PS1 Remakes That We Crave. Vol. 1

The ongoing question of whether or not remakes/remasters are a good thing is irrelevant; the sales speak for themselves, as does the public clamouring for beloved titles of yore. If you want to look at it from an objective standpoint, they generally sell; the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy being a focal point of this recent trend.

The genuine outpouring of raw, physical emotion that some of these games bring out in people, it’s exactly that. Raw. Visceral. The pure nostalgia trip that your brain goes through thinking about these classics that, even as I type this and as you read this, you’re thinking about right now.

Who doesn’t want that rush of serotonin, coursing through their body as you reimagine those delicate pixels that gave you good times back in the day? So, if it’s done right, why wouldn’t you want that now?

I do.

Serotonin

So it’s my privilege of presenting to you a few select games that I’d like to give me my juicy fill of addictive, biological positivity. I generally hear the same names thrown around with regards to remakes, so my selections may not conform to public opinion. So read on and satisfy your curiosity.

In no particular order…

#1 – Tombi 1 + 2

Two bizarre adventures that border on the weird and wonderful.

A story of a feral, young child that clearly hasn’t had a conventional upbringing; hence his unusual appearance and his tendency to run on all fours. His violent pink hair that could seamlessly blend in with Aurora Borealis and teeth that could cut through glass are things that make Tombi immediately distinguishable.

Our first foray into this mysterious universe sees our hero’s sacred necklace go missing due to a skirmish with evil pigs. It’s one of those ideas that seems born of a random plot generator on Google. Whilst the premise sometimes favours the inane, it’s just too unique for me to care.

TombiFlowersThe stuff of nightmares…

One second you’re in a forest of laughing and crying flowers, the next you’re in a Dwarf Forest stacked to the rafters with leaves to bobsled down on your jungle-arse. The level designers must’ve been on a good ‘trip’ when they brainstormed ideas for this game as no two places feel the same. Each location batters you with an array of different colour palettes and equally fitting music.

Due in part to the story, each level has an interesting duality hidden behind it in that when you’ve bested one of the evil pig bosses, the curse is removed; changing the music and scenery to something more uplifting.

TombiDawrfForest

Although the sales for it weren’t anything special, it did just enough to warrant a squeal, sorry sequel. Think I might need some oinkment for that slip-up.

Tombi 2 on what worked the first time around by adding lots more quests and things to do e.g mine cart sections, nut collecting for squirrels and bird-washing amongst other unusual mini-games. Instead of a necklace this time, it was Tombi’s girlfriend. I’m still waiting for the prequel where we get to see how in gods name this twisted, candyfloss looking vampire-Tarzan, that can’t speak, got a girlfriend. He’s probably happy for her to pig out at buffets I’m guessing.

Tombi2

Whoopee Camp added an additional dimension to the gameplay to allow for more inventive platforming, along with different outfits offering different abilities.

Two games that were well-recieved but poorly purchased. Still, if they were given the ol’ spit shine, a decent bit of marketing with social media, then it’d be great to revisit these forgotten gems.

#2 – Driver

IF…and that’s an Andre The Giant-sized if, you managed to get past the infamous ‘tutorial’ for this game, then you’ll have been able to appreciate just how awesome and influential this game was.

On the flip side, most people perhaps didn’t have the opportunity to explore the splendor of Driver. The baby steps of the game literally tried to sever your feet, such was the sharpness of the difficulty spike it placed before you. It was intended to grind your gears, get you so angry that you’d furiously go into work and earn a suspension, maybe even become an alco-hydraulic…

DriverPS1Tutorial

If anyone says the cleared this on their first-ever go, then you are duly obliged to poke them in their eyes. It is sacrilege to lie about something so profound.

But with perseverance comes reward, if you reached mission two, well, it didn’t actually get much easier to be honest. This was a hard game and made you earn your racing stripes. But it was worth it.

Taking the reigns of Tanner, an undercover cop, your vigilante duties took you all over America from Miami to San Francisco, to LA to the Big Apple itself. The story wasn’t much to balk at, it was the meat of the missions really where you wanted to sink your omnivorous mouth chompers into.

With the help of some oil-slick physics, the cars handled very well. It was a hybrid arcade-sim system with the ticker pointing towards the arcade side of things a bit more. Speeding around a corner felt great, perfectly dissecting two passive vehicles gave you your action hero rush, and the high-speed chase scenario never grew old. Even more so as the soundtrack is belting out some funky 70’s style cheesiness that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Starksy and Hutch.

DriverPS1Mission

The missions were paced quite well, and with tight accompanying gameplay to boot, your experience rarely felt tainted or a chore. Whether it was standard A-to-B journeys, tailing a vehicle smashing cars up or chasing/being chased by the police.

Some of the sequels left a lot to be desired for the franchise, but the original is still one of the better driving games even to this day.

#3 – Gex 3D

Gex is another one of those attempts to mould a company mascot that can hopefully topple the dominance of icons such as Mario and Sonic. The latter are still going strong today, whereas Gex inexplicably didn’t even see the next generation of consoles.

Why inexplicably you ask? Because when you’ve got a game as good as this, you have to wonder why it didn’t get a PS2 entry.

Gex3DLooneyTunes

It was a highly satirical platformer with pop culture references about anything you can possibly think of. Gex is brilliantly voiced by Leslie Phillips CBE, and his lines are oozing with personality and buckets of charisma.

Admittedly, the controls were a bit wonky at times and the platforming was a teeny bit dodgy, but nevertheless, it was another highly imaginative game. It parodies Godzilla and Looney Tunes amongst other things whilst remaining self-aware.

Gex3DGexzilla

Each level had multiple remotes to collect by finding all the specific collectibles for that level or even getting to the end of the level, which usually ended up being a tricky gauntlet; but it was rewarding.

A charming protagonist, a well-written script rife with humour, lots of variety in the levels and enemies etc.

Gex3DBonusLevel

One of many bonus rounds in the game.

I’d be ecstatic if this got the remake treatment.

#4 – Time Crisis

A genre-defining game if ever there was one

Was it the first to feature light-guns? Nope. The ever-popular Duck Hunt gets a huge pat on the back for that, as does Sega’s Virtua Cop. But the introduction of Time Crisis packaged with the revolutionary G-Con and gun pedal was quite something.

No longer did you have to cry real tears as the arcade machine gleefully swallowed up your hard-earned money. Now you could bring the experience home; still crying thanks to the last stage. *cries in nostalgia*

TimeCrisisCastle

It was a successful game with a fun story, addictive gameplay and spawned numerous sequels due to its accessibility.

However, the genre did die out as the years went by. We began to move past its initial 1995 arcade release and subsequent 1997 home console debut. On-rails shooters were being phased out as they weren’t ‘cool’ anymore.

  1. I see what they mean. You were at home, firing a plastic gun at a TV screen, cursing your ‘broken’ gun for causing you to run out of credits.
  2. I was 1. Do I regret it? Hell no! It was frickin awesome. I was firing a plastic gun at intangible terrorists for crying out loud! How is that not cool!?

TimeCrisisBossKnivesThis…THIS guy chewed up my credits for fun with his f*****g knives…

Regardless, times change. But, in my eyes, they’ve changed again.

Pointing our square eyes toward the hot topic of virtual reality; one of the key selling points of VR has been the real-intimate nature of the gameplay. Now when you consider that lots of VR games are commonly on-rails shooters/rollercoaster games; you have to think it’s not a question of if, but when.

The reintegration of Time Crisis into the gaming world is now a real possibility. Boyd rumours of so many games being brought back into existence, who’s to say a developer won’t do this for an arcade classic? Just remake the original game, maybe with Time Crisis 2 thrown in for good measure, and you have a chance to cash-in. If it’s successful, then howdy partner, we got us a rootin-tootin franchise to be rebootin.

TimeCrisisHelicopter

With a headset on and a controller in each hand, we could be hearing “ACTION” sooner rather than later.

#5 – Crash Bash

For my money, this is one of the most underrated games of all-time; merely for the ungodly amount of hours, myself and my best friend, have sunk into this unexpected barrel of laughs and frustration.

Whenever anyone thinks of the Playstation 1 era Crash games, Crash Bash is generally considered to be the lowest rung of the ladder. It was the only one not to be made by the legendary Naughty Dog, but that does not detract from the quality of the game by any means.

CrashBashCharacterSelect

Everything still feels true to the Crash Bandicoot universe, the roster is comprised of previous entries into the franchise; with the addition of a new creation, a cross-breed monkey/kangaroo by the name of Rilla Roo.

The layout is identical to Crash: Warped with its intimate warp rooms divided up into different levels. Each level generally is a mini-game i.e The first four warp rooms each have a level dedicated to the characters being locked on top of a painfully adorable polar bear that you need to use to charge other players off of the arena.

No two levels are the same. One polar level is constantly tiliting, mean you have to skillfully negotiate the ever-changing landscape, whilst remaining on high alert for incoming threats all around you. In later levels, you’ll play the same kind of battle, but with subtle variations that change the dynamic of the gameplay.

You’ve got tank battles, frantic pogo encounter in which you need to bank points after soaking the level in your respective colour. Popping balloons, boss battles and a whole host of other mini-games makes for a good evening, or 600.

The main adventure mode is a simple concept of Good vs Evil. Aku-Aku vs Uka-Uka. You need to claim the trophy for each level, which you can do by being victorious in a best of 5 format.

When you do clear each level, you then unlock the gem challenge which is usually winning a single round in either a vastly reduced amount of time, or by reaching a greatly handicapped total before your opponents. Furthermore, there’s also a crystal challenge for each level too. It’s just a pre-set parameter you need to overcome; and some of them are fiendishly difficult, as in, soaking your eyeballs in bleach frustrating. I’m onto my fifth pair now.

Later in the journey, you can then fight for relics which involves beating the arena champions for the stage, but you’ll need to do it either 2 or 3 times in-a-row, depending on if it’s the Gold or Sapphire relic you want to add to your spiffing collection.

CrashBashDragonDrop

You should find it difficult to get bored with this game, especially if you battle the games head-on with a partner.  It’s your best bet if you have any intention of getting everything in the game, hence the frustration part I alluded to earlier.

Or if you want to chill a bit more, you can play these games in a relaxed party mode against the AI or with friends.

I appreciate that Crash Team Racing would be remade first ahead of Crash Bash, but if someone could see it my way and prioritise this, then I’d be an eternally grateful Bandicoot.

Till part 2…

What games do YOU want to see remade?

– Andy.H. –

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The Last Hour of WWE Crown Jewel Was A Damning Indictment of Their Problems

From the second that the Jamal Khashoggi story hit the mainstream news, Crown Jewel was basically a PR nightmare waiting to unfold. Despite the true nature of the circumstances surround his death, WWE still went ahead with the controversial event to the vehement displeasure of everyone.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/wwe-going-ahead-with-saudi-arabia-show-despite-khashoggi-killing-2018-10?r=US&IR=T

Even two of the WWE’s top stars, in John Cena and Daniel Bryan, abdicated the show in protest of the WWE’s immorality.

Report: John Cena, Daniel Bryan ‘Refusing’ To Appear At Crown Jewel

In effect, Crown Jewel was doomed no matter what happened during the course of the night, but it didn’t mean the show needed to be bad. It ended up being absolutely horrific; an unsalvageable train wreck of a PPV.

The show left the station, featured a brief tannoy announcement from a questionable conductor, before having a herd of rampaging wildebeests collide into the side of it with enough force to oust the carriages into the rubbish dump below.

WWECrownJewelHogan

What a great occasion to bring back an already tarnished personality in the wrestling world.

It’s heavily-promoted ‘World Cup’ (that featured seven Americans and one Mexican-American, go figure) was akin to the King of the Ring style shows of old. A format never worked. You get lots of short matches, with no time to develop, no time to tell a story or that generally entertain. Even the tag match was only good, but as formulaic as they come, which is not what you’d expect from The New Day and The Bar.

So to the last hour of the show. 3 matches and 3 reasons why the WWE is languishing in a ever-darkening sea of contaminated tripe.

Match #1 – Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman for the Vacant WWE Universal Championship

WWECrownJewelUniversalTitle

I feel like we turned back the clock a few months here. Either that or Vince got out his little scrapbook of ideas to see what he can re-use.

“Dammit Paul, Braun is over, he’s my greatest creation in years. Roman’s ill…I miss Roman…anyway, I think it’s time we finally give the fans what they want, we need to put the strap back on Brock because it’s best for business HAHAHAHA *sneezes* DAMMIT ALL TO HELL!

If you’re not well-versed in McMahonology, then a lot of that insanity above will have gone so far over your head that your neck is going to shrivel into a heap of cramp from cloud-gazing.

In short, Brock was champion for FAR TOO LONG. Since Wrestlemania 33, he held the Universal Title for 16 months. In that time, he competed a measly eight times, with only seven of those being for the title.

Despite the overwhelming distain towards Roman Reigns (get well dude <3), the general consensus was that relieving Lesnar of the title was good for the product. Reigns’ illness has forced him to relinquish it, and suddenly the stock of this match skyrocketed.

They had a big chance here to concoct something special. Instead, Brock effectively squashed WWE’s biggest monster. I don’t want to hear that Braun survived four F-5’s, that doesn’t make someone look good. Braun’s only offense in a 3-minute squash match was basically one kick.

Alternatives:

-Insert Drew McIntyre into the match and make it a triple threat, as he has been involved with Braun a lot lately. It could’ve helped to pad the match out a bit and also make Brock earn it a bit more.

-Have Drew interfere, cause a double DQ, end the match as a no-contest and have a tournament at Survivor Series to determine a champion. Simple. This way, you negate the problem of having anyone look weak, you open a new realm of possibility, create more intrigue for Survivor Series and most importantly, that crowd didn’t care what happened during this match or most of the night to be perfectly honest.

Basically, this was all bad.

BUT…if on RAW we maybe have Brock drop the title to someone, fantastic. Do it.

Sadly, he’s probably going to hold onto that ugly, tomato skin until Wrestlemania and further run that title in the grounds of obscurity and make it lose its last single, shred of credibility. The whole thing was another in a long list of examples of the company going into business for themselves, and not the fans.

Match #2 – Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz Shane McMahon to declare the winner of World Cup Tournament Final

WWECrownJewelShane

Shane, I’m as surprised as you are.

BEST. IN. THE. WORLD. That is practically engrained onto my brain now it’s been advertised enough. If specialists performed brain surgery on me, the whole procedure would suffer a brief hiatus due to the internal shock of seeing “best in the world” childishly scribbled across my cerebral cortex.

Such is the WWE’s loathsome tendency to brand everything.

A 48-year-old Shane McMahon is now officially ‘the best wrestler in the world’. According to the events of Crown Jewel whereby the Smackdown Commissioner inexplicably inserted himself into the match at the behest…of himself, replacing an ‘injured’ Miz.

Not only that, I can’t believe I’m typing all of this by the way, but he pinned Dolph Ziggler (clean) in about 2 minutes following a vintage Coast-To-Coast. The only move in the history of professional wrestling that has never beaten anybody.

You’ve got to laugh. The ever-imposing and authoritative nature of the McMahon regime reared its ugly head once again here. Not only did this completely undermine the pointless tournament they’d been promoting for weeks; but it was so absurd and ludicrously nonsensical that you just couldn’t help but laugh.

Who will forget that warm, endearing image of Shane O’ Mac running around the ring with that damn trophy like he’d just won a titanic, 60-minute slog with a bear.

For story purposes, my assumption is that The Miz faked his injury in order to save himself the risk of being fired; as per the stipulation imposed on any Smackdown superstar who got to the final and lost.

Similarly, like with the Universal Title, they had a chance to give someone a nice little push here. Instead, the bosses son stuck his nose in business that wasn’t his, and further solidified his growing legacy as the greatest wrestler that has ever lived. Eurgh.

Match #3 – DX vs The Brothers of Destruction

WWECrownJewelDXBOD

206

^^^^^^ See that figure above? That’s the combined age of all four participants in this match. The main event of the show consisted of four part-timers. Let me rephrase that, the main event of this PPV, consisted of a guy who’d been retired for eight years, one guy who is pretty pre-occupied with his real-life mayoral duties for Knox County, one guy that is very much on his last legs as the prince of darkness, and one guy who spends his time in a suit and tie being an Executive Vice President backstage.

It’s clear here that the lesson wasn’t learned from Super Show Down. HHH vs The Undertaker went nearly 30 minutes in the land down under. Due to the time difference or whatever, I feel like that match is still going on now.

To reiterate, this was a clear indicator that we shouldn’t have these veterans working a long, drawn out affair. The pace was slower than a care home, zimmer-frame, grand prix with the winner pocketing priority seating to the evening’s bingo.

The match was plodding, riddled with botches, Kane was accidentally unmasked for the millionth time and Shawn just barely escaped death performing a moonsault to the outside.

He was the shining beacon of light in the claustrophobic cavern of eternal darkness that was this match. Shawn Michaels is my favourite wrestler of all-time. I think he retired too early as he clearly still had IT. At Crown Jewel he did admittedly look a bit rusty, but he definitely still put on a show; and I believe he could still work a MOTY contender with the right guy *cough* AJ Styles.

I hate the fact he came out of retirement, for this of all shows. But if HBK is back, then maybe he can work a couple more matches before retiring at Wrestlemania once again.

As a whole however, this match was everything that is wrong with the WWE. The undying emphasis on the established guard, continually taking up slots that need to be filled by the younger guys.

The WWE makes enough money. It’s the biggest wrestling company in the world bar-none. They’re never going to be challenged no matter what anyone wants to believe.

One of these days, Vince needs to bite the bullet and start the integration of younger guys into main event slots without the need to panic and call upon his tried and tested soldiers.

Conclusion

  1. Putting the title on Lesnar was desperation and a way to return the status-quo in Vince’s head. A worrying thought is that he doesn’t trust ANYONE on the RAW brand that he feels can carry the company. But who’s fault is that?
  2. Shane winning the World Cup. Yeah. No.
  3. Out with the old, in with the new.  It doesn’t need to be any clearer than that.

The common factor in all of this? Over-reliance on part-timers who aren’t busting their arse on the road 300+ days a year. It needs to stop. But it won’t.

– Andy.H. –

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Has Gaming Peaked?

Video games have seldom failed to innovate over the many decades of their existence. The bar continues to be raised to new levels of air superiority and the progression of games development continues to be treated like a precarious game of Jenga. As one developer slides out a block with inch-perfect precision; another will grab it from their hand, add another for good measure, and slam it down on the top of this ever-expanding, beast of construction.

The continuing evolution can be compared to that of the ‘mine’s bigger than yours’ skyscraper war that continues to escalate to untold heights. At one point, New York upheld their dominance over a 66-year period in which their structures were unsurpassable. Eventually, Kuala Lumpur got a taste of the pie and got in on the act with the impressive Petronas Towers. But that was soon dethroned by Tapei 101.

…AND then Dubai decided they’d grown weary of the child’s play before them and ultimately usurped everyone by unleashing the behemoth that is the Burj Khalifa – obliterating the previous record by over 300 meters.

Skyscrapers.jpg

This same philosophy has been a constant throughout the video game scene, dating as far back as everyone’s favourite, back and forth, bleep-bloop-a-thon; Pong. Pong was the equivalent of the Empire State Building, but now, it’s been left far behind in the dust to bigger and greater powers that be.

I’ll be completely honest with you valued reader, the classics such as Asteroids, Pac-Man and Space Invaders just don’t hook me or stimulate me to a great extent. I can’t play them for more than 5-10 minutes before wishing I was bitten by a mosquito so that the scratching the bite would give me something better to do. Whereas human beings that are 10 and 20 years my senior, used to invest every waking second of their time into these past pleasures. Relics of a bygone era that have transcended generations of ‘bigger and better’ games.

That’s not to say these games are bad, not by a long shot. It’s just that those simple mechanics have been reworked, revamped and injected with Bane-levels of energy, vigour and more importantly…the future.

PongGIF

Safe to say, we’ve come a long way since this.

Technology has continued to excel. Technology has continued to advance beyond the realms of unthinkable possibility. And technology has made gaming’s journey a mind-blowing field of dreams that we continue to walk through and discover new secrets on along the way.

…But…

Are we coming towards the end of this creative boom?

The bigger the steps that gaming takes, the less room is being left to do something new. Resulting in tiny baby steps that serve only to prolong this extension and extort more money from consumers in the meantime.

The pipeline isn’t as fresh as it once was; concepts and genres are being regurgitated for an easy buck and few mechanics are truly ground-breaking anymore. Not to mention the unwelcome influx of shady business practices such as DLC and Loot Boxes. These ugly strategies seem to be more frequent than ever, which in turn starves us of new prospects and the need for those companies to invest in new ideas and IP”s.

It still may be sometime away, but the looming dread of gaming arriving at its zenith seems closer than ever.

Take graphics as a key proponent of this argument, graphics are one of the most obvious ways we can analyse just how much development has been made over the years.

Starting from Pong’s primitive use of pixels, we’ve walked a long and winding pass that taken us through such places as Commodore City, Sega Saloon and the ever-popular Nintendo Necropolis (my inventive alliteration DIED at this point).

During this period we had Prince of Persia, Bubble Bobble, Sonic The Hedgehog, Street Fighter II, Streets of Rage, Earthworm Jim, Kirby, Mortal Kombat, Chrono Trigger, Mario Kart and Zelda.

Not a bad line-up?

*Side note: here’s a shameless plug to my recent Bubble Bobble article.

https://gamesandgraps.com/2018/10/30/retro-rewind-bubble-bobble/

Fast forward to the Nineties and some of the powerhouses are really starting to emerge at this point with the undeniable presence of the N64 and the Playstation.

The step-up was big, and with games like Mario 64 , Metal Gear Solid and Gran Turismo flexing their sleek muscles, the landscape was beginning to change for the better.

SuperMario64

Sony not only took the burden of having to try and go one better than they did for the PS1, but they took that burden and piled more burdens on top of it. They really hit the weights. Piling on plate after plate, gulping pixel protein and pushed themselves to deliver a never-seen-before piece of hardware that could exceed limits. But they did this, over and over with the almighty PS2 eventually being dwarfed by the PS3 and so forth.

The next generation of video game consoles were very much in effect a decade later with the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii primarily owning the console market. They were the standard bearer.

Now in 2018, The PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch reign surprise. I didn’t think The Last of Us could be topped for looks, it didn’t seem fathomable for a game to move in motion as seamlessly as Forza Horizon; but in the last few years or so…oh boy…boy…BOY!

God of War, Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, Spider-Man, GTA V, The Witcher III, Halo, Forza, Gears of War, Zelda, Battlefield 1 and many, many more have continued to astound. When one title steals the spotlight, there’s another right around the corner to supercede its predecessor.

However, where we are right now in terms of graphics, it’s good, it’s damn good. But it’s not getting THAT much better. For instance, the leap from PS1 to PS2 was monumental. PS2 to PS3 was incredible, PS3 to PS4 was the point at which I would say the leap merely became a hop. Killzone: Shadow Fall looked stunning as a PS4 launch title, but was arguable a slightly flashier version of Killzone 3 on the console before.

We’ve hit a wall, albeit a sexy looking wall gleaming with thousands of pristine pixels. 4K and HDR has upgraded the quality of the projected image, but at the end of the day, it’s still only fractional in the context of change. 8K will be next, whilst that will be phenomenal no doubt, it’ll never represent anything like the grand canyon jump we made over a decade ago.

Wall

True story, I just spent 5 mins browsing through pictures of walls until I found a SUITABLE WALL. This is the one that resonated with me the most.

But that’s the visual side of things, in terms of gameplay, as I’ve said, the same tired and tested tropes are being recycled to the point of over-saturation.

Now, to pretty much contradict myself once more, I do enjoy lots of this. My games list is a constant ‘one game bought, two more added’. There’s just so much out there that I’m more spoiled than a silver-spooned, home-schooled child that will remorselessly smash the family porcelain if I can’t have my diamond encrusted gold chain to show off to Moriarty my invisible friend.

That being said, the last two generations of gaming have been structured similarly in that there’s been on over-reliance and emphasis on favouring a particular genre. A genre that will be abused and exploited for every penny for an easy cash-grab.

First-person shooters had limited success on the PS2 and Xbox 360. Outside of Timesplitters, Halo, Killzone, Half-Life, Medal of Honor: Frontline and Call of Duty 2/3 and I can’t think of too much else. Then the PS3 and 360 arrived and it was just one FPS after another. Putting together a quick 4-8 hour campaign, tack on multiplayer and deliver it at full-price.

Our recent iteration of hardware has seen a HUUUUGEE surge in open world games. Makes sense though. We’re operating in a exciting time of sophisticated game engines running off of ultra-powerful machines. The PS2 is now essentially a Nissan Micra to the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport that is the PS4 Pro.

 

Pertaining to this super computer power, it’s led to the creation of vast, sprawling worlds. So vast that I can just picture a developer using a single finger with a pointed claw, clawing at the disc to fit in one last palm tree into their game. But that’s just me.

There’s just nothing much new out there. I won’t get into the whole remaster/remake debate(not yet anyway, stay tuned), but between this, the ‘big’ games with repetitive side missions, collectibles etc. It’s just easy to do.

How much GENUINE originality has there been in the gaming world since 2014?

You do get plenty of it in the independent scene, but sadly they don’t get the time or success that they need to properly excel and it usually becomes inconsequential to the broader horizon. On the other end of the scale, your more mass market companies *cough* EA *cough* Ubisoft are more than happy to indulge in their incurable disease of sequelitis.

EAMoney2

So many of the same franchises have carried over two and even three generations of consoles now with no signs of ceasing. Again, not saying that’s a bad thing; just merely stating a point to discuss.

Needless to say it would be ignorant of me to bypass one of the truer examples of growth that has exemplified change within the gaming industry. That would be the relative success of virtual reality.

But Andrew…where are the hundreds of millions of sales that would financially represent success? Is there anything like a 1:1 demographic for VR that would suggest a sustainable future for VR technology and investment?

VR shouldn’t have worked. It’s a gimmick that’s been the dream of many, myself included, for so very long. If I’m not mistaken, 2016 saw the release of the main competition with regards to VR: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR. With all the peripheral devices and the cumbersome nature of the hardware, it’s easy to see why people would be put off, especially with something that is a mostly untouched market.

PsVr

Guarantee he’s playing a game involving an ice-cream.

Sales seem to be going really well so far and with over 200 current PS4 VR games to play at the moment with Beat Saber and many others to come, the future is looking bright for this true innovation.

And if you’re not sold on the idea of your room becoming a virtual world space, trust me, I have one, it’s immersive, impactful and everything becomes…well immersive. There’s no other way of putting, no lexicon can accurately summise how powerful this tool is. One word – immersive.

On the other hand, we can’t all stand around all day admiring the arse of VR. Time doesn’t slow down for anyone and this is supported by the recent news that the PS5 has a date with destiny in the near-future…probably Destiny 3 to be honest but ANYWAY.

What does the future hold for gaming? Will the raw power and engineering of our next generation of beasts allow a new genre to take centre-stage? Will some crazy new computer chip allow gaming to literally look like real-life? Or are we going to stagnate and toil away in the comfort we already know? Just with prettier pencils.

– Andy.H. –

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Retro Rewind: Bubble Bobble

An undisputed classic. One of THE co-op games of the past millennium.

It just doesn’t come simpler does it?

A green dinosaur. A blue dinosaur. Descending 100 levels deep into a bizarre dungeon. Rescuing their human girlfriends. Simples.

I don’t think an invention can be created to accurately find out just how many times I’ve I’ve gone to war with this 8-bit legend. Every playthrough is a new journey and a new experience. But what do you do to beat it?

Just envelop a monsta in a bubble, then pop it!

A simplistic concept no doubt, but the road to achieving it is the fun part. The game features one of the early instances of RnG gameplay as each level can generate all manor of items to enhance your dino-capabilities.

An umbrella that can metaphorically get a jump rope out and skip you ahead a few rounds, a bottle that instantly removes all enemies in the level and shifts the round into one of the bonus variety; heck, even a water crucifix that floods the level and eradicates all enemy scum. There’s endless variety within each playthrough, and it’s one of the things that makes the game so enticing and endlessly replayable.

bubblebobbleumbrella

See that brolly? Get it at all costs. The pepper? Not so much.

The game also boasts the most inconceivably easy controls too, a staple of retro games. One button to jump and one button to fire a bubble. That’s it. Your performance is then largely based on skill, something that I feel is lost in some modern day games. Anyone can literally pick this up and play it, but it takes guile and skill to pick it up…quickly.

Each level seemingly represents a theme with regards to its layout and presentation of its enemies etc. Some are in the shape of enemies, and some are shaped like words, perhaps messages left by the girlfriends? Just a bit of lore lurking for you.

Naturally, the further you progress into the chaos, the further your skillset is tested.

Basic enemies such as Bonzo (see below) can only jump up and he has no attacks, but get crowded by enough of them, and you are sure to surrender a life to the dungeon. If you do get to the later levels, then you’ll get ‘Drunk’ launching his empty alcohol bottles at you, rebounding until they either hit you or return back to their inebriated master.

BubbleBobble1

The game presents a natural learning curve and never truly feels unfair.

But enough of that, it’s time for the best part. The effing music.

It constantly loops the same sub-minute tune for seemingly an eternity, but if this was the soundtrack to eternity, then sign me up. It’s the most insanely, catchy jingle of any game I’ve ever played. Almost iconic.

But it’s not just the main theme that mesmerises the ears, it’s everything else too. The secret room music, final boss music and even the intense ‘hurry up!’ version of the main music. The sound effects of the bubbles, the noise it makes when you get hit and lose a life; these are all the subtle nuances that add to the ever-lasting stream of charm that this game oozes.

I know what you’re thinking, yes…there is a one-hour loop of this music and yes…I have listened to it in its entirety.

Oh, and if the challenge of trying to topple the hundred-round mountain wasn’t hard enough; the road to the secret rooms lie beyond the summit, or below the depths in this case.

If you can get to round 20 without losing a single life, then a door appears to a secret room. Congratulations, few people see that room, I myself have only seen it a few select times. Done that? Well we better up the ante then, get to round 30 without suffering damage? Then you will gain access to hidden room number two.

I think I’ve reached it once in my entire life…

Wait, what? You want an even greater challenge you sadistic maniac!?!? Reach round 40 then without dying. I dare you.

BubbleBobbleSecretRoom1

Secret Room number one. Pretty isn’t it? This is all I’ll give you, if you want to see more, then you’d better get good at the game my friend.

This game offers so much content, so many hours of fun and is guaranteed a good time with a friend.

I guess the only question…is who gets to be Bub?

Bub

– Andy.H. –

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My Trophies Are Over 9, 000! Was It Worth It?

To an outsider, boasting about your whopping collection of Playstation trophies that now exceeds nine thousand, is unbelievably sad. To a gamer, it’s probably only a little bit less sad.

When I think of all the stuff I could’ve achieved with that time, it’s frightening. I mean seriously, it’s such a wide scope of endless possibilities. It could’ve been better spent learning an instrument, perhaps even learning Mongolian, or even perfecting the art of Tuvan throat singing.

Instead?

-I’ve finished multiple Call of Duty campaigns on Veteran AND Realistic difficulty

-I’ve fully completed every Uncharted game (more than once on different platforms)

-I’ve conquered Rapture, on hard, with Vita Chambers turned off

-I’ve hung my head in shame after getting the platinum for Terminator Salvation

-I’ve brought Greek and Norse mythology to a standstill with a famed, ashen warrior

-I’ve been glitched out of Skyrim perfection

-I’ve cursed inFamous for leaving me on 98% trophies (damn blast shards)

-I’ve had the pleasure of platinuming some absolute gems from the Hotline Miami games to Dust: Elysian Tail to Guacamelee to Rogue Legacy

-I’ve persevered to defeat Sephiroth in a platinum match that was impossible as a kid

-I’ve suffered through unplayable atrocities such as Rambo, Aliens: Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem: Forever

-I’ve had a chance to catch up on series’ that eluded me in my younger days such as Doom, Wolfenstein, DMC amongst others

-And finally… I’ve killed Satan multiple times…with a crying child…with an army of helper flies

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The Collection

109 Platinum trophies

533 Gold trophies

1, 765 Silver trophies

6, 647 Bronze trophies

In hindsight, would I turn back time, and refrain from pursuing those virtual accomplishments in favour of something that MIGHT have benefitted me more substantially?

I will give you the same answer that…actually forget that, I’ll dispense with the theatrics and the hyperbole. No. A simple no.

Life is Strange. Why lead a half-life?

My First Platinum

When I was back in college, revising and knuckling down to get good A-level grades should’ve been my priority. But it was around this time that Playstation trophies were in their infancy. I’d had to watch all my friends in high school brag about their ‘chievos’. Such a novel concept. Virtual, in-game, stamps of recognition that added both replayability and an extra sense of accomplishment.

On one hand, I had the part of my life that was dealing with the academic diffculty spike that I had rear-ended with great force. But away from that burden in my life, I was battering the ever-living hell out of Quantum of Solace to finally wrap my greasy, nerdy palms around an intangible shiny shine.

I actually can’t describe how happy I was when I did it. I had to grind the online multiplayer for that game for so long, without actually wanting to sample even a second of it; let alone the hours of average gameplay I endured.

All…for that sweet release of serotonin; thanks to the delightful, addictive trophy pop sound.

In essence, it sounds like the journey has been fun, right? WRONG.

Whilst trophies have, mostly, positively impacted my gaming; they’ve also had a detrimental and equally damaging effect too.

The Downside…

Voluntarily making the decision to avoid games, THAT I WANT, just because of an unappealing trophy list.

Let that sink in for a second.

LetThatSinkIn

It honestly makes me sad writing this part to be honest. I’ve purposely denied myself gaming experiences, purely on the basis that I was displeased by a list of optional goals. If by some miracle, I could look back on the past and identify all the games that I wanted but wasn’t prepared to grind for a particular trophy etc; then I genuinely don’t think I’d want to.

Online trophies, in particular, have been the bane of my existence and caused limitations for me. There are too many variables with online trophies from: how popular the game is, which determines how populated the game is, which affects how long the servers are open for, then there’s the stability of the servers etc.

Fighting and driving games are terrible for this. I distinctly remember MK9, which I adored, had a trophy for winning 10…I repeat 10 online ranked matches. IN A ROW. I just can’t be arsed. I’m not a pro at fighting games, so knowing that it’d be a struggle to amass two or even an unlikely three-in-a-row is silly.

Furthermore, I love a good challenge in a game and even grinding to complete it too. But when you’ve got games like Wipeout that has people saying it’s near-enough a 10/10 for the difficulty to get the trophies, it’s just off-putting. Buying a game, knowing that you’ll never get the platinum trophy is disheartening.

Again, I stress; have trophies/achievements been all-good? Absolutely not. Games like the aforementioned Terminator: Salvation had a trophy list designed, lazily I might add, to increase cheap purchases and rentals. Finish the short, broken campaign and get 10+ gold trophies and a platinum. Lazy, but clever.

TerminatorSalvationI cannot stress just how much this game sucked to play.

To all the people that have the platinum for Hannah Montanna, you know who you are you embarrassed individuals with no self-respect.

Thankfully, I can hold my hand on my heart and say that virtually all of my platinums are respectable ones.

Call of Duty: Classic, Thumper, Nioh, The Crash Bandicoot Trilogy, Bioshock Trilogy, Rogue Legacy and the Hotline Miami games, to name a few, are but some of the more challenging feats I can proudly hold under my belt. Metaphorically of course. OH and DOOM 3.

So, am I proud?

Yes. Oh yes, yes, yes. I’m a gamer. Always have been. Always will. These trophies have helped me cope with life and they’ve helped me to live life. For every two or three people that don’t care about trophies or even know what they are, there’s always one who will. That person will think that ‘completely completing’ 109 games is quite cool.

Is it any different to someone who goes fishing and goes berserk for catching new fish and maybe even keeping that catch? That’s their reward for excelling themselves in their specific hobby.

People want to catch COD, I want to finish its campaign on veteran. People like to drive cars, I like to control high-speed supercars and drift them on Need For Speed to demolish preset parameters.

10 years later…I’m still going. I will always keep going. When a game comes out that I want, I will analyse that trophy list until I’ve sniffed out every single strand of DNA that thing has.

No worries officer, don’t give me a badge; just give me a gold trophy and say good boy.

– Andy.H. –

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All-In: Review

What a monumental night this is for professional wrestling.

From the moment that everyone’s favourite journalist, Big Dave Meltzer, dismissed the idea of an independent show selling 10, 000 seats, the challenge was on. Then very quickly, that pipedream became a reality.

It took over a year to put the show together, and just 30 minutes to sell it out. Wrestling fans are actually awesome. The reward for investing into a show without knowing the card?

A bountiful smorgasbord of the best talent in the world from all the major promotions; barring the one whose name we shall not speak of on this night. Tonight is bigger than that tired, money-hungry monopoliser.

Tonight…the fans matter.

Enough talk. Let’s checkout the action!

*I didn’t watch the Zero Hour pre-show as Fite TV didn’t show it.

Matt Cross vs MJF

Now, I do know my indie wrestling well; but sometimes names will elude me. Matt Cross is one of those names, I did have the chance to see MJF during a CZW show during Wrestlemania weekend though.

This was just a good mix of everything really. MJF is just a typical scumbag heel, flipping off the crowd, spitting in Matt Cross’ face etc. But Cross stood up to him well, pulled out some great high-risk spots and as the face, he went over to get the main card underway. Solid start.

Winner: Matt Cross

***

Christopher Daniels vs Stephen Amell

Lots of the stories for this show came as a result of the popular YouTube channel, ‘Being The Elite’. It follows the crazy adventures of Cody, The Young Bucks and others with a mix of kayfabe stories and real-life antics. One of the stories has been between these two men.

I saw Amell wrestle a few years back, against his friend Cody, at Summerslam 2015 in a tag match. Nearly 3 years on, and it’s time for Amell’s first, proper singles match.

Daniels is the perfect guy to pull something resembling a presentable match from the actor, but to the shock of many, he didn’t need as much help as some people might have thought.

He MORE than held his own, he’s clearly worked hard and lots of his in-ring work was great. That coast-to-coast was impressive, and as for that table bump? Well, that’s testament to the nature of the man. You can just tell when someone loves pro wrestling, and he was willing to take that hard landing. Nothing wooden about this performance as he brought it all to the table.

In the end, Daniels experience shone through. I really hope Amell can maybe wrap up Arrow soon, and maybe think about pursuing a full-time wrestling career; he’s more than capable.

Winner: Christopher Daniels

***1/2

Four Corner Survival Match

Tessa Blanchard vs Chelsea Green vs Madison Rayne vs Britt Baker

Save for a couple of sloppy looking transitions and a damaging ending, this was solid wrestling from all four women. I didn’t know who Britt Baker was, I know Chelsea Green from her time as Laurel Van Ness in Impact, she plays ‘crazy’ perfectly. Madison is a TNA veteran and Tessa is the future of women’s wrestling. The current Impact Wrestling Women’s Champion may already be an established star, but this woman is the complete package. Power, speed, intimidation; Tessa has an aura.

In just over 10 minutes, these women threw a lot of stuff at us. Dives, high spots and lots of near-falls. As the only women’s match on the card, they needed to impress, and they certainly did. As I’ve said, if you can overlook the muddled and confused ending, you have a great representation of what the women can do too. Given a bit more time, we really could’ve hit the heights with this one.

Winner: Tessa Blanchard

***1/2

NWA World Heavyweight Championship

Nick Aldis (c) vs Cody w/ Brandi Rhodes

I’m not going to lie, I was completely shocked that this went on so early, it must’ve only been an hour into the show. We knew in the build-up that this wasn’t going to be the main event; but maybe second from last? Third from last?

In any event, this had the feel of a main event boxing match or UFC match. Each wrestler came out with their respective entourage of wrestling legends. Tommy Dreamer, Jeff Jarett and DDP to name a few, OH and Cody’s adorable ball of fluff husky, Pharaoh.

The noise in the arena had been a constant throughout the show thus far, but for this match, it’s like someone had given out complimentary shots of adrenaline. The arena was bouncing, it had a big fight feel, and the anticipation of Cody finally winning the illustrious and prestigious NWA Title that his father, the late, great Dusty Rhodes, had famously held was palpable.

Being perfectly honest, the match itself was good. It never felt like it hit those starry heights that some may have hoped. But like The Rock vs Hogan Wrestlemania match, the occasion was special, the crowd was amped, and the tension was felt in the air.

Aldis dominated for lots of the match, but the turning point was when Cody leapt off the top rope to the outside, and Aldis smashed him in the face. Earl Hebner threw up the famous ‘X’ signal, and thus began the shenanigans. DDP came out to aid Cody, Davairi came out on behalf of Aldis, and took exception to this by pushing DDP away.

He ate a Diamond Cutter for his troubles. All this allowed Cody to cut himself open for a nice, juicy bladejob that Dusty would’ve been proud of.

The home stretch was quite gripping with near-falls aplenty. The ending came quite suddenly when, in classic 70’s/80’s fashion, Cody managed to hook the legs and trap Aldis for the 3-count. That pop was something special, and I’m sure that it meant the world to Cody. Some people may complain that Cody booked himself to win this match, but how couldn’t he?

The wrestling business works because of storytelling. This was that AND then some.

Winner and NEW NWA World Champion: Cody

****

Chicago Street Fight

Joey Janela w/ Penelope Ford vs Hangman Page

I presumed that this would be the one to go on after an intense title match. A nice, fun match to sit back and enjoy…

This…this was violent to say the least. Without blood, barbed wire etc, this is as hardcore as it gets. Joey Janela must’ve needed multiple ice baths after this encounter to heal the many wounds he got from this match.

Metal ladders (not wooden), chairs, Crackerbarrels (whatever the hell that is), tables, tables and yet more tables. There were some horrible bumps in this match, not least Hangman Page powerbombing Janela off the stage through two tables. Only, Page had no momentum and basically just kind of threw him at the tables and missed badly.

Page eventually won after using the phone he murdered Joey Ryan with (I’ll get to that soon) and performed a modified Gringo Killer, off the top of a ladder, through a table. A fittingly barbaric way to end a straight-up evil match. Another Bullet Club win.

Great stuff.

Winner: Hangman Page

****

Joey Ryan Segment

Going back to Being The Elite, another running story was between Hangman Page and Joey Ryan. Basically, Page murdered Ryan, Page was haunted by it, and spooky things kept happening to him as a result.

After the Street Fight, one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in wrestling transpired.

We had an Undertaker’s Druids style congregation in the aisleway, only…the druids dressed as massive, inflatable penises. The commentators sold it PERFECTLY with constant innuendos.

Then out came the undead penom, Joey Ryan. As with all Joey Ryan skits, I’m sure you can guess what happened next. On this night, we heard the chant ‘Rest In Penis’. Jim Cornette would’ve popped every blood-vessel in is body watching this segment.

ROH World Championship

Jay Lethal (c) vs Flip Gordon w/Brandi Rhodes

For months, Flip Gordon has been trying to get himself booked for All-In, Cody has kayfabe refused. So he appeared in the battle royal, won and earned a title shot against Jay Lethal.

Jay Lethal was confronted backstage, got slapped, and just like when a bull sees red, Jay channelled his inner Macho Man and transformed into his classic Black Machismo persona for this match. This show literally had everything.

Again, I’d never seen Flip Gordon before, although I had a funny feeling that his move set would be of the aerial, rotation variety. I was not disappointed. I don’t think anyone for a second really believed that Flip would win, even with his friend Brandi at ringside.

It was a good back-and-forth match with Jay Lethal’s zoning in and out of Macho Mode being a particular highlight. At one point he stole Brandi and hoisted her up into the air, a la Miss Elizabeth. It was gold.

This was generally just another solid outing.

Winner and STILL ROH World Champion: Jay Lethal

***

Kenny Omega vs Penta El Zero

It’s been a very good show so far. Nothing bad at all. But now…now we’re moving into A-list match territory. The current IWGP champion against the devastatingly brilliant Pentagon Jr. On paper, this is an absolutely mouth-watering clash.

The reality? It was gorgeously good. I don’t even know if that’s a thing, but it is now. These are just two of the best professional wrestlers in the world, and world-class entertainers.

Once again, the excitement in the air was turned up a couple of notches. These two just went balls to the wall as you’d expect, and delivered a superb wrestling match. It was short of the 20-minute mark, a baby as far as Omega matches go, and even at around 18-minutes, it still felt like they were rushed.

Yet, the action was unrelenting AND devastating. I’m still wincing just picturing Pentagon Jr’s package piledriver on the apron. There were several dicey manoeuvres that involved heads hitting or nearly hitting hard on the canvas.

Either way, you should go out of your way to see this match. Omega continues to excel and produce one spellbinding performance after another.

Winner: Kenny Omega

****

Post-match beatdown

Lights go out. Punk? Nope. Just Omega and Pentagon Jr. still…or is it? Nah, I noticed the tattoos straight away. But the individual realisation of the audience is a moment to behold. Then Jericho’s unmasking is a pop that almost rivals Cody’s title win.

Jericho will see Omega on the Jericho cruise show for part II.

Kazuchika Okada vs Marty Scurll

Now we come to one of the most interesting matches of the night. Despite being the other ‘massive’ match, it felt like a foregone conclusion before it started.

The story going into this, is that the junior-heavyweight, The Villain, couldn’t topple the heavyweight, the Rainmaker. If Scurll could somehow defeat the almost untouchable Okada, then suddenly weight divisions may not matter in NJPW, the ramifications could be huge.

This is wrestling though…so what if?

Boy, did Okada beat on Scurll for a lot of this match. Okada was nonchalant in parts. Yet Marty carried himself with great pride here. He really took it to Okada and proved why he is such a valuable commodity in the wrestling world; a million miles away from party Marty. So many moves were used in this match from lariats, to high-impact DDT’s, Okada tried to crush Marty’s ribcage with several intense, shotgun dropkicks.

There was a glorious moment during the match in which Okada was setting up Scurll for the Rainmaker, but Marty grabbed his finger and snapped it. It crescendoed into an extraordinary finish with a ref bump, which lead to Scurll delivering a very stiff umbrella shot to the head followed by a RAINMAKER!

1…2…3.NO! It must’ve been two and ninety-nine hundredths. Unbelievable.

But Okada recovered and hit Scurll with a Rainmaker salvo. Three consecutive shots that incapacitated Scurll and ended the dream. For a split second, they had me, and they had you. This match delivered in every way.

Winner: Kazuchika Okada

****1/2

The Golden Elite (The Young Bucks and Kota Ibushi) vs Rey Mysterio, Fenix and Bandido

To finish off a resounding night of memories, a six-man tag team sprint full of outrageous spots, seriously, I’m not even going to bother to list them. I think the match was about 12 minutes, and they crammed more moves into this match than The Expendables crammed their films with action heroes.

I think we had serious timing issues which led to the match being cut short. But it was surreal. I was in a constant state of bewilderment. I kept questioning how each spot could be topped, only to grab and knife and fork and get stuck into my own words.

There wasn’t much in the way of a story, this was just a demonstration of world-class athleticism and it was a hell of a spectacle. This is the kind of match that will divide people.

To me? It’s just a hell of a lot of fun. I’d like to have seen the Luchadore team go over, but I get why they didn’t. A vicious Meltzer Driver brought this historic night to an end. Even with less time to work with, they managed to adapt and get their own stuff, whilst performing it to perfection, I can’t recall a single botch amidst the chaos.

Winners: The Golden Elite

****

Post-match

I’ll briefly discuss a slight downside to the night, and that’s the timing issues. All-In had a massive 4-hour timeslot and certainly made the most of it. As soon as the Okada/Scurll match ended, they basically had to get everyone out the ring and quickly get everyone out for the tag match.

Then it wasn’t so much of a sprint finish for the match as a bullet (club) train to the end. I’ve checked the post-show on YouTube and Cody, Brandi, Kenny, other wrestlers and family members all came out to celebrate. It was a 15-minute segment with the Bucks and Cody discussing All-In, thanking the fans and even saying that they finished the PPV with 3 seconds left to spare!

Conclusion

What is there to say about this show? All-In went all-in and above and beyond. Before the show, it was a good-looking card, I’d say it overdelivered.

From top-to-bottom, there wasn’t a single bad match. I think my lowest rating was ***. Everything had ALMOST the right amount of time, people got there their time to shine and the crowd were energetic and boisterous, even 5 hours into the show.

All-In churned out lots of moments from Cody’s poignant title win to Jericho’s surprise appearance to the penis parade; it was just a great celebration of professional wrestling.

This was a statement. It doesn’t have to be about the WWE; with a bit of motivation and can-do attitude, a few wrestlers managed to put together a supercard that has been hyped for a year. It displayed great unity by having NJPW, ROH, Impact, Lucha Underground etc, all come together to make this happen.

During the aftershow speech, Cody basically hinted at All-In 2. With the success of this show, I think it’s only natural that it will get another instalment.

In-all, All-In needs to be watched. It’s up there with Slammiversary and Takeover: New Orleans this year. So go watch it and enjoy being a wrestling fan.

– Andy.H. –

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The Failings of the WWE Product: Sasha vs Bayley

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.

The scene of the greatest women’s match that ever I’ve witnessed. Twenty captivating minutes of professional wrestling that will be talked about for years to come.

A plucky underdog against a cocky, arrogant champion; it’s the perfect foundation for a wrestling story.

As someone who was still relatively new to NXT at the time, I didn’t fully feel the hype. But that match, that match had me in the sweaty palms of their genius hands. I wasn’t much of a Bayley fan before that match, but the sheer grit and determination of her to fend off Sasha’s deviousness was something to behold.

SashaBayleyBrooklynGIF

It was a 5-star match.

They then followed it up with an Iron (Wo)Man Match that ALMOST replicated the quality of the first bout. The action wasn’t quite as exhilarating, but the storytelling was perhaps even better.

Sadly, this concluded their NXT saga.

But here’s the thing…that was Oct 7th, 2015. Both women have now been permanent figures on the bloated WWE roster for over two years now. Yet, we’ve still yet to see their first “BIG match”.

It’s no secret, I couldn’t be any unhappier with the WWE product if I tried.

But this feud is truly indicative of WWE’s current failings and one that they are stubbornly reluctant to fix.

This ‘feud’ technically started at the Royal Rumble when Sasha selfishly eliminated Bayley. Which is fine, it’s a traditional protocol. A timeless WWE template that plants the seeds for a big-time Wrestlemania match. Then tensions escalated further when Sasha pushed Bayley off of a pod at the Elimination Chamber.

SashaBayleyEC

Perfect. We’ll see you both at Wrestlemania in New Orleans.

Wait…what? Instead of having your long-awaited one-on-one dream match at Wrestlemania…you’re going to be relegated to the pre-show in a completely meaningless battle royal that means next-to-nothing?

Yep. That sounds like the WWE I know. It’s criminal isn’t it?

If there’s one company that simply has no clue how to capitalise on momentum or pull the trigger on something, it’s the WWE. The build-up between January and April wasn’t exactly absorbing: a couple of disagreements, back-and-forth teases, and the odd scuffle.

SashaBayley

However, the closer we got to Wrestlemania, the sinking realisation started to creep in that the match wasn’t going to happen. Instead, we got a carbon copy of the Royal Rumble, only this time the roles were reversed and Sasha was eliminated by Bayley.

Fast forward four months and we’re a day before Summerslam.

You’d think we’d have the match now at least, right?

Oh you sceptical bugger, I knew there was no fooling you. We’ve somehow gone one better, not only are they now an unbelievable team (in the sense that I’m not buying or caring for this crap for one second), but they’re also inconspicuously absent from the card.

SashaBayleyHappy

I just can’t…like, we already how inept WWE is, but this feud has completely taken the biscuit this year. Actually, it’s unwrapped the entire pack of biscuits, taken each biscuit, then proceeded to individually throw biscuits into a pool of hungry piranhas, cooked the piranhas and then fed them to Roman Reigns. Well everything gets fed to Roman in the end.

This rivalry was like a microwavable pizza. It was ready-made, not fresh, but still tasty nonetheless. But every time we get closer to setting the timer to let this bad boy simmer, someone just seems to keep changing their mind on if they want pizza.

It’s now gotten to the point where I would legitimately have more interest in watching paint. Not watching it dry, just spend half an hour intensely eyeing up an actual tin of paint.

TinOfPaint

Now, is there still time for Sasha and Bayley’s fire to be rekindled? Probably. But it’ll take some serious story development and something big to kickstart it. Maybe have Sasha give birth to a hand?

This rivalry is one of MANYMANYMANYMANYMANY examples of WWE’s appalling lack of any basic common sense to storytelling.

Way back in 1997, Kane vs The Undertaker was stretched out over the course of a year till they eventually clashed at Wrestlemania 14. But that worked. Cool stuff happened and they were larger than life characters. It worked.

Unless the WWE has planned since the outset, to have Sasha vs Bayley at the upcoming all-women’s PPV, Evolution, then maybe it can be forgiven. Alternatively, we could’ve had one match at Wrestlemania, one at Summerslam; then they could’ve served an epic tie-breaker at Evolution.

But that would’ve been logical.

EvolutionPPV

To address WWE’s problems, you’d literally need a forest worth of trees to write them all down. But one of the fundamental basics to professional wrestling is storytelling. A strong narrative can already make a match good.

Bayley vs Sasha has been an uncomfortable reminder that WWE are completely oblivious as to what MADE their product good.

Instead, eight months on, and Sasha and Bayley can’t even make the pre-show; on a card with 13 goddamn matches on…

I can’t wait for them to clash at Wrestlemania 36.

On the plus side, did you know that the apron is the hardest part of the ring?

– Andy.H. –

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Retro Rewind: Darkwatch

It’s a new day (yes it is) and yet another brand new series for you lucky readers.

Retro Rewind

Looking through the tinted spectacles of yesteryear, this new idea will try and unearth some gems that have long since gone under the radar. Plus, I can also give you an insight into some of my favourite games that have helped shape my preferences and gaming identity.

I’ll dispense with all the pleasantries and get straight into the meat of the article.

Darkwatch.

What a damn fine game.

It oozed style and tight gameplay whilst bonding the parallel universes of cowboys and steampunk vampires. Such cohesion shouldn’t have been possible with such vastly opposing genres and themes, but Darkwatch pulled it off.

DarkwatchTrain

Plot in 60 seconds.

An naughty outlaw by the name of Jericho Cross robbed a train. He inadvertently freed a bigger, naughtier demon by the name of Lazarus. Ol’ Lazzy gets the hots for Jericho and chomps a chunk out of his neck; passing on vampirism to him. Jericho aligns with a female by the name of Cassidy to take down Lazarus. She works for an organisation called Darkwatch.

Jericho combats his new maternal cravings for the red stuff and uses his newfound powers to become a big, strong, unstoppable boy.

Throughout the game, he can either be an angel cowboy or a devil one. The consequences of your actions will become apparent as you go on; and especially during the games final battle. One fight is an arse, one is an even bigger arse


DarkwatchKeggersKeggers. The cause of so many deaths.

I remember playing the demo for this game and I had so much fun. Bear in mind it was 2005, and FPS games were in limited supply, as opposed to the oversaturation in the  generation that would follow. It had a unique theme, a horribly unsettling setting and solid gunplay.

I genuinely lost count of the undies I unashamedly soiled in the wake of…Vipers.

Imagine your worst fear; you feel your body shrivel up and turn numb in panic. Every pore of your body perspiring and creating your own Olympic-size, swimming pool to splash around in the hope that you’ll drown to avoid your fear…unless your fear is drowning; in which case…forget it, Vipers are worse.

DarkwatchRPG

*Cries in soiled underwear*

This is how me and my best friend felt playing this as unknowing 12-year-olds.

Oh, and banshees; their penis-curling screams could make you involuntarily ingest your own genitlia as a defence mechanism.

The atmosphere was always tense, the dark and dingy environments made you very aware of how isolated you felt. Let me tell you, slowly walking through a cramped sewer and turning around to see a Viper charging towards you…I can actually feel myself leaking thinking about it.

DarkwatchBanshee

Fortunately, you had an extensive range of weapons to take down these menacing beasts. Ranging from your default revolver; The Reedemer, to dual pistols, to shotguns with hatchet blades on the handles, to thermal sniper rifles etc. There was such a diverse arsenal that the gameplay never felt boring; plus certain scenarios would force you to change up your loadout regardless.

They guns even kicked like a stick of dynamite that had just given birth to its own tiny herd of baby dynamite. Note: dynamite is also a weapon you can use too.

Scintillating sound and design aside, the narrative is serviceable. One of the longstanding criticisms of this genre is the never-ending stream of -seemingly- tacked on stories; placing the emphasis on having efficient shooting mechanics instead. But Darkwatch does a good job of just about making you care about the characters, even if Jericho Cross isn’t the most effervescent individual to grace a screen.

I’ve never cared for morality choices in games, but the ones in Darkwatch at least had  some effect on the game. Your abilities hinged on which side of the fence you chose, with some being more powerful than others.

In addition, another major plus for Darkwatch? Co-op! A dying tradition that some games are desperately trying to keep alive. Local co-op. Take control of two Darkwatch members and battle through death together. It makes the game a bit easier too, but that’s not saying much. Some of the shootouts are just brutal. Finishing this game on the hardest difficulty was not for the faint of heart, but it’s JUST doable.

Despite being in development, Darkwatch 2 never got further than a brief showing at GDC 2006. It looked like being deeper and scarier. Alas, it never came to fruition. One of my biggest annoyances that I’ll ever experience with games.

Darkwatch is a HUGELY underrated FPS game that sadly never got the sequel it deserved. It had so much potential it was untrue. A interesting dynamic with endless possibilities for the future. This could’ve been the benchmark for FPS games, showing that creativity is a good thing. Also that you don’t have to create a generic, linear hallway shooter with about as much personality as a lump of coal…in a sock.

The concept of a steampunk, vampire-cowboy should have had High Moon Studios rolling around – filthy rich – in the green paper.

Maybe one day…one day…Kickstarter? Ever heard of it High Moon? Some of us are MORE than willing to help you get this long-awaited sequel produced.

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NXT Takeover: Chicago Review

The last year or so has seen NXT truly revitalise itself.

After being such an incredibly successful product, it took a bit of a nosedive as it lacked talent, due to constant call-ups, and it was definitely going though a dry spell.

But from Takeover: San Antonio to Takeover: New Orleans, the show has reached even bigger heights; with the latter having a case for being one of the best wrestling PPV’s ever seen.

With NJPW’s number one cheerleader, Dave Meltzer, even giving three, 5-star ratings to NXT matches this year, NXT is DEFINITELY doing something right.

However, the standard was set sky-high after the nearly flawless New Orleans show. Tonight is the first post-call-up show since New Orleans.

Sanity, Authors of Pain, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, No Way Jose, Drew McIntyre and Ember Moon. That’s a big list of big names that the yellow brand lost and it’s positive to see how NXT has coped.

Tonight, there’s only one match that even remotely resembles a match from New Orleans, and it’s the sequel to the Match of the Year contender that Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa thrashed out on Bourbon Street. Other than that, it’s a set of fresh new matches.

The new North American Champion, Adam Cole BABAYY, is conspicuously absent – alongside EC3 – but there’s enough talent here to gloss over their missing presence.

NXT Tag Team Championship

Undisputed Era (c) vs Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch

As someone who doesn’t watch NXT regularly, this is a strange one to me. All I know is that Lorcan and Burch have picked up some wins over the Undisputed Era, which to be fair is as good a reason as any to be number one contenders.

In recent memory, most Takeover Tag Matches have involved The Authors of Pain in some way or another, so this is the beginning of the moving on process.

It’s Kyle O’ Reilly and Roderick Strong representing the Undisputed Era tonight.

You can’t beat a smarky crowd, despite being heels; the crowd is UNDISPUTEDly on the side of Roddy and Kyle. Perhaps testament to how little the crowd cares about Lorcan and Burch.

Either way, Reilly took control of the match for his team with his unorthodox ground style. Burch got worked over for a while before eventually getting the ‘hot’ tag? The crowd weren’t exactly hot for it.

But BOY, the crowd gravitated towards them once Lorcan started busting out a large array of offense. Mean spiral uppercuts that would be comparable to Cesaro’s, forceful lariats that could unseat a horse, over-the-top rope dives; it was beautiful, suddenly they’re faces again!

As a matter of fact, they were one second away from winning the titles, until O’ Reilly made the save. They continued the attack, until Lorcan was shoved off the top rope, flipping in mid-air, and landing back first on the edge of the apron; crashing to the floor and hopefully a hospital bed below.

The crowd was so hot for the final stretch of this match.

It was insane. From Lorcan’s double blockbuster to the outside, to Adam Cole’s coldly-received dismissal to O’ Reilly simultaneously escaping a submission and breaking up another.

Eventually, The Undisputed Era made Lorcan and Burch succumb to their finisher and put them away.

That was a tremendous match and also a star-making performance for Lorcan in my eyes.

****

Ricochet vs The Velveteen Dream

“Anything you can do, the Dream can do better.”

NXT are so good at building feuds and telling stories it’s untrue.

The popular debut of a new, established star, the jealousy of the young upstart who wants the spotlight. This has become a dream match. In just over a year, The Velveteen Dream has become one of the hottest prospects in the world today.

A trash-talking, third-person Velveteen Dream is endlessly entertaining. Ricochet’s high-flying antics are equally entertaining.

Did someone whisper Match of the Year contender?

Dream comes out looking boasting a HULKING physique and tonight his charisma and confidence looks to be RUNNIN’ WILD.

Confirmation that the Hulkster will be on WWE TV sooner rather than later.

This has a big match feel. They stood face-to-face with a nice close-up of both of these warriors. Let’s go.

It always feels like a big-time Velveteen Dream match tells a constant story throughout, this is no exception. Ricochet busted out lots of aerial awesomeness early on and even did the classic flip sequence into his superhero pose. Dream hated this.

But Dream got the upper-hand and started to imitate Ricochet’s moves, slower but effectively. Then a couple of dives from Ricochet and the momentum switched again. I swear, if I attempted even one of Ricochet’s vast arsenal of manoeuvres, I would be in intensive care for six months…

Rolling Death Valley Driver off the top from Dream. A suplex from the apron to the floor. Spike DDT’s. Just wow. I honestly got worn out just watching these two incredible athletes.

Also, to people who say Ricochet can’t/doesn’t sell…you can go suck a lemon.

The closing sequence of this match defied the laws of physics. From Ricochet performing a shooting star, halfway across the ring, to Dream doing his Purple Rainmaker elbow three-quarters of the way across the ring. It’s action that any human being should watch and marvel at.

In the end, the 630 was the final nail in the coffin for the Velveteen Dream.

This match was absolutely fantastic and lived up to every inch of the hype. It’s another big PPV loss for Dream, but it really doesn’t hinder him. Every single one of his Takeover matches are becoming a treat. He’s still only 22…yeah, I’m crying inside too.

****1/2

NXT Women’s Championship

Shayna Baszler (c) vs Nikki Cross

Perhaps the only woman crazy enough to face Shayna. She may be the only credible challenger left. It’s the only aspect of NXT that I feel hasn’t really recovered since the departure of Asuka, even going back to the departure of Charlotte, Becky, Sasha and Bayley.

I’ve gotten on on-board with Shayna though. I wasn’t too happy when she beat Ember in April, but she is a legit badass and her ability is there.

Nikki..well, she’s a whole new breed of crazy. I love it. Straight from the start she baited Shayna and actually instilled some fear into her.

There were some rough spots in this match. Shayna back dropped Nikki on the steel ramp which looked nasty, Shayna delivered some really ugly knees to the face of Nikki, there was even a back drop onto the ‘hardest part of the ring too’. It sadly had the feel of a sprint finish as the match wasn’t given enough time.

They achieved a lasting image that will be used in many a highlight package for Shayna though as she choked out a smiling Nikki Cross, silencing her one and for all.

I still think that this continues to be the weakest aspect of NXT. Shayna is going to keep choking people out and looking dominant, someone is going to have to step up sooner or later and push her to her limits.

**1/2

NXT Championship

Aleister Black (c) vs Lars Sullivan

On paper, this is an intriguing match. Sullivan is a prototypical brute. Big, strong, ugly and effortlessly overpowers his opponents. On the other hand, Aleister Black has quite simply been one of NXT’s greatest ever assets. He. Has. Everything.

But I have to wonder if this is another match that’s designed to be short and sweet to both; cater to Sullivan’s limitations and also give more time to Gargano/Ciampa II.

That’s my gut feeling. If this is over 10-minutes I’ll be surprised.

Y’know what, big props to both guys here. This was so much better than I thought it was going to be. A huge man like Aleister Black was made to look a pea. Yet, Black also still looked like the efficient force he’s been made out to be all this time.

They both utilised psychology well here with Black selling the knee and Sullivan trash-talking Black. Such is the dominance of Black that even the 300lb monster needed to systematically breakdown Black.

But boy did they F up at one point. That Black Mass botch was horrible. There was at least two football pitches between Aleister’s boot and Sullivan’s face. But we’ll try and look past it.

The psychology continued all the way until the finish when it took an unprecedented two additional Black Mass kicks to slay the beast. Botch aside, credit to both men here. A very watchable NXT Championship Match. If Sullivan can keep improving, then he has a bright future.

***

Street Fight

Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa II

I think NXT’s storytelling has peaked with this feud. You just can’t do it better than this. I think it speaks volumes that this is the main event for the second show in-a-row; ahead of NXT Title matches.

The animosity between these two has now been brewing for a full year. It started at Chicago last year, they battled at New Orleans and now it’s part two. Their match at New Orleans was a 5-star classic for the ages; this may very well join it.

It’s no DQ again, but I’m expecting a bigger emphasis on weapons this time. Oh look, they both have crutches in hand.

Round2Fight

Johnny, in a Captain America-esque get-up, is already throwing Ciampa all over the place. Announcers table. Steels steps. It’s chaos within the first minute.

A fan yelling, ‘YOU’RE THE DEVIL CIAMPA’, had me in stitches! The fan investment in this feud is second-to-none.

A sign saying ‘Use this Johnny’ fends up being a conveniently wrapped STOP sign. The crowd pops, ECW chants erupt and Ciampa gets lit up with sign shots. Also, I know that that fan is an obvious plant, but how would a fan be able to sneak a full-size STOP sign into the arena? Wrestling logic. Can’t beat it.

Anyway, the war rages on as Gargano comes flying off an elevated platform onto Ciampa, taking him out. Out come the weapons as predicted. Only wrestling makes you miss the sight of trash cans and trash can lids. Ciampa tries to stomp Johnny’s head into a chair, probably not the first attempt at murder we will see in this match.

Oh and here’s attempt #2. Now I have to say, I’m not a fan of this spot. It’s cool as hell, but wrapping a steel chair around someone’s neck and crushing it into the steel steps is a plot device designed to write someone off TV for weeks/months. It shouldn’t be used mid-match as it really undersells the impact of it.

Nevertheless, Ciampa is trying to end Johnny. If that wasn’t bad enough, an impromptu running knee strike with a trash can lid, twice, won’t help either. But at least you can now have trash can lids with an exclusive Johnny Gargano face imprint. Then to compound everything, Johnny is dropped onto the steel steps. Anyone got a towel to throw in?

Then we go old-school, TNA-Bully Ray circa 2013. Ciampa uses bolt cutters to tear the ring apart, pull back the thin padding and expose the unforgiving wooden boards.

We temporarily forego its use as they fight away from it, but it’s not long before Johnny springboards over the top rope and eats a face-full of trash can lid.

There are some sickening purple and black welts sprouting all over Ciampa’s back from vicious leather belt shots earlier on from Johnny. Gargano unleashes a chair assault on Ciampa’s injured knee that he injured in Chicago last year.

The first-half of this match has been about the raw physicality and punishment these two could inflict on one another. I think the second-half will all of that AND MORE, but with even more storytelling.

So it begins, we get a throwback to Chicago last year, both arm in arm as they walk to the back. Ciampa is yelling saying that they were friends and it didn’t have to be this way; then launches him into the stage.

We’ve now teleported to the top of some stacked boxes – a good 10-12ft above the floor – and conveniently, there’s two tables down in the chasm below. We’re now reminiscing about the end of Chicago last year again. Ciampa picks Gargano up, spits on Johnny’s wedding ring and throws it away.

This understandably infuriates Gargano who drops himself and Ciampa 10-12ft, through the two tables below. It looks painful as hell.

Gargano sits down looking at Ciampa, who is now being strapped to a gurney, and realises his wedding ring is no longer on his finger. So off he goes, dragging the gurney back to the ring. He senselessly beats up Ciampa, assaults some officials, handcuffs him, senselessly beats up again and makes him tap out; TWICE.

But the ref is absent for some reason, Johnny climbs outside to the apron, but Ciampa clamps Gargano in his biceps of life and pulls off a desperation DDT, onto the wooden boards. His lifeless body then falls onto Johnny Wrestling’s. 1-2-3.

This is in in the upper-echelons of a 5-star matches. No 18-Star ratings or any nonsense here. This is an all-time great. The calibre of matches we’ve had across various promotions in the last 2-3 years has been a privilege. In terms of atmosphere, story, wrestling, investment, violence etc, it just doesn’t get better than this.

This is your MOTY. This somehow bettered New Orleans. This will be EXTREMELY hard to unseat as the king of 2018 WWE/NXT matches.

*****

NXT Takeover just continues to be the standard bearer in WWE. It’s the wrestling show that you want, and it delivers all of that and more. A tag match that completely and utterly over-delivered, the astonishing duality of Ricochet/Velveteen Dream perfectly capturing athletic ability and storytelling and a sequel that supercedes the original.

A minor dip in quality with the women’s match doesn’t hurt the show and the NXT Title match was another that probably achieved more than we thought was possible.

A show that very possibly may stand as the second-greatest Takeover of all-time; behind New Orleans. Bravo. Brooklyn has another job to do top the last shows.

Overall Rating: ****1/2

Bethesda E3 Press Conference Review: The Undisputed Star of the Show

They even said it themselves, they consistently have the best rated games, year-in and year-out.

https://www.oneangrygamer.net/2018/02/bethesda-metacritics-top-rated-publisher-2017-thanks-politically-charged-outings/52561/

It turns out that they even know how to claim the E3 glory thanks to a headline-stealing press conference with one stellar announcement after another.

There was a LOT of buzz prior to this showing as we were expecting more information on Fallout 76, Elder Scrolls Online etc. Throw in a hyped-up performance from Andrew W.K and the effortless, comedy stylings of Todd Howard and we’re already on the right track.

But some surprises were hinted at, and who doesn’t like surprises? We’ll get to them in due course.

RAGE 2

One of the victims of the Wallmart leak. What an incredible surprise this would’ve been. Nevertheless, I’m elated that it’s here in all of its psychotic glory.

I don’t even know where to begin with RAGE 2; cue the tedious backstory. I was one of the lucky people who owned the underrated 2011 release. It lacked in certain areas, yes, but the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. It left an imprint on my brain and I saw big potential for a sequel.

However, I never thought I’d see that potential realised…until now. Bethesda finally realised there was a hole in the market for a sadistic, irrational first-person shooter with enough personality and creativity to populate a new planet. It’s like a cocktail of Fallout, Mad Max, Metro, Borderlands and Bulletstorm; but it’s happy hour, so you’re getting double the dose for the price of one. Can you handle the kick?

In the 10 minutes of gameplay footage we were shown, we bore witness to an array of meaty weapons that sounded like individual weapons of mass destruction.

The  shotgun actually sounded like Godzilla throwing a tantrum because his Mum wouldn’t let him go Skyscraper climbing, so he stomps his feet in protest.

The fan-favourite Wingsticks are back and the Authority seem to be the evil figureheads once again.

The vibrant colours, the gorgeous locations; this is such a rich environment to murder in. It’s fast, it’s loud and it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Elder Scrolls: Legends

With an existing fanbase of 11 million and counting, the mobile card-game has proven to be quite a hit.

Bethesda announced that it would be surfacing on consoles later this year.

Elder Scrolls: Online

Another arc of the Elder Scrolls machine is its online universe. The ever-popular MMO shows no signs of getting tired and is furthering its repertoire by adding 2 brand new expansions packs.

Wolfhunter adds a system of dungeons all connected by the presence of werewolves, whereas Murkmire is a story-based one that will apparently explore the Argonian race and give some deeper insight as to who they really are.

DOOM: Eternal

GET THE F**K IN!!!!!

Now, given that this is my blog, I’m not always inclined to be impartial; this is one of those exceptional circumstances.

DOOM is undisputedly the best first-person shooter for this generation of consoles and my favourite shoot fest since Call of Duty 4.

DOOM was a masterful reboot that ticked all the right boxes. My mouth has slavered and longed for a new DOOM game. I had VFR, but it wasn’t enough.

But the wait is over, it’s been revealed. In the trailer – I spotted the Spider Mastermind, Revenants (doot-doot), Hell Knights with blades for arms? And even new tentacle monsters.

I think we’re getting new enemies and MORE OF THEM.

August 9th. Quake-Con. The wait for more info is HELL.

Quake: Champions

The online, PC-only, arena shooter that was announced last year. If you login this week, then you can get it free. FOREVER. Good deal.

PREY Update

Prey was a reasonably successful title for Bethesda and it’s still receiving support with the help of new, free, DLC called ‘Mooncrash’ and some new modes; mainly survival mode and new game plus.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

I honestly didn’t expect a new Wolfenstein game so soon. But I guess The New Order was accompanied soon after by The Old Blood.

Youngblood is set many years into the future, B.J is older and is MIA. His twin daughters are grown up now and are on a mission to purge Paris of the Nazi threat, eradicating them once and for all. *scoffs* Yeah right.

Prey + Wolfenstein VR

Some VR support is on the way next as you can kill nasty monsters in virtual reality. Whereas Wolfenstein is going to let you control the big, metal doggies. More, free content is always a good thing.

Skyrim Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Edition

I’m sorry, I had to put this in. Gags fail 9 times out of 10 at E3, this is probably the funniest sketch we will ever see at E3.

Enjoy.

Fallout 76

So it is online only. That will change many things in the Fallout world. But it also offers a very different Fallout world.

No regular enemies now or even NPC’s, the world is now populated with other players. You can destroy their base, work together with them etc. But no quests or cool side-characters is just weird.

Obviously with Elder Scrolls Online having a large following, there was always the possibility of bringing the concept to the Fallout world; a vision that Bethesda have had for a long time according to Todd Howard.

It looks like it’s reinvented itself with lots of horrible new monsters and weaponry. The crafting system has been greatly upgraded, as it has to be to contend with the ever-looming threat of enemy invasion.

The new concept will certainly divide some people, myself included; but this is still definitely a Fallout game.

Elder Scrolls: Blades

Another mobile-only game, but what a game in prospect. Todd Howard was particularly eager to get across the point that this is console-worthy graphics in phone form.

It did indeed look like a miniature-sized Elder Scrolls to take anywhere and play at your own convenience.

The gameplay utilises the full capabilities of a phone’s touchscreen with precise swipes, anywhere across the screen, directly affecting how you deal damage.

Starfield

Bethesda’s first, new IP in 25 years. People have known about its name for some time now, but nothing about the actual game or what it may entail.

We now know it’s official and it looks to have a sci-fi theme. Stay tuned on that one.

The Elder Scrolls VI

Wow. They could easily have ended this after Starfield or even ES: Blades; this is 15 layers of sweet, sickly icing on top of a big, wobbly Bethesda cake that it’s in danger of collapsing under the weight of its greatness.

Analysis

This baby had it all.

Stunning reveals, welcome new sequels, an adrenaline pumping musical performance, a funny sketch to change up the pace, an entertaining host and a some truly earth-shattering announcements.

It never felt like it dragged on, the games got plenty of time to make an impression and Bethesda proved that they have an extensive catalogue of great games. There’s even the added intrigue of Starfield; will it be another hit? Or will it show that not even Bethesda get it right every time. The hype starts here.

From RAGE to DOOM to Wolfenstein to multiple Elder Scrolls games, there’s something for everyone from this company.

Bethesda have become the must-see conference to watch at E3 every year. It was a pleasure.

P.S…Elder Scrolls VI. Welcome.