Monday, 16 June 2014

Space Combat & Convention Apperances!


Update on the latest Space Combat episodes with some cool VFX previews and check out below where you can meet us at upcoming conventions; VidCon, ConBravo & AlCon!

26-28 June 2014
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, CA - USA
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18-20 July 2014
Hamilton Convention Center
Hamilton, ON - Canada
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4-7 September 2014
De Montfort University
Leicester - United Kingdom
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MY LIFE AS A VIDEO GAME is a live-action online series created by Leon Films. It is set inside the world of video games. A series by gamers for gamers.


Petros L. Ioannou as DON DEWITT - Follow on Twitter: @PetrosOfSparta

Jennifer Polansky as KERA ALTHORN - Follow on Twitter: @JenniferMya

Brent Black as MENU - Follow on Twitter: @Brentalfloss

Monday, 9 June 2014

PlayStation/Sony E3 2014: Initial Thoughts

So, so far everyone I've spoken to is creaming their pants over the Playstation conference. I on the other hand, was rather underwhelmed. Maybe it's because over the years I've learned to cut through the bullshit. I'm not a Sony fanboy, but I'm not an Xbox fanboy either. I'm more inclined to like the Playstation for nostalgia reasons, some of my favourite games are on it's original incarnation like Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid. But this conference to me dragged like crazy. Let's dive into it.

Destiny opened the conference before anyone even stepped out on stage. We finally got some solid glimpses of story with what I think was a Peter Dinklage narration. The story seems to be about a thing called the "traveller", sounds like some kind of planet that comes into our star system enhancing our lives ten fold, giving us triple life span, new technology all this awesome stuff. But like a yin-yang, it had an evil counterpart that arrived and screwed everything and everyone up. The story sounds solid and for some reason reminds me of Mass Effect's story of finding the Prothean beacon, then eventually encountering the Reapers. I like the sound of it - that being said, I hope the gameplay can match up. Right now all I'm seeing in the gameplay is basically a more realistic Borderlands, which don't get me wrong is great, but a lot of the fun of that game is it's quirkiness which doesn't exist here. Maybe it's just I'm a little FPS'd out, which when we get to Far Cry 4 you'll hear me moan more about.

There's a new White PS4, looks shiny. Might be what I get.

The Order 1886 had a creepy old school Resident Evil vibe to it, in fact it stole shot for shot one sequence right out of it. It looks nice but I can't help that I've seen a lot of this before. Something doesn't feel right about this game, there's not really much explanation of story or what exactly the game will be about other than this short 2-3 minute clip of gameplay. It's got no context, is this what all the game is like, I don't know the previous trailer was all CG.

Entwined looked pretty, it's a new art-house game. New style of gameplay that's not bang bang, guns. I like it. But it's just not something that had me excited either.

Infamous: Second Son DLC called Infamous: First Light. CG trailer nothing to write home about. It is a DLC right, I'm not confused, because the title indicates it's a new game but I didn't get that impression from what they were tailing about. I'm not going crazy right... right!? RIGHT!??!?!?!?!

Little Big Planet 3 was announced however, and to many I'm sure they were very excited. I watched and maybe this is what non-Nintendo fans think when they watch a new Mario game. It looked the same as the last two. I never got into it, I tried, I just couldn't Nice that it's backwards compatible with it's predecessors and has true co-op platforming, unlike NSMB.U which basically was how many times can I throw my brother off a cliff like the asshole I am... I hate you Takis... Anyway, the point is., LBP3 didn't seem like anything was particularly new. Nothing I saw made me want to rush out and buy it today as the previous two didn't either.

Bloodbourne was announced next and it was a dark violent horror game. That's about all I got... which kinda sums up a lot of this conference.

Finally we get to Far Cry 4 and this is the point where I just realised, I'm all FPS'd out. I can't do any more first person games right now. The first half of the gameplay showed this mountain scaling, we got more a sense of gameplay, it looked cool. The leap in the winged suit looked cool and gave a sense of scale. This will probably have to be one I try before I buy, or play on the show floor as nothing here really hit me as amazing... that was until they announced that a second player on PSN can join your game like they were in your living room and they don't even have to own the bloody game! Incredible! This is probably using their Gakai streaming service somehow as it's exclusive to PlayStation.

Some kind of Zombie Game, I don't know the trailer was funny but my feed cut out for a minute and when it started up I just saw more Battlefield Hardline, which while fun and all, we've seen it a billion times now.

This is where for me the lull began, where they took an hour off and showed some indies and stuff, a lot of stuff that kinda baffled me too. Starting with the Magicka 2 trailer was funny but didn't show much gameplay, looks good though. Looks the same as Magicka, I hope they can do something new and interesting with it. I've always been a fan of games like this and Bastion, something about top down just reminds me of old school games like Zelda: Link the Past that I really like.

Okay, so the next one was Grim Fandango HD Remaster. Everyone jumped out of their seat and screamed like schoolgirls over this one. I have heard of the game but honestly have never played it so the nostalgia factor wasn't there for me. I'm sure it'll be fun and maybe if they'd shown some gameplay or something I could have gotten on board - but again that's the problem here, nothing is being shown, they're just being announced and anything that is being shown is being shown for older fans of the series not to bring in new ones like me.

Lots of indies in a montaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaage by Devolver. Looks a lot of fun. It was quickly followed by Suda 51 and something dark and depressing and David Lynch-ian...

The developers of Journey's next game is called Giant Squid. And much like their previous game is impossible to describe if you don't play it. You're swimming... I think... I don't get it.

Now is the game that set the VGX on fire. No Man's Sky, now I'll be honest, it is a seriously impressive feat with all the tiny team and the press this is getting. So great to them. It's beautiful looking game... but... what IS IT? Is it an RPG, is it exploration, I have no idea what the purpose of this game is. Am I just that set in my ways. I don't know, no-one seems to be able to give me a concrete answer. What is this game, someone please tell me in the comments below because I'm completely lost.

Project Morpheus their VR headset was talked about and will be at the booth. I'll have more there soon. YouTube is coming to PS4, so instant YouTube upload like you can do with Mario Kart 8 on Wii U but on all PS4 titles via the share function. That is going to be a copyright claims clusterfuck indeed but a nice feature. Nothing new in particular. Then they talked about Free to Play games for about ten minutes... moving on....

Playstation Now, a service I'm very intrigued by and have been saying for years Nintendo should do this with the Virtual Console. The cool thing was select Sony TV's will get a special streaming service. I happen to have an old Sony smart television, so that's cool, even if I already own a PS3 it will be on. The PS4 gets it first via Beta on July 31st before it comes to Vita and PS3. They'd previously mentioned phones and tablets, but no mention of it here.

A few days ago Mortal Kombat X was announced. The trailer looked really cool, integrating what looked like solid gameplay with cinematics. The final gameplay footage has none of the cinematics. It's basically a prettier version of 2011's game with maybe some extra gore... which is getting stale. It's like Sonic's speed, it's fun for a while but there's a reason MK nearly went under until this reboot, you can't base a thing soley around one gimmick. MKX seems to be just a visual upgrade to the excellent MK9. Which I guess is fine, maybe my hopes were too high.

Then cut off the games again to go back to Netflix style original series, one called "Powers" based on the comic book series of the same name about a two homicide detectives who investigate crimes involving people with superpowers. And we got a trailer for a Rachet & Clank movie that will be on PS4 too.

Incoming slew of remasters, Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V remastered for PS4; both look pretty much identical to their PS3 counterparts but will be on PS4. GTA 5 gets a save transfer from PS3 and Xbox 360, which is nifty. I'll probably get these with my PS4 just because I never got them for PS3 and now there should be better versions coming.

Then we finally got into the real games with a trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which looks excellent the cinematics look beautiful but it didn't give us anything other than a story and some cool CG sequences. We got no gameplay (although that's what the $40 Ground Zeroes was for...... .... ... FAIL) and we got no story, just basically a music video with a depressing song. I guess nothing more needs to be said about this game other than "GET IT OUT NOW!" they didn't even set a release date so I guess it'll be a 2015 release, maybe we'll even see it again at E3 again. 

Finally the star of the evening... Batman: Arkham Knight - it gave us story, it gave us excellent gameplay and the world of this game looks enormous. It's huge... big enough for the Batmobile and big enough to truly explore. Comparing this and Arkham City, which is one of my favourite games of all time, this is clearly a step up gameplay-wise. Let's hope with the help of that creepy as all hell Scarcrow appearance that the story can match up too, that was a hell of a game to play and I hope this helps go out on a high note and makes me forget the Kevin Conroy-less Origins... Blasphemy!

Finally it ended on Uncharted 4 reveal, which everyone is going batshit over... I know you like the series guys but... it was  CG trailer, it didn't show anything. Oh what do I know, I'll probably do the same if they just show some Zelda artwork tomorrow.

Overall this conference dragged for me. It was a lot of cool flashy announcements, but not as cool and flashy as last year, maybe that set my expectations too high. My major problem with this is it wasn't really a Sony conference. Also even though I knew it wouldn't be there the lack of Final Fantasy XV really pissed me off - it's clear Sony paid them last year to show a trailer for a game everyone wanted just to get them hyped for the PS4 because this game is clearly no-where near ready. Overall that sums it all up, it was all flash no substance, the only major game that had me hyped was Batman: Arkham Knight. Hopefully it can live up to it. The conference felt like a slew of "fan favourites" - meaning no-one who's not a fan like Grim Fandango knows what the hell is going on, and "games that have been announced and we know so much about already so let's not waste time, here's  a short trailer". 



Above Average

Xbox E3 2014: Initial Thoughts

Okay, so it's E3 time again, let's dive right into it with MICROSOFT'S XBOX.

It seems that this year Microsoft focused really on games, they've got their console, they've got it all ready, all games, no kinect nonsense, just a focus on (primarily) third party developers bringing their stuff to the Xbox One. In many ways this seems to be the most succinct conference. No handhelds, no new tech, nothing but games - and it's nice to see something like that. I don't have an Xbox One, can they convince me to get one?

Starts out with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, yeah, that's fine and good and all. But once again just very generic, I really think at this point Call of Duty needs a break. It's an obvious statement but even if Advanced Warfare turns out to be as awesome and groundbreakings as the original Modern Warfare was, I can't see myself buying it because it looks the same as Ghosts, Black Ops 2, Modern Warfare 3, it's just so generic feeling and I think the slowly dropping sales figures are pointing to franchise fatigue too. I'm not a CoD hater or anything, I like the series, but I don't want to see it become Guitar Hero, annual releases creating fatigue and eventual abandonment by the IP holders Activision.

On the other hand, Sunset Overdrive looks freakin' awesome. Lots and lots fun, really crazy stuff, a lot of bat-shit fun. And it's colourful, I love that, I love that it's bright and colourful and doesn't rely on a dark grim story to hide the fact that the gameplay sucks. In fact, here's an awesome game that doesn't seem to stick to any conventions whatsoever. It's just a lot of fun, with crazy shit going on. I'm excited, and it's an Xbox exclusive, so that's certainly a notch towards me wanting my first Xbox.

Dragon Age: Inquisition was up next, not much seen here really just a fairly generic fantasy trailer but it does look very beautiful. I'm sure more will be see at EA's conference later.

There's new DLC for Dead Rising that mocks the living hell out of Capcom. It looks hilarious using Capcom's huge amount of IPs to their advantage in this downloadable content release. Interesting of note, there's a great deal of awesome Mega Man music being used here for nostalgia sakes, except... where was anything else to do with Mega Man. No costumes for him, no cool weapons or something. I can't tell if this was intentional to parody their whole Dead Rising, Super, Hyper Turbo Ex Alpha theme, the fact that Capcom continually claims to love Megaman but does everything to avoid him at all costs. Hmmmm....

The next game on stage was Fable Legends, honestly, it doesn't look half bad. I'd be willing to buy it... if it were a new IP. The fact that this has the Fable label to leaves me very nervous, they've just gotten worse and worse throughout the years. Even one of the actors from my show Cody Griffis was in one of their commercials for their Fable Kinect game. Let's see how this one pans out before I invest any money in it.

Project Spark on the other hand, looks incredible as ever. I wanted this game last year, I want this game this year. This is one game that really does influence me to get an Xbox One. The Conker thing was nice, but no new game? That's not very nice of them, feels like a bit of a slap in the face. Well, Conker never felt  right to me on Xbox anyway, Xbox has always had the more dark-gritty games, so them having Conker just felt in the background. The original Rare game on Nintendo 64 was great because he fit in with all the cute cuddly Nintendo characters, but had this hilarious foul mouthed and aggressive edge, which made it a fun parody of characters like Kirby, Yoshi and even Mario.

Now the HALO stuff:

The Halo 5 trailer looked good but otherwise generic unfortunately. Didn't see any gameplay, which seemed to be a recurring thing, even Project Spark showed off only CG trailer, which as we know from last year, gameplay DOES exist... interesting. Anyway, they also showed of the Halo Master Chief Collection, which is another notch on the the "buy Xbox" belt for me. I always wanted to get into Halo but couldn't because I never played the original and just had no reason to. But four games in one, with a fifth coming, I'm down for that. Especially the original Halo 2 multiplayer which from what I hear was amazing. When I get some more money together this collection could be part of what seals a deal for an Xbox One purchase for me. 

That being said there was no price drop announced, and I'd really need that to justify an Xbox for me. I think at least $299 or $350 with Kinect for me. What astounds me the most is that we've actually reached a time where the original Xbox is now nostalgic. Where "with the flick of a button" as they say, you can switch to the original graphics of Halo 2. I mean, I get Playstation nostalgia, they've had three consoles now and the original had some of the best exclusives in gaming history. But when did Xbox nostalgia happen? Am I really getting that old that ten years can't be nostalgic to me anymore? I WANT TO PLAY THE ZX SPECTRUM AGAIN!!!

Finally, they also showed off a little from Halo: Nightfall, a digital series, which I'm looking forward to as a fellow Digital series producer. It's being done by Ridley Scott, which is excellent but is this the series that was being produced by Steven Spielberg they announced last year, I can't tell. When they say Digital Series to they mean like My Life as a Video Game style or House of Cards style, because it could be either. It wasn't very clear, especially as Microsoft loves to namedrop and we heard nothing about Spielberg in this.

Overall I'll say this, Phil Spencer seems way more genuine than his predecessors when talking on stage. Less jargon, less bullcrap.

Inside was a new indie game that look fascinating. I really like the look of it. Made by the people who made Limbo, it should be a hell of a lot of fun and a beautifully made game.

And here we go The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt  - right into it, no bullshit. We're here to show this and they do. This looks excellent, I'm actually very excited about this. It looks beautiful it looks huge and it looks polished within an inch of it's life. Now I've not played the original or The Witcher 2, which was the more popular one - kinda like Street Fighter II. I'm curious readers, can I play 2 without playing one, or will I be able to play 3 without playing 2. I've played BioWare games backwards and just couldn't do it. I went from Mass Effect, the original, to Knights of the Old Republic and it drove me insane, the lack of voiced hero, the slow gameplay it just felt sloooow. I hope that doesn't happen with Witcher 3, that it's so good it outclasses it's predecessors to the point that they become unplayable.

Towards the end we got a big indie reel, which didn't show off much but we did get The Division, which as last year looks great, once again they didn't show off much more than they did last year, in fact we got more last year because we got a CG intro. Looks great, looks fun, but I'm holding my breath after the whole Watch_Dogs, delay, "not console graphics", Wii U delayed for months extra, more gun-centric additions, too GTA-like fiascos that dimmed the hype of that game.

Platinum Games announced their new next gen game Scalebound, which while just a CG trailer like a lot here, looked awesome. Big beasts with original designs on a Monster Hunter-esque scale except with a modern day hero who (for some reason wearing Beat by Dre) and this dude, in addition to listening to some shitty dubstep, can adapt to a monster and take on their scales as armour, which looks AWESOME. Their games have always been these fast-paced crazy games from Metal Gear Rising to Bayonetta to Wonderful 101. It's fast paced awesome action. This looks no different, I'm looking forward to seeing gameplay.

The final thing I cared about was Crackdown, which supposedly is a returning IP... but I don't remember it personally. To me it looks like a Metropolitan Borderlands, that same cool art style and that same crazy action and fun.

So overall that was the Xbox Press Conference. It was fun, better than they've had in years honestly. They focused on third party games this time around and hopefully it should pay off. A lot of it felt like exclusives and I'll be able to tell more tomorrow when I hit the show floor if these can pay off. There didn't appear to be anything spectacular, like mind-blowing shit your pants jump up and down. But there were a lot of new IPs, which is a VERY good thing, if they can continue this momentum to the show floor this will be a great E3 for Microsoft.