Wednesday, June 14, 2017

MY BEST GAMES OF E3 2017 LIST!

I want to start by saying I decided to skip grading the conferences. I didn't really get a chance to watch any of them in totality between my great grandmother's passing and my niece's birth. I did have time to watch the trailers and a lot of the conferences and so I decided to be a "Best Of" instead.

Here are my general thoughts about this E3 before I award my picks for "best of" in a number of categories:

This year wasn't bad, but it wasn't amazing either. The conferences didn't have a ton of weird or amazing moments, there were very few brand new IPs shown off, and the announcements, except for a few exceptions, were subdued. My biggest disappointments were Bethesda not announcing a new Elder Scrolls or new ip ("Please buy Skyrim and Fallout 4 again!") and several games that were missing-in-action (Last of Us, Shenmue 3, Final Fantasy 7, etc.) That said, what we go instead of spectacle, were a lot of new games for 2017-2019 (2020 and beyond for Square Enix games). In fact, there were so many games that it was difficult to narrow things to a top ten list like I've done in the past. What did you think? Let me know but here goes my picks for the best games!!!

Remember: These are my opinions. They are not yours. Your opinions are valid. And, if you don't like it....


BY GENRE

BEST ACTION


"Bright Lord! Dark Lord! Same thing really!"

I really enjoyed Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. It really scratched my "stealth and combat open world" game itch and the nemesis system gave the game a unique characteristic that kept me engaged for the whole campaign. When combined with the world of Tolkein, the best open world mechanics of Assassin's Creed/Far Cry, and the combat/stealth system of the Batman:Arkham series and you've got a winning combination. The sequel looks even more interesting with the conquest mechanics and the orcs and troll characters are even more interesting!

Runner-Ups: Crackdown 3, Day's Gone, God of War, Spider-Man, & Assassin's Creed: Origins

Terry Crews should be a fun addition to Crackdown but I need to see more of the game's comedy in-game, Day's Gone is the most interesting zombie game in a world where I am sick of zombie games, God of War's combat system never really grabbed me (but this game's story does), Spider-Man was gorgeous but very QTE heavy and Assassins' Creed is Asassins' Creed--but seriously the setting looks cool!

They all look fun!

BEST ADVENTURE


This game has a ton of potential to be a big break-out hit for co-op fun: puzzle solving, exploration, dungeon delving, ship-to-ship combat, and skullduggery of varying degrees that just looks like it will result in a lot of memorable moments. It remains to be seen the exact scope of the game but this looks more exciting every year and had me and my friends talking!

Runner-Ups: Detroit: Becoming Human & Ashen & Shadow of the Colossus remake

Detroit: Becoming Human looks like it could tell a great story but, admittedly, I was hoping we'd get to see more of the android detective character from last year's preview. Ashen looks promising for co-op dungeon-delving but I felt like I saw about as much as I saw last year. And Shadow of the Colossus remake looks brilliant and much more compelling than another "HD remastering".

BEST FIGHTING GAME


I am by no means a fighting game aficionado (my favorite fighting game series is Smash Bros.) but this game looks most likely to see play among me and my friends. I love Dragon Ball Z and I think we've all been waiting for a new take on the DBZ fighter. The beautiful animation reminds me of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm a bit and that's a good thing.

Runner-Ups: Pokken Tournament DX

I've never had a chance to play Pokken but, like I said, I am not a big fighting game fan. So, please, bail me out if you guys know better than me about this category!

BEST PLATFORMER


I love 3D Mario games, from the classic Super Mario 64 to the masterful Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 to the multiplayer fun of Super Mario 3D World and, besides Breath of the Wild, this is the most anticipated Nintendo Switch since launch. The gameplay gimmick in this mario, besides returning to a classic open-world style 3D platformer, is the mario hat mechanic that allows him to possess enemies in the game to temporarily overcome obstacles and discover secrets and it looks absolutely fun.

Runner-Ups: Cuphead, Kirby, Yoshi & Super Lucky's Tale

Cuphead was announced in 2014. I talked about it in my last E3 article. I want it.

Kirby and Yoshi look cute! Between the two: I am more interested in Kirby since I still haven't played thru my Yoshi's Yarn on Wii-U but I hope that the co-op Kirby action, which looks fun, is also challenging. Super Lucky's Tale looks like a fun new ip that I can't wait to get on my Xbox One when it releases because there aren't enough platformers!

BEST RPG


So, there was no Final Fantasy 7 this year BUT we got a surprise in the form of a completely new Monster Hunter game coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC! This really came out of left field for fans expecting to hear about Monster Hunter XX coming out on Switch instead but it might be the first Monster Hunter game I ever get to play and my friends can play too! The graphics are gorgeous, the monster design looks great and it honestly looks like a cool experience! I dunno but this trailer is really exhilarating!

You guys ever played Monster Hunter? You wanna play it with me?


I really enjoyed South Park: The Stick of Truth and I'm sure I will enjoyed Fractured But Whole because Mysterion & The Coon episodes are some of the funniest and most memorable episodes in recent years. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 looks like a clutch RPG for the Switch. Kingdom Hearts 3 still has no release date (will it ever) but the trailer looks like a lot of convoluted fun!

BEST SHOOTER


Star Wars Battle Front II (2017) had a hill to climb to become one of my most anticipated games of 2017: Battlefront (2015) was a lot of fun but had limited content because most of the content was stuck behind a $60 season pass. This killed the longevity of the game for myself and a lot of other players because I didn't want to pay double to get the whole experience. This time they've promised to have free DLC, fix the way vehicle combat and power pick-ups work, and brought back classes to the game series.

And the game looks BEAUTIFUL!

Runner-Ups: Call of Duty: WWII, Farcry 5, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, Metro: Exodus, Anthem

There is a lot to unpack here:

Call of Duty WWII will be the first Call of Duty game I've allowed myself to get excited for in years. I got Black Ops III but I didn't really enjoy it that much and I jumped off the franchise with Black Ops 2. My favorite Call of Duty games are Modern Warfare and Black Ops but this game looks like it'll be a blast for me to play with my buddies as it takes us back to World at War.

I'll get Far Cry 5 even if it will probably be a newly reskinned, formulaic open-world game where I climb to the top of towers, clear and take over enemy territory, and look forward to getting to meet the latest charismatic psychopath that Ubisoft presents me.

I still haven't played Wolfenstein: New Order but its in my short-list of back-logged games after MGS 5 and Undertale.

Metro Exodus looks really cool but I am doubtful that the reveal trailer is in-game due to the slickness of the animations. Still, it was one of the most atmospheric games presented in show and I wanna check it out.

Anthem looks like Destiny and Mass Effect had a baby and, unfortunately, I'm not super into that idea but I will be keep an eye on it as it develops.

And to all the alt-right piss-babies out there getting salty over a games where you kill Nazis and cult members:




CONSOLE EXCLUSIVES

BEST XBOX ONE EXCLUSIVE


While a lot of my friends felt Xbox One had the best conference, the fact that a pirate game that hinges on the amount of content (I'm a little worried it won't be deep as the beautiful oceans in the gameplay videos), I was left less impressed. They had the most games BUT most of them weren't truly exclusive and they didn't have a lot of the games that blew me away this year. I will probably get my xbox live gold up and running again soon, but I am a little concerned about the future of the console if they don't invest in more exciting big budget exclusive IPs.

Runner-Ups: Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Cuphead, Ashen

I still haven't played Ori but I hear good things. The trailer looks beautiful.


BEST PS4 EXCLUSIVE


God of War's latest trailer blew me away: last year's reveal caught my interest with the premise of an older Kratos trying to protect his son and getting involved in the politics/war/machinations of the Norse gods. I'm a big fan of Norse mythology and, while I haven't played as much God of War as I'd like, the series was fun. But this year? This trailer had a big surprise: Kratos isn't a dumb, vengeful and ultraviolent creep anymore. He is Dad of War. The moment at the end of the trailer where he drops his weapon into the sea, all hope is lost, and Jormungandr rises from the depths would usually mean Kratos is about to get involved in a giant boss battle. Instead? Kratos's son, who acts his translator throughout much of the game, tells him the world serpent wants to help them. This is an experience I am hyped for.

And I don't own a PS4 but it's about time. I feel like Xbox One doesn't support first party single-player experiences and Sony does.

Runner-Ups: Detroit: Becoming Human, Spider-Man, Day's Gone

BEST NINTENDO EXCLUSIVE


I gotta talk about Mario again? Well...

I also really like the variety of worlds, the looks of enemies-- from the Easter Island heads from Super Mario Land to the Rabbit bosses-- and the music! The jazzier mario game sountrackss get, THE BETTER! The new amiibos look cool too. Speaking of which:


The Metroid and Zelda amiibos are particularly welcome as I am just glad they didn't announce four more Link amiibos!


Runner-Ups: Kirby, Yoshi, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Fire Emblem Warriors

I haven't talked about Fire Emblem Warriors yet! I enjoyed Hyrule Warriors so, if there is a gap in my gaming schedule, I will probably pick up Fire Emblem Warriors for a little grindy action although I'm sure we'd all prefer a main series Fire Emblem on the Switch.

I think Nintendo would've won E3 is they had extended their direct/conference and added some demos in there but they definitely got the most hype coming out of the convention.

On a side note, I think EA was boring until Star Wars showed up, Bethesda's conference was disappointing and, to everyone's surprise, Ubisoft kinda knocked it out of the park this year, especially by ending with...

BIGGEST ANNOUNCEMENTS


Beyond Good & Evil 2 caught everybody by surprise: the franchise seemed dead after no news in almost a decade. Then, this trailer is dropped at the end of Ubisoft's conference, and we're all left gob-smacked by beautifully animated cinematic with cursing pig crime bosses, cheeky monkey thieves, and a badass afro chick on a hover-bike. This game looks lit!

Runner-Ups: Xbox One X,  Metroid Prime 4 & Pokemon Core RPG for Switch

Xbox One X looks great for hobbyists but I don't think it is essential unless you absolutely need 4K gaming. That said: it is great for that market. The two surprise announcements from Nintendo's conference was the single frame of Metroid Prime 4, which somehow overshadowed the whole event for a lot of fans who never thought this day would come, and the assurance that, despite not talking about in the recent Pokemon direct, that Game Freak IS working on a core Pokemon RPG for the Switch console. Crazy stuff.

BEST WTF MOMENTS


The rumors and leaks for this game were hard to believe BUT, the closer we got to E3, the reality of this unlikely crossover between a cringey Wii era Rayman spin-off and Nintendo's plucky plumber became increasingly real. Even more surprising than announcement of this game was that Miyamoto himself showed up at the Ubisoft conference and this, followed by a game that looks like a delightful remix of XCOM, turned the entire reception of the game from "you can't be serious" to "I can't believe I am considering buying it?!"

Runner-Up: Final Fantasy XV: Monsters of the Deep 

A VR fishing game spin-off of Final Fantasy would be an April Fool's joke but it is 2017 and every day is a joke. It looks fun.

BEST GAME IN SHOW


I couldn't stop smiling for 2 minutes. That's all folks.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

MIXED BAG. PRE-E3 2017: Dreams & Predictions


Salutacions, mis amigos. This isn't so much a comeback as I wanted to speculate and hype myself up a little bit when it comes to this year's E3 and this is the easiest way for me to share my excitement without annoying every person I know. I've been in a weird gaming rut in a couple years but, since Breath of the Wild's release and the general glut of cool games in 2017, I have been a little more optimistic about this being the start of a new gaming golden age. Yes, despite the fact that last year I was pretty beat down by year after year of tired franchises, micro transactions, pre-order bonuses, over-priced HD re-releases and collector's editions, pay-to-win, bad RNG, open world multiplayer games and all the other nonsense that plagues the industry at the moment, I want to try to get excited about this year's e3. I think there is gonna be a lot of exciting news.

 Before that, a short recap of all things I've done since I put the blog on indefinite hiatus to focus on other projects:



Just kidding. I've been writing a lot of content for 1-2 Dungeons and Dragons supplement books, playing tons of Dungeons and Dragons & Overwatch, I'm gonna be an uncle within a week, I'm still working at my deadbeat job but hey I'm in a better place than 2015-2016! Plus check out these awesome cosplays I did last summer at Anime Blues Con:

I feel pretty good at the moment. Now... ON TO THE SHOW!

Monday, May 2, 2016

MUSIC MON! SCOTT PILGRIM VS. POPPY IS A SIMPLE PLOT?


Scott Pilgrim VS. The World is a film that came out at the wrong time with little fanfare or advertising. I remember being hyped about the film based on the trailers and just the premise presented in the comic. The trailer promised a stylized attempt to bring the comic and the pop culture it evolved from onto the big screen...

...and the film actually delivers on the promise. Scott Pilgrim remains a fairly unique film, although some films and television shows have used editing and graphic additions similar in their own ways, and the style delivers the most comic book comic book movie that I can think of. The pacing, framing, humor, etc. all create a unique world. A unique universe.

It's a shame the film remains such a flop (even in dvd/bluray sales) but it has a cult following for a reason.


In my long hiatus, I didn't really get a chance to talk about League of Legends many updates and, my favorite update, the Poppy update is one of my favorites. They took a champion that didn't really fit into the way the game functions, didn't really telegraph well, and generally stuck out as a rather ugly eyesore in the roster. Not only did they visually enhance the champion into being one of the cutest champions and help cement what defines "yordles" (the cute little critter species from League of Legends lore) but also created a viable and fun champ.

Good job, Rito.


I still need to play Metal Gear Solid 5...

Saturday, April 30, 2016

MIXED BAG. ANIME CO-PILOT #2 ACE ATTORNEY!

attorney [at-ur-nee]
noun
1. A lawyer.

I have a little history with the Phoenix Wright series. In fact...


... I played the first case with my friend Zach on my youtube channel back in 2014 when I gave that a go. It was actually a lot of fun! The characters are fun, the music/design is decent and the writing is pretty funny.

The portable series found on Nintendo handhelds involves solving puzzles and cases as Phoenix Wright in order to save your defendant. That, of course, isn't really a defense attorney's job in our world but the universe that the games take place is a little silly. It would seem perfect for an anime series but the biggest case against it being made into an animated series is that the games, save the flashbacks, primarily take place in the less-than-action packed courtroom. So, when I saw there was a new anime based on the series, I was a tad leery.

The first episode is a very conservative take of the first case in the game series. It introduces Phoenix Wright, his mentor, and his defendant (his friend Larry Butts). They introduce a couple of new details but it is mostly a simplified version of the case. It was a very safe take with bland 3D background, boring voice acting, and a pretty weak pace. But then the anime tapped into the over-the-top nature of the show...

... and if it can tap into that more, I think it has a chance. The best parts of the games are when characters have full on freak-outs and meltdowns. The first example of such a reaction, combined with the weird logic of the Ace Attorney universe's bizarre legal system were the most amusing part.

Despite this strong conclusion, I gotta...

PASS.

Still, if you're a fan of the game series or this sounds compelling, give it a fair trial on Crunchroll now.