Why the Resident Evil 7 Demo Works

     As I slowly make my way down the ladder, with my soon-to-be-dead companion cheering me on with each step at the top, I wonder if we will find the other member of our party that so conveniently wandered off in a house that is looking more reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with every passing moment. It seems that I have been climbing down for at least 15 seconds now, but by the looks of this obviously make-shift hidden entrance to the basement, there is really no telling when my feet will finally hit the ground and I can resume investigating my surroundings. As I finally find the floor, I struggle to grasp what I am actually looking at as I slowly reposition myself, completely expecting a jump scare. Why not? After all, it would be the easy thing to do. Instead I am greeted with rusted pipes in some type of a underground passage, but faintly in the near distance I can just make out the figure of our missing person, Andre. As I courageously decide to move closer when I realize that he is facing the opposite direction of me and standing still. Way too still… I place my hand on his shoulder to tell him we need to get out of here, but it’s to my horror that I realize that someone or some thing had shoved him mouth open on to a pipe sticking out of the wall. I fall backwards on to the mud underneath me, just in time to see a pair of old workman boots making their way up to me, cast in the light of my camera. My world goes dark once more…

     This is only a short 30 second piece of the full Resident Evil 7: Biohazard demo that is being offered for free on you platform marketplace, and a brief glimpse into the full game set to launch on Jan 24th, 2017. I was able to complete the demo from beginning to “end” during my first run through, but with the deployability and the fact that I continue to find new things and entirely different endings, I have sunk more than 5 hours into this demo. For context, I could play almost the entirety of The Order: 1886 in this length of time, so to answer many of your questions thus far, yes- I like this demo. A lot. 

     While producer Kawada Masachika and director Nakanish Koushi, have already confirmed that this demo is not necessarily a piece of the final product, taken to allow players to sample, but merely a look into the tone and “feeling” of the full version. Let me safely say, that if this game is even half as good as what the demo implies, this will be easily be the best Resident Evil entry since number 4 (not difficult, I know). In every controller gripping/high tension filled moment of this glimpse, it is apparent that they have finally walked away from the attempt at making the franchise a Shooter, and instead doubled down on the concepts that made this IP so beloved in the first place.

     A sense of unease and dread around every corner and of course the puzzle-like way you have to make your way through the game, the demo is a call back to everything that made the original entry so great. At this point, my only hope is that they take their time to give the final product the love and attention that they did with this sample. Last we heard, that game was about 65% of the way complete through development (fact credit: famitsu)a few weeks ago at E32016, and with a release date of January 25th, I worry they will try to rush. While it is obvious that Capcom has every intension of hitting this timeline, with the recent re-releases of the series and ending with Resident Evil 4 this fall, a deployment strategy leading up to the launch of the latest installment. Capcom, do NOT rush this game. 

     If you haven’t already checked out the demo for Resident Evil 7, you owe it to yourself to give it a go. If you’re the type that gets nervous at the thought of playing horror games, get a buddy and play through it together. I promise, it is that good. With the reveal of full PS VR integration, this game will do huge numbers, already looking to be a clear flagship for the sony platform. However, regardless of where or how you play it, just do. This is the Resident Evil that we have been clamoring over for years. 

     Now what the hell am I supposed to do with this dam mannequin finger….

To Remaster, or not to Remaster?

     If it’s one thing that the Crash Bandicoot Remaster announcement from the Sony Showcase at E32016 has shown me, it’s that everyone has an “exception” to the saying, “I’m tired of all these remasters, use resources on new IP”. It has gotten to the point that whenever I start discussing this topic with someone and they start giving me the “waste of time” speech that I usually ask them what was their favorite game of the last 10 years, and follow up with “What if they remastered that?” I could bet you know what the answer to that question is 99% percent of the time. For the other 1%, it’s usually because they aren’t thinking hard enough on what game they would want most. The fact of the matter is that everyone, and I mean everyone has that one game or franchise that they wouldn’t mind seeing get a polish to bring over to current hardware. For those of you on the PC that is about to give me the “well that’s why I play on PC, you can play any game blah blah blah”… Obviously this discussion is geared towards the console player. I still love you though. Enjoy playing every game ever created with the click of the mouse.

     Now for those poor souls, such as myself, that don’t have the convenience of the Steam Marketplace, what game would you like to see remade? For me, I play with this question often. I normally come up with Kingdom Hearts port for the remakes they did, or Prince of Persia. The question that I think needs to be discussed however, are Remasters necessary, or are they a waist of developers time? Personally, I think they are a necessary evil under the circumstances.

     Keeping in mind that we are living in a console community now that full backwards compatibility is a thing of the past for both Xbox and PlayStation, we have to rely on these masters if you want to be able to play some of your favorite titles as time marches on. Yes, I know that Xbox One offers some compatibility, boasting a roster of over 200+ titles now, however there are still classics I can’t boot up (Rockstar I’m looking at you. Red Dead Redemption *Wink*). The fact is that if we are to expect that publishers aren’t going to bump up the prices of games as we move from one generation to the next, they have to allow the developers to make their money somewhere. For some, it is this function that allows them to break even on a game. Look at Dark Siders 2, that was a game that no one was clamoring for a remaster, but the developer was able to regain some of the lost capital buy repackaging and selling it once more.

     Developers such as Bluepoint, have created a business out of these remasters and definitive collections. With a catalog such as The Metal Gear Solid HD Collection he Last of Us Remaster, it’s now wonder that some of these devs dedicate their entire staff to producing these products. That is what many of us fail to remember, that while we may think that a remaster is a waist of time for the developer, many times it is not the original developer doing the heavy lifting. In the case of Crash Bandicoot, you will see another 3rd party company step in and handle that one, not Naughty Dog. That would be a huge mistake, and I mean that. 

     Now while I get ready for the overload of direct messages and emails, asking me if I am crazy or the imminent “Naughty Dog should make another Jak & Daxter” argument, I am going to sit here and dream of a Mass Effect Definitive Collection. After all, if you were all honest with yourselves, you know there is a game or two you wouldn’t mind seeing remade. If you have a game that jumps to mind, let me know in the comments below. Time to go boot up Tomb Raider Definitive Collection.

Will Sea of Thieves dry out like Evolve did?

     It was shortly after watching the gameplay reveal during Microsofts showcase during E32016, that I really started to worry about the longevity of the upcoming title Sea of Thieves. Now let me preface that I am actually looking forward to playing the action-adventure pirate game sometime when it launches next year in 2017. I know that it will be an instant hit for me and my group of Xbox Live companions, trying to boast the baddest ship in the seven seas. As a matter of fact, we are already having arguments of who is going to be the “Music-guy” wielding musical instruments to give the rest of us a haunting sea melody as we look for buried treasure. This is the Rare developed game that I have been looking forward to playing since it’s glory days of Banjo-Kazooie, the kind of game that refuses to allow the player to stop smiling. But as quickly as my hype began to build- I immediately found myself wondering if the online community will give this the attention that it never gave other multiplayer games, such as Evolve?

     While the optimist in me wants to believe that a games fun-natured gameplay can transcend the normalities that you find wrong with a lot of multiplayer based games nowadays, the cold hard fact is that in order for this game to stay relevant months after the release of the game is entirely dependent on the players themselves, and their ability to pick up a microphone and communicate. In all areas of the game, this game demands collaboration amongst you and your team, the cheesy gameplay demo of people screaming at each other was more realistic than you probably think. From helping man the Crows Nest to watch for upcoming rocks, islands, and of course other ships- to informing the crew of holes in the side of your ship from enemy fodder, you must communicate with your team if you want your team to succeed. This is the reason that I compare this game to Evolve, many similarities follow the two in terms of player contribution demand, and we all know how that turned out for Evolve

     Now before you think I’m picking on Evolve, I enjoyed my time with that game but due to the issues that I am concerned about for Sea of Thieves, it was short lived. And from the way the community died out after a while, I know many out there had a similar experience. I feel like that could be a whole different topic in itself: is it wise for game developers to place so much trust in the community, that you the future of your title lives and dies by the online community? While there are definitely success stories for that, one right now is Overwatch; however with titles like Titanfall experiencing a similar fate, and Fable Legends was a key factor in a studios closing… It’s got to make you wonder if the reward is worth the risk. 

     I am looking forward to playing Rare’s upcoming title regardless of what the outcome may be a month or two later, but for the sake of the studio I hope that they find a crowd pleaser. The last thing that I wan’t to see is a world without developers willing to take risks in creativity to give us products like Sea of Thieves. You have to admit, although Call of Duty Battlefield are awesome annualized fall blockbusters, games would get boring pretty fast without your occasional cult classic or wild idea game. You need the Mirror’s Edge and Sea of Thieves to break the mold. Personally, I hope to find you all out on the seas, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the crew mates around you when Sea of Thieves hits shelves next year.

How Zelda: Breath of the Wild Stole E32016

     I have always said that one of the key indicators of great art, or in this case a video game, is the lasting effect that it has on you in the days and weeks following your exposure to it. It is no secret that Zelda: Breath of the Wild left a lasting impression with those that were lucky enough to experience the demo at E32016 last week. Articles, gameplay videos, fan reactions… you name it. All across the web, it’s obvious to see that this was the game that left so many of the attendees at the expo, wanting more. Nintendo has a hit on their hands, and boy do they know it. When every other conference or showcase was a vast display of deep catalogs, Nintendo kept their E32016 strategy to the format that they have come to be known for: The Nintendo Treehouse Event.

     But instead of new game announcements and console reveals that their counterparts stuck to, they decided to use their resources to show off one game, and one game only; Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s incredible to think that out of the amazing E3 that we were given this year, boasting titles of God of WarBattlefield1, & Gears of War 4, Zelda not only held its weight in the social media ring, but managed to outshine basically every announcement, game or hardware related, since the moment we first laid our eyes on the announcement trailer. 

     From reveals like voice acting for the first time in a Zelda game, to showing off the openness of the world, Breath of the Wild is giving not only Nintendo fans, but the entire Gaming Community a whole lot to be excited for. From the walkthrough that was narrated by the creator of the game himself, they demonstrated that right from the get go of the game you are sent into a world that feels both familiar and incredibly new. Picking apples, climbing walls and trees, and even the ability to go in any direction that you really desire. This is the Zelda that fans have been clamoring for, for a long time. If it’s one thing that Nintendo proved at E32016, it’s that you need to stick to what you know and give the fans what they want. That they did.

      Now for everyone throwing soda cans at their computer screen right now saying that PlayStation/Microsoft/Ubisoft/etc. had the best show- go check out my E32016 report card in which I named Sony the victor. However, as I prefaced before, what has stayed with most gamers since the show and what is everyone still talking about. While you will find huge discussions on God of War, Dishonored 2, & Sea of Thieves, the one game that continues to build hype and will be the highlight memory of E32016 for most- including myself- is the moment I fell in love with Zelda once more. 

Now… excuse me while I go wipe off what appears to be an inch of dust from my WiiU.

Sony Needs to Wait on the PSNeo

     It’s no secret that this fall will be an important one for Sony. With the impending release of  The Last Guardian, a game that many have believed a myth, to the introduction of their VR platform, PS VR, it cannot be overstated how careful they must be in every move they make. This is not the time to start looking into introducing the next iteration of the PlayStation ecosystem; they need to wait.

     CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment(SIE), Andrew House revealed that the existence of a more powerful PlayStation 4 during an interview with The Financial Times, in the weeks leading up to E32016. However, House confirmed the console would not be revealed at the expo, as it was not the right time for the unveiling. New rumors are now circulating that the console should be expected to release sometime before the end of the 2016 calendar year. This leaves me with really only one question: why now?

     Now before we go to far down the rabbit hole on something that has not even been confirmed as of yet, Sony has been incredibly smart in all of their moves this generation thus far, so I would preface this discussion with a large grain of salt before we have confirmation. Now that we have that prefaced, let’s take a look at the possibility if this is true.

     Who would this console iteration be targeted at? As of right this moment, Sony has got to be banking on their hardcore audience is reserved and ready to go for the PS VR launch early this October. It would be crazy to assume that this group of people would double down on a console purchase, at the same time they are already picking up their $400 VR device. If it’s for the consumer that has waited thus far to purchase a PS4, this most likely implies that they are waiting on one of two things: the right price, or the right game. House confirmed that the next iteration would not have console exclusives, but sit side by side with the current platform… So no games that would drive this consumer. As for the price, the introduction of a higher end model would most likely imply the price drop of your existing, meaning your average “Joe” is more likely to pick up the older version for a better price. 

     This next console, the PlayStation Neo, the PS4k, whatever you would like to call it, is going to need the hard core Sony fanbase in order to succeed. Period. So to introduce this product when they just went out to buy your latest VR headset, would be suicide for the future of the platform and would split the market before you ever get either device off the ground. The average gamer only has so much money to toss around, and Mom & Dad will only make one unnecessary purchase to put under the christmas tree this year. Which will it be? And it’s this mentality that will force losses on the sales numbers before either hit store shelves.

     You might be asking, “When?” at this point. if it were me, I would hold the console for sometime next fall. Let the PS VR get off the ground and build confidence in that platform before you start bleeding the consumers wallet for the next one. If it’s not broke, then don’t fix it- and at 40+million units sold thus far into the console generation, Sony has no reason to rush a new model to market. Just take your time, Sony. You’re holding all the cards, no point in showing your hand before it’s needed.

Release Dates No Longer Matter

There was a time not so long ago that we as gamers, could look at the release date several months out and know that regardless of what school brought our way, family drama arose, or any other of life challenges found you, that you could count on getting your hands on the game the day you were promised. While obvious that this is no longer the case with delays being announced every other day, it is important to come to grips with this pattern now for sake of your expectations and overall gaming happiness

      Video game release dates no longer mean what they once did.  Accept that. But this is not always a bad thing, and more often than not- this is actually a very good thing.  Now before you start penning your “How dare you!” email, let’s find some common ground so you can understand where I am coming from. If it is one thing that I have learned ignites a fire in the gaming community more than most things (outside of the word micro transactions), it is telling a gamer that they are not going to play a game as soon as they had originally anticipated. Trust me, I have been burned time and time again on game delays. Hell, anyone that has a PlayStation this generation should be completely used to it by now. From games like The Order: 1886Uncharted 4, and don’t even get me started on DriveClub… So yes, I feel your pain.

     We have gotten to a point in games however, that we must begin to revert our expectation of solid release dates and begin to look at them more as Release Windows. Logically, it does not make sense to announce a game release date a year in advance, and expect to hit the deadline every single time. That is just not the way that game development works nowadays. However this does not give game developers or publishers a pass in all scenarios. Games like Batman: Arkham Knight being announced for an October release date then being pushed to nearly 8 months only a few short weeks later, is more than a mere oversight. 

     Here is what I propose for all parties involved: as gamers, lets ease up on the developer that wants to take another few weeks to help realize their final product. However, as developers and publishers, try to stay away from giving release dates several months in advance. I understand that you need to build hype for your game, but there are better ways to go about that. Besides, delays will many time hurt a games reputation with the community, does Watchdogs ring a bell?

     This reasoning in itself is probably why Sony didn’t go out this past week during their E32016 showcase and hit us with a bunch of release dates. It wasn’t a mistake, they didn’t just forget to add them at the end of the demo. While I believe most of the games shown were 2017 releases (with the exception of Death Stranding- 2019 at the earliest for that game, promise), why crush the hype they have built later down the road with a delay, when they can announce it when they are ready and give the gamers something to look forward to and believe in.

     Before I hop down from my soapbox, let me leave you with one final thought on the matter. Support the developers that have the courage to step up and ask for more time; these people know what this does to us and the kinds of reactions they will inevitably receive. Our complaining doesn’t help the situation, nor does it benefit the end product. Which is why we are all here, right? Developers take your time (not talking about you The Last Guardian). Build the game that you wanted to. The gaming community is better for it.

Things I Wish I Knew When First Playing Overwatch

Overwatch has been doing a good job of occupying my time. Whether it’s the variety the game provides with its colorful cast of characters, or the thrill of opening a loot box; the game has me hooked. If you’re first starting out or just needing that extra edge, here are a few tips I wish I knew when I first started out in Overwatch.

Play as Every Character at Least Once.

First off, I recommend playing at least one match with each character. By doing this, you will naturally familiarize yourself with each character’s abilities, movement and their ultimate. Exposing yourself to each character’s play style will also teach you how to compliment others on a team, or exploit weaknesses in enemy characters. This leads to my next tip…

Find at Least One Favorite in Every Category of Character.

 Photo Credit: alexnegrea.blogspot.com
Photo Credit: alexnegrea.blogspot.com

Overwatch’s characters are broken down into class categories: Offensive, Defensive, Tank, and Support. Find at least one favorite in each category and practice with them. This will allow you to fill out your teams needs, without being at a disadvantage by learning a new character. You will always have a fall back character to switch into mid game; giving the opposing team a different look, or providing your team with that key support character they needed to make a push for the objective.

Winning Objectives is Top Priority.

Speaking of objectives, they are top priority in Overwatch. While focusing on kills is helpful in some games, you should think of kills as more of a byproduct of taking objectives. Everything in Overwatch rewards playing for objectives rather than kills, so prioritize your play accordingly. Don’t sell out an objective to rack up kills. That is an easy way to lose quickly.

Focus on Healers First.

This tip is meant in two ways. First, learning support characters first is the easiest way to learn Overwatch, as it allows you to contribute to your team’s success, at the same time allowing you to hang back and allow more experienced teammates to neutralize the opposing team. The second way you should focus on healers first is in battle. If you are caught in a shootout with a healer and another character, focus on the healer first to increase your chances of survival. Healers can turn most characters into bullet sponges, so kill them first to combat enemies more effectively.

Certain Characters are Meant for Certain Match Types.

Overwatch allows for flexibility as you could play most of the characters in any situation, but you will find some characters excel in particular match types. Turret characters like Bastion, Torbjorn and Symmetra do wonders on defense and are not as effective when attacking objectives. Tank characters are used to push up on objectives and hold down areas, but are mostly ineffective long range. Take each character’s play style, the level design and the objective into consideration to find the strongest team compositions in any given moment.

 Communicate as Much as Possible.

Communication in Overwatch can be the difference in matches. A whole game can be turned around in an instant by coordinating assaults or syncing up ultimate abilities. Calling out enemy positions or simply letting your team know your plans will improve your teamwork and increase your chances of winning dramatically.

Unique Options for Characters

Once you have found some favorite characters, make sure to check out the unique options menu for those characters. You can tweak specific settings for your favorite characters to suit your play style such as auto wall-running for Genji or toggling heals/buffs for Mercy. Be sure to take advantage of these settings as they could help in your quality of play.

Buying Loot Boxes is a Slippery Slope.

Just don’t. Or do. Just don’t ask me how to stop. Please. Help me. 

God of War has changed, but is it for the better?

He’s back…. Kratos received a roar of applause, cheers, and “awed” shock as he emerged from the shadows during the opening of the Sony E32016 Showcase. Not surprising however, since the PlayStation hero has been silent for nearly 3 years now since the release of God of War: Ascension back in 2013. If you really think about it, since Ascension was a prequel entry to the series, God of War 3 hit shelves 6 years ago, back in 2010. No matter how you try to spin it, it’s been a long time since we accompanied the rage filled Spartan on his quest to kill Zeus, king of the gods.

Sony Santa Monica has been silent for a long time on the status of the franchise, except for your collection here and vita release there. However, this silence has officially come to an end with the introduction of the latest entry simply titled, God of War. The name alone makes you question several things about the impending reunion: will this be the same Kratos? Is this a full reboot except for the character? While we are likely months away till we receive answers to these questions, one resounding thing is clear: This is not the same Kratos that we remember. 

Events have taken place in the years (I assume) that have past since we last fought with Kratos that has left him with several traits or characteristics that were once foreign to the Spartan. Kratos is quick to cool off after his fight with the troll, resuming his lesson on catching the animal. For the first time in memory, was saw him defuse his anger when his son prematurely shot an arrow at the deer (just let that sink in, the GOD OF WAR just decided to keep his cool). And most notably, there is care in the way that he handles the matters of the dying animal with his child. In 10 minutes, Sony Santa Monica completely changed my preconceived notions with the anger driven character. Now for the first time in the entirety of the franchise, I literally don’t know what to expect from the upcoming iteration, and this lack of understanding makes me very excited for what’s to come.

God of War has always been, first and foremost, about the gameplay. This fact, I have honestly never been argued on (because I am saying this, I am sure someone will come out of the woodwork). However, when it came to the character himself, while everyone could tell me the premise of the Spartans background, none really every expressed the notion of caring about the characters well being. Don’t get me wrong, I am not implying that every game under the sun needs to have an emotional impact like Journey, but what I AM saying is the act of truly being invested in your character and their outcome can be the difference between being just another game sitting on your shelf that “You need to get back to one day”, and a game that you spend sleepless nights battling through. Santa Monica understands this fact, and I think this is why they are moving in this direction.

For those of you worried about the direction they are taking, remember that there is A LOT that we don’t know yet. The reason for the drastic change in tone, in my opinion, was to get the audiences attention that this was not going to be your average God of War entry. I have every ounce of faith that the next time we see the Spartan, he will be climbing the back of some gigantic beast (c’mon dragon, c’mon dragon, C’MON DRAGON!) and gutting the poor (?) monster in the classic Kratos Fashion that we have already come to love and know. To those of you looking for a The Last of Us style game, I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. But if you are interested in a different type of God of War, then I think you will find a lot to be excited for in this upcoming title. 

 

 

E32016: Who Won the Conference Battle this Year?

Wow… what an incredible few days for the gaming industry. Between every showcase, conference, game announcement, bad joke made, and awesome kimono wearing game developer on stage, it is needless to say that E32016 will be one to remember. That goes for all consoles, developers, and publishers involved: from us at The Gamer HUD, we say well done on another exceptional year.

Now down to business. Let me begin by saying, that this is solely my opinion and those that write for The Gamer HUD could have differing opinions. In other words, direct the hatred directly at me *Wink*. Since I think most can say that the argument will come down to either Microsoft or Sony, let’s address the others. To note: I have bolded each conference if you waned to skip sections.

EA kicked off the entire thing Sunday, with a one hour presentation showing us what CEO Andrew Wilson prefaced as “a quick glimpse into what we have in development”, truer words have never been spoken. In their 60 minutes, they managed to cover all known titles in development such as Battlefield1 and Madden NFL 2017. But the thing that made me a little frustrated with the conference, as I am sure it did to many of you reading this as well, they glossed over Mass Effect: Andromeda. Yes they showed someone drawing concept art of characters with small glimpses into the universe, with a short trailer at the end, but I can’t wrap my head around why they wouldn’t start the whole thing with a 5 minute gameplay demo; or something of that nature. Anything more on that front would have been welcomed. Instead they kept it high level and gave us a solid 10 minute “Making Of” look at Fifa 17 powered by the beloved Frostbite engine… Needless to say, there was some sadness in that conference for me.

Grade: C+

Bethesda had a solid conference, even though a good amount of it had been leaked before the show. Still managing to surprise and impress, they showed revivals like Prey, the highly anticipated Dishonored 2, and even managed to throw in an easter egg or two with the Wolfenstein: New Colossus imageI am glad that Bethesda decided to keep their conference this year at E3, even though many thought that it would be unlikely. But announcements such as Skyrim Remasters and Quake Champions, made for a solid showing. Well done Bethesda

Grade: B+

Ubisoft… if there is one thing that you cannot say about this conference, is that it was too short. Clocking in at almost 2 hours long, I can’t possibly imagine how anxious the audience was to get the hell out of there by the time Aisha Tyler closed out the show with some closing thoughts. On that note, we saw plenty. From promising games such as Ghost Recon Wildlands, to the highly anticipated South Park: Fractured But Whole, they had more than enough to keep us entertained. In a way I felt like Ubisoft suffered the exact opposite of what EA did, way too much content over a long (seriously, can’t hit this one home hard enough) period of time. If Ubisoft had packed that down into 1 hour, with no on stage interviews, dance performances, developer personalities, VR Exercises, and movie documentaries (did I mention that this conference was long?), this could have been an excellent show. They had all the right games there, just went overboard with it. Next year, just trim the fat and you will be set.

Grade: B-

Nintendo held their (now) annual Treehouse Live Event, headlining Zelda: Breath of the Wild. With the exception of a 45 minute Pokemon: Sun & Moon demo, Zelda was the only game that Nintendo felt the need to show off. Trust me, if you have been living under a rock for the last 48 hour hours, they made the right choice. Extensive play throughs from the beginning of the game, closer looks at the new game mechanics, a new beautiful world to explore (seriously, stop reading this and go watch a video of this- it’s that damn good), and the reveal of Voice Acting for the first time in the franchise, made for a solid showing. Although we didn’t receive any info on the upcoming Nintendo NX, this was expected since they had prefaced that the console would be revealed and detailed in a separate event. All around, Nintendo handled the situation well. They doubled down on Zelda and man did it payoff… Several Game of the Show awards will be going to that one. 

Grade: A-

Microsoft had once again, another phenomenal show. Ever since Phil Spencer took over the Xbox division, the companies dedication to serving the “Player” with games and community desired console features, never fails to amaze me. Coming out swinging for the fences with the announcement of the XboxOneS model, then immediately following up with games like Gears of War 4 taking the stage for a live gameplay demo, it was clear in just the first 15 minutes of the conference that Microsoft was not messing around. Announcements like Xbox Music Playlist feature, customizable controllers, and Looking For Group made it clear that they had been listening to player and community feedback. In the game lineup area, revealing Dead Rising 4, showing us more of Sea of Thieves, and giving us the reveal date for Inside (June 29th), Microsoft gave us 90 minutes of entertainment. You would be hard pressed to not see at least 3 announcements that make you excited for the future of this platform. And of course, ending the conference with the long rumored Project Scorpio announcement, would help make sure that everyone would be buzzing about next years official reveal. Although they didn’t go too far into detail of the console specs, they gave us a solid 2 minute video reiterating that the current iteration would not be replaced by this one and would actually boast to be the most powerful gaming console on the market. That is a huge promise to make, but one that I know that this Phil Spencer lead Xbox can fulfill. 

Grade: A

Sony… What a conference. To say that this conference was great, would be underselling it. Instead of leading the whole Horse and Pony Show out on stage and gave us buzz phrases like “Greatness Awaits” and all that jazz, they decided to let their games do the talking. And that made all the difference. With a short introduction from Shawn Layden and tribute the victims over the past weekend, we were greeted with a live orchestra and the reveal of God of War. A game that has been rumored for a while now, they walked us through a 10 minute gameplay demo of a different style of Kratos, leading many in the auditorium to applause. What followed was several more exclusive titles to the PlayStation Platform. Titles like The Last Guardian and its release date, a full gameplay demo of Horizon: Zero Dawn, a choice filled trailer for Detroit: Become Human, and Sony Bend’s Days Gone reveal. Nor did it stop there, Resident Evil VII, Spiderman from Insomniac, a Crash Bandicoot Remaster announcement, and of course walking Hideo Kojima on stage to show off the teaser trailer for the Sony exclusive Death Stranding. Yep, Sony delivered one punch after another, with no signs of slowing. Instead of overstaying their welcome (at this point in the show, I don’t think a single person would have minded another hour worth of content at this rate), they finished off with a final look at the gameplay for Days Gone, and filled that The Last of Us 2 post apocalyptic void in our hearts. PlayStation 4 has sold over 40 mill units to date, and Sony just gave a whole lot more people reason(s) to invest in the system. Well Done.

Grade: A+

Conclusion… You still with me? Good. Like I said before, this was a summary of my thoughts and opinions on the conference. Now before anyone goes calling me a fan boy of this or that, let me challenge you to keep one thing in mind. Every show gave us something to be excited for. Every single one. With the competition between industry giants like Xbox & Sony being as heated as it is right now- WE are the ones that win. So tonight as I boot up any one of my consoles, whether it be the Xbox One, the PS4, or have to wipe piles of dust off of my WiiU (Sorry, I had to), I will be smiling with anticipation for the things to come.

 

 

The Xbox E3 Briefing is Complete; Your Move Sony

Well then, if you had the ability to watch the Microsoft E32016 briefing, I don’t think I need to tell you that they did very well. For those of you that missed it, or are waiting to catch the highlights later tonight then let’s just say that they made good use of all 90 minutes of their time slot. New console announcements, game beta’s, first time seen footage, exclusive 1st party lineups… the list goes on. If there is one conference that you should definitely watch from start to finish, it would be this one. Now the question that remains, and most in the gaming community is asking: How does Sony respond?

Microsoft did a solid job of keeping their showcase rolling from one game announcement or clip, to the next, with very little interruption from a random “Believe in the Product” speech. Regardless of whether you are a Sony Fanboy or find yourself in the Xbox corner, you have to admit that Xbox gave the gamer several reasons why their console is a great place to be this year, and in the year to come. So as Sony takes the stage tonight and Andrew House or Shuhei Yoshida open their conference, the thing that I want to remind them is that this is not the same Xbox that they trounced a few E3’s ago during the console announcement. I have every ounce of faith that Sony will come out and deliver a solid showcase, but do not take the 20 million gap between the xbox competitor for granted. 

Sony has already confirmed that they will not be talking about the PS4k tonight, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take a similar approach in announcing a slim version of the PS4 and foreshadow an imminent console upgrade, the same way that Microsoft did. Think about it, Microsoft made a “Console Sandwich” out of their press conference. Xbox One Slim announcement at the beginning, an hour + of games-games-games, then ended with a 2 minute video of Project Scorpio. No image of the new console was shown, vague specs, and a strong message that the current model will not be phased out by this new iteration. Sony can and should do the same; keep it vague but push the message that the PS4 is here to stay.

Last year, Sony had an excellent showcase boasting titles of Final Fantasy 7 remaster, Shenmue 3, and of course (the soon to become mythological) The Last Guardian. So I know that Sony has every opportunity this year to make another solid showing. However, I think we are going to spend a lot of time looking at these games once again… Which is not a bad thing, but we need to see what the console has coming on the back end of this year since Horizon: Zero Dawn was pushed to Q1 of 2017. Why should we be excited right now?

What are your thoughts, and what do you think Sony could announce that would dominate the press conference? A The Last of Us 2 teaser? A cheaper console price and No Mans Sky PSVR integration? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!