8 Worst Moments of E3 2015

All things considered, this year had a pretty phenomenal E3.  Between The Last Guardian, Shenmue III, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Earthbound Beginnings, Fallout 4, and so much more, almost everyone had a dream come true.

That said, it was still a long way away from perfect and there were plenty of embarrassing and frustrating moments to spoil the fun.  These are the worst moments of E3 2015, in our opinion.

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8) Name-Recycling

Name-recycling is what I like to call the trend of giving a sequel, reboot, etc. the exact same title as the original.  The gaming industry has had numerous examples in recent years: Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Twisted Metal, Crackdown, Prince of Persia (twice).  I don’t know why so many companies keep pulling this stunt, but it is one of my major pet peeves.  I’m not saying that any of those games are bad, but their naming convention frustrates me to no end.  I’ll let it slide if it actually is a remake of the original game that it’s named after (i.e. Ratchet and Clank for PS4) or if they’re trying to reboot a franchise that’s been dormant for a decade (i.e. Splatterhouse).  When it’s an entirely new entry in a well-known series, it gives the impression that the creators of the game just don’t care.  Naturally, I was less than thrilled to see this pop up no less than three times at E3.  We already knew that the newest Doom game would just be called Doom going in, but then we had EA announce the newest Need for Speed game as Need for Speed and Square-Enix reveal the next Hitman game called Hitman.  I’ve officially had all I can stand with this trend, so I’ve decided to come up with my own names for these games.  Doom 4 is an obvious title for the new Doom, while I’ve dubbed the new Hitman game Hitman: Trademarked.  Hey, its already got that trademark logo in the title and that actually is a surprisingly good subtitle for a Hitman game.  Finally, the new Need for Speed can be called Need for Speed: Subtitle.  Yeah, I completely copped out on that one, but it’s still more effort than EA put into naming it.

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7) Project Setsuna is a New Low in Non-Reveal

When discussing all of the things that I didn’t want to see at E3 this year, the one thing I wanted to avoid most and knew was the most unavoidable was for an entirely new game to be announced, but have no actual details on how it plays or who should even be interested given.  I actually came incredibly close to getting my wish this year as almost every new game had actual gameplay attached to it.  Games like For Honor and Horizon: Zero Dawn immediately arrested my attention with their demonstrations.  Even titles that I don’t have much personal interest in like Sea of Thieves and Trackmania Turbo were still able to catch my eye thanks to their focus on mechanics over cheap theatrics.

Sadly, we couldn’t escape non-reveals entirely and there were still a few particularly egregious examples.  It looks like Hearthstone copycats are the next big bandwagon with Bethesda and EA revealing their own digital card games based on the Elder Scrolls and Star Wars universes respectively.  What they both failed to mention was how these new games would actually differ from Hearthstone and manage to stand out on their own in what’s about to be a very crowded genre.  While I’m a big fan of Hearthstone, I’ll be the first to admit that it has plenty of problems and either of these new games may be able to convert me.  However, I need actual details before I even consider switching.  I’m also tempted to bring up Media Molecule’s Dreams on the topic of non-reveals, but I think that has more to do with even Media Molecule themselves having no clue what they’ve created with that thing.

The worst of the bunch, without a doubt, was Project Setsuna.  Being developed by Square-Enix’s newest studio, Tokyo RPG Factory (ha ha), Project Setsuna is an entirely new JRPG… And that is literally all we know about it at this point.  It hasn’t even gotten past the concept art phase of development and Square-Enix decided that it was the best way to close out their press conference.  That image pictured above is literally one third of all there is to know about the game.  The idea was to send the message that Square-Enix is still committed to RPGs as the genre that put the company where it is today.  Given that  they had already shown off Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts III, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, NieR 2, and Star Ocean 5, I highly doubt anyone was going to walk away thinking that RPGs were dead.  Plus, Project Setsuna could end up just being a mobile game for all we really know about it.  There’s simply no point in taking an interest in any of these games until more actual details emerge , and we’ll likely be left dwelling on nothing in the meantime.

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6) All the Right Nintendo Games in All the Wrong Ways

I don’t think Nintendo’s showcase was nearly as bad as a lot of people are making it out to be, but I certainly share in the frustration.  There has been a great deal of anticipation for a new Metroid game and an Animal Crossing game on Wii U and we technically got both of those, but not in the ways any of us were hoping for.  Metroid Prime: Federation Force drops the isolation, exploration, and darker tone for a co-op shooter with a cartoony art style and an FPS soccer minigame.  Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival brings Animal Crossing to the Wii U in the style of a board game reliant on amiibo figures in order to be played.  Neither of these look like bad games by any means, but fans of these franchises have been left waiting for years and these announcements came across as a slap in the face.

The backlash against Federation Force in particular has been massive, to the point where the only thing that seems to come up in interviews is how much Nintendo is trying to run damage control.  I’d like to call it an overreaction, but Metroid fans have not exactly received the best treatment in recent years.  After enduring the infamous Metroid: Other M, there was five years of silence with nothing but crossovers with Nintendo Land and Super Smash Bros, and now the silence is finally broken with something that just seems to move further and further away from everything that made the series great in the first place.  On the bright side, it seems that this could be building up for a Metroid Prime 4 announcement from Retro Studios, possibly as a launch title for the NX, but that hypothetical is little comfort after how badly fans have been burned.

As for Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, the general opinion on amiibos has started to turn around as customers are continuously exhausted to try and find their favorite figures, so a game completely reliant on having specific figures isn’t exactly joyous news.  While the game itself is a free download, those compatible figures are bound to be in short supply and every player needs to have at least one of their own in order to play.  Not only that, the game that people were actually hoping to see was an actual, mainline Animal Crossing game for the Wii U.  It’s been three years since Animal Crossing: New Leaf released for 3DS, so the timing seemed right.  Instead, fans will have to make due with meager spin-offs for the time being.  I understand Nintendo’s decision to focus on the immediate future as they can make major announcements whenever they want with their Nintendo Directs, but they definitely came up short compared to Microsoft and Sony this year.

PitchAMeme

5) Aisha Tyler Drops Some Dank Memes, Yo

Aisha Tyler (pictured left-center), the main spokesperson for Ubisoft for the last few years, has a fairly divisive presence at E3.  Personally, she’s grown on me and I really feel that the Ubisoft press conferences are general made better by her.  She has a great deal of charisma and always keeps a high amount of energy going at the show.  However, there are definitely times where she tries too hard to be funny and this year had her biggest dud yet.  After approaching an Assassin’s Creed cosplayer in the audience, Tyler asked for him to “pitch a meme”.  Anyone who actually knows thing one about how internet memes work knows that they have to happen naturally as a public response to things and can’t just be manufactured on the spot.  It seems like the cosplayer was at least aware of that as he timidly tried to get this whole awkward affair to pass as quickly and painlessly as possible.  Once Tyler started going on about “who left the Christmas lights on during the apocalypse”, I think he may have been scared that she was about to turn into a giant mantis and eat his face off because reality was clearly ripping itself apart before his very eyes.  On the bright side, Ubisoft did get their meme out of the whole ordeal.  Unfortunately, it was all centered around how laughably out of touch the company is.

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4) Kingdom Hearts III Gets Dangled Like a Carrot

Kingdom Hearts III was easily one of the most anticipated titles for the Square-Enix conference and, boy, did we ever have to work for it.  Square-Enix easily had the worst conference this year and the unending build-up for the new KH3 trailer was the worst part of it all.  First, we had the executive producer for the Kingdom Hearts series, presented as such, take the stage and expectations were immediately raised.  Producer Shinji Hashimoto began speaking, but it seems that his translator fell asleep on the job as this segment was only presented in Japanese.  It probably wasn’t anything too important, though, because all he had to follow that up with was the exact same Final Fantasy VII trailer that had already been shown at Sony’s conference.  After that, Hashimoto, now with translation, said it was time to present a Kingdom Hearts game… For mobile phones.  Yeeeeeah.  But then, it finally came time to talk about Kingdom Hearts III, starting with… Two random guys from Disney telling us that we’d be seeing a Tangled world in the following gameplay trailer.  Yeah, because why just show when you can tell?!  Finally, we get to see the latest gameplay footage of the long-awaited Kingdom Hear-Wait, one of the guys we just had onscreen is actually right here in the audience, so why don’t we all wave hello to GET ON WITH IT!!!  At that point, it seemed like Square-Enix was just being intentionally malicious with how much it was holding out on their audience.  It’s a good thing that the trailer was actually really good because that crowd was gearing up for a full-scale riot at that point.

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3) The Microsoft Hololens Demonstration Was a Blatant Lie

Microsoft’s public demonstration of the Hololens impressed many with its ability to recreate a Minecraft world on a simple table and allowing users to directly manipulate virtual landscapes with their own hands.  It was certainly an inspiring look into what virtual reality is capable of, but there was one minor problem with Microsoft’s little showcase: it was completely fake.  It’s actually abundantly obvious that none of the footage we saw during the demonstration was actually taken from the Hololens display as the man we’re supposed to be seeing through the eyes of is constantly on-camera alongside the prerendered graphics imitating virtual reality.  While virtual reality has a great deal to offer the gaming industry and technological progress in general, Microsoft’s dishonest demonstration of how their headset works is bound to leave a lot of customers disappointed with how it actually looks.  If the first games that come to mind while playing with the Hololens end up being Watch_Dogs and Aliens: Colonial Marines, now you know why.

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2) Jason Derulo Exists

In my article on things I didn’t want to see at E3, I briefly mentioned the trend of pop stars showing up at E3 press conferences for a short performance that only ever serves to eat up extra time.  In 2012, both Usher and Flo Rida performed at the Microsoft and Ubisoft conferences respectively.  Yes, these appearances are meant to hype up rhythm games and that makes sense, but having these artists perform one of their songs like their giving a concert when these events are meant to promote the actual gameplay just ends up being frivolous and pandering.  I also mentioned that the trend seemed to have finally died in that article, and I should really learn to keep my big mouth shut (cue obvious ribbing from the hecklers) because guess how Ubisoft decided to promote their latest Just Dance games.

To make things worse, they chose the single most boring musical act in the industry today (unless you actually count Florida Georgia Line as a musical act).  Jason Derulo, the man whose entire claim to fame centers around sampling a song that was best known for its involvement in a Saturday Night Live sketch and using it for what may be the insincere apology song that isn’t a joke.  Honestly, I’m surprised that he has yet to brag about how desirable he is over the tantalizing melody of Nyan Cat.  Although, it may have all been worth just for that brief moment where Derulo tried to get Aisha Tyler to dance with him on stage and she just pulled her hand out of his and stayed firmly seated like anyone with a sense of dignity would in that situation.  Still, it wasn’t the worst case of a celebrity wasting everyone’s time.  That honor goes to…

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1) Pelé

EA has one of the worst press conferences at E3 every year without fail.  Admittedly, this year had one of their better showings with Mass Effect: Andromeda, Unravel, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, and Star Wars Battlefront 3 (that’s what I’m calling it and you can’t stop me).  Sadly, they couldn’t resist bringing up some of their classic bad habits.  It’s pretty sad when the most detailed demonstration at your conference goes not to Mass Effect, Star Wars, or even Garden Warfare, but to a generic cow-clicker starring the minions from Despicable Me that grandparents and toddlers will throw too much money at for about a week and then completely forget about.

However, the award for worst of the worst naturally goes to their EA Sports segment.  I understand that sports games are the single greatest pillar of EA as a company and expecting them not to feature them during every press conference is like expecting Nintendo to not have a game featuring Mario.  The difference is that Nintendo never dedicates a good chunk of their presentations to assure us that they’ve tirelessly worked to improve Mario’s jumping animations, whereas EA does just that every single year.  They did have some interesting announcements, like the face-scanning app for NBA Live 16.  Just quickly showing off substantial innovations like that for their latest sports games would keep the energy of their presentations active rather than delving into redundancy.  Instead, they went with Pelé.  Now, I can’t exactly blame Pelé himself for not having much to say about actual video games while onstage at E3.  Expecting a 74-year-old soccer legend to be a well of knowledge on game design isn’t exactly realistic.  The problem is that EA wasted everyone’s time so that they could publicly shoot the breeze with a famous athlete.  At least when Ubisoft brought out Derulo, it was a (failed) attempt to just entertain all of the investors, journalists, and loyal fans in attendance.  EA invited Pelé to their conference purely for their own amusement while we got the privilege of watching them.

I certainly could have kept this list going with more missteps from the expo, such as the Nintendo World Championships focusing more on advertising Nintendo’s games than the spirit of competition or how the PC Gaming Show was essentially Day9’s three-hour public podcast, but I think that’s enough complaining from me for one year.  What was your worst moment from E3 2015?  Are there any moments from this year’s E3 that made you cringe missing from this list?  Can you come up with a better name for a Need for Speed game than EA?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Batman Arkham Series: Most Memorable Moments

What is it about Batman that fascinates us so much? Is it his determination to thwart evil no matter the cost? Is it his enemies that have become as iconic as the cape crusader himself? Or is it the many ways he is reinvigorated through the decades? Batman: Arkham Knight has finally arrived and is every bit as good as anybody that loves the past titles could have hoped for.

Scarecrow has now taken the limelight threatening to detonate a bomb that will send the citizens of Gotham into complete madness. Rocksteady have now rounded off their epic trilogy creating a legendary collection for any fan. The series has so many brilliant moments making it ridiculously difficult to pick. Obviously this list is my own personal opinion so if your best moment doesn’t appear don’t fret. It just shows how many extraordinary moments there are.

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Warning: Spoilers for the entire Batman Arkham Series. This includes Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City & Batman: Arkham Knight. You have been warned.

5. Driving The Batmobile

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Now to kick things off I have a moment that wasn’t a reveal for the game or in anyway shocking to the story. It’s simply being able to have full control of the famous Batmobile through the streets of Gotham. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. Now I have the closest thing I ever will to it and its fantastic. The speed, the turning, the artillery. Yes some may say the weapons feel out of place for Batman but it really doesn’t bother me. The city is going to hell so he has no choice. Being ejected into the open sky or landing perfectly to jump straight back into the drivers sear are all moments I have waited years for. Oh and dont get me started on the thrusters…

4. Oracle’s Death

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For a man trying to save everyone he does sadly lose a few. Maybe because this wound is still fresh, I still feel the impact from Barbara Gordon’s Death. There’s no other way to put it but Oracle facing her darkest fears and deciding that suicide is the best option is just horrific. Honestly tears were in my eyes as I’m sure in Batman’s too. Poor girl she’s been through so much. We got a glimpse of how she lost the ability to walk earlier which was just as terrifying however nothing prepared me for this. Thankfully as you know if your reading this (If you dont you should really leave now) this was another illusion and Barbara survived. At that moment though all was lost and I thought how could Batman ever recover from this.

3. Clayface Reveal (Batman: Arkham City)

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Talk about unexpected. Rocksteady normally like to leave us some clues as to what’s upcoming but not one bread crumb was left here. The climatic fight to the second title. Joker reveals himself but with a doppelganger. There are two Jokers now? Nope the healthy one reveals himself to be Basil Karlo or as he is better known Clayface. This final fight was so well executed. The lead up, the death of Talia and the boss fight itself are all intelligently pieced together to make one of the most interesting fights yet. Using new gadgets learned throughout the story, before one last dual using Ra’s al Ghul sword to destroy the mud bath. This is one boss battle I love to relive.

2. The Joker’s Death/Return (Batman: Arkham City & Batman: Arkham Knight)

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Sneaking two moments together I found it impossible to separate the two. The finale to Arkham City was ground-breaking. The Joker actually dies, I couldn’t believe this. Mark Hamill’s audio portrayal of the Joker is second to none. So when Rocksteady decided to pull the rug from underneath his feet I was stunned. This made it even better when he was resurrected for Arkham Knight, now again because this is still relatively new I found this scene possibly a little more memorable. Batman has given his all. He has said his goodbyes to Alfred and is willing to sacrifice himself for Gotham, I could feel myself welling up. He grabs the last canister to stop the cloud burst when the camera pulls back to expose his arch enemy. Smiling and holding a gun to Batman’s’ head, the clown announces “Miss Me!” Bang!.

1. Scarecrow – Third Encounter (Batman: Arkham Asylum)

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Now this is why I love video games. Moments like this that I describe to friends as to why they should own a console. After meeting Dr Jonathan Crane and originally seeing hallucinations of your parents corpses come to life followed by seeing Bruce reliving the night his parents were killed, you then think how do they top that? It begins walking down another hallway. Nothing out of the ordinary just a normal, standard hallway. Suddenly from nowhere my picture froze and became all disjointed. The image stuttered and went blank. To my annoyance, I thought the game had broke. I leant over to reset my Playstation 3 when the picture came back on, however the story had reset and the Batmobile was driving towards the Asylum again in the same opening cutscene. Annoyed again as I was certain the game had reset itself anew and I would have to start the whole story all over again. I skipped the cutscene as I’ve seen it before (or so I thought), Then my realisation set in. I look up to amazingly see that I am now the Joker and Batman is strapped to the chair. This is still the same game! My mind was blown. Rocksteady had pulled a fast one on me.

As we continued down the corridor visiting inmates now turned psychiatrists in this nightmare world. They inspect the Bat one by one. It was all so chilling. The camera changes and now I’m back in Batman’s body looking though his eyes at these psychotic villains who are now condemning me. The diagnosis is given prompting Joker to pull out his pistol and fire. A game over screen appears with the words “Use the middle stick to dodge Jokers fire”. Really! Okay so I click retry completely clueless to what is happening. I’m now shown Bruce Wayne’s Grave just before punching my way our of it like any stereotypical zombie movie. Now back in the world where Scarecrow is fifty foot high you repeat the same process as previous encounters but nevertheless it doesn’t take anything away from the genius scene that just played out. This not only takes my top spot in the Batman Arkham Series but quite possibly my favourite moment in all of gaming.

Do you agree with my choices? What’s your most memorable moments from the Arkham series? Leave us a comment below to tell us why.

Interview: AlphaDraft CEO Todd Peterson

Earlier this month we reported on AlphaDraft, one of the few fantasy eSports platforms, and their upcoming tournament sponsorships.

I got a chance to speak with AlphaDraft CEO Todd Peterson, and he gladly spoke about where eSports was going, how AlphaDraft picked the games they support and how amateurs can get into the big leagues.

Vgamerz: With eSports being relatively new how is AlphaDraft adapting to the scene’s rapid growth?

Todd: We don’t see ourselves in terms of needing to adapt. We believe that we’re fueling the growth of eSports by creating additional, very engaging ways for fans and viewers to participate.

Vgamerz: eSports is huge in America, Asia and Germany, even ESPN has dedicated some air time to the scene. Where does AlphaDraft see eSports going in terms of mainstream acceptance?

Todd: I think in Asia it’s achieved mainstream acceptance. In North America, it’s getting there. What you’ll see soon is that eSports stars will eventually be as recognizable as a Lebron James or Peyton Manning. Some are already emerging, but not many have made the transition to being as recognizable by the mainstream. You’ll also see traditional networks like ESPN and others regularly covering eSports events.

The other trend that is driving eSports to mainstream acceptance are the available consumption options. Free live streaming and video on demand (VOD) is available for pretty much any device, including mobiles. The freedom and increasing range of options to access content will only help the growth of eSports. It’s also one of the reasons we decided to launch our fantasy eSports app. It allows fans to be untethered and on-the-go while they watch their favorite tournaments, keep up with stats and even enter new matches and draft teams anywhere, anytime.

Vgamerz: For those who don’t know, what exactly is AlphaDraft and why do you only focus on games like Dota and Counterstrike and not NBA 2K or Halo or Forza?

Todd: There are several key factors that determine what games we choose to support with fantasy matches. The main factors are the size of viewership audience, league structure, and stats availability.

For games like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, stats are readily available. There are very big audiences who love watching these games as eSports. Rather than just offering the fans to watch passively, AlphaDraft lets the audience get involved though daily fantasy drafts. They can pick multiple pro gamers for their fantasy team, competing against other fans’ fantasy teams, hoping that their picks total up to the highest combined score.

We also select games with a strong league structure. If there aren’t enough players to choose from it makes a fantasy game less interesting and the game becomes more luck than skill. (Imagine fantasy football with only 3-4 teams to pick from.)

Also, if stats are not readily available, then it is very difficult for us to run a statistics-based fantasy game. There has to be a reliable way for us to export stats from these games consistently and verify them. We want to provide a great experience for our customers, so it’s important we start each game the right way.

Vgamerz: There are still a massive amount of gamers that can not and will not take competitive gaming, or rather eSport, seriously. Do you see this as just a growing pain for the scene?

Todd: No. Every league has had its struggles. Even the NBA, MLB, and the NFL had struggles early on. As long as the content is compelling and eSports continues to create opportunities for its stars to show their skills, making them enjoyable to watch and follow, we should see steady growth.

Vgamerz: Streaming matches on consoles is becoming the norm as it has become with PC gaming. Will AlphaDraft try to break into console competition one day? (I.E with tournaments like EVO or even by holding your own tournament)

Todd: Yes. With AlphaDraft, we are building a platform for all major eSports. We love console games!

Vgamerz: Is there any chance that AlphaDraft will release an iOS app for people on the go?

Todd: Just prior to the 4th of July holiday, we released our iOS AlphaDraft app. It’s already warmly received and allows our members to not only watch live tournaments and track stats but also enter contests and draft teams. We’re the first fantasy eSports company to allow fans to take the experience with them on-the-go. Heck, they can even participate if they’re attending live eSports events in person.

Vgamerz: Gaming journalist have yet to commit to competitive gaming, why do you think journalists are having a hard time covering these events?

Todd: eSports is a segment within video gaming. I think it takes specialized understanding and knowledge, more akin to what a sports commentator or sports writer might master. This is a different skillset required when critically analyzing and covering a video game.

Just like with the coverage of mobile games, social games, and so many other sub-genres of video games – even the movement from print to digital and now video – I think it’s just a matter of time before more video game journalists will fully participate. Already there are some very knowledgeable folks out there that have made the transition very nicely and expertly report on both video games and eSports.

Vgamerz: With that said there are very few sites dedicated to only eSports, do you think one day the scene will get it’s own ESPN-esq coverage?

Todd: I’m already talking to several companies who are looking to become the next ESPN of eSports. It’s coming. Heck, maybe even ESPN will do it one day.

Vgamerz: Recently AlphaDraft a couple of new partnerships and an addition to your list of supported games. Is it difficult to choose what game(s) should be added to the sites list or is there an ever growing list of games you want but have yet to secure?

Todd: We would love to support all games, but it comes down to how statistic-driven the game is and the size of its community. Is the game structured in a way that makes it an interesting fantasy sports title and are there enough people that follow events around that game? As an example, for most fighting games, there isn’t a dominant regularly scheduled weekly event. Yes, there are hundreds of events going on for games like Smash Bros., but the audience and overall structure is too fragmented at the moment.

Vgamerz: What does it take for an amateur to start a team and compete in the big league?

Todd: The dedication required to compete today at a high level is no different than the training regimen you might see to get into the NBA or NFL. Your entire team has to dedicate itself to training for the pro level. Skill is important, but when your opponent has a similar skill level and practices 16 hours a day, you have to match that level of effort to remain competitive.

And practice as a team is important. Many of the MOBA games, for example, can overcome a skill deficit if there is great team play. It’s important your team works together and communicates effectively, or you won’t make it.

Predicting the Story of Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III

Warning! This article contains spoilers on the Kingdom Hearts series! You’ve been warned!

Welcome to Part 2 of my Predicting Kingdom Hearts III series! Last time, I discussed the worlds that will appear in the game, and this week I will be discussing the plot. In this prediction, I will be breaking up the plot into five parts: Prelude, Act I, Act II, Act III, and the Epilogue. While I am primarily a script writer, this will not be a fully realized script, just more of an outline of the events I believe will occur in the game based off of foreshadowing and events from previous games in the series. So, that being said let’s begin our story years before the first game, during a time of peace.

Prelude:

The game opens roughly 50 years before the events of the first Kingdom Hearts in Cable Town. This is where the scene between a young Xehanort and Eraqus playing chess from the E3 2015 trailer will take place. If you notice during that trailer, all of the chess pieces have a symbol representing a character from the game. The chess game is foreshadowing the final battle that will occur in the game and which characters will be fighting whom, but more on that later. After this scene between Xehanort and Eraqus, a scene will occur recapping the events of the series so far. Then there will be a CG intro with a new song by Hikaru Utada.

ACT I:

Picking up right where Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance left of, Yen Sid is telling Kairi she is a Keyblade wielder. This is a very rare and strange case considering she is already a Princess of Heart. She is told she will be trained along with Lea (formerly Axel) and this is where the tutorial will take place. The tutorial will be played as Lea and Kairi as they practice with Yen Sid trying to teach them. After the tutorial, Sora comes back from the Dream World, which he went back to at the end of KH3D. Sora then goes to the top of the tower to meet with Riku, Kairi, Donald, Goofy, Lea, Mickey, and Yen Sid. This is where the group gets broken up and assigned different objectives which will take up the first chunk of the game. Sora, Donald, and Goofy are in charge of finding Ventus, who unknown to everyone besides Aqua, is inside Castle Oblivion. Riku and Mickey are responsible for going to the Realm of Darkness to find Aqua. Lea and Kairi will stay with Yen Sid to continue their training. During their journeys both groups have to find the Princesses of Heart again to help for the final battle. With their goals now set, they head off on their journeys.

Sora, Donald, and Goofy start traveling the worlds on their gummy ship. They search various worlds to try to find leads that will reveal where Ventus is, but it is unsuccessful. Their search leads them to Twilight Town and the mansion, which has been blocked off since the events of the second game (proven since the path to the woods/mansion has been paved over as seen in the E3 2015 and D23 2013 gameplay trailers). In the mansion they find a hologram recording of Ansem the Wise where he reveals he found Aqua, and recounts that they escaped the Realm together much like how Riku and Sora did at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2.

Meanwhile, Riku and Mickey have been in Radiant Garden, which is getting closer to its original state from Birth by Sleep. They are working with Cid, Leon, and Yuffie to find a way back into the Realm of Darkness. They ultimately do and begin their search before Sora gets back to them with the information that Aqua escaped months ago. After searching, they realize there’s no way to effectively search the Realm, so Riku opens a Corridor of Darkness that takes them back to the Mysterious Tower.

Back in the Mysterious Tower, Kairi starts getting sassy that besides her, none of the Princesses of Heart have been gathered. She insists that her and Lea go on the search as well while Riku and Sora look for Aqua and Ventus. Yen Sid disagrees with them since they are not experienced, but lets them go due to necessity. For this time, Lea goes back to using his original weapon, the Chakrams.

Later, when Riku and Sora return to Yen Sid with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, they apologize to Yen Sid for not returning with who they were looking for. After the apology, Kairi walks through the door with Aqua and the rest of the Princesses of Heart. She was able to find Aqua due to a connection they made when Kairi was just a toddler.

ACT II:

Aqua is now older and wiser, and takes charge of the group from Yen Sid. She reveals how Ansem the Wise helped her escape the Realm of Darkness. Ansem the Wise, however, is still left behind. She reveals to the rest of the group that Ventus is inside Castle Oblivion, but she is unable to get back to where he is. The only person who would be able to help get to him is someone that was born inside Castle Oblivion. Everyone is upset, because no such person exists. At this moment of hopelessness, Lea remembers something: Xion. Well, he doesn’t remember her, because his memories of her are lost since she died, but he remembers the Organization constructing Sora clones/puppets in Castle Oblivion.

To get access to this individual, Mickey and Riku use their Keyblades to open up Sora’s heart. From his heart sprouts not only Xion, but Roxas and Namine as well. Suddenly, Lea gets emotional because he is seeing Roxas again. Then both Lea’s and Roxas’ memories of Xion start rushing back. From here on out Namine and Xion guide everyone to Castle Oblivion to find Ventus.

After searching through the Castle and revisiting memories of worlds from the previous games, they finally reach Ventus. Aqua awakens him and they bring him back to the Mysterious Tower. Now that he is back, the group realizes there is no way to bring back Terra besides destroying Terra-Nort. With the group back together, they begin training for the final battle against the 13 Seekers of Darkness.

ACT III:

The 7 Lights: Sora, Riku, Mickey, Lea, Aqua, Ventus, and Kairi with support from their friends, trek their way to the Badlands. Once they reach the Keyblade Graveyard, Xehanort and the 13 Seekers of Darkness return. The final battle begins with the Princesses of Heart giving the 7 Lights a bit of a power boost. This part of the game will have the player switching over to controlling a different Keyblade wielder to show a different side of the battle. Think of the Battle of the 1000 Heartless from Kingdom Hearts 2, but more intense, fueled by bosses, and making other characters playable. Keep in mind, one of the ongoing themes and quotes from the series is, “My friends are my power!” Because of this, there will be other characters helping Sora and the  7 Lights in the fight like Donald, Goofy, Roxas, and Xion. Because not all of the 13 Seekers of Darkness have been revealed, I can only assume a few of the battles that will happen, but these are the ones I can gather:

  • Sora, Donald, Goofy vs. Xehanort
  • Riku vs. Ansem, Seeker of Darkness
  • Kairi vs. Xemnas
  • Ventus vs. Vanitas
  • Aqua vs. Terra-Nort
  • Lea vs. Isa
  • Roxas and Xion vs. Braig

After the battle, the Seekers of Darkness are destroyed, Terra will return to his normal self, and Xehanort will reveal that the chaos of the battle opened up Kingdom Hearts. Xehanort will then take on a final form and Sora will follow him to Kingdom Hearts alone. They will fight. Sora will win.

After Sora wins everyone goes back to their homes. Aqua will unseal Castle Oblivion and return it back to being the Land of Departure. Her, Ventus, and Terra act as the new masters of the world and train new Keyblade wielders. The Princesses of Heart will return to their original worlds. Lea, Xion, Roxas, and Namine will go to the Clock Tower in Twilight Town and share sea-salt ice cream with Hayner, Pence, and Olette. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy will resume their normal duties at Disney Castle. Lastly, Sora, Riku, and Kairi will go back to the Mysterious Tower where Sora will officially be dubbed a Keyblade Master.

Epilogue:

The game fast forwards a few years. Sora is now in his mid to late twenties (that way his voice actor, Haley Joel Osment, will be age appropriate to continue voicing him) and he is talking to a teenager. Riku and Kairi are there watching. Sora is going through the ceremony that will grant this kid the ability to wield a Keyblade. After the ceremony, the kid summons his own Keyblade, and it resembles the one that Eraqus once used. This kid, Sora’s trainee, will be the protagonist for the series going forward.

END PREDICTION

So that was my prediction of the main events of Kingdom Hearts III, hopefully it didn’t sound too much like fanfiction because that wasn’t what I was going for. Feel free to comment on what you think will happen and whether or not you agree with me. Also, I didn’t write this entirely alone. I had some help from my amazing friend Christine, so if you want, give her some love at her YouTube account Sheiks65. Lastly, keep watch next week when the last part of this prediction series will be published where I will predict the release date and features of the game.

The World Ends With You 2 is Still a Possibility

The World Ends With You

The World Ends With You

You know what’s awesome and underrated? The World Ends With You. This action-RPG game came out in 2008 in PAL regions and North America on the Nintendo DS and has since became a bit of cult hit. There has been very little murmurs in this potential franchise since the games release, but Square Enix continues to show interest in it.

In July of 2012 the cast of The World Ends With You appeared as characters in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. Not only did they appear, but within the context of their story in that game and the story of the original game, their time in Kingdom Hearts 3D could potentially be canonical within their own series. Fans surely thought this was a sign of interest in a sequel, but nothing seemed to come from it. Then, in August of that same year, a teaser website for what appeared to be a sequel came up. It counted down the days until an announcement on the franchise will be made with each day the music on the site getting more complex. Fans were disappointed to find out that the announcement was not for a sequel, but for a port of the game on iOS. However, from that disappointment came hope. This image appeared at the end of the mobile port, which clearly seems to be concept art for a sequel.

The World Ends With You

Sadly, nothing about that image has been elaborated upon, and it has been three years. The only things that can really be gathered from the image is that the girl is a new character, seemingly a mixture of all of the main characters from the original game (Neku’s headphones, Shiki’s Mr. Mew, her clothes are the same colors as Beat’s, Rhyme’s pose, and her hair is the same color as Joshua’s), that the term “New 7 Days” logically means a sequel, and that fans have dubbed this girl Hype-Chan.

Square Enix is clearly interested in this game, and a sequel on iOS devices or 3DS would make sense for the franchise. Possibly Square Enix has been at work on a sequel but don’t want to announce it since they already have so many games announced that are nowhere near being released, like Kingdom Hearts III, Final Fantasy XV, and the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Either way, I hope at some point this series is revisited, and quite frankly, Square Enix would be insane not to.

20 Of The Most ‘WTF?!?’ Moments in Metal Gear Solid’s History

WTF

WTF

Hideo Kojima’s incredible Metal Gear Solid series is known for a lot of things: tense and exciting gameplay. Ornate, sometimes overly elaborate, plot twists and turns. The mixing together of absurdism, conspiracy drama, camp, anime tropes, and political commentary. Cinematic cutscenes and meta-narrative weirdness. All of these things are elements of what make the MGS games so iconic –but what I like most about the MGS games aren’t any of these admittedly awesome characteristics (though they’re all a part of it, obviously). No, for me, it’s what I’ll call the ‘WTF’ factor of the Metal Gear games.

The ‘WTF Factor’ refers to the various scenes and moments fans have seen over the years in these games that, simply put, provoke the response of ‘WTF?!’ from anyone who sees them. Just in case people don’t know what I’m talking about, as well as to commemorate the legacy of Kojima’s run as director of the historic Metal Gear Solid franchise – which will conclude with MGSV: The Phantom Pain, out this September – let’s look back at the top 20 most outrageous, mind-meltingly ‘WTF?’ moments of the entire series.

20. The Outtakes Cutscenes (Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistance)/ The Demo Theater Mode (Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance)

We’ll start with two really ‘WTF’ features of two different Metal Gear games that I actually wish became a mainstay of the MGS series. In the original expansion for MGS2, Substance, you could actually rewatch any cutscene in the game with all of the character models changed out. Want to see Rose play the part of Vamp, or some random NPC play the role of Snake? Let your own imagination/insanity be your guide.

A similar but even better feature was included in the original expansion for Snake Eater, where you could watch dozens of ‘outtakes’ from the game. These were actually just scenes from the actual game rewritten to be much funnier/ seem like outtakes from an actual movie. My favorites include one where Ocelot straight up murders Snake, or when the gun Eva gives Snake turns out to be a fancy lighter.

19. The ‘Revenge of Genolla’ Mission (Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions, 1999)

The game VR Missions was great for a number of reasons: among them, the inclusion of ‘Variety’ mode. That was where the game’s biggest oddball missions were featured, including this hilarious one “The Revenge of Genolla”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt1q1jD2Vj0

18. The ‘Date with Paz’ Side-Op (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, 2010)

“I love the Beach” is not something I ever though I’d hear Big Boss say. Then again, I also never thought I’d see him chase around a barely of age girl in a bathing suit with a tazer, either.

17. Meryl Gets Possessed/ Psycho Mantis Boss Battle (Metal Gear Solid, 1998)

This happens in MGS1, right after you meet up with Meryl. She starts acting strangely as you approach the boss fight with FOXHOUND operative Psycho Mantis. This happens just before the boss-fight begins, and the entire segment is worth mentioning for all sorts of different kinds of weirdness.

16. Watching TV (MGS4)

MGS4 was arguably the weakest and weirdest of the MGS series – I could have done this entire list of just moments from that game, but I wanted to cover the entire series instead. So for the first big ‘WTF?” moment of MGS4, let’s think back to how the game begins: you’re an unknown character watching strange TV shows and commercials for the first ten minutes or so. It was an interesting way of trying to immerse players in the near-future world of the game, and I would have liked more of this ‘show don’t tell’ approach throughout the entire story.  But what’s still confusing to me is why these early glimpses of the game world are so awkward. Like, Tim and Eric level awkward. Even stranger, one of the shows you can watch is a weird interview where both people look and act like they’re messed up on drugs or something. The person being interviewed is fan-favorite David Hayter, voice actor for Solid Snake. It’s nice to see him make a cameo in the game. The only question is: why is any of this happening at all?

15. Snake’s Nightmare (Metal Gear Solid 3, 2004)

If you turn your console off and come back a few hours later when Snake has just been captured in MGS3, when you load the game you’re confronted with this strange minigame. You find out it’s Snake having a terrible nightmare while being confined inside the Groznyj Grad prison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXdMXkytVgI

14.The Who-Done-It Mystery VR Mission (VR: Missions, 1999)

Here’s another really weird one from VR Missions. Snake has to figure out what happened to the guard in the office. Without spoiling it, the ending is really what seals the deal.

13. “Get out of my mind, Liquid!” (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 2001)

Oh, don’t think I would or even could forget the myriad of strange moments in MGS2. Here’s one of the first really ‘WTF?’ scenes in the game, at least for your first playthrough. I think a lot of MGS fans had the same reaction when, during the middle of the Tanker mission, Kojima drops some supernatural/ mind transferrence ‘Twilight Zone’ crap out of nowhere into a storyline involving the two most important characters from the last game.

https://youtu.be/6hNOlupyX18?t=21m43s

(embedded to start at 21:43)

12. The “Date With Kaz” Side-Op (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, 2010)

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing ‘WTF?’ about being gay. But what is this scene’s purpose? Why is it here? Is it supposed to be funny, or just strange? Because it’s both. I can’t tell what the tone is supposed to be, why Miller is gay all of the sudden, and why this moment is never brought up again in Ground Zeroes.

11. Snake jumps into the ocean to chase after a Metal Gear (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 2001)

Ok, now we’re getting into some prime ‘WTF’ territory. Can anybody explain what Snake’s plan was once he hit the water? Or how he survives? Anyone?

(embedded to start at 4:38:50)

10. Trenya the Talking Cat (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, 2010)

The title pretty much says it all. Snake actually has a conversation with a talking cat. To be fair, Trenya is a character from the Monster Hunter series who’s just making a cameo. But for people who didn’t realize that, this was one of the strangest side-ops in a game already chock-full of weirdness.

9. Volgin gets fresh with Snake (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, 2004)

That’s one hell of a way of shaking someone’s hand…

(starts at 0:56)

8. Colonel Goes Insane (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Libery, 2001)

Sons of Liberty was an ahead-of-its-time game that was completely misunderstood. That being said, I can’t exactly blame people for being freakin’ confused – especially when, near the end of the game, Colonel Campbell starts acting insane and saying really surreal, strange, trippy things:

7.  The Ending of MGS4 (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, 2008)

When people ask me why I disliked MGS4 so much, oftentimes I’ll just direct them to the agonizingly long and convoluted hour and a half long ending. This game seriously needed an editor, as well as another writer to rewrite some of this dialogue. Ostensibly ‘big’ events like Meryl’s wedding, Snake’s final confrontation with Big Boss, Drebin explaining the entire game, and Raiden being given a new body, are all handled poorly. A lot of these ‘WTF’ moments are intentionally hilarious or strange, but whether or not Kojima realized how crazy this ending was remains to be seen.

(watch at your own risk)

6. Hardcore surgery/ The bomb in Paz’s…uh…well…(Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, 2014)

Maybe just to remind us how ‘WTF’ moments are still a big part of Kojima’s style, he gave us this amazingly insane scene from the closing moments of MGS5 prequel/ 30$ demo Ground Zeroes. After being shown graphic depictions of surgery on Paz’s stomach without the use of anesthesia, we then find out there’s another bomb somewhere…ahem..else in her body. Then, Paz promptly jumps out of the plane where her intimately placed bomb detonates and blows her to bits. You can also find a cassette tape that plays the sound of Skullface putting the bomb into her body. Yeah, it’s super gross.

(WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)

(scene starts at 16:42. Paz jumps at around 23:48)

5. Ocelot Unit’s Secret Signal (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, 2004)

This one is (hopefully) intentionally hilarious. It’s little camp moments like this that make MGS3 one of my favorite games of all time.

4. The relationship between Otacon and his step-sister, EE (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 2001)

Otacon and his step-sister EE (Emma Emmerich) have a very strange relationship. Not only did Otacon sleep with EE’s mom, which apparently led Hal’s father to kill himself; EE was also in love with Otacon, which she somewhat admits just dying literally in his arms. This was one of the saddest moments in the entire MGS franchise, which just made its weirdness even weirder.

3. Raiden Stops an Aircraft Carrier-sized Ship with his body…and survives (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, 2008)

Like seriously. WTF. That is the only appropriate response to this cutscene.

2. The Ending of MGS2 (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 2001)

Like I said, I’m actually a fan of MGS2. I’d go so far as to say it’s an underrated game. Many intelligent people online have spent hours dissecting its ending, and explaining what on the surface appears to be absolute gibberish. Yet I’m still posting this as a ‘WTF’ moment, and very high on the list, because everything that happens here appears to be absolute gibberish.

https://youtu.be/BrL7wo5-nJo

1. The entire plot of MGS4 (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, 2008).

In a word, ‘nanomachines’.

Did I leave any WTF moments out? What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

No Man’s Sky: What Is It? – Part 1

No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky

One of the most talked about games that smacked fans upside the head at last year’s E3 was No Man’s Sky. Developed by a four-man development team, Hello Games pitched their game in the most nonchalant manner possible. They promised a universe but showed just a sliver of it. Now, a year later, fans are still scratching their heads after watching Hello Games E3 presentation. Just what is it?

Well, good news, folks. I’m here to explain everything we know so far about No Man’s Sky.

Where Can I Play It?

Let’s talk platforms first. Which platforms the game would be released on was debating in contention. Although Hello Games mentioned we would see a PC release (since it’s the developing platform), many fans weren’t totally sure when we would see a PC release. Rest assured, though. We’ll be seeing the game release simultaneously on PS4 and PC with XBox One still pending.

Will There Be Multiplayer?

Another hotly debated feature was multiplayer. Will the No Man’s Sky have it? And if so, in what capacity? Will players be able to form parties with their friends? Will they have to find each other? What’s the skinny?

The short of it is that multiplayer does exist. You will share this galaxy with hundreds of thousands (millions?) of players, but you won’t have the capacity to see all of them at the same time. Plus, the size of the galaxy is set to scale. This means that it’s absolutely massive. Simply zooming out of the map is ego destroying because it emphasizes how minuscule every planet and star is in the galaxy.

So, while it’s possible to eventually find your friends and roam around in groups, you won’t necessarily be forming parties. It’s just not the point of the game. The game isn’t an MMO, there won’t be PVP, base building, or anything like that. The idea of the game is exploration, isolation, and self reflection. Okay, maybe not so much self reflection, but you’ll be terribly alone. Hello Games created the galaxy so players would be able to mark their paths by naming planets and their inhabitants.

That said, there are definitely some social features built into the game on a limited level. For instance, you’ll be able to see where your friends are in the galaxy, and you can leave messages for other players in certain places. Truth be told, a lot of the multiplayer details are still wrapped in a shroud of darkness.

Creating a Galaxy

No Man's Sky

Everything in the game is procedurally generated, but an important distinction to make is that the game isn’t random. All of the assets have obviously been worked on heavily and the team actually sends out probes into the galaxy to act like their eyes and ears. These probes exist to observe how their algorithms shaped the galaxy, and the developers have gone in to make sure that there are never too many of the same things nearby.

Procedural generation doesn’t end with planets, though. The developers’ algorithms extend all the way to the weapons, items, ships, and animals. The idea is that Hello Games really never wants you to see the same things twice. And if you do, they want to make sure they’re spaced out so far apart that you’ll forget you ever saw it to begin with.

The galaxy will be shared with all players but everyone is going to start off in their own solar system. The good news is that the developers favor fun over scientific accuracy, so you won’t be exploring wholly empty solar systems on your journey to the center of the galaxy. Each solar system has something significant in it that is shared among all players.

Planets themselves will be a bit empty. According to The Verge, each planet will only have a 10% chance of having life on them and most of the life will be very primitive. The idea is that when you find a planet that is lush with life then it will be remarkable and memorable to the player.

Game Structure

The gameplay is where things begin to get a bit convoluted, and that’s mainly because we haven’t really seen what all it has to offer in a concrete sense. Just isolated details here and there that we can put together to draw conclusions. Any facts stated here are rooted in truth, but inferences are just that.

The most interesting thing about the game is that there are no quests or missions outside of getting to the center of the universe. Instead, the player is tasked with creating their own adventures along the way. Not having quests isn’t to say that there aren’t things like jobs you can have in order to net units (the in-game currency).

As you play through the game you’ll obtain resources by killing animals and mining/gathering items on planets. The game uses this weird alternate periodic table that the developers have created and you’ll gather relevant resources to help upgrade your ship and your gear. Recipes for things like this will feel very much like Minecraft because you won’t know any of the recipes going into the game.

An interesting discovery in this year’s E3 demo is the introduction of a GTA styled wanted level. There are essentially space cops posted on every planet and if you go around causing havoc and being reckless then you’ll start to accrue wanted stars and have these space cops come gun you down.

A lot of people coming back from the demo have described the game somewhat like a mixture of EVE Online and Minecraft in the way that the economy and crafting work, respectively.

Gameplay of No Man’s Sky

no mans sky gameplay

If there is one thing we have seen, it’s gameplay. We’ve seen demos where players are able to seamlessly transition from space into a planet’s atmosphere and then simply land on the ground.

Combat does play a role in the game and can define who you are as a player. You can, unknowingly, be affiliated with factions that exist in the galaxy, but there won’t be any way for the player to accurately judge who favors or dislikes you. This is all determined by how you treat members of these factions. If you go out on a rampage against a certain faction then it’s very likely they’ll begin to attack you on-site. On the flip side, aiding various factions will allow you to call wingmen from these factions when you need aid.

As stated above, there are jobs in the game, though they mostly revolve around trade. And since your ultimate goal is to end up in the center of the universe then it’ll be unlikely that you stick around working a stable job outside of funding necessary upgrades.

As you make your way to the center of the galaxy you’ll notice better quality gear to acquire. An interesting thing noted in the Giant Bombcast was that the rules of the galaxy mirrored what we were familiar with on the edge of the galaxy, but as players begin to move closer to the center, the behavior of the galaxy changes. Unfortunately, details about this were left vague.

That’s going to wrap it up for the larger details, but part 2 will be up soon and will go in depth with smaller details regarding ships, combat, and more.

Top 11 Games Of E3 2015

E3 2015

From fifteen-year-old reboots to unexpected remakes to little red dolls made of yarn, E3 2015 has been nothing short of surprising. Everyone boards the annual hype train as dozens of new games rear their heads at one of the biggest conventions around.

 Everyone is excited, that much is certain, but what excites each individual person most is another topic altogether.

 These 11 games are games that intrigue me beyond all others, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a daunting task to actually place these in some sort of specific order.

11 – Shenmue 3

This might be the strangest way to start off a list about games I’m excited for, considering I’ve never played a Shenmue game in my life. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the franchise and how it helped define what we now call the open-world game, but as for experiencing it first hand, I have not.

You might wonder why I would be excited enough that it’d make the cut. While I can’t say I’m anticipating continuing a story I’ve never heard, just seeing the reaction of the fans got me vicariously hyped.

I want to play Shenmue. I don’t have a Dreamcast and I don’t have an original Xbox, and as a self-appointed hardcore gamer, it’d be silly not to play such a revolutionary and inspiring franchise.

I anxiously await my first trip into the world of Shenmue and hope that it lives up to the other games in the series, not for myself, but for the fans that never gave up hope that they’d see the end of their story.

10 – Star Wars Battlefront

I am a ridiculously huge Star Wars fan, and with the murder of LucasArts, I was devastated at the thought of not getting another excellent game set in the Star Wars universe. I wanted a developer that understands the franchise to make an experience that I won’t soon forget, with meticulous detail to capture the feeling of Star Wars.

When it was announced that DICE would be creating the next game in the Battlefront series, I couldn’t be more excited. Say what you will about the launch of Battlefield 4, but DICE absolutely understands how to make an incredibly rewarding first-person shooter with deep multiplayer. Pair this with the fact that DICE adores Star Wars, and we should be in for a treat of a game, right? Right!

There are a few concerns I have such as the AT-AT being on rails and the smaller player count, but if anyone can pull it off now, it’s DICE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InxJ59Netms

9 – Fallout 4

While Fallout 3 or New Vegas didn’t really jive with me, the seemingly overhauled gameplay, a renewed sense of humour, and a new focus on a ridiculous amount of customization has me really curious if Bethesda can finally immerse me in their game.

Fallout 4 says goodbye to brown and embraces colour. It says goodbye to the typical melodrama associated with post-apocalyptic settings in favour of some dark humour, and it says goodbye to the past and moves forward with a new look at how the apocalypse happened and a fresh coat of paint on Boston as a setting.

Overall the game looks fantastic, but I’m still nervous that it will be fetch-quest heaven with stiff and lifeless characters. We’ll see when it drops though.

8 – Starfox Zero

When I first got my SNES, I was absolutely blown away by Starfox. It had impressive polygonal graphics, unique and memorable characters, and insane combat that relied on your ability to react in a swift manner. It was such a unique concept to me at the time – especially with space bunnies- and I played it ritualistically for months without ever getting bored of it.

After the original Starfox though, the next game I got to play was Starfox Adventures. It is a great game in its own right, but it was a complete spin-off that didn’t satisfy my urge to soar an Arwing through rings while dodging blaster fire.

It has been over a decade of waiting for a new console Starfox game that adopts the philosophy of the original, and it seems that despite some huge changes like the motion controls, we’re finally getting a proper sequel.

I can’t wait to see what Nintendo does to improve on such a meticulous formula, and I’m anxiously awaiting my binge sessions where I scour each level searching for hidden secrets.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEAzs9Jbs_w

7 – Nier 2

Nier was a game that I always wanted to try but never could. I spent three or more years trying to find a copy in my area to no avail, and it seemed that no matter what stones I upturned, I’d never be able to play the game.

I got lucky recently and bought an extremely cheap copy on the PS3 and after spending two weeks playing through the adventure, I wanted nothing but more Nier.

The timing couldn’t be better, as mere weeks later Nier 2 is announced. Furthermore, having a developer like Platinum Games handling Nier’s weakest point, the combat, could not be a smarter idea. We already have all the assets to make a wonderful experience, we just needed someone with the right skill to flesh out the gameplay mechanics.

We got it.

6 – Horizon Zero Dawn

A lot of developers, Bethesda included, seem to want to flock to post-apocalyptic earth as a setting. It’s becoming so frequent now that I’m feeling burnt out on the idea. Game after game has you surviving a harsh wasteland torn apart by war and conflict, fighting off mutants or zombies with a variety of guns and melee weapons.

It’s formulaic to say the least, and most games that adopt such a setting don’t stray far from what I’ve described.

Horizon Zero Dawn may be a post-apocalyptic wasteland that has you battling enemies with a variety of guns, but replace the typical zombies with robot dinosaurs. Replace the typical Mad Max styled brutes and The Warriors styled gangs with tribes of primitive hunters using advanced crossbows and spears to do their hunting. Replace a dull brown wasteland with a vibrant and gorgeous landscape filled with colour and unique sights to behold.

All of this makes me excited to play Horizon. I just hope it can add an interesting narrative to the mix and keep things interesting without relying too heavily on dragging out the game’s length for ‘content’.

5 – Unravel

Whenever EA gets on stage I expect a ton of typical buzzwords like “innovation” while they just show off tons of bland sports games and unending sequels of broken buggy messes that everybody is sick of. What I absolutely didn’t expect was to see some shaking young man with a little red doll made of yarn.

 What sold me before the game was even shown was the man himself. From speaking about taking photos of his Yarnie doll in the woods for level ideas to his trembling hands, nervous laughter, and utter gratefulness to be on a huge stage at a massive event, I was completely taken aback by how genuine and sweet he seemed.

When we finally cut to Unravel though, what we see is an endearing, gorgeous, and interesting platformer with what seems to be some interesting mechanics at the core.

There is no doubt in my mind that this game will be solid and the ideas fully fleshed out, I just don’t know if I’m ready to cry at another video game so soon.

4 – Uncharted 4

Everyone who follows Naughty Dog knew that Uncharted 4 would rear it’s head at E3, but the manner in which it would do it was very much up to debate. After seeing an exhilarating car chase and some incredible technology on display, it is no surprise then that I seriously cannot wait to get back into the shoes of Drake as he finishes up his final adventure.

With a graphics engine to blind the viewer, a new sense of speed and chaos, a focus on verticality and non-linear level design, Uncharted 4 should be on everyone’s radar, as it is going to be the summer blockbuster game we need in our lives.

I never get sick of hearing Sully and Drake’s banter.

3 – Cuphead

When you look at the world of video games, it’s hard to come up with a completely unique idea and turn it into a game that nobody has ever done before. Unless you’re Studio MDHR that is.

With all the distinct art-styles we see in games, not once have we been able to actually play through a classic 30s cartoon from start to finish. Cuphead says that we need to, and it offers us a Mega Man-esque platforming action game with an art style that is almost shockingly similar to such wonders as Mickey Mouse or Popeye.

The game looks incredible and the design so well articulated that you’d be fooled not to think it’s based on some ancient source material.

That it is not, and wait I cannot.

2 – The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian is a game that I consistently feared had been scrapped. Year after year I’d prepare for E3 with my annual anticipation of seeing more on the game, just to have my dreams crushed as the game went unmentioned and neglected year after year.

I grew cynical and negative as the years went on, and I didn’t think I’d ever have my dream of being able to play The Last Guardian come true. E3 2015 proved me wrong by showing me that the game is not only still alive, but is coming along beautifully.

What a wonderful concept; a boy and his creature. Both escaping a perilous locale, using teamwork and intelligence to stay alive and flee what we can only assume is a vile enemy. The demo starts with the boy ripping spears out of the beasts dying body, and from there a bond is built that I cannot fathom never being able to take part in.

Please give me The Last Guardian. My heart has had a hole in it since I completed Shadow of the Colossus.

1 – Final Fantasy VII as Top E3 2015

Though my top choice might not be surprising, I’d say it’s justified. I got into gaming because of a little game known as Final Fantasy VII. I had dabbled and enjoyed my fair share of shoot-em-ups and platformers on the retro consoles, but nothing had ever fully immersed or grasped me until I went into a pawn shop one day and purchased Final Fantasy VII on a whim.

 The game blew me away. The pre-rendered backgrounds were astoundingly beautiful to me, the music was entrancing and ethereal, the writing and narrative deep and complex, and the characters lovable and varied. I had never seen a game with such depth, and I’d spend my nights either playing it or leaving my game on to fall asleep to the incredible soundtrack that Nobuo Uematsu crafted.

These types of memories will never leave me, and the impact of the game cannot be nullified. With that said, I’ve been wanting to re-enter the world of Final Fantasy VII in 3D for years, and the prospect of a full remake coming blows my mind.

 Picture Midgar fully traversable in 3D, picture Uematsu’s incredible score re-imagined with an orchestra and picture the gameplay tweaked and enhanced to feel right at home in 2017. That is what we’re getting if I have it my way, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Top 5 Video Game Podcasts

Podcasts

I don’t know about you, but I feel like the invention of podcasts might be one of the best to come out of the entertainment industry within the last decade or so. I listen to them while I work, while I’m driving, or just when I’m relaxing while I play video games. With the most popular of podcasts coming from people like Adam Corolla, Kevin Smith, and Marc Maron, I thought I should shed some light on gaming podcasts. So, here are my top 5!

5. Married to the Games

Out of all the podcasts on this list, I feel like this one might be the most unique. It is hosted by Gabe Patillo, Tim Hall and Tim Rauter as they cover current events in gaming while incorporating stories about their daily lives. Unlike most of the other podcasts on my list, this one is not hosted by people in the game industry through one way or another, and it thrives because of it. You can tell these three guys are fanboys and that they are actually having fun recording this, even if they’re dead tired. The best way I could pitch it is as the “Howard Stern of gaming podcasts, just not as vulgar.” The second you hear Gabe Patillo’s intro of “OHHHH! YES, YES, YA’LL! Yes, yes, ya’ll!” you will be welcomed into their world of kids and wives, and 9 to 5’s.

4. Final Fantasy & Kingdom Hearts Union

I recognize this is a solely Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy podcast, so there’s a good chance that will be uninteresting to a good portion of gamers. However, if you are a fan of one or both of these properties, this might be the best podcast out there for you. This show releases every other week with the shows alternating, so you get about one Kingdom Hearts Union a month and one Final Fantasy Union a month. It is definitely a strange release schedule, but considering that it’s not like news on these properties are dropped every week, the schedule actually works for the shows advantage. The show’s hosts are all enthusiastic geeks who really know their stuff on the topics they cover, more than the average fan at least. The strong point of the shows are that the hosts really are pros when it comes to making the podcast fun when there isn’t any big news at the time of an episodes release.  Also, their interaction with their fans is spectacular. So, if you want to feel closer to the fanbase of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy, this podcast will certainly do the trick.

3. Podcast Beyond

Beyond is hands down the best Playstation podcast ever, and it hardly ever stays focused. It’s a conversational podcast, which means it derails every few minutes or so, and that’s part of its charm. Each episode is guaranteed to inform you on the weeks Playstation news while simultaneously making you burst into laughter. Currently hosted by IGN’s Marty Sliva, Max Scoville, and Brian Altano, this podcast has a certain rhythm that will easily hook the listener into the lunacy of the hosts. Before you realize it, you will be wrapped up into the show and their fanbase, screaming nonsense at each other like “Brap! Brap!” or just the usual “BEYOND!” You really don’t have to be a Sony fan to like this podcast either, as long as you have an interest in video games and comedy, this might be the perfect podcast for you.

2. Kinda Funny Gamescast

The Kinda Funny Gamescast is hosted by the Pure One, Tim Gettys and the Coolest Dudes in Video Games, Greg Miller and Colin Moriarty. Aside from being a great listen, the fanbase is also fantastic. The fanbase, dubbed “the Best Friends”, are quite possibly the most welcoming and nicest group of people to ever roam the internet. Just being a part of the community would be reason enough to listen, but the fact is that the podcast uniting them is equally as great. Offering their own special brand of humor, the hosts know what they’re talking about and instead choose to cover “topics” rather than go through different news stories. Much like Beyond, which Miller and Moriarty used to host, this podcast is highly conversational, derails quickly, and is equally as hilarious. However, this podcast is not as silly as Beyond. The hosts are all really sophisticated individuals in their fields of work, and their knowledge is shown to great lengths in each episode. Their understanding of the way the industry works enables them to properly break down and analyze everything they cover. That being said though, it still remains to be very funny and entertaining. Even though this is a relatively new podcast, starting back in January of this year, it certainly has the legs to last for a very long time. Oh, and lastly, just remember: Colin Was Right.

1. The TOVG Podcast

TOVG stands That One Video Gamer, which is the company that produces this podcast along with YouTube shows like The Dex, The Completionist, and Super Beard Bros.  This podcast offers the news from the perspective of the YouTubers. Hosted by Sunder, MattVisual, and Super Bunnyhop, this podcast is one of the few I’ve been following since day one. It mostly centers on topics covering indies or controversial gaming news. It always maintains to be the most entertaining video game podcast due to the banter between the hosts. While there was a stint about 6 months ago when each episode was mostly spent discussing Smash Bros and Resident Evil, their topics are returning to be more diverse (though I did love when they talked about those games). I’m not really sure what else to say about it, it’s just an awesome podcast that deserves all the attention it gets and more. While you’re at it, the YouTube channels of these guys are also really great and entertaining. Hopefully this didn’t just sound like a plug for their YouTube channels, I just really love this show.

So that’s it, I hope after reading you check out at least one of these shows as they are all amazing.

Best Heroes From Gigantic

Gigantic

If you haven’t heard of Gigantic, it is a free-to-play shooter MOBA where heroes battle alongside a massive guardian. You guardian fights at your side and resurrects you when you die. As for the heroes of Gigantic, they consist of wide variety of different play-styles. Whether you come from FPSs, MOBAs, or action games, there’s a hero you will find familiar.

Keep in mind that I haven’t played the game myself since it is in a closed Alpha, and that these are my favorite heroes based on what we know.

Tyto the Swift

gigantic tyto

Tyto’s Hero Page

Tyto’s play-style is focused on fast and deadly melee combat. Tyto also has a pet named Fang, which helps in combat.

Skills

– Talon – A sword combo attack.
– Swoop – Leap as you lunge with your sword.
– This skill works best as a way to get into and out of fights, and also functions a way to get around the battlefield.
– Blade Dance – Spin your sword to move fast and attack in all directions.
– This skill creates a whirlwind that deflects incoming projectiles.
– Fang – Fang attacks the enemy you target.
– This is a great way to start a fight and apply persistent damage while Tyto finishes up with other attacks.
– Fang can be upgraded to chase down foes or bypass enemy armor.
– Blur – Rush forward in a blur, delivering a bleeding wound to enemies you pass.
– This skill requires a bit more planning that most, since it does its best damage when all the enemies are lined up.
It also acts as an effective way to catch up with enemies.

Tripp

gigantic tripp

Tripp’s Hero Page

Tripp is an assassin who can carve up and enemy, then escape to safety before the rest of the team can react.

Skills

– Lightning Strikes – Deliver lightning-fast dagger attacks.
– Use to deal out high damage on weak targets or creatures.
– Plasma Blades – Throw daggers to inflict ongoing bleed damage.
– This is Tripp’s main way to pick-off enemies at range. Very good for getting a last hit on an enemy running away.
– Electric Slide – Glide forward rapidly. Tap again to make a kick attack that launches enemies upward.
– Can be used as a distance closer, highly mobile damage ability, or crowd control in an emergency.
– Flashdance – Become invisible for a short time.
– Bladestorm – Unleash a flurry of melee attacks that interrupt your target.
– This skill deals great burst damage to finish off an enemy, since its hits are inescapable.

Whether you have or haven’t heard about Gigantic before this article, check out its website and tell me who your favorite heroes are. I’d be interested to see which hero people like the most!