E3 2016

It’s that time again, gamers! It’s our special christmas. E3 2016 came and went as fast as any other thing we anticipate, and with it there were some soaring highs and plummeting lows. I’m going to go down the line and give my thoughts on all of the companies that presented.

EA’s Press Conference:

You know how they say the weakest animals in the pack are the first ones to go? Well, the same can be said for E3 conferences. Electronic Arts’ presentation left a lot to be desired. I went in looking forward to an actual story trailer, or gameplay trailer for the new Mass Effect: Andromeda game. Now, the Mass Effect series is one of my favorite in gaming. So, obviously myself and millions of other fans were looking for some sort of sneak peak at the new game. Well, what we got wasn’t entirely what we expected.

This is the type of presentation we got for EA’s conference. Just behind the scenes footage of people working on a game. It goes to show that Mass Effect, and EA’s new slew of Star Wars games just aren’t ready for the public to see. If that’s the case, why tease us like this? I’d much rather see some gameplay footage than a video of people saying they’re making a game. We already know that!

EA did something new in terms of presenting their products. This year they had a dual press conference, half it was in London and the other half was in LA and they where both streaming at the same time, handing the limelight off to each other one after the other. It was a bit awkward overall. However, EA’s conference as a whole wasn’t all bad. Titan Fall 2 and Battlefield 1 look really cool. Even if the trailers they showed were just repeats of what was shown earlier in the day.

Lastly, the games that took center stage were the sports games. Madden and FIFA were shown extensively, much to a lot of the audiences’ chagrin. As mentioned, EA had a dual conference going on and what’s funny is they showed the sports games to the wrong audience. They showed Madden (American Football) to the British audience and showed FIFA to the LA crowd. Both presentations were met with more of a whimper than a bang.

I’d give EA’s show a 6/10. I wish more of the games that were presented were actually ready for a presentation.

 

Bethesda’s Press Conference: 

Bethesda did a good job this year. It was really a show revolving around Dishonored 2, which in turn makes me want to play the first Dishonored. There were some great things peppered throughout as well.

First of all, they answered a lot of gamers’ prayers and announced a remastered version of Skyrim. Skyrim, for those who don’t know is the 2011 smash hit role-playing adventure and the sixth entry in the Elder Scrolls series . It was first released on PS3 and Xbox 360 and is now making the leap over to the current gen consoles. Of course, PC is out of this equation because that’s constantly being updated.

A very big surprise was the announcement of a Prey reboot. The original Prey was one of the first Xbox 360 games, and Prey 2 was showcased a few years ago. However, Prey 2 plummeted into development hell and unfortunately never got out. So, Bethesda is now starting from scratch.

The rest of the conference was like a hearty soup. Very filling and with lots variety. Bethesda showed off some new and cool looking Fallout 4 DLC as well as an add on to Fallout Shelter, ad a slew of new Virtual Reality stuff. The future is here!

8/10

Microsoft’s Press Conference: 

Talk about a solid conference. Microsoft opened with a bang by showing off the new Gears of War 4. Last years Gears 4 demo left much to be desired. While it was an exciting announcement, the gameplay trailer they showed was all in the dark, literally. You could barely see a thing. This time around, they showcased Gears 4 in a much more exciting and vibrant fashion.

Along with Gears, the long-since-announced Scalebound was shown, as well as an announcement and trailer for Dead Rising 4. Most of the conference was great, barring a few very cringe worthy moments. But, out of all the new game trailers that were shown, the biggest news wasn’t even about a game at all.

Microsoft announced two new Xbox consoles. First, the Xbox One S. This new machine is 40% smaller than the regular Xbox One and is able to output 4K blu rays. Other than that, it’s virtually the same as the current Xbox One. Then they dropped a bomb with Project Scorpio. This new machine won’t be out until holiday 2017 but it’s lauded as being the most powerful game console ever built. Some of the jargon goes way over my head but I’m pretty sure this thing will be the Superman of consoles.

 

8/10

Ubisoft’s Press Conference:

Wow. Talk about a snoozer. Why did they have to make this two hours long? It’s Ubisoft’s 30th anniversary so I kind of understand if they wanted an extra segment or two in celebration but man, this conference was all over the place.

We start out with a rendition of Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen as a bunch of people dressed in animal costumes dance around the stage. Yup. After that Aisha Tyler, the host and the best part of the whole thing, walks on stage to crack some jokes and get the conference underway.

As it goes on we’re introduced to Watch Dogs 2, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and For Honor Now. They all looked amazing but the main problem was Ubisoft showed way too much. The gameplay trailer for Wildlands felt like a half hour, as their presentation for their VR games. Show a round or two, not an entire match! The rest of it went on with just really long demos and live interviews. It would have been great if it wasn’t over 2 hours.

I like Ubisoft, I think they’re a great company. However, they need to find a better, more constrained way to present at future E3s

5/10

Sony’s Press Conference:

Now this is what I call a video game conference. It started out with a live orchestral band that played whenever a demo was shown or an official walked out on stage. At first, I thought it was a bit hokey because they played solo for the first five minutes of the conference, but once the actual show began I immediately ate my words.

From the very beginning, Sony landed an elbow drop. They started off with the new God Of War. Not called God Of War 4 or anything like that, just God Of War. This new entry to the series finds Kratos a older and more broken man with a son he has to protect. If you’re wondering “what gods will he face this time”?  well… let’s just say Thor better hang on to his hammer…

Other notable surprises included a PS4 exclusive Spider-Man game, and extended look at Quantic Dreams’ new game Detroit: Become Human, and the return of Crash Bandicoot!! Sony Bend, a developer who has been dormant for over five years, finally announced their new exclusive called Days Gone. It looks like your typical zombie shoot em up game except now you’re a member of a motorcycle gang… yay! I think.

In my opinion, Sony’s conference was the best. They just kept on nailing us with game, after game, after game. That’s, personally, what I want from a video game conference. Just new game announcements.

 

10/10

Nintendo’s Press Conference:

This wasn’t a traditional conference, it was more of a live stream via the internet. How was it? Well, to quote a tweet a saw “Nintendo’s Conference was like handing in an essay with large text and double spaced”.

There was no substance to any of it, I actually lost interest and turned it off half way through. All that was shown was the new Zelda game, which does look great, and the new Pokeman game. Great, fun, exciting looking games but the demos for both of them went on for, what felt like, hours.

And that was it… no details about their new system, no new meteoroid announcement (unless I missed it) just Zelda and Pokemon. Cool.

No grade

 

Wrapping Up:

This years E3 was very exciting. It had some lows for sure, but overall they had more exiting hardware and game announcements in this one than any past one that I can remember.

Now, what’s a good ol’ E3 without a cringe video…

 

 

@JayGreen89

 

 

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Check Out My First Web Show!

Hey guys! So my friends and I are gonna do what every millennial these days does and try to get popular on YouTube. The first show we’re making is called “And Chris Says…”

It’s a show about me showing random internet weirdness to my friend Chris and his reactions. It’s like an ink blot test but for crazy movie!

Don’t be afraid to check out my channel, too. Blah Blah Productions. There you’ll find a ton of podcasts my friends and I do. Hope you enjoy!

Dying Light Review

Despite being about shambling, half dead corpses, the zombie genre is alive. Over the past several years the video game market has become enamored with zombie titles – from The Walking Dead to Dead Rising. After awhile one would think “this genre will die out similar to Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero, right?” Well, then a game like Dying Light comes along and shows you just how much this undying genre can really shine.

STORY – You’re put into the shoes of a GRE agent known as Kyle Crane. Going into this game I thought “Well, I’ll just be playing as a silent protagonist who does peoples’ biddings.” Turns out, I was only half right! Crane’s personality is far more fleshed out then I expected. Yes, he still blindly follows people and gets angry a lot, but voice actor Roger Craig Smith does a damn good job putting his heart and soul into Crane. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the other characters as their voice work ranges from mediocre to cringe worthy. There are a few exceptions however, like the main villain and the love interest.

The game begins with Crane HALO jumping down to the fictional city of Harran. Harran is plagued with the zombie virus and he’s tasked with saving the day. As expected, the moment he lands things go haywire and he stumbles upon a large group of survivors. From that point forward he agrees to help them with their needs as well as help fight against an evil faction of humans lead by a drug lord named Rise. It’s a better thought out story then a lot of other zombie games; with a surprising amount of heart and depth.

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GAMEPLAY – The biggest focus here is the Parkour. Parkour is a essentially running, jumping and grabbing at a specific pace along an urban environment. Examples can be seen here and here. Crane is a Parkour master so the majority of the game is spent running, jumping, grabbing and climbing onto rails buildings and everything in between. Think Mirrors Edge but with more zombies. Parkour the main means of traversing the map and a super effective way at avoiding the undead. It’s such a focus that for the first few hours of the game the only weapons Crane has access too are extremely weak ones. The game forces you to Parkour and avoid zombies. As for the weapons, there is a wide range of melee weapons. From pipes, wrenches, baseball bats and swords. Every weapon has its own unique feel and can be crafted with the likes of fire and electricity, along with a few other helpers. There are guns but not until later in the game and the noise they give off can hinder your progression.

There are three skill trees that can be leveled up. Agility, Power and Survival. Agility is leveled up by running, climbing and dodged while Power by killing enemies. Survival is leveled up by completing missions and surviving the night time. Once you reach a new level in any one of the three trees you gain a skill point that can be spent on a new perk in that skill tree. It’s very Borderlands-esque.

The other main focus of the game is the night time. Simply put, when the day turns to night things get worse. A more vile, harder-to-kill group of enemies rise from the depths of the city looking for a meal. These are known as the Volatiles. Once the sun sets and the night hits, you have the choice of finding a safe house and sleeping there until the morning or toughing it out and surviving the night. Doing so gives you double points in every skill tree, just watch out for the Volatiles as avoiding them can be a tricky. Holding down the X button (I played this on a PS4) allows Crane to scan the area for any useful items, but it can also detect Volatiles so you can plan accordingly. That, and they can be seen on the in game map with a cone of sight a la Metal Gear Solid.

Dying Light also sports co-op if you feel like gathering with some friends to kick some undead ass. It feels a bit lazy in the sense that each of the players would be playing as Kyle Crane at the same time. But, honestly it’s pretty entertaining to see your friend drop kick a zombie. Personally, I spent hours and hours doing missions with my friends. The only downside is that if you’re in their game and do a mission or two and go back to your own game, you’ll have to do the same missions again if you haven’t already.

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PRESENTATION – Once you’re given free range to run around Harran and bash zombie heads in, it becomes quite clear how easy it is to be sucked into the world. The crips graphics, disturbing zombie noises and chatter amongst the NPCs, Techland does a remarkable job at making Harran feel real. Even though most of the voice acting (excluding Crane and a few others) is pretty cringeworthy, that doesn’t take away from the bright and bustling display of the city. There are two maps the game gives you access to and they both feel as if they could be actual locations.

VERDICT – Dying Light is a game that, when I purchased it, didn’t think it would be anything that stood out. I played Dead Island (Techland’s other zombie game) and thought it’d be more of the same, just something fun to past the time. A few weeks later and I’ve completed 100% of the game. It’s a fantastic zombie game with a lot of depth, surprising amount of heart, and a ton of guts. Whether you’re running along roof tops, slicing a zombie’s head off or laughing at some of the dialog, Dying Light shines bright.

SCORE – 9/10

dyinglight

@JayGreen89

Infamous Second Son Review

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I’ll throw this out there right away. The original Infamous is one of my favorite games of all time. It was a perfect superhero origin story that blended action, drama, and compelling gameplay into one heroic package. Infamous 2 was also a great game but it didn’t reach the heights of its predecessor.

When Infamous Second Son was announced I was hoping to experience the same euphoric rush the first game gave me.

What I got was… almost there… again.

To start with the positives – Infamous Second Son is a gorgeous looking game. It was the first game I got for my new PS4 and it really showcased how powerful Sony’s new system is. Aside from the outstanding graphics, the controls were fluid and responsive; as one would expect from an Infamous game.

The main culprit here is the story. Infamous one had an amazingly simple story of a guy being bestowed with super powers he didn’t want. The duration of the game involved him fending off villains, handling relationships and the entire thing came to a head at the end with an extremely clever twist. Infamous 2 had great gameplay but the story wasn’t all there; in fact, it kind of disappointed me.

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That’s the same reaction I felt with Second Son’s story. The game stars Delson Rowe, a 24-year-old hooligan with nothing better to do then spray paint walls. He has an older brother, Reggie, who is a cop and constantly telling Delson how he doesn’t contribute to society. These two brothers are so polar opposite it’s corny.

Anyway, Delson discovers he has latent powers and uses them to go after the main antagonist of the game, Augustine. She brings arm to his family at the beginning of the game.

Once it’s established what kind of person Delson is and what kind of powers he has, Infamous Second Son kind of takes a backseat to the story. Delson meets other people with powers, he continues to hunt Augustine and that’s pretty much it. There’s no big revelation or any surprising moments in the game’s narrative that makes for an awe moment.

The main reason to play Infamous Second Son is for the incredible gameplay. With it’s lighting fast action, responsive controls, and sheer excitement, you’ll find many reasons to procrastinate and play this game.

Watch_Dogs Review

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Remember back in the late 1980s – early 90s when BetaMax and VHS tapes battled? I’m sure that was the high point of technology at the time; say for everything the military has secretly covered up.

Watch_Dogs makes all of that look pale in comparison. It’s a very fun, technological romp of a good time. It has guns, hand-to-hand combat, and a whole lot of computer hacking.

The game stars batman-wanna-be Aiden Pearce. At the very beginning of the game his wife and daughter die by the hands of hit men who were trying to kill Aiden. From that point on he vows revenge against the people who killed them.

Honestly, I found the story extremely hard to pay attention to because of how bland it was. When something is about as interesting as mowing a lawn my mind tends to wander elsewhere. Basically, Aiden meets up with a fellow hacker named Clara. She’s also an extremely good hacker who looks like a Slipknot fan with a sexy accent.

watch-dogs-characters-wallpaper

Anyway, Clara and Aiden team up to take down these gang dudes who killed Aidens family all while his sister and nephew get kidnapped by some lunatic. It just wasn’t his week.

But as you can tell, the story is a very typical affair. What really shines in Watch_Dogs is the gameplay. With Aidens cell phone you can hack into just about anything; from other cell phones, to laptops, to ATMs. The city of Chicago is yours to own with your small hand-held device. This makes for interesting online gameplay as players from all over the world can jump into your game and hack your device effectively stealing your stuff.

I’m not much of an online gamer and got my ass handed to me by some hacker (I’ll find you!) but it was a very different way of playing an online game that I can see people getting the hang of and having fun with.

Though very fun, Watch_Dogs isn’t without its problems. The main problem stems from a key component in the game, the driving. Driving around the massive city of Chicago feels like you’re driving a very slippery boat. All the vehicles (even motorcycles) feel top-heavy and very stiff. It’s nearly impossible to round a corner without sliding into an oncoming car or pedestrian. This makes for some VERY frustrating segments. You’d need to have the patients of a Buddhist Monk to not throw a fit.

All in all Watch_Dogs is a fun game but it’s not without its flaws. It has very promising elements; the hacking and gunplay/combat are top notch. Though the driving and story are sub par. It feels like a game that a sequel would greatly improve upon.

@JayGreen89

Lego: Marvel Superheroes Review

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Remember how dark and grim Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel movie was? With its dull color pallet, zero humor and zero chemistry in its cast? Yeah? Well Lego: Marvel Superheroes is the exact opposite of that.

With its fun, bright, colorful and light hearted game play Lego: MS is sure to be enjoyed by all.

It’s quite the comical affair as an unknown villain (probably Thanos) along with Doctor Doom and Loki are out to find these magical “Cosmic Bricks”. They’re really just big lego pieces but hey, it goes with the theme of a Lego game. Now it’s up to the entire Marvel universe to stop this oncoming threat.

There are dozens and dozens of super heroes to choose from. At the beginning of a level you’re assigned two heroes to team up and take on that task, which makes for some great co-op fun and in the level there are certain things only certain heroes can do. This adds tremendously to the replay value and perfectionists who want to go back and replay levels.

 

LMSH

The gameplay itself is very basic with just one attack button and one action button. Each level has a specific puzzle to it that only the heroes you’re assigned can figure out. For example: One level has Captain America and Mr. Fantastic teaming up to take down Dr. Octopus who has taken over the Fantastic 4’s base. After defeating his minions, the player can use Mr. Fantastic to squeeze through a grate and pull down a lever which Captain America will throw his shield at, unlocking a door.

It’s the little fun things like that, which make this game worthwhile. There are a TON of unlockables, too. From unlocking new superheroes, to finding power ups, to PLAYING AS STAN LEE and making him Hulk out. There’s even character creation, incase you ever wanted to be a Lego superhero.

If you have a few hours to kill want some good, clean fun. Look no further. Lego: Marvel Superheroes is an extremely fun side step from all those gritty, bland and boring games on the market. Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Call Of Duty.

And don’t think the game is strictly for kids. I’m 25 and I’m enjoying it… though I am a big kid.

 

@JayGreen89

Blah Blah Podcast Episode 2

I know this is a late post (still unemployed and constantly looking for work) but the guys and I recorded our second podcast

Here

We’re slowly but surly finding our ground on what we’re trying to be. Kyle is for games, Shaun is for movies and I’m stuck in the middle making for lots of arguments and debates.

Our third episode is scheduled for the end of August with a debut on iTunes coming shortly.