Wednesday, 23 December 2015

What I'm Waiting For - Volume 4 [Gaming]

It's been a long time since I did one of these. Beginning of the year, in fact. And quite a bit has happened between then and now. For starters, both LEGO Jurassic World and Splatoon released - giving me quite a lot to do within each game. As well as that though, Star Wars Battlefront also released and I have also been having a blast on GTA Online.
To recap on the games covered in my last What I'm Waiting For, I loved playing through LEGO Jurassic World. While the hub wasn't the singular larger one I had hoped, it made sense within the game as the hubs played into the story. Playing and creating dinosaurs was good fun, and the humour was spot-on as usual.
Splatoon met my expectations greatly. And since launch it has only been growing since. From the start it only had a small number of weapons and maps, maximum rank of 20, and not much else. Since then, new weapons and weapon classes have been added, a lot more maps, and for those that need a reason to jump on - Splatfests. The rank cap was also increased to 50 and a new mode was added - Rainmaker. Though I've fell out of playing it for a while, I fully intend to get back to it, as the game really is a lot of fun.

Onto the latest of the games, and you'd be forgiven for wondering why yet another Frontier Developments game is here. Planet Coaster is, despite the little we've seen of it, looking to be a great experience. Frontier were behind Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 and the Thrillville series, so they have experience in this type of game. Atari seem to think they don't need Frontier to build on the RCT series, which paves the way for this stand-alone effort. A lot of concept work has been released, as well as two developer diaries, showing the game in action. From what we have seen, it seems we have full control of what we place and how it looks. Terrain controls look far improved over Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, and the technical depth in terms of rides and visitors seems to be a lot better than games that have come before.
If there is one thing I would like in the game, despite the fact it would serve nearly no purpose at all, is the ability to play within the world as a human. Thrillville had the game played from this human perspective, and as such had some character customisation, but those games were more story focused than the average simulation games. The Zoo Tycoon made by Frontier used a dual system however. The tycoon view - which was the traditional top down view, and the zoo view - that where you get down to the guests' level. Most of the features stayed the same between the two, but each view allowed unique features such as being able to interact with the animals in the zoo view. This could easily be a part of Planet Coaster, even if not everything is playable [as was the case with Thrillville].

I'm quite torn between the other game to include for this volume, as both are part of my core three franchises. Neither have yet had a new game announced, but it is quite obvious where each should be heading. The Pokémon series has followed a stable release of two main games and then a third. Black and White mixed that up with a sequel and not a director's cut [and having another two game split] but considering generation five didn't have any remakes that sort of made sense. So it does indeed seem we might be back to the director's cut, or at least a single third game. What is also more than likely to happen is the great things we had in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire will only be half included. The biggest one obviously being flying around on the back of one of a Pokémon and the ability to fly anywhere. I expect the free-roam flying to be gone but we'll still be able choose any route or location to fly to. However, if I really wanted to go off on one [and I will] I'd say that both X and Y and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire will be joined together into one mega game. There has been a massive feeling of connectivity between the main games and remakes that hasn't been present in any other generation of Pokémon, and I feel they might try and capitalise on that with an all new story that references the past events of both previous entries. And of course, feature both regions. However, it already feels like generation six is closing, and it is the 20th anniversary for the series in 2016. Whether that means much considering past anniversaries and the lack of celebration in terms of the games themselves, we'll have to see.
Another series with an anniversary is Sonic the Hedgehog and his 25th, which definitely means something as SEGA have celebrated past anniversaries with mixed success. The latest was Generations for the 20th, and this anniversary seems even more classic focused than ever, considering all that has been said and seen so far. I'm interested in seeing whether that can be pulled off, and whether they have way-layed us. It's entirely possible they might have had two games cooking up, after all. I've covered the Sonic series back in Volume 1, so refer back to that for my ideas.

I sure don't need to cover Star Wars Battlefront here what with everything I've already posted about it [and the review], but I will say the Star Wars franchise is coming back to top form, and I hope the next game from EA can reflect this. For now, that's all from this What I'm Waiting For. Another post for a certain film will be out soon, and I have to say I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Return of the Busted [Network]

Yesterday I gave a retrospective on Star Wars Battlefront, and started off the tenth anniversary celebrations of Battlefront 2. Parts two and three of that will be coming over the next two weeks, and then some time after [in the next year] another two miniseries will look at the other two modes on the game.
Battlefront isn't the only game getting a look in, as another custom race GTA Online video will be coming soon. It's possible there will be two of those this month, possibly in the same video, as both have crossover with each other on a certain part.
For CDS Media, that place I keep my stories and such, well... it's pretty much been deserted by me. It hasn't had any new parts added to it in almost two months, and while I don't want to cancel the project, there needs to be some thought on what happens. I already know that the Animal Crossing story is being cancelled outright. As the newest of the lot, it feels as though there isn't much point continuing it. The Chameleon Chronicles is four chapters away from completion, so that will be priority. It's possible that chapters will be bulk uploaded instead of being in parts, so as to quicken up the process.
For everything else, I have a blog post lined up about something, as well as another volume of What I'm Waiting For. There will be something Christmas related, though I'm not sure what that is yet. And to make sure all blog posts are in the same place, all those posts from the Weebly site of CDS Blogs will be moved over to here and the old site closed off. It's just a bit of streamlining that won't take up any space on the main page.
That's all for now, and the new year is fast approaching. And a new year could possibly mean new changes for the network. Bye for now.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Star Wars Battlefront Retrospective [Personal]

 There is quite a lot, for me, to be thankful for about Star Wars Battlefront. I've said it plenty of times, but first playing Star Wars Battlefront 2 is what got me into Star Wars in the first place. Without having that first experience of playing with a friend back in the 2006 Christmas break, I probably wouldn't be as big a fan as I am now. Playing Battlefront 2 is what got me to track down the original trilogy of films [little twelve year old me probably getting sidetracked by the LEGO isle in Toys R Us no doubt] and watched them. Probably not too much of a stretch to say I've watched them at least once every year, adding the prequels to that once I got them a year later.
But of course, it all comes back to Battlefront, which became the go-to multiplayer game of choice between me and my friend on our Friday visits. Battlefront 2 has probably had more hours poured into it than any other game I own. Over the course of time, I eventually owned and played every Battlefront game released, but still always came back to Battlefront 2.

It would make sense to start with Battlefront 2 on this - since it is the first I played - but I'm going in release order to make things simple. With the original Star Wars Battlefront, I didn't actually start playing it until after Elite Squadron released. I could tell it was something special though. Both eras of Star Wars together in one game, with the idea of living out battle fantasies as a regular trooper. Something I'd already been doing in Battlefront 2, but the first had very few restrictions. Spaceships were accessible on the map itself, making for quite a few fun battles [and a few one-sided ones as well]. The maps themselves were diverse enough that you could tell which was which, and though there was only one mode playable, it was still good fun as it rarely felt as though the same thing happened twice [except on Bespin: Platforms, which is always going to end up in a serious firefight for the middle]. Vehicles were always present, and each class had a set up that differed from others. It was the perfect start for what would come the following year in 2005. And since the original was released before Revenge of the Sith, Kashyyyk being on the roster was such a tease.

Battlefront 2 was the perfect follow up to the original. It expanded on pretty much everything. But the second being my first, I wouldn't have known that. I was just sucked in to a new world with lasers, robots, aliens, and spaceship fights. Not knowing any names of anything made it all the more better. This was something I would be learning from scratch. And I did. I learned about flying and fighting and the heroes and the planets and all the vehicles I was using. And some of the names I was using back then were pretty close but not right [such as the memorable cash-yuck I kept using as Kashyyyk's name]. The planets and locations grew in number, heroes were playable, and an expanded campaign and Galactic Conquest were added. I'd spend hours with Galactic Conquest when I wanted a challenge of some sort, buying classes of soldier, moving around the galaxy, conquering space, and finally dominating the last planet needed to take over the galaxy. I even played the campaign more than once, marveling at the story of the unnamed clone trooper as he recounts battles of Geonosis, Coruscant, Hoth, and even those in between such as the takeover of Kamino and Mustafar, which mixed the two eras together to give clones vs clones and Empire vs CIS. But as well as that, we had Heroes vs Villains. Team of good guys versus team of bad guys in a deathmatch styled mode. It was crazy, over the top, and worth it. It can drag on, but so long as it was played sparingly, it was always a good laugh. There was also the space battles, allowing us to live out space battle fantasies at long last [at least within the Battlefront series]. It was chaos, and very easily won by landing inside the enemy cruiser and blowing out the critical systems from the inside, but the controls were fluid and so was the gameplay itself, and it was something neither handheld Battlefront game could fully master.

Which leads us onto said handheld Battlefront's. Released in 2007, Renegade Squadron was the first of the handheld games, and gave us planets not yet seen before, customisation of character and weapons, and overhauled the Galactic Conquest game mode. Being only on the PSP meant the controls were clunky, and the gameplay suffered from it. With the space maps is where it tried its hardest though. At least on two of them. See, these two maps added something in the middle. A neutral base. This could be captured by control point, and once it was owned by your team served as an extra base to quickly get starfighters out into the battle. Another thing that made space battles better - the inclusion of hero starfighters. These were powerful, just like the heroes themselves were, with upgraded weaponry and extra health. And so while Renegade Squadron wasn't the best, it at least expanded the Battlefront name in some way.
Elite Squadron tried its hardest to be the best, as yet again it added expansion. Or should that be added the concept of expansion saw in the cancelled Battlefront 3 to the best of its ability. Yet again on the PSP [there's not really any need to talk about the DS version since it doesn't really have anything to do with Battlefront at all] it featured a select number of planets that linked directly to space. Elite Squadron was the first Battlefront to do the concept of land to space battles, where all arenas affected the outcome. Controlling the ion cannon command point would end the enemy cruisers shields quicker, allowing you access to work your way to the reactor and blow it up. The cruisers themselves would be firing down on the planet below, laying waste to vehicles. Spaceships were again playable on the ground, allowing those to have an advantage. The campaign introduced several new characters and featured a plot that loosely linked to the films, and going beyond the films for its final conclusion. Customisation returned, the controls were slightly better, and Galactic Conquest introduced different map sizes for the first time. Because of what it was though, it needed roughly symmetrical level design, which meant the maps themselves did suffer slightly for it. There is also the fact that Heroes vs Villains was now split between eras, meaning Darth Maul couldn't be slicing through Luke Skywalker.

With the tenth anniversary of Battlefront 2's release having been the end of last month, we have a new Battlefront, made by DICE and EA - creators of the Battlefield series. It's a reboot, not an expansion. We've come full circle. In this day and age, expansions are digitally released for the current game then included in the base game for the follow-up. I just hope that this new series of Battlefront can expand like the original series did, and go even further than what the originals did. And while this new Battlefront is out, it still won't stop me from returning to my roots. Returning to Battlefront 2, and the reason I am a fan of Star Wars.

If you haven't already, read my Star Wars Battlefront EA review, and look out for my videos on both Star Wars Battlefront 2 and this new one. Battlefront 2 currently has a dedicated three part miniseries looking at the different parts of Instant Action on my Youtube. First part can be found here.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Star Wars Battlefront EA Review [Gaming]

This is our first home console Battlefront for ten years, and just like the fact we're also getting a first proper Star Wars film for ten years, fans have been hyped and ready to get their hands on it at last. From the alpha and the beta, I'd already put in well over twenty hours, with the EA Access trial boosting that up another ten hours. With the full game now released, I still want to play more. Despite the modes being a mixed bag, the gameplay itself is fun. Despite a few minor niggles, the game itself is enjoyable. So let's get to it.

The first thing you notice is how well detailed the planets are. Star Wars fans will instantly recognise Hoth, Tatooine, and Endor, and will instantly recognise Sullust within a few games. Each map is also diverse enough from the others in terms of visuals that it never feels like you see the same colour palette twice in a row. The larger maps of the planets are all different enough, from the rocky crags of Tatooine, the forest and walkways of Endor, the lava flows of Sullust, and the blend of inside comfort and outside harshness of Hoth. The smaller maps are mostly contained to indoor arenas, but even indoors you can tell the planets apart. Foliage will be right up to the windows on Endor, the whiteness of snow layers on Hoth, the Imperial militarism of Sullust, the sand blasted architecture of Tatooine. A few small maps are outdoor ones. Sulfur Fields, Jawa Refuge, Swamp Crash Site, and Dune Sea Exchange, with Ice Caves being equally outside and inside. All the maps have little details you can find, such as the Wampa door on Hoth or the Sarlacc pit on Tatooine.
Aside from the visuals on a grand scale, there are also the visuals on a deeper level. Everything looks Star Wars. The rough and worn-in weapons and vehicles. The Aurebesh writing on surfaces and screens. Even the lasers themselves, and the impact off different materials looks Star Wars. Of course, the looks don't mean anything if it doesn't sound right. Thankfully the game does that right as well. TIE Fighters screaming through the air. Chaotic blaster fire from numerous places. The ee-unk of the AT-AT as it walks. The memorable score from the films. The comms instructions and soldier commands. It all feels right. The only place it doesn't is the heroes and villains, and the voices they have. They sound close to the original voices, but there is enough difference to them that it sounds off. The same can be said of DICE's original score that sometimes intersperses the film score.

Of course, a game can look good and sound great, but unless it has great gameplay it isn't going to hold interest for long. Depending on how you feel a game should be, this will vary. The game has a more arcade feel to it in terms of gameplay. One main weapon, one charge card, and two star cards. There are also item pickups scattered across the maps. The weapons have set categories, so the stats between weapons of the same category don't vary too much. The charge cards are abilities of sorts, such as giving the weapon a damage increase or reducing its cooldown time. The star cards are where the grenades, secondary weapons, and jumpack are located, and you are allowed two of these. Once you unlock the second hand, you'll be able to have two star cards and charge card as your main hand, and a set in reserve that you can swap to on the respawn screen. The charge cards are powered by charges, and each individual charge card comes with 25 charges once bought. Extra charges can either be bought with credits earned, or found on the maps with one equipped. Once you reach level fifteen, the trait cards become available. These cards are separate from the hand, and stay active at all times. These cards act as perks. You will always stay at level 1, which gives a small boost in the chosen trait. Getting a killstreak will level up the trait, which increases the boosts active. Get killed yourself and you'll get knocked down to level one. All of this combines to give decent options for customising a loadout without overwhelming anyone.
In terms of actually playing, it is fun. You'll be a soldier with your loadout, looking to attack or defend the objectives, searching out item pickups to give you an advantage, and hopefully get a vehicle, whether ground or air. Speeder bikes on Endor are actually on the map to get on to, and not within a pickup. And it's the speeder bikes which feel the most awkward to control. Rather than soldier and AT-ST's, where pushing forward makes you go forward, it instead applies throttle like in air vehicles. Yes, this allows you to control speed, but it doesn't need it when the analogue sticks can control such momentum anyway. Of course, PC players only have buttons, but so long as the speed wasn't set too high, it wouldn't matter so much. Other than that, everything else controls fine. But getting in an air vehicle will sometimes become annoying when you almost instantly get shot down. Just like with spawning. There are no visible spawn points for you to pick and choose from, so you just get randomly plonked on the map. If it so happens you spawn right in the middle of a heated battle, good luck surviving more than a few seconds.

Battles happen fast and fluid, and the number of tactics available varies between modes. In all, there are nine, with a tenth coming with the free Battle of Jakku DLC [which itself will add two maps to the game]. The main mode that has been advertised constantly in this game's promotion is Walker Assault. In this mode, the Rebellion has the job of activating uplinks to call in Y-Wing bombers. The longer these uplinks are held, the longer you'll be able to blast apart the AT-AT the Empire has the job of protecting through three assaults. The AT-AT can only be harmed during the Y-Wing bombing runs, so it is vital the rebels hold those uplinks as long as they can. I've spent most of my time in the full game here, and it certainly is a lot of fun. In one game, the rebel team was so strong we managed to beat out the Empire at the first bombing run. In another, it was the Empire's time to shine as the AT-AT were hardly damaged throughout the full three bombing runs.
Supremacy has five control points on the map which both teams will be contesting over. As a control point is captured, time is added to the timer, so games can go on for quite a while if the tide is always turning. The more of the team in the control zone, the faster it will be captured, but the opposing team within the same control zone can cancel that out. Once the opposing force has been removed from the zone, the defenders need to reclaim the percent back to 100%. Again, this is a very fun mode, with the tide either constantly turning or headed in one direction from the off. It will always need the team to be focused on keeping the field clear to win.
Fighter Squadron takes place fully in the air, with kills being the key here. Every so often, a transport for either side will take off, with the opposing side getting a kills boost if they manage to take it out. The Millennium Falcon and Slave 1 are available from the hero tokens, and while slower than normal ships, pack a punch in terms of weapons, and being hero vehicles means they also have a lot more health than regular vehicles. The fun here seems limited, as while it is fun to fly, the lack of a full flight control set [the ability to yaw being the obvious] means it gets slightly hectic trying to dodge missiles and there is no auto-level for when you somehow end up flying inverted.
Droid Run has you claiming three droids, and trying to hold them for your team. Cargo is a capture-the-flag type mode, where attacking and defending these flags is the means to success. Drop Zone has two teams fighting to claim control of dropped escape pods, with the first to five winning. Blast is a normal team deathmatch mode, with the team who reaches a set number of kills winning. These four modes have been put together as these are the smaller modes, where the objectives are more focused on a singular thing. Being smaller modes also means enjoyment is limited even more than Fighter Squadron. If you enjoy competitive play, these are the modes for you.
Then we get to the Hero modes. Heroes vs Villains pits the three heroes versus the three villains against each other in an effort to wipe the others out. You'll have the help of three regular solider teammates, and if you are killed as a hero, you'll be able to spawn as a soldier and continue the fight. Who gets to be the hero characters is randomly selected over the five rounds, which means that everyone should get to play as a hero at least once. Hero Hunt has one player as a hero with the rest trying to take them down. The person who takes the hero down - read: gets the takedown points - then becomes the hero of either Rebellion or Empire. Now these modes suffer from being focused on the heroes, but Hunt suffers more. Where in Heroes vs Villains there's an equal chance that either side can win, Hero Hunt makes it so the only winner is the person who can both claim and use the hero for longest, meaning there will be one to three standout players with everyone else left with nothing except a possible lucky break.

Fortunately, the single player modes can help with that. You've got the tutorial, with five set missions each dealing with mechanics of the game, whether that be speeder bikes, snowspeeders, or heroes. You'll only play them to gain the stars and possibly never look back at them. That's fine though, as these missions aren't meant to be the main attraction. Battles and Hero Battles pit two teams against each other in the quest for 100 points. In Hero Battles, the hero will let loose 20 points upon defeat, so be careful of that when attacking. You can compete against the enemy AI either alone or with AI backup. Survival pits you against fifteen waves of ever increasing enemy numbers [of strength, that is] with no backup at all except a few pods that will sometimes be dropped for you to claim with some item pickups inside. Both Battles and Survival can be played with a friend on local splitscreen [console versions only], friends online, or a random other. This can definitely even the odds up on harder difficulties, of which there are normal, hard, and master. Each difficulty nets you a star, with two bonus challenges per map. One of these is to collect the five hidden collectibles on the map within one game. The other is a task of making master difficulty a bit more challenging by not getting killed much, as the tasks include winning by not losing a life [Survival] or with the enemy team with less than a certain amount of points [Battles]. Collecting all the stars will take some time, but unless you find either mode replayable on the level of the multiplayer modes, there is little to hold your interest. Not to do the comparison so many seem to do, but the lack of an Instant Action - where all the multiplayer options were available to play solo - or a true single player experience means this is mostly a multiplayer game. That's not a bad thing, as more focus is put to the one area, but catering equally to both players could have been better.

So was this the game fans have been waiting ten years for? Depends how you spin it, but this is a worthy reboot of what could be the most successful Star Wars video game series. Some won't like it for that however. Even now, despite the time sink I have put into this since release, there is something that makes me wish for an evolution of the formula that grew rather than a reboot of the original. Hopefully a sequel will grow this rebooted series as much as the original series grew from one to two.
Is the game worthy of a purchase, though? This is first and foremost a multiplayer experience, so if you want a strong focus on solo play, this isn't for you. For everyone else, I seriously would recommend it. This is the first Star Wars game in a long time that really feels it has been crafted with a lot of love. There is enough here to keep you entertained, and with free updates confirmed, it should grow even without the season pass [access to the four DLC packs when they release, giving access to even more modes, maps, and heroes for roughly the price of the game itself]. Only thing I would say is that if you are unsure about a purchase, hold off for a sale.

Friday, 6 November 2015

The Thunder Strikes Back [Network]

Another monthly update, and it's possibly even smaller than last month. Again, the theme is Star Wars, as the new Battlefront finally releases. I'll be getting a review up for it as soon as, and possibly even getting a few video highlight reels up. Of course, not before another from Pandemic's Battlefront 2.
Just like with Pandemic's Battlefront 1, I'll be doing a special highlight reel video for the second one that shows off the game for it's tenth anniversary [which will be closer to it's date this time]. Again it will be split between two parts, and possibly even a third considering the amount of modes added to the second. It's possible that a special Battlefront retrospective will be added as a blog post here for that as well.
In terms of other content, I'm keeping things close at hand. Nothing new to report on CDS Media, except that I am seriously in need of a boost in terms of keeping updating it. The one thing I am not going to do though, is quit it.
In the mean time, I'll continue gaming and continue animating. That's all for now.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Star Wars Battlefront EA Beta Impressions [Gaming]

Slight exaggeration as it might be, the whole of the Star Wars community has been begging for a proper new Battlefront since the last one ten years ago. It's no wonder that Star Wars Battlefront 2 is one of the highest selling Star Wars games, considering that it let players live out fantasies far and wide within the Star Wars universe. So when EA got their hands on the license, the first thing they did with it was announce they were working on a new Battlefront.
Now, it's no secret that another Battlefront has been doing the rounds, and has been since it was cancelled in 2008-9, but many people - even me - expected that a new Battlefront would expand on what we already had. All the footage from that Battlefront has given us what we'd hoped for. Of course, EA surprised us all and took a new direction. And some still aren't happy about that. No prequel trilogy content, small amount of planets, and nearly everything locked behind power-up tokens scattered throughout the maps.
I'm not saying that's bad, but no matter what, people will compare this new one to the old one [and by some extension the canned sequel] and see the differences. Yes, the differences are there, but it makes for an overall polished and focused experience. Vehicles are power-ups, so you won't see them until they're called for. This makes friendly camping near non-existent as they aren't waiting by a vehicle spawn point to wreck havoc when they finally get in it, and also enemy camping non-existent as they wreck havoc when no-one is in it. The random power-ups also add a layer of surprise, hoping for something good but instead you might get something not worth it. Power-up items will stay with you even after you get killed as well, which is a bonus. The random nature of it also makes one think "Is it worth it" when they see one that might be tricky to get to. And of course, hero power-ups allow anyone to become a fearsome hero. While you one-hit kill with heroes, and have more health, you don't feel all that powerful. You jump just like an ordinary trooper, and the run speed feels the same as a regular trooper too.

The modes themselves are interesting enough, though Walker Assault is definitely a favourite. The Rebels activate and defend uplinks, the Empire stops the uplinks from being active. Once the two AT-AT on field reach a certain point - roughly in line with the uplinks - Y-Wing bombers swoop in and disable the AT-AT shields. The downtime on those shields depends on how long the uplinks remained active. Anything can damage the AT-AT at this point, so the Rebels had better concentrate fire on them. Of course, the Empire's not going to make that easy. Once the AT-AT shields reengage, the next uplinks become active. There are three uplink sections, and if one AT-AT is still operational at the end, the Rebels have lost. If the Empire are good enough, they can make sure the uplinks remain unactive, meaning the AT-AT are safe from Y-Wing bombardment.
I had the most fun here, as it felt like an active battle. Enemy fire could come from anywhere, whether ground or sky. X-Wings and TIE Fighters would join the ground battle, covering the ground in lasers and even torpedoes to try an remove hotspots of activity. Getting to and defending the uplinks was a challenge depending on the skill and teamwork of the opposing team. Those on the Empire would sometimes be at the uplinks and already defending them before they came online. Sometimes the Rebels would be defending them before they activated as well. It also makes for interesting times when the AT-AT get closer to the uplinks and are able to bring their full power to mow down the defending Rebels. AT-AT can call in orbital strikes, though unless you manage to hold on to the AT-AT for long enough, you'll only be firing one of them. An orbital strike is one of the power-ups scattered around the maps as well, which is good for the Rebels if they actually use them on the AT-AT. Of course, being a tiny solider stood up against that massive thing, you wouldn't want to stand in front of it while lining up the call. You need to be able to survive for a few seconds after calling one in for it to actually activate, which also adds a risk-reward factor into it.
Enough about orbital bombardments though, as the mode is fun. I had a blast rushing to the uplinks, fighting to claim them in some cases, and giving the team I was on a major advantage. Whenever I became a hero, I didn't survive long enough to get the hang of them. I did get used to the aerial control enough to put up a good enough fight within the last day, though. AT-ST are also easy to use [most of my issues with controls come from still not being fully used to keyboard-mouse control sets, but putting star card usage on the extra mouse buttons and wheel seemed to help], and when you manage to get in one you can put a dent in the Rebel defence. Aiming of all things - whether AT-ST, aerial, or turrets - did feel loose, but not enough to seriously hinder enjoyment.

Drop Zone tasked players with capturing and protecting escape pods that fell down. First to five wins. Drop Zone is a smaller map mode, and with that comes some things. Since it is only a maximum of 8 vs 8 [Walker Assault is 20 vs 20], power-ups can only be claimed from captured pods. No hero power-ups or vehicle power-ups can be found within them, keeping the action very much focused on the ground. This mode feels more focused than Walker Assault, as the action will always center on where the pod is. This just makes it more fun to play though, so long as you get to the action. Keeping up the defence can be tricky, but being able to defend away from the pod comes in handy. Bunched up together makes for an easy target, so it pays to only have one or two near the pod while others spot for incoming trouble. The mode does hold up, and it's focus helps it, but it does make one wonder how many other modes will involve capture-defend game mechanics. While there's nothing wrong with that, there's the feeling that both modes could be made somewhat different.
Which leads to Survival. One of the single player modes, which can be played with a friend, it tasks you with defeating waves of troopers and surviving through them all. Between the occasional waves, an escape pod will drop allowing you access to power-ups [you have to capture-defend it before you claim them], which will make the fight easier. Within the beta there were only six waves, though the full mode has access to fifteen. On easy mode, it is easy if you know what you are doing, and can also be easy on harder difficulties depending on whether you know the environment you are playing on. AT-ST will show up on certain waves, and can be difficult to take down head on. The key is to chop a bit of their health at a time if you have nothing effective that will work on them.

I could comment on the look and sound of the beta, but the trailers have really shown off that so well. Both really immerse you into the world, and if it wasn't for the power-up icons on screen, it would really feel as though you are in the battle. That's the one thing that feels fully right about the beta. Everything else has some small fault or issue that puts a bit of a strain on playing, but doesn't take you out of the experience too much. Come the full game, I'm sure at least some of these issues will be fixed or patched up later. I'm hoping for all, though. It needs it. But that's not to say it isn't fun.

Links to videos
Rebellion Edition -
Imperial Edition -

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Rocking New Hope [Network]

You should know by now that Star Wars is my most favourite thing ever, and what with the number of things happening over the next three months relating to Star Wars, the names of this and the next two monthly updates will be dedicated to the original trilogy. In October we have the start of Season 2 of Rebels, as well as the Battlefront beta. November brings the full release of Battlefront, as well as the novel that bears the Battlefront name - Twilight Company. And of course, December brings the start of the sequel trilogy with The Force Awakens.
As I mentioned, the beta is out this month for Battlefront. Considering what I do best, if the conditions allow it, I will have impressions and a highlight reel up, just like I did for the Battlefield Hardline beta. From what I have seen, I can honestly say this one is bringing back a more arcade feel to shooters, and even if it is different to what Pandemic gave us, the game will more than likely be good regardless. If I do pick up any flaws with the beta, I will be sure to point them out in my impressions.
Aside from that, it really is business as usual. The GTA video went up a bit later than I said, I admit, but the video itself still showcases a custom race to a good standard. The next race I plan to showcase is a long one, but I don't want it split into two parts. Depending on what sort of action is available in it, I might speed the footage up a bit or segment it down to hotspots of action. We'll see. I'm holding off the Elite: Dangerous video until next year now. There's some good stuff coming for it soon that I feel holding off would be better.
As always, keep checking for story uploads on CDSMedia if you are following any of the fan fiction there. And as always, keep checking the rest of the network for updates.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Super Mario 64-34 - The 30th Anniversary of the Mario! [Gaming]

There's a lot to say about a videogame character who can stay relevant and popular for thirty years, but Mario has done so. Through 2D and 3D, Mario has been a staple in gaming not only with his main series, but also with his spin-offs. Way back in 1985 when Super Mario Bros. released [though PAL regions had to wait an extra two years before they could play] there was a certain charm in how it played, how it felt to control. I wasn't even born when it released, but the classic game stayed within the family, and I had my first taste of Mario platforming with it. Of course, this was nearly twenty years after release, and my only exposure to Mario from before then was Mario Kart: Double Dash on Gamecube.
Sequels to Super Mario Bros. expanded on the game with new items, mechanics, and enemies and allies. The games gave themselves a unique style of their own, so each one looked different from the last. Spin-off games would give themselves their own identity, but follow in giving some new visual flair. When it came for Mario to transition to 3D, he made it perfectly in the form of Super Mario 64 - considered one of the most iconic games in history. Through the Gamecube era, plenty of people would give Super Mario Sunshine a try, but ultimately this was the period in which a certain spin-off and a mascot collection would get their time to shine and begin to rival the main series in terms of popularity.

The DS and Wii era perhaps gave us Mario at his best. The DS gave us the start of a new 2D series [which, while it has evolved over the course of games, hasn't changed itself up much in visuals], as well as the remake to Super Mario 64. The base game stayed the same, but changed the story up a bit to allow us to play as Yoshi instead. Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi were playable in the form of collectible caps for Yoshi to wear, and after a certain amount of story played the characters themselves would be playable. Of course, the Wii managed to trump even that. Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel are quite possibly the highest rated games in the Mario series. Considered the best of the modern Mario platformers, these games took Mario to space and in doing so crafted some of the most effective level styling. Of course, New Super Mario Bros. Wii added onto what the DS version gave, but couldn't stand once these two had been released.
3DS carved the return of the Mario Land name with Super Mario 3D Land, and crossed both 3D and 2D Mario games together. The WiiU would expand this by reviving the Mario World name in Super Mario 3D World, adding to what 3D Land offered, and allowing the choice of four characters to play as while also allowing four player co-op. Of course, the pure 2D games continued with New Super Mario Bros. 2 and New Super Mario Bros. U.

I could devote an entire blog post to the mass of spin-offs that came from Super Mario Bros., but this one is a celebration of all Mario gaming, and the spin-off are as much a part of that as the main series. Yoshi was guaranteed a spin-off almost as soon as the first game he starred in was released. From Super Mario World, he jumped to Yoshi's Island. It branded itself as a prequel and used the Super Mario World name to form Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, and focused on the Yoshi as a species who helped Baby Mario reunite with Baby Luigi. The spin-off garnered huge acclaim and became a series in its own right, as most spin-offs did. Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins introduced Wario to the series, who later got his own spin-off which developed into a series of its own. Super Mario RPG became a success, which gave it two spiritual sequels in Mario and Luigi, and Paper Mario. Both of which were liked well enough to gain more entries.
RPG's and other platformers are not the only thing Mario became successful at. He became a professional sports star, as well as a doctor. Various sports games come and go, but Golf and Tennis are perhaps the largest collection of releases. Not counting Mario Kart, which these days is less a spin-off that became a series and more like a series in its own right. Dr. Mario is a puzzle game featuring the classic matching colours gameplay of other puzzle games, most notable Tetris. Of course, there is also Mario Party, which has been another mainstay of spin-offs since it first released on the Nintendo 64. Another puzzler, Mario vs Donkey Kong, also makes the rounds quite often. Luigi got a time to shine in his spin-off about ghost catching - Luigi's Mansion - which became a highlight of the Gamecube and a much requested game for a sequel, which it got many years later for 3DS. Mario has also teamed up with former rival Sonic the Hedgehog in the Olympic Games. Of course, the latest spin-offs are something different. Captain Toad featured in a few bonus levels within 3D World, which seemed more about testing the idea than anything else. When the full game starring Captain Toad was announced, it seemed a bit off-beat at first, but people grew to love it. It's a game full of charm and took things out of the box. 3D diorama-like levels where the good Captain Toad could not jump. It certainly made for some good level design. Then there is the newest of the spin-offs. Super Mario Maker allows users to create levels their own levels and share them with the world. Utilising the history of main 2D Mario platformers, it gives a range of possibilities to do something that main Mario games would never do. It doesn't give everything, but what it does give is enough that some pretty crazy levels can be made.

There is something about Mario that everyone likes. I have quested to try as much as possible - at least a game of every spin-off - to see whether it's for me. Mario Kart is an instant love of mine. The Mario and Sonic Olympic titles are perhaps second in the spin-off territory. Mario Party is something I have liked, as is the Wario series. I have never played a game in the Yoshi series, but plan to turn that around quickly with Woolly World soon enough. Everything else I have played - Super Paper Mario, Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga, the latest demos of Tennis and Golf - I have all liked well enough. Of course, Super Mario Maker is becoming a favourite of mine, as Captain Toad already has done. In terms of main Mario, I adore the 3D games more than I do the 2D games. That's not to say I don't like the 2D games, but my preference has always been in the 3D camp. Super Mario 64 DS must have been what made me feel that, though my preference has always been for openness in games that only feel achieved by me in the 3D space.
There's much to be said about the main mascot of Nintendo, but these 30 years show that there are many more years ahead for Mario. People will always be guessing what comes next, whether that be Super Mario 64 HD or Galaxy 3, but one thing for certain is that Mario will keep bringing new experiences to all.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Second Helpings Served [Network]

I deliberately left this update until the middle of the month for a reason. I've been reviewing things to put on my Youtube channel and came up with two particular games. The first would be a series of sorts, running through races I have created. The other would be just small highlight reels, as I do with Battlefront, showing off a particular space-faring game I seem to always talk about. Those games are Grand Theft Auto Online and Elite: Dangerous. In the next week, I aim to have a video up of each.
Relating to CDS Media and those fan fictions I write, I'm sure you've seen that the Animal Crossing story has taken its place back in rotation. And I aim to make it so each fiction gets a part added per week. It's about time it got to that point again.
I am back at university and the second year of animation will soon be starting. I expect the next animated piece will be coming soon from that. I am certainly looking forward to get back into it, though that's not to say I haven't been doing anything over the summer. Though unlisted, I created a short piece just showing two spacecraft exiting from a hangar that has been uploaded. I've been working on a load of unsaved things on Toon Boom as well.
I realise blog posts have been a bit vacant as well, with only the monthly updates, so I'm definitely going to get some done this month. And as I recall, a certain plumber celebrates his 30th this month and year, so I expect that gives you a clue as to something you'll be seeing.
As always, keep an eye out for small updates on both Facebook and Google+, and with that, this update comes to a close.

Spacecraft Flight Unlisted Animation

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Long Time, No See [Network]

And so it has been over a month since the last post here. On this blog. All I can say is I felt events catch up to me. After E3, I took it slow, building things up behind the scenes. There have hardly been any posts on CDS Media, for example, as planning to bring back an older story began. Over the coming days, that announcement will be made, and story uploads will be back to normal.
In terms of Youtube, there is more content coming. Star Wars Battlefront highlight reels will continue, and one of those is lined up. Remember the Sonic Generations video uploaded two months back? That merging of levels combined with a custom song? An announcement of that should be coming tomorrow. And I'm sure there will be another video, testing out something new.
Gamescom is coming up. That's something. 5th to the 9th August, there will a load of games available to play in Köln, Germany. While I won't be going, it will be an exciting time to see what new things come out of it.
A number of things will be coming out of the next two months. And one recent thing to come out was Winodws 10. The next and last operating system from Microsoft, it refines the experience to combine both Windows 7 and 8 in one.
Until next time, bye for now.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Post-E3 2015 [Events]

E3 is over, and it was a great event as ever. Possibly not as good as other years, but that's to be expected. A trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3 was certainly expected considering Square-Enix were having a conference, and the gameplay for it looked great.
Another game I was expecting was the next project from Frontier Developments, after they announced before E3 that the new game and Elite: Dangerous would both be around. Announced as Planet Coaster, it is definitely looking like a spiritual successor of the Rollercoaster Tycoon series, despite not much being shown in its trailer.
Uncharted 4 also got gameplay, and it looks to be a great one. Sony's conference as a whole seemed a lot better paced from reading around. There was also quite a number of big hitters around. The new Ratchet and Clank was around, and still showing that it has great gameplay. A Final Fantasy 7 remake got announced at Sony's conference, and the fact that Shenmue 3 will be Kickstarted and coming to the PS4.

The Nintendo Treehouse streams were as good as ever, and showed off many of the games seen in the Digital Event, and some that weren't. While Super Mario Maker did get pushed quite a bit, having the most amount of time spent on it, Star Fox Zero featured quite heavily as well. The Animal Crossing games were shown off, and seem to have a lot more to them than first showings indicate. Yes, at the minute they seem to just be games to push more amiibo, but maybe that's the point. Or at least, Nintendo themselves thought the idea could work quite well. They need to push the amiibo cards, and both Animal Crossing games use them. One of the more popular casual game series is Animal Crossing, so it would make sense to do so with Animal Crossing games. Don't be surprised if both games have some unannounced depth to them, though.
As well as the Animal Crossing games, the new Metroid Prime Federation Force had gameplay shown off. I'm still not sure why the game got so much hate apart from it being a spin-off when every Metroid fan ever wanted a main game after such a long time with nothing new. In all honesty, it is a new game, and just like all the other spin-offs announced with Nintendo, it is possible something bigger is in the works, but they need more time working on it. Both spin-off and main game would have to be in planning at the same time, or the main game would still be in planning while the spin-off moved into production. There is no way of knowing. Just be thankful Nintendo still sees Metroid as a franchise to make games for. F-Zero has been in background territory for a decade now.

Revisiting EA and Star Wars for a bit, I think I can see what EA has in mind. Star Wars Battlefront is their first foray into Star Wars gaming. They want it to do well. Now think what other games EA have that are near the territory of Star Wars. Battlefield, and the fairly new Titanfall. Neither was even mentioned during their conference, and apart from a mobile game, no other new Star Wars game was announced. They want Battlefront to be the best, and have the best opening, it can. At least, that's how I see it.

It's definitely been a good week, and now we just have to wait for the new games to arrive. Or at least have new information released on them. And while I'm not a fan of Bethesda myself, they definitely had a good showing, bringing the best of what they do to the conference.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

E3 2015: Nintendo's Digital Event [Events]

Nintendo's conference can be summed up by what they were using as the event gimmick. Muppets. Oh, I know the Star Fox reveal was great. It showed all that it needed to. How the game will look and play, as well as it's new name - Star Fox Zero. Zero because it is not a reboot or a sequel. It's just there. A part of the series. The Arwing Walker mode has been brought into the new game from the unreleased SNES game Star Fox 2.
But then, while there was some good stuff they showed, it sort of goes downhill. Talks about transforming as a company didn't inspire much confidence after what was shown, though I can give them the benefit of doubt that the Treehouse streams will go more in depth with some stuff shown off, and hopefully give us another game announcement or two.
As it is, Bowser and Donkey Kong will be in the new Skylanders game, and can be used as both a Skylander figure and an amiibo.
A surprise was a Legend of Zelda announcement - TriForce Heroes. Inspired by Four Sword Adventures, it features three Links in the same world. It's a multiplayer experience again, but this time available local and online. Following this was information on Hyrule Warriors 3DS, or as it is known, Legends. Featuring the same gameplay with new levels and characters from Wind Waker, it will feature all DLC characters from the WiiU version.
Metroid Prime was a surprise as well, but from what was shown, it doesn't look as good as previous games. Subtitled Federation Force, it also features Blast Ball - the game shown from the Nintendo World Championships.

The triplet known as Fire Emblem [now subtitled Fates], Fire Emblem x Shin Megami Tensei, and Xenoblade Chronicles X all had trailers shown for them, the Fire Emblem one featuring gameplay, and Xenoblade getting a launch date of 4th December this year.
Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer had a gameplay trailer shown, and it looks as though we can design full towns from what was shown. It certainly showed that we could place a villagers house and decorate a garden for them. This one is for 3DS, and has a release of 23rd September. The WiiU game was then showed off. A party game. And not just a party game. A board game party game. While it looks like it could be fun, Nintendo, this wasn't the game the audience was expecting.
Yoshi's Woolly World had some gameplay shown off, but it wasn't anything that we hadn't seen before. It did get a release date of 16th October, so it's not all bad.
Yo-Kai Watch got shown off. It releases sometime during the holiday this year [winter time].
Out of the blue, a crossover between the two Mario RPG series got shown off. Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam features both versions of characters interacting with each other and facing enemies from both series. It was certainly a highlight of the conference. Almost as an aside, it seems, a new Mario Tennis was shown off with some gameplay. It's called Mario Tennis Ultra Smash, and it seems as though characters can turn into giants during gameplay.
The last thing on the list for this conference was Super Mario Maker, which is good, but the only thing of interest was insights into the development of the original Super Mario Bros. The gameplay could have been saved for the Treehouse streams, as in fact, more gameplay did happen after the showing of Star Fox. Amiibo will turn Mario into the character of the amiibo scanned. A special 8-bit amiibo will make Mario a super sized Mario.
To end off, the show had a montage of fans doing Mario things, and it was announced a website would allow you to send off videos of you doing Mario things.

All in all, like I said - there was some good stuff here. What it needed though was more surprises, or at least even focus on all games. I expect we will be getting things shown in more detail with the Treehouse streams though. And I will be watching to see what is going down.

E3 2015: EA's Conference [Events]

EA started with a sci-fi series and ended on one. And while they showed less of what I wanted, it was all good with what I wanted. I'll still be covering it all, as it happened.
They showed Mass Effect off straight away with a slide of different environments, before adding in some action. Mass Effect Andromeda will be coming soon.
The return of Need For Speed was shown with a trailer at first, showing the night-time setting and the police versus street racer action. The map is said to be twice as big as the one in Rivals, and said to have the richest customisation ever for a Need For Speed game. There is also a story within the game, it has been said. Gameplay of how customisation works, before getting into some driving. The action cam looks a bit heavy on the drifts, but it worked fine.
Star Wars The Old Republic's next expansion is taking the game to Bioware of old. A true moral choice story, Knights of the Fallen Empire releases October 23rd and is free to all subscribers.
Unravel is a small game with a small character. Yarnie is made of yarn. He unravels as you move across the puzzle platformer world. Its said to be the bonds of love touching the world. Gameplay clips are shown.

Continuing from their appearance at Microsoft's conference, Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 has the plants on the attack for the first time as the zombies have now built a home base. Gameplay showing off the new classes. It is then confirmed that all modes are playable solo. Players of the original can transfer most of their content over to the new game when it launches Spring 2016. It will also be getting plenty of free content updates after launch.
Onto the sports and NHL 16 gets a trailer first, before it is confirmed that PGA Tour 16 will be the first game running on Frostbite. All Ultimate Teams will have double the content of the previous seasons. All sports games will cater to the new and veteran gamers of the series by having a training mode and on screen hints. An app is announced to put your face in the game of NBA Live 16. What follows is a trailer for NBA Live 16.
To mobile, and Need For Speed No Limits, Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes and Minions Paradise get shown off, with Minions getting the most focus. Its the usual free to play building game. It will also include minigames.
FIFA 16 started with an interview with Pelé which didn't have anything on the game itself. After the interview, they talk about new innovations within the game, and show off motion capture with players to get better movement of the players. FIFA 15 Ultimate Team players will get a special Pelé card. A trailer is then shown.

Mirrors Edge: Catalyst is a game about the origins of Faith. Built on the latest Frostbite engine, the world now look better than ever. The game will give you the freedom of choice within the world, as there are no set levels. You are free to choose what you want to do. It is true free-roaming and parkour with no loading screens and a true open world. Available February 23rd.
Shown off next was Madden NFL 16's new Draft Champions Fantasy mode. Creating teams, you can play them on single player or online. A trailer followed this.
Then. The big one. EA knew what they were doing with this. First, it was nothing but reiterating what we already knew. Fans of Star Wars making the best Star Wars game. Getting the most out of Frostbite for true gameplay. The access they have had from the LucasFilm Archives. And then, gameplay. For Star Wars Battlefront. Showing Walker Assault mode on Hoth, it showcased everything. Rebels, Empire, snowspeeders, X-Wing's and TIE Fighter's, AT-AT's. Even orbital bombardment. Everything looked action packed, and then Vader comes along. Then Luke Skywalker, who gives us our first look at how heroes will play. The gameplay ends with Vader and Skywalker locking blades.

Out of everything shown, I am most excited for Star Wars Battlefront. I am glad I pre-ordered when I did, as that gameplay just strengthened how I feel about this game. Mirrors Edge also looks like it will be a great game come release. While Need For Speed is looking good, I'm waiting for a bit longer to see how it will fully play out. The driving should be good, but it's the rest that worries me. Unravel was also a good game to look into, but everything else I wasn't interested in and some parts even had me losing interest. If there is one thing I feel that could be improved with EA's conferences, it's compressing the sports into one small section. When they ran through it at the start, I thought that was it, but no. Apart from that, all was good.

Monday, 15 June 2015

E3 2015: Microsoft's Conference [Events]

Microsoft started big with a Halo 5 Guardians trailer. Then straight into gameplay. Now this gameplay had great looks, and cinematic gameplay. A second trailer was switched to. Both trailers gave us story hints, as well as a look at the game overall. The game itself will feature drop-in drop-out co-op in its campaign, and something big comes in Warzones. Massive online campaigns where teams join up to face off against AI controlled enemies. The game is playable on the show floor.
From the makers of Metroid Prime comes recode, featuring a female protag and her robot dog. In the trailer, they come across a deactive robot and then have to defend themselves against spider-like bots. The dog realises they can't win and unleashes all its energy to gain victory. It is turned into a power orb, which the female places inside the deactive robot. The robot activates and has the memory of the dog. A simple enough trailer that introduces the characters without givng away too much.
 Taking a break from games to announce backwards compatibilty with Xbox 360 games. The games are able to use Xbox One features, like screenshots and game sharing. It appears that some sort of reroll needs to be activated to play them though, since not all games will be available once it becomes available to use. Also shown off was a new controller, which has swappable buttons and sticks and offers more precise control with switch locks, which stop analogues from moving all the way.

Bethesda come to show off Fallout 4, which is the same footage from their conference. The main reason for coming on was to announce that PC mods are fully playable on the Xbox One version, as well as Fallout 3 being free with Fallout 4 on Xbox One. EA talk about EA Access, adding that Titanfall and Dragon Age: Inquisition will be in the Access Vault in the future. In celebration of it being E3, EA are unlocking the Vault to all Xbox Gold subscribers for this week. A new game announcement from them - Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2.
 Forza Motorsport 6 only had a small showing, which was mainly showing off a new Ford GT as part of its 50th anniversary. The game also got a release date of September 15th. Bandai Namco and FromSoftware Inc. show off Dark Souls III, and Ubisoft show Tom Clancy's The Division. There will be an exclusive beta for the game in December, but before that will be a new Rainbow Six - Siege. Releasing October 13th, Rainbow Six Vegas 1 and 2 will be free with it.

Windows 10 gets in on the action with Gigantic, a colourful Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game. With five on five battles, it has an August beta.
Indie showcase of games, with some given focus after the trailer. Tacoma is an exploration game set on a space station. The main character is asking questions to the on board artificial intelligence while exploring. Ashen is a simple styled, cel-shaded exploration game where the main character is a wonderer in search of a place to call home. The main character of Beyond Eyes is a blind 10 year old girl in search of a cat. Using sounds, you must guide the character around, due to not being able to see a great deal on screen. Cuphead is a run-and-gun game with a style of 1930's cartoons.
Microsoft is going Early Access with Game Preview, a system that works by allowing devs to put work in progress games onto the store and recieving feedback on how they can improve. New game Ion will be one of the first to use this system.

Rise of the Tomb Raider had gameplay shown off, and it is very cinematic. From huge leaps over gaps to scrabbling on an icy slope, it is very like Uncharted in its gameplay. The trailer that followed game a hint to the story, as well as a look at a place that wasn't full of ice and snow.
Rare are giving thirty of their games to one collection, including Conker's Bad Fur Day, Battletoads, and Viva Pinata. As well as this, they showed off their new game - Sea of Thieves. A pirate theme, the game itself is multiplayer based.
Another Windows 10 and Xbox One game - Fable Legends - is free to play and allows for one save across both versions, as well as playing with the other version in multiplayer.
Microsoft say about their partnership with Valve VR, and that it is very much compatible with Windows 10 and Xbox One controllers, then move on to talk about their own Virtual Reality headset.
HoloLens is more about creating worlds within a room than immersing you in the game. The game used to show this off was Minecraft, where the world was placed on a table, and the current stage guest was shown interacting with the world as someone else moved around it. It looked great, though I can't really say how beneficial it really would be.
Last off was Gears of War, and the first Gears game is getting a full rebuild in Gears of War Ultimate Edition. Launching August, the game has a multiplayer beta starting today. Gears 4 was also announced. The gameplay shown was atmospheric, what with it being set at night during a storm.

Overall, the conference was fun to watch, even if there was not a lot to interest me. While I am getting into first person shooters, I'm not one for buying many of the same genre all at once. In fact, all shooters I'm getting into more, but I'm still not going to mass buy them. The next one I'll probably buy is Star Wars Battlefront. Forza only got a small look, and that was something I wanted more on. There was a lot of things within the conference, but as per normal with Microsoft, it felt the focus was too much on the shooters.