Thursday, June 13, 2013

[SETTLED DUST] The Next Generation of Gaming, Compared

The pre-E3 conferences have disappeared, and from the dust, the internet appears to have settled on one, almost overwhelming winner:

The Omega GameCast!

Since Microsoft's conference in May, and the ensuing PR battle since, many have been looking to Sony to win gamers over where Microsoft lost. Sony had been heavily rumored to follow suit with the DRM on used games, much in a manner like Microsoft. Seeing as the PS4 is also more powerful than the Xbox One, we were also expecting a price tag on par, if not higher, than the Xbox One. Sony came out of their E3 conference glowing with radiance, with a $399 price tag, no used game DRM for first-party games, the ability to play rented games, and let your friends borrow those games. During the conference, Jack Tretton received an absolutely overwhelming ovation for this news.



Monday, June 3, 2013

[PRE-E3] Xbox One Impressions

Top-to-bottom: HAL-10000, a VCR, and the Xbox One controller.

In just one hour, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One, the hot new shit that gamers will (or may not) want later this year. While they have opened the flood gates for their steps in the next generation, they've left behind some impressions - some good, mostly bad - with mainstream media and gamers, alike. Already, Microsoft has disabled comments on all Xbox One YouTube videos. That should paint a picture of how bad the situation is.

It's always great to hear about the wonders of what a new generation of gaming machines can offer, but we are entering dangerous waters with the concept of always-on (forcing you to maintain an internet connection, alienating the areas of the world that don't have immediate access to broadband internet), multi-media aspects (detract from the meat of the system, the games), and a multitude of others.

The eighth generation of gaming consoles are upon us, and E3 is not even a week away, where more questions will be answered (and unanswered). What do we know about the Xbox One? Well...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Xbox Bingo Results

Your Xbox conference is done with.

Regardless of how you enjoyed it, here's the results of our bingo results for Microsoft's conference.

24 options, 7 misses, one questionable.

  1. To Infinity, and Beyond! - Nope. Xbox One is what they decided to go with.
  2. What Would They Do Without Him - Apparently, a lot. Halo didn't show up, but they couldn't resist plastering Halo 4 art into their Xbox One promos, considering the system isn't backwards compatible.
  3. Larger LIVE Presence on iOS/Android - Nothing yet, but E3 is right around the corner.
  4. Bungie: They'll Find a Way - Sadly, no. Again, E3 is creeping up on us.
  5. MS Points Get Axed - Nothing confirmed. Microsoft barely touched on the Marketplace on Tuesday, so we may get more news soon.
  6. Xbox Mini - Considering Microsoft is going hard with the "it's not backwards compatible," they may answer that question soon.
  7. IllumiRoom Finds a Way to Show Up - It hasn't shown up. Yet...
  8. Next-Gen Wireless - We still don't have a solid answer. While Wireless-N is on-board, the controllers are on a different frequency, which alienates all wireless 360 controllers.
Asides from our misses, used games will play in some capacity. Microsoft did talk about 3rd party games, despite showing only one. They couldn't shut up about the new Kinect, but did skip right over official Blu-ray support. Sharing is something they loved mentioning, and the SmartGlass overhaul made it's debut. While not immediately evident, Microsoft has been battling a PR nightmare over contradicting statements, causing nothing but awkward moments across the internet. Don Mattrick couldn't resist being there, and LIVE did get it's upgrade in the form of 300,000 servers. The new Xbox One controller was shown, and quite possible, was the best thing to look at during the whole thing, even better than the purported "next-gen" tech going into Call of Duty: Ghosts. They're not ready to talk pricing, but they're sure finding a way to get you to not give you their money by hammering on about the cable bridge support, quasi-always-on requirement, and live TV support. It wouldn't have been anything without a subtle stab at Sony by showing the system off first thing in the conference.

E3 is now just over 2 weeks away. Microsoft is battling an uphill battle, with a good portion of the gaming community even considering the Wii U as something they'd want to buy, considering it doesn't have an always-on requirement, it can play used games, and there's no privacy concerns regarding a camera with a built-in microphone that's always listening.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Xbox Speculation for May 21

Controller


Minor changes. The 360 controller reinvented the Xbox S controller into a magnificent, ergonomic machine. They may alter little bits here and there (adjust tension on triggers, change feel/look of thumbsticks, nuke existing D-Pad and start over), but considering how "share" happy the world is getting, I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft did something similar. It may be a button, you may be yelling at your Kinect. Depends on how crazy Microsoft is.


No more Points. Gone. Now you can pay in real money.

Rethinking how they double-charge "premium" services ("you gotta pay for Gold, so you can pay for Hulu to watch your TV shows"). To best satiate critics and gamers alike, I see them introducing some sort of tiered system. Pay little (or nothing) to access apps (especially the already-paid-for apps, like Netflix and Hulu), and bring the cost down of the yearly Gold subscription. If no price adjustments, then they'll go crazy with PlayStation Plus-like features, like discounts, free games in your library, etc., etc..

An extreme - and one I don't see them doing - is partnering with these paid subscriber memberships, to offer a "sign up for Gold, get this service for free*" thing. That asterisk is for "but only on the Xbox".

Achievements should see a new coat of paint, as well as Beacons, Friends List, and social gatherings (Parties, Voice Chats, etc.).

System/Hardware

What to expect? Built-in Wi-Fi, Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0, next-gen wireless tech for controllers (renders old ones obsolete), self-loading tray, built-in, user-serviceable hard drive...all of this is possible. What I'm getting at is more of Kinect and retail. Microsoft, to push Kinect, would throw it in the system package in every SKU. They don't want people to have an excuse to not have a Kinect, so what better way to solve that problem then to make you buy it with the system.

This is the reason why Nintendo didn't make the Wii remotes for the GameCube, as they initially planned; they couldn't bank on everyone who owned a GameCube to run out and buy them, which would limit developers. Knowing a system has this hardware by default, developers aren't limited. Just look at the hard drive/Arcade debacle early on in the 360's life.




The Name

Thanks, C-Ron!

We know my stance on the name - Xbox Infinite/Infinity - and the reason behind it makes perfect sense (in Microsoft's world). The reason the 360 is named that is because you approach it, and do a complete circle to walk away.

::har har::

No. Microsoft named the 360 this because it put you at the center of what entertainment the system offered. Naming it "Infinite" or "Infinity" makes sense. Take a 360 degree circle, add a second one right next to it (to indicate "360 Two", and you get the infinity loop. It's also the same if you take '8' from Windows 8, and slap it on it's side. Microsoft can run with this name under marketing campaigns of "Infinite Possibilities".

The Games


Don't expect much on Tuesday. We already know Call of Duty: Ghosts gets its official reveal on that day, but as far as bomb-shells, or major reveals, they're going to wait until E3. They're going to get the hardware out of the way early - much like Sony - and focus on games later.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Joystiq "Unveils" Call of Duty: Ghosts, RSS Feeds Light Up, Story is Taken Down

[UPDATE] And Engadget, a sister site to Joystiq, has their own story, but again, just like Joystiq, it's down. The RSS feed did the same glory: cached the story for those who subscribe to still read it.

[ORIGINAL STORY] I woke up this morning, and amongst my normal activities is checking my RSS feeds for what I consider "news".

Amongst the stories, Joystiq posted one, which was "officially confirming" Call of Duty: Ghosts's existence. Unfortunately, the link provided redirects to Joystiq's homepage, and no story exists. Surely, other outlets have this news, too, right?

Nope. Kotaku, RPS, Major Nelson, PlayStation.blog, Polygon...no one is talking about this, for whatever reason. So, what did I do? Why, I took a screenshot of my feed of the story, and posted it below for your enjoyment! The links in the screenshot simply link back to older stories about Ghosts, and to "hubs" for Call of Duty and E3. The URL that the feed brought me to was this:

http://www.joystiq.com/2013/05/01/call-of-duty-ghosts-trailer-release-date

Enjoy.


Monday, March 25, 2013

[PSA] Now Appearing on Beyond 8-Bit Radio


I'm coming at this a little late, but starting with episode 106 (we're up to 109!), I am now a recurring member on Beyond 8-Bit Radio.

Hosted by a star-studded cast of some of the most devilishly handsome men this side of the Potomac, Beyond 8-Bit has been around for a number of years. While my appearance will more than likely be "there" for the most part, I can't guarantee I'll be there each recording.

Sick of reading what I have to say? Then just listen to me ramble for the better part of an hour!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Goodbye, Google Reader


We've all heard the news. Google Reader is kaput, as of July 1.

I've kept a pinned tab in Chrome at home and at work, with Reeder (iOS) and gReader (Android) signed into the service. I've already found a substitute, and I broke down and did the dirty deed, above.

For those looking for a nice alternative, I've already gotten waist-deep in Feedly.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

The PlayStation 4 is Real (Kind Of). New Toys. New Games. New Everything.


While we may not know what it looks like, we do know it's called PlayStation 4 (not Orbis), and Sony says it's "not just next-gen tech in a box", but it will "reconceptualize how you'll play." Sony is promising a "personalized" experience, while accessing content is going to be easier, with "greater fidelity".

From what Sony has shown, it looks like they're on their way.

The Controller
Hey, look! Another Sony leaked product that was right. Again.

We finally have the first major revision to the controller's exterior since analog sticks were added to the first DualShock. First and foremost, the one revision I'm psyched for is the elongation of the handles; it looks to add about 1" to their lengths. For someone who has goddamned gorilla hands, this is great news, and one reason why I've hated the DualShock controllers all these years. The DualShock 4 includes a touchpad directly on the front, akin to the rear touchpad on the Vita, which is clickable, ala BlackBerry Storm (yes, I know, that is a horrible reference).

The Share button (cornered between the D-Pad and touchpad) allows you to snap photos or upload videos of your gameplay to Facebook (no word on YouTube), as a sort of PVR functionality (more on this later). Opposite of the Share button is the Options button; this is the merging of the Start and Select buttons into one function. The analog sticks have been altered slightly, but still sport their convex appearance, but with a lip around the edge, similar to the Xbox 360's "transforming D-Pad" controller's thumbsticks.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Two Titles I Expect to be Unveiled at Sony's Wednesday Presser


With Sony's conference just a few days away, people are getting too goddamned antsy (this kid, included), about what they could reveal.

I have a few things I'd like to see, but most importantly, there are two games I expect from Sony at their conference, one in particular that better be there.

The first you see above, Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Problem is, the fucking thing has been known to the public for too goddamned long, and in development for over 7 years (seven!!!). We've also seen the bastardization of the series, thanks to the awful Final Fantasy XIII, and it's released sequel, and announced second sequel. The other triplet, Type-0, was released on the PSP, and released only in Japan, with no plans of a localization in the US or EU. This Fabula Crystallis Nova project is a fucking joke, and Square Enix needs to back away, cut their losses, and move forward. Best way to do that? Rebranding. I don't care if they change the game - we don't even know what or how Versus will play like - but I can say this: change the name. We need to get away from the clusterfuck that is XIII and get moving. 

Versus needs to be renamed as Final Fantasy XV, and if Sony wants to move units, keep it a Sony exclusive. End of story.

This isn't the game I whole-heartedly expect at the show. Matter of fact, I don't even have an itch to see it. At this point, Square needs to come down off its high horse, get on TV, and say "it's coming, here's a 10 minute trailer of footage and gameplay, and it's being released on this date. And, you know what, fuck it, you guys have waited so long, just take it. Don't give us your money, just take the game as retribution for making you wait so long." Of course that won't happen.

What game do I expect to be shown?

Infamous 3.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Destroyed Controller's Best of 2012 Awards

The 4th annual Destroyed Controller "Best of" results are in! 

::two months late::

Wait, what?

With two major hardware releases last year, the introduction of a new generation of gaming is afoot. While it's a handheld with little support to-date, and Nintendo's newest system with about a 30+ deep catalogue, we still had a hell of a year. We saw the valiant return of Master Chief, a new ancestor for Desmond Miles, the new strain of a no-so-quite-zombie-creating virus, a new contender for "Badass Assassin", and many others.


Which games were the ones worth playing? Let's find out, shall we?

As before, here's the rules:
  • GOTY for a specific platform must be a system exclusive title
  • With the aforementioned, multiplatform titles have their own category to keep bitching to a minimum
  • With the addition of remakes/revivals and their own section, these games cannot be awarded, nor are eligible, for a GOTY award for a platform or genre
  • If a system was not played, a GOTY award will not be awarded (derp)
  • 2012's Eligible platforms: Xbox 360PS3, Wii U, PC/Mac, 3DS, and Vita.
  • You'll notice the absence of a downloadable platform (ex: XBLA, PSN). This is all merged into one: Best Downloadable
  • Runners-up will be listed in the order of how well they performed; the higher up the list, the more of a fight they put up.

Most of the categories introduced remain as well:
  • Biggest Surprise - Something that completely floored me that it has to be mentioned...and given it's own award.
  • Don't Bother Releasing It - This is for those demos that were so damned bad, the game itself fell off of my radar.
  • Worst Game of the Year - This ain't just for the best game of the year, but I'm awarding a Razzie to the worst game of the year.
  • Most Anticipated for 2013 - Self explanatory.
  • Best and Worst Idea - Essentially, things that came from people's thought-processing pool of thoughts that either were awesomely epic, or epically horrendous.
  • Action/AdventureFirst and Third Person Shooters, and Platformers are all under the whole "Genre" moniker.
  • Best HD Compilation - With an abundance of these little fuckers making a larger appearance, they've gotten their own section.
  • Most Underrated Game - Working retail, you try your goddamned hardest to get people to listen to your recommendations, but all they want is the same fucking thing over and over. People are afraid of change, so this is where I give recognition to those games that were overlooked, and shouldn't have been.
Ed. Note: Page formatting got all janky on me before publishing. Considering how blogger works, my resources are limited, and, simply put, shit's all fucked up.

Masachika Kawata on Resident Evil: "We should always start by asking how do we make the games better"



Late last week, I ran a piece, calling for a reboot of Resident Evil. Today, Video Gamer ran an interview piece with Masachika Kawata, the producer of the series as of late, who keeps going on and on about how screwed the franchise is. First, he said it's up for a slight reboot. Now, he's come a few words short of basically saying "we fucked up".

Kawata-san began to reflect on the recent history of the series, saying "I think certainly looking at the last year or two, there probably were a few too many." Now, he never offered an apology for the series' awful games for the past two years, but at least there's some soul-searching going on: "I think we learned last year that putting on a lot of titles would not necessarily win over gamers. At the same time, I don't think we should just stagger them out artificially because that's the solution to the problem we have."

Finally, he offers up a quasi-solution for a possible stability to the franchise's future: "We should always start by asking how do we make the games better. And if the solution to making the games better is to have a more staggered release than we've had recently then that's something we'll do. But we'll do it for that reason and not just for flipping what we've done already."

The issue with the the franchise isn't this divide between "survival horror" and "action shooter", or putting out too many games. The franchise is now split between two "eras", so to speak: Ante Quattuor (Before 4) and the Common Era, and is now known for two distinctive gameplay types. Capcom, rather than stick with one or the other in one release, tries to blend the two into one package. Sadly, they're not meshing the two gameplay styles together. They're dividing the game, literally, with the two styles. Revelations has your "classic" gameplay under Jill, while your current, or "common" gameplay, packaged with Chris. During no point in the game do the two styles mesh with each other. The same can be said with 6, but with three characters; replace Jill with Leon, and inject your shark-jumping with Wesker Jr. Jake.

Capcom wants to appeal to everyone with one game, but that's nigh impossible. The problem with appealing to everyone is having a clashing of ideas that don't compliment each other. By including four different campaigns, you're telling the story across four different characters, with different play-styles. That might sound fun, and even great on paper ("There's something for everyone!"), but things start to blend...in a bad way. When you're being chased by a wall of fire and an exploding tanker down a highway, leaping from a tractor trailer onto a hovering helicopter with a zombie latching onto your leg, only to have said helicopter crash into a building and land precariously into a giant, suspended LCD-based display, surrounded by zombies, shit starts to get weird.

Resident Evil 6 wasn't just a bad Resident Evil game. It was a bad game. Period.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

What to Expect for Sony's Surprise February 20th Presser


Sony pretty much popped out from behind everyone, scaring the shit out of them today, by announcing a surprise press conference for February 20th. They're teasing the future of the PlayStation brand, showing the traditional PlayStation face buttons (cross, circle, square, and triangle), with the date February 20th.

The biggest shocker? Sony is actually keeping their goddamned mouth shut.

Recall back to my Wii U editorial that I published late last year, I called Sony out for their numerous leaks in the past. Just about any piece of hardware (PSPgo comes to mind) or major software (PlayStation Home) is leaked well before Sony's intentional release. They know they fucked up - and was even humble enough to joke about the PSPgo leak during their E3 09 conference - and they're making sure it doesn't happen again.

Some are already pointing out stills from the 45 second teaser, that there may be hidden images of the system itself. Such as the one below, seen at 0:04 in:


Sorry, Polygon, but I'm not seeing it. I see what you're getting at - and it can look like a piece of hardware - but I doubt they're showing it there; watch it in action, and you'll see for yourself.

I Call for a Reboot of Resident Evil

Image: hdwallpapers.in

For years, Capcom has divided the Resident Evil fan-base into two camps: those that hate Resident Evil 4, and those that hate those that hate Resident Evil 4.

Look at the franchise post-Resident Evil 4. Look at how Capcom has handled it. Resident Evil 5; Operation: Racoon City; Revelations; Resident Evil 4 and Code: Veronica X on XBLA and PSN; Resident Evil 6. Ports/updates aside, Revelations is the only game that actually garnished good reviews, less criticism, and is actually being ported to the 360, PS3, PC, and Wii U.

Simply put, Capcom is fucking up Resident Evil.

My personal concern started about two years ago, with an open letter to Capcom. In it, I simply told them to "please, for the love of fuck, treat Resident Evil with respect." Did they? Of course not! This is Capcom, afterall.

::if you honestly thought i expected them to listen to me, thor help you::

The franchise has been in dire straits lately. For starters, it all began with Resident Evil 4. It divided the fan-base, with your "zomg, wheres the zombies?!?" or "an action game?!?". People were pissed that it wasn't in the same style of yore. They, however, are the ones that can't handle change. It was still a great game, and, despite no zombies, it still had menacing foes; fuck, it was a great game, and the best thing that's happened to the franchise since it started.

Today, Kotaku ran a story about series producer Masachika Kawata saying it's due for a "slight reboot", before putting the series future on the shoulders of the aforementioned port of Resident Evil: Revelations:

"Once we see Revelations released on consoles, we'll be looking very carefully at how the title is received and what feedback we get...we'll definitely be looking at that as a signpost for where we need to be going next."

I can see that Revelations will be received fairly well; it currently holds an 82 on Metacritic, with 68 of 78 critics giving it good reviews. Considering that half of the game is akin to what the series was once known for (survival horror) and what it was praised for, while the other half is what it's mutated into (action shooter) and is what many critics were bemoaning about, it's hard to tell how Capcom will take it.

I'm afraid for those that hated - and still hate - Resident Evil 4, because, come reboot time, they're either going to love it, or fucking ragequit on Capcom. However, I'm more afraid for how Capcom is going to handle the reboot. Which direction will they take it? Will they go back, see how they drew fans in with the first one and start there? Will they see how they started to alienate fans with Resident Evil 4 and 5 and take that to heart?

I say bring it on, Capcom. You owe us.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nintendo Combining Home Console and Handheld Divisions February 16


Ready for this bombshell? Nintendo confirmed to Engadget that they will be "[merging] its handheld and console gaming units into one division to create next generation hardware".

Are you nerd-raging yet?

Nintendo isn't saying anything more about it - I expect some sort of formal announcement soon - but this could simply be a more streamlined approach to the home console/handheld relationship, or something in the cards for the next-gen DS that would interact heavily with the Wii U, possibly even replacing or working alongside the GamePad.

If you recall back to August, I talked about this very functionality, simply asking Nintendo to "allow the 3DS to act as a controller for the Wii U". I summarized the functionality, asking them to not only allow the handheld to work as a controller for the home console, but to allow games to have interoperability; allow DS games to be played on the TV, and stream Wii U games to the handheld, ala GamePad.

This all sounds like a goddamned pipe-dream, but this news could shake up the traditional handheld/home console business plan they've had for 25 years. A handheld that works directly with your home console as the controller? I'm not talking about Remote Play that Vita/PS3 has, but direct connection. A full-featured controller that the handheld can be featured as. There's bits of evidence here and there, but they're starting to add up. You've got the GamePad itself, the second screen to your DS. Then you have Nintendo who says they essentially took the concept of the DS, and applied it to the living room; Miyamoto is quoted as saying "[Hiroshi] Yamauchi had no direct input in the development of the Wii U, but indirectly, you could say his idea from the DS is connected." Then, you have this announcement, about merging divisions.

I mean, why hasn't the GamePad been available for purchase since the Wii U's launch? I'm thinking - and this is as hair-brained as theories go - the GamePad is simply foreshadowing what the next-gen DS system will be, and what it can do.