Resident Evil 3: Remake Review – Some Glaring Oversights Are This Game’s Real Nemesis

By Kain Hunter

Just over a year after the release of the much anticipated, and brilliant, Resident Evil 2, the Resident Evil 3 Remake has dropped.

I have been eagerly awaiting its release ever since I completed my playthrough of the remake of Capcom’s second game, in their now 23 year old franchise, and was quite literally jumping up and down on the spot when I saw the beautiful green button on my steam browser allowing me to download and play the newest remake.

Upon opening the game, you’re treated to a live-action opening showing the sheer scale of the effect of the T-Virus on Raccoon City. It really hypes the player up for the forthcoming pandemonium on the streets and it really giving you an idea on just how things have gone downhill since the ‘Mansion Incident’ of the first game.

RE3 jill

After the brief opening to the game, the player wakes up inside of Jill Valentine’s apartment with a very filmic, noire filter displayed over the first person camera perspective. Slowly making your way over to the bathroom, you come to realise Jill has been racking up a couple of extra dollars to her water bill by leaving her tap on.

Once interacting with said tap, a short sequence plays with Jill mutating into one of the undead monsters. Upon realising the horror that is facing back at her in the mirror, she reaches for her gun, rests the cold barrel to her temple and pulls the trigger…

…And then the game starts.

Yes that’s right, the previous scene was just a dream sequence and offers some great insight into how hard Jill is finding it to deal with the demons of her recent past. It also plants the seeds into the player’s mind that she might be infected too.

It’s a very strong opening to the game no doubt, and I will refrain from spoiling much more of the story as even players of the original will be unfamiliar with some parts of the story to this game – which is sadly one of the big problems I have with this game.

By no means is Resident Evil 3 a bad game. No, in fact it’s a fantastic game. But it does have one or two glaring issues and problems that I just cannot overlook. Maybe because the original Resident Evil 3 is my favourite game of all time or maybe because some of the issues I have with the game make it feel as if it was designed with speedrunners in mind.

The game takes roughly four hours to complete if you focus purely on the story, and a further five to six hours if you also want to go full Indiana Jones and explore the game world for goodies. Now that probably sounds short, because it is, but Resident Evil games have never been sixty hour epics.

Resi 3 graphics

The shortness of the game isn’t what bothers me however, it’s the fact that the game could’ve taken advantage of the beautiful RE engine to bring back some of the classic and unique locations of the third entry. This would’ve provided some much-needed fan service and could’ve quite easily added a bit more enjoyment and valuable minutes to the game.

Just like Capcom redesigned and re-imagined the iconic Raccoon City Police Department in the Resident Evil 2 remake, they could’ve done just the same with Clock Tower that was a pivotal part of the story in the original Resident Evil 3. Instead, the Clock Tower section is condensed down to a very unsatisfying boss battle with no further exploration of it available.

Along with the Clock Tower section being completely omitted from the remake, fans of the original may have also noticed another section of the game that is completely missing… The Gravedigger Worm.

Now this leads me onto another negative, the sheer lack of variety in the boss battles. Two boss battles with Nemesis are exactly the same, both taking place in a circular arena that requires the player to run circles around the leviathan. If they had just included the gigantic Gravedigger Worm, not only would this have added a bit more playtime to the game, but it would have also introduced a different enemy to fight and altered the dynamic for the better.

Resi 3 Nemesis Action Shot

Just to reiterate, this remake is nowhere near being a terrible game – it is fantastic – it’s just the boss battles I have mentioned are like a budget and much easier version of a boss battle that you would see in the Dark Souls franchise.

Also, with Nemesis only really chasing you twice through the downtown Raccoon City sections, it makes the Tyrant from Resident Evil 2 feel more worthy of the “Pursuer” title.

However, this game does shine for the most part, having solid gameplay and no glitches through the five playthroughs I have done of the game. Its gunplay mechanics have been overhauled from its predecessor by introducing a quickstep mechanic. If pulled off perfectly, it allows the player to channel their inner Neo (Matrix, duh) and slow down time to score a perfect a shot on the enemy they just evaded.

In addition, the graphics in this game are pure and simply, disgustingly beautiful. They go the extra mile to capture the visceral detail of Raccoon City and underline just how badly the city has been crippled by the virus. Our big teddy bear, Nemesis, looks amazing and he is a much more frightening prospect than his 1999 counterpart.

Resi 3 PS1

We’ve come a long way since 1999…ain’t that right Nemmy? Yes Nemmy…stars.

Also, another area that usurps the original is the Hospital section of the game. Not only is the section much bigger this time around, but it still manages to capture the dark and claustrophobic atmosphere its corridors created back in 1999. Coupled with being chased by a Hunter Alpha and you’ll definitely feel like you need to change your underwear in this section of the game.

Conclusion

Overall the Resident Evil 3 remake is a fantastic game that I believe everyone should play at least once, but don’t go into it thinking that it will be a sixty hour epic because that’s simply not the case. You will find yourself completing it in between 4 to 6 hours on a first time, moderate playthrough. There a couple of key areas in which I believe Capcom did miss the mark, which is disappointing, but as a Resident Evil game standing on its own two feet, it is definitely still a brilliant game.

Maybe Capcom will release some DLC in the future, perhaps with some separate campaigns, adding in those missing areas and even the much loved mercenaries mode.

We live in hope anyway.

– 7 out of 10 –

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

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

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

Instead?

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

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

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

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

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

-I’ve been glitched out of Skyrim perfection

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

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

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

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

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

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

20180930_192206.jpg

The Collection

109 Platinum trophies

533 Gold trophies

1, 765 Silver trophies

6, 647 Bronze trophies

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

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

Life is Strange. Why lead a half-life?

My First Platinum

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Downside…

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

Let that sink in for a second.

LetThatSinkIn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, am I proud?

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

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

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

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

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

– Andy.H. –

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Sony E3 Conference Review: Short But Sweet.

Sony are sat in their comfy, recliner chairs with the leg rests fully extended and a beer in each hand. They can approach this conference as nonchalantly as they want to. With an already extensive catalogue of games due for release in the next 12 months or so, they have a plethora of incredible titles to show, without the pressure to add surprises.

They’ve even said not to expect anything new, it’s merely a big stage to see more of these previously announced games. The Last of Us 2, Death Stranding, Spider-Man, The Ghost of Tshushima and more.

Quite frankly with a collection of games like that, you’d be hard-pressed to argue with the logic.

Let’s see if Sony can deliver another memorable showing.

*****UPDATE*****

Due to the mind-bogglingly, negative backlash following the Sony Conference, I had to have my say.

Firstly, read this.

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2018-05-11-sony-will-show-no-new-hardware-at-e3-2018

For weeks, Sony have basically said that they were going to show their 4 main, exclusive games. They did just that.

They said to expect no hardware, they did just that.

They even told us not to get our hopes up at the thought of brand new games; they lied. Instead, they had the nerve to show off two brand new exclusives to bolster their firepower.

Was the structure of the show poor? Without a shadow of a doubt. No disputing that at all. Moving from the tent to the hall really was a poor decision in hindsight, although we did get to see some games during the intermission. Plus, the cuts between games were a bit weird; but not exactly conference killing problems were they?

Sony wanted to concentrate on its own games. With the exception of KHIII and the Resident Evil II Remake, everything else was an exclusive. Why wouldn’t you want to show-off your games with lots of footage to encourage people to buy your games?

Isn’t that the point of having these press conferences?

Microsoft boasted 50 games, but not many were their own. You don’t buy a console for third-party titles, you buy it for its exclusives and then third-party games are essentially a bonus. It’s great watching lots of third-party titles during the Xbox presentation, but in essence, that’s just showing off to PS4 gamers the other games they’ll be able to play, in addition to all of Sony’s exclusives.

Also, people are criticising the lack of stage presence. Honestly, I’m scratching my head at this point. So, you’d rather see 20-30 minutes of someone talking, over 20-30 minutes of the game they’re actually talking about?

Watch the footage and let the moving pictures and imagery do the talking for you. I’d rather watch Spider-Man fling himself across 10 buildings and take out a gang of thugs, than sit there and have a presenter continually talk over him doing it, diverting my focus away from the game to them.

Plus, who cares if it’s shorter? It’s streamlined and concise. 1hr 10 minutes is a lot more ideal than 1hr 30-50mins. I like my free time to be honest.

Am I saying that the conference was the best at E3? Nope. Bethesda got the perfect blend of everything during theirs. But if you think this was bad, then the human race is beyond help.

Right, lets get back to the conference shall we?

The Last of Us 2

What else?

The main driving force behind The Last of Us’ beautiful soundtrack kicks things off with a moving performance. Gustavo Santaolalla ushers in this anticipated night with some poignant chords that spark memories of our run-in with the Cordyceps virus a few years ago.

We’re thrown straight into a cinematic featuring Ellie and some new characters. Ellie and her ‘friend’ definitely seem to have a connection.

But we’ve meandered with loving emotion too much for Naughty Dog’s liking, it’s now straight to the nitty, gritty themes that they aren’t afraid to explore. Disembowelment, sickening execution kills and foul language encapsulate the tension and fight or flight response that this game should draw from you.

Make no mistake about it, Ellie is now the baddest woman walking the face of the Earth. Everything you do in this game seems to mean something. The enemies have names for each other, so you can feel the palpable anxiety as a comrade screams the name of his friend that you’ve just slain and seeks vengeance. It’s emotive stuff.

The attention to deal is second-to-none. Lifelike water has always been a staple of Naughty Dog game; the lighting effects, the sound and design as Ellie launches an IED. But Ellie responds to every movement naturalistically. She’ll duck, dodge, dip, dive and dodge every attempt on her life. Every encounter MEANS something and doesn’t feel like a throwaway gimmick.

The Last of Us II has just made a statement. This is how single-player games should be. If companies think people don’t want this *cough* Call of Duty *cough* then they need to have a look in the mirror and remember their gaming roots.

One final pointer from this demonstration…No Joel. Interesting.

– Intermission –

Not sure I’m a fan of this intermission stuff. It’s probably a cool experience if you’re there but….woooaahhhh…just as I was typing, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 just became free to PS Plus subscribers. I’ll take that. Thank you Sony.

Destiny 2: Forsaken is advertised.

Crowd is ready. Let’s get part two underway.

Ghost of Tshushima

All gameplay.

An establishing shot of a Mongolian hillside/back drop. Graphics are really starting to push the boundaries for what should be possible, it’s just getting silly. I love it.

Our unnamed character gallops across the flowing fields, on horse back, before reaching a secluded area. He engages in combat with multiple men; striking quicker than a hiccup and chopping down all his foes in just a few fleeting moments.

The combat seems fast and responsive. This guy is chopping down men like trees and the gore is delicious.

It ends with a scenic, one-on-one duel between two comrades, in a field of flowers with a distant sunset. Almost too poetic, but it’s glorious to watch.

Control

A woman with telekinetic abilities is flinging forklift trucks at enemies, manipulating time and gravity in rooms with surreal mood lighting. The rooms are being torn to shreds by bullets and are cascading into streams of rubble and instant decay. It’s like a Wachowski’s action sequence throwback to The Matrix.

I hope we learn more soon.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

A first-person view of a rat really had me confused for a little while, and then Leon turned up. This had been in limbo for a long time. But the remake is now confirmed for January 2019. It’s safe to say that delighted the crowd.

Trover Saves The Universe

A colourful platforming game with the characters being voiced by Justin Roiland. It doesn’t appear to be a Rick and Morty game, although the characters talked exactly like R&M. It’s going to be hard to distinguish this game as having its own identity, but we can give it a chance. That is if your IQ is high-enough.

Kingdom Hearts III

Another new look at KHIII with the primary focus here being the Pirates of the Caribbean world. It showed more glimpses into the story, the characters and worlds involved.

Death Stranding

ACTUAL GAMEPLAY. I never thought I’d see the day.

Norman Fetus is actually doing stuff in Death Stranding. I’ve not been this baffled yet simultaneously on the edge of my seat, for a game trailer, in a long time. It’s hard to run through everything, so I’ll summarise.

-Reedus’ character had a see-through, liquid-filled container attached to the chest of his suit with a baby inside

-He was scaling mountains with huge boxes on his back, one of which had a body bag on it; the bag was occupied

-The facial capture of Norman Reedus and Lea Seydoux is incredible

-It has invisible, floating enemies that look like Mewtwo

The long-awaited reveal has probably raised more questions than it’s answered; we still don’t know what type of game this is, or what the hell is actually happening.

But one thing’s for sure, the ball is in motion.

Nioh 2

Oh. my. God. This is will probably go under the radar sadly, but Nioh is one of the finest PS4 games to be released. A perfect ‘Souls’ games that added so much more to the genre. It’s set in an exciting time period and as long as they build on the already-successful first game; then Nioh 2 is sure to be another winner.

Spider-Man

Spidey is in all sorts of bother with Electro and other Spider-Man villains. A lovely prison fight against lots of inmates ensues, ok it feels a little too Arkham-y; but that’s testament to the fine groundwork that Rocksteady laid for all future games.

Quipping and kicking-ass. Spidey is trying to cope with the threats of Scorpio, Rhino and other villains. Straight back to fighting inmates now and the kicking of said ass continues. There’s lots of variety in your attacks, using the environment and the enemies shields as tornados and javelins. It really feels like you’re Spider-Man.

The movement and transitioning from obstacle-to-obstacle is so fluid and smooth. The animations flow so effortlessly that it’s like Spidey is gliding on ice.

After an epic sequence of Spider-Man swinging from tanker to tanker, Spidey becomes helpless in a 5-on-1 situation. Then it ends on a cliffhanger.” You?!”

Analysis

A great showing of console exclusivity.

On the down side, the presentation format was a bit off as I’ve mentioned. The stage moving was inconvenient for everyone involved, plus why was a potato shredding on a  guitar?

I was also disappointed that the Exclusive Medievil Remaster was absent from the presentation.

Apart from that, this was a conference that summed Sony up to a tee. Putting its games first, dispensing with media, making people aware of PS VR and solidifying its stance as the standard-bearer for games. This is the result of solid investment into its game development. 

The Last of Us 2, Days Gone, The Ghost of Tshushima, Death Stranding, Spider-Man, Nioh 2, amongst others.

Are you not entertained?

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.

 

Has the ‘Worst Company in the World’ redeemed itself at E3?

The headline is not a slanderous claim from yours truly. It’s an undisputed fact.

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/ea-named-worst-company-in-america-by-consumerist/1100-6406640/

EA is not exactly a reputable company. Over the years there’s been countless examples of EA extorting money from their loyal consumers through loot boxes and content locked away through paywalls etc. It’s been a constant stream of negativity towards EA throughout the years and there’s barely been a moment where they could relax.

But do they care? Not one bit. They make billions from various ‘Ultimate Team’ modes across their games, in addition to loot boxes etc. But they must care a bit? Right? They do produce good games and this does get lost sometimes.

Don’t get this twisted, I’m not hating on EA. I like lots of their games and have been buying them for years; but do I agree with their business practices? Not at all.

EaMoney

Here comes the moneeeeeeeey!

This year is a definite chance for some sort of redemption. After the notorious Battlefront 2 fiasco, you’d think that they would go hard this year and try to wow the general public.

The first step on a road, 3 light years long, to recovery.

Battlefield V

It may have hopped down the timeline to WW2, but this is still a pure, gutsy war game that wants to make you taste the juices of battle. Yes, red dot sights don’t reflect the realism, but I think we can forego this slight over-red-dot-sight.

The brilliantly realised Stories, from Battlefield 1, are making a welcome return here. They really added an emotive and personable touch to get you invested. Bite-size nuggets of content with enough depth to make you care.

The online looks as chaotic as ever with its insanely detailed and polished graphics; plus fully destructible environments too. Oh, and it’s Bad Company levels of destruction here.

But the two crucial additions here have a very Fortnite feel to them….

The first, is a new building mechanic in the game. During a multiplayer showcase last night, the developer was talking about how Bad Company was criticised for its levels becoming pancakes with regards to destruction i:e if you destroyed all the houses and scenery, then you were simulating a battle on earth. Flat.

(Only joking, just trying to stir up some controversy)

But yeah, you can now build sand barracks and trenches, amongst other things, to protect yourself. It’s smart and adds some more strategic depth to an already successful war simulator.

Secondly, ‘Royale Imagined’. No prizes for guessing what that mysterious title entails.

*No loot crates or season pass here either.

 

New Star Wars Game

A brand new Star Wars game. A brand new story. A brand new disappointment?

We’ve been suckered in by EA’s promises before; placating consumers with their image-friendly oratory that has become recycled, cliché platitudes by this point

But with Respawn heading the game, I’d like to think that they want to restore the reputation of Star Wars games.

So in 2019, we get a single-player, action game that explores a part of the Star Wars timeline that isn’t necessarily as explored as say other parts.

The overall goal? Stop Emperor Palpatine from trying to have every Jedi in the galaxy killed. That’s cool. I’m intrigued. But cautious.

Can EA make people forget about Battlefront II? Time will tell.

Battlefront II Content Update

It’s tough for me to be objective about Star Wars: Battlefront II, so I’m not going to be. If you still play it then fair enough, you have a myriad of new additions to look forward to, primarily from the Clone Wars era, from heroes to maps and the biggest Battlefront map yet.

StarWarsBattlefrontII

Unravel 2

Yarny has a buddy!

The first iteration of this adorable franchise eluded me. There was always other games taking up huge chunks of my gaming time, with yet more piling on all the time and suffocating me.

But it always looked like a good time waiting to be had.

UnravelTwo

The reveal showed a lot of fun-looking platforming and it’s obvious that you’re encouraged to buddy up with another fellow Yarny. The platforming is apparently more refined and will obviously tailor towards two-player, teamwork.

Oh, and if you didn’t know; they pulled the ol’ “It’s out now” trick during the conference. So what are you waiting for?  Buy it! What, not cottoned on yet?

Anthem

Ah Anthem, you’re the type of game that makes wish I had superpowers. To just have the ability to predict the future with 100%, pinpoint accuracy.

Will this game flop? Will it be one of the all-time, hyped-up failures?

On paper, all is well. The game looks mind-bogglingly good. Anthem COULD reach dizzying heights…literally, with your characters’ jetpack you can soar high above the world, overseeing all the wondrous sights the open world has to offer.

Open world games have had something of a renaissance in the last few years. They’ve always been prevalent, but whereas the FPS was the go-to game to create in the PS3/Xbox 360 days, the sheer power of the new generation of consoles has allowed for some truly spectacular worlds to be made.

Anthem’s world looks interesting, it definitely has that going for it. There’s plenty going on on the screen with damage-per-second stats constantly flashing up and the HUD looking a little crowded at times. Less can be better.

But my overriding questions for this game are…

  1. How much will co-op be a factor? We know that it supports 4-player, but is it an Evolve-type experience where more is better? Or can one person still have a seamless and pleasant experience?
  2. Most importantly, what is Anthem about? It’s been a full year now since its big reveal at E3 last year. But all we really know is that you’re a freelance soldier on a quest to quell threats on different planets and protect humanity.

I’m sure we’ll get more information in due course. I’m in the middle on it.

*Paid cosmetic items here, but nothing more.

Sea of Solitude

Well this game looks utterly terrifying. Actually to be fair, it’s not so much terrifying as it is psychologically disturbing. Your character, Kay, is a young woman that is overcome by loneliness in her life to the extent that it’s warped her into some negative monster of darkness. Its cel-shaded graphics are reminiscent of adventures such as Journey, Rime and Two Brothers.

SeaofSolitude

CREEPY.

You must journey through hell and high-water to try and regain her humanity, all the while battling her own tortured emotions and inner demons that are trying to eat away at her.

Seriously, if you’re able to look past her devilish eyes, then hopefully your empathy will come pouring in for her. It’s different, looks like one of the better things at the conference and is released next year.

The Rest

There’s the usual fanfare too with trailers for the new instalments of Fifa and Madden. Not much to tell as it’s the usual theatrical trailers we get every year, but with exception of Fifa showing off its new Champions League license.

Fifa19CL

And last but not least is a new Command & Conquer game, Rivals, being released exclusively for mobile. I believe it’s the first one since Command & Conquer: Tiberian Alliances in 2012? I’m sure a veteran can ascertain whether or not my research is correct. Apart from Walter White apparently resurrecting at the end of the trailer; I can’t tell you much more. Maybe the game’s about meth? It does feel like it’s been put to one side in favour of other stuff being on mobile.

Conclusion

EA’s conference was underwhelming. I felt like it could’ve been better. There wasn’t enough gameplay shown and not enough new stuff really. Battlefield is something to get excited about, Anthem is shaping up nicely for now; but I think the best games were probably Unravel 2 and Sea of Solitude; smaller indie games.

But I think one of the main things to take away from the conference, which people are overlooking, is the loot box theme. Whether they stick to their guns remains to be seen.

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that this is a transitional period for EA. There’s been a big emphasis on “no loot boxes or season passes”. But fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…well I’ve been fooled about a million times by EA at this point so we’ll have to see.

Some interesting stuff here, but not a good conference by any means.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.