Do We Really Need The PS5?

The year is 2019. Sony has usurped its competition to dominate the console market with a whopping 96.8 million in lifetime sales. By the end of January 2019, the Xbox One had hit 42 million in sales; with the Nintendo Switch tearing up the ground behind it waiting to swallow its rival whole with its 30 million and quickly rising.

http://www.vgchartz.com/article/436094/switch-vs-ps4-vs-xbox-one-global-lifetime-salesjanuary-2019/

By the end of January 2019, the Xbox One had hit 42 million in sales; with the Nintendo Switch tearing up the ground behind it waiting to swallow its rival whole with over 30 million and counting (and a 4-year head start).

PlayStation’s current consoles may even beat the long-standing dominance of the famed PS2, so it begs the question, is one more addition to the catalogue something we need?

Naturally a new piece of hardware will entice lots of thirsty, early adopters that would buy a wet piece of cardboard with a shoddily drawn Sony log on it. But as for the majority, they will need convincing.

GIMME GIF

I’ve argued before that the leap from PS3 to PS4 wasn’t AS spectacular as previous generation gaps. Technology continues to advance, but a wall will be hit at some point and you can only run with this success for so long before you smash into the wall and rearrange your own face.

Mark Cerny, the Lead System Architect for Sony, revealed all the juicy new details for Sony’s newest toy. The godlike power of their imminent behemoth was revealed.

-A third-generation AMD, Ryzen line chip with 8 cores of new 7nm Zen 2 micro-architecture.

AND

-Top of the line ray tracing for realistic reflections, light rays and advanced lighting models.

I understand that technology as well as geordies understand the idea of wearing layers. It’s essentially jargon for, “our new console is more powerful than the last one”.

Now…I don’t know about you, but my PS4 Pro + 50″ 4K, HDR-enabled TV combination is absolutely stunning. Crisper than a pack of Walkers. So am I really too bothered about an 8K upgrade when that will mean upgrading to an 8K TV?

Furthermore, the human eye has a hard time recognising any discernible difference between 4K and 8K. It’s just science.

Another notable detail revealed about the PS5 is its processing power and in-turn, faster processes for games. For example, Mr Cerny used Spider-Man as a test subject, its PS4 fast travel time took roughly 15 seconds to traverse the map and put you back in control of Spidey. Whereas the new PS5 tested the same thing and it took a whopping 0.8 seconds!

Spider-Man Fast Travel

Yep. Blink and you’ll miss him.

I legitimately had “shock face” upon hearing this statistic. But once I settled down and began to look past the smoke and mirrors in front of me; I realised a couple of things.

Firstly, the reduced time is a positive no doubt, but this is based off last generation software. When new games are being developed that begin to harness and extract all the bits of power they can from the new console, then I start to wonder what the actual fast travel times will then be.

Secondly, and very crucially, a near 15 second reduction in loading times is great; hell, it may expand to even 20-30 seconds for some games, but is an extra £300-400 worth it for a few extra seconds of waiting? I’ll leave that one with your wallet.

Another thought that contravenes the idea of gaming innovation is cloud gaming. Google have just thrown their name into the hat with the recently announced “Google Stadia”. But Sony have already played their cloud gaming service card with “PS Now” and whilst it can be developed and improved on for the PS5, it’s something else that is not exactly a deal clincher.

It’s a testament to hardware developers that they can keep bettering themselves and creating all-powerful processors to gift us these massive, meaty experiences to feast on. Grand Theft Auto, Uncharted, God of War, Assassin’s Creed, some of the most universally revered franchises that even penguins in the Antarctic have played at some point; although you think their webbed feet would favour Spider-Man.

Big, open games brimming with detail. Technical marvels that have flourished on the current gen. But the rise of open world games has arisen as a result of better game engines. As a result developers, bereft of ideas, are looking more towards open-world games as easy cash. However, most of them tend to be big, bold and emptier than my tear ducts after playing the opening to The Last of Us for the millionth time.

PS5

I always love these futuristic, concept designs that people come up with. Wouldn’t mind this to be honest.

I fear mistakes will be repeated on the PS5 with lots of samey, open-world games saturating the market and creativity dwindling more so.

The Nintendo Switch has been a resounding success due to the way in which its changed how you can play games. Handheld. On your TV. That’s why its selling so well.

I’m sure the same will apply to Sony’s competition too. If history is anything to go by, Microsoft will look to reboot franchises and do their best to create some stellar IP’s to compete with Sony’s; with neither really looking to make any substantial footprint on the innovation front.

Will I buy the PS5? Absolutely. I am indeed one of those sorry saps that will gladly queue up for one of the first slices of that moisty, wet cardboard.

But will your Average Joe (in his gymnasium) really want to fork out another few hundred pounds to play the newest FIFA or Call of Duty?

Perhaps Sony will have to avoid a dodgeball and throw a curveball our way.

Maybe like backwards compatibility across ALL previous Sony consoles…?

There’s your next article spoiler …*clicks fingers in Thanos*

– Andy.H. –

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Sony Fanboy Here: You Should Buy a Nintendo Switch

With the exception of a Mega Drive in my early years and several Gameboys (to toast the Elite Four with a high-level Charizard), Andrew has predominantly stuck to the Sony systems.

Once the sacred PS1 entered our domain, a very young Andrew’s eyes had been introduced to this incredible new polygoncentric world of entertainment that seemed too good to be true. The words “Rule number 95 kid, concentrate” became ingrained onto my brain as I mercilessly battered the Hercules demo that came with our first demo disc.

Fast-forward to my mid-20’s and barring a 3DS, I’ve had all the Sony consoles and nothing else.

That is until 2019.

It wasn’t until about a year ago that I really understood who or what the Nintendo Switch was and what it was capable of. It seemed kind of neat in all honesty. I’d always admired Nintendo’s franchises, yet simultaneously criticised them for being the same thing over and over again.

So, after putting it off for a while, I gave up being patient and got sick of those endless nights salivating over juicy deals. The raw want had consumed me. So I sought out that very piece of hardware and claimed one for myself.

My word, Nintendo have crafted something special. But I think they had to after learning a valuable lesson from the sorry state of affairs that was the Wii U.

Wii U

You did bad.

I was working in Game around the time of the Wii U’s life cycle and I barely remember anyone buying them. The controller design seemed bland, there was a significant lack of software support for the console and it ultimately flopped harder than Willy the whale.

It wasn’t too long before the poor thing was taken off of life support for good and Nintendo was already hard at work trying to rectify their mistakes. The old playbook was quickly dumped into a shredder and its newest creation showed that you CAN teach an old Mario new hat tricks.

Before I proceed any further with this rhetoric, I’ve still got Sony very much coursing through my blood and it will forever remain as my number one. However, I do know some close-minded people exist in this world. I want them to know, it’s actually safe to expand your horizon as you don’t owe loyalty to anyone.

Some people will stubbornly stick to one name, for what?

At heart, I’m a gamer. I love games. Until November 2018, with my 3DS I had never so much as sniffed the cartridge of a Zelda game. Whereas now I’ve experienced the wonders of A Link Between Worlds, Breath of the Wild and the legendary Metacritic deity that is Ocarina of Time.

Nintendo Switch

The pleasure I’ve had with BOTW is indescribable. Factor in Let’s Go Pokemon, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8, Tetris 99, Mario Party, Bayonetta, Smash Bros. Ultimate etc.

The Switch’s offerings already far exceed the Wii U’s its even re-releasing some of the U titles that would’ve otherwise gone untouched. The crisp graphics, docked or not, are fantastic and its seamless transition from docked to handheld is just magnificent.

So many time I’ve been downstairs, something is on the TV and I’ve been playing handheld. I’ve then vacated the room, gone upstairs with it and docked it to enjoy it to its most powerful version on my TV. Quick. Easy. Simple. Takes but mere seconds.

Nintendo Switch Preview Event

I’ve not even touched on the sophisticated nature of the technology yet either. The Joy-Cons are a quite literal joy. See, that’s why I’m such an advocate for the Switch, its got so many ways of being played and enJOYed.

If you have multiple people round for a chaotic Grand Prix in Mario Kart, you can unclip the two Joy-Cons from the side of the Switch, and then they can then be each used individually as controllers. It’s not fiddly and with the ability to get some sexy Gamecube controllers for the console too, you should never be short of hardware possibilities.

*Disclaimer: blue shells are unavoidable however. #antiblueshellparty

With upcoming games such as Luigi’s Mansion 3, rumoured Metroid games, the newest iteration in the long-running Pokemon franchise and another Zelda game in production, there’s just so much projected longevity in the offing. All of which can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home or commuting OR whilst you spend a hard-earned break during work.

Whilst I have bemoaned Nintendo’s lack of new IP’s throughout the years, I’ve realised it’s because they don’t need them. Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, Zelda and Kirby amongst others. They all have franchises WITHIN franchises. Why? Because they do them well. Consistently. Barring the first two or three Zelda games, I think virtually every other game has gone on to garner universal acclaim. Mario Galaxy 1 + 2 are two of the best received games ever; ditto Super Mario Odyssey.

On top of all this, third-party support is very much a thing for the Switch. DOOM, Dark Souls, Mortal Kombat and Crash Bandicoot are big examples of third-party titles on the Switch with many, many more slated for it.

Switch MK 11

The impact of having this gory, fighting game behemoth is huge. It shows that Nintendo aren’t bereft of Adult-themed games. Although I think Bowser would’ve been amazing in this.

My Switch is my second console. All my main and third-party games will be bought for my PS4 Pro. End of story. But is it fair I deprive myself of all these other fun games? Absolutely not.

Now excuse me, I’ve just placed 4th in a game of Tetris 99 and I would very much like to get a win…or should I find that final pesky moon on Mario…hmm…

– 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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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.

Ubisoft E3 Press Conference Review: Your Average Joe

I have no wants or expectations from this show. It’s nice. So quite simply, surprise me Ubisoft. Can’t be any worse than Square Enix, right? RIGHT?

Just Dance 2019

Well that was mad. A well-rehearsed dance routine, that began outside the confines of the walls, and eventually moseyed its way into the building. It culminated in having everyone converge on and around the stage to usher in the newest entry into the Just Dance franchise. Put some Metallica in this year and you might have one more fan.

Beyond Good and Evil 2

A pulsating trailer I have to say. Another game at this year’s E3 that is years in the making. Gabriella Schrager described the game as ‘Space Opera’. It introduced us to some familiar characters, particularly the series protagonist, Jade; as an evil leader it seems.

After showing off some early alpha footage of combat and exploration, we were suddenly graced with the presence of a visibly excited Joesph Gordon-Levitt, introducing his pet project, ‘HitRecord’ to a wider audience. He explained how people all around the world can submit content to possibly appear in the game. Ranging from music samples to posters, these are all thoughtful ways of investing the gamers and making them part of the creation process.

Rainbow Six: Siege

35 million players worldwide. I bet those are figures Ubisoft could have only dreamed of. Siege has been a critical and commercial success due to its intricate and tactical gameplay; a game that leans heavily on teamwork and co-operation in order to succeed.

This was just a way of bring these figures to attention, praising the influence that eSports has had on it and also promoting an upcoming documentary in connection with the game.

Trials Rising

In-studio stunts to promote a new Trials game is apt. A series that prides itself on physics, frustration and amusing death sequences. The trailer showed multiple people riding at once, traversing all-manner of hideous obstacles that will require exactly 3.6 million attempts to fail at, never do, but still lie to yourself that you can do it.

I really like the approach that Ubisoft are going for here, just like Bethesda last night, they showed some captured footage of the hard-work and behind the scenes enterprising that goes into the making of some of their games.

Having played Trials: Fusion, I look forward to some more testing fun with Trials: Rising, although maybe fun isn’t the right word…

The Division 2

A great divide. It’s the only way I can describe the desolation in The Division 2, such is the survivalist nature of the world.

On one side of the wall, a child lives carefree and knows nothing else other than living. On the other side, a man is desperately crawling for his life, about to take the sip of water that could possibly save his life; only to be walked over by two healthier looking people, one with a shotgun primed to eviscerate his head with a finger wrapped around the warm trigger.

Seconds later, a helpless woman is dragged against her will, before being presumably executed with a single bullet.

I didn’t see too much of this morbid imagery before The Division last year, there’s more emphasis on a proper story here; a positive of course.

It uses a class system, each offering their own specialist tools and armaments. Squads have been increased from 4 to 8 and raids are now a thing.

Three DLC packs will be released in the first year of its release, how much you ask? Zero of your currency. They’re free. This E3 is proving to be a stepping stone in the right direction as far as extra paid content goes. Long may it continue.

Donkey Kong Adventure, Mario, Rabbids

Musical performance number #2 of the evening.

Let’s not ruin a good thing now Ubisoft ok? A band, a composer and some orchestral musicians walk into a bar and they produce a live set to a live screening of the game.

Fin.

Skull & Bones

It had a Watch Dogs feel when it was unveiled last year. A cool concept, in this case one that is rarely explored, and it looked awesome. A year later, there seems to be no graphical infidelity, it’s remained faithful and improved if anything. It looks phenomenal.

If you’ve ever seen the show Black Sails, then you’ll be right at home with Skull and Bones. It pays attention to detail showing you wind speed, direction and various other factors that will affect your swashbuckling and plundering from aboard your ship.

It requires you to be as cunning and resourceful as pirate, one example showed your boat approaching an enemy fort, such a high level that its power is almost unquantifiable. In layman’s terms, pose as a different country and sail right through undetected. Bingo.

You can customise your ship, your crew and choose the weaponry you see fit to invite hostile pirates to a one-way, blind date at Davey Jones’ Lobster Locker.

It looks like a pirate’s life to me. Definitely one to keep an eye on; most pirates only can use the one good eye. Savages.

Transference

Frodo, I mean err Elijah Wood is here to promote Transference. A game that I know he and his entourage, have been working on for a while now.

A psychological horror game that manipulates reality. It looks like a chilling game and another one to add the ever-growing VR horror collection. Seriously, don’t they know that horror in VR is TERRIFING. Maybe they do know. Hmm…

Starlink: Battle For Atlas

Even though I watched this, I’m still not 100% sure I grasped the concept of this. My primitive understanding of this venture is; “we think Skylanders works, we want some of the pie too”.

The video featured lots of spaceships, sci-fi action and lots of placing of different pieces of space ship onto a PS4 controller and an Xbox One controller.

It looks like its Ubisoft having a foray into the toy/game market. I mean, why not? There’s money to be made.

For Honor

For one week, you can play For Honor for free on PC….

and…

For Honor: Marching Fire

A massive update to the base ‘For Honor’ game. New classes, new maps etc. It sounds like a lot of extra content is on its way. I never really saw the longevity in this game, glad to say that I was wrong.

The Crew 2

There’s a beta out now for The Crew 2. Hopefully the connectivity problems and other things that plagued the first game are going to be rectified here with this beta.

There was a generic racing trailer with lots of advertising here too. I THINK they might have a partnership with Red Bull, someone may have to clarify that.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

The big one. Assassin’s Creed never really hooked me. I think I naively dismissed the rest of the games after having the misfortune of playing the utterly intolerable debut.

But last year, Eurogamer gave me a hands-on opportunity to sample it once more; Origins converted me. So I was very keen to see what the next one would be.

Greece is a perfect setting and taking the helm-et of a Spartan makes perfect sense.

Alexios or Kassandra is your starter question for 10. (Only Brits might get that joke). You can pick between two of these warriors to guide through the story; can I just say, it’s so nice to see female protagonists appear so regularly now that it’s essentially just a normality to see one be an option. Round of applause to that aspect of modern society, the rest not so much.

There’s a beautiful reference in the trailer, to 300, too with a soldier being booted about six miles off of a cliff.

There’s now dialogue options offering different strands of conversation. It didn’t reveal how much your choices could adversely affect your character, but a bit of freedom is always nice.

On the other hand, a perusal of the internet will undoubtedly confirm my suspicions that this game is going to be criticised for being a carbon copy of Origins. Whereas Origins was a new game built from the ground up over a long timespan, Odyssey feels very much like Origins 1.5.

It uses the same HUD and fonts as Origins, which is lazy. The menu is the even the same, but looks perfected and sleek in its design. Senu, or a flying bird in memory of Senu, was shown and the ship battles are back.

You can’t help but feel that it’s an obvious reskin of Origins with some perfunctory, cosmetic changes here and there.

BUT, why change what isn’t broken? Origins was heralded as the most innovate entry since Assassin’s Creed II and, for one more game at least, I think Ubisoft can excused; providing Odyssey delivers an experience as good as it looks.

Summary

My gut feeling was that this was going to be an unspectacular conference with little to moan about and enough content to keep people simmering.

Just Dance and Trials were surprises and nothing else. Some people half-expected to see the rumoured Splinter Cell game, maybe Watch Dogs 3? But nothing special happened.

Ubisoft went with the safe, conservative approach by unearthing more information about games we already know are in the public domain. The Division 2 received some more exposure, Beyond Good and Evil 2 and crucially, Skull and Bones got a big helping of screen time.

Assassin’s Creed was generally going to get the longest time under the spotlight and I would be confident in saying it had a good offering. Gameplay, story, new features are all things needed to be seen with its October release date approaching.

Safe and sound. That’s where this press conference stayed. Just a nice, average show that probably could’ve done more, but could’ve done less too.

 

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.