Monday, June 17, 2013

Great news!

After working on it and educating myself on how, I've finally got a complete website. I'd like to thank all my regular readers, and hope i see you on my new url. I'm happy to announce:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review - Remember Me

Remember Me, or rather, Art design - the game, Shows some great moments and some unique highlights, but also stumbles with some basics in a third person action game. The keyword in Remember Me is, obviously, 'Art design' with a great focus on bringing Neo Paris to life, and a special attention to details, making this a very visually impressive game.

Set 70 years in the future, the world is practically run by an organization called The Memorize corporation, having created the Sensation Engine, mostly referred to as Sensen, a brain implant that allows the manipulation of memories, removing bad ones, or just sharing on the net, Memorize can police and keep the population under surveillance.

On the other side of this spectrum is a group of memory hunters called 'Errorists' to congregate and unite in their mission to bring down Memorize. Caught in between is the part of Sensen users who overloaded on memories and degraded their Sensen chip and suffered a mutation themselves.
Nilin is also multicultural, very PC

Remember Me kicks off in the shoes of Nilin, our heroine, somewhere in a facility, With so few memories left in her noggin she can barely stand and walk. A voice in her ear, from a man calling himself only 'Edge' helps her out of her predicament and guides her to freedom through a very uncomfortable body disposal system.

It's a pretty clever way to utilize the games own concept to explain exposition, and we get to explore the story with the same starting point as our main protagonist. And of everything well designed in the game, nothing comes close to Nilin herself, from her clothes, hairstyle, combat moves, athleticism, attitude and abilities, everything comes together beautifully.

Nilin is a great female character, though dependent because of her memory loss, she just 'feels' powerful, like the strongest person in the world, this is best portrayed with her 'overload' ability where she literally scrambles her enemies' brains and gives it a powerful blast of memories, instantly incapacitating them.
There is a lot of climbing in the game, fun though

Another good decision was to ground everything as much in reality as possible, combat for instance, Nilin cannot harm robot by punching them, because that is silly and every game should remember that. Or her climbing, she doesn't 'lift' herself to a ledge 10 feet above her, she actually steps and jumps off the ledge she was hanging from. 

When she gets shot or hit by a droid's capture field she instantly goes down. No sitting behind a waist high cover and complaining a bit and the bullet magically disappears and her wounds heal, nope, Nilin goes down like a sack of potatoes, and we loved that, making it easier to relate to Nilin's mortality and humanity.

The story can feel a bit fragmented and isolated, whatever you do in any chapter before chapter six aren't referred to or has any bearing on the next coming chapters, or at least it seems like that until chapter six and through the rest of the game where everything comes together as a whole, but it can be a confusing road to get there.
If you turn the camera facing Nilin, she will look at you, creepy.

Using the combo lab, the player is able to customize their own set of four combos, adding in effects such as healing or cooldown on Nilin's five 'special abilities'. In the end this is to add variety to combat, but ends up being an aesthetic option rather than tactical. Near the end we had a super long kill-everything-in-one combo, an emergency heal combo and a cooldown+big heal combo., leaving a whole combo unused.

Our biggest issue with the game however, was the camera, that camera is not your friend, when opening doors with our 'key gun' the camera was still locked on to the door going upwards, leaving us looking at the roof and Nilin running into the nearest wall whenever entering a new room fast. 

Normally the camera acts on an axis on a line with the characters eyes or center of their head. Imagine a stick between the camera and a character's head, so when she looks up the camera moves lower behind her, and moving above her when looking down but in both cases keeping Nilin's head in the center. 
"Scramble scramble scramble"

And although this mostly applies to Remember Me as well, when entering a small room or if Nilin's back is close to a wall this axis get's completely ruined, often changing to way above Nilin's head and looking around feels sluggish and uncooperative. And the password riddles seems like something that would make sense in French, but definitely not for a Norwegian.

Final thoughts, Remember Me tells a great and unique story in a fantastic looking Neo-Paris with an exciting and nicely designed main character, for a brand new ip from a brand new studio, this is a very impressive showing. The music and score are breathtaking and well composed. 

The lack of oomph in the combat upgrades, a few unfair deaths where Nilin might hit a ledge at a slight angle and decide it's better to fall to her death in stead of hanging on and a fidgety camera is kind of a let down, but varied locations, fun traversal and a brilliant protagonist makes Remember me a solid:


This game is just fun to play because more games need heroines like Nilin, not just because she's a strong female, but because of her depth and her relatability. If you like Sci-fi in a futuristic and stylish setting, heavily rooted in a plausible reality (maybe except the whole memory manipulation thing, but who knows?) then this is definitely for you. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review - Nintendo Direct E3


Well instead of pulling out all the stops and doing a big press conference, for the first time since  the first E3 back in 1995 Nintendo has opted to do their own thing with a Nintendo Direct. 

So for the games revealed, we got a new Mario, and it looks fantastic and I cant wait to try it out. Pokemon X and Pokemon Y was shown, though I have to admit, I am a little skeptical towards the new graphical design, but we'll see when it's out.

Mario Kart 8 looks very interesting, with the anti gravity feature opening up many, many possibilities for hidden paths, shortcuts, gameplay in general, so it's very exciting to see what they come up with, Nintendo might not be 'hardcore' but they know how to make fun games.

I dont really have an opinion on Wii Party U, it feels redundant and unnecessary when you already have a popular and widely loved franchise in Mario Party, I would much rather see my Mii playing alongside Mario and gang as a feature in Mario Party. We also dont want a new attempt at Wii sports. Wii sports sold as much as it did because it was free/bundled, it never had much to offer besides bowling.

Monolith Soft's X looks interesting, like a mix of JRPG and third person action game in a huge open world, the way it look brings to mind Monster Hunter. Also Bayonetta now has short hair? Well, that's interesting, considering her clothes are made of her hair that seamlessly blended together below her shoulders in the first game, but she still uses her hair for spells, including the hair covering her body. So that brings me to two possibilities; 1. She is dressed in dead hair that will wither and probably smell pretty bad. 2. the hair comes from somewhere else on her body and someone needs to give her some basic grooming tips.

Rounding up the pièce de résistance, Nintendo announced a brand new Super Smash Bros for both Wii U and 3DS, out smoe time 2014. It's not a new melee, but it introduces a couple of new characters, first is the Animal Crossing 'Villager' who looks quirky and has hard to predict abilities. Second, with one of the coolest reveal videos I have ever seen was MegaMan, I know, finally right, he looks like a short and long range brawler with the ability to change his main attacks just like in the game.

All in all a fairly well put together video, we can only hope that next year we get a full press conference with more gameplay and live demo's. And finally, Nintendo, when is the Vitality Sensor coming out!?!

Review - Sony E3 Press conference


So once again Jack Tretton takes the stage and start off the conference, talking about PS3 and Playstation Vita, promising more than 85 titles, big, small and indie before the end of the year, including some remakes like God of War 1 & 2 HD (so we get to buy these for a third time) and Final Fantasy X & X-2. 

The show starts off a little slow, but whoever planned this conference needs to get a raise, they quickly finish with trailers and info on Vita, Ps3, GTA 5 bundles and, well, everything not PS4. And before you know it Andrew House takes the stage and introduces the PS4 design. It looks good, but it also looks kind of safe, like , there's no groundbreaking design here, its a rectangular box, tilted backwards, but it still looks good, so, cant complain really.

Naturally since they left it out at the reveal, they have to go through features, and what the Playstation 4 can do, remember, Microsoft used 45 minutes of their 1 hour press conference to do this, so we expected to sit through alot of tedious talking, wich is fine normally but at this point it was about 3:30 AM here so I was kind of tired. Less than 10 minutes later, not only did they finish, not only are they starting demo reels of games, but they straight up announce a first part brand new IP.

Now at this point, all competitors should be sitting upright front and center taking notes, because now it's becoming clear that this press conference will be one to remember. And what a show it was, where Microsoft showed games, games, games, Sony showed gameplay, gameplay, gameplay, and i might be wrong here, but it felt like more games altogether. Sony came out, saw an opportunity, and it felt like, since their press conference was delayed, that they revealed more than was originally intended to really establish dominance this generation.

Shuhei Yoshida might be the most adorable presenter known to man. And the line of Indie developers playing their games as they're being introduced was a great touch that some might not catch, but they showed you eight games, running on Playstation 4, live in only five minutes. the variation, pacing, presenting, timing, this press conference was nigh on perfect, so congratulations on that Sony.

Highlight games in the show were The Order (1886?) which looks like a steampunk olden London third person shooter, kind of like Damnation, only hopefully, good. And god help me, Knack looks pretty beast, speaking of February reveals, compliments to Sony for Blasting through those in quick succession, moving on to new reveals and more gameplay of the game's able to show it. 

Final Fantasy XV looks great, as a Final Fantasy fan i will endlessly support the franchise, ever hoping for a new blockbuster like Final Fantasy VII, but this one looks seriously good. Kingdom Hearts 3 had me jumping out of my seat, with what looked like scripted, in-engine gameplay. I guess we all kind of saw it coming, but the reveal was fantastic all the same.

Favorite part of the conference was Jack Tretton's speech completely devastating Xbox One, after the show Microsoft commented that they did not compare consoles or press conferences because their's was a machine for the future while Sony's console was for right now. Well with all the restrictions on X1 It feels more like the console of the past, making the same mistakes Sony did with PS3, just 10 times worse, PS3's only mistake was taking too much focus off games and making a media machine with expensive hardware, making the price ludicrously high, but never limited or restricted. X1 is like a remote control with 10 buttons, but you can only press 5 once and they're locked forever. 

Overall, great show, masterfully executed, the Assassins creed freeze is natural with an unfinished game on an unfinished console. Paying less than $5 a month for online is reasonable and it comes with so much content you get your money back literally the first day you pay, and it also comes with Jack Tretton's promise that it will help improve online down the road, so we all benefit individually and as a whole. Microsoft will have to seriously rethink their strategy, although I don't think that is feasible at this point if they're to make a November release window. It just might be in their best interest to postpone the release until early 2014 with a new strategy, but hey, what do i know. Good luck to both companies and i look forward to both of their releases.

Review - Ubisoft Entertainment E3 Press conference


Ubisoft had a great showing this year as well, Starting off strong with Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains) on stage jamming with some Rocksmith. And love her or hate her, I personally love her, Aisha Tyler hosting the whole conference in a #Girlwood shirt referring to her E3 2012 comment that she "get girl wood for games" you go girl. They showed a bunch of games and I'll do a quick run through of all of them, so let's go.

Splinter Cell Blacklist, There's not much to talk about here, they showed very, very little, but let you hear a whole lot of cuts from the story, apparently Sam has to work with a woman he doesn't want to because nobody works better with him than her...whatever that means. The star here is the Spies VS Mercs multiplayer mode, innovative and looks very fun.

Rayman Legends continues the style of play from Rayman Origins, a well made and challenging platformer with crisp controls.

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot showed a hilarious cgi trailer describing how the game would be, you have to defend your own castle as well as attack others for loot. I'm not sure, we'll just have to wait until we see more, looks fun though.

South Park Stick of Truth appears as funny as ever, they didn't really show much new stuff here, mostly Cartman appearing and callign a release date for "the holiday season 2013 or, you know, some holiday season, you know how video games are" #Nagasakifart

The Crew looks like a very interesting racer, it gives off a strong Burnout Paradise vibe, just a lot bigger and better, with a huge open world, actually the entire U.S. it seems, and the ability to go anywhere to explore offroad and on.

Watch Dogs is Watch Dogs, they've showed this so many times that you can find a trailer or some gameplay anywhere, it looks good, and i cant wait to review it when it comes out.

Just Dance 2014, I'm not much of a dancer myself, but now you can change the song mid dance. And the use of the Wii U tablet looks really fun in a party setting.

Rabbids Invasion, not really sure what I'm expecting from this, I've never been a huge Rabbids fan, but I'll definitely have my 7 Year old son help me review the game.

Assassins Creed Black Flag, To be honest, back when this was first revealed I thought this was the weakest of the series, to me pirates seems like a run down niche by now, but the more I see from this, the more excited I get, mostly because it looks absolutely astounding, so beautiful on the next gen consoles...Even if it did freeze during Sony's gameplay footage. But stuff like that can happen, there's a reason the game is not out yet, it's an unfinished game playing on an unfinished console, what's important is that it proved it was not pre-recorded, but actual live demonstration of a next gen game, something we can all appreciate.

Trials Fusion and Trials Frontier, finally a new Trials game, even with Trials HD seemingly infinite possibilities in its creative mode where people have made completely different games with the motocross engine, I saw a mini golf game made from Trials HD today as a matter of fact, right here. So I cant wait to see what comes out of Trials Fusion. Trials Frontier is a Trials game for mobile devices. Also this trailer had my number one pick for best song in this year's E3 press conferences: Anonymous FT. Taz - Look at me

The Division, now this looks REALLY interesting, a third person mmo shooter, absolutely amazing looking and seems really fun as well, also #MONEY! A 10 minute gameplay trailer followed where the guy, when moving in cover behind a car closed its door! he closed the door!

They followed up with a Q & A post show, taking questions on twitter and having all the presenters answer questions about their respective game. All in all a terrific conference, entertaining, cool reveals, great pacing, some quirky but funny humor. Good job Ubisoft!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review - EA Games E3 Press Conferences

EA Games

EA Games Had a great showing, maybe a little slow in the beginning with a lengthy, but fun Plants VS Zombies : Garden Warfare gameplay demo, live or pre-recorded is hard to tell, but looks live enough. 

Moving on they showed a lot more of Titanfall with developers commentary. Titanfall is the first game coming out of ex-Infinity Ward' Quasi-famous developers Vince Zampella and Jason West's new studio Respawn entertainment. The pair is most known for spearheading the ever famous Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. 

Need For Speed: Rivals looks interesting, it seems to have a new take on multiplayer, a considerable upgrade from previous title Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2012) and is currently being developed by Ghost Games and Criterion Games for all platforms to a holiday release later this year. 

Following that a sequel to a personal favorite series of mine was unveiled, Dragon Age Inquisition, and though just a cgi trailer, it looks amazing.

NBA Live 14 is all about dribbling, dribble dribble dribble, not much more to take from that reveal. Madden is Madden, as a European it's hard to relate to Madden and i have never played any of the games, sorry. Even as pre-alpha footage FIFA 14 looks vibrant, sleek and immersive, definitely one to watch. Next UFC game looks fun, need to see more before I can go into more detail.

Highlight of the show: 64 players live demoing the new Battlefield 4 Multiplayer, it's heavily scripted, bringing many to assume its pre-recorded, I sincerely hope it was not and will chose to believe its all live. They brought down a whole building! not a small shack, but a huge skyscraper, and it looked amazing. What I noticed though was that the dust settled quickly and there wasn'tt much of it, this could be a great way to change the entire map with low visibility and a great way to make use of commander abilities. 

And then came one of my favorite reveals of the whole night, Mirror's Edge 2, finally. Such an amazing franchise that deserved way more attention and should have sold way more than it did in its first outing. Hopefully now that the series has gotten more exposure over time we will see a lot more of Faith and her free running. 

Solid showing from EA, keeping a good pace throughout, showed some great games, much to look forward to coming up with new games and new games for new consoles.

Review - Microsoft E3 Press Conference


Microsoft came out and delivered as promised, a whole bunch of games and gameplay. Standout moments include Forza 5, Dead Rising 3, Witcher 3, Project Spark, Killer Instinct and Halo 5, and a ton of in engine or in game gameplay, even though some were obviously pre-recorded Microsoft came out and gave us what we wanted. Saying Microsoft had a bad conference would be far from true, did they have the best? That's open for discussion.

One thing that was a trend throughout all conferences was technical issues, absolutely everyone had something happen, in Microsoft's case there were audio issues, no more apparent than in their Crimson Dragon trailer and beginning of the Battlefield 4 trailer where there was no sound at all. 

The problem with Microsoft's press conference is that their consumers are worried, and they never addressed the issues people are still unsure about. Xbox One is littered with limitations and restrictions that encumber the system and the consumer, with required online connection at least once every 24 hours, ONLY to check if you bought something new to lock it to your profile. The online connection has no benefits for the user at all. The complicated way to share your games or trade it in, also for no benefit of the consumer and ONLY for Microsoft. This is a give and give relationship Microsoft, we give you money, you give us what we pay for, not you 'allow' us to use what you sold us. 

Finally the price, there has always been a $100 = €100 or $300 = €300, and we'we always accepted that, but now its time to break the mold Microsoft. $500 sounds like a fair starting price, it's a pretty heavy machine with loads of features, however, it's not localized, meaning most of the world will have to struggle with their broken English to use the voice commands. The TV features are obsolete and unusable for anyone outside of the U.S.A. although U.K. usually catch up to those features rather quick, as they have on the ps3, but most of us will never, ever have any use of any of those features. So we should pay more for a machine even though we can only use about 50% of the features on it (really all we can do is use voice commands and twitch... oh and games). €500 is not the same as $500, its actually around $700. 

How is that fair? How can you justify this? I have never felt less cared about as part of a nation and part of a continent before, do you assume we pay you anything for a machine we can barely use and games we cant ever sell? 

All info about the machine, price and restrictions I give a 0/5 mostly because they never address it. But put that aside and we're talking only about the games, then I give the show a 4/5