing members of the press, bloggers and those closest to the industry to get the word about new games as soon as possible. This is even farther removed from the setup for the 2007 and 2008 shows, which were not only known as the E3 Media and Business Summit, but was limited to direct members of the press only. No one else was allowed to attend or was given permission. There is an entire blog to be written about the history of E3, those dark years included.

Only a couple of large publishers left to look at now, one of them bringing along many previously-announced games for another showing and some playtesting, another publisher who is also bringing a close look at one of the longest-running franchises in games history. Let's start with Activision. A company of relatively few surprises, Activision is bringing a lot of games to the show people are already aware of, but will be shown off just the same. One of the biggest games people will likely be itching to see more of is Destiny 2.

There is an entire blog to be written about how the original Destiny burned me out and why I likely won't be returning for the sequel to Bungie's first post-Halo franchise. However that's another blog for another day. Continuing their close partnership with Sony, Destiny 2's campaign and multiplayer will be playable at the Sony booth on PS4 Pro consoles, showing off a new Guardian sunbclass for the Hunter known as the Arcstrider, alongside new subclasses for other Guardians like the Titan Defender and Warlock Dawnblade. Some other subclasses will retain their original names but have their abilities reworked.

Also coming courtesy of Activision, though maybe not just at the Sony booth, is Call of Duty: WWII. The fourteenth main entry in the series, WWII takes you back to the battlefields of Europe where Call of Duty originally cut their teeth on game mechanics, graphics and gameplay. It has since been confirmed that contrary to what the original reveal trailer may have you believe, you will not be playing as a German soldier in the campaign mode. Zombies mode is also returning, and with the main game set in WWII, this looks to be a return to form for that game mode as well.

Two new multiplayer modes will be available for attendees to try out, Headquarters and War. Both are relatively straightforward in their names and what they are, with Headquarters claiming to be a franchise first in terms of being able to show off individual accomplishments in a team-based environment. War is a more narrative-driven multiplayer mode, with teams of presumably human-controlled Axis and Allied soldiers fight for capturing and defending strategic points, leading to power weapons and other support that can be called in.

The other large publisher we'll be looking at before the big show itself is Square Enix. The majority of their conference can be described as Final Fantasy. They are looking at the 30th anniversary of the franchise, which is not something that can often be said about video games not from Nintendo. More specifically, it will be Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy XV Universe, and Final Fantasy Exivus and Mobius for the mobile gamers. Nothing much from the Eidos side of the company, with nothing currently in stone for Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, or Hitman.

Rest assured, there will be an entire blog devoted to that last franchise in particular. Outside of Final Fantasy taking most of the conference time, Square Enix will also be showing off F1 2017 with Codemasters, , MotoGP 17 and MXGP3 with Milestone, and some news for NieR: Automata. Like any publisher, there is a set time for game trailers for previously-unannounced titles. Maybe we will see something from the Eidos franchises. Maybe we'll get the beginning to a whole new franchise entirely. With a show like E3, the sky's the limit.

Coming up on Friday: summing up the highlights from E3. Possibly a two-parter.
Posted by CyberPunch83 on 12 June 17 at 15:18 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Jun
09
PermalinkBearing Down
E3 2017 is next week, and with it comes the seemingly-endless waves of game announcements, reveals and updates. Earlier in the week we went over some publishers and what they are and are not doing at E3, namely EA and Bethesda, with the standalone EA Play event and Bethesdaland. This time we're going to look more specifically at certain games, and the publishers tied to them, for what they will bring to the largest annual celebration of games and gaming. Let's start with the main reason anyone uses this site, Microsoft.

Scorpio. We know that will be the big reveal this year. The actual name of the box, hopefully more in-depth specs, and other information about pricing, release dates and availability. Probably something about games that can be found on the platform as well. Expect that to take center stage at their press conference, no question about that. Is Scorpio the reason it was confirmed not too long ago that Halo 6 won't be seen at this years' show? Only time will tell. After the reception of Halo 5, I wouldn't be surprised to see 343 Industries go back to the proverbial drawing board for the next title.

Another franchise with a huge question mark over its head is Forza Motorsport. Based on previous years and the alternating development duties, Forza Motorsport 7 is expected to be announced this year with a release date likely sometime around November. However do not be surprised if this is not the case. Rumours have been swirling around Microsoft's premier racing franchise for a while now that a third development team may come on board and develop their own game under the Forza name, making it a three-dev cycle just like Activision with Call of Duty.

Being a first-party title, and one Microsoft loves to show off wherever possible, if Forza Motorsport 7 is indeed unveiled at E3, expect it to be a lunch title for the Scorpio, with a version also available for the Xbox One. This would mark the first time a Forza Motorsport game has been available for two platforms at the same time, but the second time for the series overall. Forza Horizon 2 is available for both current-gen and last-gen systems. I'm always excited by a new Forza Motorsport title, and with the exception of 5 from 2013, they have always improved over the previous game, either in terms of graphics, tracks or sheer number of cars.

Speaking of publishers that love to ram AAA franchises down our throat with alarming regularity, Ubisoft. This year should be somewhat a return to form for the French publisher. The trial separation period is over, and Ubisoft are poised to return to the homeland of historical stab-em-ups with Assassin's Creed Origins. Leaked to the point of all but confirmed by Ubisoft themselves at this point, Origins marks the first game back in the series after taking 2016 off to sort out its affairs, produce a somewhat-disappointing film starring Michael Fassbender, and decide it wants to give this game thing another shot.

Expect a full analysis of the game after its eventual announcement at E3. Also in Ubisoft's stable is Far Cry 5, a franchise that some people are fearing may overstay its welcome, after Far Cry 4 was more or less a copy of 3 in a new environment, and Far Cry Primal didn't get the love it deserved. This time around the action comes home for a lot of people, with a game set in modern rural America, specifically Montana. From what we've seen you are fighting against a local militia with ties to every facet of this quiet little mountain town. The franchise is adding places, which is a nice touch as well.

Rounding out the list of confirmed games is two titles, the first of which is South Park: The Fractured But Whole. The twice-delayed sequel to 2014's The Stick of Truth is set to make its second E3 appearance, with a new confirmed release date of October 17. We'll see if that release date escapes their conference unscathed. Keeping with the turn-based RPG formula, the game is set to retain the first game's 2-D field of view and animations taken right from the long-running animated series. Being a South Park game, you know exactly what to expect from the jokes as well.

Also making an appearance is The Crew 2. Ubisoft's main racing series has never been quite sure if it wants to closest mimic Forza Motorsport or Need for Speed. It's not quite arcade-y or technical enough to match Forza Motrsport, and it doesn't have quite the sharp narrative focus found in a Need for Speed title. It's just sort of there as well. Doesn't mean what's there won't be polished to a mirror shine however. Personally, this game never did much for me. I have it thanks to Games with Gold, but I'm not sure if this is one I'll ever play outside of being incredibly bored and having beat most other games I own on the One.

Coming up on Monday: one last spot of pre-E3 coverage.
Posted by CyberPunch83 on 09 June 17 at 04:42 | There are 3 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Jun
07
PermalinkSchedule Slip
By reading this blog, you would get the idea that I game a lot in my spare time. That would not be an inaccurate statement. What would be an inaccurate statement would be that gaming is all I do in said spare time. I do engage in activities that take me out of the Xbox sphere and into the real world. Sometimes those activities take up so much of my time, these blogs get pushed back a bit and delayed. I'd be lying if I said I've thought about moving the schedule for these around, but for the time being they are staying right here. Maybe one day they will move.

I mentioned last week that we'll be taking a quick look at E3 before the actual event itself. For the second year in a row, EA will not have floor space at the actual convention itself, instead going for their standalone EA Play event. Expect to see booths at this event from the usual suspects of annual sports franchises, like Madden NFL and FIFA. Also expect to see a large showing from their recently-confirmed Need for Speed Payback, who seems to be taking the 'revenge' plot arc this time around based on the reveal trailer. There are only so many ways to mix up a driving franchise.

There will also be a large showing for the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront 2.. no, not that one. The new Battlefront 2. This is confusing as we already had games with those same titles. There needs to be some sort of gaming commandment put in place, led by Phil Spencer, Shigeru Miyamoto, and the collective brain trust that runs Sony. If you're going to reboot a franchise in any way, keep the numbering consistent as to not confuse people and actually acknowledge the existence of previous entries in whatever series is getting a fresh new release.

This should be Battlefront 4 we are hearing about now, and Battlefront 3 should have been the game released in 2015, not the reboot we got which lacked pretty much any single-player aspect. Taking the Titanfall route doesn't always work, but this one did enough to get a sequel. Take a note from Bethesda, who kept the numbering on the Fallout franchise for its console debut with Fallout 3 in 2008, and that was great. Not only the game, but the franchise kept its numbering and no one is confused. The same thing happened with the Elder Scrolls series and again, no one whined or complained.

With that said, what is Bethesda planning for E3? Two new games and/or franchises, that's for sure. Sort of. This image was released last week of 'Bethesdaland', a theme park made up of areas designed after the publisher's main franchises, including Fallout, Doom, Dishonred and Elder Scrolls. Two of these park areas are boarded up as 'Under Construction', which indiactaes either new entries in franchises not depicted in this image or new franchises altogether. It could be one of both, or two of either. Whichever is the case, we'll just have to wait until June 11th and see what Todd Howard brings to the stage this year.

There will be more coverage leading up to E3 later this week before the main event itself. In the meantime, here's a review for a game that didn't need to exist, but we're glad it does.

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare Micro-Review: The original Plants vs Zombies was a grid-based tower defense game where you plant all manner of garden flora to fight off waves of the undead. Unsurprisingly, the game was a smash success for PopCap Games, due to its simple gameplay mechanics, smooth graphics and animation and overall being a really fun game. So of course the logical next step is to be bought by EA and spin your franchise into a third-person shooter with little single-player content with a heavy emphasis on multiplayer. Stay with me here.

Garden Warfare is every bit as crazy as you may think it is, but it's all grounded in relatively simple controls, enough character diversity to keep everything fresh, and a variety of game modes to fir your desires. For the first time you get to play as the Zombies in competitive modes. Each side has four classes, each with their own unique skills and abilities, relatively analogous to the classes you would expect to find in a game like this, including tank, support and sniper. Along with different strengths and weaknesses, they can complement each other well on the battlefield.

The usual slew of game modes is on offer, from straight-up Team Slayer, called Team Vanquish here, to control point defense, capture the flag with tacos, and assault with bombs strapped to garden gnomes. The sense of humour and timing here is just as funny as the original game that spawned this title, and is a welcome relief from the endless waves of gritty modern shooters, of either first or third-person variety. The story isn't much to speak of, since there isn't one. Highly recommended regardless, for both fans of the original tower defense game and those who want something fresh from a shooter. 8/10

Coming up on Friday: a blog probably not on Friday, and more E3 previews.
Posted by CyberPunch83 on 07 June 17 at 18:06 | There are 2 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.