Hit the Pass | We simulate the 2015 NBA Finals with NBA 2K15

Came across this new Sports Video Game site, “Hit the Pass” that I suggest checking out.  They simulated the 2015 NBA Finals and have produced quality video shots and tell how the story unfolds.  Definitely a fun article for guys like us.

The 2015 NBA Finals are here, featuring the two teams that were clearly the best of their respective conferences. The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers both cruised to the Finals, […]

Source: Hit the Pass | We simulate the 2015 NBA Finals with NBA 2K15

mattrick and kojima

e3 2013…XBOX

And we back…or something like that.  Once again I’m here to toss out my opinions on this years e3 or more specifically each of the main press conferences.  Now last year I only managed to crank out Microsoft’s press conference because they were first and the older I get the less time I have to watch e3 during work hours.

Anywho, this year posed similar problems which has resulted in a slight delay and the entire internet has already digested all of the e3 news there is, regurgitated it, eaten it again and so on ad nauseam.  So what could I possible have to add three days later?  Well I know the entire internet is sitting out their with baited breath just saying, “well frick sure but until I hear what Seven has to say about it I can’t really form an opinion about it by myself can I?”

Well internet…thats why I’m here.

So as far as housekeeping goes…I give a +/- to each bit of news or game reveal during the press conference to say if I thought it was a positive or negative impact on the entire conference.  I know its complicated I should probably go over it again, but this being the internet I’ll just tell you to scroll back up and read this paragraph again.

This is obviously a big year for e3 with two new systems coming out this year its time for Microsoft and Sony to deliver their best shots at taking the almighty consumer dollar this holiday season.  So that said, strap it in or on or whatever you do with your straps and lets do this.

metal-gear-v

 

+ We open with…dudes on horses.   To avoid any possible confusion a hand Kojima productions logo pops up so we know this is a Metal Gear V trailer to kick things off.  This looks and sounds like Metal Red Dead Solid.  The names for the characters are all like bad Engrish translations like “code talker”.  The music has a very decidedly James Bond 80’s twist.  Hear the Keifer!  Its open world, real time weather, various modes of transport, looks incredible…but its not an Xbox One exclusive (and I’m not going to type Xbox One every single time..how about XB1?)  I’ll give this a + anyway because it was awesome looking and the open world aspect should change this game a lot.

mattrick and kojima

 

 Don Mattrick takes the stage once again to awkwardly walk us through yet another press conference along with Kojima who proceeds to to mumble through a couple sentences and walks off.   Was that supposed to be an XB1 endorsement?  Don Mattrick always gets a – from me.  Seriously, I know he is the president of interactive entertainment at Microsoft but they gotta have someone in Redmond with an ounce of charisma and passion for games that could do a better job hosting these conferences.

Don tells us its all about the games and after the backlash the “Xbone” has received on the internet over the last few weeks they dang well better show something amazing….

13 next gen titles but first 360…Blah who cares right?

As if to answer my prayers, Don calls out Yusuf Mehdi who is a much better host.

Microsoft-Xbox-360-New

 

– First up its a new XBOX 360 which is supposed to look like the XB1 I guess.   Hey didn’t they just do this last year?   Or was that two years ago?   What no bribery of the media with free 360’s this year?  Can I ask any more questions here?

As near as I can tell its just smaller and quieter.  Its the same price and available today.  So let me get this straight, there was nothing wrong with the 360 slim but they wanted to make a new version that is likely cheaper to produce and sell it for the same price point so they can make more monies.  Oh and it has the added side effect of being similar enough to the XB1 that even Microsoft can’t tell them apart apparently…

jhPo1mE

Think uniformed parents and grandparents are going to be buying little Johnny the wrong Xbox this holiday season?

+ Ahem, where was I.  Oh gold members get two free game downloads from now until the XB1 release…oh you mean like Playstation + has done for months?  Well its better than nothing for your money.

He rattles off a list of games which are the standard multi platform hits aka a bunch of games we already know about so that gets a “-“.  This is e3 Microsoft, quit treading water.

World-of-Tanks

 

Now finally for something new, World of tanks – well that was unexpected. Not a fan myself but its pretty popular around the world. A play for overseas market? Oh and its free…with Gold of course.  I can’t argue with the idea of bringing F2P MMORPG’s to the home consoles even if it is a game like World of Tanks which isn’t well known in the US.

Max

 

+ Max the curse of brotherhood – oh its max and the magic marker under a new wrapper. I always need more games for my kids.  I guess I can go plus here.

dark_souls_ps3_rp1boxart_160w

 

– Dark Souls II – Hacky Hacky…bleh… Was that a Bon Jovi song?   I’ve heard better things about that game, but the video was awful…it was brown, repetitive and not exclusive to 360

Phil Spencer is out and its now XBOX One time.  Games will shut everyone up…I think…

ryse

 

– But not RYSE: Son of Rome – How cool would a GTA themed game based in Roman times be?  Running around in a toga stealing chariots and completing missions for the Gods and stuff?  Sorry for the sidetrack…is this a God Of War rip off?  First person Roman Warfare?  Call of Duty Roman Assault.  Oh no its third person.  Supposedly this is a live gameplay demonstration.  No kinect integration being shown off?  Come on!  I want to say, “Xbox cut that dudes arm off!”  This looks like a slightly prettier 360 game to me only with really shiny armor?  Alot of the action looks like quick time events… it doesn’t feel like anything new or amazing.  Not the way I want to kick off the hype for my new box.  Apparently this is made by Crytek.  Its funny to hear him say that he couldn’t make this game until now when PC’s are more powerful and Crytek loves to make high end PC games

 

+/- Killer Instinct – Well that was certainly a shocker.   It just feels like Microsoft stole someone else’s toy, and they don’t even have Rare working on it.  We only saw 30 seconds so I want to give it a negative but it was a suprise and something that fans have been clamoring for years for so in the context of making your presentation better it gets a plus.  Just beware of nostalgia, things were always better in the past.

sunset-overdrive

 

+ Insomniac has now thrown in with XB1 for Sunset Overdrive.  Open world, living world game.  They could apparently do it only on XB1 because they have to say that.  I just want someone to tell me why they can only do it on XB1 cause I’m not buying it.  The video kicks off and its hardcore parkour with beastie boy’s ripoff BGM.   Our hero suddenly grabs a shotgun and its go time with graphic headshots.  This looks like a Team Fortress 2, meets APB, meets…I dunno what.  Should be right up Insomniac’s alley though.  I have to note that I could not find a screenshot of this game that wasn’t blurry.  Was it moving that fast or does it just not look very good paused?

forza-5

 

+ Forza 5 or should I say McLaren P1 Hyper Realistic Racing?   I know I know its yet another Forza game.  This is starting to be the Madden of racing games.    This of course is the beginning of a new era that delivers the real world.   Not sure if my real world drives around in a McLaren P1. It does look fricken amazing but it should right?  This is what the next gen should make us feel. Blah Blah, cloud this cloud that.  He just dropped the phrase driveatar.  The game learns how you drive and then drives against other people when you don’t play and gives you credits for your driveatars performance.  Okay that sounds really interesting.  Wonder if they can pull it off.  All in game footage for their trailer and…the cars are way more shiny then they are in real life… how about some real world bug splats on my front bumper?  Oh wait, there they are…okay okay it gets a plus just for that.

Next up its Indie showcase time.  SOAPBOX TIME!!!  Everyone is claiming they are the ones helping indie game developers like its such a good and noble thing.  My question is, do indie game developers want to be indie game developers?  Or do they want to make bigger and better “non-indie” games without having to report to a publisher, deadlines or shareholders?

minecraft

 

Minecraft Xbox One Edition, um they didn’t even show anything…my kids love Minecraft but that was pointless and didn’t benefit the conference at all.

And Indie gametime is over…

quantum-break

 

+ Quantum Break – Blurring the lines between a video game and an action tv show.  “Running real time on our engine”, notice he didn’t say on Xbox One…because its running on a PC.  Wow this is a whole lot confusing but absolutely stunning visually and hey its made by Remedy.

d4

 

+/- Episodic murder mystery D4.  Holy crap, when I saw D4 I thought this was a sequel to the D and D2 games from the 90’s but it can’t be because even though I distinctly remember it, apparently there was no D3.  Seeing cell shaded looks out of place after the ultra realism of the prior games.  Not enough here for a rating.

project-spark

 

+ Project Spark.   Hey he has a surface!  This is the XB1 take on Little Big Planet methinks.  Holy crap 45 minutes in and we just had our first awkward Kinect voice command.  Its been ignored until now.  Strange considering how it was the focus of the last conference.  DO I smell a one trick pony?  Using smartglass you can edit your stages.  It looks really cool but I wonder just how open it really is.   Almost feels like an RPG maker where you just select from some available items and plug them in.  Big plus if this is really as easy and open as they make it.

– I’m really not interested in this smart glass/smart match integration stuff but it may be cool for others. Oh this Killer Instinct fight is horrible thanks to the two players.  Tell me he did not just say to her “Just let it happen it will be over soon”…Sexual harassment on the big stage ladies and gentleman!

– Game DVR to share clips.  Do people really want to do this?  The woman says it best “How many friends does this guy really have to share with”.  Exactly.

+ Okay thats over with.  Now they are getting rid of Microsoft points, that gets a round of applause.

 

 

– Crimson Dragon, from the panzer dragoon people.  Um its silent…nice. Way to ruin a possible good game preview.   That game litterally just broke the momentum of the conference.

dead-rising-e3

 

+ Something from Capcom now. Oh by the way, XB1 is the only platform that allows them to make their vision. Dead Rising 3 . Gets a big round of applause.  I”m less enthused.  For me the first two dead rising games were so singular in focus they weren’t any fun after 5 minutes. Bash Zombies with odd objects in a shopping mall, rinse and repeat.  And Zombies, aren’t we over this yet?  Use it as a means to tell a story ala walking dead, not an excuse to beat meaningless creatures up with wrenches.  The graphics aren’t the prettiest either.  Oh its an open world I guess that is better than a shopping mall.  Not my cup of tea but the audience dug it up.

witcher3

 

– Witcher 3 – He did not say exclusive. Free roaming, open world…sensing a theme here. Optional voice commands. Probably more of the same with better graphics.  I’m actually going to give this a negative here as they didn’t show me why this game would be fun and its always had, and will still have, a PC first attitude.  Oh and pretending its a big AAA RPG title like Skyrim or something is cute.

battlefield4xboxone

 

– Battlefield 4 – This is definitely not exclusive. Technical difficulties abound and the conference comes to a screeching halt.  The crowd starts heckling.   And after a couple of minutes it starts up again. What can I say, it looks like Battlefield.  I’m getting a little tired of the military shooter stuff and hyping exclusive DLC months before release date just gives me a bitter taste.  Oh you mean you had already planned and developed that content, you just thought it would be fun to bend me over and screw me for more money is that it?.

below

 

– Why is it so tiny? Below…um okay.  To short and small to appreciate.

 – Black Tusk Studio.  Nothing quite like telling everyone you created this top level talent studio with the prime focus of creating AAA titles (or how they would rather not put it, create the next halo for us) and then have them not show anything at the biggest show of the year .   You know what happens when you put together a studio of all top level talent…they never produce anything.  Apparently you need the monkeys to actually type out the code.

halo-trailer

 

+ Next Gen Halo cutscene…and nothing else.  Well of course they are going to have Halo, its like Mario for Nintendo.  If they didn’t have it they would just catch grief from everyone.  I’ve noticed throughout this conference that everyone claps every time someone says 60 frames per second. I think I would just fill my conference with that.

Can’t believe they didn’t end with that. I guess its because they had nothing to say about it.

Launch in November for $499…sheesh really Microsoft?   Was that the lemon juice in the paper cut that is DRM and internet connectivity?  Hear that sound?  That’s the sound of thousands of people clicking on PS4 preorders…

titanfall

 

+ Finally its Titanfall by Respawn entertainment, aka the call of duty guys that got too big for their britches.  FPS with mechs because why the crap not.  I honestly don’t know what all the hubub is about.  If this wasn’t Respawn’s big first game I doubt anyone would care much about it. Cloud computing, we couldn’t do it without Microsoft, blah blah blah….yeah you got your MS mandated talking points out of the way. Lots of talky talky in the game about Hard Points. Apparently you gotta defend them.

Okay so summary time.  I admit, I kinda wanted to see the firestorm on the internet if MS came out and pooed the screwch here.  The interwebs is so jaded about the evil machinations of DRM that they can’t see the forest for the trees and want to give MS a bad review regardless of what they showed.

Me?  I’ll be less biased.  I guess I should start off by saying that my system would always be connected to the internet and I very rarely by used games.  So if you are looking for “Xbone” bashing I’m not going to give it to you.  That said, this whole DRM/used game thing is about more than just the Xbox One, its about the very direction of the industry.

Look, this isn’t being pushed on us by Microsoft.  Its being pushed by the publishers and has been for years.  A few months back all of the stories pointed to both Sony and Microsoft taking a similar stance on Used Games in order to appease the publishers and take the industry in a more software as a service direction, which all software is moving in that direction I might add.

Its hardly Microsoft’s fault that they were dumb enough to take the first shots at used games while Sony just sat in the background, taking notes on everything the prospective customers were saying.  Then Sony saw the reaction from the gaming community, probably panicked and yanked all DRM/Used games restrictions from their system (oh and then also announcing a price $100 cheaper than XB1).  Now I don’t know if Sony is really that crafty to take advantage of MS like that, but they certainly responded to the situation about they best way they could.  They caught Microsoft with their pants down and decided to kick them in the delicates while they were at it.

Of course, if we forget about all of that and just focus on the games, which is all MS really wanted us to do.  I mean really is that so hard?  (its sarcasm people)  Anywho if we forget all of that then MS really nailed this show…into the floor….with a giant spike.  Assuming you know what I’m talking about.

The games were here and the games were great.  Most were even XBOX exclusive, a problem that has always plagued MS at past conferences.   If MS would just talk about the games, then we would have nothing else to worry about.  But they keep opening their big mouths and causing problems for themselves.  It would behoove them methinks to be upfront with all of their XB1 plans for the upcoming year to get that out of the way and then talk about games to make up for it.

And what was with the lack of Kinect functionality from these games?  Wasn’t that supposed to be a big part of the new system?  Bigger than voice commands to change the channel I mean?  We saw smartglass being used way more than Kinect.  Odd to say the list.

All of that said, I do think MS did about as good a job as they could have short of standing up and saying “Ha Ha we take it all back, it was a joke we didn’t mean any of that stuff!”.  They aren’t going to do that though.

If we just focus on the games…I give MS a B+ leaning towards an A-.  However, if you take into consideration that they did nothing to alleviate anyone’s concerns over the internet connectivity and used game DRM…and then there is the price…well then I have to go with a C+.  So we can grade that as a C+ or A- for those of you scoring at home….I also reserve the right to change my mind once the system launches in November…

At least that’s how I see it.

playstation-4-fwak1

Uh Burn!

Okay E3 press conference reviews are forthcoming.  I was only able to watch part of the shows live so that has delayed it somewhat.  Expect Microsoft tomorrow, Sony Thursday and Nintendo…well I’m not sure Nintendo showed anything worth talking about.

Anywho, you’ve probably already seen it but this video is such a great shot at Microsoft that I have to share

playstation-4-fwak1

PS4?

*No that isn’t a picture of the PlayStation 4, just a cool render I found online…This on the other hand?

 

So is Sony getting ready to unveil the PlayStation 4?

Well who knows what that is exactly but Sony says they are going to show us the future on February 20th.  So is it madness to give us the PS4 here in February and not hold off for e3?  Especially when they just said last week they weren’t going to jump the gun to beat Microsoft to the punch?  Well there is a little bit of history here.   You see it was January 2011 when Sony unveiled the NGP aka Vita…of course we all know how that has gone.

Anywho, I expect to see a new machine with a fancy codename (Orbis) some pretty pictures and videos and a hint of what is new but no full specs, no pricing, no street dates, etc…

What do you think?

Oh and for all you conspiracy theory buffs out there?  How about this one.   February 20 = 02/20 = 2+2 = 4…PS4?  A reach?  Perhaps…or perhaps not…

madden25logo

Madden 25?

madden25logo

EA has announced the next iteration of Madden with one major twist, or at least as major as any of the changes they have made to the game engine for the last 3 years.

The major change? Well it may not be called Madden 14!

WHAAAAATTT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

(okay that may have been a bit too much)

Instead, in honor the 25th anniversary it will simply be called Madden 25, or maybe it will be called that. The announcement just says that “Madden 25 is coming soon”. Interesting use of the word soon since the release date of 8/27/13 is given.

Also interesting math on behalf of the Madden crew as by my record the first Madden came out for PC in 1988. The first Madden for a home console, Sega Genesis, came out in 1990. So this is either the 26th or the 24th anniversary.

I do have one tasty rumor to report on for Madden 1425. A new feature so revolutionary you will feel like you have wasted your money on every other copy of the game you have ever purchased. Thats right ladies and gentlemen, they are taking Madden in a whole new direction with…wait for it…ACTUAL REFEREES!!!! Ed and his virtual guns are coming to a game console near you!!!!

2600box

Happy 35th Atari 2600

2600box

Turns out that I’m not the only thing turning 35 this year.  That’s right the veritable Atari 2600 also celebrated its 35th this past week.  It could be said that the 2600 perhaps has had a larger impact on my life then just about anything else considering the amount of time I have spent playing video games over my 26 years and it all started here with the 2600.  Funnily enough I don’t even remember if my family owned a 2600.  I know we had one of the Atari XL computer systems and through the magic of my older brother’s high school disk swapping we played a number of games that came out on the 2600.  I also played it at my friends house.  I fondly remember games like Pac Man, Combat, Pole Position, Tron, Asteroids and yes even the infamous E.T, which was awful in retrospect but in reality it was just as awful and confusing as most of the other games for the system.

Anywho, without the Atari 2600 there would probably be no Nintendo Entertainment System.  No NES and there would be no Playstation.   No Playstation and no XBOX.  I think you can see where I am going with this.

So while Pong may live long as the granddaddy of the home video game world I’d like to give proper due to the father of the game based home entertainment system with a few fun facts I found over the past week:

It could have been the Magnavox 2600: Due to a licensing agreement between Magnavox and Atari over Pong Magnavox had been given the rights to anything Atari produced in 1976.  The Atari 2600 was completed and ready for delivery in 1976 but Atari didn’t want to give away their new baby to they shelved it for a full year to keep it to themselves.

It cost more than a Playstation 3: When it was released in 1977 the Atari 2600 retailed for $200, which is the equivalent of $775 today.

It was almost the Disney 2600: To finish production of the 2600 Atari went looking for potential buyers in 1976 and eventually settled on Warner Communications.  Approached first but passing on the company? MCA and Disney

-It wasn’t called the 2600: Not exactly the catchiest of product names, the now familiar 2600 moniker was absent on the systems release in 1977.  Originally called the VCS (short for Video Computer System of course) the system was renamed in 1982 to the Atari 2600 and history was made.

-It stayed around for much longer than any of us remember: Yes revisionist history has the system dying in 1983 alongside the ET debacle with the great video game crash but games continued to be released for the system until 1989.  That’s a 12 year cycle folks!

-It had a lot in common with the systems of today: Oh sure those prehistoric graphics may look archaic by today’s standards but the 2600 had some modern features you may not remember like digitized speech, a light gun and get this, ONLINE PLAY?!?!?  Back in the early 80’s?  Well believe it.  A company called CVC released the Gameline, a cartridge that allowed you to connect to servers over phone lines and download games to play.  Pre 1983!!!  Talk about ahead of your time.

 

simcity

Getchyor Sim on

As probably already known by anyone who would be remotely interested in it, a new Sim City game is currently in development for release sometime in 2013.  After the disastrous Sim City Societies abandoned everything that Simmers hold dear about the series this new subtitleless version of the series seemingly wants to reboot the series with the perfect mix of simplicity and complexity that has always been the series hallmark.  Don’t believe me?  Well check out 9 minutes of pure unadulterated gameplay and you tell me that this game isn’t looking to hit the sim sweet spot:

My only fear about the game at this point is its online functionality/requirement somehow dragging down the gameplay but time will tell.

iphone5

iPhone 5 – “The Best iPhone to Date!”

iphone5

Well, the day finally came… that’s right, today Notre Dame announced they will be joining the ACC conference in all sports except for football!  Wait, that’s not what you were looking for?  Oh yeah, Apple announced their new iPhone 5 today, let’s talk about that then. I am in no way an iPhone fanboy nor an expert on all mobile devices but I am an iPhone owner and I really enjoy their products.  The new iPhone, EarPods, and even the new nano caught my eye… time to figure out the budget!

Here are some of the highlights I noted during the live press conference on the topics that mattered most to me and it only makes sense to replay those here to summarize the launch from my perspective.

  • 84 million iPads sold through June 2012
  • iPad – 62% of tablet market share
  • iPad is 91% of all tablet web traffic! “(other tablets) They must be in warehouses or store shelves or maybe in peoples’ bottom drawer.”…oh snap!
  • iPhone 5 – made entirely of glass and aluminum
  • display is taller but the same width – will give you an extra row of apps
  • All iWork apps have been updated  old apps will run letterboxed
  • 44% better color saturation – Less glare in sunlight
  • In the US: Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon… all will support LTE
  • New processor chip A6 ~2x faster
  • EA showing Real Racing 3 game… looks great.
  • Battery life – exceeds battery life of iphone 4S – 8 hrs talk – 10 hrs wifi browsing
  • Camera – same as iphone 4S but thinner
  • Photos from  “ocean looks bluer… kids look happier…” lol
  • Panorama is official
  • You can grab photos while shooting video
  • 3 mics for voice recognition and noise cancellation
  • Front facing camera has improved as well
  • New connector “Lightning” 80% smaller – reversible, easier to use
  • They are creating accessories to adapt to Lightning
  • iOS6 new Maps app – navigation, routing, and directions from Siri
  • Satellite imagery – 3D maps
  • Mail – mark people as VIP and their email will go into a separate inbox
  • Flag messages for follow up
  • Siri update – How did the 49ers do last weekend… responds with the score
  • Launch apps by voice
  • Post to Facebook by voice
  • 2 colors Black & White front – what has raw aluminum back – black has anodized back
  • Same price as the 4S. $199 for 16GB. $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB.
  • Pre-order start on Friday the 14th Shipping on Sept 21st
  • iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, 3GS, new iPad, iPad 2 and iPod touch all are getting iOS 6. Drops on Sept 19th
  • iPhone 4 is now free on contract! 4S is now $99.
  • The new iTunes will be available in late October
  • New ipods coming – nano – large display but thinner – display is multi-touch – home button – 7 colors – FM tuner with DVR
  • New nano – fitness and pedometer built in – no accessories needed for Nike+
  • New nano – Bluetooth now – wireless audio streaming enabled
  • EarPods – new headphones – scanned hundreds of ears looking for commonality
  • Earpods – start shipping today

The conference ended with a live performance from the Foo Fighters… not sure why but still rock-star nonetheless.  Once again, Apple flexes their marketing muscles and provides us with a great launch event.  They are brand geniuses… although, I do need to say that the phrase “the best X we ever made” is played out.  Of course each new product is better than the last.  If the product is worse than the previous version, don’t release it.  Best of luck to all of you on Friday… madly trying to get your pre-order in while the sites are bogged down with traffic… but that is part of the fun right?  The thrill of the pursuit!

e3-2012-microsoft-xbox

e3 2012 – XBOX

e3-2012-microsoft-xbox

Alright its my third year in a row covering the major studio E3 press conferences. By now you know I use a +/- system for each item talked about to touch on the lows and highs of the show in my opinion. Not a grade on the games but how much I think it helped or hindered the overall presentation. At the end I’ll summarize each press conference with a letter grade.

Microsoft is first up again. This year my expectations surround mainly Halo 4, less of a focus on Kinect, a showing of the Smart Glass tech, Gears of Wars and probably a focus on third party games with exclusive DLC because its 2012 and that’s all we can ask for…

+ Open the show with Halo 4. Guess we aren’t beating around the bush here.  Straight into gameplay.  I’m not a big enough fan to notice anything new here gameplay wise but it looks like we have a new enemy and something called Forerunner weapons.  Toyota could not be reached for comment.  Good stuff overall

– Apparently Xbox number 1 selling console worldwide?  Maybe it was last year however by my numbers Wii has outsold the 360 by 30 million consoles.

Uh oh he said entertainment, not games…

+ Splinter Cell-Blacklist. Looks like a return to old school splinter cell or at least no emo Sam Fisher here. Bullet time-ish slowdown gameplay. Referred to as Killing in Motion, sure to be KIM going forward. Not exactly poetic but whatever. Talking to the game reacts as the character talking via Kinect. Wonder how fluid that actual is in gameplay. Now he is calling in missile strikes via Kinect. It only took them three years to realize the natural integration of Kinect is simple voice commands. I’m sure the voice commands won’t be too integrated as this game will likely be on PS3 also. Good looking game though.

+ Madden and Fifa get better with kinect. Showing Fifa with kinect voice commands but given how little I know about soccer I’m not sure if this is really akward or thats what you would really say on the pitch. The game supposedly tracks how you react to ref calls? Interesting. Now Joe Montana is here, why do they bring out athletes and celebrity to play games when they aren’t experienced with it? Recipe for disaster. Joe is going to show us voice commands as the QB. Looks cool but there is an obvious delay when saying hike which looks disorienting. SET HIKE…2, 3, 4, 5 then they hike. For the record, Joe Montana just called two running plays and ran in a TD with Gore.

– New Fable. Oh wait this is that Fable Kinect game we have been talking about for three years and still doesn’t look that interesting. Its like a light gun game with spells which is great as it sounds. That was sarcasm. Graphics strangely look poor also. Not sure why it looks so bad for a game that has been in development for three years. Official name, Fable The Journey. Bleh.

Fable the Journey is a bold new direction by the way. Thats why it got a whole 30 seconds. I’m adding a minus for the fact that they are touting this game as something special.

Gears of War trailer. That was quick. 30 seconds. That’s it? Minus for the letdown.

+ Forza Horizon. Forza with open world racing on real streets. Looks pretty cool actually but I want to know more about what it all means.

Boy they are shuffling people in and out quickly.

– More voice commands for entertainment. My pre-existing subscriptions to netflix and hulu will work…if I pay extra. XBOX I feel like an idiot. They are spending time talking about adding voice commands in new languages…crickets…

– Hey we have new entertainment providers…nickelodeon…paramount movies…machinima…univision….why do I care when I already have means of accessing all of this without XBOX. There are certain things I really don’t need to integrate.

– NBA on XBOX. NHL on XBOX. ESPN…seriously why do I care? Oh good they are going to show me! Ah windows phone integration…I’m not buying a windows phone. Um they didn’t show me anything other then saying XBOX NHL!

– Time for Music. XBOX Music. How creative. Will be their itunes I guess. Used on Windows 8 PCs & Tablets as well as XBOX. I’ll give them credit for one thing, it looks cleaner than iTunes. But E3 should be about games, nobody buys a system because of this. Save it for Windows 8 hype.

+ Future of fitness…Nike fuel integration? Okay that was actually a shocker. Nike + Kinect training. Completely personalized training program. Integration with phones to nag you to work out. Find people to challenge and workout with. This is really good stuff, a way to actually use all this technology to better lives.

+/- Smart Glass. Windows, iPhone and Android all integrated…crossover between tablet, phones, and TV’s. Looks interesting. Integrating tablets and phones into games. This is their shot at Wii U. I don’t want touchpad controls for Madden though and I don’t have enough hands to hold the controller and my tablet while playing. Your phone can now works as a remote…but wait why do I need a remote when I can just say “XBOX, I’m an idiot!” Internet Explorer coming to XBOX this year. Fast fluid web experience transformed for TV. Using the phone or tablet as a touchpad would make it easy to browse the web on the TV. I like what they are going for here but I worry about the actual implementation.  It also seemed to drag down the presentation a bit but maybe thats just me.

Tomb Raider time…or should I say Hunger Games since Katnis Croft is using a bow now. Sheesh. Hey its the Uncharted Hunger Games! They have even made her look younger…and sound less British. My crap she practically looks and sounds like Jennifer Lawrence. That scene where she falls in the plane and lands on the glass as it breaks. That is directly taken from Uncharted or some movie that I’m drawing a blank on. Source of inspiration aside, it does look good (and since there wasn’t a hunger games video game why not?) Hey everyone the first piece of DLC will be exclusive on XBOX!!!

Bold New Directions with existing properties.  Could be the theme of E3

World premier exclusive time…

Ascend New Gods. He just said asyncronous gameplay, hey thats nintendo’s phrase dangit! Looks like some kind of God of War beat em up.

LocoCycle – Well that was nothing

matter – does it?

This whole section gets a giant minus. It took him more time to tell us they were going to tell us about three premier exclusives than to actually show us the games.

+Resident Evil 6 time. I don’t really have much to say here. Its what you would expect from Resident Evil 6. Thankfully it doesn’t look like RE5.

– Wait a second. A woman with a tatoo is talking and she just said something was rad. Wrecketeer is the name of the game. Oh no, its Krappy Kinect Time (TM me)

-/+ South Park? Hey its 1997! Is South Park really still a thing? Do kids still watch South Park?

Well the creator at least made a nice joke that touches on the reality of the complexity of smart glass. I will give them credit, the game looks like South Park.

My video crapped out here…coincidence that my video crapped out during the south park presentation?

I give them a minus for the idea of creating a game based on a property that hasn’t been popular for 10 years but they deserve a plus for actually making it look like you are playing an episode of South Park, and for making fun of all of the cross phone/tablet/xbox/tv/pc functionality.

(side note. I just read that this will not be an Xbox exclusive but like 90% of the games Microsoft showed will feature exclusive timed DLC. This for a game that doesn’t come out until March 2013. They have already planned 5 DLC packs for this game. Developers should be arrested for this behavior. You realize they are making the same games they made 5 years ago but now keeping 25% of the game out of the initial release and adding it later. And people are paying for it at $5-$10 a pop. I can see if a developer says after releasing a game, “Dang Skyrim was cool and the fans really liked it, lets make an additional story for it using the same engine and resources and then charge $15 for it rather then gouging them.” Why should we pay something extra that is already in development and could be included in the game in the first place but isn’t just cause the developer wants to gouge us? FIGHT BACK GAMERS!!! And they wonder why people pirate stuff. DLC and micro transactions is the downfall of the industry, I promise.)

+Dance Central 3.  And Usher is here. Good enough for a plus.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 with timed exclusive downloadable content. We should all boycott whichever versions of the game feature said exclusive DLC just so we can put an end to it.

Summary: Well they didn’t beat us over the head with Kinect and only spent half the show talking about TV, Web, Music and Movies on XBOX. As for the games? By my count we had a total of 7 games shown that were Xbox exclusives. Three of them consisted of 20 second trailers so I can’t count those. One was Dance Central 3. That leaves Halo 4, Gears of War and Fable: The Journey as the only games I can’t play on another system. Screw timed exclusive DLC by the way. So 7 exclusives and only Halo 4 packed a punch. I grow weary of talking about why Microsoft shouldn’t waste time with third party games at their E3 press conference but three years in a row and its the same story. So Microsoft gets a firm C.

 

Sony, you’re next…

 

 

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E3 2012…Predictions!

Its that time of year once again.  The time of year where gamers the world over look to sunny CA for the video game news that will shape the next 12 months in the industry.

I hope to find enough free time to once again put together my now standard E3 press conference reviews this week as they happen although for reasons out of my control I will be unable to see Nintendo’s conference live on Tuesday.  I will do my best.

Anywho, to get the E3 2012 hype started here on Droppin.com I decided to whip up a quick batch of “E3 2012 Predictions of Doom!”.  Sorry I don’t really know if that needed “of Doom” tacked on or not but it felt right.

You all know how much I like to incorrectly make predictions and E3 is one of those events that is completely impossible to predict.  So I thought I, like every other gamer with a voice on the interwebs, would throw together a quick batch of predictions for this years E3.  So here is the culmination of minutes of research, rumors, spy reports and flat out guesses…

In no particular order:

  • Wii U to stay named the Wii U as I discussed here.  Take your Revolution and your Streams and stuff it.
  • The Wii U will look as good as current gen.  Many will gripe that its not powerful enough to be a true next gen system and the debates will rage on.
  • Sony bites the bullet and just forgets the Move was ever invented seeing as how only something like three games have come out for it. They have bigger fish to fry.
  • No Final Fantasy VII remake…yet
  • Some form of Skylanders-ish functionality on a new Pokemon Wii U game using the tablet as the base…but it will be some random Pikachu’s dance recital game because Nintendo never puts proper Pokemon games on their home systems…unless…hey wait a minute this might be the first console Nintendo has ever had a proper online component for so maybe this all makes sense.
  • Nintendo will spend the first half of their conference talking about the success of the 3DS and we will finally get release dates for a number of titles.  Also unveiled for 3DS…a new Metroid and a new Zelda.
  • The Last of Us will be heavily featured at Sony’s conference and it will look amazing.  They will also hype new Killzone games sadly not realizing that nobody cares about Killzone.
  • No PS4…at least not formally but keep reading.
  • Wii U third party games will be underwhelming. With final developer kits going out in late spring there won’t be many exclusives, just ports of recent hits PS3/XBOX and standard upcoming third party hits (Madden, Call Of Duty, WWE games, etc…)
  • A new Just Dance for Wii U called U Just Dance…or something.
  • GTA V will not be fully revealed as its bigger than E3 and doesn’t need it. However I expect it to make an appearance of some sort at at least one of the press conferences with exclusives (am I looking at U?)…oh and it will come out in March 2013 but that may not be announced.
  • Revamped Playstation Plus service that gives access to a large catalog of older games (PS2 and prior) being available to stream on your PS3 and Vita systems through a cloud based service.
  • Nintendo will tell us multiple times that the Wii U is a system for the hardcore gamer…and then talk about all the cool apps for the U-Pad like HBO Go, Netflix, Facebook and Angry Birds that casual gamers love.
  • Redesigned 3DS? I’m thinking no, Nintendo has enough going on with the Wii U to tackle any hardware redesigns but I bet it gets announced after E3 and is on sale by August.
  • Sony will throw the proverbial “poop” at the wall for Vita releases to try and save the lackluster selling system.  Expect Vita versions of all of your favorites and prepare to realize that you don’t care about playing your PS3 favorites on the go. We don’t have attention spans to play these games while on the go. Thats why IOS and Android gaming is so appealing, that and its already in our pockets cause its on our phones.
  • I doubt a price reduction is imminent for Vita until perhaps holiday season as Sony won’t man up and take their lumps as quickly as Nintendo did with the 3DS however I expect new bundles for the Vita to provide added value for the same price.
  • Microsoft will unveil Halo 4 and a new Gears of War but both will “accidentally” be unveiled before their conference.
  • Nintendo will show Super Mario Bros Mii for Wii U (which may be the pack in game) and a new proper Mario.  If they have learned anything its that their little plumber should be present on launch day.
  • There will be either a StarFox or F-Zero game for Wii U done by Retro.
  • I will decide that typing Wii U every time is ridiculous but WU doesn’t fit as an abbreviation…anyone thing about that Nintendo?
  • A new Zelda game will pop up for Wii U but don’t expect it to be out until holiday 2013.
  • Sony will highlight the fact that with the Vita and a PS3 you could theoretically do the same things the Wii U can, that is until the Wii U shows us new functionality the next day.
  • Microsoft will focus on Halo 4 and a new Gears of War…because that’s what they do.
  • A new Mario Paint for Wii U, because it just seems like a perfect fit.
  • Microsoft will still feature the Kinect but it won’t be as heavily the focus as it was last year.
  • Bungie’s next project will be teased but not fully revealed, thats for next year.
  • Valve will make an appearance of some sort, perhaps hyping more STEAM integration on somebody’s system, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on a new Half Life.
  • Did I mention Halo 4 and a new Gears of War yet?  Because Microsoft will…repeatedly…
  • Microsoft and Sony will do something beyond software to try to compete with the excitement of the Wii U. I think Microsoft may give us some kind of teaser for their “NextBox” while sony seems likely to whip out some insanely gorgeous tech demo and not confirm its for PS4
  • I don’t think we will hear any more about the next Bioshock
  • No mention of the vitality sensor…or the Wii for that matter…”whatever happened to the Wii?”  we will all ask.
  • Black Ops 2 will be coming to all three systems but Microsoft will probably overpay for some “exclusive” downloadable content.
  • A new Splinter Cell
  • Looking over the games list from Square Enix I see no new Final Fantasy games for any of the main systems. Just handheld games and iOS/Android…so I expect to see Final Fantasy XV for PS3…but its also for the Wii U and Square will make an appearance at the Nintendo press conference. Only half of that was wishful thinking…
  • I will wind up underwhelmed and bitter after the major press conferences on Tuesday…

Sadly my last prediction is probably the most accurate one.  In this day and age it seems like more and more of the top third party developers don’t need E3 to make an announcement (Rockstar, Bungie, Blizzard, Valve, etc…) and their absence makes the world realize that E3 is no longer the end all be all.  Heck, even Microsoft first unveiled the XBOX 360 outside of E3 and that was years ago.  Those that do show at E3 tend to release info the weeks before the conference so that when we get there the surprises are a minimum.  Here is for hoping that come Tuesday afternoon I won’t be just another jaded gamer…