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.

Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference: It Wasn’t Good Enough

E3 2018 was a BIG one for Microsoft. There’s still time in this generations ‘console war’ for them to have a lasting impact.

Statistics have shown that the general public have generally favoured Sony’s PS4 hardware, with it boasting nearly double the sales of the Xbox One. That’s an incredible amount considering how much the Xbox 360 dominated the PS3 last decade.

http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2018/05/ps4_is_way_ahead_of_xbox_one_in_total_console_sales_says_new_data

It just shows the power of E3.

Microsoft really shot itself in the foot a few years ago with a few blunders: price tag, lack of third party game use and a permanent internet connection required for the Xbox One.

Nintendo has shown that as long as you’ve got the right hardware, games and attitude; you can still make a difference e.g the Nintendo Switch.

So can Microsoft get some new IP’s out as, late in the game, system-sellers?

Halo Infinite (Exclusive)

As I predicted, a new Halo game has surfaced; albeit very briefly. There was nothing to take from this. There a rhino, Master Chief with his helmet off and the famous, green Halo truck. I’m quite shocked that that’s all we got.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Exclusive)

This is probably the best new game to come out of Microsoft’s presentation. A sequel to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest. This looks like an adorable, fuzzy game with warm-looking characters in an enchanting adventure. It looks like a solid co-op game boasting an array of colours and creative backdrops in its 2.5D style design. It’s art-style is gorgeous and did I say that Ori is adorable?

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Third-party)

Looks like Nioh. That’s my first instinct. My other instinct is that I want this. Made by From Software, it’s the game we thought was going to be Bloodborne 2. We finally got a glimpse at the game, that was revealed last year, and its Samurai action looks frenetic and VERY intense.

Thankfully it’s a multi-platform release, but this would be a sign of things to come from Microsoft’s conference.

Fallout: 76  (Third-party)

Initially there was uproar over Fallout 76. Is it an MMO? Is it going down the same route as Elder Scrolls Online? We still don’t know, but this reveal suggests that it’s not a full-blown MMO, and that resonates with me nicely.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit (Third-party)

Set in the Life is Strange universe, one I’m completely unfamiliar with so scold me in the comments section. I can’t comment much here, it looks zany and emotive and if it follows the same ‘Telltale Games’ gameplay, then it will probably sit well with fans of Life is Strange.

Crackdown 3 (Exclusive)

I love it just for Terry Crews’ voice alone. Crackdown games are usually over-the-top, kick as much ass as humanly possible games; in the same vein as the later Saints Row games.

I can’t say it looked all-that impressive, personally. The graphics seemed a bit blocky, and they didn’t sparkle with the modern-day gloss that lots of top AAA games do.

More importantly, the gameplay just didn’t grab my attention. As I’ve alluded to already, if you slapped the ‘Saints Row’ name on this game, then it wouldn’t be amiss.

Metro Exodus (Third-party)

It looks more Fallout than Fallout 76 does. It looks like a true, posy-apocalyptic world with danger lurking around every frickin corner. The pulse-racing desire to achieve survival feels paramount here and could be the sleeper hit of 2018.

Kingdom Hearts 3 (Third-party)

Coming to Xbox. That’s big. But not as big as OLAF! What you prefer Sven? Well you better LET IT GO because I don’t care.

Seriously though, this a great addition for the Microsoft catalogue and KH3 is shaping to be a sequel worth waiting for.

Sea of Thieves DLC (Exclusive)

This is another game that I saw as an opportunity missed. This needed to be released WITH the game on launch, not now. The game didn’t boast a lot of content in the beginning and it still doesn’t. It may be too late for Sea of Thieves.

Battlefield 5 (Third-party)

We already saw this at the EA Conference, kind of. Not much new stuff here.

Forza Horizon 4 (Exclusive)

Leaves! Leaves fell from the ceiling in time to leaves falling in the game. No expense spared, it might wake the audience up. It looks like a really connected and open, driving world with real-time bonding and crashing. Dynamic seasons. It’s your typical Forza Horizon game really and looks beautiful.

We Happy Few (Third-party)

Already seen it plenty. It’s got that extraordinary Bioshock vibe to it which immediately draws me to it.

PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds (Xbox and PC)

No one clapped for this again, it really feels like the crowd interest is waning significantly. This isn’t a major announcement as it’s just a minor extension of Pubg.

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (Third-party)

A 2008 JRPG being remastered for a new generation. Again, another game I didn’t know much about, but it looks like a very good Final Fantasy clone (pre XIII).

The Division 2 (Third-party)

The Division wasn’t a world-beater, and this did nothing to allay my fears about it as it looks to be treading similar ground to its predecessor. The graphics weren’t too impressive, but the arsenal on hand looked fun and it sounded great.

The voice-acting though, sheesh. I’ve yet to confirm whether not that was all pre-recorded, player dialogue, or if it was in-game battle chatter. Either way, it was horrible, cheesy and really undermined the reveal to the point I had to mute it for the final third of it.

 

Fast Track + Game Pass (Exclusive)

‘Fast start’ launches in June for select titles and will make games more accessible, meaning you can jump straight into them.

Plus Crackdown and Forza Horizon 4 will be available on the Game Pass on their release days. It’s cool to see full-price, day-one releases being available on this service. So if you have Xbox Live and the Game Pass, then you have some big, freebies coming your way.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Third-party)

Coming this year, it looks to be another fantastic addition to the successfully rebooted Tomb Raider franchise. There’s no timed exclusivity like there was for Rise of the Tomb Raider here either.

The reveal showcases deep storytelling, dramatic set-pieces, challenging puzzles; and Lara camouflaging to evade a big kitty.

The implication runs rife through the trailer that she’s responsible for something bad. Another gritty entry in a series that can do no wrong.

Session (Exclusive or Timed Exclusive?)

It’s not Skate, but it looks as close as you’re going to get to one. Boasting an Eminem-inspired soundtrack for the video, it really does look like a throwback to the great skateboarding games of yore.

But, I have read conflicting reports about the nature of its exclusivity. Some people say it’s an exclusive, whereas some say it’s only timed. For Microsoft’s sake, I’d hoped its an exclusive as this could be big for them. It’s a gap in the market waiting to be claimed due to the disastrous nature of the latest Tony Hawks game.

Black Desert  (Timed Exclusive)

A hugely popular MMORPG in Asia, it’s now coming to Western consoles; yes, plural. Whilst Microsoft announced this as being a console exclusive, I dug a bit deeper and I discovered that it’s another timed one. In an interview with Pearl Abyss’ COO, James Heo, he said that once the deal is over (with Microsoft), they are sure to bring their flagship to other consoles as well.

https://www.spieltimes.com/news/black-desert-xbox-one-timed-exclusive/

Devil May Cry 5 (Third-party)

J-pop. Batsh*t craziness. Fighting demons, big demons, huge, sprawling demons. This looks like everything you could ever want from a DMC game. Old-school Dante is back too as he turns up to the party on his bike, classic hair-do and all.

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course (Xbox and PC)

Ahh this breaks my heart. Even as a PS4 gamer, I want Microsoft to do well and produce some top quality games, but this is the one that hurts.

I like me a hard game, and this game is hard, overflowing with charm and boasts a unique identity. Cuphead is the best exclusive that Microsoft has produced in years.

So a helping of new bosses and levels will be welcome news to the ears of keen Cuphead enthusiasts. Lucky people with their dancing sunflower.

Tunic (Exclusive)

Another much-needed exclusive for the platform. It’s not a massive AAA title, but it’s another game packed with charm.

You control a small, cute fox and navigate contained, but open levels: fighting nasty monsters, locating treasure and making your way to the next level. It’s got a subtle soundtrack and doesn’t seem as easy as it first appears.

It looks like a nice title that people will hopefully take a chance on.

Jumpforce (Third-party)

A crossover, fighting game featuring characters from Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, One Piece and even Death Note. No more needs to be said.

Although, surely it’s redundant with Light having the Death Note, right?

Dying Light 2 (Third-party)

Wow. I didn’t see this coming. I genuinely hadn’t heard anything about a sequel for Dying Light, and I thoroughly enjoyed Dying Light.

It looked bigger and more expansive; offering greater freedom in terms of being able to traverse from location to location e.g swing ropes etc. Plus, one of the weaker aspects of the first game (story) may be addressed here too with a city in civil war and in-fighting a problem.

It’s good to see that it got a sequel.

Battletoads (Exclusive)

Erm, were people begging for this? I honestly don’t know, I guess the value of this exclusive is based on how keen you are on Battletoads. It’s been over 20 years since the last one and this is rigidly sticking to its roots, retaining 2.5D graphics and gameplay.

Just Cause 4 (Third-party)

A destructive sequel with destructive qualities and a destructive destruction of destructive destruction. Its a series that prides itself on cataclysmic chaos…and destruction.

Just Cause 3 was an absolute blast, packed with explosive gameplay and it kept me grapple hooked.

If number Four can up the ante, then it promises to be dynamite.

Gears of War Triple Header (Xbox and PC)

-Gears Pop: A cartoon game based on the hugely-successful Punko Pop Figures.

-Gears Tactics:  A PC-Only, turn-based combat game that is very much set in the Gears universe.

-Gears 5: Another prediction of mine that inevitably came to fruition. I knew that the fourth game had ended on a proverbial cliffhanger, so a another game was inevitable. I can admit, if I owned an Xbox, I would probably own every game in this franchise.

I had the chance to play Gears of War 4 at Eurogamer in 2016 and it was stunning. The gameplay was so tight and brutal; 5 looks to be a continuation of this, but with a deeper story.

You take control of Kait, who debuted in GOW4, and you take your squad AWOL in attempt to find an answer to Kait’s broken psyche. With a rumoured Battle Royale mode too, GOW5 should be a must-buy.

Cyberpunk 2077 (Third-party)

The audience has noticeably gotten quieter throughout the show. But this woke them up somewhat. A nice little surprise at the end to close proceedings. Just as it seemed the conference was about to go offline, the screens were invaded with a ‘virus’ and malware seemingly took control of everything.

It was the reveal for the long-awaited, hardcore gamers wet dream; Cyberpunk 2077.

A deep-base soundtrack providing the grungy, undertones to this seedy looking city. A place that looks infatuated by all the poisons of its futuristic age. There’s no clear characters here or any defined story, but it’s a beautiful collage showing how this ugly city works; presented in every shade of the colour spectrum.

It doesn’t matter what console you own, this will be a system seller for all formats.

Analysis

This was a fantastic games conference, but an awful Microsoft Conference.

I’d previously reiterated my belief that Microsoft could increased their console sales if they could just pull a few rabbits out of the hat. They for some reason decided to adopt a trilby, filled with concrete…

More than ever, this year moved away from TV, TV, TV and COD, COD, COD. This conference proudly boasted 50 games and 18 exclusives. But outside of the same old ones, what else was there?

Even the audience seemed to lose enthusiasm and energy the more the show went on. I’ve never really known games be shown, and get no reaction from the crowd.

Halo didn’t even tell us anything, Crackdown looks good, but not amazing, Forza will obviously be a superb racing game and Gears will impress, no doubt about it.

But you see the overriding problem here? None of these AAA games are new IP’s. I will absolutely not turn this into a flame war and point out what Sony are doing, I’ll talk about Sony’s success with exclusives during their conference tomorrow.

But the biggest new games are Ori, Tunic and Battletoads. Not exactly reasons to get your phone out and order an Xbox One.

The Fast Track and Game Pass announcements are cool, but that’s mainly for people who already own the console. Otherwise you’re asking people to shell out for a console, Xbox Live and a Monthly Subscription.

Additional DLC for Cuphead, Pubg and Sea of Thieves provide a small boost, but the third party games have really hit this conference hard. The main talk about the conference is primarily about third-party games e.g Battlefield V, Kingdom Hearts III, Sekiro, Fallout, The Division and Tomb Raider.

Next year will have to be a big year for Microsoft, as this didn’t live up to the hype I’m afraid.

Leave a comment, like and follow! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

E3: The Wrestlemania of Video Games

Ever since 1995, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has been at the forefront of video game excitement, hype and anticipation. It’s seen the unveiling of some of the most significant pieces of hardware and birthed lots of well-loved, well-received games that have a firm place in the annals of gaming. Why? Because E3 is the resounding, undisputed, media-fuelled event in the gaming calendar.

The Tokyo Game Show, The Playstation Experience and even the Game Developers Conference are all left in the dust. Are they all big shows? No doubt about it. But I’m sure they’d all like to whip up a storm even half as effortlessly as E3 does.

The first-ever show took place in, what would become, its usual home of California; with the exception of two consecutive entries in Atlanta, Georgia from 1997-98. It had the pleasure of showcasing the price-point and release date for the brand new Playstation console. The N64 was shown off to the public, as well as Nintendo boasting the Sega Saturn. How time flies eh?

E31995Sony

Spyro The Dragon, Parappa The Rapper, Crash Bandicoot and Sweet Tooth.

Almost a Sony Mt. Rushmore.

Fast-forward to 2018’s instalment, and whilst we’re probably not getting a new iteration of hardware from any of the big-hitters, we should be in for a smorgasbord of juicy, gaming reveals to sink our lucky teeth into.

The countdown is ticking down, day-by-day; seven more days to be precise, until a mass congregation of hungry gamers converge in the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The yearly titans are in full-force once again to wow the world with their presentations; Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, Bethesda and Ubisoft amongst others. They will all look to capitalise on the mainstream media attention by throwing fastballs to appease consumers, and the odd curveball in there to throw a proverbial spanner in the works.

Maybe that’ll be a new exclusive, ‘Spanner in the Works’. The hardships of Young Spanner, desperately trying to impress Mother Spanner by performing every chore imaginable. Until ultimately, Young Spanner goes all out to impress her and rebels against his Mother’s wishes. Sadly…he has a screw loose.

I should probably copyright that idea. Absolute money.

Anyway, this is the kind of tomfoolery that makes E3 so interesting. I still fondly remember squealing like a pig when the N.Sanity Collection was announced at E3 2016. It was a europhic moment that came out of left field, leaving the audience in a state of uncontrollable hysteria.

CrashNSaneTrilogy

3 games. 3 platinum trophies for my collection. Thank you Vicarious Visions for your superb reimagining of these wonderful games.

Final Fantasy XIII revealing that it was going to be playable on an Xbox console was earth-shattering. The series was synonymous with the Sony brand, and with the PS3 struggling, it was seen as something of a bombshell and a huge win for Microsoft in the ongoing console wars.

The list goes on…

-The first-ever appearance of the Nintendo DS (that would go onto become the most successful series of handheld consoles of all-time).

-Valve’s President, Gabe Newell, appearing during Sony’s 2010 E3 Conference to announce Portal 2, despite publicly lambasting Sony in the past.

-Sony’s one-upmanship of Microsoft in 2013, effectively winning trouncing the Xbox One with the announcement of a cheaper console, allowance of third-party game use, and not needing a constant internet connection; unlike the Xbox One.

-PS Move, PS VR, Wii U, X1, PS3 etc. All different consoles and devices that have been showcased at E3.

By digging deep into E3’s history, I discovered a fascinating little tidbit.

E3SegaSaturn

299.99

Did you know, that the Sega Saturn was released in North America…DURING Sega’s 1995 E3 Conference? It was a ballsy move that was done to try and fast-track Sega’s new console to success, ahead of the impending arrival of the Playstation. It failed spectacularly. Especially as Sony’s Conference soon followed and their Head of Development calmly walked on-stage during it, uttered ‘299’ and left. Absolute genius. The much-cheaper price tag had instantly crushed the Saturn’s momentum and ended the console’s chances of success in one fell swoop.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/14/sega-saturn-how-one-decision-destroyed-playstations-greatest-rival

E3 is capable of the spectacular. So my hopes are high.

Not just for Sony though, this is a multi-faceted gaming website after all. I just want great games to come out. I like games, even if they’re on the Xbox and I can’t play them. As I type this, I’m crying internally thinking about Cuphead. *sad face*

It’s like Christmas for gaming. E3 is pre-Santa.

Santa

Where are we landing boys? Tilted Towers?

FYI, there have been leaks of E3 games all over the internet, but I’ve tried to avoid them as to not ruin the surprises for myself. So if you wanna forego my nerdy predictions and childish desires, then feel free to scour the internet and see what undercover info you can get your impatient hands on.

From a Playstation perspective, we know that The Last of Us 2 is going to feature, which, personally, is enough to own E3 alone. Hideo Kojima has promised more of Death Stranding, meaning we get more than Norman Fetus and the ambiguity surrounding this tightly-coiled egg. Also, The Ghost of Tsushima has the potential to be a game of the Year candidate, so we’ll thankfully get more of that here too.

In addition to all of this, maybe Bloodborne 2? More on Medievil? More classic remasters? Syphon Filter? Horzion Zero Dawn 2? We’ll just have to wait and see.

SirDanielFortesque

*Incoherent mumbling*

Microsoft have tended to falter in recent years and it’s been a while since they really wowed people. They still release quality games year in and year out, but the exclusives have certainly been left wanting. The Xbox One generally feels like it’s inhaling the dust of the Sony behemoth that is always one step in front of it.

Can Microsoft strike here? I’d like to think so. It’d be nice.

A cool, new exclusive to shock the system would be cool BABY! (wrestling joke there for you, it’s a dual website remember). A new Halo game surely beckons too, perhaps another successful Forza game and maybe a new entry from Gears of War? As far as surprises go, would it be cruel to suggest a new Perfect Dark? Time will tell.

MasterChief

The one and only.

There’s probably another 2-3 years left of this generation of consoles, and that’s plenty of time for Microsoft to leave a serious footprint and maybe even change the landscape a tad.

As for Nintendo, they’ve had a great couple of years since they released the Switch with strong sales. They’ve had some stonking, hit titles with Mario Kart, Splatoon 2 and of course, Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I wouldn’t say Nintendo could do much wrong here, especially with a new Pokémon game already announced, we’ll see what they do…Super Smash Bros. anyone?

ZeldaBreathoftheWild

E3 is always a cool event. I’ll be following all the coverage and if I see anything that takes my fancy, then I’ll be sure to channel my thoughts into a piece of work. Maybe reviewing a press conference or two too.

Until then, enjoy E3…you’ll be hearing the scream heard around the world if we get a Simpsons Hit and Run remaster, you can take that to the bank and bloody well cash it.

Fortnite: Battle Royale: With Cheese

It’s very rare that a game has me scouring its huge, expansive map for a multi-coloured llama piñata. But when my glistening eye dilates as it catches sight of one, then I will run, I will jump, I will literally hurdle through hell itself, kicking Satan in the d**k if need-be. If the end goal is a goofy-looking llama containing 1, 500 resources and lots of ammo; then it becomes a matter of life or death to get it.

Side-note: Death is a reoccurring theme in this game too.

Fortnite is a weird and wonderful game, although very divisive.

FortniteRainbowSmash

This…is a pick axe. Be honest, you want it don’t you?

It’s divisive in the sense that it’s arguable taken the crown as king of battle royale games, although PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, H1Z1 and DayZ might have something to say about this. It’s become the most-streamed game on Twitch, has the most active players and gets the most revenue of any game in the battle-royale genre, despite being free-to-play.

But before all of that, what is a battle royale game? Good question.

It’s an RnG-influenced skirmish, traditionally pitting 100 people against each other, air dropping onto a sprawling map filled with randomised loot.

Your objective? Gather materials to build yourself impromptu defences, loot chests and houses to find the best weapons and accessories, all the while running away from a storm that closes in on the map to kill you. Get caught in the storm? Then you may die. But why are you doing this? To kill the other players and be the last person and/or team standing.

Earning a sacred ‘Victory Royale #1’ is a great feeling.

FortniteVictoryRoyale

It took me a few months to wrap my head around the addictive nature of Fortnite, but a couple of weeks into Season 3, I made my illusive bow and forayed into the crazy world. Within a couple of weeks I was suckling the sweet teat of this game and being overrun by its addictive juices. Seriously, it’s infectious.

I went into my first few games with severe trepidation as my only exposure to the content of this game was through social media. Skyscrapers and intense 1-on-1 battles with players frantically assembling gargantuan, wooden structures with en-suite bathrooms was certainly intimidating. Nevertheless, I had to join in.

It’s a tough game to get to grips with no doubt, there was is much choice, yet I had no idea what any of it meant.

When your experience with something is very much in its infancy, then your baby steps are going to be like walking on lava with this game, oh boy. But when you begin to understand the mechanics of the game, then it becomes very satisfying.

Throughout the course of season 3, the game underwent a myriad of changes: ranging from weapons having their damage output nerfed, all the way to the addition of a sticky grenade in the shape of a plunger (charmingly entitled ‘The Clinger).

A portable fort, light-machine guns, heavy shotguns, remote explosives and impulse grenades are just some of the newest additions that have helped to mould the game we have today.

It’s not just the stuff you can use, it’s the modes you can use them in too. Sniper Shootout limits the inventory to sniper rifles and hunting rifles, a fast-paced Blitz mode, to one team versus another one, 50 v 50.

Fortnite50vs50

The thing that’s impressed me most with Epic Games, is their ability to constantly reinvent their game. Upping their game each week with the changes.

However, it’s not just Epic’s willingness to expand the elements, it’s also the way in which they will respond to feedback and withdraw some of those elements too. The laser-guided missile was added towards the end of season 3, and it’s safe to say that it was an over-powered beast. You could give a baby, fresh out of the womb, one of these bad boys and they’d probably still be able to make mincemeat out of your favourite squishy kitty.

Boogie bombs, the pressurised equivalent of LSD, had developed a glitch that allowed players to hold unlimited weapons, so they were pulled for a couple of weeks. There’s no standing on ceremony with Fortnite, if Epic believe something is harmful to their baby, then they’ll eliminate the threat without hesitation.

FortniteBoogieBomb

Now, it’s a given that they’ll do this, especially when you consider that Fortnite supposedly raked in $126 million in February alone.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2018/03/22/report-heres-how-much-money-fortnite-battle-royale-is-making/#25539fa370ff

The game is free-to-play, so where’s the money coming from then? Cosmetic purchases. The only half-decent form of paid downloadable content in the world.

To be fair, Fortnite excels in giving value for money. The optional Battle Pass, priced at around £8, gives players 100 tiers to earn stickers, costumes, interchangeable accessories, skins, loading screens, and the ever-lovable emotes.

FortniteFlossGIF

I play Fortnite a lot, more than I want to sometimes as it unnecessarily diverts my attention away from my main games. But that’s the beauty of the ‘Take the L emote’. The music for that emotes had me in tears from laughing when I first stumbled across it.

The item shop also updates daily with exclusive content, all cosmetic, and it’s all just bizarre and wonderful nonsensicalness. Your psyche wars so much with this game that spending hard-earned money, turning your avatar into a bright, pink Easter bunny man that dances like a reincarnated Michael Jackson, is totally worth it.

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This is the Rabbit Raider aka “Mr BunBunMan”. He has been my main avatar for a long time. I love him.

The Game Itself

 

Step 1: The pre-lobby camaraderie between players usually begins proceedings. People around the world showing off their imaginative combinations of attire and dance is always fun and ironic. You could literally be dancing in front of the same dastardly individual who will later end your dreams by one-shotting you with a green pump shotgun.

Step 2: Next, it’s all aboard the battle bus. All manner of individuals, crammed inside a cramped, claustrophobic bus. It sets sail in the skies. Flying in a straight line over the battlefield. It’s then up to you to deploy and pick your poison. Want an action-packed game that will inevitability see you eat a swift death? Tilted Towers for you. Or perhaps you’re sick of dying, and want to take a more conservative approach. Moisty Mire or Junk Junction then. Either way, find a Gold Scar if you can.

Step 3: This is generally the part of the script in which players will depart. The desperate dash to find a weapon, and not leave yourself more exposed than a naked man in a mine field. Even if it’s a common revolver, take it. Otherwise you’ll be trying to fend off a fellow vulture with your pitiful pick axe. Any weapon > a 10 damage pick axe. Back to the lobby you go.

Step 4: Ok. You’ve scrounged a weapon and gotten your shaky hands on some loot. You’re armed to the teeth with a Gold SCAR, a Gold Heavy Shotgun, Gold Bolt-Action, Gold Grenade Launcher and a Chug Jug; along with 16 kills to your name. Yeah, in your dreams. You’re packing a green AR and 3 mini-shields and survived your only encounter with 1hp left. Good luck, we’re all counting on you.

Step 5: Oh, you’re still here…Ok, well keep going, there’s only a few people left. The storm circle is very small and the end is near for most of you. Basically, use all your skill to survive, kill and get that W.

Step 6: You’ve either claimed the win. Congratulations. Otherwise, quit out and get yourself into a new game pronto and do it all over again. If you’ve won, quite out and get yourself into a new game pronto and do it all over again!

FortniteThugLife

That’s another pleasing attribute of the game, the accessibility of it. If you die, then you can immediately quit out, retaining your match rewards, without having to stay until the end. Normally you’ll be straight into another one within a minute or so.

I guess my only really gripe with Fortnite and/or the genre, is that you can actually win a game without making any meaningful contributions. It’s entirely possible to win a game without getting a single kill or even an assist. There are 6-week old pieces of mouldy pizza, left to rot at the bottom of a bin, growing new kinds of fungi unbeknownst to man, that can say they made more of an impact on some Fortnite games than their respective winners.

But apart from that minor misdemeanour, it’s been a joy to play Season 3, especially towards the latter stages as the, now infamous, ‘Comet’ stirred up conspiracy theories and grapevine chatter all the way up until its seismic conclusion.

The sighting of a comet in the sky, getting closer with every passing week, was the starting point of many debates: What would it do? Will it destroy anything? etc.

After many false dawns, it finally crashed into the map, decimating Dusty Depot. In its place is the newly christened Dusty Divot, creating many craters around the map and generally facilitating the evolution from Season 3 to Season 4.

What will it bring about I wonder. An elastic band gun that fires fireworks? Port-a-tank? Kamikaze Squirrel Bombs?

We’ll have to see. As long as I get an emote depicting Booker T’s Spinaroonie then I’ll be happy.

Wrestling. Elaborate and Entertaining.

Shocked WM30 Guy

Shocked WM30 Guy

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Shocked WM30 Guy

Shocked WM30 Guy


You see the GIF above? That’s arguably the most iconic moment in the history of professional wrestling. The Undertaker hurling Mick Foley off of the top of 16ft high structure called ‘Hell in a Cell’. With only a thick wooden table, with embedded TV monitors, to act as his landing mat.
The Undertaker

  • Has arguably the most successful ‘gimmick’ in wrestling history
  • Won a record 24 matches at Wrestlemania, including 21 in-a-row
  • Has his own repertoire of unique matches: Inferno Match, Casket Match, Buried Alive etc
  • One half of the Brothers of Destruction with ‘sibling’ Kane
  • Won many championships including 7 WWE world title reigns

Mick Foley

  • Bounced between 3 different personas: Mankind, Dude Love and Cactus Jack
  • Competed in promotions all over the world, including in Japan where he rose to fame in legendary deathmatch bouts
  • 3-time WWE world champion
  • Has pulled 4.7 million thumbtacks out of his body, used 2 million litres of water to help with burns he’s suffered from fire and C4 explosions, and required 7.6 million stitches to patch up 20 years of wounds as a result of chairs, fists and barbed wire amongst other things

Their incredible Hell in a Cell match, from King of the Ring 1998, is remembered for its controversial brutality and now lives in infamy as the most famous wrestling match ever. Now there’s been waaay more violent matches in the history of professional wrestling, disturbingly. But this match set the tone for future bumps and punishment with all future Hell in a Cell matches having a bar set so high that an Olympic pole-vaulter would have a hard time reaching. If you’re a wrestling fan, and have never watched this match, then I implore you to do so. Conversely, if you’re not a wrestling fan and you’ve never watched this match, then I also implore you to do so. You’ll certainly find a a newfound appreciation for your regular day job.

By the end of this one contest: Mick Foley had sustained a concussion from an errant, falling steel chair, had one and a half teeth knocked out (one of which went through his lip) from said chair, required 14 stitches for a cut below his lip, a dislocated jaw, a bruised kidney and a dislocated shoulder. Oh, and a routine concussion to add. Undertaker? He somehow wrestled the entire match despite a broken foot. Wrestlers are so soft aren’t they?

Foley Tooth HIAC

This one match alone dispels the myth that wrestling is “fake”.

Fake.

It’s such a cliché and hated word in the world of professional wrestling. Anyone who knows me knows that it’s little bit of a pet peeve of mine as it’s completely disrespectful to the performers who risk their lives every time they set foot in the ring. I’d wager that most wrestling aficionados will prefer the term ‘scripted’ as it hits the nail on the head perfectly.

This is what happens when you ask “Dr Death” Dave Schultz if wrestling is fake.

Why do people watch films or TV? Simple, it entertains them. They appreciate the acting, the selling of the drama unfolding before them, the intricate plotlines that interweave characters and dramatic events. It’s like non-wrestling people think that fans are children. That what we’re watching is a legitimate contest with the outcome to be decided. It’s ridiculous. Of course the results are pre-determined, we just want to watch the fantastical stories of good vs bad, and that culminate in thrilling action.

Wrestling is basically everything you get in Hollywood, but with the added bonus of the occasional 450 Splash and Super Kick Party.

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My favourite move in all of wrestling. The Canadian Destroyer. Admit it, you’re still trying to work out the logistics of it.

It took me a while to properly catch up with wrestling, much to my annoyance. Whilst everyone in primary school was watching the old WWF and enjoying the Attitude Era, the most successful period of wrestling in history due to its outlandish content, I was sheltered away from it by dissenting parents. That went well didn’t it? Bless them.

I still managed to watch it here and there anyway. My young eyes quickly became desensitised to the sight of a man’s head resembling a broken faucet leaking maroon.

*****GRAPHIC WARNING: EXAMPLES OF BLEEDY HEAD SYNDROME INCOMING*****

*****FINAL WARNING*****

*****IT’S ICKY*****

As a teenager: blood, violence, fire, tables, ladders and barbed wire was the best thing ever. My developing mind grew an insatiable appetite for raw punishment and wasn’t satisfied until it had its depraved, blood-thirst quenched. 10 years later? Well, all of that still applies as it’s still frickin awesome and a spectacle unlike anything else; but over time, I learned to appreciate the finer arts of wrestling.

A crisp exchange of catch-as-catch-can wrestling began to resonate with me more than a man trying to cave in the skull of another man with a steel chair. The nonsensical utterances I make when a wrestler delivers a ‘stiff’ shot is comparable to the adulation a football fan exclaims when their team scores. Technical excellency is just perfection to behold and admire.

For the lesser hardcore fan, I think I should address the ‘stiff’ elephant in the room…I’m probably just making this worse to be fair. Ah well, here goes; a stiff shot is when a wrestler hits their opponent very hard with a solid, and real, strike e.g forearm, knee etc; Japanese wrestling is rife with it, they just don’t care!

There’s nothing more satisfying than watching these larger than life athletes psychologically breaking each other down with submission holds and reversals that if we mere mortals attempted, then we’d be in physical rehabilitation for the next 6 months and sucking on churned up digestives through a cannula.

The things these people can do is incredible. I’ve spent so much of my life mesmerised and drawn to them. As I’ve said, it’s not just the physical side of wrestling that’s enticing, but in many ways it’s the verbal and mental side too.

Over the years there have been some tremendous workers in the industry who were clearly born to be professional wrestlers; but not so much entertainers. Reoccurring problems are usually limitations in their promo work, inability to come up with a unique character and basically didn’t exude any kind of charisma, meaning their success faltered as a result.

1999 Rock.png

There are so many wrestlers that if they’d had so much as 1% of this guy’s charisma, then they’d be a star. The Rock was THE star and was untouchable on a microphone.

Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler, Shelton Benjamin, Lance Storm and even John Morrison. All breathtakingly good athletes who could wrestle the hind legs off of a camel, until it inevitability spat at them for not being able to trash talk. But sadly several of these super-talented guys had the personality of the dirt/spittle combination created by the humbled camel.

I’m still sports-entertained by them, but it’s the real stars that draw the money; the complete packages. NOT Roman Reigns, but I’m sure I’ll get to that another day. Your AJ Styles’, Daniel Bryans’, Stone Colds’, Brock Lesnars’ etc. Y’know, the kind of people that make you want to go to Wrestlemania twice.

Yes, I had to mention it. If you need to know my underlying commitment to wrestling, know that I’ve endured long travel and expense to travel to Dallas, Texas for Wrestlemania 32, and even New Orleans, Louisiana for Wrestlemania 34.

I won’t bore you with those two adventures, as devilishly fun as they were. I’ll just conclude by saying that if my wrestling content never pre-dates 1996, that’s because I’ve never really had any desire to go back that far. I will pick out select matches to watch e.g Steamboat/Savage from Wrestlemania 3 etc. But basically, my expertise is 97′ onwards. I just became accustomed to modern wrestling as it’s grown in the last 20+ years.

I also try to keep up-to-date with all the major companies: WWE, TNA/Impact, ROH, NJPW, the British Independent Scene’s major companies e.g Progress, ICW etc. I will do my best to do reviews, articles and produce rich, exciting content….hopefully.

YES!

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Forever Imprisoned

Video games will forever be a joy and a curse in my life, for as long as I live. I sometimes ponder, looking at the world around me, debating if I’ve made the right choices in my existence. Could I have done more? Could I have achieved more? That’s just past tense, perhaps I could DO more. Probably. All this time, I could’ve expended effort trying to find workarounds to some of life’s annoyances; life hacks if you will. It’s entirely possible that by harnessing my brain power, I could’ve created an invention to truly revolutionise the world around me and changed the course of human history forever…

Instead…I’ve toiled away doing repetitive tasks such as, grinding dung to give to a crazy person.

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I’m not even sorry.

I spent well over an hour of my time farming the same level of Nioh, just to get enough dung to give an NPC, to be awarded a bronze trophy. Was it mind-numbingly and excruciatingly dull? Dear god yes. Was it worth it? Dear god yes. With that hindrance no longer encumbering me, I was able to mop up the rest of the trophies and obtain the elusive platinum trophy to add to my impressive list of virtual accomplishments.

Let’s face it, unless you’re a professional gamer partaking in e-sports, or a gamer who earns a living through YouTube and/or Twitch, then you’re merely indulging in your enjoyable hobby. Like all of us.

Gaming is in my DNA. Always has been and always will. If I remember correctly, my first spoken words were “Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine”. Ok that may have been a lie, but you get the idea. From the old Commodore 64’s, all the way to the PS4, we’ve had a whole range of gaming devices warm our house.

Dr Robotnik's MBM

Davy Sprockett was my favourite character. Look at his smug face.

Primarily a Sony household, every Sony console has been within the confines of our living space at one time or another and they’ve provided so much joy and happiness. By the way, I’m not sponsored by Sony or anything but, Sony, if you’re reading, I suppose I’ll do an advert if you want…

I love Sony

My best gaming years have certainly been the last 20-24 years and I reckon they’ll keep going at this rate. P.S I’m 24.

Video games provide me with so much enjoyment that I sometimes take them for granted. Like, can you imagine a world without video games…it’s…it’s dark, and cold. Everything seems futile. What is life, without dual analogues?

They’re just great! It’s not like they impair you either, whereas one individual will read a juicy book and learn a plethora of new words, each more extravagant than the last; I can get the same returns from a game.

The masterful storytelling of an Uncharted or a Bioshock will more than stimulate the senses. Games with such subtle nuances and style, that they make you appreciate how well-rounded they are. They can be so insightful and thought-provoking, but yet gorgeous and fabulously satisfying to play.

Will a Harvard Literature Professor use a multi-award winning game as an example in a class? Unlikely. Should they? Without doubt. Gaming is an expressive medium as much as anything and you can learn a lot from it. There’s nothing too shabby about improved multi-tasking and better cognitive thinking either.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201310/video-gaming-can-increase-brain-size-and-connectivity

On the other hand, not every game is a wondrous marvel that demands its flavours be tasted; I’m looking at you Terminator: Salvation and Rambo: The Video Game. Basically, avoid any game that’s film counterpart had Arnie or Stallone in it.

Now before you start judging me as some pretentious, stuck-up flebbajebba that only appreciates the finer games; let’s be clear, I’m a man-child, see my use of ‘flebbajebba’ for a point of reference. Ask me, do my eyes light up when I’m taken on an emotional journey as the world’s greatest serial killer searches for El Dorado? Or does my pulse race as that same murderous man discovers the ancient city of Shambhala? Of course. Nathan Drake is one of the single-greatest protagonists across all forms of entertainment; although a psychological profiling may not be amiss.

But the beauty of humans is that we all derive pleasure via different means. Myself?  Give me a Super Shotgun and let me rip and tear my way through hell. Thrash metal ringing in my ears as I puncture another hole in the bony face of a screaming revenant.

Doom Revenant

Don’t you just want to hug him?

Or let me put together a team of the world’s greatest footballing superstars and create the ‘Ultimate Team’. I’ll use the intricate footwork of Luka Modric to glide between two defenders before feeding a crisp through ball to Luis Suarez for him to bury it top bins. Beautiful.

Salah UT

“Mo Salah, Mo Salah, Mo Salah, running down the wing.”

No? How about taking the reigns of an emotionally-tortured child as he escapes his possessed, zealot of a mother. Crying tears at the foul and depraved entities lurking in the basement?

Binding of Isaac

I tried to find a picture that adequately represented The Binding of Isaac. This will suffice.

Too modern for you? Ok then. How about a green and blue dinosaur trying to save their girlfriends by bubbling their way through a gauntlet of 100 dungeons in order to defeat a massive drunk throwing bottles at you? Still nothing? Ok then. A joke.

Bubble Bobble lvl 13

Two doctors wander onto an island. They compete in a shooting gallery where they shoot anything from piranhas to flaming torches to meteors heading for earth to even a single bastarding fly with ONE….SHOT. Funny, wasn’t it?

Point Blank 1

Ahhhhh the nostalgia. If I went through every game I’ve played in my life, then this piece would be deeper than the Grand Canyon. So I’ll dispense with the banter and swiftly summarise. Gaming is fantastic. I mean just look at the list of inane concepts that I’ve just reeled off, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the tip of the iceberg.

Fun is fun at the end of the day and gaming appeals to the masses around the world. Even the most productive people will have played Goldeneye or dabbled in a quick game of Halo here and there. I’m sure that a certain, former American lawyer secretly gets his mates round for a boisterous evening of Super Smash Bros. Gaming has something for everyone and it’s definitely done enough to keep me hooked for the rest of my life. With continuous advances in technology (I’m looking at you PS VR, article on its way) and games just seemingly getting better as a result, then I see no end in sight.

Upon reflection, this article became deeper than a Pizza Hut meat feast and more philosophical than a pizza. I love pizza. See, man-child. Self-indulgent, psychobabbling is usually the basis for a good article and hopefully it’s given you a taster of what’s to come.

Up next? The wrestling intro article.

After that? Anyone for a God of War review?

GOW4-1

The Beginning…

Hello reader!

I’m glad that you’ve stumbled across this post as it means you’ve found Games and Graps; the brain child of a man child. Actually, maybe it’s many years from now and I’ve just passed one billion views. Maybe you’re a loyal follower and have decided to dig deep into the core of the site to see the beginning of the madness. If so, I thank you for that.

At the tender age of 24, I’ve decided to shift my focus from playing games and watching wrestling, to WRITING about playing games and watching wrestling. For those of you who are uninformed, ‘graps’ is a slang term for wrestling. I’m not sure where the term originated from or how it came to be, but I think we can deduce that it’s a shortened version of the word ‘grappling’. Plus, it’s nerdy and we love it.

So why create this website then? Because my mind is currently like the ‘Boulders’ level from Crash Bandicoot 1, quite a topical example given how much fun I had getting the platinum trophies for all 3 games last year. I’m a furry, orange, bandicoot running away from my goals. My ideas are a giant boulder hurtling towards me trying to destroy me. So you know what? I put my foot down and made it my goal to be a bit more productive; also, a new Crash Bandicoot game would be lovely.

Crash 1 Boulder

This is me….running away from my problems.

But it’s not all gaming, because we most certainly like the graps too. From RAW to Smackdown to NXT to many, many, many, many PPV’s, to TNA/Impact to NJPW to ROH to various other indie promotions etc. There is a lot of wrestling content happening worldwide every day. Whether it’s TV or breaking news stories, wrestling can always be consumed; not forgetting online streaming services, especially ones that cost 9.99.

Wrestling and gaming are massive components in mine and many people’s lives. I know people that can game until their eyes bleed and I also know people that need their helping of wrestling too. This website should accommodate both. If you like either, terrific. If you like both, then we are already friends.

I’m going to do a couple of in-depth posts that really delve into my psyche and will really walk you through my life, with regards to gaming and wrestling. But I will offer a sneak peek as I look forward to sharing my experience of being at Wrestlemania 34 and also my dedication to Playstation trophies i.e I have over 8, 000 trophies and 106 platinum trophies. I have no life, I know.

Big show pressing Kurt

Wrestling. Where else does a 7-foot man press slam an Olympic Gold Medallist?

So yeah, this is merely an introductory post to test the waters and get an idea of the format of WordPress. It’s an easy way to acclimatise to these new surroundings and gain my footing in a writing medium once more, I have to say, it’s been a while. *wink* *wink*

I look forward to connecting with any readers. It should be a fun ride.

– Andy.H. –