Wrestlebacon: Payback Predictions

 

Payback is upon us tonight so let’s see how well I can predict the outcomes

Kick Off: Sheamus vs Sandow

As much as I’d love to see Sandow win over Sheamus, a face victory to kick off the show seems a near certainty. Sandow is mesmerizing no matter whether he is on the mic or in the ring and winning could give him a nice push that he deserves; but Sheamus seems most likely to be in line for a title shot and more likely to be put over. Sorry Sandow, you’ll always be my intellectual saviour.

Winner: Sheamus

Divas Title Match: AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn

Oh WWE women’s division, how the mighty have fallen. The “Divas” title is, unfortunately, a complete joke but I’m quietly confident that this match will be at least more entertaining than most of the Diva fare we see. Kaitlyn can actually wrestle provided they don’t just make her pull hair for an entire match and AJ’s got a lot of character and presence, something the division severely lacks. My money is on AJ winning leading to a power couple arc with Ziggler and hopefully resulting in Big E Langston (I love this guy) becoming jealous and going out on his own. Personally I think this match is just here to perpetuate another story arc but there is the potential they may end up dragging this out to another PPV before AJ wins. But my gut says she’ll take the umm silver and pink? (seriously that belt is probably the most vulgar looking belt since the WWE spinner *shudder*)

Winner: AJ Lee

United States Title Match: Kane vs. Dean Ambrose

Yeah, I really think Kane will win a match scheduled a week before a PPV with zero build up. Kane clearly doesn’t need a title and it benefits Ambrose far more. Still nice to see another title defence on the card. Will be a predictable but entertaining match.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

Intercontinental Triple Threat Title Match: Wade Barret vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel

I really hope Fandango has a swift recovery but I do think giving the title to Curtis Axel is going to be more beneficial to his push. Yes Axel will win. Neither of the other two men need the title and Axel is in desperate need of a victory other than squashing Sin Cara and technicality wins. I’m still not sold on Axel’s mic skills but that’s why Paul Heyman is there. This title will be good for Axel and get him out of this stupid rut WWE has forced him into, and hey; this could even lead to a Fandango face turn for his Axel’s first defence. We shall see.

Winner: Fandango Curtis Axel

WWE Tag Team Title Match: Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins

The victory over The Shield on Smackdown added some “just maybe!” thoughts in some people’s heads but in reality, The Shield will retain. Bryan’s had a good tag champion run and at least one of the pair is bound to turn heel after tonight. I’m hoping it’s Orton because he’s so desperate for a heel turn he may just drop kick a fan to speed the process up. I predict that Bryan will cost them the match resulting in Orton getting mad and leading to a heel turn.

Winners: The Shield

World Heavyweight Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio

Wow all the gold is on the line tonight which makes me very happy. The bookies are putting better odds on Del Rio now but I honestly think if they were going to have Ziggler drop the title they would have just stripped it of him after his concussion. I’m hoping for an honest win from Ziggler to make him seem more of a capable champion without his entourage but that may be a little too optimistic. Either way he will retain dirty or clean but definitely whilst showing off.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

WWE Title 3 Stages of Hell Match: John Cena vs. Ryback

Cena will win, let’s get that out of the way. WWE clearly have no intention of dropping it so soon after a Wrestlemania victory and a potential defence against The Rock upon his return (well maybe return). What we should be predicting is how the matches will go.

Lumberjack Match: Cena

It could go either way but the amount of table breaking Ryback has been doing, I feel it’s more likely he’ll loose the first match. Plus it gives the audience a nice up and down momentum for matches.

Tables Match: RYBACK RUUUUUUUUULES

Ambulance Match: Cena pops the big ol’ kitty cat into an ambulance for some much needed rest. Sleep well oh gentle Ryback.

CM Punk vs Chris Jericho

Now this one is tricky, damn tricky. First of all we need to wonder if Punk will even show. WWE are certainly billing it hard but without a single appearance from Punk since his departure, you got to wonder if they are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. As this one is going to be fairly unpredictable I’m going to give myself 3 guesses. Why? Because shut up it’s my predictions.

1: Punk wins as Babyface, Jericho turns Heel

It would be hard to believe that the WWE would bill this match and show no sign of Punk only to have him loose. Punk has been known to be disgruntled with WWE bookings so it would seem like they’d want to please him with a home town victory for his return. It will be a great match none the less but a predictable ending. Oh and the Jericho turning heel part, just for my benefit. This match should just be a Best Heel in the World match.

2: Jericho wins with aid from Paul Heyman

Got to admit I read a prediction about this on Bleacher Report my mind went racing. Imagine Punk being turned on in his home town, all the lovely nice guy Jericho padding he’s been doing recently was all an act! It was a plan all along for the two to bring back Punk only to shame him. Heyman was sick of Punk’s attitude staying at home not worthy to be his client, so Heyman plans an insidious trap with Jericho to cheat his way to the title of best in the world and for Heyman to ditch the client he’s lost faith in… I’m pulling for this one.

3: CM Punk is a no show and someone else comes out instead to attack Jericho.

We know Mark Henry is on his way back but I seriously hope that doesn’t happen. The other potential is Christian. WWE have been sitting on a medically cleared Christian for a while now waiting for a good angle to bring him back even stating his return as a priority. Could this be that chance? If it is Christian he will either have to instigate a heel status right away or Jericho will turn heel possibly with Paul Heyman’s aid (see a pattern emerging here). This one is a bit left field but if I’m right I’m going to be one smug son of a bitch and run down the street screaming “CALLED IT!”

Final thoughts: It’s going to be a great PPV, all the matches feature great talent that have been offering persistently entertaining matches for the most part. Provided the right matches get the most time (especially Punk vs. Jericho, if it happens) it should be a fantastic show.

Match most likely to steal the show: CM Punk vs. Jericho (if it happens)

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Game Review: Lone Survivor

Don’t be fooled by it’s graphics, Lone Survivor makes me you feel isolated and terrified throughout

When I first saw Lone Survivor pop up on Steam I was instantly intrigued. The screenshots looked eery even with a pixelated art style, the trailer was fantastically tantalising and the music featured was beautiful. However I dismissed the thought of this game scaring me. Don’t get me wrong I’ve jumped at games like Dead Space or Resident Evil but I’ve never really felt on edge, a true sense of fear and dread about what is happening or what can happen. A game that has immersed me to the point where I can begin to fear for my character as if he were me. Then I played Lone Survivor.

It’s clear other reviewers have been affected in the same way I have, one even mentioning it caused him to have nightmares. It makes it hard to review as it’s a game that you need to experience. I can explain the mechanics and the way the game goes about its story but it won’t help you understand the feeling it gives you as you sit there, mesmerised by it’s imagery and abstract narrative that leaves you feeling alone and frightened.

The game centers around a nameless character you control as he leads his day to day life of survival in a post-apocalyptic world. A virus is turning people into horrific creatures that relentlessly attack the remaining living. It’s seems like standard zombie fare at first until you realise that nothing you may be seeing or doing is even real. The game frequently messes with your head with strange characters that act completely out of character for the situation, horrors that appear out of nowhere and bizarre dream sequences reminiscent of Twin Peaks’ abstract madness. You never know if what your character is seeing is real or what lies around the next corner leaving you completely on edge and always questioning the world and people you meet.

The murky pixelated graphics may make people think the game can’t generate fear but it just serves to make you imagine the horrors as you watch. It’s a game that realises that a fundamental part of horror is not what you see but how your imagination takes hold and makes the horror for you. The thin men enemies seem all the more creepy and disturbing when you can barely make out exactly what they are or how they are deformed. And frequent horrific bloody scenes feel all the more disgusting left to your imagination putting together the images and bringing them to life in your own head. It’s beautifully done and you can tell the creator Jasper Byrne has a real talent for horror writing.

Gameplay is awkward but for a reason, it reminds me of the earlier Silent Hill games in some ways, which is probably some of the only games you can compare it to. Your character can either sneak past monsters in a hiding spot, using studying of movement patterns or placement of rotting meat. Sometimes the only way is to fight though which involves your character using a firearm. You can aim in 3 directions but your character isn’t exactly the best shot meaning there is some risk and reward in waiting for the enemies to come close for an accurate headshot at the cost of them being in attack range or repeated body and leg shots that will cost you more ammo. Hoarding of resources is a main aspect of the game. Food, ammo and batteries for your flashlight are all in limited supply meaning you have to conserve carefully. Your character also must regularly eat and sleep otherwise, well, I haven’t had the stomach to find out. Luckily mirrors act as portals to your home where you can rest up once again. There are other means of receiving more resources than purely around the world but can be at the cost of your characters sanity which will in turn effect your ending.

The games narrative is both disturbing and bizarre. Even though you control your character you feel like you’re not in control of him totally. He will write diary entries and comment on things you examine in strange and creepy ways that makes you question his sanity from the start. The other characters you meet are no less strange and whose very existence and motivation you constantly question. It’s a game that shouldn’t be rushed though, the game rewards you for soaking in the narrative and themes and it allows you to not get frustrated with some of the awkward control means.

There were times where the game did frustrate however. There were moments where I felt like I had no choice but to use the bizarre dream mechanic to get supplies due to the game no feasibly allowing me to sneak by some nasties. Also the awkward controls can sometime drag you out of the experience when fumbling to defend yourself.

I can truly say I’ve never had a game that  made me feel a genuine sense of fear. It’s a game that knows how to do horror effectively and even more so in an interactive medium. It’s a game of isolation, survival and fear, an experience like no other I have ever tried. This is a game everyone should try and I commend Jasper Byrne for making a game that has genuinely left me chilled to the bone.

Play this game, experience this game you owe it yourselves. Cut the lights, turn up the volume and let yourself be immersed as the Lone Survivor.

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Planetphillip 6×10 Mapping Contest – Exciting Mapping Contest for Half Life fans

 

Planet Phillip is the place to go for Half Life maps new and old

Planetphillip.com has announced a new mapping competition that will run through the Summer and Autumn. The rules are as follows:

  • The event will consist of 6 competitions.
  • Each competition will start on the first Friday of each month.
  • Each competition lasts 10 days.
  • The dates are below, meaning you can plan your competition mapping schedule around your long-term projects.
  • The theme for each competition will be posted at 6:00pm on the day the competition starts.
  • Each theme will have as much detail as possible, along with exactly how it will be judged.
  • Entrants are limited to one map per competition.
  • Maps must run under Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
  • There will be one prize for each competition.
  • The event will use a points system.
  • There will be a overall prize at the end of the 6 competitions, based on the points system.

Phillip Marlowe is renowned for keeping the Half Life mapping community thriving, constantly uploading maps from all over the internet and encouraging his community to rate the maps for other players. He also has had great success with his themed “Ville” mapping competitions such as Rooftopville, where all the entries had to involve rooftops in some way and Hunterville, which involved maps that required the Hunter enemy type featured in some way resulting in some very interesting and unique maps. All these maps are released to the public in compilation mods.

This competition seems aimed to condense the time available to participants and speed up the process of the competitions for the community to get their hands on the mapper’s creativity.

Planetphillip has an extensive archive of maps from all the games in the Half Life Universe, from Half Life 1 to Portal 2. Originally the website criteria would only upload maps that featured combat but has since been made more lenient as to accomodate Portal puzzle maps and Alt Mods. The website now features a readily available Personalizer that makes it simple and easy to search for a map with a wide variety of search criteria as well as Maptap a programme that enable simple and easy installation of maps and mods for the Half Life Series.

Mr. Marlowe has said that “By reaching out to more websites this time around, I hope to get a bigger response from the mapping community and see some really terrific entries”.

The 1st contest will be announced this Summer so mappers out there should get practising.

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Portal 2 ‘Perpetual Testing Initiative’ makes mapping look easy

Valve recently released a trailer for their new DLC for the video game Portal 2 entitled ‘The Perpetual Testing Initiative‘. The trailer yet again features Aperture Science Founder, Cave Johnson voiced by J.K Simmons. The trailer follows the same tongue in cheek black humour famous for the franchise and also reveals to us a little about how the creation will work. Check out the trailer below

What really interests me with this trailer is how simple the creation looks. If the editor is really as simple as the trailer makes it out to be, it’s going to be incredibly easy for even someone with next to no experience with mapping to be able to create a map. It seems almost lego like in it’s simplicity, placing blocks together in a very simple way which fits perfectly for the clinical test chambers of Aperture Science. It also seems to eliminate the need to render graphics in real time leaving some much needed memory free for lower end computers.

Most games made in Valve’s ‘Source Engine‘ involve brush based building in a programme called ‘Hammer’. It can be very daunting for a new mapper and requires a lot of practise and research to even make the most basic map. Simplifying the process for Portal 2, a game enjoyed by the hardcore fans and causal gamers alike, is a brilliant move on Valve’s part and integrated it into their easy to use, simple installation ‘Steam Workshop‘ is going to make everything run incredibly smoothly. The popular RPG Skyrim has already embraced the workshop and is full to the brim with custom modifications by fans at the click of a button.

My whole brain is crying just looking at this! Picture taken from the Valve Developer Community Wiki of Hammer in action

If this goes well for Valve it will not only allow them to adapt this easy mapping structure for future games but further advertise their Steam Workshop functionality. Bravo Valve, you’ve impressed me yet again.

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Tim Schafer’s Kickstarter – Kickstarting a revolution?

Tim Schafer, legendary game developer of games such as Monkey Island, Grim Fandango and Psychonauts, recently decided he wanted to make an adventure game again with his studio Double Fine. Unfortunately finding a publisher was the hard part. The video game industry at the moment is very profit driven. The industry doesn’t really have a major independent publisher like the film industry’s several so if a game genre isn’t popular enough to turn a big enough profit, then a publisher isn’t going to pick it up. It’s a sad truth of our industry that needs to change and Tim Schafer decided he could change it.

Tim Schafer used the website Kickstarter, a website made to help projects get their initial funding from donators who wish to back the project. Schafer asked for a donation of $400,000 for the game and a documentary of them making it, the biggest donation target ever requested on Kickstarter, offering bonuses and gifts depending on how much someone donated. Within 8 hours their target was met. Within 24 hours, Schafer had raised $1 million.

By the end of the Kickstarter, the Double Fine Adventure page showed they had raised $3,336,371, not including donations from countries where they couldn’t use Kickstarter. Now try and tell publisher’s that this isn’t a financially viable genre.

Tim Schafer has started something here it’s undeniable he’s changed the way we think about producing games. This puts the publishing rights into our hands, the consumers. There’s no middle man publisher getting to pick and choose who gets to release a game and how it gets made, now we have that power.

Not only that but it’s given developers of old a new lease on life for game development. Brian Fargo, the creator of the classic Fallout franchise, has raised nearly $3 million of donations for him to make a sequel to the proto-fallout game ‘Wasteland’ in true isometric style and the creator of Leisure Suit Larry, Al Lowe, has raised over $50,000 for a Leisure Suit Larry remake.

This is the start of something, consumers choosing what they want to be made and without any compromises. I have feeling this will see wide spread repercussions throughout the gaming industry and I’m happy to ride the waves all the way.

Look at that charismatic stallion, he’s the head of a revolution and he’s loving it!

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EA under fire from Anti-Gay Activists – Does society need to grow up?

Yes remember Sodom and while we’re at it remember Alderan

WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Mass Effect 3 and the Mass Effect series

EA has become the target of many letters complaining about LGBT relationships in their video game franchises such as Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Amongst these activists are ‘The Florida Family Association’ who appear to have launched a campaign directly against EA.

EA continues to refuse these demands and Jeff Brown, VP of corporate communications at EA, has stated in an interview with Game Industry International that “This isn’t about protecting children, it’s about political harassment”.

It really does sadden me that in this day and age that people can still retain such homophobia. What’s worse it that these activists pretend to hide behind the safety of “think of the children!” to hide their own prejudices.

Why should it matter if children are shown homo-sexual relationships at an early age? Shouldn’t we be teaching our children about the many ways people live their lives. If we continue to make homosexuality so taboo and something weird or unnatural then what example are we setting? This is the reason people become bullied and persecuted because we make it seem like something out of the ordinary, something to be ashamed of. I personally believe that if someone is attracted by the opposite sex then that is the way they are mentally wired from birth. There’s no converting needed or exorcising of some demon, it’s just the way they are and we should teach children that you know what, that’s ok, everyone is unique and has different interests in loving relationships. These activists end up doing more damage in the long run.  Entering a gay relationship in a game or witnessing one existing isn’t going to turn you gay, that’s ludicrous to even think, but making it seem like it is in some way wrong or hiding it all together serves to greaten persecution and disgust.

Let’s look at Mass Effect 3, this game is well known for it’s well established character relationships and general narrative. Now for the past two games you’ve only been able to have heterosexual relationships besides omni-sexual aliens and a certain crew member, but there was always the option to avoid them all together. Shepard’s sexuality is never discussed explicitly as it is up to the player’s actions and choices. But what I defend most about Mass Effect 3′s homosexual relationships is that they feel real. It’s not pornography or titillation, it’s a genuine character moment between two people who have been through so much. Just watch the video below that shows Kaiden Alenko and Commander Shepard discussing their feelings for each other through the player’s interaction.

Major Spoilers in this video:

What I love about this scene is the way their relationship is discussed. It’s two people, who have been through so much and are facing the end of days who decided that in the darkness they need someone and they find each other, someone who’s been by their side through everything the universe has hit them with. They don’t even come across as gay, it’s just two people accepting their place in the universe and how they feel about each other. It’s a beautifully directed scene and makes me sad that I let Kaiden die in the 1st game.

It should be a crime to suggest we not even discuss homosexual relationships in games, games are no longer toys for children. They are artistic platforms with mature themes, and even if these higher certificated games were really allowed for children to play, it says something about humanity and relationships through an interactively that can’t be expressed in any other medium.

Society needs to grow up and embrace where we are and allow beautiful writing and narrative to take precedence over some people’s insidious prejudices.

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Frank Movie Trailer

To celebrate the fact that I got an A in all of my subjects in college and have been accepted into my university, I thought I’d share this video I made for the practical portion of my Media Studies Course. A Black-Comedy trailer for a film called “Frank” a modern adaptation of the classic tale of “Frankenstein”. Enjoy!

(FYI I’m the guy playing Igor)

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E3 Commentary – Nintendo

Nintendo probably has the most anticipated Conference with the rumours of their new console. Will they deliver on their promises? Let’s find out!

Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Bonanza:

Miyamoto is so pimp that he can just come on stage command an orchestra to entertain him as he dicks around. Motherfucker invented Mario he can do what he wants.

Link’s Awakening on Virtual Console is good to hear and there was some information on Legend of Zelda: Orcarina of Time 3D. Masterquest inclusion is awesome for the hardcore among us and the added boss mode and hint system sounds great to me.

Zelda 4 Swords remake as a free download on the dsi store? I’m going to have to get a 3DS or DSi!

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword coming with a golden wii remote. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was solid gold with all the left over money Nintendo has from the Wii.

It’s always nice to see how much heart Nintendo have for their franchises, I mean they have to with all the games they make for the same franchises. They may have been scrutinized for it but their sequels are always varied and interesting which is less than you can say from other companies so you might as well be grateful.

Mario Kart 3D:

Adapting ideas from N64 era kart games now? Interesting Nintendo.

I think it’s pretty cool to see Mario Kart embracing some of the multi-vehicle aspects of Diddy Kong racer and the coin collecting mechanic? My money is on a system similar to the Wumpa Fruit collecting from Crash Team Racing, which is still to this day the greatest kart racer every made. Seriously if you haven’t played CTR get it on the PS Store NOW!

Hopefully they can fix the luck related, 1st place hating issues from Mario Kart Wii to give us the best Mario Kart yet.

Star Fox 64 3D:

Yes we would all rather see a brand new version of Star Fox in the 64 style but at least we get the next best thing, actually getting Star Fox 64.

I like the idea of the new control mechanic and I think the 3DS technology could pull it off well. It’s going to be great to DO A BARREL ROLL on the go.

You can just tell someone is going to pull their cock out whilst playing their 3Ds. Star Fox just became chat roulette

Super Mario 3D:

TANOOKI SUIT CONFIRMED! Well we did kind of guess that but cool.

Some of the gameplay worries me. Changing direction stiffly on the 3D plane makes me think of early 3D platformers like Bubsy 3D and Croc. I’m sure it works better in motion but still makes me wonder.

Personally I HATED Super Mario DS. It was too short, lacked difficulty or re-playability and made a needlessly tacked on effort to hide some of it’s worlds with the “defeat the boss as Tiny Mario” thing. So I’m glad this game is starting to move away from the sidescrolling gameplay that Nintendo has failed to innovate with in the Mario series so far.

Kid Icarus Uprising:

Fuck me Kid Icarus’ voice is annoying. Where’s the grow-a-pair cheat code?

Seems odd to mix this quirky little cartoony angel sprite with all the other characters being brooding Final Fantasy characters. Just seem too juxtaposed. Or that might be just because Kid Icarus is so damn irritating! It’s like playing the game as one of the Microsoft Conference kids!

Multi-player I didn’t see coming, but it’s pretty awesome to see that inclusion. It looked pretty skilful and I’d definitely like to get my hands on it.

Kid Icarus 3DS cards…cool I suppose?

Luigi’s Mansion 2

HELL YES!

I have been hankering for a sequel to Luigi’s Mansion for years and it’s so great to have my prayers answered.

Looks like the classic experience we know, a little more constricted movement wise but I don’t care. BECAUSE IT’S LUIGI’S MANSION 2! I haven’t been this excited since they re-launced Monkey Island!

Now announce a new model of the 3DS so I can buy one Nintendo!

Pokedex 3D

Hey this is pretty cool, this looks like it would be a fun little tool to play with.

I mean for kids totally, I mean no way am I going to play with this I’m an adult he he he…

Oh shut up, you all like Pokemon too!

AND IT’S FREE!

Wii U

Oh come on, that’s a terrible name! It’s starting to sound like a freaking ambulance siren! Well I suppose it makes sense with the connectivity to previous hardware but still I don’t like the name. At least with “The Stream” I could make a wii stream joke.

This pretty much kicks Kojima’s “Transfarring” right in the nuts and doesn’t require 50 placards to explain it.

The controller is basically like an Ipad, which is pretty amazing but it just seems a little too chunky for someone to hold as a controller. My opinion may be changed if I played with one but it looks cumbersome. Those circle pads look a little too high considering if this is going to be heavy. And how much will these things cost if you want to play multi-player with multiple controllers? I’m not paying £700 a pop!

Wow look at those graphics. Motherfucker got horse blood.

It’s got horse-power, will probably have the games, the controller has some awesome functionality like with web browsing but will it work as an actual game controller? I’m still not sure.

Still it is another bold step by Nintendo which I’m happy to see.

New Super Smash Bros.

Just a hint that they will come out on both but that still is…

FRIGGING AWESOME!

Super Mario Mii

Urgh again?

Lego City Stories

Cool I guess? Open world lego sounds fun I suppose but why wouldn’t I just buy real legos?

Oh yeah because I can only ever build cuboids with a door or wheels attached.

Darksiders 2

O.K so no information showed in this conference specifically but it was announced to be released on the console from day 1 of the games launch. Darksiders was an average game but it wasn’t bad just rather unremarkable. Hopefully this sequel can give it that extra little kick into being a great game.

I wonder how far they will go with Death being the new protagonist? Famine would be a pretty boring game.

Tekken

Me love Tekken, me want more Tekken, give me Tekken Wii U!

Batman Arkham City

Some people might say “all the other consoles have it anyway big deal!” I’d respond by saying none of those other consoles let you play it while taking a shit.

Assassin’s Creed

I repeat my last statement

Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Online

Pretty sure that wasn’t a book

Aliens Colonial Marines

It’s awesome that this is finally coming to light! My blood pH is changing just thinking about it!

Metro Last Light

Metro 2033 was an great yet flawed game. Iron out the kinks and this one is going to be a real treat!

Ninja Gaiden 3

Meh, not interested unless the controller controls boobs again.

Conclusion

A little underwhelming. Wii U will be the ultimate bathroom experience with it’s on the shitter gamplay but I still have the same grievances and doubts I was feeling at the Wii’s announcement. I think Nintendo could pull this off, but I am remaining sceptical for now. It is great to see a Nintendo console with some major horsepower this time though. No bad visual ports required.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 is probably their best reveal game wise and really is making me consider getting a 3DS soon.

Their presentation style was nice and visually interesting with the multi-screen set-up which kept the audience engaged.

The jury is still out on this new console but their conference was a damn sight better than Microsoft.

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E3 Commentary – EA Game Changers

EA have called their conference “Game Changers”. Let’s hope they can live up to that name and shake the image of the money hungry juggernaut of gaming. Wait that’s Activision now… Go EA!

Mass Effect 3:

OH YES OH YES OH YES! MASS EFFECT 3 BABY!

It looks like Bioware have really stepped their game up on the action set pieces. That reaper attack feels like real action sci-fi and they really have embraced the scale of a threat the reapers pose. My concern is too much of this could leave the player fatigued. I was always worried how they would pull off a reaper invasion because they just seem unstoppable! But I believe in Bioware to do the series justice once more and bring everything to a satisfying conclusion. Melee combat seems to be improved with the omni-tool stabby function and grenades look like they will return as real grenades instead of weird disc explosives. These look like great improvements.

And hey Legion is back! Let’s hope we see more robot dance moves.

6th of March release date and I cannot wait

Need for Speed The Run:

Not a huge fan of Need for Speed as a franchise but I will admit the most recent title Hot Pursuit was a real improvement.

Adding on foot sections seems kind of unnecessary to me. For one they are just quick time events and I don’t think racing fans will like having their races randomly interrupted so they can hammer buttons.

The jury’s out on this one, but I think they’ve gone in the wrong direction.

At least add fricking split screen this time

Star Wars The Old Republic:

This has to be the only MMO I would seriously consider being a WoW killer.

Knights of the Old Republic is still to this day one of my all time favourite games and is a testament to Bioware’s talent for story, gameplay design and submersion in mythos. They got Star Wars better than George Lucas and I believe they can make this MMO with the same level of care that they did for KOTOR.

If the combat system is at least similar to the originals in some way gameplay isn’t a problem. Some people have complained about the story of the game being too focused on the player seeing as the game is an MMO and people feel cheated by being told they are the protagonist when there are millions of others playing. Personally, I feel that story is what Bioware do best and I trust them to go in whatever direction they think is most suitable.

Although we only got a cinematic trailer you can just tell from the way they talk about the game how much hard work and dedication has been put in and I can’t wait to try the game out myself.

SSX:

Snowboarding is cool still? Whatever happened to Cool Boarders?

Fifa 12:

Fifa is a juggernaut in football games and I always stand by my opinion that it is the superior game to Pro Evolution Soccer. The game just gets better and better with the new Online league tables where supporters work together to help their club reach internet supremacy by winning matches as said club. I’d love to see this system be trolled by a huge group of pro-fifa players picking an underdog team and raising them to the top.

If you liked previous Fifa’s you sure as hell will like this.

Madden:

I’m English therefore I don’t care

Sims Social:

I think combining Facebook with The Sims could potentially cripple world productivity. It’s like mixing nicotine with heroin because you thought one just wasn’t quite addictive enough.

Does anyone else find this trailer incredibly creepy? People facebook fucking with virtual avatars that updates immediately to your wall then two women discussing creating a virtual partner for themselves. It’s kind of the like a modern reboot of Weird Science. How do we even know this guy she hooked up with isn’t her own sick creation. Yeesh

Of course this will be a success, this will be the biggest time sink since they added a Bejewled mod to World of Warcraft.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

This has got a lot of big names behind it so the hype machine is in top gear.

Is it just me or does this looks like a grown up Fable? Even to the way they describe the “choices” and the world itself just gives me deja vu.

The jury is out for me on this one whether if it can deliver on what it promises. I feel bad for the guy who came out on stage, he seemed so excited and nervous. I don’t want to have to crown him the new Molyneux.

Overstrike

This looks pretty cool I’ve got to say. It’s nice to see Insomniac go for something that uses their sense of humour again which I think is one of their strongest traits as a developer.

I never thought much of the Resistance games but I am a mega fan boy for the Ratchet and Clank games. I was the kid in the playground who, despite everyone saying how cool Jak 2 was because “it was all gritty and GTA like”, was rocking my Omniwrench and telling everyone I was going to go RYNO on their ass.

I’m excited to see what Insomniac do with this franchise, it’s cartoony style is somewhat reminiscent of  Team Fortress 2 with the team dynamic of Left 4 Dead. Add in the crazy weapons Insomniac is famous for and you got yourself a game I’m dying to know more about.

Return of the Sheepinator anyone?

Battlefield 3

Yes it’s very pretty and a nice meaty engine, but what else can it offer me that other modern combat games haven’t?

I’m sure modders will have a field day but I’m just not convinced that the game does anything innovative enough to make me care.

FPS as a genre is stale and is saturated with modern combat games and besides leaving me drooling from the mouth at it’s beauty the core of the game doesn’t seem exciting or inventive.

I’m still not sold, sorry DICE.

A word on Origin

Mentioned briefly in the press conference I thought I might as well give my opinion.

No this isn’t a Steam killer. EA will never be able to match the deals and prices that Steam can offer it’s customers and I find the interface to be a little too clunky. But I do believe with the titles they could bring exclusively and a little work on their application it could be a viable contender.

Of course Old Republic exclusive to Origin guarantees a huge amount of users right off the bat. I’d keep my eye on Origin but they will never beat Steam. For Steam is mighty and offers me games for £3 almost everyday! HUZZAH!

Conclusion

Good reveals, simple delivery and great games made a great conference. Of course EA isn’t under the pressure that the Console Juggernauts have to deal with but I still think Microsoft could learn something from this conference.

People were excited, the information was delivered clearly and concisely and they didn’t have to pay for Cirque du Soleil and a conference centres worth of light up condom jackets.

Just a good conference all round. Minimalism helped it greatly.

Posted in E3 2011 | 8 Comments

E3 Commentary – Microsoft Conference

Microsoft’s conference last year was in my opinion the worst in show and the worst they’ve ever put on at E3. They looked foolish, seeming behind the competition with all the childish Kinect playthings and hideously written “conversations” to demonstrate their video chat feature. This year is their chance to make up for it. Please at least try Microsoft.

 

Call of Duty:

You know it’s not a good start when you forget to change the batteries for probably the most popular games on show.

It’s another Call of Duty, what else is there to say. Unless they start really changing up things in the series I’m not interested.

Tomb Raider:

It is nice to see a Tomb Raider game that’s marketing strategy isn’t entirely based on breasts. In fact they are hardly emphasised at all. If this is a prequel is the end of the game going to end with her getting implants?

It’s nice to see Lara’s personality as more feminine rather than the typical female lead ice queen she has become, although I can’t help thinking she sounds kind of like the curiosity sphere from Portal.

“WHAT IS THAT CONTRAPTION? OH WHAT’S THAT? WHERE AM I GOING? WHAT SHOULD I DO?”

I can’t help feeling that her voice is going to grate on me for a whole game, but I must admit I do like the new direction. I’m just not sure we needed a game where we pull rusty spikes out of a beaten and scared Lara Croft.

Cautiously Optomistic

EA Sports:

No Crack Baby Basketball 2011 Kinect announcement unfortunately.

Mass Effect 3

I am so excited about Mass Effect 3, all the rich narrative culminating to this point, every choice having an effect and it was great to see some footage.

While the squad commands in combat were pretty neat it’s really only a novelty and it’s implementation in the dialogue tree just seems pointless.

It’s a shame the focus was on Kinect moving things sideways.

The announcement I’m waiting for is whether or not Jack can be a party member. I miss that crazy gal of mine.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier:

Nice little trailer that made me sit up after drooping at the sight of another Tom Clancy game.

Gun nuts will go crazy for the Kinect gunsmith system and it actually seems like a legitimately cool use of Kinect in a main stream game.

However the game play with the Kinect looks really clunky. It such an unwieldy system in the way he was holding the gun and the way functions were activated. Kinect is supposed to make things easier but the guy looked like he was doing interpretive dance just to pull up the sights and aiming in general seemed awkward.

All future Tom Clancy games being Kinect enabled as well hasn’t got me sold either. Kinect just doesn’t seem to be compatible with every genre of game to me. Forcing Kinect compatibly when it really isn’t required or appropriate isn’t going to help the Kinect in anyway.

It’s like insisting your gloves make great socks when they don’t fit the dimensions of your foot in anyway.

Kinect TV:

Am I mistaken or didn’t they announce all this Kinect controls your Xbox shit already? Wasn’t that the whole point of Kinect in the 1st place?

You got a search engine (sorry “Decision” Engine) and Youtube but still no internet browser. You’re not helping the behind the times thing Microsoft. T.V is a nice edition at least even if PlayStation already have done it.

UFC added features is nice but… meh I prefer wrestling. UFC always seemed like an awkward playground fight to me. Two guys in a headlock telling each other to let go.

Gears of War 3:

So instead of “WHERE’S MY WIFE!” it’s “WHERE’S MY DAD!”. Also doesn’t anyone find it ironic that they are using an anti-war song in their trailers?

Clips of Ice-T scowling mixed with clips of COG’s scowling.

They got some yellow in the colour palette this time at least. It’s just hard to get excited about Gears of War any more. I feel like it’s as stale as Call of Duty.

Ryse:

A Crytek game set in Roman times? Hey this sounds pretty awes… wait it’s a first person fighting game on Kinect it’s not going to work moving on!

Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary:

Remastered Halo 1. Cool.

Forza 4:

How much money do you think Kanye West has accumulated from that Power song? He must he using 50′s to wipe his arse.

I don’t care much for realistic racing games besides Grand Turismo. Give me Arcade racing any day. I don’t want there to even be a brake button if I’m playing a racing game.

Fable The Journey:

Exaggerated promises by Peter Molyneux? It’s Fable time!

A Kinect on rails shooter set in the Fable, seriously? That’s like making Black and White into a racing game! The only saving grace will be if I get to smash Milo in his smug little face.

Minecraft Kinect:

A sensible application for Kinect that I may want to try? Guess I’ll start eating that tyre, I lost a bet.

Kinect Disney Adventures:

Well I suppose it’s marginally cheaper to buy an Xbox Console, Kinect, an HD TV, the game and two easily amused children than buying tickets to the actual the actual park. Wait, let me get my calculator.

I always imagine every line these child actors say as being “We are acting!” and the whole presentation seems more believable.

In all seriousness this does look like it would be fun for a family to enjoy and… OH COME ON “Fist bump!” WHERE DO THEY GET THESE FUCKING KIDS.

Star Wars Kinect:

I think this somehow has less CGI than the Prequels.

The game is based on the prequels, has game play purely based on “waggle” mechanics, and it doesn’t fucking work.

Another shining moment for the Star Wars Franchise, remember when you could be proud saying you liked Star Wars? I wish I did.

Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster:

It’s always great to see Tim Schafer and Double Fine, he is one funny guy (I appreciate the simulated family joke and I too based my diet on the Cookie Monster!)

This games looks great, it knows exactly what Kinect does well and uses those rather than messing around in what it’s “supposed” to do and it definitely captures the spirit of Sesame Street. I can see this being a guilty pleasure.

Wonder if there’s a multiplayer mode where one person plays as Cookie Monster in rehab trying to heat up cookie dough in the bathroom while the other player as Elmo tries to sedate him.

Kinect Fun Labs:

Hey who let that hobo on stage? Security must be more slack this year… oh wait that’s Kudo Tsunoda.

It’s great that Microsoft are actually acknowledging the advances the community has made. but I can’t help but wonder if it’s going to end up with the same restrictions as the Indie Game Marketplace which would be awful.

It’s really just a show case for doohickeys. I think the real reason we were excited by the community was their potential for application into actual games and other software. That’s where I personally hope this can go.

Kinect Sports Season 2:

………. NEXT!

Dance Central 2:

Hey geeky Dance Central guy lost weight. Looking good! Shame he isn’t providing us with a good GIF this year.

Dance Central is probably the best Kinect Title so far, the Guitar Hero of Dance games and this just looks to improve on a solid foundation.

Halo 4:

New development team, unnecessary sequels, I’ll stay sceptical

Conclusion:

Not the strongest effort by Microsoft but definitely an improvement from last year with a mix of focus between the casual and hardcore. Nothing really big was revealed besides Halo 4 which only had a teaser. A poor show but I’ve seen worse. I think Microsoft feels way too safe and don’t feel they need to step up their game, putting all their eggs into the Kinect basket I say is a big mistake. I have a feeling Nintendo is going to be a big hitter and is going to leave Microsoft in the dust all over again. Microsoft is loosing their grasp as king of hardcore and the sooner they realise it the better.

Posted in E3 2011 | 2 Comments