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.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Pre-E3 2015 [Events]

With less than a week to go, this is the perfect time to do this. A load of rumours circulating, and a load of sites giving their predictions, so it is now time for me to do mine. I've been thinking about some things, and Nintendo is where I'm placing most of my bets. EA do seem to have some good stuff for me this year as well. Microsoft and Sony have some decent things, and Ubisoft... I'll have to wait and see, but I've never bought much from Ubisoft. Bethesda and Square-Enix have conferences this year, and a PC Gaming Show is also set to take place.
Okay, then. Let's go.

I know what I want from Nintendo. The fact of the matter is whether all of it will be shown. For the first thing - what exactly will replace Club Nintendo? From talks and interviews, it sounds like it will be a unified thing across all new and current Nintendo platforms, while offering roughly the same as Club Nintendo did with its rewards. It will also be bigger than that, which has many hoping for something like Xbox and Playstation's networks, but with a Nintendo twist. An upgraded Nintendo Network system doesn't sound too far off, even if it doesn't retain the Nintendo Network name. I just hope your Nintendo Network log-in is carried over to the new system.
In terms of games, I say Animal Crossing for WiiU. If not a full game, at least the announcement. People feel that the 3DS game - Happy Home Designer - is meant to fill the gap until the WiiU game can come out. While information about Happy Home Designer was recently released in a Japanese Nintendo Direct, it wasn't covered in the Nintendo Direct Micro Nintendo of America put out after. That could simply be because they want to show it off at E3, but what if the two are connected? WiiU and 3DS spin off?
F-Zero seems to be only background material now, relegated to DLC or main content of other franchises. What if this year, a new game comes out? It doesn't even have to be new. A remake of an older F-Zero would be most welcomed. It just seems that Nintendo have been pushing for something with all this F-Zero background content recently, especially with F-Zero tracks in Mario Kart 8's DLC packs. And talking of those DLC packs, is it possible that a third and fourth will be coming out of E3?
Mario's 30th anniversary is coming up, so Nintendo are sure to celebrate that in a big way. The first of this was already announced way back at last E3, in the form of Mario Maker. This year, Mario Maker will be shown in greater detail, but more in the form of the 30th is bound to be shown. Whether an HD remake of a previous game, or another collection of some sort, is yet to be seen. We will though, at E3.
Mario and Sonic Rio 2016 Olympics, Star Fox, Project Guard, maybe an unannounced 3DS game. There are a lot more that could come from this. Nintendo are always full of surprises. It's possible a new Metroid will be announced.

EA I am expecting quite a bit from. The major thing I will be watching for is Star Wars Battlefront. Teased at E3 2013, and given a taster of what's to come at E3 2014, this year is the year we are set to get gameplay. It has been confirmed that will happen. We've seen the planets we'll be visiting, and a hint of the modes. Now we need proper confirmation of maps and modes. As well as other things. Customisation, vehicles, weapons, etc...
There are two or three other things Star Wars related from EA that might be at E3 this year. Bioware were one of the confirmed developers for Star Wars games. They are already working and maintaining one. The Old Republic is a free MMO, and has received many expansions over time since release. As well as showing another expansion for it, there is the possibility of them showing off their new game. What that might be is a hard guess, though it might take inspiration from Mass Effect. More likely is the game Visceral are working on. That game appears to have taken inspiration from the Uncharted series or, to put that in Star Wars terms, 1313. I'm going on a guess here and saying that Visceral liked what they saw with 1313, and though they couldn't revive it, they could at least use the gameplay from it. If it does resemble 1313, I will be looking forward greatly to it.
Shown at E3 last year was a concept from Criterion for a first person extreme vehicle sports game. What I saw from that was great. It looked like a real blast to play through. But, it was only a concept. What has evolved from that could be massive. Criterion worked on Burnout before being transferred to make Need For Speed. Burnout is no more and Need For Speed has gone to Ghost Games. Ghost took a year out to make Need For Speed the best they say they can. This E3 will be where we see what has come from that.
Also in concept form last year was Mirror's Edge. Now with the sub-title Catalyst, it looks to be improving the gameplay of the first, from what has been said. It's also said to not be a sequel. As for other games, we'll have to wait and see, but a certainty is the bulk of sports games that EA publish year after year.

Sony, Microsoft, and Ubisoft will be bundled into one. For all three companies, we can expect to see a racing title. For Microsoft, that will be Forza 6. Sony will possibly show off Gran Turismo 7 or Drive Club. Ubisoft will probably surprise people with any title they show off, but it is possible they haven't got a racing title as of yet. The Crew only launched last year. It doesn't need the focus.
Sony have Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, which brings the three PS3 games to the PS4. The multiplayer for the first three games doesn't come with them, but those that buy it will get a multiplayer beta of Uncharted 4. Uncharted will have both Collection and 4 given at least some time of focus.
Microsoft bring both Gears of War and Halo to the fray. Gears is set for another game, maybe two. The Master Chief Collection has been released and Halo 5 is soon to be. It's possible all of this will be given some time of focus, and as Microsoft have previously said this will be the year of great first party exclusives, they might have something planned for another series of some sort.
Ubisoft are confirmed to bring the next Assassin's Creed, and another two Tom Clancy games. Both differ in nature, in the fact that Assassin's Creed is more exploration styled, while Clancy games are more typical shooters. They cater to different markets, so it makes sense.
Sony have a number of other games to draw from. While I'm not expecting another LittleBigPlanet any time soon, Ratchet and Clank is making a big comeback, so Sony would be silly not to feature it. As well as the game, there is a film as well, so it is possible we get info on both game and movie. There is also God of War that Sony could bring. And Infamous might be possible. The only thing sure at the minute is that the PSVita hasn't had any big titles on it, and even Sony seem to have given up on it. Maybe the time comes where we actually hear them say it on stage. "We are no longer in the handheld market" would at least settle people from hoping a revival is in progress.
Microsoft teased both Crackdown and Scalebound at last year's E3. This year, they can go full out and announce a lot more info for both games this year. And Rise of the Tomb Raider. Already confirmed to be coming to Microsoft's conference by a teaser at the beginning of the month, it would be good to see if exclusivity can do this title any favours. Microsoft did try for the PC market last year, in a small way. This year, I want them to go bigger. Announce PC exclusives. Bring old time PC games back and renewed with the latest tech. If Windows 10 is going to be the biggest console and PC gaming tied system, I want that to be done to full effect.

I don't really have anything to say on Bethesda or Square-Enix, but both Fallout 4 and Kingdom Hearts 3 are going to be the big games respectively for each company. Perhaps info for Elder Scrolls from Bethesda and Final Fantasy from Square-Enix.
The PC Gaming Show is where those PC exclusives will be. It is possible Microsoft will also show off more of Windows 10 here, and what it does mean for gaming on PC in the future. Valve are sure to be there as well.
This year also seems to be the year of virtual reality, so expect a lot of coverage from that.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

One Year This June [Network]

It really has been a year since I transferred CDS Blogs to Blogger. And what a year it was. And what a month this one will be. Before that though, thank you to each and every person who has read any post of mine. Looked at any video of mine. It does mean a lot to see the views come in.
Onto this month, and as I said - this month is a big one for the gaming community. E3. Over the years since I started covering them - in fact, even started watching them - each one has been filled with surprises and a great deal of info on new games. This year looks set to be the same, and I will be covering in the usual manner. One post a week before E3 starts with facts and hopes about the coming conferences. Any conference I watch live, you can expect a post to be up detailing what was in it. Then at the beginning of the next week, my highlights from the entire event, as well as covering some other things that I hadn't posted about.
Away from E3, I can't really say much else. Story uploads continue as normal on CDSMedia, and I'm planning on bringing back one of the stories that has little written about it half way into July. As per normal, any other updates will be posted about on the Facebook and Google+ pages, and there might be a small something extra coming soon.