Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Game Diary - in brief.

First off, I have been enjoying the hell out of Batman: Arkham Knight.  Unlike some reviewers, I've never felt troubled by the Batmobile's presence - I feel like it achieves a good mix, and that's not fifty or forty or thirty percent Batmobile stuff.  It's in there, but it's just one facet of a gem whose other sides sport lovely combat, just-right puzzles, pulpy mysteries, super-fun gliding mechanics and one of the awesomest Batman stories there has ever been.

If you've seen any reviews, you know there's a Spoiler no one will tell you about - and I'm not going to be the one who does (not without very ample warning, at least) - but its impact, its implementation and the insight it reveals into Arkham Knight's hero is profound.

Elsewhere, a few weeks ago I actually blew forty dollars on Tales of Hearts R on Vita.  I put two or three hours into it, decided I wasn't having any fun and walked away.  During the PSN flash sale this past weekend, Hyperdimension Neptunia's Vita port dropped to six bucks, and I figured what the heck.  For six bucks, I could afford to be wrong.

Hyperdimension Neptunia, it's worth noting, is a fourth-wall-shattering JRPG that takes place in the magical kingdom of Gameindustri, and the main character is an anthropomorphized version of the Sega Neptune - the theoretical successor to the Sega Saturn, that never existed.  Her peers are personifications of the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360, and the game is... cute.

And funny.  And entertaining. The combat, as well, feels immediately more interesting than Hearts as, despite its turn-based nature, it already offers a nice amount of strategy in terms of positioning, tricking your enemies into gathering together and guard breaks.

It's fun.  So far.

And now I'm going to go play more Batman - excuse me.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

America. Fuck yeah.

I know you don't come here for my position on anything political.  But...

On Friday, I opened Twitter and learned the news.  At the time, only three tweets in my feed mentioned it - one from the Associated Press, one from NBC, and one which simply featured a screenshot of this text from the decision.
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family.  In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were.  As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.  It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage.  Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfilment for themselves.  Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.  They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.  The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgement of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.”
I welled up, a bit, reading it.  It's beautiful.  Finally.

And all us other countries knew, America.  We knew you'd get around to it, eventually.  In fact, color me impressed, because I expected it to take you a lot longer.

Kayla and I were talking yesterday about when it came up in Canada.  Ten years ago... and that's not "like, ten years ago," that is a decade ago, you would not believe all the anger and protests and public mud-slinging that led up to the decision, my American friends - because there wasn't any.  It was just,
"Hm.  The way our laws are written, gay folks can't get married."

"Oh?  We should change the laws, then."

"Well, obviously."
 America?  It is high damn time.  Good on 'ya.  Glad you came around.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five serene minutes of No Man's Sky.

Hm.  A lot of the alien creatures sound kind of alike.

Ten sexy minutes of XCOM 2.

Curse you, PC Master Race!

Whispering Willows drops June 30th on PS4, Vita.

Whispering Willows asked for fifteen grand in early 2013 via Kickstarter.  It earned twenty, and has been on PC for a while.  Now... I like the idea of this game, and I like the look...

...let's see what reviewers have had to say...


I shall have to look in to this.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night's opening.

...Persona is some strange magic.  Hypin' me for a rhythm game.

That's messed up.

Disgaea 5 drops in NA on October 6th.

Ahhh it's nice to see the niche-y JRPGs come over, isn't it?

What this game needs is more revenge.

Its day-one edition and special edition look pretty nice too.

Bombshell gameplay trailer.

Remember that crappy-looking Bombshell trailer 3D Realms put out like... a year ago or more?  Well, the game yet lives.  Here's some crappy-looking gameplay.

...and even though it's a "gameplay trailer," I'm not sure what genre this thing is.  Is it Diabloesque?  Is it a twin-stick shooter?

I don't know.  I don't care.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Persona 5 trailer #2!

Okay, so P4: Dancing All Night came out in Japan, and the special edition comes with a DVD that contains a new trailer for Persona 5.  Naturally, it got on YouTube and, naturally, that user's account was immediately killed - but not before the internet got on it and ripped a copy for posterity.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Why I won't finish The Witcher III: Wild Hunt.

Last week, I walked into a GameStop.  Next to the PS4 rack, a pair of... I hesitate to use the term "bros," but they were certainly a pair of cool-looking, athletically-toned gentlemen, given to hyperbole and glowing tans.

Let's go with bros.  The two bros were browsing games and talking about The Witcher III, and how it was indisputably the greatest RPG that's ever been made - that it was perfect.  They used that word.  "Perfect."  I said nothing, went to the counter and requested a fifty dollar PSN card.

"Are you an Edge member?" she asked.

I am an Edge platinum member - arranged a week before the PS4 launch in 2013, for the sole purpose of permitting me to skip the line at the console's midnight release, and get home before one in the morning.  She ran my card, and a list of recent purchases popped up.

"How are you enjoying The Witcher?" she asked.

My eyes darted back to the bros.  Tall and cocky and perhaps violently certain that CD Projekt's latest opus was the beginning and end of role playing games.  So, it seems, was almost everyone else who played it.  The reviews were all so confident and glowing.

But she asked, and I had to admit,

"I'm not."

And I'm in the minority on this.  If you have a Review Guy or Girl you trust, and they tell you Wild Hunt is the bees knees, you should probably listen to them.  The Witcher III clicked, for them.  They were able to glean pleasure from it that I cannot, and I'm jealous.  The game I read about in all those reviews sounds wonderful.  

It's very beautiful.

Even on PS4 - a far cry from a maxed PC - it's lovely.  Picturesque.  Artful.  It's beautiful, well-rendered high-grit fantasy, with filthy villages and crowded army camps, dense woods guarding hidden secrets and sopping swamps where demented hags straight out of Army of Darkness rise from the dark waters to flay your flesh.

Its graphics are excellent.  Nine out of ten.

Its stories are... intimate.  Touching.  Affecting, thoughtful and human.  Your quest-givers never feel like a pip on a map.  They feel like flesh-and-blood people who are weathering the savage storm of war, and driven to desperation - desperate enough to ask the help of a reviled Witcher - and honest enough to give earnest, genuine thanks when the job is done.  Helping people in Wild Hunt feels good.

Once, I needed the help of some orphans, but they refused to assist until I played hide and seek with them.  In any other game, that event would feel forced and kitchy, but here it comes across as honest and a bit sad and funny when you - Supreme Badass that you are - cover your eyes and begin to count as the children scatter.

It's charming.

Its writing is excellent.  Eight-point-five out of ten.

Its world is rich.  The game is utterly dense with lore and detail, and each hour or so will reveal a bit more of that fine, toothy grit.  Even when hunting standard fantasy fare, there's nothing simple or two-dimensional about your quarry.  Each monster has specific behaviours, specific strengths, specific weaknesses and a brief but nourishing write-up in your bestiary, explaining the subtle differences between Godlings, Bucca and Lutins - and the player is encouraged to take their time.  Plan their approach thoughtfully.  To dive into the nearby lake, touch the bottom and retrieve some very special aquatic herbs which will create a potent anti-ghost oil to rub across your silver blade.

Its world-building is excellent.  Ten out of ten.

It does an exemplary job of casting the player as a monster hunter for hire, and ensures there's enough grit to it - enough to plan for, weigh, consider and strategize with - to make the minutia feel meaningful to your quest.

Almost everything Wild Hunt does is remarkably well-done - the writing, the setting, the creatures, the characters, the tech - but I'm not interested in playing it.

Because playing it isn't fun.

Every aspect of how you negotiate its world feels awkward, distant and sluggish.  Awkwardness can be overcome with practice.  Sluggishness can turn to satisfaction, when tactics and timing are key, but the distance...

You feel it, as soon as you're given control.  Commanding Geralt to walk around a room is a fumbling, almost-comical series of oversteps, geometry traps and mis-translated motive - but one hopes it will prove meaningful, when one steps outside, and draws their blade.

It doesn't.

Every swing of Geralt of Rivia's blade feels inconsequential.  You've played games, surely, where there is no tangible sense of your strikes, and no tactile touch to grow to love.  There is a massive disconnect, here, between the push of a button and the onscreen result - between the player's intention and the onscreen action - and thus even its most challenging fights glean no real satisfaction, or pleasure.

Wild Hunt's combat is designed with a slower pace in mind, where cautious viciousness and thoughtful, practised, well-researched tactics win the day, and it does an excellent job of permitting you Geralt's full (impressively varied) repertoire of skills, tools and toys during any given fight.  This is a game in which you fling a grenade into a group of bandits that explodes into swamp gas, which you then ignite with a blast of your fire spell before tapping L2 to deflect an incoming arrow with your sword and send it flying back at your attacker - and how cool that sounds illustrates a big part of my difficulty with enjoying Wild Hunt.

What you do in Wild Hunt is always wonderful - doing it is not.

Getting Johnny his voice back is awesome.  Solving the mystery of the Noonwraith is awesome.  Throwing a grenade, igniting the cloud and deflecting arrows are awesome, but the act of doing it is bland, distant.  Boring.  Tedious.

It's tedious enough that everything else Wild Hunt pulls off spectacularly well - its remarkable presentation, story, characters and world - can't overcome it.  And this is coming from someone who loves Fallout: New Vegas and Skyrim.  Combat in those games is horrible, but it is at least firmly connected to both the player and the game world.  Connected enough to root the player in that world and make it supremely satisfying when you block a blow and land a heavy strike.

After twenty hours with Wild Hunt, I'm still waiting for it to provide that.  I kept driving myself to return to it - to let its world wrap around me to the point that I'd be more than happy to endure its finicky walk controls and distant, whiffy combat in the name of its wonderful stories and rich character.

But I don't want to.  I want to meet more fascinating creatures, explore its lush world and uncover the mystery of the titular riders.  I want to make hard, morally-gray choices and have the consequences come back to bite me a few hours later - but I want to enjoy myself while I'm doing it, and The Witcher III: Wild Hunt can't offer that.  

It's not fun.

Batman: Arkham Knight's launch trailer is sexy as hell.

This has been a long time coming.

Eight punchy minutes of Mother Russia Bleeds.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Siberian wilderness gameplay makes Rise of the Tomb Raider way more interesting.

I mean, I was already interested, but just... well, check it out.  Here's a lossless version.

The first thing that stands out is not a positive.  Lara's facial animations are still not up to spec - but by "spec," I mean Naughty Dog/Sucker Punch standards, which no one else in the industry has really accomplished - so, forgiveable.

The second is the snow.  I'm of two minds on the snow.  First of all, they got the "glitter" of snow right - that is, snow at night (and often during the day) will constantly reflect tiny pinpricks of light in random places, as your eyes line up just perfectly with the random little prisms of ice.  The Last of Us and Uncharted did it right, and so does Rise of the Tomb Raider.

On the other hand, the snow effects when she walks through it?  Hideous.  Naughty Dog pulled off way better snow six years and one generation ago in Uncharted 2.

The rest?  The rest is hype - not the least of which being that they seem to have lifted The Last of Us's crafting mechanics.

At 04:45, Lara crafts herself a bow and we're treated to some lovely customization and crafting menus.  She's got a new toy in the form of the poison arrow, which releases a cloud of noxious fumes.

At 06:25 the next cutscene ends, and now it's time for some Lara + bow = awesome action, but there are some cool additions to her toolkit.

  • Lara can leap from trees directly on to her opponent, knocking them down and leaving them staggered and open for a one-hit kill (the 'ol rock to the face). 
  • Now that she's unlocked the poison arrow, she can craft them on-the-fly, a'la The Last of Us.
  • At 07:20, she notices a few enemies ahead.  She immediately leaps at a tree truck and wall-kicks off that to reach a higher branch.  
  • Then she leaps to another branch to pole-swing to a vantage just above her targets.  There were similar treetop opportunities in Tomb Raider, but this feels a bit richer. 
  • At 07:37 a single poison arrow between the two gentlemen KOs them both with its area of effect. 
  • At 08:33 she picks up the radio of a dispatched enemy and tosses it behind a pair nearby.  The static hisses up, distracting them. 
  • At 08:48 she picks up a jerry can of gasoline and, again without leaving the game world, crafts it into a jerry-can-molotov cocktail, which eliminates all other enemies. 
  • Then she hits a bear in the face.
  • She picks up some leaves off a bush, and at 11:25, she picks up some cloth to craft it into a bandage. 
  • Then she kills a bear.
I had kind of anticipated that, with Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics would be upping their presentation game to a point that, at the very least, nipped at the heels of Naughty Dog.  I'm a bit disappointed that they haven't - but the gameplay additions definitely add a few more levels of hype. 

The first Trails of Berseria trailer is...

...pretty much nothing.

Underboob, beach, forest, ship, eyes.  I can't hype to this.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

E3 2015: The Year of the Female Protagonist.

Not many new games were announced at E3 2015.  Rarer still are new games that aren't just sequels, but of the new - truly new - games that were announced, there is a distinct trend.

Hellblade (left) and Mirror's Edge 2 (right) were announced in 2014.

In the past decade or so, there has been a heartening swell in the number of triple-A games with female leads.  They remain few, and far between - Mirror's Edge, Remember Me, Alice: Madness Returns, WET, Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 2 - but ever so slowly, we're approaching a place where fifty percent of the population may be represented in fifty percent of our gaming heroes.

Think about the new game announcements from this year's E3.  Name me a new, single-player IP with a male protagonist.

I can't name one.

Among most returning franchises - Hitman or Gears of War or Shadow Warrior - big changes aren't happening.  I wouldn't want them to - Agent 47 is iconic, to me - but the new triple-A single-player games are led by ladies.

All of them.  And some of them are usurping their franchise's male hero.

Dishonored 2 - the hugely-anticipated sequel from Bethesda - switched out the male heroes of the first game and its DLC for Empress Emily Caldwin. Coming to PS4, One and PC.

A new NieR title was announced by Square Enix - almost nothing but concept art was shown - and the only human figure in the entire trailer is the woman pictured above.  Coming for PS4.

ReCore from Microsoft and Keiji Inafune, about a girl and her robo-companion in a vast wasteland.  Coming for Xbox One.

Beyond Eyes is a gorgeous water-colored adventure game about a blind girl searching for her friend.  Coming to Xbox One.

In Eitr, the Shield Maiden seeks to purify all nine branches of Yggdrasil, the world tree, of the black taint of the trickster.  Coming to PS4.

A little girl must face her nightmares in Hush.  Coming to Xbox One.

The "Vengeful Heroine" of turn-based stealth platformer Ronin will be assassinating her way on to PS4, Vita and PC.

The split among indie games is pretty much fifty-fifty (when one accounts for games with gendered protagonists), and multiplayer games either favour a gender mix or men - but among new, single-player triple-A IPs, it is a complete sweep.  Every big, new single-player game announced at E3 2015 is starring a woman.

How awesome is that?

Horizon: Zero Dawn
Coming to PS4.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

YIIK: A Postmodern RPG coming this winter.

Don't worry, I don't know what's going on either.

Wanna' see what Elena looks like in Uncharted 4?

A high-quality download of the Kingdom Hearts III trailer.


Oh, and here's Horizon.

Thanks, Endless!

Forty minutes of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Not watching!  Spoilers!

The Tomorrow Children coming Fall 2015.

And here's its E3 trailer.

Or should I say the Tomorrow Children: You'll Still Have No Idea What The Fuck Is Going On trailer.

Twenty-five minutes of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.


About nine minutes of Mad Max gameplay.

Hmm.  Hype level reduced.

Hm! A Resident Evil Revelations 2 Vita trailer!

Doesn't look awful!

Ten minutes of Salt and Sanctuary.

So the dev sits down with the PlayStation livecast to explain the game, and

this remains one of my most-anticipated games.  Very hyped - and it is, tragically, one of very few interesting indies we've been able to get a closer look at this week. I imagine there are another ten or twenty super-cool looking small titles from E3 that we didn't hear boo about, this year.

Have you seen one story about Severed's presence at the show?

Me neither.

What the heck.

A demo of Death's Gambit.

A nice long look and explanation of the stylish 2D brawler.

What is going on with Galak-Z?

I've been scouring for details on indies at E3.  Usually, around this time, the big games have been seen and covered, and we begin getting nice little looks at smaller titles on the show floor.

This year, we didn't.  Don't know why - not sure why - but I've actually found a bit of interesting footage from... PlayStation, of all people.

They've had some indie devs on their livestream couch, and it's only here that I've been able to find a bit of information or a bit of gameplay about my most-anticipated indies.

First up - obviously - Galak-Z.

The man with the beard is, for the record, Jake Kazdal - the man who runs 17 Bit, which is working on Galak-Z and made Skulls of the Shogun.  There are two major takeaways, for me.

One: The Vita version may not be happening

Jake says Galak-Z is coming "exclusively" to PS4, and makes no mention of Vita.  (He also makes no mention of a PC version, but you know that's coming.)  The Vita logo, additionally, doesn't appear at the end of Galak-Z's E3 2015 trailer - just the PS4 logo.

I've asked for clarification on its Vita status everywhere I can think of, and haven't heard back.

[update] In an earlier stream, Jake Kazdal explained that a Vita version of Galak-Z would be awesome, but if it ends up happening, it would be through a third-party.  So, basically, it's not happening unless Sony steps in and hands it off to one of their Vita porting studios.

Don't hold your breath. [/update]

Second: We'll get a release window/date for Galak-Z in "a few weeks."

That is huge if true.  Galak-Z has been "coming soon" since 2013, and was due to be released "late summer" 2014.  The game went back in the oven when Kazdal and 17-Bit decided to move it from a pure Metroidvania action game into an action-Roguelike, and 17-Bit's been completely mum on a potential release ever since.

We may actually get this thing before the end of the summer.  On PS4.

Galak-Z coming mid-late summer 2015?

Finally, finally, Twitter got something more than "soon" out of 17 Bit:

So Galak-Z, my #2 most-hyped game of the year, is either coming out this summer, or just after.

Man, I hope the Vita release is in the chamber.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I think Horizon Zero Dawn is my game of the show.

Mmm-m!  Look at that header.

A cave girl, hunting a robotic tyrannosaurus rex.

Imagine the concept art for that moment.  I want to play that - and the closer you look at Horizon, the more exciting it becomes.

1 : Passionate devs make great games. 

There were rumors for a long time suggesting Guerrilla's next game would be a fantastical RPG.  This is... a vast departure from what the studio has done before and I, for one, couldn't be happier about it.  When a studio strikes out in a different direction, the results are always... at least memorable, if not spectacular.  Think about it.

Naughty Dog, ditching Jak & Daxter for Uncharted, and then into The Last of Us.

The Creative Assembly, going from RTS games to Alien: Isolation.

EA Redwood Shores, going from licensed Simpsons crap to Dead Space.

Sucker Punch, going from Sly Cooper to inFamous.

So many triple-As are produced because someone holding the purse strings told a development studio what they're doing next.  Fresh, original, inspired triple-A games get made because The Money Suit walked into a studio and asked those developers what they want to make - and I don't believe for a moment that a suit came up with the concept for Horizon.

2 : A triple-A first-party role playing game.

This feels like something that's been a long time coming, from Sony.  Their western first-party studios tend to excel at presentation and often storytelling - core strengths of triple-A RPGs - and I've secretly nursed a hope for years that Naughty Dog would go this rout, as narrative becomes more and more important to the studio.

How many significant triple-A western RPG development studios can you name?  Off the top of my head, only three come to mind - Bethesda, BioWare and CD Projekt.  After them, you've got the high-quality but lower-tier studios like Obsidian, then you're in to indies and that's... that's about it.

Third-party triple-A exclusive RPGs have been a modern trope ever since Microsoft shelled out for Lost Odyssey, but a third-party partnership is vastly different from a first-party development.  I mean, third-party stuff can be phenomenal - Bayonetta and Bloodborne are proof enough of that - but first-party development is where you end up with just... exhaustively polished stuff like Halo, Gears of War, The Last of Us and God of War.

Beautifully, I can't name an RPG in that list because Horizon might be the first one.  A first-party triple-A RPG is a powerful idea, to me.  It positively reeks of potential, and the concept for Horizon is... it's just... gleeful.

3 : This made my inner child's head explode.

You are Aloy - a cave girl who hunts robotic dinosaurs in the ruins of our (present day) civilization.  If your inner child isn't squirming with excitement at the very thought, I have a tiny emotional casket you may need.

Consider the story of Atlantis.  An ancient civilization so advanced it appears supernatural to outside observers.  The idea is thousands of years old, but Horizon casts the ancient, advanced civilization as our own.

Also, cave girl hunts robosaurs.

4 : Smart, organic design. 

Like The Last of Us, the gameplay, as shown, feels like it was created to fit into the strange world they're suggesting, and not the other way around.  When the gameplay begins, Aloy drops down a slope and immediately slips into some tall grass, sneaking towards an unsuspecting robo-raptor - a Watcher, she calls it.  It senses movement in the grass, and the cool blue light of its single "eye" turns yellow - classic stealth feedback - and we know that it knows something's up. It's searching.

This does not appear in the UI (which consists of an ammo counter) - it exists only in the game world, a'la Dead Space.

The Watcher cranes its neck up and flashing pulses of grid-patterned light splash across the grass. One pulse.  Two.  It raises its neck as high as it can.  Three.

It knows Aloy's there.  It takes a step back, turns its profile to the grass and stretches itself out before letting loose with a howl that sounds like a submarine's emergency alarm.  Aloy doesn't hesitate.

"No you don't!" She springs forward and fires her spear into a very precise spot, just above and behind its leg.

With a buzzing whine, the Watcher's lights blink and fade as it collapses.  "Shh, shhh, shh..." She tries to soothe it, as it dies. "Sorry, little one."

She gives... a lot of respect to this thing she kills.  A lot about her design - and her behaviour - says Native American.  Her tools are made from parts of the machines she hunts.  Her bow - her blade - all gleaming scraps of metal cobbled into lethal points.

Aloy explains to us that hers is a tribal culture.  There are humble villages

and there are great kings,

and then there's her.  She tells us that her tribe was the first to begin hunting the machines - but she didn't come here to kill anything.

Today, she tumbles stealthily between patches of safe long grass, sneaking up on four-legged deer-like machines which are placidly grazing in the valley.  Each machine holds a clutch of four tubes on its back, sloshing with a cool green liquid.  "Those canisters should be full by now," she says.

She draws her bow, aims at one of the canisters and lets fly.  The canister pops from the machine's back and falls, the herd's light-eyes flicker from blue to red - classic feedback - and Aloy darts forward to snap up the canister.  The herd begins to flock away and she chases after them, desperately trying to knock a few more of those curious canisters loose as they run.

5 : What a world.

And all this raises so many questions!

What's in the canisters?

Why do the grazers produce it?  Is it just for each individual machine's benefit, or does their whole mecha-dino ecosystem somehow rely on this green stuff?  If so who or what removes the green stuff to share with the other robosaurs?

Why does Aloy need what's in the canisters?

The game takes place one thousand years - fifty generations - after the fall of our civilization.  Aloy's people don't know what happened to the Old Ones - which begs the question,

What happened to the Old Ones?

Did they all get killed by the awesome robots they invented?  That certainly seems implied.

Why are there still dinobots?  They're all clean, gleaming and sharp-looking.  These aren't the rusty remnants of a millennium-old civilization - these things are new - which begs the question,

Where do they come from now?  Do they manufacture themselves?  Have these mechanical ultra-lizards somehow evolved in the last thousand years to reproduce, their form and functions shaped by time and the imperative to survive, or did the Old Ones actually design and produce dinobots?

If so, explain the grazers to me because I am fascinated.

Now, some fresh deets have dropped after media interviews, and here's the deal with Horizon.

A team of twenty began working on it as soon as Killzone 3 wrapped.  Then, after Killzone: Shadow Fall shipped in late 2013, the rest of the team moved over to Horizon.

Guerrilla describe it as, "by far," the largest game they've ever made. Hunting the machines is tied directly in to your progress, as only they offer the resources you'll need to craft new weapons, ammo and tools.  They consider the crafting to be a "key component," of the game, and note that it has "a lot" of quests.

It is completely open-world, and described as "seamless."  I hope that means it's true open-world, and not a series of large maps like Witcher III.

Finally, taking down the 'bots isn't just a matter of firing arrows into them until they conk out.

6 : Tactical robosaur takedowns.

Take the robo-tyrannosaur fight.  Aloy switches between four different arrows for that battle - each with a different purpose.

She begins with shock arrows.  One fired into the armor of the head and side don't do much, but when she puts one in to the exposed parts of the machine's leg, it erupts in crackling electricity, and the thing is momentarily stunned.  This is where things get really interesting.

She switches to a broadhead arrow and plants one in what I can only describe as a missile pod on the thing's back.  It leaps off, crashes into the grass, and then she picks it up and uses it to start blowing great panels off the side of the machine.  One lost panel exposes a glowing core.

But Aloy's not done switching arrows yet.  She pulls out the quad-stringed crossbow the older man showed her earlier in the trailer and launches a bolt into her quarry - it's called the Ropecaster.

She aims at the ground and plants the other end of the rope arrow and repeats, pinning the tyranno-bot with four ropes that it strains against before, ultimately, collapsing.

Finally, she switches to an explosive head, time dilates, and she puts the arrow into the core she exposed.  There's a great bloom of fire, the roborex groans, heaves up and collapses, and the game switches to an in-engine cutscene showing Aloy jabbing her short spear into a glowy part on the underside of its head.

That last part - the cutscene and the weird, limp final blow against the machine - are the only parts of this trailer that didn't thrill me to my core.

Everything else is frosting.  This whole thing is the best part of the cake.

7 : All the frosting.

This is the game Guerrilla want to make, which means they're gonna' make it guuud.

For the first time, a western triple-A first-party studio is going to make an RPG.  Oops, pardon me,

An open-world triple-A first-party RPG.

The gameplay is a mix of stealth, third-person shooting, Monster Hunter dodging, environmental weaponization and tactical takedowns that seem dictated by the world Guerrilla have imagined here, and not the other way 'round.

There are quests.  I hope these include a contract to hunt a pack of robo-wolves, because that would be awesome.

The universe is fascinating, with so many interesting questions.  Who are the Kings in that big middle-ages-esque city?  Will Aloy ever go to one of the Old Ones' cities?  What is keeping the machines "alive"?

You are a cave girl, and you hunt robot dinosaurs.

Cave girl
robot dinosaurs.

Game of the show. 

Hush coming to Xbox One.

Today I finally had some time to go through all the indie trailers Microsoft tossed up on their YouTube channel on Monday.  Nothing is really gonna' blow your mind, but some of it looks... like you might want to try some demos.

First up,


Leo's Fortune coming to Xbox One.

Sword Coast Legends coming to Xbox One and PS4.


Raging Justice coming to Xbox One.

So... it's like sprites of high-res 3D models..?

Kinda' like Rare did with Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct back in the day.  Looks... not awful.  I'd try a demo.

The Bridge is MC Escher's puzzle-platformer: The Game.

Xbox only!

Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls up-ports coming to NA.

...but they'll probably be digital-only.

Transformers Devastation coming from Platinum.

  • The director of Metal Gear Rising
  • The voice of Optimus Prime
  • The voice of Megatron
There seems to be some pleasant depth to Devastation.  You can transform mid-combo, for example, going from a string of punches into a vehicle, ram the enemy as a car and transition right back into melee.  Dodges are mapped to the transform function, so - let's say you're melee-ing a dude - when a big attack is coming in you can zip away and if you keep the button held at the end of the dodge, you'll end the dodge as a vehicle.  If you release the button before the end of the dodge, you'll complete the dodge in robot form, to resume pummelling. 

Could be cool!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

We'll get Galak-Z info "soon."

Beyond: Two Souls & Heavy Rain getting PS4 remaster in Europe.

Why Europe only?  Who cares?  Those games weren't very good anyway.

Holy crap, Hitman is coming this year!

December 8, 2015 to be specific.  Gameplay trailer!

Wow, 47 got younger.

And it's... download-only.  Digital-only.

It sounds like the entire game is kind of an evolution of Hitman Absolution's Contracts mode - they're going to release new environments after launch, user-created hits will be a thing again, there will be time-limited contracts that you only get one shot at attempting, and they're calling it their most ambitious Hitman ever.

So here's the thing.  It's Hitman.  I am bound by my love for the PS2 trilogy and stealth gaming in general to at least try it.  And... to tell the truth, I can't fucking wait.

"The best display at E3."

That last Persona 5 trailer. Again.

So... Atlus just like re-posted the original trailer with a few English notes that it's showing Japanese footage today.

And then in the details area of the YouTube page, they re-confirm that it's coming to North America in 2015.

Well shit, that's all I need.

Just Cause 3 E3 2015 trailer.

Fall down.  Go boom.

Coming December 1, 2015.

Kingdom Hearts III E3 2015 trailer.

Now... the problem here is, the game (seems to be) so gorgeous, but moves so fast that YouTube's compression can't keep up.  I'd love to see a lossless version of this trailer.

Looks good enough to get me back into Kingdom Hearts.

Deus Ex Mankind Divided gameplay trailer.

Looks nice!

A new NieR is coming!

It's being directed by Yoko Taro, who directed the original Nier, and the game design is being handled by Platinum Games, so...

Yeah.  Get hyped.

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness localization trailer.

The Square Enix conference.

Wow, this is a small room.

Just Cause 3 is coming December 1st, 2015.

A new NeiR is in the works for PS4.  Same composer, and the designer of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

Now they're rubbing Tomb Raider in my face again... which looks gorgeous.

And now they're talking about a new mobile game - looks like a Tomb Raider Go game for smart phones. Yep - Lara Croft Go.

"A turn-based experienced set in a long-forgotten world."  It... doesn't look bad.

Sizzle reel is up. HEavensward, Life is Strange, Dragon Quest Heroes...

Hm.  Kingdom Hearts producer is up.

He's speaking Japanese and the translator has taken a vacation, yet I feel I'm not missing much.  Trailer!

It's the... FFVII trailer from yesterday.  Again.  Okay!

But this time they're clarifying that they'll say more this winter.  And now they're saying that the PC version of VII won't come to PS4 this past spring like they said last year, but will come out this winter.  Oh, and they'll have it out on iOS sooner than that.

Ooh new Kingdom Hearts trailer!

Annnd it's an iOS Kingdom Hearts game.

God, you are the masters of disappointment, Squenix.

Kingdom Hearts X Unchained Key coming to North America.  The audience can barely summon the energy to clap. Okay, new Kingdom Hearts III footage!

It looks gorgeous.  Due out for release November 10, 2019.

Just kidding, they have no idea when it's coming out.

And he's got one more to show - World of Final Fantasy.  It's the (single!) Vita title shown at the Sony conference last night.  Same adorable trailer - going for a smoke.

Ooh Io's here to talk about Hitman.  I wonder if it'll be the same... wait, what?  December 8th digital release?  "It's a game where we'll release new locations, new missions, new hits at regular intervals."

...seriously?  A digital-only Hitman?

"Imagine a target appearing for everyone in the world for a limited time only, and you only have one chance.  If your target escapes, he's gone forever.  We imagine that the Hitman community will come together to work out the best way to eliminate these targets."

There will be player-crated contracts...

Hm.  Well.  That looks awesome.  December 8, eh?  Yeah, day one.

"Square Enix + tri-Ace new project."  Star Ocean 4 is officially coming to NA and Europe for PS4.

Transitions from travel to combat are seamless (they really are).   Oooh Deus Ex is up next.

Ooh an in-game trailer. Coming "early 2016."

Now they're talking about a Final Fantasy app.  Snorrre.

Squenix has a new studio... called Tokyo RPG Factory.  "The name represents our dedication to creating Japanese RPGs."

And now they're showing some art.  "This is an all-new console RPG.  This is not a spin-off, but a new series."  Project Setsuna.

...and they're expecting a 2016 release?  Okay.

And that's it!