Horizon Zero Dawn

It’s been almost a month since Guerilla games released their latest IP, “Horizon Zero Dawn”, and just last week, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced they had sold 2.6M units of the game in its first two weeks.  This is extremely impressive for a game that was released just days before everyone jumped on the Zelda train.  “Horizon Zero Dawn” is truly a breath of fresh air for the post-apocalyptic RPG genre, and should be a strong potential candidate for game of the year.  With the release of “Mass Effect: Andromeda” this Tuesday, I fear that the attention to this gorgeous game will continue to be overshadowed by the more established IP’s that have dropped since its release.

I’ll be the first to admit that this review is a tad delayed, but consider it “delayed with purpose”.   I’m a little selfish, but I don’t want the hype train for this game to end.  If there is one game that deserves to be riding the hype in first class, it’s “Horizon Zero Dawn”.  I tend to get hyper critical of RPG games because it’s the genre that I tend to favor above all others.  Call me an “elitist” but if an RPG misses the mark in either its storytelling capabilities or how immersive it makes the gamer feel, then it’s not worth my time.  The truly great RPG games are the ones that manage to capture both elements at once.  “Horizon Zero Dawn” is one of these games, and I urge you to check it out if you haven’t already.

This game is about Aloy, a young girl who is cast out the Nora tribe for seemingly just existing.  She has no understanding of who her mother is or why the “Matriarchs”, essentially the leaders of this tribe, seem to dislike her so much.  Eventually, she goes through a trial called “The Proving” where she not only comes out on top, but she also becomes a survivor after a cult massacres the other trial participants.  For her reward, Aloy discovers her origin but this ultimately leaves her with more questions than answers. With a burning desire for both vengeance and knowledge, and being granted the status of “The Seeker” by the Matriarch’s, she embarks on her journey outside of the Sacred Lands.  This is how the game starts, and it sets the tone that this is more than just another “Post-Apocalyptic” game.

One thing I commend the Guerrilla developers in doing, is creating a world that feels very natural despite having massive animalistic robots roaming around the world and vastly differing human civilizations strewn across a relatively small geographic area.  Human’s have rejected the technology that created the robots, and are living in various types of early governments.  The Nora are a tribal based society, the Carja are heavily influenced by Aztec/Mayan cultures, and the Oseram appear to have reverted to almost a medieval Europe society.  There are other tribes alluded to throughout the game, and you even find a few of these along the way, but these are essentially the big three.  Although the map in the game is quite large, it’s not massive.  Geographically, this game takes place in Western Colorado and sprawling into Eastern Utah, and it’s clear the design team did their homework when researching what this area actually looks like.  It’s no secret that this game is gorgeous, but it takes it to a whole different level when you realize that this whole game is based on real world locations and that it actually looks like the locations it’s trying to represent. This attention to detail in the setting is honestly what makes this game believable.  My one critique with the visuals from this game are the facial features on various characters.  The character models, as a whole, are beautifully designed.  But when you start interacting with them, they feel very robotic and plastic.  It’s a very petty thing to complain about, but it’s something that bothered me even up to my final hours of playing this game.  It was clear that the developers spent more time smoothing over the setting but didn’t spend as much time polishing up the characters found within the world, and that’s a miss.

Setting plays a big part in the immersion process that is vital to the success of an RPG.  Along with setting, you also need to have a sense of character progression or evolution.  From the mainline story to the little errand side quests you never have a moment of wondering, “Why the heck am I doing this?”.  Whether it’s avenging your tribe for the cult massacre, or it’s ultimately stopping a crazed warlord from killing an entire civilization, you feel the story unfold in front of you and you feel like what you do is impacting the world around you.  As a gamer, we need this sense of impact because it makes us actually care to keep discovering and saving this virtual world the developers created.  That isn’t to say that there aren’t some quests that one could deem as “grind quests”, but “Horizon Zero Dawn” has a really unique way of quest organization and classification.  There are, of course, the “main” quests.  But after this, you will find there is a separate section for “side” quests, “errand” quests, and then the subsequent grind quests.  My one critique with this section is that the distinction between what is a “side” quest and what is an “errand” quest is not very clear.  I consider “side” quests as quests that are created to specifically allow the player to delve deeper into a subsection of lore that wouldn’t normally get covered in the main questline.  On the other hand, when I think of “errand” quests I think of the typical, “Go to X location to get me Y thing(s)”.  This is not always the case with Horizon, and a lot of the classified “errand” quests actually fit more of what we are used to thinking as “Side” quests, which leaves me feeling confused on why the developers even felt the need to establish this differentiation.

 The second aspect of creating a successful RPG, is the story.  You can make your gamer feel as much like the main character of the game as you want, but if your story sucks then that desire to complete the game and see the end gets tossed out the window.  One thing I appreciate is that the developers established Aloy as a baby, as a determined child, and then finally as a strong young woman.  You understand her backstory, and you understand the impact of what this means to her.  Let’s be clear, this is not a story about “finding oneself” because she does this at the beginning.  This is a story about discovery and salvation.  As you progress through the game, your goal shifts from answering deep questions to saving your world from ultimate destruction.  It keeps you on your toes and is paced in such a way that you never get the feeling that you aren’t ready to tackle your problems head on.  

Although there is a leveling system in this game, at no point did I ever feel like I needed to pause the action to go complete a handful of the other quests in order to complete my objective.  Now don’t get me wrong, this game is not easy and can get very punishing if you don’t execute the objective properly.  Usually, this is heavily stealth based.  I tended to snipe heavily throughout the game, but there are also sneak attacks and traps that are at the player’s disposal to complete the game.  Since the main quests are paced perfectly, you never have the chance to lose sight of what the game’s story actually is.  This is fantastic because that’s what an RPG should be about.  It should be about creating an immersive environment to allow for you players to experience and appreciate the story that you are trying to present.  My one critique about the quest design and execution is that it leaves very little wiggle room to allow for various types of gameplay.  If you are a person who tends to run face first into your foes with guns blazing, you will die.  This game forces you to analyze the situation you are about to get yourself into and actually plan ahead what tactic you will use at your disposal.

This game is a solid 9 out of 10, based on my RPG criteria.  It creates a vastly immersive gameplay experience while also maintaining a consistent and interesting story.  It’s different from other games in the apocalyptic world genre in that you never feel a sense of loss for society, but rather hope.  You aren’t trying to restore society to what it once was, instead, you are trying to protect the world you have.  The small critiques that there are for “Horizon Zero Dawn” pale in comparison to everything that this game has done right.  Let’s keep this hype train going for a game that deserves it!  If you haven’t checked it out yet, I strongly suggest you give it a go

First Impressions: No Man’s Sky

 There are very few games that have developed the kind of hype that No Man’s Sky has successfully done in the 3+ years since we first learned about it during the VGX 2013. From game delays to street leaks, there is no denying that the team at Hello Games has had their hands full, and all that time with the whole world watching in anticipation. Now there is no way that we could see every single part of the gigantic universe that is No Man’s Sky. However, with the PC release imminent and the console iteration having been in the wild for a few days, the crew at The Gamer HUD wanted to give you their first impressions of the game to help guide you in your purchasing decision and a final review set to release in the days to come. 

Cole’s Take:

 I have now spent a little over 18 hours playing No Man’s Sky, and one thing has been vastly apparent to me since I pressed “Start.” The individual that beats this game in 30 hours or less has made it their purpose to get to the “Center of the Universe”, with no time to slow down to enjoy the game in between. In my play time, I have learned new languages, discovered hundreds of different species, upgraded ships and weapons, and the list goes on and on. While I know that I am still several hours away from completing any story line, that is not really what No Man’s Sky is. It’s about the journey, not the destination (Very ‘meta’ of me, I know). While I will wait till the final review to go more in depth on mechanics and moment to moment gameplay, I will leave you with the thought that I have not been this engrossed in a video game in a long time- and there are no signs of stopping. This game is not going to be for everyone- and in the end, it will prove to be divisive, however, if you are looking to get lost in a vast universe with countless things to do, you have found your game.

Joe’s Take:

Love it of Hate it, No Man’s Sky is something to be experienced. I didn’t understand the hype of this game. Leading up to its release, the gameplay videos, and E3 reveals didn’t convey what this game is trying to make you experience: the thrill of discovery. 

There are very subtle details and game design choices that force you to venture out and discover. Everything has a cost. Your spacecraft uses fuel to fly. Your exo-suit requires recharging, and the tool you use to acquire these resources needs energy to function. This simple gameplay feature forces you to explore your surroundings and gather essentials to navigate No Man’s Sky’s universe successfully.

While this is just a small aspect of what makes No Man’s Sky special as the thing that truly fascinates me about this game is its vast potential through updates. The game has created a quite literal universe to build upon, and the directions the game can take from here is endless. 

You’ll also encounter creatures that defy logic and haunt your dreams. So there’s that.

Tina’s Take:

     When I first heard about this game, I was definitely not excited for it. I have a hard time playing first person style games, so I typically will stay away from those and stick with the third person styles. This struggle has caused me to have a bitter taste in my mouth when it comes to first person games. It wasn’t until about a month ago that I finally swallowed my opinions and made the choice to purchase this game when it came out. This has since become my new gaming addiction. Despite the fact that it has a first person view angle, I found that the controls and movements came to me very easily. I appreciate this because every time I have tried to play any other sort of first person game, I always end up running around in a corner like a chicken with her head cut off. The controls were very reminiscent of ‘Minecraft’. If you want an idea of what this game is all about, think of it like ‘Minecraft’ met the movie ‘Interstellar’ and the two decided to drop acid while reading 80’s Sci-Fi novels. That’s what No Man’s Sky is like. If that sounds like something you are interested in one thing to keep in mind is if you are going to get this game make sure you keep in mind that this game strongly encourages exploration. In fact, that’s what this game is pretty much all about. There is a slight story involved, but you have to find it. It’s not going to be thrown at you from the very beginning, which I personally enjoyed. It was almost like a reward for discovering something new. I also appreciated this game for the sheer possibility of discovering what’s around the corner. You start on one random planet in the middle of a random solar system. When you finally leave the planet, and you get out into the open space, it really dawns on you how massive this game is. It took me roughly 4-5 hours to finally leave my first planet and when I did, I finally saw that all that time spent exploring what I thought was a large portion of the world I landed on, was in actuality no more than the size of New York City. The developers at Hello Games made each planet truly life-size. When that dawned on me, I cried a single tear of joy knowing I will probably NEVER fully explore this game. Once this stunning realization wore off, I shot off to the next nearest planet to see what it had in store. If you liked ‘Minecraft’, this is a must add to your collection. If you didn’t, I’d recommend you steer clear.

5 Tips for Beginners of No Man’s Sky

     There is no way to over exaggerate just how big No Man’s Sky actually is, when they told us 18 quintillion planets- they weren’t joking and that wasn’t hyperbole. So for the individual that is just picking up their copy, the idea of getting dropped into the middle of all of this can seem incredibly daunting. Lucky for you, the crew here at the HUD wanted to set you up for success with some helpful tips on how to get you off on the right foot. So whether you haven’t started the game and looking to dive in, or someone that’s already begun but wants to get a better grasp of the conventions- here are 5 pro tips to make sure you are master of the universe in no time. 

1.) Learn what Elements are Associated with which Plant/Rock

While inevitable someone is reading this first tip and saying, “You’ve got to be joking me”- no I’m really not, your survival depends on it. Personally, science has never been my strong suit, however after nearly 20 hours of element hunting, I am comfortable to say I know exactly what I am looking for when I touch a worlds surface. Even though every world will look and feel different, for the most part rocks and plants will look similar or often the same that produces a particular type of element. For example, low on Plutonium? Scour the land for the spike red rocks. Seriously, the quicker you learn this, the more time you will save yourself walking up to random stuff seeing what it produces.

2.) Don’t Take Decisions Lightly

There are going to be many moments in the universe of No Man’s Sky that you find yourself faced with options in dialogue, whether it be something pertaining to the story or on a side quest. When asked to make a decision, make sure you weigh all the odds and think about what you know whether it pertains to a race of aliens that you have learned about leading up to it, or what generally what kind of a character you want to represent in the universe. Once you have made that decision- there is no going back, no do overs, nada- you decision is final and you have to live with the consequences. On multiple occasions I have stumbled upon a treasure or terminal that promises secrets, but upon my failure to answer the question correctly, the opportunity closes forever. 

3.) Upgrade Your Inventory Space Often

Nobody likes playing the “every time I pick up an item, I have to delete an item” game, so don’t. One of the main ways that you are going to make money in No Man’s Sky is going to directly tie to the resources you can carry with you, and if you don’t have room to carry a lot, you will eventually find yourself making unnecessary trips across the galaxy to pawn them off. The easiest way to upgrade your inventory slots is by hacking Signal Scanners (objects that shoot a beam of light into the air), and opting to find a Shelter. This normally brings you to a drop pod, in which you will find your upgrade. *Remember, this will cost you a fee that continually gets more expensive with each time you upgrade.

4.) How to Make Money

Although it can be time consuming at times, depending on how upgraded your multi tool is, scoping the planets surface for massive gold looking boulders is going to be you safest bet. I have seen people randomly selling common material trying to make a few thousand on a transaction, instead when you land on a planet and it gives you an overview, look to see if the planet is rich in resources. Now all you have to do is fly around, look for gold boulders, and cash in at your nearest space station. This will allow you to buy upgrades to your inventory, as well as better ships. While this seems like common sense, you’d be surprised at how often I have had people ask how to make more money in this game.

5.) Relax, and Don’t Stress It

No Man’s Sky is a massive game, and in the first moments of the game when you are dropped onto a planet then told to go figure it out- it can be incredibly overwhelming. While there are going to be moments that you may want to walk away, just remember that the game is made of a few simple conventions: Discover, Gather Resources, Sell & Upgrade,  and Combat. The specifics are going to seem alien to you at first (oh yes I did!), but the more time you spend with it, you will find the pattern and learn to explore the galaxy with a smile on your face. This game is meant to be many things, frustrating is not one of them- so don’t let it.

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.

 

 

Why You Should Temper Your “The Last Guardians” Expectations

It’s crazy to think that The Last Guardian has been in development since 2007, the same year that games such as Gran Turismo 5 &  Infamous (the first entry in the now 3 part series) was announced at E3. Needless to say,  Studio Japan has had some problems with the development of the game. However, if rumor is to be believed for E32016, we should get a hard release date for the title. For me personally, I don’t believe the game exists until I am holding it in my hands.

Going into E32016 I have heard the hype train build the imminent release date of the game as “Sony’s final big reveal”. C’mon now, let’s be realistic as to what the game actually is  and is not. As much as I am excited to get my hands on this game, I know that this games legend has far surpassed what the reality of what the game will prove. In terms of ratings, I am banking on a solid “B”. Now before you throw your drink at the screen, or automatically scroll down to the comments to tell me that I am “out of my damn mind”, listen to my reasoning as to why we need to relax on the expectations of this game. 

This game will not do huge numbers. Don’t get me wrong, this game will sell well and receive average grades across the media spectrum, but the previous game that Studio Japan put out, Shadow of the Colossus, sold 140 thousand copies the first week that it was on the market. To put that into context real quick, Uncharted 4 sold over 2.7 million copies in its first week. And that is a flagship title in its 4th and final (supposedly) iteration. I am sorry, but you can’t expect this game to move console units of any significance. 

The Last Guardian has been in evelopment hell since 2007. The ICO collection was released back in 2011, with a semi decent reception critic wise,  was the same year that I expect that Sony had originally wanted to release The Last Guardian, However, the collection came and went without any promise of the forthcoming followup. This was on a previous console iteration, the PS3, now with a whole new console cycle many expect The Last Guardian to compete with an expected fall release date, side by side with franchise flagships Battlefield 1, Call of Duty: Infinite Warefare, inal Fantasy XV. Needless to say, it is going to have a tough time finding its legs in the sales market with games like that. For those of you that hope Sony will back it with a solid marketing campaign, just remember that they are going to be introducing a new way to experience games, PSVR, along with an expected launch of a slimmer console. Now if you were Sony, would you put your money into the headset that you are building your platform around, or the game that has struggled to release to market for nearly a decade?

Now, don’t get me wrong, this article is not being written to bash this title in anyway. I am anxious to get my hands on the final product, as well as you are- I am sure. I want to help guide those that believe that The Last Guardian will lead the “Sony Fall Lineup”, to understand what will most likely happen. If it were me, I would put the advertising behind this gorgeous game. I would make sure that I didn’t postpone it for nothing, and make sure that the first time someone actually lays hands on it will enjoy the final product. But it’s not up to me. The ball is in Sony’s court. 

What do you think? Am I absolutely wrong, and this game will be the next Minecraft? Or do you think that I may be on to something here? Let me know in the comments below! 

XboxOneS Revealed: How will Sony Respond?

With the leak of the XboxOneS this morning, I can’t help but wonder what Sony’s response be during their E32016 Showcase be? In the previous days, Andrew House confirmed the existence of the Playstation Neo aka the PS4K, however emphasized that the new console iteration will not debut at E3. One can only assume that this means they will have a separate reveal event for the forthcoming console, but in the mean time how do they compete in their press conference when this XboxOneS news is imminent. It doesn’t matter how you swing it or what will be present at their conference, the lasting though with the community and their fanbase will be what wasn’t. 

Since Phil Spencer took the head of Xbox job some years back now, they have course corrected the landscape and focus of the current console and have only done better. Fall lineups filled with games, player feedback taken to heart, and more of what the community wanted in the first place since the dreaded console reveal of the XboxOne. It seems to me that Phil is taking advantage of the opportunity and going to try and take back some ground on the Sony Console, that is some 20 million units in the lead now. 

Since the introduction of the latest generation of consoles, the community has been voicing their concerns for 4K streaming and of course more memory storage- if the details are true ( which they most certainly are) then XboxOneS will take advantage of a 2 TB memory, 4k Streaming, and 40% smaller than the current model. Not that it could get any bigger *wink*. With the right price point, this could be the move that helps get Microsoft back in the competition. 

My question at the end of the day is this: What does Sony have up its sleeve, and will it make enough noise? Don’t get me wrong, I am begging for a release day on The Last Guardian as much as the next person; but if they think that they can use that as their big reveal and walk out having “Stolen the Show”, then they are sorely mistaken. So far this generation, it seems that Sony could do no wrong. They stole the hearts of the console community with the PS4 announcement and have delivered a great product with for a great price (I won’t dip into lack of 1st part content and game delays…We will save that for another day). To keep the momentum, Sony is going to need to come out guns blazing with no low points. In my eyes, keep it Games Centric, don’t overdo it with the VR stuff, and give the gamers a reason to believe that the console sitting on their shelf is not going to become irrelevant in a years time. 

I want to see Sony succeed, and I know they can. However Xbox is doing everything right as of now: fantastic exclusive lineups, 3rd part and Indie support, and an upcoming console that is exactly what the community has been clamoring for. So…What’s your move Sony?

Playstation NEO & Why Sony Needs to Address it

Sony’s very own Andrew House has finally addressed the elephant in the room, the forthcoming PS4k… sort of. Speaking with Financial Times, House confirmed the long rumored consoles existence. However, when questioned on official reveal date and cost he remained vague. 

E3 2016 will not be the stage they reveal the latest iteration, House confirmed, so one can only assume that they want a more controlled approach that the console reveal by hosting their own event. We will see if that pays off.

At this point my biggest problem with Sony’s approach at the NEO, is not that it exists; but rather the lack of information they are willing to convey to their fan base. The current PS4 console is sitting around 40 million in sales the last  time Sony revealed numbers, so at this point they are obviously not exploring new iterations for lack of console movement. However, if Sony continues to remain silent on specifications, we could definitely see a slowing  in sales due to the possibility of a “better version” being imminent. It creates confusion and hesitation for potential buyers. 

Now to clarify, I will be one of those people that buy this console day 1. I would love the possibility to utilize my TV for better picture quality. The reason for my concern is Sony see’s the confusion in the market with these rumors, now confirmed, and still sits on their hands and lets it build. Sony has done an incredible job this console cycle, in communicating to their fan base and make the PS4 an amazing place to play. I don’t want to see this trend lose steam now.

But what do you think? Is the lack of specifics driving your crazy, or could you care less? Let me know in the comments below.

Why the ‘No Man’s Sky’ Delay is a good thing

Hellogames managing director and spokesman, Sean Murray, has revealed that the highly anticipated No Man’s Sky has been delayed. No this will not be news to many of you, being that this was announced a little over a bit ago. What may actually surprise you though, is the barrage of threats and hatred that the studio and Sean Murray has since then received. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I will not act as though the news of this didn’t disappoint me, nor will I act as though I did not express outward frustration at yet another Playstation Exclusive being delayed. This is a much larger issue, that No Man’s Sky has the unfortunate timing of being the game that nearly does it in for me. This topic will be a rant for another day.

No regardless of whether you are on the verge of punching through a wall, or not really partial one way or another, you have to understand that Hellogames is taking on one of the most ambitious projects we have ever seen. This is coming from a studio who’s last game was Joe Danger 2: The Movie, now this is no knock on the studio in anyway. I loved that game. But to go from Joe Danger, to the promise of entire galaxies, space travel, life generation, etc…. I think you are getting my point here. It’s a BIG feat to take on for a team of 15 individuals. Please, let that loft over you for a moment. Just to give you context, the team that gave you The Witcher 3, CD Project, is made up of about 250. 

In Sean’s message on news of the delay he stated, “For all our sakes though, we get one shot to make this game and we can’t mess it up” on the PlayStation Blog. He understands the gravity of this decision, but he also understands what is at stake. If Sean says that they need time to accomplish their vision of the game, then give them time. In the end, you have to wait a few weeks. So what? Because if they succeed in delivering on even half of their promises, this is going to be one of the most memorable games to grace a home console. If it will deliver, we will have to wait till August 9th to find out. Personally, I air on the side of caution; they have a big order to fulfill. But if they need a few weeks more to get it completed, then by all means, take your time. I will be here waiting, downing in a backlog of games I need to play, just to get lost in the universe you have created.