Gaming News

Sony’s E3 2016 Press Conference

*This was pushed out incredibly quickly, please pardon minor grammatical errors, this post will be updated throughout the day.

 

Due to my college orientation at Mizzou i was unable to watch Sony’s press conference live. I did however monitor people’s live reactions to what went down at the presser. Sony came out strong with a surprise live demo of the new God of War. The demo was complemented with a live orchestra that was present all evening. The new God of War appears to take place in a Norse mythology setting, yet the series protagonist Kratos is still seemingly present. The crowd went absolutely nuts when Kratos walked out of the shadows. No release date was present so one cannot guess when this title from Santa Monica Studio’s will come out. This first reveal set the tone that the Sony press conference would not only be cinematic trailers but surprise gameplay demos and trailers as well. I will more than likely follow the development of this game closely since reboots of franchises and how they end up in the end always grab my attention, plus Kratos is kind of a bad-ass.

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Bend Studios showed off a post apocalyptic game titled Days Gone, that looked great but lacked a lot of information besides that which was narrated by the protagonist that appears to have been a member of a bike club before some sort of worldwide disaster. This trailer was immediately followed by a new trailer for The Last Guardian. In this new trailer the boy encounters another Trico that appears to not be quite as friendly as the one that was shown off in the original trailer back in 2009. The trailer was essentially a scissor-reel of gameplay and pre rendered events in game all of which seemed incredibly polished since this game now has a release date of October 25, 2016. It is worth mentioning that a LUDICROUS amount of games are coming out on that day and the week before.

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A live gameplay for Horizon Zero Dawn followed The Last Guardian, in the gameplayy demo new mechanics were shown off and the audience got a chance to see the crafting menu for the first time. RPG elements such as dialogue options also made this game feel like an absolute departure from Guerrilla Games typical genre of choice. This excited me since I at first believed this game was a linear action game, the RPG elements and relatively open world shown off through the in game map got me even more excited for this new IP. Aloy, the protagonist proved to be incredibly capable of holding her own in a fight during a boss fight with a corrupted machine. Her assortment of weapons and consumable/craft-able traps were a nice touch. This title will come out in February of 2016.

 

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Quantic Dream’s game Detroit: Become Human was up next. The game which appears to share elements from other Quantic Dream titles such as Heavy Rain showed off the dozens of player choices and interaction available to the player. This was conveyed through the player making decisions for a hostage negotiating android as the android named Connor attempted to save a child from her android caretaker. The game or rather this trailer stressed heavily on the idea of player’s choice and the variety of consequences that will have.The android caretaker stressed that he felt like a slave and other reasons causes him to enter this predicament. It is worth mentioning that this title will delve deep into different trains of thought and philosophical ideas pertaining to what substantiates humanity in a being. That alone intrigues me and has caught my interest. Detroit: Become Human will also have multiple protagonists so one can expect a multiple stories that all relate to each other in the end.

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A full PSVR Demo was shown off next. The demo began in a dark environment that turned out to be a house. The entire thing was creepy and incredibly eerie. I knew from the beginning that this game would not appeal to me since I am a pansy when it comes to horror games. None the less I knew this game was going to appeal to the audience. The first person gameplay seemed to stress the use of the PSVR in order to immerse the player in the player character’s shoes. After reaching what I believe was an incredibly old computer or terminal various screens displayed countless videos that either must have been an archive of past events. An incredibly eerie song accompanied the videos that flashed in and out of focus.

 

 

After several dramatic pans and zooming out of frames the game was revealed as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (stylized Resident EVII biohazard). Yet again the crowd went berserk. This game appears to be a departure from more recent Resident Evil games that have typically fallen into the third person survival horror game genre. What was shown off can be summed up simply as survival horror, although action sequences will more than likely be in this title. The major influence on this game has to be Silent Hill’s PT, I got a totally PT vibe from this demo. The game has a set release date of January 24, 2017. The game will be completely playable with or without PSVR although to get the better horror experience and more than likely some nightmares as well I would personally get it with the PSVR.

Playstation VR will have the specs above and will release on October 13, 2016 (5 days before my birthday hurray!). The device will run in tandem with the PS4 so no new upgrades are needed to the platform. The device will cost $399. More than 50 games will be available at launch to the end of the year ranging from indie games to AAA titles. A scissor-reel of various VR games were then shown off during the press conference. Of those it is worth mentioning that one is a VR mission behind the cockpit of an X-Wing in space in Star Wars Battlefront. Farpoint, a new IP saw explorers stuck on a seemingly hostile planet. A Final Fantasy XV trailer was shown off as well as a PSVR companion experience.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was up next. This was the reveal for space ship to ship combat. I could not tell if the flight controls were “on rails” or if the player had absolute control. Zero gravity combat complete with a grapple gun was displayed in this cinematic snip bit of the title. It didn’t appear to seem like a Call of Duty game at, rather it seemed like a Sci-Fy shooter that under a different name or alias would feel more natural. Using debris as cover in a 360 degree environment seemed like a ton of fun though. I think I even saw a grenade that made a zero gravity field of some sorts on enemies.

A new trailer for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was shown off. In it we got our first glances at the ghillie suit missions and more gameplay from the missions as United States Marines attempting to capture Al-Asad. I could not be any more excited for this remaster of a classic game and truly the Call of Duty game that formed the foundation for all of the games to follow. If you pre-purchase Infinite Warfare you can play Modern Warfare Remastered  a whole 30 days early on the PS4.  Since we are talking about Activision it is also a good time to announce that several Crash Bandicoot games will be remastered on the PS4.

Andy House came up and began to talk about Playstations dedication to developers ranging from first party to third party in order to craft the best experience possible for the gamers. This ultimately cultivated in Mr. House introducing “one of the most creative talents in the history of gaming.” His entrance was complemented by a phenomenal orchestral score and the new logo that his new developing company crafted, it goes without saying that Hide Kojima’s entrance into the press conference was fitting of his magnitude in the gaming medium. His entrance was also marked by a cacophony of applause and cheers for the developer that had such a rough split from Konami during the creation of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. After taking the stage Hideo proclaimed, “Hello everyone, I am back! Today I bring something new, we made for you and this is all running in real time. Please enjoy.”

The trailer opened with a quote: “To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour..” – William Blake. The audience and viewers online were welcomed by a black beach littered with dead crabs and sea life. Phantom hand prints with black centers began to make tracks along the beach while the camera pans along with them. The camera settles on a man naked on the black beach, a handcuff attached to one of his wrists (it is worth mentioning no frontal nudity is present in the trailer).

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A umbellical chord is attached from the man to a newborn that he then begins to cradle revealing that the man is modeled after Norman Reedus ( famous from The Walking Dead). The audience went nuts when Norman’s face was completely present. The baby disappears and Norman character looks down at his hands and sees a black substance caking his hands.

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The substance parallels that of the hand prints seen earlier in the trailer. From that in pans upwards away from the hands back to the beach towards piles of dead fish. The character stands up and begins to walk towards where the camera pans. This reveals a cross stitched scar on the character’s lower abdomen. A wide shot from behind the character reveals that he is standing either were the sea level has dropped dramatically, the beach littered with everything from huge whales to fish and five figures levitating up in the sky overlooking the character and the beach.

 

They disappear and in their place A Hideo Kojima Game appears followed Norman Reedus in which is then followed by the title Dead Stranding. It goes without saying that knowing Kojima this trailer was filled to the brim with symbols and hints at the true nature to the game. He is a master of conveying beliefs through the medium of video games through their narrative and surrounding environment. That is why he is such a big name in video games. He has a way of expressing things in ways that a traditional game developer wouldn’t; for him at least this has proved incredibly successful. This game is in incredibly early development. I am predicting with a conservative estimate that this will be a 2019-2020 game, 2018 would be an incredibly liberal estimate. Hideo Kojima had to completely re-haul and remake a team of developers and more than likely he has programmers making an entirely new engine for this game. Unlike a lot of the other AAA studios he is building this game from the ground up, he has no assets he can use in development. None the less I cannot wait for this game. I have never been so hyped for a game I know so very little about.

The next trailer answered the questions about a rumored game under development by Insomniac (minds behind the inFamous IP). A Spiderman game that actually looks great is coming to the PS4. The trailer begins with some shots of Manhattan that are narrated by a teenagers voice that we later learn is Peter Parker’s voice. Incredibly intricate and complicated means of traversal by Spiderman are revealed while the web-slinging super hero moves around Manhattan. The trailer does not reveal anything related to the story but it is full to the brim of movie esque shots of Spiderman moving throughout the city and his quick take-downs of criminals. This looks like the open world Spiderman game that gamers have been wanting for so long. Knowing Insomniacs pedigree they will without a doubt do this franchise the justice it deserves. I mean come on, the past Spiderman games in recent memory have been awful.

The conference ended with a demo of the previously mentioned Days Gone. Turns out the disaster led to or was also the outbreak of zombies. What sets this game apart from a game such as The Last of Us which took it’s own spin on zombies through its fungal spore enemies is the scale of this games combat. The player character is hosing zombies with an assault rifle at an enormous scale. Hundreds of zombies were all moving independently on screen in large action shots during the gameplay. The movement reminded me of the Uncharted series as did the animation for holstering the rifle and movements with the rifle out. A later press release talked more about the game, pointing out it is an open world survival game taking place in the Pacific Northwest. The game takes place two years after the pandemic and the zombie like creatures are called Freakers in game. These things from the trailer appeared to be incredibly fast and intimidating in a horde or pack. The developers themselves are based out of Bend, Oregon (hence Bend Studios), so I have no doubt that the environment in game will be as close to the real Pacific Northwest as it can be.

The Press Conference ended with a final scissor-reel of all of the games shown off and other titles that have already been revealed. Of these games first to third party games were shown in this reel. I have to say that the Sony Press Conference never felt slow or falling behind in pace. Sony absolutely was attempting to capitalize on an emphasis of games and because of this they delivered a stellar conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civilization VI Reveal

With a thematic trailer of exploration and civilization combined with the powerful and moving orchestral score, Civilization VI has been revealed. It has been five years since the release of the previous title, Civilization V, and three years since the release of the final expansion, Brave New World. Firaxis Games, the developers, decided to announce the title on their 25th anniversary. I personally believed that Civilization VI would either come out in 2015 or 2016 since CIV IV & V were released in 5 year increments. In a sense, I was partially correct. This trailer revealed little to no ideas or knowledge regarding the new title. However, additional information regarding new mechanics and changes can be found on the studio’s page. I will attempt to nitpick the important revealed changes and summarize the rest as a whole.

For starters, the art style is drastically different from that of Civilization VI. Some may debate that it is too “cartoonish.” I, for one, am in favor of the change in art direction. It is obviously brighter and more vivid when it comes to the color palette. This is not a bad thing; change can be a good thing in this case. The possibilities of conveying specific civilizations’ aesthetic style will more than likely be on display through this new art style. For example, the samurai unit next to the farmland appears to be well put together. This decision to switch the art design may also be due to a widening of the series audience and target demographic. The art style may attract players on the younger end of the spectrum. Anyone who has actually played the series though cares little about the art style and more for the gameplay and turn-by-turn decisions one makes to better their civilization.

Several other minor changes have been revealed but the major one that I will attempt to explain is the change regarding a player’s cities. Global Happiness, for one, is no longer in play when it comes to managing your empire in Civilization VI, a change I welcome with open arms. Cities are now encompassing more than one tile. In other words, most city improvements take up a tile or ‘district.’ This means that players will need to plan ahead when forming their city early game, this will kept them from wasting potentially useful late game tiles. This gameplay aspect will also be noteworthy when attacking a city. Fort ‘districts’ or defensive structures should now always be the major focal point while attacking another civilization’s city. When these are destroyed, the city will be far more easy to either annex or raze to the ground.

There are plenty of additional changes not mentioned above, but I found the city example the most intriguing. You can find more info on Civilization VI here.

Players can expect this title to be released this Fall on October 21, 2016.

Battlefield I Announced!

After Infinity Ward announced the next Call of Duty game, DICE and Electronic Arts were quick to point out that the next Battlefield game would be premiered the Friday after the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare reveal. Several developers at DICE even trash talked the Call of Duty trailer claiming that “the internet will melt when the Battlefield trailer is released. For all intensive purposes YouTube and Reddit did indeed melt at the sight of the Battlefield 1 trailer. Although the title may appear deceiving this is not the first Battlefield game. The 1 in the title is in reference to World War I, the time period that the game takes place. To my own common knowledge there has not been a single AAA game that has attempted to encapsulate World War I in a video game altogether (there is however an indie game titled Verdun that has attempted to do this).

I have to applaud the franchise for returning to its roots. The original Battlefield game took place in World War II. Although this is not a return to the same time period, several elements found in the original game are more than likely going to return in Battlefield I. According to the press release and the trailer event, Battlefield I will have both a single player campaign and multiplayer. This of course is not surprising in the slightest degree. The campaign will follow several different soldiers from different respected armies that fought in the plains of France, the Italian Alps, the Arabian Peninsula and more. The British MK II tank in the screenshot above is taken more than likely from the Arabian Peninsula portion of the game. Combat in the game will include mounted Calvary combat, early tank battles, dog-fighting in the skies and large scale naval and Zeppelin engagements.

Some may believe that World War I or the Great War was nothing more than men standing in trenches shooting at each other for four years, in reality this is only partially true. More evolved combat was fought in the Italian Peninsula, modern day Turkey, the Eastern front and the combined arms combat in the Arabian Peninsula. This war was the dawn of modern combat, machine guns, gas attacks, and tanks were used by both sides. This conflict alone bred hostilities that arguably led to countless conflicts from then all the way to current day. It is about time that these battles were retold through a perspective that has already been used to convey battles from World War II, the Vietnam War and increasingly modern wars. I for one believe that this game can be more than just a game. It can attempt to tell stories that embody what it meant to fight in this time period, it can shed light on a conflict in which all of the combatants are now dead.

Large scale combat is staple in this series. Combined arms tactic in game prove essential to the overarching meta of both the singleplayer and multiplayer experiences, what better time period to experiment with this kind of gameplay than the dawn of these very tactics? EA and DICE will more than likely do the memories of those that were involved with this global conflict justice through this game. From what was shown of the game I can safely assume that this game will be massive in scale, the words expressed by the developers on Friday echo this. Combat at the amount of fronts that were shown off in this brief trailer corroborates this. I also believe that the remix of “Seven Nation Army” may be a reference to the 7 major nations that took part in the war. Of course more than 7 fought in the Great War but 7 particular nations contributed far more to the conflict than the others.

Lastly, some may argue that the weapons and tech used in the Great War are simply not compatible with a modern fast action first person shooter. To those people I will refute with the claim that dozens of weapons were used in both World War I and World War II. Among them are the Russian Mosin Nagant, the Browning Automatic Rifle, the British Lee-Enfield Rifle, and even the Colt 1911 and the Winchester 1897 to name a few. These weapons were in the countless World War II shooters and all of those games’ gameplay held up just fine. Combat in the game will obviously be more up close and personal as described by the developers who also pointed out that they completely reworked the melee combat system for this title. CQC will be incredibly relevant in this title and will also be quite violent.

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The gaming communities response has also been showering the change in gameplay with praise. At the time of this screenshot the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer which had been released this past Monday is already about to be passed in views by the Battlefield I trailer. It is worth mentioning that the Battlefield I trailer has had overwhelmingly positive feedback. If you prebuy the Early Enlister Deluxe version of Battlefield I you can expect to play it on PC/PS4/Xbox One on October 18th (my Birthday!). This version comes with additional content and early access to the first map pack and the Harlem Hellfighters Pack (This was an American Combat Unit comprised of African American soldiers). If you decide to wait you can pick up the game on the 21st of October this fall.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Announced

Today, Infinity Ward released the reveal trailer for the next game in the Call of Duty franchise. The next title, Infinite Warfare, has everything from an enormous robot grappling with a tank to combat in space. I highly suggest watching the trailer before reading this article, though. I personally felt excited and disappointed by the ‘gameplay’ that was displayed in the trailer. Having been a critic of basically every single Call of Duty game since Black Ops I can safely say that I know exactly how to break down and tear to shred dozens of aspects of the series since that title. Yet, Infinite Warfare already looks to be the best title in the franchise since 2010’s Black Ops. Here is why: the description for the YouTube trailer reads as followed – “Call of Duty®: Infinite Warfare returns to the roots of the franchise where large-scale war and cinematic, immersive military storytelling take center stage. Prepare for a gripping war story in which players fight against the Settlement Defense Front to defend our very way of life.”

The combat shown, regardless if it is cinematic or actual gameplay, looks very different from every single kind of set piece shown in a Call of Duty game since Modern Warfare 3. The scale of the engagement displayed during the surprise attack that encompasses the majority of the beginning of the trailer is reminiscent of the Khe Sanh level in Black Ops or the battle for Washington D.C. in Modern Warfare 2. Every other game after Modern Warfare 3 began to solely depend on the cinematic feel of small scale raid like missions in which the player is always apart of some sort of elite pre-madonna squad. Black Ops, on the other hand, threw the player into large scale engagements such as the Khe Sanh level, a historic battle that was tremendous in scale. Modern Warfare 2 had the player put on the boots of an Army Ranger, a role that is specialized but nowhere near as flashy as a DEVGRU operator, and thrust them into WW3 against the Russians. Sure Call of Duty: Ghosts had the player fight some form of a South American Coalition but it still was bogged down by flashy raids and hit and run missions. The Call of Duty franchises roots are in LARGE SCALE SET-PIECES, like the D-Day level in Call of Duty 2 or the Battle for Berlin in World at War; not specialized teams of cybernetically augmented super soldiers (leave that for Halo & Doom).

The sheer scale of Infinite Warfare is directly conveyed through the player characters entering into a aircraft that flies above the battlefield and into SPACE. Although I am not a fan of the level of dependency the series is now focusing on science fiction elements, I am glad that it no longer appears that this title will be a running and jumping simulator like the past two titles. For all intensive purposes, Advanced Warfare & Black Ops 3 felt like steps in the wrong direction for the franchise. Faster combat isn’t always better. It is already evident due to the character models found in the Infinite Warfare trailer that the ridiculous mec-suit/augmentation cliche has been ditched for more genuine combat. I welcome this with open arms, the series almost felt like a self-aware satire of itself in most recent entries.

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The opportunity for completely different set pieces, set in space to this scale will be something to look forward to. Sure Call of Duty:Ghosts had this but it was to a much, much smaller scale. The lack of super soldier armor ad abilities actually makes me feel somewhat optimistic for the title. This game will literally take the franchise to places it has never been before. Seriously, from what can be analyzed by screenshots of the trailer the game journeys to another celestial body or planet (maybe a moon). Of course, more facts will be revealed in dear time but at the moment, I am somewhat excited for the campaign in this title. I will hold my breath before I say anything about the multiplayer that has yet to be shown off. This trailer that was filled to the brim with action and diverse set pieces along with a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” had one last aspect to show off- Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare Remastered.

After fans have been yelling at the top of their lungs, arguably the best or second best game in the entire franchise is finally receiving the remastering it deserves. This will cost you, though. The remastered full game, multiplayer included with separate leveling and multiplayer from Infinite Warfare will cost you at the least $80. Obviously, there are more expensive versions of the game that will be for sale but if you just want to suit up in that Ghillie suit again you will have to buy Infinite Warfare along with the game you actually will play. I am not saying that Infinite Warfare will be a bad game, quite the opposite, in fact, it just so happens that you will have to pay more to feed your nostalgia. The short tidbit at the end of the trailer that actually showed gameplay from the remastered version of Call of Duty 4 had me the most excited through and through. Gamers can expect both Infinite Warfare & Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered on November 4, this fall.

Fallout 4 DLC Details Revealed

Bethesda revealed the details to its first three add-ons that will supplement Fallout 4‘s vanilla content. These three add-ons are titled as follows: Automatron, Wasteland Workshop, and Far Harbor. The last of the three interests me the most personally (more on that later).

The first DLC, Automatron, that will be released drops in March. The description attempts to relay shallow details regarding its content – “The mysterious Mechanist has unleashed a horde of evil robots into the Commonwealth, including the devious Robobrain.Hunt them down and harvest their parts to build and mod your own custom robot companions.”  The press release also notes that the player will be able to “choose from hundreds of mods; mixing limbs, armor, abilities, and weapons like the all-new lightning chain gun.”

I personally have high hopes for this DLC pack because I have spent a ludicrous amount of time crafting various items, armors, etc, in Fallout 4. The lightning chain gun sounds amusing as well.

The second DLC, Wasteland Workshop, appears to lean a little bit more on the sporadic side of the crazy spectrum. The description alone hints to what I mean. “With the Wasteland Workshop, design and set cages to capture live creatures – from raiders to Deathclaws! Tame them or have them face off in battle, even against your fellow settlers. The Wasteland Workshop also includes a suite of new design options for your settlements like nixie tube lighting, letter kits, taxidermy and more!”

The mere thought of capturing something as powerful and fierce as a Deathclaw and having it fight against other opponents not only excites me but also seems a little off the rails when it comes to logic. Hey, this is Fallout though so nearly anything goes. New design options for my already complex settlements will provide me with plenty more to do when this DLC drops in April.

 

Far Harbor, the final DLC as previously stated interests me the most. It also has the highest price tag ($24.99) out of the three DLCs which can be purchased as a whole through a convenient season pass.

This DLC will take the player to an entirely new region that is currently not on the map. Description as follows – “A new case from Valentine’s Detective Agency leads you on a search for a young woman and a secret colony of synths. Travel off the coast of Maine to the mysterious island of Far Harbor, where higher levels of radiation have created a more feral world. Navigate through the growing conflict between the synths, the Children of Atom, and the local townspeople. Will you work towards bringing peace to Far Harbor, and at what cost? Far Harbor features the largest landmass for an add-on that we’ve ever created, filled with new faction quests, settlements, lethal creatures and dungeons. Become more powerful with new, higher-level armor and weapons. The choices are all yours. ”

Far Harbor DLC

This description alone, along with the higher price hints that this will certainly be a larger scale DLC. Large scale story based DLC such as this one excite me the most. Honestly this is reminiscent of the Dawnguard or Dragonborn DLCs for Elder Scrolls V. I personally have a theory regarding the release of future unannounced DLCs. Since this can all be purchased under a single season pass I am proposing the idea that this will be the first of several “seasons” of content. The end of each “season” will have a larger scale DLC such as Far Harbor that will add additional land areas to Fallout 4. This is all speculation but I have a feeling gamers can expect more hints at future DLC at Bethesda’s E3 event this summer. In other words this will not be the last pack of DLC for Fallout 4.

On a final note, Bethesda announced it will continue to cater to its loyal fan base through several free minor updates for the game. It is also worthy noting that both the survival mode and the Creation Kit are currently in testing at Bethesda. So basically more free content will be coming to all you wastelanders.

Hunter’s Top 10 Games of 2015

Unlike 2014, there was a large quantity of seemingly stellar video games this year. In fact there were so many excellent titles this year I decided to compile a list of my own. These are my top 10 games of the year. However, I did take into account review scores and critical reviews from noteworthy reviewers and websites in order to eliminate some of my own bias. The outline of each title will be represented as following [ Game Title – Developer (Platform(s)) Noteworthy Awards]

*NOTE: No Sports Games or HD Remasters will be on this list

#10. Halo 5: Guardians – 343 Industries (Xbox One) VG Hunter 8.8/10

I will certainly get a lot of flak from Xbox fanboys for placing their beloved Master Chief in the number 10 slot on this list. However, I can back this placement up by the fact that the only awards it yielded this year all had to do with being the best Xbox One game of the year (that isn’t saying much when you look at 1st party Xbox games). I enjoyed the game a lot but excluding the warzone gamemode the game was sort of a disappointment. With a setup Halo 2 esque ending combined with abysmal writing and the fact that you never really hunt the Master Chief (even though the marketing campaign made this out to be a legendary hunt for the ultimate super soldier) I felt lied to honestly by the developers. Gameplay on the other hand is smoother than any other Halo game, and that is saying something since Halo is known for its simple but skill based gameplay.

#9. Splatoon – Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 (WiiU) – Game Awards Best Shooter & Best Multiplayer Game

Who would have thought one of the best multiplayer experiences of 2015 would be on a Nintendo console? I might (absolutely will) get some hate for placing this game ahead of Halo 5, but Splatoons simple and fun gameplay. Basically the object of the game is to cover as much of the map as possible with your own teams color of paint while covering the areas that the other team has painted with their own. Sounds simple? Well in most cases it is just that: simple. Yet this game for some odd reason gave me a since of pleasure and achievement even though i was completing a childish task. The art style is adorable (yes I used that word) and fits the game quite well. This game is playable by gamers of all ages and skill levels. That is why it was placed on this list, due to its availability, relatively balanced gameplay and somewhat lack of violence.

#8. Tales from the Borderlands – Telltale Games (PC/PS4/PS3/Xbox One/Xbox 360/ OSX/IOS) IGN 9.3/10

Honestly when it boils down to voice acting and overall writing for a game, Tales from the Borderlands delivers and then kills the standard for narrative and storytelling. With a cast including Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, etc), Nolan North (Uncharted, Batman Arkham Series, Assassins Creed, etc), Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us, The Avengers, etc) and countless other noteworthy voice actors, this game is full of talent. This five part Telltale series explores the world of Pandora from the Borderlands franchise. Although the gameplay is simple point and click puzzles with quick time combat moments, the writing focusing on the characters is absolutely astounding. The humor and overall lack of morality is exactly what a player should expect from a game taking place in the 2K’s beloved game world. I found myself laughing hysterically countless times during my endeavors on the surface of Pandora. Yet, I also found some of the player choices and moments to be incredibly thought provoking. If you want to play a game just for the story and you have a somewhat sick but great sense of humor pick this game up on its various platforms of availability.

#7. Rocket League – Psyonix (PC/PS4) The Game Awards 2015 Best Independent Game & Best Sports Game

Rocket League is the end product of combing football(soccer) and high speed rocket-powered cars. This title that has been released on the PC/PS4 so far (Xbox One in February) is simple from the surface, but truly has some depth to its gameplay. The object of the game is simple: knock a giant ball into the other team’s goal while protecting your own. Basically it is soccer with rocket cars, hence the name Rocket League. Whether you are playing a 1v1 or a chaotic 4v4 the gameplay in Rocket League is simple but effective when it comes to providing a spark of excitement to the player. Dramatic saves and goals will more than likely be plentiful in your own experiences with this fantastic indie game.

#6. Super Mario Maker – Nintendo (WiiU) Giant Bomb’s 2015 GOTY Awards Best Game

Nintendo finally made the game that their fans have been asking for decades, a game that lets the player make stages using Super Mario’s assets and set pieces. Super Mario Maker allows gamers to make everything from simple levels to seemingly impossible death traps. The community since the game has been released have created quite the variety of levels. The simple interface allows for fans of the series of all ages to have the ability to make levels that they can play and share with friends and family. Since there are thousands of player created levels the game has an incredibly high replay-ability so as a gamer you will certainly get your bang for your buck.

#5. Undertale – tobyfox (PC/Mac-OS) Destructoid PC Game of the Year 

Undertale proved once again that fantastic games do not have to have fantastic graphics or come from the minds of a Triple A developer. This PC/Mac title shared some basic RPG elements, but honestly this game belongs in its own category altogether. Each of the game’s boss fights had its own unique and signature aspects and features. The game also gives the player the ability to play the entire game without killing a single enemy. The class RPG elements combined with the neat puzzles and animated/energetic non-playable characters is a nice touch. The combat is essentialy a bullet hell style system that gets progressively harder as the game moves on. Basically the player has to guide a little heart around in a box, dodging various things that will in turn hurt the protagonist. Undertale was a game that main stream gamers never saw coming, I for one am glad that gamers got this neat little game.

#4. Bloodborne – FromSoftware (PS4) Golden Joystick Awards 2015 Best Original Game & IGN PS4 Game of the Year

Bloodborne absolutely was the best original game of 2015. The games ahead of it on my list all are sequels in various game series. Bloodborne was an entirely new IP (Intellectual Property) all together. The PS4 exclusive was dark, difficult and quite foreboding. From the minds behind Demon Souls Dark Souls, Bloodborne proves to be ever so difficult as the titles it takes elements and tropes from. This hack ‘n slash RPG stands on its own though by divulging far more plot elements than the other games made by FromSoftware. The Gothic art style and brooding setting in a dilapidated city stained by the blood of monsters and a psychotic populace was a nice touch to the aesthetic of the game. The gameplay does not hold the player’s hand in anyway. The game expects the player to be smart, it respects your intelligence and therefore provides the player with a difficult but rewarding style of gameplay.

#3. Fallout 4 – Bethesda Game Studios (PC/PS4/Xbox One) Game Awards Nominated Game of the Year 2015

Some readers may believe that this title should be closer to the best game spot, I however feel quite the opposite. Fallout 4 was no doubt a good game, it told a far more meaningful story and the new chunk of the American Wasteland that players got to roam in was full of incredible stories, moments and sidequests. Yet, the same thing can be said about Fallout 3 or Fallout New Vegas. Sure the game added a nice settlement feature and crafting but it lacked something special that would make it truly feel next-gen. There was simply no feature that could set it apart from the other games if all of the games appeared the same graphically. None the less the game is a fantastic RPG that is second only to the #1 game on this list. The game itself is what one would expect from a Bethesda style RPG, but I wanted more, something else was missing that is keeping this title from being higher on the list. Still a fantastic game though.

#2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Kojima Productions (PC/PS4/PS3/Xbox One/Xbox 360) – PC Gamer Game of the Year 2015 , Game Awards Best Action-Adventure Game , IGN 10/10VG Hunter 10/10

Hideo Kojima’s final iteration in the Metal Gear franchise was my personal favorite game of the year. The reason why it is not number one on this list is due to the fact that I already gave it a perfect 10/10 on my website and it seems too bias to place it in the top spot. The gameplay and overall aesthetic of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is precise and surgical down to the actual frame rate and presentation of the game. I have to give credit to the now defunct Kojima Productions for optimizing the game on every single platform it was released for. Yet, the best experience can be found on the PC version of this open-world stealth and action-adventure game. The gameplay is the best in the series and this title traces its roots from a phenomenal pedigree of previous games. Even the cinematography and overall animations seem ahead of rival game developer’s games. Everything from the dark and gritty opening Hospital prologue to the mind boggling twist ending fits in seamlessly with the gameplay. The level of customization and wide variety of player choice regarding nearly everything the game has to offer (ranging from combat, mission selection, loadout customization) combined with the Clash of Clans esque base building meta game bundles this game into an action gamer’s nirvana. Hideo Kojima went all out on his final installment for the franchise.

#1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – CD Projekt Red (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – IGN Game of the Year 2015  & Game Awards Game of the Year 2015

Oddly enough I didn’t write a review for The Witcher 3 out of respect for the title. No true words can describe the vast open world that is this game. I played the game twice first on PS4 then on PC. I beat the game to total completion on both platforms and enjoyed every minute of gameplay. CD Projekt Red ended The Witcher series with a game world that not only is incredibly large in scale, but also has depth and detail to back it up. The depth and detail can be used to describe the game world’s art design as a whole as well as the actual story and sidequests blended with the lore of the series. The game as previously stated is an open world game that takes elements from quick swordplay and rpg elements and the product is intense combat. Whether you are hunting a Griffon or fighting off a horde of bandits each swing that Geralt (The Protagonist) takes with his sword seems fluid and organic, like a deadly dance combined with silver and steel. The story is incredibly well written and takes several elements from the book series that the game is based off of that previously were not used in the games (Witcher 1 & 2) before it. If you enjoy fantasy worlds full of sidequests, extravagant set pieces and countless hours of gameplay you should go pick this game up.

Final Fantasy VII Remake – The Facts

A bunch of news has come out of PlayStation Experience (PSX) over the past weekend. The biggest news in my opinion came not from a new game’s announcement but rather new details regarding the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Up until this past weekend all gamers knew about this highly anticipated remake was the fact that it was a thing and that it was coming to Playstation 4 first.

Gamers still do not have a release date but they did get another awesome trailer combined with some impressive gameplay. My first impressions of the gameplay is the fact that it appears to be incredibly similar to what we have seen of Final Fantasy XV & even Kingdom Hearts. In other words the gameplay is not the traditional turn based combat that was in the original Final Fantasy VII. Instead it appears to be fast paced strategy combat that visually looks very hack n slash. Obviously the latter half of my description is wrong since the game will utilize some turn based elements combined with real time action combat.

TweakTown Enlarged Image This of course has made some fans of the original game upset since this remake lacks true turn based combat that was in Final Fantasy VII. I personally believe that this was a smart move. The original Final Fantasy VII had an incredible story. It combined several noteworthy themes ranging from opinions on the environment to the purpose of Gods while not attempting to break out of its own medium. Therefore, I think that the new combat system will be easier for new players to get engaged with the retelling of this classic story. True turn based Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs) are sadly becoming less common in the West. Square Enix might be attempting to gain the attention from a younger generation of gamers. The countless hours of grinding in a traditional JRPG, something FF VII was, is simply not relevant or enjoyable when received by the mainstream gaming audience. The original game will be 20 years old in 2017, it’s time that this story was retold not only to the original audience but also to a new wave of gamers. This new combat system is far more inviting than the orthodox combat of the original. I personally am all for it.

Lastly it was also announced after the gameplay reveal that the Final Fantasy VII Remake will be released in parts (It also runs on UnReal Engine 4!). So gamers shouldn’t expect to play through this entire story on one disk alone. Square Enix has yet to explain what exactly this means but I know that this also made a bunch of fans of the series upset. I personally am fine either way, I’m just glad this is finally a thing.

My “Best of E3” 2015

This year’s E3 was headlined by dozens of noteworthy games. Some games were expected while others came out of nowhere (i’m looking at you Final Fantasy 7 Remake). I for one felt that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain did not receive the amount of spotlight it deserved. Then again that is my on bias opinion as I am a huge fan of that franchise. Tons of games were announced and I won’t cover them all, I will however provide a short recap for all of the games and content that I myself are incredibly excited for. This will be another list post so it will be easier to navigate.

Halo 5: Guardians 

An absolutely ridiculous amount of Halo content was revealed at this years E3. More details regarding the story mode which is apparently 4 player coop was shown off during an 8 minute gameplay demo. The demo put players in control of Agent Locke (now a Spartan) and the rest of his fireteam called Osiris. The short demo displayed the team work between either AI Spartans or player controlled spartans with each other as they progress through the story mode. The campaign will have two different perspectives. One from Master Chief and Blue Team’s perspective as they search for a way to control or destroy the mysterious Guardians. Meanwhile, Agent Locke and his team are trying to hunt down the Master Chief and his allies. This corroborates previous evidence that the Master Chief is apparently AWOL and Locke is tasked with killing or capturing Chief.

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The other noteworthy bit of Guardians that was shown off was the new Warzone gamemode. Essentially this gamemode pits two teams, the Reds & Blues, against each other on a large scale battlefield. The two team will fight each other and other neutral combatants that will be hostile to both teams. Players can guide their own teams marines as well as they attempt to kill Covenant forces and targets to gain points. Which ever team reaches the point limit first wins. Other victory conditions were mentioned that culminate with a final assault on the opposing teams base but this appears to be a secondary objective.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Honestly, this one came out of nowhere. It has been a while since gamers have received a Ghost Recon game that wasn’t grounded in uber futuristic tech and gadgets. This iteration however appears to be returning to the franchises roots. This time a team of Ghosts are apparently attempting to eliminate the cruel drug cartels that plague central and southern america. The gameplay featured an open world sandbox environment and teased dozens of hits and targets on members of various cartels.

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The gameplay also displayed different approaches to each mission. Tactics ranging from silent assaults at night to straight up ambushes with grenades and heavy weapons were shown to the audience at E3. Though it wasn’t confirmed, the game appeared to be a 4 player coop to a degree. The squad itself comprised of 4 Ghosts that were definitely either Ai or player controlled. Given the history of coop in Ghost Recon games I do not think it is a bad prediction that Wildlands will feature a full coop campaign or at least some form of coop. This game was my favorite surprise of E3, excluding Final Fantasy 7 Remake of course.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

I felt that that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain deserved more exposure during E3. A unique 5 ish minute trailer edited by Hideo Kojima himself appeared online during E3, yet the game had zero presence at the Sony or Microsoft press conferences. An amazing 40 minute gameplay demo was shown off at Konami‘s booth if I am remembering that correctly. Yet that isn’t the point, this game, due to the shear scale and depth of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain this game should be exposed to a wider audience.

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This is due to the fact that this is Hideo Kojima’s last Metal Gear game. After nearly 30 years his piece of this saga is coming to a close. The open world and new gameplay elements which are too many to merely list also add a degree of hype to the game. This game also has an extra degree of hype added to it since Metal Gear is my favorite franchise and this final game from Hideo Kojima will be bitter sweet. None the less, I cannot wait for this game’s September 1st release date.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Pardon my language but where the hell did this game come from? Sure Horizon Zero Dawn is being developed by Guerilla Games, the minds behind Killzone, but the mere idea of this game dumbfounds me. Apparently in the very distant future something causes society as we know it to collapse and humanity is reduced to tribal groups that resemble ancient nomadic groups (Think Ice Age). While this all happened mechanized animals have rose up and now dominate the world as giant beasts. At this point so much time has passed that humanity doesn’t even remember their original heritage and they accept their current situation as the only Earth humanity has known. Though ruins of large cities still remain, humanity hasn’t progress pass the use of bows and arrows.

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The idea is quite appealing to myself as a gamer. The game itself looks like it plays as a stealth third person action game. Guerilla Games also stated yesterday that the game will be an open world game as well. The protagonist is also a strong unique female hunter, that aesthetically looks tough and is very handy with a bow and arrow. This is a nice change instead of having some sort of brute viking esque man as the protagonist. Female characters in gaming are nearly always portrayed in a sexual manor and her appearance is unique because she isn’t the typical eye candy female protagonist.

The Last Guardian

Finally, after a long wait, The Last Guardian is finally being released. For those unaware the game was announced in 2008. However, several roadblocks have kept it from being finished. these range from development catastrophes to essential staff leaving the project. I honestly didn’t believe that it was ever going to come out. I mean come on, it was supposed to be a PS3 game! Transferring it from PS3 to PS4 in itself was probably a logistical nightmare.

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The plot involves a boy and a giant bird-dog hybrid creature as they journey through an abandoned castle/town, I honestly really don’t know how to describe it. It just looks unique and fun to play. If you don’t believe me go watch a trailer yourself.

Uncharted The Nathan Drake Collection REVEALED!

https://i0.wp.com/thenerdstash.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/UnchartedTrilogy.jpgIn a move that many fans saw coming, Naughty Dog has announced the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection. The collection will feature all three main Uncharted games that were featured on the PS3. At the moment since this is a new story there are few things that the general public knows about the collection besides the fact that all three games have been remastered and re textured for the PS4. The status of the frame rate of the overall collection is still currently unknown, one can only guess that it will be near 60 FPS 1080p.

This decision to re release these three fantastic games can be compared to Microsoft’s decision to re release the core Halo games under the guise of the Master Chief Collection. Both companies have or are going to release these collections before their next game in their series’ is released. In Microsoft’s case this would be Halo 5: Guardians and for Sony / Naughty Dog this would be Uncharted 4. The marketing behind this is simple and smart. Re release updated versions of past successful games in a series on the next gen to create hype for the newer game. At the same time this give new adopters of the Xbox One and PS4 a chance to play fantastic games for the first time without having to buy a Xbox 360 or PS3.

I for one cannot wait to replay the Uncharted series as a way to touch up on the main story before Uncharted 4‘s release in 2016.

The announcement trailer can be found here. The game will release on October 9, 2015.

XCOM 2 & Fallout 4 have been announced!

The past week has been full of huge announcements for all things games. Most of these announcements can be attributed to the fact that E3 is only 12 DAYS AWAY! The two biggest announcements however absolutely have to be the XCOM 2 & Fallout 4 reveal trailers.

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I for one was a huge fan of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and its follow up expansion Enemy Within. The turn based strategy series by Firaxis and its most recent installment was critically acclaimed by countless reviewers. I myself logged over 200+ hours fighting aliens in the name of humanities defense. The permadeath features for the players squad made every decision in game count.

Moving onto XCOM 2, I absolutely loved the reveal trailer (link here ). The guerrilla esque theme to the trailer and the new story which takes place 20 years after Enemy Unknown were incredibly inviting and new. Apparently after Enemy Unknown, the aliens have been some what welcomed into society and have meshed with a one world order organization named ADVENT. The XCOM soldiers from the previous game were wise enough to not conform with this organization and has picked up arms against the aliens once again.

XCOM 2 will come out later this year and will be a PC exclusive.

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People have been waiting and after countless false trailers Fallout 4 has been announced. The new Fallout trailer shows off a German Shepherd as it explores a dilapidated home. I personally am not a fan of the new brighter colors of this “in game engine.” It just does not feel post apocalyptic anymore with this brighter color palette.

None the less the idea of a next gen Fallout on the PS4, Xbox One and of course the master PC is incredibly inviting. Bethesda has noted that they will be showing off more at E3. Besides the video trailer published today nothing else is really available at the time.