Grudges against Microsoft and Sony aside, all that bullshit (coupled with the post-conference bullshit) cannot topple the sheer amount of mystery that comes with each year's E3.
New consoles, new technology, new games. Admittedly, not nearly as tantalizing as the jump from the previous gen, but tantalizing nonetheless. I am going to watch every conference. That is my "goal". Even if it means sticking through with the most mundane of presentations.
Microsoft claims to be done with the needless TV and sports features romp, but I guarantee there will still be a hefty handful of Kinect nonsense. And EA will likely spend most of their time talking up stuff like Madden/FIFA. Maybe we'll at least see a reveal of the next Dragon Age? Battlefield 4 will also surely excite, despite my cynicism towards 3 and what is likely to become of 4.
With each E3 also comes a lot of wishful thinking. And that wishful thinking is something I'm trying to stay clear of. Nope. Nary a thought of Half-Life 3, Fallout 4, Beyond Good and Evil 2, a GTA V demo showcase, Persona 5, or a next-gen Destroy All Humans shall enter my head. I'm going to stay grounded in boring reality. Where nothing is at all like our most wildest dreams and we'll never ever see a sequel to Advent Rising.
Welp, here's what I'm looking forward to. "Realistically".
Dead Rising 3
It only had made it's rounds to a select few spots in the interwebz, but this photo ended up outing Halo: Spartan Assault just a wee little bit before it's official announcement.
And what else do you notice about that photo (besides it's excruciatingly awkward perspective)? Yep! Halo 5, Fable IV, a new Banjo Kazooie, and so on. However, what has me most excited is the next installment in the Dead Rising series. We do at least know for sure that Dead Rising 3 is in the works, so all we have to do now is assume this photo is totally legit!
Dead Rising has easily retained a spot on my best new IP's of this generation list, and it's always exciting to see what more they can pull off with it. It's one of the few franchises out there that is not only primarily about a wacky sense of humor and fun, but doesn't solely rely on those qualities (*cough*). A fun game is only fun for a short while unless it has a little something more supporting it. Challenging/rewarding gameplay, a lively and interactive open world, and more.
I would love to see the next new area to explore, the next set of nutty boss fights, and just how many thousands of zombies they can fit on-screen with this next leap in console technology.
This is likely on a lot of our most wanted lists. Every (console) 3D Mario has brought with it something fun and entirely new. From the jump to 3D with the OG 64 iteration, to the FLUDD device in Sunshine, to the planet/gravity focus of the superb Super Mario Galaxy.
There is nothing quite as solid, classic, or whimsical as a quality Mario title. Even Mario's most droll of releases are never not fun. If this were another "New" iteration, I'd still be excited, if a good deal disappointed.
Hell, I think we'd all be fine with just another Sunshine.
Oh darn. There I go with my stupid wishful thinking again!
Only announced just several days ago with only sparse info and a teaser, I'm already super excited for Fable Anniversary. Because I already know it's an excellent game. Or, at least it was for it's time.
It was one of the games that sparked my interest in RPG's and was the first game I played where I would take notice of not just the gameplay or the world surrounding me, but it's amount of personality and engrossing story. One of the highlights of the game for me, even back in the day, was meeting up with my sister again and seeing what had become of her. It hit me pretty freaking hard.
I was too young to be wrapped up in the insane amount of hype the game garnered up all the way up to it's climax right near the release. I went in fresh and came out very impressed and I can't wait to experience it all again. Even if it potentially has not aged too well.
As it goes with a lot of classic titles, both old and new, I have them, but have not yet played them or played enough of them. These last several years have been fucking awful to me and my gaming backlog.
Still collecting a large amount of metaphoric dust in my Steam library is the original Thief. And Thief 2. And Deadly Shadows.
I have no idea how these games play beyond knowing that they are stealth games. But, I bought them... because they are stealth games. A genre that is heavily underrepresented in this industry. I have much respect for Metal Gear Solid, one of my favorite games is Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, I really really need to play more of Dishonored, and I am most certainly looking forward to the Thief reboot.
Admittedly, only because it is a stealth game.
Murdered: Soul Suspect
Another recent announcement, but one, thankfully, with some gameplay and a more generous amount of info.
Already being described as Alan Wake meets Ghost Trick, my most anticipated games list welcomes the impressively interesting Murdered: Soul Suspect. What seems like a classic mystery novel turned video game, you must uncover the secrets behind your very own grisly murder. And you get to walk around with those neat, shiny, golden bullet wounds the entire time.
My only concern is with the supposed focus on linearity, which could give way to some lackluster second (and beyond) playthroughs. Here's hoping it's even half as delectable as Alan Wake and they give you some reasons to keep playing (besides achievements). I'm always open to new IP's such as this.
Care to name off your personal top 5 DO WANT's? You better.
Hardly anyone is talking about it, but the demo for The Last of Us has finally released for those who have obtained a copy of God of War: Ascension. And while I may've suddenly realized why nobody is talking about it, it doesn't make the fact that nobody is talking about it any less aggravating.
And it's aggravating in more than one respect. On one hand, a demo this good, for a brand new IP, shouldn't be confined to a full-priced game. Especially as Ascension actually already comes with demos for LittleBigPlanet Karting, Journey, Flower, and several more. As if the production of this game was some glorified marketing stunt.
Secondly, the demo is good. Pretty damn good. Great.
As I expected (see also: hoped), the demo began with a scenic venture through a downtown apocalypse. A couple minutes inward and Joel eyes their objective, not too far from their position. But, in order to get there, they can either jump the gorge to their immediate deaths or take a long way around through a couple dark, dilapidated, abandoned buildings. Ready-to-crumble and filled with infected.
Both choices suck butt. Though, sensibly enough, they decide to prolong their lives a little bit for the sake of the mission and take the alternate route.
Keep in mind that the game didn't give me some obtuse objective marker. I actually had to look right, left and behind for a way around. On top of that, it was drizzling rain with dark clouds overhead. Man, I love rainy days. This demo is already starting off very smoothly.
I soon get a hang for the controls. And in playing around with them, I discover there is a quick turn ability ala Resident Evil. Since I was coming straight off of Revelations, and since the movement/aiming felt very very Uncharted-esque, this strap was none too snug. I fit into this game like a wet glove.
As I keep playing, I find that this game is not just a spooky Uncharted. Commendable.
For one thing, the game is far more difficult and tense. Clickers require either a careful sneak or a ballsy melee charge. Yeah... you could use your gun. But, you'd do your best by saving those bullets for the bigger groups. The largest ammo pick-up I found was 6 bullets. And that was for a totally different weapon. I reckon it's even more scarce on the higher difficulties.
Melee combat is also, thankfully, incredibly dynamic. Graphics, story, whatever else this game might have going for it.. I'm looking forward to more of the combat.
Uncharted 3 saw a dramatic improvement in the franchise's grapple/fisty maneuvers, but even that was tame compared to The Last of Us. Here, combat flows as naturally as it does in an actual fight. If you're brave (or stupid) enough to go for a melee kill (which is not the same as an instant "shiv" kill, which you need certain supplies for), be ready. As that kill is likely going to attract any surrounding bad dudes.
Oh, and even common infected take more than a hit or two to bite the dust. I was a little caught off-guard, myself, when that first piece of fodder didn't go down so easily. Before I could tell that he had not yet been vanquished, he grabs me and we rassle! A dozen or more quick taps of the square button and he's off me.
Then two more bashes with my steel pipe and he's finally dead. Or just in a bloody coma. Either way is cool.
No time to shake that one off, sadly. Another infected is rushing me. This time I know what it takes to come out a winner. 1, 2, 3, goodnight.
Holy mother of God! Now there's an infected and a Clicker, both out looking for a painfully good time. I know to deal with the Clicker first, and shoot him straight in the dome. But, that only paralyzes him for a brief moment. Enough to rassle down the other infected. I get him off me and I take a couple shots.
Stupid me, though. I should've taken another shot at the Clicker between all that, because now he's barely dodged my last shot and all up on me! But, I get a small prompt to the right of his thing-face to use a scissor blade I had found before and I shiv him in the neck.
It was all over. Joel gives the okay and the demo fades to black.
You know the gameplay is engaging when you can't even remember if there was music accommodating the experience. There was hardly any time to think.
But, before that, there was even more to appreciate about this potential masterpiece.
The exploration and environmental detail aspects were the next best things to the combat. Giving you plenty of room to move, with just as much extra space used for exploration/looting and nothing more. All of it captivating to look at. I would shine my flashlight on everything I could for a better view.
Acting was about as good as you'd expect from a modern day Naughty Dog title, but without the sarcastic wit of much of the main Uncharted cast. So it was, admittedly, a little dull at first. Not in the acting, but in the dialogue. No hard drama, no humor, just lines of dialogue.
But, as I settled into the game's mindset, I got used to it and came to think of the dialogue as natural rather than "made-for-Hollywood".
Presentation was just as pleasant with Joel waving his hand across objects he brushes up against, smooth transitions between walking/running and climbing/standing, etc. The game definitely felt as if it was built up from ND's Uncharted engine. But, as I've already stated, this is no Uncharted. Not just simply that, anyway.
To think, for as much loot as I gathered, I never felt overstocked. And the game never forced me down a single path, or gave me too many directions. I forged my own experience, and I can't wait to do it for the long haul.
How many total seconds have I lovingly stared into Jill's butt? That's a question I cannot answer. But, it's a question I frequently ask myself nonetheless.
Her butt ain't all that badonkadonkin', but it's a solid B. At the least. I think it's that shiny, tight diving suit that really makes it pop. I'm not really a jeans kinda person. Maybe some pajamas. Sweatpants, I also don't mind. However, I think Revelations has reinvigorated my appreciation for skin-tight leather.
Although, I have to also wonder: By the end of the game, how smelly must her butt be? At that point, it must be really smelly! Eck! I don't want a smelly butt. Or at least one that is exceedingly more smelly than it should be. All that blood, dirty ocean water. And sweat. God, she must've worked up such a sweat.
Let's pretend for a bit that she takes a nice, long shower between each scene. Or between play sessions. I like to think the video game world, in actuality, is a bit like how Wreck-It Ralph paints it. Wouldn't that be awesome?
Jill's butt pressed against a shower stall window. That's what Resident Evil is missing, by God!
Then again, that would mean that Jill is quite possibly on to my infatuation with her butt. That is something I do not want. I've tried to keep my comments about her butt quiet, but I'd be lying if I said I was able to contain myself throughout my entire first playthrough of Revelations.
You don't spend 6-8 hours looking at someone's butt without making a comment about it. And sometimes things just slip out.
Her butt seems to hold up well in combat as well. When it falls, it never gives up. It sticks to it's guns. It knows what it is and what it has to do.
Appropriately enough, a right step sways her right hip and so on. And a lovely attention to detail has been given to the light that gives off from each cheek. Oh if only every game could be as advanced as Splinter Cell or Uncharted, where water affects the player character's outfits. Thing is, neither Sam's nor Drake's butt is of any interest to me.
Water is such a prevalent feature in Revelations, and the lack of properly soaked buns is quite possibly the game's biggest downfall.
But, I digress. A butt like this isn't meant to be scrutinized, it's meant to be appreciated. Jill's butt not only meets expectations, but it greatly surpasses them.
Like you, I, too, long for the day when a butt as glorious as Jill's isn't seen as such a video game taboo. It's always about the boobs, ain't it? Dead or Alive. Tomb Raider. Senran Kagura. WELL I'M TIRED OF ALL THE FUCKING BOOBS! I want butt physics, in butt games, with butt songs about butt dances.
Good butt times!
Thank you, Resident Evil Revelations. For showing the world how a butt is done.
Originally, I was going to do a blog on my disappointments with the Xbox One reveal and the news that followed from various sites attempting to plug for answers and details.
But, I was tired of being the passionately angry gamer type. I gave up on that very quickly.
Then I was going to take a page from Sterling's Book of GARME JURNALIZM and do an exact rip off of his Blatantly Better series of articles, with the Xbone at the center of it all. And perhaps once we get some more of those concrete details on this all-in-one box of boxes that we are sorely missing, I'll finish it up. It was coming along quite nicely!
But, for now.. I mean, if you want... you can take a gander at a video I finished putting together just a minute ago.
Going into E3, the pre-launch, the launch, the post-launch, for the rest of time... this is something we should all be thinking about. This is, was, the turning point in universal entertainment.
You will never play a game quite like Deadly Premonition. You just might even come to appreciate it for reasons you weren't expecting.
While I was playing, occasionally something my mother always said would come to mind. That people will always think more highly of the D/C/B students, rather than endlessly praise the straight-A students. Because, often enough, those D/C/B students worked hard for the grades they got. They stayed up late and, perhaps, sometimes got zero hours of sleep. Social get-together's were cancelled out of the blue. God forbid, they had to stay after class. Always one of the last ones to finish that test.
They worried far too much. But, they, most certainly, cared.
Similarly, SWERY's idea for a video game was grand and exciting, but they hardly had all the resources they needed for it to be as perfect as they likely had hoped. However, they fucking damn well tried their hardest with what they had. That much is obvious. And, for that, I appreciate Deadly Premonition.
No. I love it.
The game stars you. Your name is Zach.
But that's not the protagonist you control. That guy is named Francis York Morgan. An FBI investigator with a heavy interest in finding out just what the heck's been up with the small, not so quiet at the moment town of Greenvale.
Unfortunately, it seems some idiot is out doing idiot things. Killing people, no less. And, as far as I know (or at least as far as how much I want to know), that's all he's been doing thus far. However, York (just York; everyone calls him that) isn't an idiot. And he talks to his coffee. He's the perfect man for the job.
It is in these first couple scenes you view, once you start up a new game, that we get a pretty good feel for how Francis is as a character. He speaks in a generally flat tone, but has a sense of humor and personality. Thanks in part to the game's less than stellar graphics engine, his expressions are often priceless, but appropriate. Expressive in the way that a classic Tex Avery cartoon character is, although not quite as nutty.
When he's puzzled, his right eyebrow just about rockets off his forehead. When he's happy, you're just a little bit frightened, but you're happy that he's happy. He's infectious.
His character design is also not without it's charm.
It is also here where I am pleasantly surprised by how solid the voice acting is.
They knew to spend whatever budget they had on stuff like decent actors rather than on an outstanding polygon count. Because they're not that naive. And this game is UGLY. Had the game been made any uglier, they'd be plastering and stretching dev photographs onto the character models ala Max Payne.
Accompanying the voice acting are some equally as solid lines of dialogue. Along with some genuine moments of horror, humor and some great music.
All that taken into account, I'll forgive the occasionally ever so awkward presentation. Long stalls of silence between two gracelessly animated avatars, an explosion of cheesy cop thriller horn sections as Francis' name flashes on the screen for the first time, and I'm barely an hour into the game. There's likely plenty more of that to go around.
And I'm looking forward to it.
"Shutup and tell me about the gameplay, you schlock."
As lighthearted as the game can be, there is a pleasant amount of survivor horror to be experienced. Not in the vein of Dead Space or even RE4. No no no. I'm talking classic, kick you in the pants, smart, tense (but fair) survival horror gameplay.
Although the gameplay does borrow quite a handful from RE4, it is not RE4 by any means. Imagine RE4 released between 1997-2002 or so. That's what this game feels like. You still stop to shoot and reload, you still have those wondrous tank controls, you have the over-the-shoulder view, there's even been a couple quicktime events (bare with me, nerds), but what ultimately makes this game so similar yet so different from RE4 is that it's actually properly tense and somewhat tactical.
For as many bullets as you have, sometimes melee combat is simply better. Run of the mill fodder can shock and nail you down if you're caught off-guard. Some weapons degrade over time. Even your default combat knife will break pretty early on, provided you use it from time to time.
RE4's combat knife is made from hardened, electric, diamond magma. This one is 99 cent store plastic.
Best part is, despite the game being on the low-end of low budget, it is very playable.
To call this game anywhere near unplayable is, quite frankly, a bit of a stretch. Just a bit. Have you played Sonic Adventure lately? Or the console version of GTA: Vice City? Pah-lease. This game feels solid enough for it to retain at least a hint of fun throughout. Although, most of the time, it's actually pretty exciting.
From the slippery enemy movements and their hilarious concepts, having to balance your limited stock of items, the surprising amount of variety (that's not to say there's a real buttload of it, though), to that need to find out what happens next. In the first hour, I've been fisted by a female Heath Ledger, attacked by the game's main antagonist, casually walked several hundred yards down the road to Greenvale (it's more awesome than it sounds, given the proper mood), "stuffed my face" with a lollipop, even the little things like that are strangely alluring.
Eventually, I've heard the game becomes what is basically an open world game. With sidequests and having to worry about hunger, tiredness and even your basic hygiene. Why does that interest me? I don't fucking know, but I can't wait. Perhaps it's those tantalizing contrasts between hardcore survival horror, open world simulation and a lighthearted/dark/bonkers story.
The game is everywhere, but so tightly focused. No game, with a budget so small, has seemingly accomplished so much.
As I type this, I'm wondering how I could love such a stupid game. And there's no getting around that. The game is beyond stupid.
"I didn't actually enjoy that, did I?", I would ask myself.
But then I follow up with "Well, what was so bad about it?".
Infinite has been the most talked about game since Journey, with 9's and 10's across the board. Even our most especially hard to impress Jim Sterling gave us quite the surprise with his super duper high rating. Personally, it could've used more of that really fucking awesome skyline/vigor/weapon combat and Elizabeth's character is a tad overrated (a couple hammy performances and a good load of underwhelming facial animations hold her back), but I definitely do think it's of "excellent" quality and one of the best games of the generation.
There's no doubt in my mind that Bioshock Infinite will make 2K/Irrational a profit and then some. Being the successor to the original Bioshock probably helped a good deal, but maybe all the lovely people that made this lovely game possible just simply knew what to do with the hand they were dealt. They knew their market, they knew their legacy, they knew what they wanted to do, and they prepared.
In Layman's terms: They were smart. Their game has been successful on just about every front thus far.
1.) No artistic comprises forced upon the team from 2K (which is especially surprising)
2.) MP was cut because they simply felt it wasn't right
3.) No retailer-exclusive pre-order bonuses (a free game was even offered upon pre-orders, with pre-purchasers on Steam being so lucky as to get Bioshock and even the semi-recent XCOM: Enemy Unknown for free) (EDIT: Apparently, I was wrong about this. However, they're just reskins rather than new weapons so no loss for me)
4.) Single player felt very meaty with a decent amount of replay value
5.) Story was self-contained, no sequel or "real ending" DLC bait
6.) High risks were taken with the story's various subject matters
7.) No highly questionable remarks from the developers/publishers (that I can remember)
8.) No Day-1 DLC/microtransactions/etc.
Seems all that they really did was provide a season pass, and well before launch. But how could one really complain considering all they accomplished with the vanilla game? I'm fully confident that any DLC content we eventually see was made with the utmost class.
Bioshock Infinite is just that. Bioshock Infinite. No bullshit.
And, honestly, why does this have to be such a rarity?
Developers and, much more often, publishers are too scared stiff of their own customers. They don't trust us. And as understandable as it is to be afraid of the people that can, in the end, make your product a success or a failure, for one thing.. you shouldn't be afraid. We can smell fear. And two, looking at what the AAA industry is slowly devolving into, this isn't the way to go about combating said fear. Perhaps some simple therapy would be better?
I don't mean to further pretend to be the businessman that I am most certainly not, but I don't need to be one to know that what the market is pulling just isn't flying. And if it is flying, it's scraping it's feathers across the tarmac. You probably know, more than I do, that we're even long past due for total annihilation!
Companies, you need to stop trying to overcompensate for your potential losses with suspicious DLC/microtransactions (because it certainly didn't save THQ), and if you're going to have those Hollywood+ budgets and teams, then make damn good use of them.
What did that humongous budget/team that resulted in Resident Evil 6 accomplish? Not much apparently. And the game itself was only average/solid at best, a fucking mess at worst. And what's this? AHHHHHHHHH!
You think because you have those big numbers backing your development that your teams will just magically poop out a good game? Magical poop is best left to the Easter Bunny. This quantity over quality mindset has to end.
You know what would do wonders? A modest budget and a decent-sized team, used to make a well-polished, interesting/awesome title, well-marketed and demand met. No squandering content for DLC, no more pansy-catering, no rush to finish, just the game and maybe some honest-to-goodness extra content a fair bit after launch to have people come back for a little longer. Hell, release an extra skin for my character and I may just play the entire game all over again just to witness that awesome new skin in action. That's how much I am my games' stupid, skanky bitch.
Or maybe a free update with a new mode or something to build up even more good faith for your next release? Stuff like that pays off.
When I say "Why can't every AAA title be like Bioshock Infinite?", I don't necessarily mean in it's size and quality, I mean in it's genuineness.
Infinite is the most refreshing AAA release in a long long time not just for it's interesting gameplay and story, but for it's lack of fucking nonsense trailing behind it. You don't see Valve or ATLUS doing too bad out there, now do you? Do their thing more.
I feel as if I should be yelling this from EA's proverbial pedestal, down at the higher-ups I would have kicked down a level or two with their blue-collar employees now standing alongside them, but... look at games like Legend of Grimrock. 600,000 sales a huge success?! Oh my god, dude! I kid you not, this is actually 100% true blue in a bin of play-dew. We must be in some weird alter-verse.
Smaller, but also awesome, games like Anodyne or Lone Survivor probably won't see quite that kind of attention, but who wants to bet the developers are happy campers? They probably bought a big, beautiful slab of steak or two from their local market, launch week, with enough leftover to buy their friends a drink.
And if you're looking to make sure you sustain your happy life for a longer term, then make a Dead Space 3. Make a Tomb Raider. Make a Bioshock Infinite (like seriously). Just, please, know what the hell you're doing.