E3 2018 (1): When The World is Running Down, You Make The Best of What’s Still Around

Soooo, so THAT’S What Death Stranding is about (that’s an in-joke, by the way).

Oh, now this is (not so) amusing. I wrote up about 2000 or so words on a few upcoming games shown at E3, but WordPress failed me in not saving my draft (I’m staring at the “! Saving of draft failed” note in the upper left of the screen as we speak, grrrr) so here we go again, but in shorter form because I’m a bit ticked off about needing to redo what was a pretty decent post and I’ve got a few other writing tasks to accomplish. Anyway, it’s really hard to enjoy gaming as much thanks to the real world madness creeping into the hobby side of things, but there are way too many interesting games on the way to avoid.

 

 
Yeah, death, DOOM, and gloom are all the RAGE 2, but it’s going to be a beautiful ballet of bullets and bombs bouncing all over. Bethesda’s presser was pretty amusing because Todd Howard knew how to balance self deprecating humor with the business side of things as the company poked fun at itself and some gamers who tend to either not have a clue about game development (it’s not an easy thing) or maybe think some franchises are a bit overworked. On the other hand, this is one of those always fascinating developer/publishers where sequels are eagerly anticipated each time one is revealed.

I have no clue what Fallout 76 will be about, but I’m going to guess it will feel like the Fallout Shelter (which just dropped onto the PS4 and Switch) but set in a world four times the size of Fallout 4 (which is pretty massive). As my laptop died, I eagerly downloaded it from PSN (it’s free) and ended up playing longer than I thought. Or: I ended up saving my game so I could take a nap. I woke up a bit later and accidentally clicked on the YouTube button on my Wii U and ended up catching the beginning of the PlayStation press event. I was very surprised that I liked pretty much all that was shown I’ll get to those in separate posts after the show), but Media Molecule’s Dreams stood out as a game I really need to try out. Well, that is if SCEA ever invites me back to a press event in NYC. They seem to have cleared out their press list and I don’t hear jack from them these days. Boo.

I didn’t watch Microsoft’s presser because I don’t own an Xbox One (too many awful experience with Xbox 360’s dying on me). But I did check out the plethora of game trailers and found they do look nice overall. I’m not much into the Halo games (although I own them up to ODST and have played bits of Halo 4 at a friends place), but that teaser for Halo 5 showed off a pretty impressive engine. As for the AAA developers (EA, Activision/Blizzard, Ubisoft, etc.) I’ll be looking at those trailers over the next week and maybe posting thoughts. A lot of AAA titles seems set in a certain reliable sector where you get what you expect (which is both good and bad based on your desire to pay for extra content, season passes and the like), but I tend to gravitate to single player games or those where playing with others is an option.

What else? Um… Namco Bandai, Sega, Xseed/Marvelous, Devolver Digital and a ton of indie devs have WAY TOO MANY GOOD GAMES COMING. To the point that it’s just daunting seeing what they’re doing and where everything is going. I need clones, stat. Capcom will make a bazillion dollars with that Resident Evil 2 remake (which means we’ll be getting RE 3: Nemesis at some point hopefully before the planet explodes. As for Nintendo? Yeah, yeah, I’ll get to them in a day or so. I know they tend to do things differently, so they’re going to get er, special treatment. The Switch is selling like hotcakes, third party and indie devs are filling the roster with excellent games and yes, the first party stuff is the mostly evergreen stuff they’re well known for. Back in a bit – I have a few demos to try out.

-GW

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Adventures in Backloggery 1: Fallout 4

Fallout 4 Spanish

So yeah, my backlog of games to get to is so huge that I’m finally getting around to playing Fallout 4.  Actually, it was a few months back (okay, late last year!) when I picked up an inexpensive new/sealed copy and as you can see, the cover and insert are entirely in Spanish. The game and included poster are entirely in English and I believe the person I bought the game from sold it cheap because they thought the game wasn’t in a language they wanted to play it in.

Ah well, my gain on that front, but this made me realize that those ten years of Spanish lessons in school not being put to use have made me rusty as hell. Or, as the song says “I understand just a little – no comprende, it’s a riddle!”  I should probably remedy that, as knowing another language is a great way to expand one’s horizons significantly.  Yeah, I’ll probably look into getting the DLC at some point (I bought this something like a few weeks before the GOTY version with all the DLC went on sale, oops). but for now, this will do.

 

 

Of course, I’m still catching up with my actual reviews (11 to get done, but a few are in progress), so this will get put back into the play stack for the time being. I won’t even discuss Fallout 76, as I’m not ready for that one (and if it’s online only, I may take a pass or at least try it at my leisure as I can only play two or three online games maximum because they eat up so much time). Eh, we shall see.

-GW

Review: Conan Exiles (PS4)

Conan Exiles

Survival games come in a few flavors these days and Funcom’s mostly solid Conan Exiles ($49.99) has that interestingly coppery taste of blood, a bit of crunch from a handful of insects and a grassy finish, all wrapped in a hide of some sort that’s been smoked thoroughly. Or something like that. The game is a rough and tumble chunk of violent fun, complex crafting (that *really* needs streamlining), endless exploration and thankfully, offline play when those too packed servers are busy.

As with ARK: Survival Evolved, the massive open world sandbox element tosses you into things nearly naked and needing to gather resources quickly or die trying. Conan pops up at the beginning to free your user-created crucified character and wish you well before you’re left to your own devices. The game prompts you onward with small to large milestones and some fast level gains for small to large accomplishments. Drinking water, finding space for and creating that first shelter, crafting your first basic armor, figuring out the ridiculously complex cooking system and more all help you get a feel for the game right away. Or at least, you’ll realize that this is a game where you’ll need to pay constant attention to even the smallest thing lest you want to punt that Dual Shock 4 through your TV.

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Review: Dragon’s Crown Pro (PS4)

DCP_PS4An instant classic on both artistic and pure gameplay levels, Dragon’s Crown Pro ($49.99) has finally arrived on PS4 with buffed up 4K visuals and cross-platform play/save compatibility with the PS3 and Vita versions. It’s a game that also hopefully going to be one of those true evergreens that new players will want to add to their libraries because it offers enough replay value to keep you dialed in each time you pick up that controller.

The game’s original notoriety to some for its mildly bawdy artwork for some of the female characters (but you get a half naked muscular dwarf as a counter to that) ends up being much ado about nothing. If you’ve a working brain in your skull, you’ll know the difference between gorgeous stylized artwork and solid animation and somehow deeming the game “controversial” because one doesn’t appreciate the very intentionally over-exaggerated art. That and hell, it’s a Vanillaware game, so assorted forms of pulchritude are a necessary non-evil.

DCP 4K

“Waiter, there’s a fly in m… oh, never mind (ogle!)

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Moonlighter Trailer: Best of Show, Humor Award

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Okay, I don’t hand out awards at all. But if I did, this trailer for Moonlighter, the upcoming game from 11 bit studios and Digital Sun would take home a few trinkets and trophies. A direct poke in the eyeball to all those folks who get all frothy at the mouth over even the most subtle differences in cross platform games, here we see that yes, the perfectly solid pixel art in the game is exactly the same across anything it plays on. Lovely.

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Review: Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality

Rick and Morty PS4Developer Owlchemy Labs really has a decent handle on this VR stuff, so Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality ($29.99) is pretty much a no-brainer for fans of that popular show who just so happen to own a PlayStation 4 and PS VR setup. The game’s about as as insane as the show and the VR is pretty neat and designed to be a good deal less frantic on the eye holes (meaning those of you who get a bit woozy from VR can rejoice).

While I’m not as much into the show as some of its more avid fans, a well-made game will always catch my eye (ow), particularly one with the totally offbeat (and not for the young kiddies) humor the show excels at. So, yeah, if you’re new to the show, have wee ones and this game pops up as a request (because some kids can be cooler than their parents, or at least get away with watching cartoons out of their age range), you may want to play it for yourself and have your jaw hit your shoes a few times before you let those kids take it for a spin. Oh, you’ll very likely laugh your ass off in the process of checking this out. But that’s a good thing, correct?

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Moss Coming to PS4 as a Physical Edition in June

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Moss2DBlackNormally, if someone said “Hey! Look at that mouse!” I’d be up on a chair with a shoe ready to throw at the first thing that moved because I’d not want some rodent running up my pant leg followed by a ticked off cat like something out of a a Tom and Jerry cartoon. In the case of Polyarc’s lovely action/platform/puzzle game Moss, however, I’m all “D’awwww! SO CUTE!” and then some.

The critically acclaimed and formerly digital only PSN release is getting a retail version next month and it’s looking like one of those PS VR enabled games that’s going to be worth grabbing for your physical library.  Take a peek at the trailer below of Quill’s big virtual adventure and see for yourself, (squeak, squeak):

 

 

Yep, SOLD. June 12 is when this scampers into stores, so go do that pre-order thing or just pop on in to pick up your copy. Save the cheese, though. The person selling you the game might be lactose intolerant or might rather want a pricey Camembert and not the Velveeta chunk you were planning on bringing.

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-GW

TERA: Corsairs’ Stronghold Update Adds Pirates & Booty Galore (Arr!)

 

Okay, the game that got me to stop playing so much Diablo III is getting another big update. TERA isn’t quite perfect, but it’s often really gorgeous to look at and does do excellently at keeping me occupied in that theme park on steroids manner a good MMO does. The newest update is Corsairs’ Stronghold, a 20 vs 20 battleground map where you’ll need to fight with or against other players to secure or destroy an Archstone. I see that this map can be soloed, but I’m gathering that will be pretty darn tough to do if you’re trying to face off against 20 AI players (or even live ones) all by yourself.

Yes, a review is in process for this game, but I’m in the midst of figuring out the story content, which is tricky because the game allows you to play freely enough that you can miss a chunk of the plot by merely doing side missions and other diversions.  The nice thing is the game is free to play across all the systems it’s on, with the exception of those pesky keys required to unlock strongboxes. I didn’t realize this because in the beta. keys were rewarded for certain milestones. I haven’t spent a dime on the game at all, but at Level 65, I kind of have something like 1000 strongboxes (eep!) and am thinking hard about paying to unlock a few. My poor wallet is snapping at me every time I dawdle over that buy button on the store page, though.

 

 

So, we shall see what happens, I suppose. But know that my wallet has a mighty growl that can curl paint off a wall. In the meantime, did you know I’ve posted way too many videos about this game on my under-watched YouTube channel? I don’t do commentary at all, so fear not – you don’t have to hear my warbling and waxing poetic. Just pop by, watch a few and subscribe if you like what you see.

-GW

By Crom! Conan Exiles Out Now on Consoles

Conan Exiles

Or: By Crom, I think I’ll never see daylight again. Yes, Funcom has gotten it’s popular M-rated MMO/survival/crafting game Conan Exiles out today on PS4 and Xbox One along with a nice update for PC users. I’m going into this totally blind other than checking out a few official gameplay videos and trailers over the past year from the PC version. My money says death will come quickly for my poor character, but I’m going to try and survive as long as possible (well, as least until I can build a decent shelter). Granted, I’ll need to make it through the character creation system, as I’m still thinking up what sort of character I’m going to make. I like that the tips PDF I got notes that choosing Crom as a starting deity makes the character agnostic, but you also get NO benefit bonuses from choosing him (as it should be).

 

 

While I don’t plan to do any PVP stuff (as I want to enjoy the story and gameplay without pulling all my remaining hair out because my avatar keeps getting killed by belt-notchers out to grab scalps wherever they can), I may pop onto a server and check out how long I’ll last there. I really want to focus on the lore and seeing how well any story content is structured, as Funcom says it’s not an empty sandbox you’ll be playing in. That means I’ll be searching high and low for lore to the point where I’ll very likely get keelhauled by an enemy because I’m busy reading some digitally dusty tome I’ve located. As well.

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Back in a bit with a review which will probably be in at least two parts. See you then.

-GW

FUNDED! It’s A Good Life, Indeed

The Good Life Funded

Well, this is fine news indeed. I’d bet a penny that SWERY and Yukio Futasagi are very likely doing this routine to celebrate:

(Thanks, laughland!)

Actually, as the note the team sent out yesterday says, the really hard work is just beginning. Me, I’m happy to have contributed my paltry amount to the cause and will now wait patiently for the game to be completed. I’m not going to be one of those folks bugging, nagging, and pestering the folks working on this game at all because I respect game developers quite a great deal, particularly those that do work as interesting, intriguing and surprising as these two gentlemen have previously.

-GW