Gaming, Video Games

E3 2015: Fight! Fight!

It’s that time again. Less than a month to go until E3 2015, although it seems like we were just laughing at Microsoft yesterday. We turn our lens once again to the Big 3 and make our wishes known.

Nintendo won’t announce any new console, but the new 3DS will get some exclusive titles. We’re about due for a wacky peripheral a la the Balance Board, set-top microphone, or Vitality Sensor. There’s no way we’re not seeing some solid footage of the new Star Fox game after the last blatant teaser. Some new things we’d like to see:

  • 3D-printed Mii Amiibos. The Amiibo line has enjoyed commercial success; the technology for this definitely exists, it’s just a matter of Nintendo being forward-thinking enough, and getting the individual price down.
  • The World Ends With You sequel. Fans have been clamoring for another game as soon as they beat the first one back in ’07. A new one was teased at the end of the mobile re-release, and a few of the main cast showed up early on in Kingdom Hearts: DDD, but Square has officially maintained radio silence.
  • Metroid sidescroller. The last “regular” Metroid title was released for the Gameboy Advance over a decade ago. The Prime installations were a welcome detour, but after Other M there’s been a clamor for a return to the roots.
  • Animal Crossing for WiiU. City Folk for the Wii was competent, but more recently New Leaf was fantastic. It’s not an IP that will sell consoles, but it will definitely turn the heads of dedicated fans.
  • More New IPs! Splatoon has been getting good early reviews leading up to its imminent release, and Code Name S.T.E.A.M. wasn’t met with hostility. If Nintendo continues to take risks with new IPs like it has been doing lately, they’ll eventually stumble upon a new modern hit.
Sony left last E3 in a good place. We were all impressed by the lineup of solid-looking titles, and several of them were released to great critical reception. Bloodborne in particular has been a smash hit for an audience that the original Souls games never captured. But we’re also quick to remember The Order 1886, which quickly silenced any fanfare it once had. The audience will no doubt be wary of cinematics this year as we’ve all begun to settle into the new generation. Some things we expect (or hope!) to see from Sony this year include:
  • Playstation Home! Home was an interesting concept, albeit a half-baked one. A distinct lack of an obvious point hurt it from the get-go, while a dedicated few clung to it until it just recently shut down. Towards the end, it was technically impressive. Home’s lead architect doesn’t see it as a failure, and I wager has been pulling internally for a second chance. (Realistically, this will never happen.)
  • Project Morpheus. Most major companies in the game space have now either announced their own VR solution, or a partnership with another company. Sony unveiled their proprietary solution at GDC ’15, and given their hopeful Q1 2016 release window there’s no way that the Morpheus won’t receive ample stage time.
Microsoft started off as the underdog, but quickly came into their own this generation…even if they can’t shake the unfortunately convenient “Xbone” nickname. They came out swinging last year, and we hope they can continue the streak as titles like Sunset Overdrive proved overeager critics wrong. Our short wishlist from Microsoft:
  • HoloLens game demonstration. The advanced AR headset is a departure from everyone else’s mad rush to perfect the VR experience. And it has huge potential in the game space, albeit in a different capacity than full immersion. Microsoft loves to give ample time to their new interfaces, expect to see the HoloLens steal a good portion of the conference.
  • Halo 5 gameplay. The Master Chief collection was a rocky start to Halo in the new generation, but Microsoft cleaned it up in time for E3. The last full installation, 4, by its new master, 343, was not well-received by many fans. (Although I personally loved it to death.) The online community died almost as soon as it sprang up. Halo 5 has its work cut out for it to win fans back.

 

This E3 isn’t ushering in a new generation. It’s not the free-for-all that Sony walked away from victorious. The WiiU isn’t the complete joke that it has been. The playing field is now more level than it has been in a while, and although there is a clear disparity between console sales, there’s a promising lineup behind each. Time will once again tell.
Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog: The Last of Us: Left Behind

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog is an excuse for me to be held accountable for completing my massive video game backlog. These articles are a hybrid of experiential reflection, informal critical reaction to the content, and a springboard for discussion on all of our social channels. Plus, I like talking about games and what better way to kill two birds with one stone?

This series is fair game for spoiler territory, and so with that being said, if you haven’t completed the game in question and want to have a completely unhindered experience, please refrain from reading any further.

With a brand-spanking-new PlayStation 4 merely weeks old and begging to be experienced, I took some time to play the bundled in Last of Us remaster. I played the main game upon release on the PS3 but never had the chance to experience the DLC prequel / midquel, so this week I’ll be diving into The Last of Us: Left Behind.

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog: Shovel Knight

Welcome to another entry in my on-going series: Alessio & The Beastly Backlog. Last week we talked about The Astronaut’s The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, which was a first-person exploration / crime-solving simulator game with a whole lot of story to drive the player forward. This week we have the opposite type of experience in a myriad of ways: Shovel Knight, a fun side-scrolling adventure game more akin to Zelda II and Megaman that has very little narrative other than just enough to get you motivated to get through its beautifully designed stages and boss encounters.

Editorial, Gaming, News, Video Games

The Misadventures of Tron Bonne: Now Available on PSN

After catching a glimpse of this, often forgotten, PSOne game in a toy store many years ago and not having the foresight to purchase it, I now have the great fortune, as do you dear reader, to digitally purchase as many copies of The Misadventures of Tron Bonne as I’d like!

The Playstation Network is now allowing users to purchase a copy of the unfortunately named Megaman Legends prequel for $4.99 for use with the Playstation Vita and the Playstation 3 systems. This will come as a relief to many as most used copies of the game run for anywhere between $90 – $150 on eBay or Amazon, and you can pretty much forget getting a shrink-wrapped copy for less than $250.

For those not in the know, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne follows the titular Tron Bonne in a prequel adventure set in the Megaman Legends universe. She must collect 1,000,000,000 zenny to buy back her family’s freedom from a rival air pirate named Mr. Loathe. Not having gotten too far into the game, this is as much as I can say about it, but you better believe that I’ll have my formal run-down of this title in my Beastly Backlog series soon as I’ve been wanting to check this out for quite some time. Now to casually delete that .iso file that found its way on my a friend’s computer recently.

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Hey guys! I’d like to usher in this new wave of GeekTime articles by starting a series that helps me help you help us all. In short, I have a massive backlog of video games inching ever closer to drowning me in physical disks, cartridges, and cases as well as in digital downloads, server space, and hard drive real-estate. I want to put a sizable dent in this mountain’o’media to keep myself from paying for more games that I don’t have time to play and to help me generate some content to push out to you, our lovely hypothetical audience.

Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Shin Megami Tensei IV Review

What in the world is up with Atlus and towers? If it isn’t the Karma Temple in Digital Devil Saga, Tartarus in Persona 3, or the entire premise to Catherine, it’s Naraku in Shin Megami Tensei IV, a sort of reverse tower whose spatial relationship with the player character transforms throughout the narrative. Atlus, Team Persona, and anyone else responsible for Shin Megami Tensei titles seem to have some sort of fascination with towers, towering objects, and the phallic.

Now, it has been some time since I worked on a written piece for the site, but I’ve been so deeply fascinated with Shin Megami Tensei IV for the Nintendo 3DS that I felt the need to post a review for the title. It’s something about the level of depth that the atmosphere of the game world has, and the way that the remixed soundtrack (which consists of some previous series tunes) combines with that atmosphere and the game mechanics that make for a very dreamlike experience that often gets abruptly shattered with a nightmare scenario.

Did Atlus add another layer to the tower that is their popular Shin Megami Tensei franchise, or did they finally have a catastrophic misstep by releasing a numbered entry in their flagship series exclusively on a handheld?

Editorial, Feature, Video Games

Ten Crimes That Were Blamed on Video Games

Every day, violent crimes are committed with seemingly no rhyme or reason. In these cases, it is only natural that we desire to find a culprit in order to make sense of a senseless crime. Unfortunately, we can also be quick to jump to conclusions and put the blame on an easy scapegoat instead of trying to find a true root cause. Media, such as movies, comics, books and TV, have been a scapegoats for violence for years. With its ever-rising popularity and recent releases of games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, video games have become the most recent victim. Here are a few crimes that video games have taken the heat for.

Feature, Gaming, Video Games

4 Ways the PS4 Could Still Die

As the E3 hype is winding down, the Sony praise returns to sane levels, and the dust from Microsoft’s reversal of their Xbox One DRM policy settles, we can take a step back and look objectively at the next generation of consoles. We’ve seen the two megacorporations’ offerings for several generations now, and we’ve observed issues that both companies have struggled with in the past. Neither console has been immune to public ire. From the 360’s Red Rings of Death to the PS3’s security breaches and buggy ports, it’s easy to scold both. Sony has the gaming community wrapped around their thumb in a series of brilliant PR maneuvers. PS4 preorders hilariously outnumber the Xbox One. But the PS4 can still be dead in the water in two years’ time. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat…

1. The Playstation Network

Sony has proven in the past that they don’t have it all together when it comes to online play and security. Download speeds feel like they’re orbiting a black hole, and can’t be left to their own devices in the background. Cross-game chat is nonexistent. Credit card info is dumped and leaked en masse. This happened recently, and now there’s a whole new console. Hopefully you get what you pay for, as PS+ will offer online play for a fee a la Xbox Live.

2. Third Party DRM

Sony couldn’t stop EA’s online passes, and they will continue to be powerless to do so. They bore witness to tremendously increased PS4 support following Microsoft’s disastrous policies, which will scare them silly with any luck.

3. Hardware Failure

Earlier this week, Sony released a PS3 update that bricked many systems before it was pulled. It went largely unnoticed by those unaffected because first of all, the attitude towards Sony right now is electric. You can feel a buzz whenever you mention Sony online. Secondly, Microsoft did Sony a favor by announcing their about-face policy change which hogged attention. Had Microsoft waited, this story may have been a bigger deal.

4. Hardcore Gaming Focus

In this economy, a $400 dedicated gaming machine doesn’t make sense for every household. A $400 box that plays modern games and integrates with your media…now that is something that appeals to far more households. Once the Xbox One drops in price, it’s easy to see the PS4 being overshadowed in the market.

 

Everyone wants the two companies to succeed and co-exist. Those that don’t still haven’t recovered from their poor childhood. Godspeed, Sony and Microsoft! Shower us with the glorious next generation of consoles!