News, Video Games

More Details About Prey

When this game was shown off at E3 I mentioned being slightly confused. Prey was a fairly underrated game. It did not age well, but was enjoyable at the time and tried some new things with the genre. Prey 2 (now pretty much cancelled) was supposed to be a space bounty hunter game. Prey as shown at E3 looked nothing like either of these games. Well the president of Arkane has said that Prey has no association with the original game. In his words it’s “not a sequel, not a remake, it has no tie in with the original” and is instead a whole new look at the IP.  It will also not be a standard FPS, it will blend with many other genres, including but not limited to, RPGs. Not only that but the genre of the story will be hard to pin down. It will seem at sometimes horror, sometimes adventure, but always along the lines of a thriller. The story will change and develop with choices the player makes, as well as the world itself. Basically it sounds like Arkane is borrowing a lot of the successful elements of Dishonored to help shape this game.  On top of that the lead character can be either male or female. The name “Morgan” was specifically chosen to work with both genders.

All of this is great, and I am still excited for this. However, it doesn’t really answer the question of “why stick to the Prey IP?” If they know they are throwing out most of Prey with this game, then why have it be Prey? I don’t imagine I will ever find an answer to this question, as I am sure that more than anything it has to do simply with wanting to keep trademarks and other things.

Setting aside the rather unimportant issue with the choice to stick to the Prey IP this game seems to have more potential every time I hear more about it. A good blend of many different elements in a sci-fi horror (ish) setting, that’s a lot to look forward to. Hopefully we can bring you more news soon.

E3 2016, Video Games

E3 2016: Skyrim Special Edition Free for Some

We mentioned that Bethesda confirmed the Skyrim Special Edition during their conference, on the back of that announcement they have also said some people can get it for free. If you have Skyrim on PC with all the DLC you will be able to get the Special Edition free. Sadly console gamers will not get the same offering. While it stings this is only for PC gamers research implies the choice to give it to PC gamers for free has a lot to do with the support from the modding community over the years for Skyrim, and the hopes that it will continue with the Special Edition. Free or not the game looks beautiful so even as a traditional console player I can’t be too mad.

E3 2016, Video Games

E3 2016: Bethesda Conference

I am a fairly large fan of Bethesda. While Fallout is easily my favorite of their franchises, I am a fan of a number of their games. I was pretty hyped up for the Bethesda show case, and for the most part was pleased, though not blown away.

Bethesda started off with a Quake announcement, a MOBA type first person shooter will be the next installment in the franchise. This was rather exciting as nothing has been heard from Quake in a very long time. While the trailer had it’s appeal, and the promises of more information at QuakeCon were interesting I can’t help but be a little disappointed. I would love to see another installment in the series story line, or even a reboot as with DOOM. However, it does make sense that they would take this direction. After rebooting DOOM it might be wise to switch the focus for Quake to the multiple player experience. I am not 100% sold, however I am curious.

Elder Scrolls got a number of announcements. Legends got a bit of focus, their new strategy trading card game. They showed off the campaign introduction cinematic, as well as promises for more Betas for players to try out.

ESO introduced it’s new Dark Brotherhood expansion. The assassin clan from the other games is coming to ESO. They also promised that it will be fully integrated to the earliest stages of the game, instead of forcing players to reach a high level before being able to experience the new content. This could have mass appeal to bring new gamers to the series, as they would get access not only to the core game but also add-ons.

There was a quick showing off of Skyrim Special Edition, though it lasted only a brief moment and almost no information was given during the show. However, it has been confirmed it will be on PC as well as consoles, while rumors were circulating there would be no PC release before E3. Beyond that it will bring mod support (as with Fallout 4) to the console versions of the game. The release date will be in October.

Fallout related announcements were also brief with little detail. More DLC is coming that will allow a lot more in depth crafting, and even one that will allow gamers to build vaults. There will also be the Nuka World. Little information was given about Nuka World, but the trailer implies it’s more like the Far Harbor DLC in that it will be a new location.

Fallout Shelter will also be getting some upgrades, and a PC version will be released soon.

A rather unexpected announcement was Prey. Prey 2 has gone through various ideas and cancellations, but it seems they’ve finally settled on a sort of reboot to the 2006 horror themed FPS. It promises to be a very dark game set on a space station in the year 2032. You play a character that was part of an experiment that went horribly wrong, and you are being hunted by aliens. It will have mind bending abilities like the 2006 game, while also focusing on combat and survival. It’s really hard to compare it to either the previously canceled Prey 2 or even the original Prey game. Despite that it looks rather compelling and we are excited to learn more. It might have been worth everyone’s while to completely separate it from the previous Prey game. However, as more unfolds there might be a stronger connection to the first game, thus explaining the need to not just rebuild this.

A major chunk of the show was given to Dishonored 2. There was further confirmation on story, setting, and gameplay. They confirmed that the foundation of the game was the question of what happens to Emily, and they built from there. You will still have a choice to play as either Corvo or Emily, though both characters have unique personalities, and it promises to be worth playing the game with each character. They have unique powers, play styles, and are both fully voiced and will respond and interact with the world and story differently. Aside from that, the game looks beautiful. The new setting is more vibrant and detailed, and graphically speak everything looks beautiful. As a limited time pre-order bonus you can get Dishonored definitive edition for free.

The other big push was DOOM and Fallout 4 on VR. I mentioned in my E3 wishlist my lack of excitement over VR, but that is largely personal. This is a rather huge and impressive step for the technology, and aside from being fairly certain it would make me sick playing DOOM, that way would be a unique experience. With more games coming to VR and a clear push to make it a viable experience for gamers, it will be interesting to see how these two games do.

Speaking of DOOM there is now a demo of the game that will be open for the next week. Everyone can try out the first few levels of DOOM for free now. Console owners can find it it the stores for the console, while PC players will be able to find it on Steam. If you’re on the fence about the game check it out while you can.

Despite being rather excited for everything offered at the conference, there didn’t seem to be one wow moment like last year. Everything was good, and I am rather excited for what Bethesda is going to be offering gamers for the next year, but I was left feeling like I wanted just a touch more. Most of what was shown will be further highlighted at QuakeCon. We will bring you more news on these announcements and more as we are able.

What did you think of the Bethesda showing?

E3 2016, Video Games

E3 2016: More Fallout 4 DLC Coming Soon

Three new DLC were announced for Fallout 4, Contraptions, Vault-Tec Workshop, and Nuka World. The first two are focused on crafting and in world building. Contraptions will add depth to settlement building, as well as put in just a few silly things like the ability to make Rube Goldberg machines. Vault-Tec Workshop will allow gamers to build their own vaults and even run their own experiments on the people living in the vaults. Nuka World is more comparable to Far Harbor, it brings a new area with quests and it’s own story. In addition to all these DLC looking interesting, it has been confirmed that they are part of the Season Pass. So get ready for more Fallout fun!

Impressions, Video Games

Impressions: DOOM

2004’s DOOM 3 was a major disappointment to many gamers, and actually considered the death of the then popular franchise. However id Software is back, this time with a new publisher (Bethesda) to try to breath some life back into the game. But after so long, can the franchise really be saved?

Story:

It is fair to say that story is not the top priority for DOOM. There is an interesting enough of a story, to help give the gamers a reason to go from point a to point b. You play as an unnamed character who works for the Union Aerospace Corporation. UAC has been using a portal to hell in order to solve an energy crisis on Earth. A scientist goes a bit mad, releases a lot of demons on the UAC killing most of the people there. At first you are chasing her down as she attempts to open a major portal, you fail however. From there you bounce back and forth between Mars and Hell trying to close the portal.

Impressions:

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DOOM goes away from DOOM 3’s more slow paced survival horror, and back to being a very fast paced first person shooter. Bethesda and id Software made no secret of the fact that they wanted this game to be a throw back to DOOM and DOOM 2. The game throws a lot of enemies at the player, demanding them to move quickly, and fight wave after wave of enemies. You are given a variety of weapons to handle this, almost entirely based on weapons from the original games. There are a wide range of different weapons, and each one can be upgrade. This allows players to truly find their own way to fight and handle the enemies. Experimentation is the key when it comes to tight spots.

It’s twitch shooter to the extreme, and frankly enjoyable at that. It’s unfortunate then, that it shoots itself in the foot. If you aren’t involved in fast paced fights with many enemies you are then slowly platforming around. I have ranted in the past about my dislike for platforming and jumping areas in first person shooters, and DOOM is no exception. Unless the game is specifically designed with this type of gameplay in mind (Mirror’s Edge) these areas just don’t belong in the first person perspective. Aside from it being difficult, it is equally disappointing because it stops action. I do understand that the entirety of DOOM can not be super fast paced with wave after wave of enemies. However there is a bit of a disconnect from going from a lot of action to absolutely no action while doing some tricky jumping bit. It doesn’t flow correctly and throws off the pacing a bit.

However the game does manage to honor the originals and take a lot from them. There are a lot of extra areas, and upgrades to be found in the world of DOOM. Some have complained because DOOM and DOOM 2 were more straight forward, I argue those people must have not played the original games in awhile. For it’s time DOOM and DOOM 2 were actually fairly large maps, with a number of hidden areas to find. This version of DOOM manages to bring that general idea to the new generation, and does so well. You can get through the game doing the bare minimum, but you will miss a lot in doing so.

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As above I mentioned weapons being inspired by the original game, the same goes for enemies. There is a new coat of paint on everything, but it’s easy enough to tie them back to the enemies from the older game. AI could be polished, while AI is not horrible they can get stuck on their paths which can mean that certain enemies never fully feel like they are involved in the fight. However in areas with more enemies coming at you than you feel like you can properly react to this can be considered a good thing almost.

The sound track is loud and in your face, much like the fights. It fits perfectly and adds to the heart rate increasing experience. Some enemies sound very unique, but others seem a bit copy and pasted from each other. A little more polish on sound would not have gone amiss.

Multiplayer is probably my biggest disappointment with this game. It’s not bad, and will offer some form of entertainment. Warpath and Freeze Tag are also two pretty unique game types. However this game cries out for a more simplistic approach to multiplayer. Like all modern shooters it now has a ranking system with unlocks, and it’s disappointing. Going back to a Halo 3 style where ranks only helped balance matches, but weapons, upgrades, etc were part of the maps is exactly what this game needed. I am extremely let down that it seems that no development team understands the value of that format, and it would have worked so perfectly with a game that is attempting to reboot an older series. That’s not to say there is no fun to be had with multiplayer, but it’s not winning the game any major points.

Bottomline:

DOOM is not great. It needs tweaks to pacing, and multiplayer is too much of an after thought/let down. However DOOM is entertaining, solid, and frankly fun. The game is very close to being something more, but ends up just being good. I feel like it could really breath some life back into the franchise, and it does set up a sequel. With some more attention paid to certain aspects, the sequel could actually be a great game, for now I will enjoy my good one.

News, Video Games

Fallout 4 Survival Mode Launches This Week

Bethesda has announced that survival mode will be rolling out for PS4 and Xbox One players on Friday. Survival Mode will bring a number of challenges to the game, to make it tougher, but add an element of strategy and realism to the experience. For those that don’t know the details of survival mode it will change things like the save system. Quick saves, and most auto saves will be removed, requiring gamers to sleep to save their game. Fast travel has been removed, and gamers will need to track things like hunger and thirst. There are a number of other changes, such as the amount of damage that the player and enemies deal, as well as an illness system. All of these features plus many more will help to create a new experience for gamers when playing Fallout 4. So fans be ready to download your update on your console this week, and prepare to experience the wastes like never before.

News, Video Games

Dishonored 2 Gets a Release Date

Bethesda has officially announced the release date for Dishonored 2. The game will be releasing November 11th NA. They have also announced that at E3 there will be a gameplay demo during the conference. Bethesda’s press conference will be June 12th. Dishonored 2 will be single player and allow players to choose to either play as the returning Corvo or new playable character Emily. Each character will come with their own set of powers to use to complete the game. We are looking forward to see what Bethesda will bring us during E3.

News, Video Games

Fallout 4 DLC Coming Soon

Bethesda promised a fair amount of DLC for their hit Fallout 4 before it even launched. Gamers have been waiting, but that wait won’t be much longer. The company has announced their first three DLC titles for the game.

Automatron, is set to launch in March 2016. It will focus largely on robotics, with the main plot about evil robots in the Commonwealth. In addition to hunting them down your character can also build their own robots to use as companions. The DLC will come with a lot of customization options for the robots, from what type of abilities they will have to the aesthetics, like paints and voices.

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Wasteland Workshop will be releasing April 2016. It’s focus will be creature capturing. Your character will be able to capture, tame, and fight with various creatures from around the Commonwealth. It will also include new design options for settlements.

Far Harbor is set for May 2016. Far Harbor seems the most story driven of the the upcoming DLC. You take on a case for Valentine which will take you away from the main section of the Commonwealth. It will include various factions, and focus on the conflict between them. It will include a large map for the area, and come with a large variety of side quests, creatures, and the things we love from Fallout.

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Bethesda has also promised that this is just the beginning, they plan to live up to the promise of multiple different DLC titles for the game. The season pass is still on sale for $29.99 US, and as of now will still cover all planned DLC. However the season pass will be getting a price bump come March 1st, so now seems like the time to get it.

In addition to the DLC there is also a free update planned to overhaul survival mode. Survival mode will be more like hardcore mode from New Vegas, adding the need to watch survival stats. They have also hinted at adding diseases to survival mode. Looks like we will have continued Fallout 4 hype.

Video Games

Pros and Cons of the Season Pass

Bethesda recently announced that Fallout 4 would have a season pass. This is not surprising since in the past Bethesda has offered a decent amount of DLC for Fallout 3 and Skyrim. Also Bethesda said that Fallout 4 was going to be “unending” in a way and continue through DLC. They are hardly the first company to go the way of the “season pass” in order to encourage people to buy access to DLC before it comes out. With that I thought I would do a quick break down of what I consider some of the Pros and the Cons of the Season Pass.

Con: Some companies stop doing regular patches between DLC

Some companies see season passes as a way to pass on regular updates and patches. They know that they are putting out DLC on a certain schedule, so any fixes for bugs and other things can just be put into the DLC. It’s great to have a time frame for updates and patches, but some can’t wait for the next stage of DLC. Companies can be tempted to take advantage of the system though to make gamers wait for important fixes.

Con: For multiplayer games they devalue the experience for “new players”

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This is already a pretty big problem in games that emphasis multiplayer anyway. If you can’t buy the game on launch day then you will be behind with map knowledge, ranks, and just general understanding of how the community plays. Add into this gamers that have to wait until DLC price drops and they are pushed even further behind the community.

Con: They mean the game was always meant to continue through DLC

Some games depend on DLC to complete the experience. This bothers me, DLC is supposed to add to an already complete game, not complete and unfinished game while charging more. Season Passes often include DLC that should frankly be included in the main game. It is asking gamers to pay for something they already paid for, not extras.

Pro: They mean the game was meant to continue through DLC

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Unlike the above (the same con) not all companies actually take advantage of the DLC and Season Pass system. As long as the original game feels like a complete experience, worth the amount that games cost in this day and age, season passes and DLC are great. In Fallout 3 the game itself felt complete, and whole. DLC just expanded on that experience. A season pass for Fallout 3 would have been reasonable because it was offered by a company that used the idea of DLC right.

Con: Some companies fill the Season Pass with crap in order to make them worth more

Bethesda said that their first season pass will be sold for $30 (a fairly average price) but will be worth at least $40. Without actually knowing what they are considering Season Pass worthy DLC it’s hard to say how this will go. Some companies will offer a few map packs (or story extensions) then fill up the value of the Season Pass with a lot of smaller armor and weapon pieces. This means that while the actual dollar amount might be worth more gamers get a whole lot of small things that frankly they might not want anyway.

Pro: You usually save money with them

I am always about saving money on gaming. It’s not a cheap hobby to have so the real joy of season passes comes in the chance to get all your DLC while saving some money. If you can afford a season pass in one go it will usually end up more than worthwhile in the long run.

Pro: It’s nice having a schedule of new things coming your way

While some people hate the pay now get rewarded later system I rather like it. It’s nice paying and knowing that at least for a few months there will something new coming your way. It allows gamers the chance to know that they will get to go back to their favorite game soon for something new.

When it comes down to it whether or not a season pass is worth it comes down to the game/company that puts them out. It’s easy for companies to take advantage of the system and gamers themselves. However with the right company, and the right DLC, the advantage really goes to the gamer. Here’s hoping that Bethesda will treat us well with their Season Pass.