Retro Rewind: Darkwatch

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

Retro Rewind

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

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

Darkwatch.

What a damn fine game.

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

DarkwatchTrain

Plot in 60 seconds.

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

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

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


DarkwatchKeggersKeggers. The cause of so many deaths.

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

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

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

DarkwatchRPG

*Cries in soiled underwear*

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

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

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

DarkwatchBanshee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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.