Previous Blog Archive - Gaming [E3 and Other Events]

[3/6/12] Starting E3
So the start of E3 2012 is almost upon us. Over the years, we have had console announcements and surprises, game reveals, trailers, and general larking about.
This year, it seems important. Why? Many people say the WiiU, and I am left wondering why.
This console from Nintendo needs to be the very best. Last years reveal left us all hoping for more, and what's better, gave us some slight announcements for games, chief among them LEGO City Stories and Super Smash Bros. This year should bring a lot more on board for the WiiU, and I am hoping that LEGO City Stories gets a full reveal.

THE LEGONATOR
Why, you might ask? The reason is that this looks to be one of the best LEGO games of the lot. Full free roam in the style of GTA, with a setting of a full city based on the popular LEGO series. That is all we know, apart from the fact it is Nintendo exclusive and will appear on WiiU and 3DS.
What do I want? Full customisation is a given, and looking at the City sets, we will have that in plenty. And also, from the sets, we will have plenty of things to keep us occupied. The point of the game is something I'd like to be like GTA, but in different sections, almost like those emergency minigames of GTA but in full. In other words, you work on a police corps, you have to chase bad guys. But only being a low-level worker, you don't have a lot of help. By completing missions, you gain ranks and get more help and better vehicles for the job. You also earn the LEGO currency, Studs, from these jobs too. And a lot of them. The money, I have no idea what purpose it could be put towards, other than looking to GTA and other LEGO games for inspiration. That being houses and other customisation pieces.
Onto other 3DS games, Animal Crossing needs a release date and full info around about now. This is fact. And with Kid Icarus doing well, now seems like a good time to revive other old franchises as well as unveiling that one wild card that is the new IP. Luigi's Mansion 2 should also get some of the limelight here, and also receive a release date. Onto the WiiU, and also talking about reviving old franchises, it would be great to see HD versions of old favourites like F-Zero. And while on the subject of old franchises, give us a full version of Pilotwings, with a fully explorable no limits [that's time limits] free flight mode. And also give us a Mario Kart early, with boosted features and more cups.

TWO OF THE THREE
Looking at Microsoft and Sony, it is already a fact that they won't be showing any consoles at E3, so it will be all about the games for them. But that doesn't stop them from playing to their strengths. Microsoft has Forza, Sony Gran Turismo. Forza Horizon will be revealed at E3, or so it might seem, so how will Sony comeback from that? Not with LittleBigPlanet Karting, that's for sure. So the only way they can do that is with another Gran Turismo game. One that is better than the PSP and PS3 versions. But, if they were to reveal it, it would either mean unveiling that they are working on the PS4, or release it on the PSV.
Now revealing it on the PSV might not be such a bad idea. One of the best racing games of the old times [PS1/2] were the Gran Turismo games, even if they were a pain to wait for. Since GT4 and GT5, four Forza games have been unveiled and released and the fifth one is on its way. This means Polyphony Digital need to rack up a better production schedule. With the PSV already confirmed to be one of the easiest consoles to develop for, this means that a new Gran Turismo game could be out by Christmas this year if they starting working on it secretly after GT5's eventual release.
Onto other games for the two, Kinect and Move really need to get a move on in terms proper games, and not some silly overstretched minigames made into full games.
And as unlikely as this seems, I want a full HD remake of the Midtown Madness games from Microsoft. These games are the perfect likelihood of all racing games of free roam stature, and to remake them, or even revive the series with a new game, would make me finally invest in an XBOX360. These games are perfect fun, and with PC graphics cards becoming too powerful to run older games [we're talking about 2000 and before here] it would be better to bring this series back.

AND THE REST
Not to go on too much more, but with SEGA to unveil more on games such as Sonic All-Star Racing Transformed, and other companies unveiling shooters and action games, I think the 3DS could get some better games for it, and the WiiU a better launch title list. For EA and Konami, FIFA and PES are musts, as they are every year. Codemasters going racing games only, need to impress up with new racing games in order for us to accept the change was worthwhile.
Now, I am including this in here because it isn't part of the big three, but LucasArts really should listen to their fanbase on this one. We've all been crying out for Star Wars Battlefront 3, and yet we get games like the half-asked Force Unleashed 2 and Star Wars Kinect. Now we've got the announcement of Star Wars 1313, a game set in the underbelly of Coruscant with you playing as a bounty hunter. As far as I and the rest of the world can tell, this isn't listening to the fanbase. Everyone loves Star Wars Battlefront 1 and 2, and the more daring of the lot like the PSP versions [even more daring if you liked the DS one], a full number 3 on the series would be everyone's favourite. But I expect you to wait for next-gen consoles to really wow us.

And so that concludes this blog piece. But all I have to say as a last is, Pokemon WiiU. Now that would be really great. Oh, and tell Square-enix to get on with the new Dragon Quest game, and at the same time give us an announcement of HD remake collection of Kingdom Hearts, then announce number 3.


[4/6/12] Microsoft's Conference
One of the two conferences I'm definitely watching has passed. Yes, the Microsoft conference. It seemed alright, but as predicted by others, whether directly or indirectly, it was mostly concerned with Kinect.
I only managed to join fifteen minutes late to the party, since I hadn't refreshed Youtube, which was streaming the conference. Checking on CVG, I saw I had missed Halo 4.
So apart from that, here's my view of the conference, in terms of the games.
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell BlackList was being shown when I finally got on, and I must say, the game did look impressive. Not familiar with the Splinter Cell series, the story of the trailer gripped me, which means the game must be doing good.
Forza Horizon then got shown. I'm familiar with racing games. I like them. Forza is one of the series I have least played, only test playing it occasionally. The trailer for Horizon though, made me want to buy an XBOX360. It is a great trailer and shows that the game will be great as well. It's even got a release date.
Then got shown the sports games. FIFA, Madden, and NBA. All with Kinect features. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The features were shown off and were perfect in their actions. However, the basic gameplay of all was still the same, though I expect more to be shown off at the respective company conferences.
Tomb Raider. One game that gets a lot of looks, and all for the wrong reasons. Now, however, the gameplay and story are core. The gameplay is that of Uncharted, but with better weapons and extra little bits added in. The story, while I couldn't really understand it, seemed to be engrossing. The game as a whole was action-packed and quick. Just as a game of this type should be.
The supposedly new games followed. The first, Ascend: New Gods, looked absolutely great, but a gore bath. But still, the gameplay and story looked okay. The next was LocoCycle, and from the short clip shown, all I could think was 'Tron LightCycle rip-off'. Looked too similar to it. The next, Matter, was confusing, but through that, looked like it could be interesting. Set in a sci-fi universe it followed a probe of some kind hunting.
Konami then showed Resident Evil 6 with quite a long video of gameplay. The story is intriguing, and it feels exactly like a Resident Evil game should. The cutscenes that were shown looked absolutely amazing, as did the entire game. This is one to watch in the future for sure.
Then came South Park: The Stick of Truth. As explained by the creators of South Park, they knew what was meant to be what, but they didn't know where everything was, so they had to map where everything is in the South Park universe. And they explained the story a bit. You move into South Park, and are wanting to be the fifth kid in the group of four. This story is sure to get your attention.
Dance Central 3 was shown off by Usher doing a live performance on stage. Using Kinect, it just looks like a way of milking money, as per usual with games like that. I couldn't see any new features involved. Maybe sometime soon though.
The last game shown was expected. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Considering how many CoD games there are, it actually looked like it could beat them. New mechanics, a whole new story that seems gripping enough and centering around those new mechanics. The flying section shown in the trailer of gameplay was absolutely fantastic, but I'm guessing it will be hard to get used to.

Other things, just to list and give brief, connectivity between all Microsoft products with the SmartGlass feature. BING now recognises voices in 20 different languages, Internet Explorer is coming to XBOX360 with support for the SmartGlass feature, and a new music store on the 360 will compete, possibly, with iTunes.

That's the Microsoft Conference, told by me. Next one will be Nintendo's tomorrow, or if I feel like it, EA's later on.


[4/6/12] EA Conference
Now then. I did manage to catch the whole of EA's conference for E3. Ten games from ten developers. That was the whole of the conference. But there was a hitch. Not all of the games were new. Some were just expansions added onto the game.
Take Battlefield 3, for example. It's already out. But that didn't stop DICE from showing off the game again, but unveiling the Premium subscription, in which you would get five new expansions and more customisation ware. Plus new weapons and vehicles that non-subscribers won't get.
Another game that did this was Star Wars: The Old Republic. First it was explained the impact the game had on launch, then the expansions it has had since launch, then the new expansion was unveiled. This one was equally impressive though, as whole new modes are added to it and a new difficulty rating to get stuck into. A new class was also unveiled, which means more storylines, and even better for us who don't subscribe to the game. Starting in July, we can play the game free up to reaching level 15. Online features will also be enhanced.
Onto the other first person shooters, Dead Space 3 looks to be great. Gameplay was shown which was amazing, and features drop-in drop-out co-op play. It certainly got my attention with the gameplay, and to someone who hasn't played the series, it looks like it would be good to get stuck into.
Next on the list, Medal of Honour: Warfighter, is entirely based on real world missions. The gameplay looks as good as a first person shooter can get, and the new multiplayer mode of Global Warfighters is an extensive multiplayer mode that looks hectic.
CRYTEK showed off the CRY Engine 3, with its dynamic environment control which was shown with realistic damage and realistic reactions to getting blown off your feet. At one point in the gameplay, a helicopter fired a missile at the player, who got blasted down the stairs on his back and struggled to get back up. This is what first person shooters should be like. I found it so good that I want the game, but I usually don't get first person shooters. The game was then revealed to be Crysis 3.
Now onto the racing game of Criterion. I was hoping for a Burnout Paradise on the PSV, but instead Need For Speed: Most Wanted was revealed, but this isn't such a bad thing. It is open world, which is something I like, and there are also police scattered around the environment ready to catch you off guard. The multiplayer uses the autolog feature, that shows your collectible stats to your friends, and even the world. You collect points during the game, and the more points you have, the more your Most Wanted level goes up, showing you who is the best racer. Realistic damage physics also help this game along.
Onto other sports games, it was confirmed, but no more, that EA and UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship, have a partnership that will create a new series for EA Sports. Nothing other than the partnership was mentioned, though.
FIFA 13, however, had a lot more confirmed for it, even if no release date. The Player Impact engine is improved greatly, and dribbling and attacking are now at the greatest peak they can be. Online however, brings even more results. FIFA 12 owners can bring their players forward and keep their stats, as well as getting bonuses for doing so. The game is also available on iPhone and iPad so you can play anywhere. A new iPhone app keeps track of your Ultimate Team stats. This is part of EA's grand plan to bring all networks and platforms together. While this is a grand idea, it does present risks, but it is a great idea nonetheless which other companies could pay heed to.
Other sports games that use this are Madden NFL 13 and the new NBA game. On the surface, it looks like another game in an endless series. It is not, however. New dynamics mean the impact engine is the greatest ever and you always will be in control, even when in a fall, and not have pre-determined moves take over. Also, the career mode is connected in all play modes, so whether online or singleplayer, you are playing one career. And now you don't even have to make a new career if you want to change position. And online features don't just end there, as you can make or join a career group of 32 players. And an RPG-like stat system means you can level up your players to make them stronger on the field.
Maxis Games have launched SimCity Social on Facebook, which is like the DS version and PC versions of old. And another SimCity game is coming to PC, this one more expansive. It has a massive multiplayer mode which is just the same as singleplayer. And also, the game is in full 3D and allows for better customisation options of your city. But what happens in your city will effect other cities as well. This seems a good way to take the series forward.

But anyway, I've been talking for too long now. All I can say is, while I won't be staying up to watch Ubisoft's and Sony's conferences live [and I feel I'll be missing out quite a lot] I'll be catching up with them tomorrow. And of course, I will be watching and giving my views on Nintendo's conference tomorrow.


[6/6/12] Nintendo's Conference
Yes, the conference was yesterday, and yes I did watch it. The reason of only posting today however, was to analyze what I saw in more detail. Take Pikmin 3 for example, the first game to be shown. We haven't seen one of these since the Gamecube era which is nearing eight years ago now. Strategy gameplay, they involve searching out weird objects [in the second one] or parts of a spacecraft [first one] with the Pikmin you have at your command. As well as finding these items, you also have to find pellets in which the Pikmin take back to their onion spacecraft to spawn new Pikmin. That is another aim, to amass an army of Pikmin to help you.
This third game improves everything about the game, including an always on map on the GamePad, which is the WiiU's main controller with the screen. We also have four men which we can command, and we can also throw them the same way as the Pikmin. The GamePad also allows for better control of the Pikmin, and with the fully zoomable and controllable map, will make the strategy side of things even better. The story hasn't been revealed, but it has been said that Olimar, the main protagonist from the original two games, is not one of our commanders, which leads to some kind of search and rescue mission.
Then the WiiU's main hub was revealed. MiiVerse is like the gaming equivalent of Facebook. It shows you who's playing what and what they have been saying about the game. It also allows for messages of all kinds to be sent and looks like an interesting concept. I won't say much more on it, other than the fact it allows you send screenshots and messages with your Mii's expression attached. These messages can be typed or hand drawn.
The game that was revealed to show MiiVerse in action with a game was New Super Mario Bros. U. After showing gameplay, which looked like the Wii version but with a lot of new items and Yoshi's available to ride, we was shown a main level map screen, with comments from people on it, commenting about certain levels or bragging at their success on a level. The concept of MiiVerse looks to be drawing communication in games together in one.
Then we move onto Batman Arkham City, which has the WiiU subtitle of Armoured Edition. All I can say of this is that the features exclusive to the WiiU are good, and that the game itself looks to have a deep story.
A sort of surprise followed, in the form of Scribblenauts Unlimited on both WiiU and 3DS. Creation side is improved as you can now create your own items and unleash them in the gameplay. It also has multiplayer for the first time, and the story of Maxwell's book [which brings the items to life] is said to be unveiled in the game, meaning we could have a proper storyline in the game.
A montage then followed, showing other games expected on the WiiU. These games, to mention a few were Ninja Gaiden 3, Tekken, Mass Effect 3, and Aliens: Colonial Marines.
WiiU Fit was then announced, and was said to have new activities, which were shown in the rather corny trailer. These games were a trampoline game, some sort of bobsled controlling game, and a fire control game. It was then the WiiU Fit pedometer was shown, which tracks steps and uploads it to your game save. Then we found out that we could use just the GamePad to play the game, if someone else wanted to watch the TV. A good feature set, but the trailer could have been better.
But then was shown an even cornier trailer. This game SiNG [Working Title] has one person with the GamePad singing lyrics to a song that appear on its screen, along with instructions that they have to shout out and get others to follow. This is horrendous, in my opinion and will probably only get used occasionally at parties with a lot of people, which doesn't even warrant a proper game.
After this bad atrocity, we at least got some good and bad news. The good being some info on the 3DS games. The bad, all the rest wouldn't be unveiled or shown until tonight at around 02:00, hence why I am posting this today, so parts 1 and 2 can follow one day after each other. Those 3DS games shown were New Super Mario Bros. 2, which is all about coin collecting by the look of things. Paper Mario 3DS with the new subtitle of Sticker Star. This looks good, with stickers taking central precedence, as these help you get on with the story and are also your attacking moves - so make sure to collect as many as you can. The third was Luigi's Mansion 2, with the new subtitle of Dark Moon. As before, we get multiple mansions to explore, but a new snippet of info revealed says that each will have their own mission-based challenges and new types of ghosts require different ways to capture them. A montage of games that will be shown followed these three announcements. I won't say which ones. That will be tomorrow, when more info is revealed for them.
Then the massive announcement. LEGO City Stories! WiiU and 3DS! Although, it is now known as LEGO City Undercover, and with good reason. We will be playing as a cop, Chase McCain, who is after a criminal mastermind called Rex Fury. On the way we'll collect new disguises to help us. We'll have access to over one hundred vehicles including helicopters. Our WiiU GamePad [or 3DS bottom screen, possibly, for the 3DS version] will be our constant real time map and communicator. And best of all, free-roaming. Also included, as shown off in the trailer, will be numerous Nintendo references. In the trailer, it showed McCain building a Mario Pipe, then going down it. This made the audience laugh, and I was amused as well. It does look like this could be the best LEGO game yet, with full voice acting and ambient sounds in cutscenes and all the comedy we expect from a LEGO game. More on the 3DS version will hopefully be shown off tonight.
Ubisoft games are plenty, and it seems that they are the only company fully supporting WiiU. First off was Just Dance 4, which I seriously don't consider a game. Although that's just me and my free-roam spirit. This looks okay with a special WiiU mode that has the main person [GamePad] controlling what the dancers [WiiMotes] do. This again looks like something reserved for parties. Then was ZombiU. This looked interesting, with a survival horror type gameplay. The GamePad is used well for a number of things, like a sniper-scope, a hidden item tracker, or a door pass. It can also be used as a viewpoint.
Then more games from Ubisoft were revealed in a montage trailer, including Rabbids Land and Rayman Legends, the Avengers game, and Assassins Creed 3.
Last on the Agenda is Nintendo Land, a theme park based game that does for the WiiU what Wii Sports did for the Wii. Showing the tech off. With twelve different attractions in a main hub world, possibly with sub games within them or harder difficulty ratings, from what was shown gameplay-wise, it does seem to be doing its job. There are multiplayer games and sigleplayer games, all making use of every useable controller of the WiiU. More on this, it was stated, would be revealed at the Developer's Conference.
And so, that is that for part 1. While a full video stream might not be available for the second part of Nintendo's Conference, I will be tracking down all that was unveiled to give my views upon them.
EDIT - Not much was revealed, only that which we knew, and very little new information regarding those games.
The list:
-Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
-Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
-Paper Mario: Sticker Star
-Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance - Confirmed demo on the eShop, as well as LEGO Batman 2 and The Amazing Spiderman demos.
-New Super Mario Bros 2 - Features co-op.
And that is in ONE hour! Disappointing.



[7/6/12] End E3 2012
And so that is it for this E3. And I must say, most of it was alright, but still, there were some things that just didn't feel good enough to be in E3. Take the number of First Person Shooters for example. There was more of those featured than any other game genre. And while they might all have different stories, the gameplay mechanic is still the same.
People could say that about racing games, but at least racing games actually differ from one another. Yes FPS' might be challenging, but so are racing games, depending on what type you have. So it was a disappointment that only one was shown. However, it was a good one. Made by Criterion Games, Need For Speed Most Wanted is an open world racer in the style of Burnout Paradise. This game is definitely on my buy list.
Oh, wait. There was another racing game as well. Forza Horizon was only shown with a trailer, but it was a stunning trailer. I'll watch this one for sure.
However, massive games that held attention were Pikmin 3 and LEGO City Undercover. Behind the scenes, LucasArts got involved and showed off the beginning of its new game - Star Wars 1313. This looks absolutely stunning, and I can't wait to get my hands playing it. But that might not be for another year yet. Games closer to hand, however, LEGO City Undercover is another game I will buy. On the 3DS of course.
Because, while the WiiU might look good, caution is needed for this console. Two E3 events and, while the hype for the console has been going up, there is still doubt as to its success, and confusion about what it is for. And many Nintendo fans are waiting for the bigger hitters, as while New Super Mario Bros. U might be good, the rest of the line-up, bar Pikmin 3 and LEGO City Undercover, isn't enough to be bragging about a WiiU purchase. I, for one, found the lack of racing games on the new console unforgiving. The Wii had a lot of racing games on its launch window. Five, in fact. The WiiU not having any is about the worst thing possible.
And any speculation of all those WiiU games coming, WiiU Sports, Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, were all thrown down a drain. Not even hinted at being in production, those fans of those games were in misery.
And not even Animal Crossing on 3DS was even mentioned! And with a speculated Q3 2012 release, no matter even if that is for Japan, we need more info before that time, so Nintendo had better surprise us.
Microsoft did have some good games in its conference though, and that was a relief. And Sony with its Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale. Ah yes. That was a good trailer, and we even got a surprise in two new character unveils. Shame that there wasn't no Gran Turismo. But they showed off Wonderbook, which uses the Playstation Eye to create augmented reality images in a book and uses the Move controller. The game that showed this off was Book of Spells, another Sony-created Harry Potter experience. Looked good, but still, doesn't look mightily interesting. There was also The Last of Us, which, you guessed it, came last in Sony's conference. Made by Naughty Dog, same people behind Uncharted, it looks just as spectacular.
So to round up, Sony was the best, followed by Microsoft and Nintendo joint second. This is because, while both showed some great games, it was mired in things that weren't as interesting.



[21/5/13] The Xbox Reveal Conference
Now then. I've just been sat for an hour watching the conference.
Stepping up first was Don Mattrick to introduce us to the concept and the day. But before this was a trailer of people from Microsoft basically saying "We're changing gaming again." I beg to differ.
So Don Mattrick steps up to the stage, talks a bit about how the original XBOX came to be, introduction of LIVE, then the release of the XBOX 360 [X360] and an improvement of the LIVE services. At this precise point everyone knows what is now coming. He didn't half big it up though.
Come on! It's the name of a console! You don't have to repeat what we've already just heard. And so, after a bit more of a big up, the name of the console is revealed. XBOX 8? XBOX Infinity? No! Of course not! It's the XBOX ONE. Someone check to see if the guy from Nintendo who thought up the name of the Wii U still works there. Although to be fair, both names serve their purpose. The Wii U was basically an improvement of the theory Wii is the family and U is you. And to make a console based around that. XBOX ONE [XB1] is basically the concept that your console can do everything.
And indeed it can. In fact, they advertised more on the other features of the XB1 than the games the console is meant to have.

First off the line was Yusuf Meidi and the integration of the console, the controller and Kinect. Just picture this. You say XBOX on, and it does. It recognises you and auto logs you in. It remembers what you were last doing and puts you on the tab that you were on last. Using gestures you can swap between tabs on the home menu, open up something with your voice, and even use the snap feature of Windows 8. You can even minimise what you were doing with a gesture and maximise it again with the opposite of that gesture. Good concept, but does it work in a house? Why do they never show stuff like that? I've played Kinect Sports before. Someone walks in, whole game messed up. I've tried to use voice control. Half the time it won't respond, and most of the time it'll pick up something I didn't say [in other words, the mention of XBOX in conversation]. This new Kinect though, is a refinement and improvement of the first. Full 1080p cameras and a better microphone installed, as demonstrated with a Skype call. This is just getting even more like Windows 8 now. And of course, a partnership with ESPN. What good is that for anyone but America? Basically all it does is unlocks a load of features and abilities direct from the ESPN website. The same thing was shown later on with a partnership from NFL [again - who else but American's really care?]. And the TV can be swapped to without having to change inputs. Great. Full integration of the TV with XBOX LIVE and Kinect. Just what everyone without a remote needs. Except everyone has one.

Next up was Marc Whitten and the specs of this new machine. Basically, it's nearly identical to the PS4. Blu-Ray, 8GB RAM, and more specs I don't really care for. The XB1 has three operating systems. A new, improved XBOX one. The Kernel from Windows. And some OS which integrates both together and allows for the almost instant swapping and switching. Kinect is more accurate with even bigger recognition features in a range of things, including depth, joints, muscle and... anyone still interested? Basically a lot more motion control that contributes to this being the definitive version of the Kinect. The controller is also more accurate, and Smartglass is natively a part of XB1. In other words "We are leading the world in innovation and having a slice of Nintendo's cake but charging more for it." Smartglass was originally intended for this purpose, just like Sony is experimenting with PS4-PSV cross features and remote play. It doesn't matter if it's native or not. It's still not going to work as well as a WiiU, which was purpose built for it. I can understand why they are doing it, but while the concept is good, I can't help but feel that both Microsoft's and Sony's versions will cost more than a WiiU [in other words Smartglass compatible device and an XB1 or a PS4 and PSV].

If I'm getting off as anti-Microsoft very pro-Nintendo here, don't worry. I'm trying to be as unbiased as possible. Basically the online functionality of XBOX LIVE is bigger than ever with 300,000 servers to be powering it for the XB1, and a lot more can be done with the online. Next up was EA and Andrew Wilson, who announced straight away the partnership between EA and Microsoft. I guess we now know why they snubbed Nintendo with the advanced online features and extra power and the Kinect to work with. And EA, it seems, have gone all out with that. A new engine for the XB1 that allows for the extra features and recognition of the Kinect to be used in their sports games. The name of the engine? EA Sports Ignite. Apt. It basically promises more in terms of depth and detail, as well as animation and physics. More details was promised for 'soon' including more details on the XB1 only version of FIFA 14's Ultimate Team expansion. A trailer was then shown [can we really say pre-rendered] of footage from all four of EA's main sports games. Can't really say much other than it looked good in action.

Phil Spencer of Microsoft Studios then showed footage of Forza Motorsport 5, confirmed it as a launch title, and that more info would be revealed at E3. For a fan of Forza, I can't wait to see more, but everything else about this console seriously turns me off buying. Spencer then stated that Remedy had a new Quantum game coming out and showed a traile- um. Live action of some weird human interaction of a girl who I think was meant to be the XB1 and a woman aski- actually, I'll just cut to the chase. It basically showed a load of bullet-time scenes of a boat crashing into a bridge before revealing the name of Quantum Break. Actually, I might be being a tad unfair there, since Remedy are number one at making actual game footage look like pre-rendered footage. Spencer then said that Microsoft Studios were working close with game devs to bring a load of exclusive games to the XB1, and confirmed 15 games for the year starting on the release of the XB1, 8 of which would be new IPs.

Did we really need more talk of the TV features? Apparently we did, as Nancy Tellem then steps up to reiterate what we had seen in the first half of the conference [yes, this is about forty-five minutes into it now], and then Halo is mentioned, Bonnie Ross is brought on stage, who then tells us of a Halo live action TV series being made by Steven Spielburg. Great. Instead of a game, we get a TV Series. I expect the game will be shown off at E3, and will somehow tie in to this TV Series. This is then when we got the talk of an exclusive partnership with NFL.

And then, it was all about Call of Duty. We get Don Mattrick back on to say a few words of doom and gloom [considering Call of Duty DLC is always XBOX exclusive, I doubt it is doom and gloom] and the fact that the new XB1 is launching worldwide later this year [was that really necessary apart from reassurance?]. Then we was handed over to Activision and Eric Hirshberg to talk in more detail about it. New engine, new gameplay mechanics, brand new characters, and a load of extra detail. A dog is your new squad member, as well as others. Multiplayer is more dynamic with player controlled and natural disasters. And then, as if to prove this is the best ever made [really? Does it need to be reiterated even more?] a comparison was made with Modern Warfare 3 and the new game of Ghosts. And then we get to the actual footage of the game. And then after that, a screen saying that more info will be available at E3.

And I hope it is a lot more. This seriously has not impressed me. I can understand the concept of it all, but Microsoft were advertising most features as either 'revolutionary' or brand new. Too much emphasis on bigging up Kinect, but at least we got to see the console. Sorry, did I say at least? It looks like someone remade a chess board and cut a slab out of it. So, unless you really are a big fan of Microsoft, come E3, I can see a lot of the fanbase moving to either Nintendo, Sony, or just keeping their X360. Unless, of course, Microsoft really impress us at E3.
Oh well. I suppose they can only improve. Not. As if it couldn't be any worse, this was released by Microsoft almost after the conference. Basically, it says mandatory installation for games and if a second user wants to install it, they have to pay.
Add that to LIVE still being behind a paywall [it wasn't mentioned service charges were being removed] and this is probably the losing three of all consoles.
Sorry Microsoft. I trusted you in buying an X360, and am happy with it, but this is just taking it too far. As one comment on the ONM forum says "Can't wait to pay £300/£400 for a new TV box."
As that's what this amounts to.
 



[31/5/13] E3 2013 Start
So E3 is almost upon us again. And this year, it is looking to be bigger than ever. Both Microsoft and Sony have revealed next generation consoles, and Nintendo have a lot to show for their next gen console. The WiiU, while getting some game releases, hasn't exactly been winning any wars due to lack of competition and lack of must-have exclusives. That is soon to come though, and this E3 shall prove it. But not in the way you're familiar with. Nintendo won't be holding a big pre-E3 conference, but will be active on the first day of E3 with a Media Showcase with hands-on testing, as well as a Nintendo Direct for all us fans. There's also the Pokémon conference, or whatever it turns out to be.
EDIT: There is a Konami conference today, and I'll be checking it out. Not expecting much, but I'll still give a little review of it.
Microsoft kicks off the pre-E3 stuff though, with it's conference at 17:30 [BST] on the 10th, and we all will be expecting the XBOX ONE to be there, trying to claim it is a gaming machine. Microsoft have said that E3 will be all about the games, and I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. There is also this 'big' XBOX 360 reveal, and I'm expecting another console which could probably run through the ONE. Then we have these exclusive IP's, whatever they might turn out to be. I'm not expecting much, but I hope that some of them are for the 360 as well. Microsoft's conference had also put to rest these false claims and confusion surrounding it's console, as well as back-pedal on features that have received a lot of criticism. I'm also expecting GTAV to be shown off here as well. Other games that definitely will be shown off are more of Forza 5 and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Ubisoft then takes the helm at 21:00, and it's pretty obvious what will be shown. Having taken South Park: The Stick of Truth after THQ went into administration, this will probably be a big feature of the conference, but even bigger would be Assassins Creed: Black Flag, Watch Dogs and Rayman Legends. Filling up stock would be Just Dance 5, The Smurfs 2: The Game [if they even bother showing it off], Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Patriots, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and Spartacus: Legends. This possibly won't be all that they show, but it will be a big chunk of it. Next generation only games can now be shown off since all next gen consoles have now been revealed.
The same goes for EA, who then hold their conference at 23:00. The biggest things to expect here would be Battlefield 4 and Need For Speed Rivals. The majority of sports games will come into it as well, but may be highlighted before in Microsoft's conference due to the XBOX ONE only features. Star Wars as a franchise will be mentioned, as EA have already confirmed they will announce plans for the franchise, and hinted at Battlefront III. It would greatly please me if EA announced they had taken up the slack of finishing the Star Wars LucasArts games that were in production, as that would mean we would be able to get something playable quickly, though possibly not before Christmas this year. If we look to last year's conference, we can expect more DLC and expansion packs of The Sims series to be in with all of this as well.
Sony have their conference at 02:00 [BST] of the 11th, at the same time as the Pokémon information. Sony's conference will be bigger though [unless you are a massive Pokémon fan], and we can expect more features of the console to be talked about, as well as what the console will look like. Remember all those games shown at the reveal event? Expect more information on all of those, as well as Gran Turismo 6, and even more games for the PS4. Don't be forgetting the PSV though, and more games are needed for that.
EDIT: Thanks to the confusion on that earlier, it is now known that the Pokémon conference is not the same time as the Sony conference, but is Wednesday 12th June.
This Pokémon event then. Well, we know nothing except that it is obviously going to contain information on X and Y. I'd also guess at a new Rangers game to be shown, or a full 3D Battle Simulator similar to the Gamecube Colosseum/Gale of Darkness duo, on the WiiU.
Nintendo Direct will be shown at 15:00 [BST] and Mario Kart, a new 3D Mario, and the ultimate game we've been waiting for - Super Smash Bros. WiiU and 3DS. Remember all those previous Direct's? Most of what was in them will more than likely be here. Zelda: A Link to the Past 2, and Wind Waker HD, and the two Yoshi games. Basically, a lot. And also expect one or two new announcements. Come on, this is Nintendo Direct. There's always new announcements. SEGA partnership with Nintendo. When was the last F-Zero game and who developed it? Right... That's what many people are saying, and if not that, other SEGA IP's like Yakuza and Shenmue getting sequels or remakes for Nintendo's consoles as well. Then of course is the fact that three exclusive Sonic games are coming to Nintendo consoles, and all three are coming this year. Only two have been announced. That leaves one more. And where better to announce it than E3 and in another Direct. With all these Sonic the Hedgehog games, wouldn't it also make sense for a special edition bundle of Sonic? Both for WiiU and 3DS? This wouldn't be the first time a Nintendo Direct has been used to showcase special edition consoles. Then of course, after Nintendo have shown off all of this, there's the Media Showcase at 17:30 where the gaming press get to test out the games for delivering their verdict. Out of those three mentioned, only the Direct is going to be definitely streamed live. That's not to say that all the other information will stay locked up in the vaults of E3 though. The gaming press will have the info readily available as soon as.
Remember last year when I went wild on predictions? Well then. I'm still expecting the Midtown Madness HD remakes, and I also want a UK version of Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime 2. Japan have had it exclusively for a year and a half now, and it should really be announced for conversion to the west, as America got the last one as well [and since the 3DS is region locked, the UK had better get it as well this time]. And also, would now be a good time to mention Advance Wars? Now that Fire Emblem: Awakening is out and Game and Wario is set for release, now would be a good time for Advance Wars, Intelligent Systems' other strategy game. There are plenty of racing games coming soon, and Animal Crossing has me covered for simulation games [for the next five years plus]. There is a new Sonic game coming soon [possibly two] and that just leaves Star Wars and what EA are going to mention. Battlefront is very likely. But what about a real-time strategy set in the Star Wars timeline? Or maybe just based on it. If we've had Star Wars racers, then this can also be a possibility.
Anyway, that's what to expect, and my predictions, for E3 of this year. See you in ten days for the start of the conferences. 



[6/6/13] Konami Pre-E3 2013
So the only thing here was for the fans really. Starting with a small trailer using nothing but red lines, they showed off the three games they'd be showing off, then moved to a brief history lesson and some of their projects in schools. Talk then moved to social games, even if not much was even said about them. Still, the logo's of Domo Jump! and NLB Live Challenge were shown with a bit of what each game was.
After the social stuff, it then finally moved to the first of the games.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014
The new engine, Fluidity, was named because, well... the fluid motions it brings to the game. And it was also based on the Fox engine. The TrueBall Tech means control is tighter and more better in handling, and the Motion Animation Stability System makes the animations look more like that of a real football match. Many more features are being planned, and it was said that the new engine will impress users. A small trailer was then shown showing off some of what was talked abut.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Basically, they're changing the character of Snake subtly, and with that came a new voice actor who could fit the darker theme of the game. Kiefer Sutherland plays the 49 year old Snake, who is exploring 1984. With a lot of new advances with technology, the team behind it are fully utilising all they can for facial emotion, meaning less talking and more... emotional action. Photorealistic characters and locations are in this game, and that was number one priority, so the game looks closer to a movie in its cinematics and gameplay.

Catslevania: Lords of Shadow 2
The focus of this game is on Dracula's story, and takes straight off from where the epilogue of the first game left us. The story is more dark and the game is more free and tighter controlling. And Dracula has three more abilities. There is better combat, and with all the changes, the game's engine had to be adapted to fit with it. The game is more open world with a free camera and feels more open world, meaning no load times. It is set in a modern day setting, and a demo will be at the Konami booth during the main of E3. A trailer was then shown showing, I think I'm right in saying, most of the entire story, or at least the main plot points. At the end of it, it confirmed the game's release for PS3, XBOX 360 and PC this Winter.

"And now. We have a surprise for you."
Oh. Wait. More Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. Live action comedy sketch that in my opinion was corny and unfunny, featuring a portly man dressed as Dracula. No idea why it was there, but I think it was meant to represent the reality of this game happening or something...

Anyway, that was all that happened at Konami's pre-E3. Now to wait until the 10th for the majority of the rest.
 



[10/6/13] Microsoft Pre-E3 2013
And so, no matter what you might think of the XBOX ONE. No matter what DRM issues we have with it. No matter what policies are corrupt with it, after that conference the one thing we know it will do is sell.

The first thing the conference kicked off with was Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the Konami game that was shown on the sixth. This was a larger trailer than the one saw on the sixth though, and was the perfect way to start the conference. Confirming it for XBOX ONE.
Next up was the things for the XBOX 360. Microsoft aren't giving up support for it, and now it seems, it wants to copy PS+. Why? Two free games per month is why. But that's all that was confirmed for it, as well as the new model of 360 [featuring the exact same pricing model and is supposed to be slimmer than the elite]. Those two games are Assassins Creed 2 and Halo 3, coming July to GOLD members. Hundreds of games are said to still be coming to the 360, and three of those games were shown with either teasers or full trailers. World of Tanks, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and Dark Souls II. All look interesting to those who like tank warfare, platformers, and sword fighting action games.


Then it moved fully to XBOX ONE games. Ryse, a roman war styled game, had a full level of gameplay footage shown. Killer Instinct, a 2D beat-em up, featuring a range of monsters and humans. Sunset Overdrive, an open world shooter featuring a whole lot of gameplay styles.
Then a small history lesson was shown about McLaren, before the logo of Forza Motorsport 5 was shown. And then, details of the new AI system. The AI are not fully set; they learn from the world's driving skills on the game, with a new system called Drivertar. Then an actual trailer was shown full of stunning scenery and cars. It was also said that the developers have gone into the upmost details within the cars, making them look absolutely realistic.
Moving on, it was stated that Microsoft are continuing to bring indie games to the XBOX platform, and to the ONE. It was then announced that Minecraft would be coming to the XBOX ONE, featuring bigger maps and bigger multiplayer options. Sam Lake of Remedy then came on stage to talk Quantum Break and show a trailer. Needless to say, the game looked ace, even through that teaser. Another teaser was shown for D4, a murder mystery game.
Project Spark was then announcement. A game where you can make a game. Using voice control and Smartglass, you can create a world, and then play in it. It's an interesting concept for a game, and sure appeals to the likes of me. A lot of stuff can be done with the game, as was shown by the many different things people that done with it.


Away from the games for a bit, more talk of XBOX LIVE and Smartglass features. Using Ryse as a game, Smartglass was setting up a multiplayer game for Killer Instinct. A game was then played on Killer Instinct, and a message then popped up saying that footage had been uploaded. This is where we then got to see the Upload Studio, Microsoft's in-game video recording software. Another game was played, but this time, it was recorded live with Twitch Live recording. As for LIVE itself, no restrictions on friend limits with the XBOX ONE, and Microsoft Points are being exchanged for using real currency. Also, only one GOLD member needs to be on the console for all to have access to its features.
Back to the games, and Crimson Dragon was shown - without its sound. Then Dead Rising 3, thankfully with sound, and a lot of it was shown in gameplay. Anything and everything is a weapon. The world is free roam with no loading in game. A lot of weapons can be fused together to make even more powerful ones. Distractions can be used to rid large zombie hordes, and using Smartglass you can even call for additional backup. You can also drive vehicles, but zombies will still be able to get at you.
Next up was the completely free roaming The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It is multi-region no loading free roam game featuring a dynamic/tactical battle system.
Then it was the turn of EA with Battlefield 4. Dynamic trailer featuring land/sea/air battles with in-game footage, and the Second Assault map pack will be first on XBOX ONE.
Quickly shown was a trailer for Below, and then announced was five new studios, one of which is called Black Tusk. A teaser was shown of an unannounced game. It was then said, "And here's another" leading people to believe another studio; another game. Instead, it was a new Halo from 343 Industries, who then came on stage to talk about the series.


November release date with a price of $499/£429 in 21 markets. Then another exclusive game in the form of Titanfall. Respawn then comes on stage with a new gameplay footage trailer.
Once that was over and done with, the conference ended. Now then, I can't say it was good, but then again - it wasn't exactly bad. They focused entirely on games, and improvements. However, no backpedaling on any of the previous things. Also, was there really any need to say before each trailer "running in-game"?
I suppose we can call compromise if they do that sometime soon. But as I said at the beginning, this thing will sell, simply because of the games. Microsoft knew what they were doing, and the XBOX ONE will stay in the trending lists for a lot longer. However, at 2:00 am in the morning, this could be changed. 



[11/6/13] Nintendo Pre-E3 2013
And so we've had our Nintendo Direct goodness for the day. And, as usual, a lot was shown. And boy was it amazing.
First, a new Pokemon X and Y trailer. Oh it is looking so good, and by the time of release, it will just be too good to even play. But play it we must. Two new features, one of which is a new type. Fairy. It is super effective to dragon. Returning Pokémon Jigglypuff, Gardevoir, and Marill will take on this new type. Hold on, Marill? Oh well. Anyway, the new Eeveelution Sylveon also takes this type. The next feature, called Pokémon Amie [A-Me] sees you feeding and petting Pokémon to bond more with them. Seems interesting. Oh, and did I mention that the game will be coming October this year. On the twelfth?
Super Mario 3D World takes the 3DS' game and makes it better. Four players, stunning scenery, even more additions to the gameplay, and Cat Mario... A new powerup that gives the player the abilities of a cat, including scratching enemies to defeat them and climbing up walls [and the end flagpole]. Playable characters are Mario, Luigi, Peach, and a Toad. The game will be available in December this year.
Next up, Mario Kart 8. And boy does it look even better than before. Bikes are back, it looks like twelve racers are back, new karts and returning gliding and underwater sections. New is hover mode and anti-grav racing, which leads to twisting tracks and even driving upside down. As for tracks, it looks like we have a new Luigi's Mansion track, a new Peach's Castle track, a new chocolate/candy themed track, some type of city themed track [City Escape from Sonic Generations-like], a ruins type track, a desert type track, and it seems returning 3DS favourites Piranha Plant Pipeway, Meledy Motorway, and the Wii's Dry Dry Ruins. I cannot wait for it, but we'll have to wait until Spring 2014 to get our hands on it.


Party games! Wii Party U. 80 new minigames, control schemes using both Gamepad and Wii Remotes, and brand new board game styles [of play]. Bad news. It's not coming in the Summer as previously stated in the January Direct. Same goes for Wii Fit U. Wii Party U will instead be coming October, and Wii Fit U will be coming December.
Miiverse has become a centre for quality drawings. So, new Art Academy. And as a bonus, the Miiverse gets new tools for it. Like coloured pens.
Third party developers. Small trailers. Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag. Batman: Arkham Origins [Blackgate - 3DS]. Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut. Disney Infinity. Just Dance 2014. Rayman Legends. Scribblenauts Unlimited - A DC Comics Adventure [WiiU/3DS]. Disney's Planes. Shin Megami Tensei IV [3DS]. Skylanders SWAP Force [WiiU/3DS]. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Sonic Lost World [WiiU/3DS]. Watch Dogs. All in 2013.
2013 eShop releases [with small trailers]. Ballpoint Universe. Cloudberry Kingdom. Coaster Crazy Deluxe. Duck Tales: Remastered. Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. Mutant Mudds Deluxe. Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty. Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails. Shovel Knight. Spin the Bottle: Bumpie's Party. A World of Keflings.
And then. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. Visuals rendered at 1080p, and it looks amazing. The shaders of the WiiU are fully utilised to make this version look the best it can be. Tingle Tuner replaced with the Tingle Bottle so you can post on Miiverse with text or screenshots, so that bottles might wind up in someone else's game. The game looks so good, this might just be my first proper Zelda game I will buy.


The Wonderful 101, the Pikmin-esque game featuring super heroes battling in a city against an invasion force of giant robots. New moves can be purchased from the in-game shop with credits earned from missions, and to activate them and go into 'Unite Mode' by drawing the symbol on the Gamepad. Five players can also play together, with Wii Remotes and one with the Gamepad, with each player controlling their own heroes, and have their own powers. Releases September 15. It was also said a Direct will be coming soon focused entirely on this game near to launch. Good to hear.
The new Donkey Kong Country game looks even more hectic than the previous one, and much more stunning. A lot more camera angles able to be used, and the visuals are fully enhanced. The plot is Donkey Kong island has been over-run by Vikings from the north sea, and DK needs to travel to five islands to stop them. Co-op is in again, with Dixie Kong available for the second player, as well as Diddy, who's returning. Dixie has flight abilities which help in the game. It looks just as hard as previous games in the series. Oh, it looks a good game for those who like platformers, but since I'm not really one of them [okay, okay. Mario and Sonic are the only two though] I'd recommend it to anyone who is. This is - Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, available November.
Bayonetta 2 now has a new trailer, showing two characters duking it out, before gameplay footage of the game. It showcases the range of moves available, and looks over-the-top in a good way. A vague release of 2014 was given, but more info will soon be coming our way when E3 starts proper, which I suppose is now.
Monolith Soft's game, and it looks like we Nintendo fans have our own version of Titanfall in X. Open world action gameplay, and mechs that can fly. The graphics are stunning. The action is incredible. And if this looks good, I'm getting it. I'm all up for open world games.


And then. The ultimate. Animal Crossing! No. It's Super Smash Bros 4. We got the 3DS gameplay first, which looks cel-shaded. And then, we got to the WiiU version. Looking just as good as ever, Pit is retuning again, as is the usual cast. But, two new characters were revealed. They wouldn't show Animal Crossing without reason, and that reason came with a net landing on Mario's head and the words 'Villager comes to town'. Showing a male villager from Wild World. His attacks range from the various things in the Animal Crossing universe. And then, the logo's for both games, then the date. That would seem to be that. Oh, no it wasn't. We was then treated to the classic New Challenger Approaching sign. And, up on a mountain, a figure with hair. Which then turns to a helmet, and then, the silhouette is revealed. Megaman comes to Super Smash Bros. A new trailer commences with Megaman battling. The website is open now. Many fans have waited for this game, and no way did many of us expect such a deep look at this game. I am so going to get it, as this looks to be great.
Iwata then takes us behind the scenes at Nintendo's E3 booth with a sneak peak. Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World are among those that can be played in the booth, as well as select North American Best Buy stores. And that ended the Direct with the Pikmin section shown.
 



[15/6/13] End E3 2013
You might wonder where the other conferences are on this blog. EA's? Ubisoft's? Especially Sony's? I strictly didn't cover them for the reason that all of my best bits from them will be covered here.
Yes, at the end of this E3, I've had surprises thrown at me. Most of the games in this coming generation are going to be open world. Racing games, shooters and zombie survival games. All will be open world.
During EA's conference, the bombshell of the entire event was lit. A new Star Wars Battlefront will be among us in the next few years. But that was nothing compared to the bombshell that was lit during Sony's conference. After spin-off after spin-off, Kingdom Hearts III will soon be among us. Both are my top two favourites in the gaming world. Introduced to both with their second main games, I have played each series and loved every bit of it. However, after my PS2 no longer worked, I was without both main series games. Even after nabbing Battlefront II on PC it refused to work after so long, but I've got the PSP version, and I've got all other Battlefront's. Even the PSP versions of Battlefront retain the same charm as the console versions. The same can't be said for Kingdom Hearts however. The DS versions weren't coming even close to the charm of II, and the PSP version came close, and so did the 3DS version, but there is still nothing that can beat the actual main series games. And a third, as well as the HD 1.5 remix, are the best things to come out of the Kingdom Hearts series in ages. I still remember when I went to buy Kingdom Hearts II for Christmas all those years ago, unknowing how significant it will become to me, and how much playtime I'll get out of it.
Also out of the bag was the Playstation 4's actual look. I suppose is okay, but I always go for practicality over looks, and the PS4 seems to have a better handle on that.


EA and Ubisoft have both come up front to say that they will continue WiiU support once the console picks up in sales. Why exactly don't you support it with some worthwhile games so you can help it pick up sales? I'll never understand, but I guess it has something to do with money.
I  might be a racing fan, but the only thing that really perked my interest was Mario Kart 8. However, if I do get a PS4, I'll be able to test Drive Club, which seems to be going free for PS+ subscribers. Yes Need For Speed Rivals takes Most Wanted's gameplay and adds more to it, but Ubisoft's offering of The Crew has more to it. But even then, while Most Wanted was a good game, most of it was wanting more to be added to it. And while Forza 5 has that AI-learning thing, I think most people will try to avoid the XBOX ONE at all costs due to those radical features of used games and DRM nonsense.
Most of the Nintendo games have me interested. The PS4 is my second choice. I know that Battlefront and Kingdom Hearts won't be on the WiiU, but I can't choose between the two, simply because Sonic Lost World is on the WiiU. And Pikmin.
Anyway. Another E3 has come to an end, and if you need trailers for the games, CVG is loaded with them. 

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