It’s better then Assassin’s Creed II: A Bionic Commando Review.

28 05 2010

Hey everyone back and its review time once again, on the cross this week is Bionic Commando a 3rd person action title from 2009 developed by Grin, also Grin’s last game because it did so abysmally bad they went out of business.  Will I also crucify this game?  Or shall it be free to spread; peace, love and understand, also to smash things into buildings with its Bionic Arm.  Read on to find out, but not before making sure to follow me Twitter @Zackysmack, listen to my podcast either from the iTunes store or on Podbean, or email me at zackysmack@hotmail.com with any questions or ideas you may have.  I also take article submissions, you know in case you wanted to enter in the lucrative world of completely unpaid journalism.  If you’re bored feel free to count how many times I say the word ‘Bionic’ in this review.

Logo

So Bionic Commando, not exactly a big seller, okay so it’s literally the opposite of a big seller, it sold so bad that Grin went out of business and Capcom swore to never let a western studio handle one of its franchises again.  It’s typically lambasted by a lot of people (me included actually) for its forgettable story and the worst plot twist in the history of games.  However I am nothing if not a completely fair and honest man and I felt it was unfair for me to hate a game I never played.  Also I thought it would be kind of funny to buy and play such a shit game, kind of like watching a Syfy channel original movie.  So I ventured to Best Buy and acquired a copy for the low low price of the cost of a bottle of Fanta, which was due to the fact that I had a 10 dollar gift card and the game was less than 10 dollars, so I had to buy some Fanta to make it cost enough to get it for free.  Let me put this into perspective for you, Haze which is rated far worse the BC and also put Free Radical out of business, is still 20 bucks, Resistance 1 which was a launch title is still 25 bucks, I would venture you would be hard pressed to find a Madden game from 2 years ago for 10 bucks, but BC was 9 dollars brand new at Best Buy.

So if the price was to be believed this game was going to be worse than Haze, Sonic the Hedgehog, Shadow the Hedgehog, Rouge Warrior, Wet, Mirror’s Edge(don’t care how innovative it was, still wasn’t very good), Clive Barkers Jericho, Lair, Section 8, Gundam Crossfire, Dragon Ball Z: Whatever 2, Dark Void, Ironman 1 and 2, Transformers 1 and 2,Two Worlds, X-Blades, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, Terminator Salvation, Golden Axe: Beast Rider, Genji: Days of the Blade, and Kane and Lynch.  I challenge you to go to a major electronics retailer and find a copy of any of these games for 9 dollars brand new.  Seriously I will wait while you go check….alright given up already huh?  Loser.  Anyways, the point I am trying to make is that this game is universally regarded as the disc based version of pure shit.  So get in for a shock when I tell you that not only is this game better then all those listed above, but its better then a lot of high dollar popular games that you probably own.

Box art

This years Bionic Commando.

In fact, I will State Bionic Commando is better than Assassins Creed II….woah woah woah what the fuck?  Yeah that’s right, 9 million copies sold, 70 million dollar budget, winner of numerous awards and recognition, also total shit in comparison to the Bionic Commando’s fucking arm.  Let me explain that statement a little bit.  First off, the game Bionic Commando for me is really about two different reviews.

Review 1:  The first 4 hours.

This game is total shit, I fucking hate it so much, and I want to take it out of my drive and then piss on it, burn it, and then jettison the ashes into space.  Fuck this game, fuck Grin, I am glad they lost their jobs, that way they won’t make anything like this ever again, fuck.  Stupidly frustrating controls, linear goddamn bionic levels, ridiculously overpowered bionic enemies, arm doesn’t work and can only do one thing the bionic piece of shit, I have one fucking gun and it sucks beyond 3 bionic feet away, there is no music or sound, bionic or otherwise, I am the only character and there is no reason for me to be here, also some places instantly kill me and there is no way to tell before you go up there is this is going to happen or not.  I would rather sit on a bed of nails and hit my penis with a hammer into the nails then continue to play this.  God this wasn’t worth 10 dollars, I am just going to give it back to Best Buy and say they can keep the 10 bucks as a fee for taking it off my goddamn bionic hands.  Shortest review ever for the worst game ever.

Nathan Spencer

Fuck you, you angsty motherfucker.

The Next Day

Huh I wonder what its review scores are, I bet they hated it as much as I did….wait these aren’t half bad.  There actually good, what happened?  Am I just dumb?  Do I just suck at games or something?  Like I have been doing this a while, so I have trouble believing that I am just the only bionic person that didn’t get the game.  Okay well sense I won’t review something I didn’t beat, I guess I can give it one more bionic shot tonight, that way I can at least keep my reviewer integrity.

Review 2: The Rest of the Game

Holy shit music, new arm powers, more guns, characters other than me, plot, and bionic parts like eyes and legs!  WTF!!!  This is actually pretty fun, what gives?

Nathan

I love you, you angsty motherfucker.

Ladies and gentlemen I welcome you to Bionic Commando a game that can only be described as bi-polar.  The first 4-5 hours are among the worst games I have ever played, thankfully after that the game switches completely; everything that was wrong instantly fixes itself.  It’s as if they just forgot to remove all the alpha and beta code tests from the disc, or as if the first 1/3 is just one giant tutorial that runs out of things to teach you after the first 3 minutes.  I still can’t figure that part out, why they decided to bionically delay the start of their game for that long; the only thing I can think of is that they wanted the game to be over 10 hours, which is admirable, but there is plenty of bionic content here and encouragement for replaying.  So whatever it has a shitty start happens all the time, just usually not this long.  Let’s talk about what changed to make it better; first off it gets a story.

Arm shot

Shit like this starts to happen as well.

So the game starts with Nathan Spencer (hero from the first game) and he is on Death Row because he is a Bionic Commando.  Later on there is some reason given for this but it’s always really vague as to why exactly he is on death row.  In this future, Bionics, or people with Bionic parts, are viewed as dangerous people and so the government decided to take all there Bionic parts away from them by force.  Obviously people who have bionic legs don’t want to lose their bionic legs, who knew this would be a problem right?  If at this point your confused as to whom the bad guys are don’t worry I was too.  So all the Bionics formed some sort of terrorist group/army and then got themselves some nuclear weapons and then nuked the world’s capital called Ascension City.  This is a problem obviously, so the ‘good guys’ decide to do something about it and launch a fully fledged military campaign to destroy the armies of the terrorist’s, who are chilling out in what’s left of the city, in order to rid the world of their evil….no wait that’s not what happens at all, instead they get Spencer, who I remind you is a Bionic himself that was fucked over by the government, and send him in alone to do something…..not really sure what.

No I mean they never explain why Spencer is sent in, to illustrate this point think of what would be left over in a city after a nuclear weapon.  Probably some Radiation, and a lot of water because the city next to the ocean, okay now what are the two things that Bionics are really bad at dealing with?  Apparently Radiation melts the Bionics in about 5 seconds and there is no indication of when or where radiation will happen, it just does and that is probably the absolute worst element of the game.  If you climb a building, when you get the top, sometimes the radiation warning will pop up and you’ll start to die, but by the time it pops up and you realize what has happened you’re already dead.  No indication of when or where it will happen, it just does, and it’s incredibly frustrating when you consider that check points are so rare they might as well be made out of raretonium.  Water is really dangerous as well because who knew that giant fucking metal arms were heavy and cause you to almost instantly drown the second you touch water.  Later levels are almost always completely submerged in water, so again brings into question why you are the one they chose to send in.

Hard Rain

Christian Slater, clearly the better choice.

Got off track there, the point is that the whole setup to the game doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you’re playing it at first; everything about you is counter-intuitive to what you’re trying to achieve.  This is compounded by the first half, again, because nothing happens story wise; you never get anything in the way of plot, characters, bionics, or any explanation of what is going on.  You hit that magic zone around hour 5 when you meet another character, and start getting some flashbacks to explain why you are there, and then meet another character.  Around hour 6 you meet a bionic villain, and then the reason for you being there becomes more apparent, because there is a dangerous government Magoffin hiding in the city and would be a billion times more dangerous in their bionic hands.  So they sent you in to stop it from falling into the wrong bionic hands.

Again that would have been good info to have at the start of the game, but you quickly forget about the issues with the first part when you hit the second part.  The story moves with such a breakneck pace after that that you don’t have time to even really criticize it.  On an almost level by level basis you either find a new bionic game mechanic, a new weapon, or meet a new bionic character.  By the time you get to the last 3 levels the amount of bionic options you have in combat are ridiculous.  You can swing bionically around and shoot missiles, or land and chuck a car at someone then get his body and chuck it at someone else then pick up the next guy and chuck him into the ocean all while shooting the last few guys with an assault rifle.  I mean what the fuck?  That sounds like a fun game right?  If that was what you got to play right off the bat it would have done better.  I understand that pacing is necessary and you don’t want to give everyone every bionic thing right off the bat but basically for the first half you get nothing then for the second half you get everything, and some of the powers you don’t get to use a whole lot.  Overall the game builds to a pretty good conclusions, not really dramatic because the ending kind of stinks of ‘We don’t know how to end this game……cut scene!’  But the ending is good and the fight leading up to it, including swinging around an old oil derrick under a hail of gunfire, is fucking intense.

Mohole

And there is this thing, which you will hate.

You know what?  Here is what the story is and you judge if it’s something your into.  Bionic Commando is a relic from the 1980’s, in the 1980’s the R –rated action flick was king.  Okay if you ever watched an 80’s action flick you know that there is a base formula to them; cool generic muscle bound action hero, weird gimmick to said hero, wafer thin story, big action set pieces, hilarious dialogue, and a stunning reveal at the end.  This game is that, a bygone principle to game making as far as story and characters go.  The problem is that it’s not the 80’s, in this day and age the average person thinks of something as mindless and stereotypical as BC as being beneath them.  So it no longer comes off as a big action movie, but more like a direct to DVD Steven Segal movie.  I like the presentation, and the style to it all, its forgettable but enjoyable, I mean I didn’t go into a game called Bionic Commando expecting the story and character to blow me away.  But when Spencer takes down a guy and yells out a variety of interesting one liners, I don’t groan, I laugh at it.  I love that sort of stuff because I have played a ton of serious shooters and serious games, and sometimes you have to remember it’s nice to play something that in no way takes itself too seriously.  So if you like 80’s action flicks like; Commando, Missing in Action, Universal Soldier, Red Scorpion, etc. etc. then I think this game will be right up your alley.

Commando

It's one bionic arm away from the same fucking story.

The general game mechanic’s of swinging works well, although it takes a little while to get used to the goofy controls.   Let’s get one thing straight here developers when I have a Bionic Arm and shoot it onto things I don’t want to hold the button down to stay attached.  Here is how it should go, hit button to shoot, hit button again to let go, not hit button to shoot and hold down to hold on.  Once you’re brain has wrapped around this concept you will be swinging around like a bionic monkey…or a bionic commando per say.  The shooting is competent if not a little frustrating, most of the time you hit what you want to hit.  But some of the guns you only really get maybe 5 times in the game, and those are usually the best ones.  The trick is that when you’re swinging it will auto lock, which the regular game won’t do, so that gives you more encouragement to swing and shoot, which is interesting because it encourages you to use the bionic mechanics of the game.  Beyond that there are in game challenges like hit three people with death from above attack, which start easy enough but quickly get hard.  The trick is that completing them get’s you unlocks for your bionic character, like more bionic armor, more ammo supply, faster reload, and so on.  So you pretty much have to do them which means learning all the game mechanics, which makes a huge difference.  The point is that most of the time in games with a lot of neat mechanics the average player will never use them, not because they’re not helpful but because they have a gun and the gun works, so they’re not going to spend the time to learn the rest of it.  So the challenge system here makes you learn all the new bionic powers and bionic mechanics, and they work so well and spice up the combat so much that even after you have the challenges complete you will keep using the bionic powers in combat.

Bionic!

Like the ability to do this for instance.

Visuals get an A+, the sweeping city-scapes are massive and just really pretty to look at and swing around in.  The environments are varied and interesting, going from underground tunnels, to giant gardens, to big ruined buildings, to stadiums, to water bound streets, to flying bionic armies in the sky.  This does come at a cost though; typically in these massive environments you are only fighting a maximum of 10 enemies at once.  Also the enemy types are not varied at all, seriously there are literally 2 base enemy types, 4 mech types, 2 bosses, and 1 flying unit, total of nine bionic enemy types.  But this works with the mechanics of the game because you get more and more interesting ways to off those enemies.  Music is excellent, I would even go so far as to recommend getting the soundtrack, funny part is that there is no music in the first 4 hours, after that though it comes in strong and really helps the game out.

So to round this guy out, let’s go back to the statement of ‘Better then ACII’, what did I think ACII didn’t have?  Well first off it didn’t have a difficulty curve at all; it was all just super easy.   BC ramps up the difficulty pretty heavily, it keeps checkpoints apart to give you a real sense of not wanting to die, so already better then AC.  Boss fights are no contest, ACII didn’t really have any, BC has 4, 3 of which are fun, and 2 of which are hard, one of which will make you want to kill babies because with every attack it gets a new slightly more bullshitty attack.  Story it wins as well, yeah AC is a sweeping epic adventure over time, and BC is about a Bionic Commando doing stuff Commando-like with some Bionic thrown in, but BC has a beginning, a middle and a bionic end.  AC II has no beginning really, and no end, the whole game is the middle, a whole bunch of nothing that goes nowhere.  Weapons are useless in ACII, admittedly they look cool and fit into the character, but in the end you can beat the whole game just using your (not bionic) fists.  BC has standard and pretty uninteresting weapons(Shotgun, machine gun, sniper rifle, rocket launcher, pistol) but they all serve a purpose, some parts require a sniper rifle some require a rocket launcher, so edge goes to BC for weapons.  Visuals and style go to ACII, even I will admit that AC looks really great and the world is way more necessary.  So out of 5 categories 4 of them are heavily in BC’s favor, it may seem like just personal bionic preference but really play both game, it requires almost no money to get as we proved earlier, and decide for you.  I would almost wager that you’re going to enjoy bionically swinging around and throwing cars at people, more then you will enjoy walking around and stabbing people in the back.  That is if you can look past ‘the plot twist’.

Nathan

His wife is his arm, boom I said it.

Peace.

P.S. how the fuck do you have a Bionic eye?

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The Zacky Knows It All Show: Episode 5: Slightly Congested Edition

28 05 2010

Hey Everyone, back again on another beautiful Thursday night with the 5th installment of the Zacky Knows It All Show with a slide cold edition.  Today the movie and gaming is mixed together in a breakdown of the movies based on video games that are coming up, then I finally give my red dead redemption impressions, following that up with my thoughts on the supposed PSP 2, finishing it off with an early look at Killzone 3 and a weekend sendoff.  As always this podcast is explicit for language, features a massive amount of opinions and is generally a lot of good fun for your Friday afternoon listening enjoyment.  Check out the show by searching iTunes for Zacky Knows It All Show, or by hitting up podbean here http://zackysmack.podbean.com/, also follow me on twitter @Zackysmack or email me ideas at zackysmack@hotmail.com.  If you’re too lazy to do any of that just leave a comment here, I would love some user feedback.  Thanks everyone, enjoy the show its about 34 minutes long.





Is it Cheating? – Button Mashing By: EttenCo

25 05 2010

Hey everyone good news contributing author EttenCo is back with an article about what else but fighting games.  As are resident fighting and editorial expert he once again brings you an insightful insight into a world you probably haven’t experienced a whole lot.  So enjoy everyone, and be sure to catch the podcast on iTunes or Podbean by searching The Zacky Knows It All Show, or follow me on Twitter @Zackysmack and finally email me any ideas or comments you have, or any article submissions you might have at zackysmack@hotmail.com.  And by all means leave some comments people.  Alright I am done, all Etten from here.

So originally when I started writing this I had witty and dramatic buildups to the main points I was covering but those eventually gave way to the understanding that nobody, including myself, would want to read through that crap so here is the slightly more abbreviated version.

I started playing Tekken 6 again—Why?  Well I said I was going to leave out all of that crap now didn’t I, so stop asking questions and pay attention.  In short Tekken 6 hasn’t changed much from the last few installments.  The iconic characters appear again and the game also expanded its cast to include obese kung-fu experts and emo shoot-fighting practitioners.  Apart from that and some more spit to polish up the graphics a bit, it’s pretty much the same thing as the previous games.

So that was the review in short for anybody that cared.  But what I really wanted to talk about was something the fighting genre is known for as a collective.

There are basically two main groups of people when it comes to fighting games, and probably most other genres if I thought about it long enough.  There are those who learn and understand the controls of the game and dedicate themselves to learning the move-sets of one or more characters and then attempt to branch out from there onwards. That is Type-1.  Type-2 consists of what have come to be known as “button mashers.”  They resort to less refined means to accomplish their goals which involves playing the game as only a nervous epileptic with Parkinson’s knows how.  Simultaneously hitting as many buttons on the controller as possible in some spastic and random order in hopes that their fighter on screen will interpret that as “Tae-kwon-do your foot into that guys skull!”  Sometimes this pays off and sometimes the player ends up involuntarily spinning their fighter in circles that sets them up perfectly for a demolishing scrotum punch.

When done “correctly” though, it can be the most infuriating thing to lose to somebody who has the all the skill of a paint-shaker and half the creativity.

Paint Shaker

Still more creative than you, yes YOU!

So what I’m ultimately deciding is whether o not this should be considered cheating and in short, No it isn’t.

How did I come to that conclusion so quickly?  Well since cheating is considered to be a violation of established rules, when it comes to games at least.  Then mashing buttons is not cheating because the rules and limits are already programmed into the game so you can break them unless your Johnny-5 or Johnny Pneumonic.  Basically both players are given a hammer; one of them just chooses to use it by cramming it in his ear and then bashing his head against the nail to pound it flush.  This is a legitimate way to do it and will miraculously sometimes beat the conventional way.

Hammer head

He missed but darn it, he tried.

So for those of us who can’t deal with it and want to try and bring those people up a notch on the scale of societal standards, how do we go about fixing this?  Well one attempt was made already when EA Sports made Fight Night Round 3 (and the other Fight Night games that weren’t as well marketed).  Remember the joystick centered fighting dynamic that was included because the developers wanted to get beyond using buttons and think of something innovative?  It was great. Punches were thrown by moving the joysticks in the corresponding directions and combos were performed by stringing together correct joystick motions.  Well then the developers included the option to use buttons anyways and so they didn’t cut off the mashers cold-turkey, they allowed those people the option of weaning themselves off of the spree of face-to-controller mashing action into a more dignified world of processes and thoughts and thoughts with processes.

So when Round 4 came out the developers thought it was time to cut off button-mashers altogether and so they left out the button commands to move on into the future.  Well if alcoholism and drug addiction has taught us anything, it’s that it is a lot harder to give up something when it’s all you’ve known for so long.  So the first thing that happened was people complained about the lack of button mapping in the new game which allows you to designate which button performs what command in the game.  They raved on about how the joystick commands were flawed and how it wasn’t cheating to use buttons instead of the joysticks, which would be true if it was included in the game.  Basically these “gamers” were asking for a loophole in the code that allowed them to get their fix.  So since then, EA finally patched the game.  This doesn’t really make those people cheaters, just incorrigible whiners.

So if we ever want to get beyond something like button mashing then it’s going to have to be at the cost of ostracizing the whiners who can’t deal with change, which are far too plentiful for my liking.





RPG Weekly: 3D Dot Game Heroes Impressions

25 05 2010

Editors note:  This was submitted in time however I didn’t get it up tell today so it’s still a weekly feature as far as the author is concerned.  Uh..yeah, be sure to listen to the podcast on iTunes or Podbean, The Zacky Knows It All Show.  Follow me on twitter @Zackysmack or email me at zackysmack@hotmail.com.  Anyways enjoy the feature.

Hello folks, back again with another week of RPG gaming stuff. Missing last week (it was supposed to be Valkyria Chronicles 2 and Alpha Protocol previews) we are back this week with another different type of RPG weekly, today it is Impressions on a single game, the game in particular being 3D Dot Game Heroes.

Box art

Of course there might be jaws on the floor right now, disbelieving faces, and incredulous voices. 3D Dot Game Heroes is not a RPG you all say! Well let me throw it out there, 3D dot Game Heroes is a RPG.

Why is it a RPG I should explain, well first off there is adventuring, equipment, leveling up of equipment, new powerups and a pretty detailed stat system to your weapons. Plus it just has that feel, it leans towards RPG more then any Zelda game has and scratches the itch you may have for an action RPG game.

Right into I am loving 3D Dot Game Heroes (officially abbreviated to 3DDGH for the remainder of this article). What do I love about it? Well in a sense the game is meant to feed off your nostalgia. It’s a big heaping pile of fan service and its chalk full of interesting game play and plenty of reminders to the games of old.

The game itself is based on the Zeldas of old, in fact change some names around this could be the missing ‘Link’ between Zelda 1 and Link to the Past (Hah see what I did there?). It plays like those old 2D Zelda games and as an avid Zelda lover and a huge fan of what Link to the Past and the other 2D Zelda games did 3DDGH is a huge hit with me. Right away I felt like 3DDGH had that broad sense of adventure those games had before with you exploring these dungeons trying to halt a mysterious evil, the game doesn’t try to hold your hand at all. Instead it gives you a general direction to the next dungeon and then it’s up to you to figure out the rest. Which, as one of the reasons I loved Demons Souls it just sets you out and you are on your own.

Screenshot

Right now I’m at 4 of 6 dungeons, and I’ve really enjoyed the game so far. One of the most intriguing things (if not the best implemented) is these quirky mini-games I find around the place. Such as a game of Break out in the middle of a desert village, or a girl in an Inn asking if I want to play block defense (its tower defense). These games caught me by surprise as they seem to have a lot of depth comparatively to them and it just seems like the makers wanted to put stuff like this in for two reasons, 1. Any and all jokes they can make about everything being made out of blocks they can and will make and 2. They just really want this game to be enjoyed.

Screenshot

A couple gripes Ive found playing, the game isn’t as smooth as Nintendo made Zeldas. Why is that you say? Well a lot of difficulty and a few of things asked to do are surprisingly difficult and at points where you would expect more support from the games dungeons it can become a little frustrating, also the bosses are pretty cool, but they seem to take just a few too many hits to take down, feels like It could have been better balanced. Like I said a minor gripe (and not a well explained one) but there are instances where it just doesn’t flow as well as hoped.

Im really itching to play some more and Im also kind of excited to try the hard mode (I am not usually a ‘hard mode’ person). Plus all the rest of trophies seem to have a unique feel to getting them, as long as I don’t end up having to grind this may well be Platinum number 4.





The Zacky Knows It All Show: Episode 4!

21 05 2010

Hey Everyone, back again on another beautiful Thursday night with the 4th installment of the Zacky Knows It All Show.  We kick things off with a review of the gamer centric action flick, ‘Gamer’.  Then proceed into this weeks news topics: My Red Dead Redemption impressions which actually are Bionic Commando impressions, followed by a trailer park as I debunk the new Call of Duty Black Ops Trailer and then the F.E.A.R. 3 trailer, or F.3.A.R. if you’re dumb, finally finishing up with my thoughts on THQ and Ubisofts announcement that they will be following EA’s lead and putting restrictions on there used games.  As always this podcast is explicit for language, features a massive amount of opinions and is generally a lot of good fun for your Friday afternoon listening enjoyment.  Follow me on twitter @Zackysmack or email me ideas at zackysmack@hotmail.com.  If you’re too lazy to do any of that just leave a comment here, I would love some user feedback.  Thanks everyone, enjoy the show its about 32 minutes long.

Show is located here: http://zackysmack.podbean.com/ or find it on the iTunes store by searching Zacky Knows It All Show.  As always the show will remain free.

Peace





E3 Predictions Week: Day 3: Sony i.e. the game bringers.

20 05 2010

Hey everyone it’s time for E3 predictions!  Think of this as more of an itemized list, some of the topics I will just state, while others I will go into a little more.  I am breaking this into 3 articles because if I did 1 article it would just be: Wii will be about sales figures, Xbox will say they have outsold ps3 which means there better apparently and then Natal, and PS3 had the best year ever for them (which is still worse than everyone else) and then bring forth and onslaught of games.   So this way I can kind of work each one individually.  Enjoy E3 week everyone, feel free to follow me on Twitter @Zackysmack(caps is important  I guess) email me at zackysmack@hotmail.com with any questions or comments you may have, also catch my podcast on podbean or the iTunes store.  If all that tickles you in the right way maybe you might even want to comment on an article or two.

Logo

Welcome to E3!...Predictions!

Incidentally I wrote these all last week so if something in here has already happened this week, have no fear I am not just lazy, no, in fact I am right and you can feel free to mark it down as a win for me.

Alright so if you have been following my articles this week you will probably think to yourself ‘Holy shit this one is really long when compared to the others.’  Well okay you got me, I know way more about the PS3 then the other platforms and I will admit that I care more about the Sony system the others.  So all in all its way easier for me to make predictions for them, so yeah accuse me of being bias I won’t even care because in this spot it’s actually pretty much true.  That being said, I would like to put forth the fact that nearly every major media outlet expects Sony to trounce everyone else this year with the sheer number of big name exclusives they are going to have.  So I am not really alone in saying that Sony is just going to have more to show off than anyone else.

Sony Logo

Look at Sony, always shaking it up.

Music plays, show starts, Jack Tretton walks out and gives a sales pitch and presentation because we haven’t already heard these numbers before.  I will venture a guess that the presentation will be built with LittleBIGPlanet 2 because why wouldn’t you?  It was a hit last year and this year it could just be cooler.  I am calling it, Sony will have Kevin Butler come out and be part of the presentation, I know he is a hired actor, but at this point he has become such a huge part of Sony’s success in the last year or so it would be criminal to not use him at E3.  After that were going to hit on the first major announcement of the day; PSP 2

NUMBER 1 –HARDWARE

PSP2: Yeah last year was the Go and that sold about as well as a box full of maggots(although I certainly own one, and it gets less use then my roommates Wii)mainly because it was a more expensive version of exactly the same thing, except less convenient.  This year Sony is going to do it right, the PSP2 will have two sticks finally, it will be backwards compatible, with potential to patch new control schemes into old games.   It will be online enabled with at least 8gb of internal memory, and finally feature easily swappable batteries.  The final thing is that it will not be 3D enabled, however it will be HD, yep HD handheld, it’s happening.

PSP2

Huh...because it kinda looks like a DS with a PSP logo on it.

Move:  Oh yeah Sony has a motion controller, you mean you haven’t heard?  Expect this device to be a huge part of Sony E3, they’re going to push this tech hard.  I fully anticipate at least 5 Move built games to be playable at E3, but at the conference itself those studdly stud –muffins from Zipper will be on hand to demo SOCOM 4 with Move.  Those guys blew people’s minds with their showing of M.A.G. last year, even if the game isn’t that good (which it wasn’t) Zipper can really showcase themselves effectively, I wouldn’t be surprised if they hauled Navy SEAL’s on stage to show it off.  So expect Move with SOCOM, along with a release date and price.  Also expect to see the summer camp thing which is basically Wii-resort, the fighting game which EttenCo will undoubtedly buy, some sort of simpler racing game or possibly ModNation running on Move, and finally a 3rd person action game and don’t be surprised if its Uncharted retro fitted to run on Move.  Sony is going to want to come out swinging while showing off everything the Move can do and Uncharted would be a great showcase.

NUMBER 2 – SOFTWARE

Here it is folks, this is the meat and potatoes of the show and man expect to be impressed.

Killzone 3:  Highly rated and highly regarded as a boundary pusher for the PS3 last year, its multiplayer modes were a true highlight.  The single player was flawed and the story more or less uninteresting, but the way it was told along with the visuals and lighting really made the game stand out (again that lighting engine Guerilla made has sense been seen in Uncharted 2, God of War III, Mod Nation, and now LBP 2, its amazing!).  I fully expect this game to be revealed at E3 with a target launch for March 2011, putting it head to head with Gears 3.  Hopefully with flushed out story and dialogue, if they do that this game would be near perfect in terms of shooters.  I anticipate new co-op modes for two players online and offline, enhanced multiplayer with more class abilities and more maps.

Killzone 3

Ha ha gotcha, its just the PSP game's villian.

Resistance 3: The year of 3rd iteration shooters on PS3, most of these games hitting their stride big time with second to third go on custom built engines.  Resistance 2 was one of the best shooters of 2008, with a great single player campaign that really showcased how powerful the R Engine is, in the form of Godzilla style boss fights, stellar weapons design, and hands down the most innovative and interesting online modes seen in a while.  I expect more of the same from this game, finishing the story, more awesome guns, a standard 2 player co-op for online and offline (noticing I am saying that a lot?  Wait tell you read what I say is happening in the firmware section), as well as the return of the independent 8 player campaign, and 64 player online matches.  This game disc is going to be packed.  TED FUCKING PRICE will be there to show it off personally with gameplay, and a target launch of November 2010 putting it into the thick of things with Call of Duty.

Starhawk:  Sense launch Sony has pushed big marquee online games, to really showcase the strength of PSN over XBL (no I don’t think its better, but I recognize that PSN’s server clusters are more powerful then XBL).  Warhawk was pretty much a launch title, and post Resistance 1 it was about all you had to look forward too, it sold well and still has a thriving community.  I myself indulge in its matches from time to time, and it is still a blast to jump out a tank into a plane then onto the ground and burn a man to death.  Starhawk is the often referred to but never stated sequel, sense Incognito have had some financial trouble they haven’t been able to push this title through as hard as they have wanted too.  But it’s coming this year at E3, and compared to Warhawk it’s going to look like the second coming of Christ.  I expect character classes instead of one stock one, more vehicles and Hawk types, more weapons, and map with a lot more population to them, instead of the massive barren arenas that made up Warhawk.  Oh yeah and they’re going to borrow the M.A.G. tech to give it minimum 128 player matches, which should make the dogfight maps absolute anarchy.

BoxArt

You think its fake, but you would be wrong, this comes from there site.

InFamous 2:  Big game for them last year, made on a generations old engine.  This time around Sucker Punch will have a completely custome built engine and a really interesting story direction.  My bet would be that this game will not be set in Empire City like the first one was, and it will feature 32 player online matches.  We will also get to see it running and the Target release window will be winter 2011.

The Agent:  Rockstar’s rumored PS3 exclusive title from about 5 years ago is finally going to show up, expect fantastic visuals and a great story and style.  Rockstar needs to showcase this big time if they want to take some thunder away from 2K and Mafia II.  Not much has been known about this game expect that it exists; I am venturing a guess at a unique 50’s time period allowing Rockstar to really showcase their writing and game directing talent.  But don’t be surprised if it follows Mafia’s footsteps and takes places over a period of 20 years or so.

Logo

Supposedly in development for 3 years, this logo is literally all we have.

Gran Turismo 5:  Kazunori Yamauchi will be there live to show off the finished game and give us a motherfucking release date.  Features?   Could care less. Cars?   Could care less.  Tracks?   Could care less.  Anything other than release date for U.S.?  Could care less.  I will say that the game will have a simultaneous worldwide release date, hence the delay in the Japanese version, and that will be in late November.

DC Universe:  Yeah you heard me, an MMO.  This is hotly anticipated from SOE, and it will be hitting PS3 same day as comp, you will not be able to play cross platform, but you will be able to use the same character on both systems for the cost of one game.  Getting it for PC or PSN will get you a download code that lets you get a client for the other one so you can take your character wherever you want to go.

The Last Guardian:  Team ICO’s long awaited sequel to Shadow of the Collosus will finally be revealed in a format that we can see.  Not some incoherent trailer, were talking a real trailer here with dialogue and story.   We will probably get to at least see the game and completely not understand what we’re looking at, after that possibly a short amount of gameplay.  I know you would think this would be saved for TGS but remember Sony is still a Japanese company and they are going to want to showcase one of their larger developers and obviously a game the entire nation of Japan is waiting for.

The Last Guardian

The game will make you love this thing and then kill it at the end.

NUMBER 3 –PSN

3.5:  Firmware 3.5 is incoming and will give you a fully 3D enabled blu-ray player and game player.  It will also restructure the entire friends tab, changing your friends list, your choices for interaction, and integrating it better with Home.  I also sort of hope they do some stuff to ascetically change trophies around but that’s more wishful thinking.

PSN Premium:  I have said it before, I would pay a premium cost to get cross game voice chat, and Sony agrees.  The PSN premium will launch at E3, a smaller yearly fee then Xbox, I am going say 30 bucks a year, will net you; cross game voice chat, extended friends list, cloud storage for saved games, and PSN game sharing(yep that will no longer be usable by non-payers to help combat the rampant piracy that so many engage in).  Although I will state that this will not, I REPEAT NOT, mean that the PSN will be pay to play, playing will remain free with certain features locked to non-payers.  They’ll probably give QORE free to new subscribers to sweeten the pot, like anyone cares.

Cloud

Cloud computing is worth the cost, fucking trust me.

Netflix:  You can ditch the discs, the Netflix service will integrate like XBL from now on thanks to the 6 month wait being up.   However PSN movies will still run as a competitor.

ThatGameCompany/Q Games:  The two most ubiquitous developers on the PSN, both will get to showcase there next upcoming title, TGC will have something weird and beautiful and Q Games will bring on something fun that you used to play 20 years ago.  TGC it’s impossible to tell what they’re doing, could be a fucking speck of dust in space for all I know, but Q is probably working on a follow up to racers, and I think a sequel to Monsters

Shooter 2

Maybe something like this?

NUMBER 3 – S.W.A.G.

Sophisticated Wild Ass Guess; the backbone of E3 is of course the completely ridiculous predictions; this show would be no fun if everyone knew everything and everything made sense.  So here are the final bits of my predictions; the fun ones that shouldn’t be taken too seriously but probably could happen…maybe.

Marky

I am not kidding, Swagger...S.W.A.G....LOOK IT THE FUCK UP.

Uncharted 3:  It seems too soon to show anything, but then again Sony gives Naughty Dog a blank check for those games, so maybe you might see a cinematic trailer, but gameplay is out.  At the least they might announce that it’s coming.

FFXIII Versus:  We will probably get a real U.S. release date for it and literally 10’s of people will care.

Demon’s Souls 2:  I doubt enough people will really care to have this one make the conference, but I bet my life you’ll hear about it at E3.  One of From Software’s and Atlus’s biggest hits of all time they would be utterly mad to not start a second one up right away.

Souls

This is now a standard enemy.

Splinter Cell Conviction: This will be coming to PS3, expect an announcement and an improved version of some kind.  Ubisoft has a really good working relationship with Sony, and they will definitely get this ported over as soon as possible.  I would bet that if it does happen, it will happen in there conference as it’s a major coup.

Mass Effect:  Sony is going to announce that they have Mass Effect 3 day to day with the 360, also Mass Effect 1 and 2 will be coming to PS3 by year’s end.   Sorry but EA is moving lead development to the PS3, and they make the most money off the PS3.  EA now gets to call the shots on what to do with that franchise and I see no reason why they will not move it over to the black box.

MMO’s:  There will be more than just DC Universe I think, my bet is that Free Realms will be available post E3 for download, and will remain free to play but micro-transaction based.  The Agency(not the rockstar game, this is something else) will also be coming soon as it is also a SOE game, letting you be a weird secret agent with a sort of My Sim’s spin on it.

The Agency

A game about Secret Agents and there massive breasts, secret!

RAGE: id software’s truly remarkable shooter will be featured by Sony.  I think the push from them is going to be getting people to use them as lead dev platform from now on, and that starts with id and the Tech 5 engine as well as Crytek and there also stellar and indeed more impressive CryEngine 3.0.  Sense the goal of both of those is to nab some customers from Unreal 3 as that engine is starting to tire a little as people learn it’s not a versatile as they thought it was and Tech 5 and CryEngine are just a sight to behold.  Expect CryEngine to become the PS3’s Unreal engine in the next few years, because that is what it was built to showcase.

So there you have it, my list of E3 for Sony, in a couple of weeks you can print out your copy then sit down in front of your computer and see what  I was and wasn’t right about.  Hell by the time this is published some of it might have already happened, as its going up about 7 days after I wrote it.

Goodbye

Thanks for watching everybody! Goodbye!

Peace





E3 Predictions Week: Day 2: Microsoft(Well Xbox really)!

18 05 2010

Hey everyone it’s time for E3 predictions!  Think of this as more of an itemized list, some of the topics I will just state, while others I will go into a little more.  I am breaking this into 3 articles because if I did 1 article it would just be: Wii will be about sales figures, Xbox will say they have outsold ps3 which means there better apparently and then Natal, and PS3 had the best year ever for them (which is still worse than everyone else) and then bring forth and onslaught of games.   So this way I can kind of work each one individually.  Enjoy E3 week everyone, feel free to follow me on Twitter @Zackysmack(caps is important  I guess) email me at zackysmack@hotmail.com with any questions or comments you may have, also catch my podcast on podbean or the iTunes store.  If all that tickles you in the right way maybe you might even want to comment on an article or two.

Logo

Welcome to E3!....Predictions!

Incidentally I wrote these all last week so if something in here has already happened this week, have no fear I am not just lazy, no, in fact I am right and you can feel free to mark it down as a win for me.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘Zack, the Nintendo one was on all things Nintendo and the Sony one will be on Sony, why the Microsoft one only on Xbox?’  Well that’s an easy one, because for Sony and Nintendo it’s all about multiple games platforms, Microsoft just has the Xbox and sense they rarely use the conference to debut new Windows features (and frankly who gives a shit if they do). I am just going to discuss the games aspect of things.  As we all know the big emphasis is going to be on Natal, sense they really don’t have that much else to talk about, but sense I don’t really have anything more to say on Natal, will keep that part of things pretty short.

360

You ever wonder why its a sphere? I mean its the XBox right?

Okay so much like Nintendo, Microsoft will open up with sales figures, and a lot of them.  They will inform everyone that they have still sold more consoles then PS3, again leading us to believe that sales is directly proportional to quality.  The truth is of course that sales and quality do not mean the same thing, but this message is lost on most.  After that, hopefully, Major Nelson and Aaron Greenburg will engage in some witty banter before getting into the games.  Oh yeah and be fully prepared to see games that are not exclusives, Xbox as a brand does not have enough exclusives in the pipe to full a conference so expect them to showcase some games that are multiplatform and simply have an exclusive beta for them.

NUMBER 1 – HARDWARE

Natal

I trade in my 30 dollar controller for a 200 dollar controller.

Natal will be the emphasis of the conference; I would imagine they will take some shots at Playstation Move for having buttons and generally working for games.  They will show off Milo, and my prediction is that Peter Molyneux will be on hand to demo Fable III, yep that’s right it will be running and running on Natal.  They will also show off at least 2 other pieces of software *cough shovel ware cough* running on Natal.  Most likely some sort of Wii sports resort thing, and a Playstation home like environment for your XBL Avatars, another prediction there, home like service for the Xbox.  Also Rare will have an original IP built exclusively for Natal, this will probably some sort of cuter family oriented platformer.    They will then give a release date and price for the Natal, and probably allow you to pre-order immediately after their E3 conference.

NUMBER 2 – SOFTWARE

*Note I put ‘software’ as the title because some of these are not exclusive titles so they shouldn’t count as ‘announcements’ really.

Halo Reach

Actually this looks pretty awesome.

Halo Reach:  Yeah well no shit it’s going to be there and it’s going to be there first in their presentation, sense it represents roughly half of the big bullets they have.  I expect a Single-Player trailer, release date, and probably a live walk through with some guy from Bungie, and maybe a celebrity of some kind, sense Microsoft does dumb shit like that.  As far as big announcements go with Reach there probably won’t be any sense they won’t have a lot of aces left in there sleeve.  The beta is already out and as far as innovations in weapons and story; well Bungie pretty much can’t do that anymore because it would frighten all the Halo loving children.  So all in all there won’t be much to say about Reach other then it is coming and it will probably sell a few copies.

Call of Duty: Black Ops the Beta:  Microsoft will continue their stellar relationship with Activision and Call of Duty and will have the exclusive Beta for Black Ops.  They will also get the reveal trailer and whoever the fuck is the Treyarch guy will come out and give everyone a ton of info.  I am talking story background, characters, multiplayer, demo date, different editions of the game, the whole nine yards.  This will come in the middle and be sort of a shock…I guess.

Bulletstorm

If I am being honest, this looks pretty awesome too.

Bulletstorm:  Announced recently, Bulletstorm is an Epic Game made on Unreal 3 (Although really made by People Can Fly who made Painkiller which you should go play right now).  If history has taught us one thing, it’s that Epic Games and specifically in house Unreal games put a wayyyy higher emphasis on the 360. This implies that the next really big Epic/Unreal game will be shown off on the 360, expect a full on gameplay demo and live walk-through featuring the coolest fucking man on earth, Cliffy B.

Gears of War 3:  Arguably the more important release for Microsoft then Halo, at this point Halo is almost starting to run its course, Modern Warfare beats it in online players, and as far as memorable set pieces and action Gears trounces Halo to death.  So really to me the more important game to showcase is Gears.  Cliffy B will remain post Bulletstorm to talk about this one.  I expect to see it running live, I also expect them to tell us it will be the last one in the series, which only really means that it finishes this story arch off.  I mean Halo 3 was supposed to be the last one and so was MGS3 and we know what happened there.  If I had to guess, and I am, I would say that Horde mode is going to play a much larger role in promoting the online for this game seeing as in Gears 2 the only really decent online mode was Horde mode.  I say this game will finally push the unreal 3 to the fullest and allow 4 players local and online co-op, this will carry over to Horde mode which will now scale for more people.

Cover

100% Fake boxart, but yeah this game looks pretty awesome too.

GTA V:  Microsoft had paid oodles of cash to Rockstar in the last couple years, and they will want to showcase GTA V on their system.  It will be a multi-console title but the reveal will come at the Xbox show.  My money is on London for the setting of this one, either that or a return to Vice City.  I hope they write a check to get exclusive DLC, just so I can laugh at them again for doing it.

Fable 3:  I already mentioned it in the Natal thing, but just wanted to say that it will be there and it’s a marquee release for Microsoft, expect emphasis on this title.

Splinter Cell: Conviction:  I am calling for DLC packs available in the next few months from Ubisoft, it’s essentially a foregone conclusion.

Splinter Cell

Possibly the only game easier then Assassin's Creed II.

Alan Wake:  Also going to say that DLC packs will be announced for this title, available within the next 3 months.

NUMBER 3 – S.W.A.G.

Marky

I mean the charecter was literally named after the term S.W.A.G.

Sophisticated Wild Ass Guess; the backbone of E3 is of course the completely ridiculous predictions; this show would be no fun if everyone knew everything and everything made sense.  So here are the final bits of my predictions; the fun ones that shouldn’t be taken too seriously but probably could happen…maybe.

Xbox portable:  A handheld is coming from Microsoft, maybe not this year but it will be coming, whether in the form of a Zune with joysticks or a full on new product.  There is no question that Microsoft needs things to get people excited, and handhelds do that, or at least drum up interest.  Couple that with XBL and its more or less superior features set and you have a handheld that could really be implemented well.   Signing in with your XBL account and games for windows live account would mean a tremendous amount of on the go gaming interaction, and move us closer to the ‘integrated platform’ concept.

Portable

What is that made out of? Magic? Dreams? It's playing GTAIV, Flawlessly.

Dashboard Upgrade:  The new XBL upgrade will be announced, it will feature a ton of integration for Natal and not a whole lot else.

3D:  It’s the new industry buzz word, expect Microsoft to assure you that 3D will be coming to their platform either with an upgrade add-on or with a dashboard update, and this will happen by summer’s end at the latest.   I call that because I completely believe that this falls games releases will start to push 3D.

New Rare game:  More than just the Natal game actually.  Microsoft paid a shit load of money for Rare and so far has gotten exactly nothing out of them.  Having been quiet for a year now, Rare has clearly been working on something, and I think it’s going to be a new AAA shooter for the Xbox only.  Rare used to be gods of FPS, look for them to recapture there old glory.

KI Logo

I am not saying its going to be Killer Instinct, but its going to be Killer Instinct.

Price Drop:  I think Microsoft is going to knock another 50 bucks off their console to get it under the PS3, for at least as long as it takes for Sony to have their press conference.

MMO:  Fully expect at least one MMO to be announced for the 360, either the ailing Age of Conan or something new, but sense most systems have harddrives now this is once again a possibility.  It’s an interesting market because you would have to pay an XBL fee and a fee to play, so we will see how gamers deal with that.

Portal 2:  Yep it’s going to be showcased here, not at the Valve show because I think Microsoft cut them a hell of a check to get it.  If that is true then you bet your ass Half-Life 2 Episode 3 will be coming to 360, and my money is on a bundle of the two games.

Portal 2

I will be an adult about this and just say 'Fuck you Valve.' and then go buy it from Steam.

So there you have it, my list of E3 for Microsoft, be sure to check back tomorrow for the PS3 write up, sure to feature plenty of games.  In a couple of weeks you can print out your copy then sit down in front of your computer and see what  I was and wasn’t right about.  Hell by the time this is published some of it might have already happened, as its going up about 7 days after I wrote it.

Peace