Category Archives: Features

Features are the pieces of writing that express opinions on one subject.

E3 Conference Roundup: EA

Well, well. Look at who we have here. Famous in the games industry for being the most corrupt publisher in the games industry, and that’s after Bobby Kotick, known as the ‘Devil of the Games Industry’, and his very own Activision! EA have done a lot of things to outright anger their consumers, and are usually at the centre of a lot of controversy in the industry. So, as you can guess, they’re very much hated through-out the globe. So, was their conference good, or is it just as hate-worthy?

Short answer is: no. It wasn’t that bad. The issue is that it wasn’t good either. EA deal with shooters, racing games and sports games. Essentially, they target the largest demographic of video games today. The ‘casual’ market. Their conference featured all the usual titles we’d expect from EA, as well as some typical nonsense in which they’d attempt to justify their premium service. Medal of Honour looked like they could have just left it with the prototype name: ‘First-Person Shooter #104′. And in all honesty, I actually forget what the rest of the conference contained. It was pretty forgettable; although Sim City and Burnout Paradise 2 – err, Need for Speed: Most Wanted – stood out to me. Don’t worry, though. I took notes so I should be able to get back on tra- …

EA E3 notes
Oh.
Well, that’s handy. But I guess it brings me to commenting about Need for Speed: Most Wanted anyway. I guarantee that game was called Burnout Paradise 2 during development, but EA had Criterion change the name to sell more copies. It looks like what a sequel to Paradise would be like. 

E3 Conference Roundup: Microsoft

Microsoft logo for E3 Conference review

Oh, boy. It’s Microsoft again. Did anyone watch them the last two years? Microsoft have long fallen from grace, focusing on ‘better with Kinect’ than any proper video games. Now, that’s not to say Kinect games aren’t to be played or aren’t fun. They are technically proper games too, so what do I mean? Well, I mean a poorly expressed difference between the cluster of shovelware and party games that make their way onto Kinect, and the standard fare that video gaming has been for generations now. There’s no problem with the new gimmicky video games that developers produce for the Kinect peripheral, but it’s fairly evident that Microsoft are focusing far less on their core audience in an attempt to bleed more money out of the industry as they follow Nintendo’s example.

In past years, fewer exclusives and brand new IPs have been getting announced at Microsoft’s conferences. At least, none that benefit their Xbox 360 system specifically. Microsoft’s conference has been the place for third party developers to show off their multi-platform titles to try and get some hype building up. Sure, we’ve gotten the 360 exclusive Halo 4 and Gears of War: Judgement this year, but therein lies my problem. Halo 4. Gears of War: Judgement. There’s nothing truly new about this. Again, I wish to remind my readers that I have no issue with sequels or remakes – I have recently enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII-2 and I’m loving both Metal Gear Solid and Devil May Cry’s HD collections (I even plan to pick up MGS HD again on the Vita!) – but what I do have a problem with is the sheer abundance of them in exchange of brand new IPs. Microsoft have yet to announce any brand new IPs for their core audience, and even the Kinect is starting to get less new IPs as well.

Whilst the lack of brand new franchises can be correlated to the fact that the consoles are nearing the end of their lifespan, just recently Sony announced their Last of Us title, a new party fighting game and – in their own conference – Beyond: Two Souls. This generation of consoles are nearing their end, but that doesn’t mean brand new IPs cannot squeeze whatever remaining life they can out of the systems while we wait for the next generation yet to be announced. The worst part is that this is just the start of what’s wrong with their conferences.

Who aren't E3's demographic but Microsoft believes they are for their Xbox 360's Kinect
An example of the “casual” audience that
Microsoft appear to be marketing towards.

While Microsoft completely lack brand new core gaming IPs, lack focus on exclusives and focus on multi-platform games that the other systems are also going to have, and focus entirely on a peripheral that gamers are generally and seemingly not that interested in; Microsoft also forgot about video games for what seemed like a significant portion of the conference. In actuality, probably about one third of the conference was on things such as SmartGlass and ESPN on Live. This just doesn’t seem all that relevant for the E3 demographic, at all.

And then there’s the Kinect. This year, we had more focus on games being better with Kinect (spoiler: they’re not) and had only two games for the device. One was practically Angry Birds HD, and the other is probably the only game to have never received an applause at E3. I needn’t comment more, but even the Kinect is suffering from lack of support.The Kinect!

The conference was a bit of a joke. With Windows 8 being pushed and internet explorer 8 is coming to 360! Yeah. But that’s not all. Usher came out to advertise their dancing game, and they didn’t pay the game any attention at all. The best they did was show it in the background while he danced, but he was utterly out of sync and tune with it.

As a conference about a video game console, it was a terrible conference. Microsoft did little for their consumer base. They showed off the things that didn’t really matter, and forgot that they also had to have games developed. Instead, they left it to the third party developers to show off their multiplatform games at the Xbox 360 conference. Microsoft need to ask themselves why they received a spot at E3. What are they doing there? They’re there to show off their video games console. Not media centre. I remember when I wanted a 360. Ever since I got a competent PC for gaming, however, Microsoft have done little to sell the 360 to me. This was the final nail in the coffin. Their 360 is finished. Now we just need to wait a year to find out about their new console, because they’ve certainly given up on this one.

E3 Roundup

Every year there’s the E3 convention. A place of gaming news, reveals, demos, and disappointments. I figured that it made sense to write a series of articles about the different conferences on my opinions and what they mean.

Now, I’m not a fan of internet memes or anything of the sort. I try to keep the internet out of my writing and blog. That being said, I put together a summary of my E3 experience in the form of a report card, as done by some internet imageboards. It seemed like a good way to start this off, so why not. Here are my opinions. Expect to see justifications through-out the week.

Summary of E3 opinions and review

Pre-E3 News Round Up

As the last day before E3 and the weekend, today was pretty eventful for gaming news. Konami released their pre-E3 footage, and several other announcements were made. In particular, there were several reveals that were significant to me, and I would like to share them with all of you!

Besides the social networking news and their PES footage; Konami showed off some really neat footage of the Zone of the Enders HD Remake due to launch in the coming weeks. It was fairly cool. But what came next was  absolutely stellar. Konami supplied a brand new trailer to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and it was amazing.  The trailer featured all sorts of crazy, over-the-top action – it also unveiled new abilities. Raiden is able to climb objects such as buildings, and initiate stealth kills. It appears to me that stealth is actually fairly possible in this game, although as to the extent of the stealth, I am unsure. Oh, and do you remember that scene in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots when Raiden swings a Gekko (a slightly smaller Metal Gear) around? Yeah, that’s in the game too.

Frankly, I’m absolutely excited for this game. I was looking forward to it during the original reveal back in 2009, but that’s about all I could say for it. When they finally showed off the gameplay a year later, it looked like it used the same engine as MGS4. That engine worked well, but for this game it just appeared to be slightly clunky and slow. However, it was in that same trailer in 2010 that we saw Raiden slice everything and anything up with expert precision. Players could cut whatever they wanted, and those objects would even generate internal textures no matter where they player sliced it. That was really impressive back then, and it still is today.

Unfortunately, that game was never meant to be. Metal Gear Solid: Rising was quietly scrapped. That was, until Platinum Games (famous for Bayonetta) picked the title back up. What once appeared as slow and clunky now had action of intense speeds and incredible depth. I witnessed Raiden fighting one soldier, slicing one behind him the moment he tried to attack, and then parry a Gekko all in one smooth flowing sequence that was gameplay. The level of control over the combat blew me away. And then to top it off, he freaking blocked a Metal Gear Ray and threw it away. That was insane! I was sold, from that moment on.

This new trailer revealed to us some more depth in the combat. Players can toss enemies into the air and chain a combo up there, swap melee weapons and use guns, and even use parkour to sneak around enemies for silent kills. Environments can still be used to defeat enemies, including slicing up an enemy through a pillar. It looks incredible, and I want it now! Unfortunately, with this trailer comes the depressing news that the game has been delayed. Again. We can expect to see Metal Gear Rising in 2013.

Next up came Konami’s surprise. I’ll let you watch below.

Yeah, that’s right. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is a thing. It’s just a CGI trailer, so there isn’t too much that I can comment on at the moment. I’m expecting some pretty cool gameplay from what I see in the trailer though. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Alucard is confirmed to be in this game. That’s pretty sweet too. Another 2013 release.

That was all from Konami, but that wasn’t all the news that got announced. For me, one of the biggest announcements outside of Konami’s Pre-E3 conference was the fact that Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is getting a PC release now! Yay! Fall of Cybertron is the sequel to the 2010 title, Transformers: War for Cybertron, and it looks great! We can expect to see that game come the fall.

For Gears of War fans, they’ll be excited to hear that Gears of War: Judgement is also a confirmed title that we’ll probably see at Microsoft’s E3 conference. I don’t really care much for the franchise at this point. It probably should have ended at the third. All the same, this probably means something to someone out there. It would amuse me to find that it’s a Kinect spinoff, however. That seems to be all the rage these days. The title is being developed by Bulletstorm’s People Can Fly development studio.

EA have announced that they will be releasing Dead Space 3 (cool, I guess), and Need for Speed: Most Wanted (god dammit!). Recently, it was announced that Criterion were developing a new game. I was hoping this would be the next Burnout. Nope! It’s yet another Need for Speed game. Give the franchise a rest for a couple of years and work on some Burnout, Criterion! We can expect more details on these titles and many others at their E3 conference on Tuesday. I’m mostly just looking forward to more details on SimCity.

Expect some leaks in the next coming days too, as that’s fairly common when it comes to E3.

Let’s Review: Mega64’s Final Fantasy III LP

FFIII Art

We’re starting the Let’s Review series of Let’s Play reviews off with a bang! Up first is Mega64’s very own Final Fantasy III Screenshot Let’s Play. The Final Fantasy franchise is pretty famous in the gaming world. For many, the franchise is regarded as one of the best Japanese Role-Playing Game series ever made. In particular, Final Fantasy VII is often considered the peak of the series. It was this title that made Final Fantasy a big name here in the west, but what about the titles before it?

Well, this is where the number ordering becomes slightly more convoluted. Final Fantasy IV was known as Final Fantasy II in the west, and likewise Final Fantasy VI was known as Final Fantasy III in the west. This isn’t helped when the follow up to III in the west happened to be VII. Essentially, this means Final Fantasy III may refer to either the third or the sixth title.

At this stage, every numbered Final Fantasy game has been, eventually, released in English multiple times, with one exception. The original Final Fantasy III has only ever re-surfaced once, on the Nintendo DS. For many fans of the NES version, the DS remake was just lacking. Between the slow pacing of the battles, the ultimate classes becoming crippled, and one of the most memorable moments in the game losing most of it’s impact, Final Fantasy III for the DS was pretty shitty. So what about the original “superior” edition? That remained forever unreleased in English – at least officially. Fortunately, many fan translations of the original do exist on the internet.

In Mega64’s Let’s Play, the gaming experience is expressed fairly well. This was my own first experience with the original title, and I experienced a sense of wonder in the previously referenced scene – even in a Screenshot Let’s Play – through the Let’s Player’s portrayal. On top of sharing a rare game that, frankly, deserves far more attention that it gets instead of being forgotten in time, the Let’s Play is filled with moments of sheer comedy gold.

Before Mega64 began the Let’s Play, the users of the Something Awful forums were asked for the names of the characters. This resulted in Stalin being the hero of the tale, accompanied by the ghosts of his predecessors. And so begins Stalin’s journey in his fight against capitalism, as he fights corrupt monarchy after corrupt monarchy.

The Let’s Play also gives players a glimpse into the mechanics running in the background as he explains, in a little more depth than the game manual itself, the class system. Particularly the hidden aspect of how a character’s growth is calculated. Mega64 explains strategies fairly well, as well as expressing the reasons of his failure whenever he dies. However, unlike the most terrible kind of Let’s Player, Mega64 edits out the deaths unless they add substance to his work. Usually, the Mega64 would passively explain whether he died before, how many times he died and why, while carrying on with the dungeon in the successful run. And can I stress again just how humorous the entire Let’s Play is?

It’s honestly a brilliant Let’s Play, and anyone who has yet to experience Final Fantasy III in it’s original form should read through this. It’s an absolute classic.

Let’s Solo Final Fantasy III (Because I’m Insane) by Mega64 

Let’s Take a Breather: Diablo III Infographic

So much writing… damn. Who’d have thought a blog specifically created to publicise my video game reviews would require so much writing, right?

Well anyway. I’m taking a breather. It’s good to get some content that’s far easier on the eyes. As a result, I’m going to show you guys an infographic on Diablo III that my friend produced. Enjoy!

Diablo 3 facts

(All credit goes to Bloodsugar, be sure to check out more of his infographics!)

Tommy Wi-Show

Tommy Wiseau Tommy Wi-Show

Honestly, I’ve been putting this off for a couple of days because I’ve been hesitant about posting this, but I’ll get to that in a minute. I’m going to answer a simple question that you probably didn’t ask: “Who is Tommy Wiseau?”

Tommy Wiseau is an actor, director, screenwriter, and everything else (think YouTube videos where the kids in their bedrooms even take credit for their light being switched on). One would think he had talent considering the multitude of roles that he partakes one. It’s easy to be mistaken, but it’s actually also kind of true that he does have talent. He’s the right amount of bad for comedy gold. Where did this happen? The Room. If you’ve not seen The Room, I highly recommend it. It’s pretty damn funny.

But now back to the subject. Last year, Tommy Wiseau released a new show involving video games. This was named Tommy Wi-Show, and it was part review, part comedy, part whatever the hell you can call it. What I can tell you is that it wasn’t good. But that’s a given with Tommy Wiseau. That makes it funny, right? Wrong. Unless you’re some douchy hipster wanna be kid who idolizes the man, there’s nothing good about this show. And that’s what’s heavily disappointing.

In the Tommy Wi-Show. Wiseau plays himself, or “TW”. Every week (or every month once the show lost user interest until it’s demise), TW would be transported to an alien world to play video games. He would be scored by a particularly annoying (see “forced” to try and be evil, but unaware of it’s morality and opens it’s heart) alien. Every week (or month, whatever), TW had to play a new game. Each episode would attempt to be witty, but in a subtle manner. This often failed miserably, but I could see what they were at least trying to do. Or maybe that was me looking too much into it, because surely something couldn’t be this bad?

So far, it sounds like something Wiseau would do. It sounds like a terrible setup, but maybe it could be funny? I thought so too. It’s why I tuned into it. The lack of humour stems from the fact that Wiseau now knows he’s awful. He’s become self-aware and that’s what leads to him killing any form of humour that can be found in his works. Instead of being hilariously bad, he tries to act it instead. And, if The Room taught us anything then that would be that the man just plain can’t act. There’s nothing genuinely funny, because it’s so blatantly forced. When you’re aware of what made you popular, and try to be so bad that it’s good to recapture it, it just doesn’t work. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t.

Wiseau falls flat on his face, bad. Now, why was I hesitant about posting this? Because I’m going to share the video, and the video generates him money. Here it is anyway.