Pokemon GO Fest: Should Have Seen This Coming?

Pokemon GO Fest: Should Have Seen This Coming?

Pokemon Go has always been kind of a… trainwreck.

I say this because I still play it and at times enjoy it. I am objective in my own way, since I love Pokemon as a whole and had high hopes for Niantic when they put this out. I also knew after a week or two, they dropped the pokeball as it were, and left us in a lurch.

That being said, today was the Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago, where Pokemon Go trainers from around the Chicago area, to try and catch pokemon, do raid battles, and spin Stops in order to build bonuses for Trainers all around the world after the event. This would all lead up to the “Mystery” event, which we all knew it was going to be a Legendary Raid (don’t lie).

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Or at least that was supposed to be the case, but players poured in complaints about connectivity issues, unable to log on and do what the entire event was all about. Things got so heated that when the CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, took the stage to address the issues, he was only booed off by the crowd of angry players. A little while later, those same players began to chant “We Can’t Play!” in frustration in while at the event.

Who can blame them?

People flew in from outta state and out of the country to participate only to show up at the event where they couldn’t do a damn thing. Thinking on the plane ride over, “Man I can’t wait to see what rare pokemon they have for us that I don’t have at home?” only to show up and start admiring the load screen because they aren’t getting past that any time soon. “I could have a gym in another country/state!” then the only thing they get to do is sweat in a crowd of people in another country/state. pokemongocrwd.jpg

Some players even wasted money to travel there, some spending money in game for items to help them for the event. This dawned on the Niantic team and they recently offered a refunds to ticket holders, and added on the bonus of a $100 in coins in game. This also doesn’t mention the lines to get inside the event still going on, who also can’t connect due to cell networks being congested.

To say this event was not well planned is an understatement but we shouldn’t be surprised. This kind of event bombing as hard as the infamous Dash Con ballpit (yeah pulling out an oldie) is expected from the company who didn’t plan ahead on the games release. Announced many features that have just recently been released, a year later, many of which were said to be either on release or close to it. Like I talked about in my other article about my re-addiction to the game, features being removed and “fixed” returned months later, removing fan made services on the pokemon locator systems and etc. I wont dive into it again, but just circling back to say I’m not surprised.

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The Good Coming From This

Not much, besides an awesome display of chanting by Pokemon fans, but the two important things are the first two Legendaries were announced, Lugia (Yes!) and Articuno (Meh), and that the players hit the goals they were shooting for, which is rumored to give us bonuses after the event.

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Will these bonuses happen, maybe who the heck knows if they will be able to deliver but I will be hopeful indeed.

Other than that, nothing much came from the event, that I was partially excited for. Other than the acknowledgement that Niantic will continue its trend of not thinking ahead, letting down people’s expectations because of poor planning, but the most important thing, bringing people together.

That’s right, what is looking to be close to 20,000 players gathered from all around, were brought together by the love of Pokemon and the desire to play the game they made. The idea that some say Pokemon Go is dead doesn’t seem so accurate. I was surprised when the app first came out, I was hesitant to go out to local parks because I have horrible social anxiety, that so many people showed up to catch Gen 1 pokemon, kids, adults, and even some in their late 50s or 60s.

This game maybe a train-wreck sometimes, but it is always keeping people on board no matter how bad things fall apart. Not many gaming franchises can have their CEO booed off stage at a failed event, while maintaining such a huge fanbase. I continually find myself bashing Pokemon Go, going to the point of weening myself off, only to come back when some subtle features, or some larger ones with the Raids, show up and then I’m jumping right back in. I’ve even started a second account just so I can help with gyms or raids if I can actually figure out how to use it separately. If only I could find my spare older phones.

Either way, I’m not surprised by the failure of the games devs when something fails or bombs miserably. Yeah it’s harsh but every bad thing has a silver lining. Niantic’s is that they can still manage to reel people in and keep them playing. Meeting new people, building teams for the new raids, joining/creating social media groups to keep contact, the devs have picked the one property that even if they mess things up, people stick with them.

Kudos to Niantic for trying, I guess. Though as of me writing this, they have done a bit more than just refund the ticket and $100 coins for players who went to the event. Legendary Pokemon Lugia gets added to the trainers who participated in the event (or tried to) and extended the pokestop events for the players in Chicago around the park by 2 miles. So hey quick response to the problem, good on you. Maybe next time have a plan to avoid this, work with the cell companies or something along those lines.

Either way, the event was a success of some kind ways and people who could get in to play actually came out on top, maybe stocking up on balls, or just getting the chance to get a Legendary for free.

Can’t lose for losing it seems.

-ProdigiousJ

Why Games Are Easier Now Than Before

Why Games Are Easier Now Than Before

First I want to apologize for missing this past Saturday, life has been pretty chaotic and led me to absentmindedly miss it. My post may be sporadic over the next few weeks because of these unforeseen issues, but I’ll try to get one post put up when I can.

Thank you for understanding!

Today though, I want to talk about how game difficulty has evolved over the years, specifically difficulty levels through the ages.

As a very young gamer, being born a little after the advent of video games, I know games that now most gamers call ‘retro’, but I knew them as brand new or pretty close to it. Super Mario, Donkey Kong Country, Sonic The Hedgehog, and even Duck Hunt, these titles shaped my early childhood. These inspired me to find the beauty and grace in most things video games. Unless you count the Atari 2600 games.. I’m still getting reoccurring nightmares from Superman and E.T. Yeah I know without the Atari we wouldn’t have games as we know them, but all I can say is they have not aged well at all. They are some ugly looking fuckers if you ask me. But that is the curse of being born a bit after gaming because popular and began evolving but before the creation of the powerful tech devs use to create stunning graphics, stretching beyond 8 Bits.

To me I will always be spoiled by the over arching development games  have gone through, so I’ll be jaded when it comes to comparing graphics.

The Difficulty Of It All

That aside, being someone who played a lot of the old school/Retro games, both as a kid and recently as an adult, it has given me some perspective on what you call difficulty levels. What inspired me to bring up difficulty is that with the recent release of Crash N’Sane Trilogy, with it being a “new” title,  many Youtubers, friends, and random internet people are playing it. Whether they are doing a let’s play or just running through it during their personal time, a common occurrence I’ve seen is plenty of people complaining about how hard it is to play it. Watching people getting flustered and rage quitting over a game that has been out almost 21 years now, it got me thinking.

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Is Crash Bandicoot… hard? Not sure if it was as hard as everyone else makes it seems to be when I played it. It was all about timing and platforming, a few levels are still memorized and I haven’t played in forever. It never seemed to be that much of an issue for me, then I have to wonder way are so many people having such a hard time?

Then it hit me, and it was so obvious I’m surprised it didn’t reach out and pinch me. Many of these players having such a hard time had never played the originals. They perceived a challenging level as too hard because they may not have played games to 100% in the days before trophies and refined controls. The ability to reach the 2nd level on a very hard game was the reward itself and it made you feel like a certified badass.

Even gamers my age, I’m included on a few games, never played the more challenging games whatsoever. Either from lack of interest as a kid or because their parents couldn’t or wouldn’t buy them for them. Whatever reason they had, the experience of learning these jumping patterns, enemy spawn points, or how to run through an area filled with pits and enemies  without getting hit a single time, all because they had to play the same stretch of level over and over at least 100 times. Limited lives, no checkpoints, no save files or passwords, just 2 lives or less and only allowed to be hit twice before starting all over (Looking at you Ghost N’ Goblins).

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It trained a whole generation of gamers to overthink, strategize, and find the will not to snap their very fragile controllers.

The Crux of Difficulty

Games like this were the proving grounds for both devs and skilled players. Game success meant a future career for designers, a future game meant another challenge for the player to conquer. Slowly the difficult games became more difficult, if they weren’t already at maximum. Games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pitfall, Megaman, and Contra were already challenging, but as they ramped up the difficulty, those gamers seeking fun more than a challenge became quickly discouraged. I can be counted as someone whose become discouraged over certain titles.

Fun Fact: To this day, I have yet to beat a MegaMan game, I’ve been getting progressively better through the years, but never made it past two of the bosses, maybe 3. These games seem challenging, but also have a mix hint of sadism yet have a set of basics to follow in order to win. It’s hard to say the game isn’t beaten by many, as I know quite a few, but it stands to reason that there are people like me who couldn’t beat it.

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Yes it goes back to skill and will, but this also ties into the idea of titles existing that maybe too difficult while trying to be challenging. Battletoads, Ghosts N’ Goblins, Ninja Gaiden (Original), these are all examples of games that seem to number low in the amount of people who actually beat them. How many times have people shoved these games in a drawer in frustration because they couldn’t get past level 1 or 2. There is a very fine line between challenging and ridiculously insane barrages of enemies and bad controls, this then brings us to where games began to ease up (after a long run of keeping the challenge in small bursts).

The Decline of Crap Difficulty

Time’s gone on and tech has improved by leaps and bounds each console generation. During each one, a set of challenging games have filled the void for the old school skill based ones. Though with each generation, the definition of challenge has changed, diminishing the quality of what games used to be.

Those upset by Crash’s difficulty now would find it much easier if they sat back and compared it to games like Contra, GN’G, or Mega Man. Heck if they had beaten Mega Man  in the years before and then went on to play Crash, they’d probably be able to breeze right through it. That’s the problem with developers as gaming has aged. They began to focus in the other aspects besides the challenge, ideals like fun, story driven games, and voice acting, which aren’t bad things. Devs tried to keep the player on their toes, but picking Hard Mode in a game pales in comparison to the only mode in certain games from gaming’s yesteryear. Anyone who looks back will realize we definitely have it easier now than back then.

Then again there is the Souls series and they hold the staple for the Hardest games of our current generation. I’d rather spend hours trying to beat a Mega Man game with hours of failure than try to beat a Souls game at all.

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Guess It’s all Perspective in the end.

-ProdigiousJ

A Stat Reroll: How I’m Changing My Norm

A Stat Reroll: How I’m Changing My Norm

I’m Usually one for lofty speeches

Though as of late, it hasn’t been as consistent for me. I’ve grown to resemble more of a closed book than an open door, keeping people from understanding my contents, my truths, while giving out only enough information to keep people just close enough. I’ve become more of a silent man who walks in the background, a NPC that nobody really needed to notice but got along just as well as he could.

But something hit me the other day, the day of someones birthday, the birthday of a man who I’ve never met before. A Youtuber who I’ve come to admire and respect, who usually has some uplifting message every few months, hell maybe once a week.

Markiplier was not someone I followed back when he started, but rather someone I came across a few years back. Throughout the vast library of videos he has, many of them have helped me get through a hard time, and many who have inspired me to do great things.

Unfortunately, I have never fully acted on that inspiration, never working, living, or playing as hard as I can to become the best I can. Doing what I can to make the world a better place in the best ways I can. I always feel a pang of sadness when I realize I have yet to reach that exciting moment when I fulfill that promise of bettering myself.

But back to the day in question, Markiplier was going on about his birthday and watching older videos of his and reacting to them. He then began to reminisce about how small his channel was at one point, how his life was totally different in the beginning. He talked about how he felt guilty for asking people to share and like his work, and even more so when he had his channel banned and had to re-upload all his videos. There was a moment where he reflected on the instance he almost gave up, almost never went on to restart his channel, and could have decided his limited run as a Youtuber was over.

The World Can Always Change

However, he went through with uploading them all, individually on his “mom’s old internet” he said after his friends convinced him to keep going. He then had to ask his followers to go and individually like, share, etc, his old videos to get the Youtube algorythm to register him better, or however that system actually works.

The basic point of it all was that he changed his life by actually going forward and putting forth the effort to entertain and achieve all that he sought to do. Be better, do better, make the world better. I could be blending that reaction video and his keeping promises video but the message was the same and all too inspiring.

So I decided that day I was going to make a change. Given the situation I am, I have to work harder to get by, I have to schedule better to get to work in all the things I want to do and be. All that I have strived to be since I was a kid, I have to actually work harder than I have to reach it.

This blog, for those few of you who read it, is something I hope makes a better life for someone else out there  as well as for myself and my joy of writing and video games. As is a podcast I’ve started to try to host on with a few work buddies. These are the things that I’ve always wanted to do to entertain, to inform, to reflect and these are now things I need to work on to better reach the success I want.

What I Plan On Doing

I want to work on a new writing schedule for this blog, write when I come home, and instead of posting it at 2 in the morning, post it the next morning after proofreading it and making sure it doesn’t sound groggy and half assed. I also will be trying to schedule some more recording time for the podcast, and after today’s first recording that looks to be an uphill battle. However, I want to keep going and learn from the experience. I want to grow, I want to help and entertain people, maybe brighten a day just like Markiplier does on a daily basis. I don’t seek to be him, but I seek to emulate his enthusiasm to change the world for the better.

My new writing schedule will be Wednesday and Saturday. Sometimes I may include a Friday post as well if something comes up I want to write about. I will keep myself accountable so I will be successful in what I do and how I attempt to help the world around me. I also will happily welcome readers and friends hold me accountable, at least a simple reminder, just to keep me honest. So from now on, expect posts on the most inane, the most beautiful, and the most hilarious (to me anyway) subjects every Wednesday and Saturday.

To close, I’d like to say what Markiplier might try to say at the end of one his inspirational speeches. Guys, for those few who do read, just try to be the good you want to see in the world. Make someone smile, tell a friend a crappy joke when they are feeling down, but do it all with a smile and never give up thinking you can’t change yourself or the world around you. Be strong and always aim to be better every day because if you don’t try to better yourself then you can never grow and you can never learn.

-ProdigiousJ

My E3 Top 10 and Runners Up

My E3 Top 10 and Runners Up

The event I love has come to pass once again, and it left us all wanting a bit more.

This years E3 was a bit underwhelming, most of the conferences seemed a bit lackluster while other reveals and previews gave us high hopes for the next year (or later this one). A mixed grab bag of emotions when it came to the video game industry, and each person has a take away from the show of best of show and even those that were worst of show. Below I walk through my Top 10 favorite reveals or trailers for the coming year.

These are NOT in any particular order, so the number may not indicate my excitement level for each game.

  1. Anthem: Bioware revealed to the world it’s new IP, as if Titanfall, Destiny, and Horizon Zero Dawn merged together with a fusion dance triangle. From what we saw, other than the forced in game chatter between players, this game could be a very interesting and is gorgeous to boot. Sure this could have all been a tech demo and the final game could end up being a mess at release. Yeah I loved Mass Effect Andromeda but it wasn’t a completed project. The faces, however, looked perfect so hey, an improvement.
  2. Beyond Good and Evil 2: Ubisoft surprised a whole hell of gamers by announcing something we long since thought was dead. BGE2 is still far from release, as most people have pointed out the trailer was made specifically for the event annnnd the only thing to play on the show floor was a tech demo that may not even end up being in the final game. Which could take years to make it to release. Oh god… this is like Half-Life 3 now.. Still excited either way! beyond-good-and-evil-2.png
  3. Metro Exodus: I fell in love with Last Light when I discovered it years ago. It had everything a post-apocalyptic shooter needed, mutated creatures, like the gorgeously deformed bear in the trailer for Exodus, and underground civilizations barely surviving without turning on each other. I never played 2033 but if I get a chance to play the Redux for PS4, I will definitely play it to warm up for Exodus. The trailer looked gorgeous, with dynamic environments (I hope that translate in gameplay). I guess I just have a thing for post-apocalyptic game and this reveal hit the sweet spot. Here’s to 2018!
  4. Spider-Man: Insomniacs take on Spider-Man looks fantastic, decent gameplay and reminds me a lot of the Spider-man 2 movie tie in game, which in my opinion was one of the better Spidey games out there. The story seems to be interesting, and the nod at Miles Morales being even mentioned in the game is fantastic for comic fans like myself. The graphics are beautiful and it doesn’t seem to be a Homecoming tie in, so that’s always good news.
  5. The Evil Within 2: Bethesda showed of their video game “amusement park” and besides the glorious Skyrim milking, The show was stolen by The Evil Within 2 announcement. The reveal trailer and some minor gameplay showed just how terrifying the game will be, reminding me of the feel of P.T., and I never played the first game (Now I plan to), so I can’t say how much like the first installment it is. It is stunning and had chills running down my spine. Definitely on my watch list.the-evil-within-2
  6. Dragonball Fighterz: This came as a surprise to me, I absolutely dislike fighting games, mostly because I’m horrible at them, but Fighterz made me excited to try another fighting game. Hopefully I don’t end up just spamming the cheapest fucking moves, but old habits die hard. The reveal showcased three heroes and three villains, Goku, Teen Gohan, Vegeta, Freeza, Cell, and Majin Buu. It is 2.5 D with destructible backgrounds. It was basic but I still want this on my shelf one day.
  7. Far Cry 5: Though we all knew about this game long before E3, the gameplay trailer shown was the final nail in the coffin for me. I was on the fence, not because of the petition going around I wrote about a while back, but because it seemed like the plot might have some holes in it about structuring supporting characters. With the introductions of Guns for Hire, Fangs for Hire, and Friends for Hire mechanic, I feel a bit better about the game structure, also the action was bad ass. I can’t say no to something that makes you looks so bad ass.
  8. Metroid Prime 4: Just a Title card and the classic warping sound effect we are used to hearing with the Prime games. No more information is given but this was another game we’ve been dying for for years, never expecting an end result just false hope. This E3 has given hope to a gaming future we can enjoy.metroid-prime-4-e1497381058373
  9. Super Mario Odyssey: We’ve seen enough before the show to know the game was going to weird, but the new E3 trailer had much more evidence to show someone at Nintendo is on acid. Using Mario’s new hat friend, he can now possess people, objects, and even dinosaurs much larger than Yoshi, that being a T-rex. Different outfits and showing off I think at least one new location, this trailer gave me high hopes for SMO. 60nchk9wxkxjxvtnnf6bqxopeiheyvf7bdvnymfflvmwmhcpzcfsdxmagngimny8.gif
  10. Pokemon for the Switch: A core Pokemon RPG game for the Nintendo Switch was a mind blowing moment. Sure it wont be out for “more than a year” and we don’t even have a title card or anything to go off of. Hopefully this isn’t a port of one of the current Pokemon titles, crossing my fingers till they break on this one.

Runners Up:

  • Mario+Rabbids (yeah it’s growing on me)
  • Hidden Agenda (Seems like an interesting title)
  • Vampyr (Seems it needs some work, but reminds me of Blood Omen 2 in a way)
  • Shadow of War (The aussie orc seems awesome, but I’ll need to buy the first game in order to play this one)
  • Shadow of the Colossus remake
  • Kirby (Kute Puffball)
  • Wolfenstein 2 (This looks fucking insane but again I’ll need to play the first to play this one)

All in all, E3 2017 wasn’t exactly the blow away show but it was still full of exciting reveals. It has added many older games to my must buy list just so I can keep up with some of these sequels. I wished some of the press events had bigger bangs and less dancing around mostly known games and a few major reveals that weren’t exactly unexpected. Nintendo walked away from the show on top with the most upcoming titles, and even managed to convince me to get in line for a Switch when I can.

I was hoping Sony was going to have another “Hold my Beer” moment like in years past but they disappointed, showing off new trailers for already announced games, a deeper look at God of War and Spider-man. I was left feeling somewhat empty after all the other shows this year. I can only hope that this was just a lite year for gaming news, that it was a fluke.

I can dream anyway. So what was your top 10 games of the show, or at least Top 10 moments of E3 2017? Let me know, maybe there was something I missed during.

-ProdigiousJ

 

Nintendo’s Scores Play of the Conference

Nintendo’s Scores Play of the Conference

By All Standards, Nintendo came out on top in such a short amount of prerecorded time.

I managed to miss the Sony presser the other night, but I did see games announced and revealed that were pretty awesome. Usually I vote to stay on the side of Sony as they are the “Hold My Beer” one uppers when it comes to shows. This year, they seemed to have lost their title to a handful of green screen backgrounds and message recorded probably well before the show.

Nintendo started off with a semi interesting live action shot of people playing games on their Switch based on what type of game it was. Alright, sounds feasible in theory but when you start playing Arms at the gym, I think you’ve defeated the whole purpose of both the gym and the Switch.

Reggie then greets us talking about “fun and battle” in terms of video games (and if you dig deeper, I’m sure there is a life lesson from him in there too) and we can see where he leads us as the background starts to shift and change. I just want to note the “Switch Play” book on the coffee table there before the living room turned into a field. Looks like Reggie came to school us all with this one.

We lead into a barrage of reveal titles and nods to future games:

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Not a big fan of the series, and I’m probably not Switching gears, get it, to play it any time soon but I know enough people love this. The excitement was piqued at the Nintendo event that revealed the Switch I think about this game, so it’s only fair they show a trailer at E3. Holiday 2017 release
  • A New Kirby Game: This is a must buy for me, I love the pink puffball with unlimited power. Seeing some fan favorite absorbs being merged with others was pretty bad ass. The game looked beautiful for something that is Kirby, not saying Kirby is low rent but it’s not performance driven and it looks fantastic. Multiplayer and computer play for the characters you can woo to your side. Sold! Marked for a 2018 slot.
  • Pokken for the Switch, which seems we already knew about, but the biggest thing, maybe what stole the show besides one other reveal, was a Core Pokemon game coming to the Switch. Hopefully not just a port of an older game like Ultra Sun and Moon. We”ll have to wait and see as it is “more than a year” before release, or at least till it’s ready.
  • Metroid Prime 4: Whelp, this and Pokemon for Switch may have just sold me on buying a Switch. Like hell, how long have we been waiting for MP4? Forever it feels, and we may have only received a title card for the game, I can safely say that the collective Nintendo verse might need a new change in pants.
  • Yoshi: This just looks like it should be called “Yoshi’s Epic Yarn Arts and Craft Project”. Nothing spectacular about it to me, looks like a decent enough concept, but not really on my watch list. 2018 release for those of you looking to get it.
  • Fire Emblem Warriors: Story trailer revealed, I’m not a huge fan of the series, but this looks really good. I’d play it with a friend at least. Fall 2017 release for this one.
  • Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild DLC was announced, Master Trials for DLC one coming June 30th, and The Champions Ballad pack 2 coming this holiday. I can’t comment on much as I haven’t played LOZ and I don’t want to make an ass out of myself for making assumptions to what the DLC brings so I’ll shut it.
  • 4 new Amiibos for Breath of The Wild, the Four Champions, are being released, no date that I saw or maybe I missed it. All I know is these figures look bad ass and I’d love to have them in my ever growing collection.
  • Mario+Rabbids: Yeah… no… I mean funny looking… but… Do we really need to milk both franchises for any more right now? I never liked the Rabbids, and Mario has a game coming in October? Why the hell do we need a tactical game between these two groups. I’m sure some of you love this idea but… what the hell?
  • Rocket League announced for the Switch with Cross play to other platforms and customizable Mario and Luigi hats on the cars. I’ve been dying to play this game on my PS4 but now have a new reason to pick up a Switch and a new game when the finances permit. With all the current content the game has being brought to the Switch, it invites a new type of player to the Switch.
  • Mario Odyssey gets a new E3 trailer that looks freakin insane. Showing off his poltergeist skills, Mario possess everything from Fireballs, Bullet Bills, to even a giant T-rex. This is insane, the levels look quirky and out there, this new mechanic makes the whole game feel new in comparison to previous titles. However that whole possessing the Humans of New Donk City just gives me the creeps. Calm down Mario. We’ll buy your game without possession. A release date of 10-27-2017 is announced.
  • One I didn’t see in the presentation but deserves mentioning, Metroid: Samus Returns is being released to the 3DS and looks like the old Metroid games on crack. I love the way this looks and is very high on my must buy list.

All in all, this presser, no matter how short it was, took the cake. I was surprised, especially after the last few years Nintendo has had lackluster press events when it came to E3. I had lost faith in the company I grew up in, but after seeing the games coming down the line from them yesterday (technically I watched this morning), I’m sold that Nintendo is back on the right track. I might still need one or two more games I’d want to justify saving up for a Switch, but it’s definitely not a hard sell anymore.

-ProdigiousJ

E3 Day 2 Continued: Bethesda Land

E3 Day 2 Continued: Bethesda Land

When Bethesda teased us about their E3 presser with the image of “Bethesda Land”, I didn’t expect them to follow through.

The company known for open world murder games started off their mini conference by welcoming us with a small personal video with kids of staff and the staff themselves. Teasing us even more with the mentioning what kind of game “mommy” was making. It seem like a decent way to connect with players on an emotional level, but it felt like they were trying a bit too hard.

After the message ended, the stars came out on the Bethesda stage, giving us a big slap in the face for the Starlight trademark that was registered, or at least to any of those who were expecting a new game dubbed Starlight. We are greeted by the voice of Youtube vocal artist Brock Baker, who was a great choice to narrate the “attractions” at Bethesdaland. He guided us through a whole walkthrough of the park, including the bits that were under construction, which many speculated to be a new IP.

The gimmick of Bethesdaland didn’t really run dry, it was a clever use of pre-show teaser and a during show guide for their current work schedule. Sure it wasn’t as flashy and neat as other pressers that will follow in the coming days, but this idea fit with Bethesda’s quirky nature, and I loved it.

Deathclaws in My Face

The first big announcement of the night was the release of two VR games from the company that has brought us gore galore. Firstly Doom  is getting a VR game titled Doom VFR. I noticed the use of teleportation movement, which they are probably using to counter the VR sickness, so that’s definitely a good thing. I mean seeing hell spawn being ripped apart in your face is sickening enough, don’t need the add VR Vomit from poorly designed movement mechanics.

Then we had a batch of sync issues with the audio as they announced our favorite Vault-Tec heroes were coming to the virtual scene as well with the full game release of Fallout 4 VR. I haven’t played all the way through the original Fallout 4, but it seems like a bit of a learning curve to do everything in VR. Plus seeing ghouls in VR… Not sure I’m ready for that.

The Minor League Stuff

The next few attractions were not as impressive, leaving kind of a sour taste in many a gamers mouth.

First up, ESO Morrowind was discussed, basically talking about the growing and expanding world of Elder Scrolls Online. Nothing new, we all knew Morrowind was an expansion so it wasn’t much to talk about. However, towards the end of the segment, they teased a bit of Skyrim content coming to the online world. They didn’t flat out address it in the event, but it looked pretty solid. It was at least a bit exciting if you played the online game, which I don’t but I’m excited for them non the less.

Creation Club was a new service talked about for PSN, Xbox Live, and Steam which allows the creators at Bethesda and certain community content creators, to upload new mods to a paid service. Mods are bout with points that can be purchased with real world money on the respective online services. Basically we’re paying individually for small add ons that could have just gone in another game. That or I’m sure someone has the mod uploaded like it for free somewhere. Kinda pointless, but why not let devs flex their creative muscles I suppose.

Next was the card game, Elder Scrolls Legends, announcing me stories, new areas, and their support on Android Phones and Iphones as well as Skyrim content. It all looked cool, but I don’t usually get into digital card games like Hearthstone, but hey they presented it in a very beautiful and epic sounding manner. Too bad it wasn’t as big of an explosive announcement like we’ve been waiting on.

So far things were lackluster and could have been just summed up in a brochure, granted you wouldn’t have the soothing vocal work of Brock Baker but honestly they should have come to the table a bit more prepared. Somethings impressed me, and while I know the event wasn’t over, I was still a bit sad that nothing really notable had come out of the show.

Started Pulling Out Their BFG

Finally, some games I would actually want to play were talked about. Not saying Fallout 4 VR and Doom VFR  I wouldn’t play, but I don’t have the booku amounts of money to by a VR headset so it’s like dangling a very visually immersive carrot in front of a poor horse.

The Switch port of Skyrim was made official, showing off more footage edited onto a probably turned off Nintendo Switch screen. The Kicker with this announcement was the introduction of Amiibo support. Using a Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild  amiibo of Link, the game pops up a treasure chest which contained Link’s starting clothes from the game and the Master Sword. Sure it’s the same old game that I’ve thrown hundreds of hours into, I’d still get it again for the Switch, if I had one of those, just because I could bring my Nintendo amiibos into the realm of the dragonborn. Other than that, the announcement was a bit stale as we already knew this was happening.

Dishonored 2 is getting DLC. Now I played through the first Dishonored game but haven’t had the chance to play through the second, though I want to, so this character seemed new to me. Those commentating on the event spoke that she was in the second one but Who Cares! If I haven’t seen her before, she’s new to me. And damn doesn’t she seem bad ass, the style, the movement, the powerful force behind her attacks, and her weird robotic looking arms. The teaser was short, but it gave the premise of killing one of the characters that mostly operates in the background but has a role in the main games, The Outsider. This just shows I need to go out and buy Dishonored 2 when I can, because I’m obviously missing out on something.

Quake, Quake, Quake, Quake. While I am inspired by your origins here in my home state, and I have visited your con on more than one occasion, I am not that excited to see Quake come back to the spotlight. Sure, a return to e-sports history, and a contest for 1 million bucks? Yeah get your time in the spotlight, I’ll just yawn and wait for the next announcement. I’m not bashing those who love the game, I just don’t see myself picking up or participating in any online play with this unless I have a whole bunch of friends play with me. Not interested. NEXT!

Now I never played the first title of this announced game, I heard mixed reviews but never really put any stock into playing it. It was a horror survival game and I just out of my skin if someone sneezes too hard. I don’t need scares in my life, especially when they come from the funky looking horrors of The Evil Within. However, watching this reveal trailer for the second installment makes me want to go back and play through the first. It looks terrifying and trippy, and lately I’ve been excited for projects like that.

And finally, Bethesda offers us up what looks like a “Little House on The Prairie” rip off starring a giant robo dog that can breath fire, and a man trapped under a truck. Liesel as it is called, just felt weird to watch after a while. Revealing it to be a commercial on a television a monkey with a cat’s head was watching.

That’s it, I’m sold! Nothing else needed. Monkey Cat can have my money now.

This excitement for genetic alteration of animals aside, we get show a reveal for the next Wolfenstein game, and boy does it sure kick ass. Cybernetic enhancements, giant robots, weapons that can melt doors, and killing Nazi’s. I apparently have to go back and play the first one of this as well but hell this looked freaking amazing. A very nice way to end the show.

The Fizzle

The main takeaway from the event is this, all games announced, come out this year. Woohoo. Bethesda pushing out games, some of which look bad ass, what’s not to love.

The end result of the presser, however, is that Bethesda has been focusing on Wolfenstein and The Evil Within 2 so much that just throwing addons and VR stuff at us should be enough to make up for the lack of overly new content. The show felt it petered a bit as it stumbled along, dealing with audio issues and some notable “Why’d you announce this here” attraction segments.

Bethesda still did a fantastic job in presentation, and what they do have to offer is a decent amount of gaming goodness to tie most people over. I just feel like they could have come to the show a bit more prepared, maybe have a better reveal planned for the event besides just sequels. These were well sought after sequels but still have a bigger ace up your sleeve.

This conference did make me want to go back and buy the first installments of a few games, so hey that’s progress.

All in all the presser gets 5/10, as it wasn’t as showy and drawn out as Microsoft but it didn’t really impress in to many ways that mattered. A few of the games seemed just done for the sake of fan demand, while others did seem like plenty of work was being put into them. I can’t say it was a fantastic press event, but it was well done in some regards. Just hope Bethesda can come back next year and hit a little harder.

-ProdigiousJ

 

E3 Day 2: Microsoft Splashes Around A Bit

E3 Day 2: Microsoft Splashes Around A Bit

Day 1 Started With A Whisper but Day 2 Continued With A Raspy Cough

Microsoft took the stage today after yesterday’s EA conference and tried to pull the rug out from under the other companies before the show actually kicked into high gear. E3 doesn’t really kick off till Tuesday as far as I know, and the other companies have their own slots filled as far as show floor content. Microsoft was keen to the idea EA going early and followed suit to reveal their Project Scorpio console more than just the specs. Most people are getting the feeling they wanted to cut the competition off at the knees as far as blow away show at E3 and what better way to do it than going first?

Like one of my middle school teacher said “The person who goes first, sets the bar. So going first is always best.” Then they proceeded to babble incoherently before I got in trouble for writing instead of listening to them. The lesson makes sense though, you set the bar by going first, so why not just shoot for the first slot? Could it really hurt the chance of impressing gamers by going first?

To answer that, I’d like to start by saying I have never really been an Xbox person. Maybe the first one because it was something new and exciting, and after that it was always meh. My wife’s 360 is basically collecting dust on a shelf while my PS3 is used in the living room for media and my PS4 is my gaming console. I have felt nothing interesting from the Microsoft camp, nothing pulls on my gaming heart strings like the other consoles, and even the PC camp has me wishing my laptop was a gaming one.

Microsoft just doesn’t interest me anymore. But the question is: Did Microsoft impress me enough to get my attention?

Old Is the New New Again

Short answer: Meh, maybe but I wish more that the exclusives would visit other consoles than buy the console just for 4 games in total.

Long Answer: The poor showing year after year usually just disappoints me. I can’t find a single game worth switching consoles for, the reasons to add an Xbox back into my collection are about as high as the reasons to get a lobotomy. I had such a love for the first Xbox and I found games around every corner that I just had to play. Halo, Cell Damage, Jade Empire, etc. Having the fifth Halo  and just carbon copy shooters being the main sell have made enjoying the console very, very difficult. To make matters worse, with the advent of Xbox One, it became a media center and less of a game console. That was the nail in the coffin.

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Hasn’t Master Chief Earned a Rest? Not till Halo 64!!

This year made me feel a bit more interest, but I just wished I could have enjoyed more of the games if they were on another console, it left me wishing I could enjoy these somewhat unique games. I just wouldn’t shell out $500 for 3 or 4 games at tops.

This Is What We Came For

The show started off with an intro which reminded me of the original Xbox “green blob” opener, which brought back some of the feels of nostalgia. It quickly panned to gameplay footage and a live action woman holding a control making serious faces.

The console was talked about in depth, the issue I saw was recapping the specs of the console seemed a bit redundant, or at least throwing on all the pomp and circumstance about it. They revealed it a while before the show, why make it such a big deal. Yes, the size of the console was a need to know and the removal of the title Scorpio, replaced with the IQ dropping name of XBox One X was announced. Otherwise, the technical specs section just felt like it dragged on. One interesting thing to note is that this console will be the first to introduce a liquid cooling  system, which if you think about it makes it closer to be a PC than ever.

Some Noteable talking points that could have been summed up rather quickly:

  •  Release November 7, 2017
  • All Xbox One Games and Accessories usable on the One X Day 1 as Well as Your Current Download library
  • It Being 4K does not kick out those who don’t own a 4K TV, it has Super Sampling that still makes the best looking game for your 1080p tvs. It does this with all games applicable

Overall I felt they lingered too long on the specs talking about the system since they had a reveal conference not too long ago. Maybe they just wanted to fill space?

Otherwise I was impressed but would rather have a custom PC rather than the smallest Xbox to date. Not that size is a problem, just that maybe the system should just merge PCs and Xboxs so we don’t have so many brackets to fall over.

And After The Debriefing: The Games

Now the  announced games were interesting enough, I was impressed at the beginning. I was holding out for the Crackdown 3 reveal and maybe a few non exclusive titles that would show up on other consoles, like a sneak peek for the shows later this week.

Starting off, per a Microsoft standard, Forza Motor Sports 7 showcased the power of the One X, and by god was it beautiful. I couldn’t help but stare and I hate racing games. I watched the weather and the desert physics rather than the cars driving around the track. My biggest joy is the physics of the environment, mostly water physics I just get all gamer boner about, so this was amazing. They then showed off a new car and some professional drivers “playing” the game on the stage, sounding about as stiff as possible.

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From here, more than 42 games were announced so I’ll cliff note things from here out.

  • Anthem: Bioware and  EA revealed more about the game they announced yesterday. It took some of the failure aspects of Mass Effect with the facial animations looking beautiful, the futuristic looking tech of Mass Effect and Dead Space  looking tech, especially flying around the jungle in what are called Javelins, where you can equip what you want with upgrades (called that yesterday!) and join co-op sessions. The lush jungle was beautiful as well as dangerous, it  is under the massive “open-world”  banner that looks gorgeously rendered, they said in game recordings. The acting of the “players” was super stiff but looked very promising, and is supposedly for other systems!
  • Metro: Exodus: This is something I am excited for really. I could call it was a metro title from the opening moments, but I was still surprised by most of it. Dynamic environments that, if this is gameplay recording, react to not just you but enemies, which sent the mutant bear crumbling off the hill. The beauty of the graphics lends it’s hand to my Must Buy Pile. Also not an exclusive as I could tell.
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins: Nah, I’m good. It looks good for the origins of the franchise back in Egypt. It looked great in the cutscene but the gameplay looked like standard Ubisoft style and even in 4K didn’t look that impressive. No Mini-map at least, or not that I could tell. The Hawk is nice though, I’m all for Hawks.
  • Player Unknown’s: Battlegrounds: Not sure how I feel for this, it looks like a basic shooter, not much of an interest for me. An exclusive so no skin off my back.
  • Deep Rock: The Minecraft with Dwarves, enough said. I’ve had enough Minecraft to last a lifetime. Moving on.
  • State of Decay 2: I never played the first, and I’ve been told the game was great and unique in it’s own way. I feel like just watching this trailer was personified by simply saying Hipster Survival Sim. I’m interested in it but not really a must have.
  • The Dawn Project: Battleborn and Overwatch’s bastard lovechild, this game basically looked like another MOBA with some quirks for me. It seemed it had some humor attached, which I could get behind, but the live announcer as if it was in an E-sports event was a bit of overkill. Still funny.
  • Minecraft: The simple revelation to this was the servers are now connected from all other consoles. Great every console can play together. Oh yeah, they added 4k support. The sunrays are beautiful on that pick axe when 4k is turned on but… yeah… Pixleated blocks in 4K. Woooo.
  • Dragonball Fighterz: This one had me feeling all old school japanese import fighter. I loved the way the game look, and I would pick this up in a heartbeat. Hopefully the game includes characters from both OG Dragonball and DragonBall Super.
  • Black Desert: Dynasty Warriors but in an RPG magic area. I felt it was going to be a Dynasty Warrior clone, but hell it turned out to be an MMO. I’m ok with looking at this but I don’t need it and that’s good since it is an exclusive to the Xbox One X.
  • Last Night: This game blew me away. 8 bit meets 4K, it was a beautiful homage to where games have been and where they are going. It seems simple in it’s own way, but really intriguing. Sadly this is said to be an exclusive but I hope enough interest is garnered to bring to other consoles.
  • Crackdown 3: The Terry Crews live action stuff looked hilarious and the event stage screens worked well with his over the top action. The game itself seems impressive on paper but the game style looks too much like the original Crackdown both in style but in graphical quality. Not overly impressed but I loved the first so I’d play, If it wasn’t an exclusive… which it is. *Sigh*
  • Sea Of Thieves: More was released about this exclusive, which was fun to watch, but felt like the presenter kept pulling back his personal joke punches too quickly. Like he wanted to make fun of the game but wanted to not get beaten on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. It looked fun, sounded interesting that development they’ve put into it, but sadly I wont get to play it unless some company buys me an Xbox One of some kind and the game. Just Saying. Would play the hell out of it though.
  • Shadow Of War: This game looks gorgeous and entertaining. I never played the first game, but I have to say I might just go back and play it just so I can play the second and have some bad ass orc ripping the head of another orc off. The work on the game shows as it’s fluid, has a sense of humor, the environments at least looked beautiful on the surface. It was nice to look at while waiting for another game to come by to catch my interest.
  • Ori and The Will of The Wisps: Seriously dark looking game, just looked so kid like and friendly at first and then BAM hits you with the dark realization this forest had been burned down. This is another case of I have yet to play the first of the series, but I have heard it was a great game to play. I can’t say much based off the trailer, but the art style and atmosphere were top notch.

Honestly that was a whole lot more than I intended to enter, but I figured for knowledge sake, I needed to put some of the more memorable titles.

Also announced was that Backwards compatibility stretching all the way back to the Orginal Xbox is in the words. No word on the library they are pulling from, but this actually had me interested for a second. Just a second though.

At the End of The Road

After all was said and done, Microsoft did not manage to sink it’s teeth into me for yet another year. I was tempted, the first time that’s happened for a while, but I realized some of the games announced that I absolutely wanted were on other consoles so I was sated.

The conference itself I’d give a 5/10, was a bit showy with some things, but in a good way when it came to Terry Crews, yet managed to not come to the table with their A game. Heck, I’m almost certain most the crowd didn’t respond after what was supposed to be a big announcement, at least that’s how I saw it. The presenters were a bit stiff, as were most of the people used to “play” the games on stage or in the demos. I just couldn’t connect with them.

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They made a valiant effort, but at least the bar was set a bit lower for others to set better records in the following events. I’ll be covering the highlights from Bethesda’s mini panel sometime in the morning, and then keep an eye on the Ubisoft and other panels as much as I can before I head into work.

-ProdigiousJ