An Epic E3 2014

I love the day after a great E3.
Damn, it feels good to be a gamer.
Microsoft started the show with a bang this year ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT GAMES the ENTIRE CONFERENCE.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Xbox will have some exclusives like the highly anticipated Phantom Dust, Fable Legends (which is a MOBA now?!), and Halo: The Master Chief Collection (at only a $60 price point, too). Also, the Kinect-less version of the Xbox One will be available today, at a price point of $399.

399
EA’s press conference was slightly unproductive, with the highlight being the announcement of the Battlefield: Hardline Beta becoming available for download and play IMMEDIATELY on PS4 and PC.

I ran to my PS4 and downloaded it as soon as I possibly could, and scurried to sign up for the PC version, as well. I must say, I’m really enjoying the PS4 version of Battlefield:Hardline so far, even though it’s still in beta. The new game modes are exciting, the mechanics feel fluid, and the graphics look good. I’m eager to see how this game will transition from beta.

bfh
Next up to bat was Ubisoft.

I must say….Assassin’s Creed:Unity…looks…astounding. The graphics are amazing, the movements look natural, and they are adding a four player co-op mode where you can play with friends to complete missions.

FOUR PLAYER CO-OP. YES, YES, YES, PLEASE.

They also showed us the trailer for Far Cry 4, which interested me right away.
I’m not even a fan of the previous Far Cry games (I tried, I just couldn’t get into them), Far Cry 4 looks fresh– like a game that will certainly hold my attention. The first few minutes of the story, alone, were enough to pull me in.

Last up to bat– Sony. Sony announced that YouTube will be coming to PS4, and that it will allow users to upload directly from PS4 to YouTube, seamlessly.

YESSSSSSSS.

utube

This is going to make the PS4 the console of choice with people who enjoy streaming and uploading videos directly to the interwebs. PS4/Twitch compatibility is already SUPER user-friendly and easy, this is only going to expand on that experience. PS4 has the upper hand on exclusives, which include Destiny, Little Big Planet 3, and Uncharted 4.
Destiny’s beta will launch on July 17th, you can actually sign up for the alpha if you JUST CAN’T WAIT–that access will be available later THIS week.
Little Big Planet 3 was announced, along with countless other titles I am SUPER FRIGGIN’ stoked about but already knew were coming to PS4 (thanks, insiders!) like PlanetSide 2.

desrtoinylbnp3ps2

Ugh, there is just TOO MUCH gaming awesomeness coming up this year. Even though we already knew all or most of the titles that were going to be announced, I still think this was a great E3. There was focus on GAMES. Last year’s pissing contest kinda missed the mark on the games and focused more on who had a bigger d*@% (Microsoft FAILED miserably last year).
All in all, I thought this was a pretty evenly-matched, well-executed, exciting E3 this year, and I have no complaints. Even the indie games coming out look astounding, interesting, and jaw-dropping, graphics-wise.

Mass Effect 4 announced. Mirror’s Edge 2 announced. Star Wars: Battlefront. Batman:Arkham Knight where you can drive the batmobile.

YOU CAN DRIVE THE FREAKIN’ BATMOBILE.

arkham knight

Need I say more?

It’s going to be a good year to be a gamer, people.

Personally, my most anticipated games for this year are: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and The Order:1886. I realize now that they all have colons in their names. Coincidence? Aaaaaanyway…

 

witcher3daiorder

Our wallets will be empty, but our hearts will be full.

picard

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Vengeance Pack Available Today For PS3

Image

Call of Duty: Black Ops II new DLC pack ‘Vengeance’ drops today, giving it’s players four new multi-player maps. It  includes the return of a re-imagined Black Ops I multi-player classic, an all-new epic Zombies chapter, and a brand new, bonus weapon for zombie mode – the Ray Gun Mark II – available for use in every Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Zombies map.

Image

The new maps include:
Image
Cove: All-out conflict ensues on this small, forgotten island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  Players battle it out amongst the wreckage of a jet that crash-landed during a smuggling operation gone wrong.

Image

Detour: Players fight amongst the scattered vehicles, exposed iron and collapsed pavement of a destroyed suspension bridge, high above this East Coast waterway where the action can play out on multiple levels.

Image

Rush: Fast and close-quarter engagements are assured in this paintball course that’s been turned into a full- combat arena, giving players new opportunities and challenges to use cover to their advantage.

Image

Uplink: In this re-imagined adaptation of the fan-favorite Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer map Summit, players clash deep in the rainy jungles of Myanmar, high atop a high-tech mountain facility.

Image

And new zombies map Buried, in which players will be challenged to face their deepest fears, trapped inside a long-forgotten subterranean Old West mining town infested with swarms of the undead.

So start your downloads, and get ready, all you CoD fans!

Sony Steals E3 2013

Damn, it feels good to be a Sony fangirl this morning.

ps4

Sony announced to THUNDEROUS applause at last night’s E3 conference that they will NOT be placing restrictions on used games in any way. HUGE news after Microsoft got the gaming world’s panties in a bunch after announcing they were enacting DRM policies on Xbox One.

Also coming in at a price tag of $399, undercutting Microsoft’s Xbox One by a hundred bucks, I think it’s safe to say that Sony won this year’s E3 conference–hands down.

I watched both the Xbox One announcement and unveiling, and their conference at E3 yesterday, and was genuinely impressed at the exclusives they had available. Game play and graphics also looked excellent. Other than that, there was really nothing to cause an uproar. Until the Sony conference begun.

Seems like Sony is really getting in-touch with the consumer this-gen. They listened to what gamers wanted, and they delivered. They are making it easier for indie games to get published–actually encouraging it– and they are making it easier for the consumer to have access to these games. Awesome. Just awesome.

round1

Let’s just list the facts about both consoles:

The Xbox One –Custom eight-core x86 CPU, a 500GB hard drive, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, USB 3.0, HDMI in and out ports, and WiFi.

The Sony PS4 — Single-chip, eight-core AMD Jaguar custom, low power x86-64 APU with a Radeon based graphics engine, 8GB of GDDR5 RAM and a Blu-ray optical disc drive.

“Both firms have gone for custom AMD chips, and Sony has the graphics edge with an 18 compute unit GCN graphics core configuration,” says Dave Neal from The Inquirer.

Sony has kept backwards compatibility (available early next year through the cloud), something that Microsoft has left behind.

Not yet confirmed are Sony’s hints at charging for an online experience.

During the conference, they hinted that only PlayStation Plus members would have access to online play, costing about $5 per month.

Not too shabby considering you can purchase a PS4 and two years of PsPlus for the same price as an Xbox One.

Not to mention people have issues with Kinect’s “spying eye,” and some feel like it’s almost an invasion of privacy to be REQUIRED to have your console connected to the internet at all times, looking–judging. Selling things to you.

kinectspy

PS4 will work without an internet connection. So you can play games.
Without being online.

Imagine that? A console…meant for playing games…that can actually PLAY OFFLINE GAMES…while remaining…OFFLINE. MIND. BLOWN.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love games. I love gaming consoles.
However, in my opinion, the choice this-gen is clear.

Sony wiped the floor with Microsoft.

It’s a great day to be a gamer.

sorcerer

Elite Girl Sprkly Reviews Anarchy Online

Anyone who knows where I stand in the social order of Anarchy Online (AO) is going to call this entire article biased, but let me preface this by saying that I didn’t become Director of the game’s dedicated radio station (GridStream Productions  [http://www.gridstream.org] and the coordinator of their first real-life fan convention because I was paid to do either, or because they were some sort of last resort for my personal ambitions in life. First and foremost, I’m a player of Anarchy Online, and I took on the social roles in the community that I did because I feel so strongly about the game. If you want to call it bias, go right ahead. But the only bias that exists here is from a dedicated fan enjoying to its fullest the best game I’ve ever played.

In a market flooded with a hundred or so replicas of the same fantasy-themed MMO over and over again, with the same dumbed-down leveling opportunities and standard gear for each class, Funcom’s Anarchy Online definitely stands out as the premiere science fiction MMO of our time. It’s a free-to-play game, with paid subscriptions available that unlock premium areas of the game. It’s also eleven years old, and home to the oldest existing MMO-based radio station in the world (that’s myself and the crew over at GridStream).

Before you judge the game based on the fact that it’s old and still offers paid subscriptions, let’s look at the reasons why it has survived the test of time. Anarchy Online is truly unique in its play style, its world and its community. Most modern MMO’s claim that, but from my experience most are far more generic and predictable than AO. What you’ll get in AO is something that the modern games haven’t been able to capture, and that’s a sense of adventure, the opportunity to open your mind to something challenging and different, and a sense of community that’s unparalleled in modern games.

AO takes place on the world of Rubi-Ka, where a battle rages between the rebel clans and the evil Omni-Tek corporation. In AO, you’re stepping almost 30,000 years into the future to an age where common surgical implants and microscopic nanobots can relieve most forms of human suffering or transform any normal being into a weapon of destructive force. You’ll fight all manner of foes, including not just PvP with warring factions, but cyborgs, modified humans, robots, aliens, strange creatures of various shapes and forms, and even perhaps one day when you reach endgame you’ll face the horrors of The Beast or Lord of The Void.

While home to horrible enemies, Rubi-Ka is also home to some of the most endearing wildlife that many players have become so enamored with that they carry dolls in their likeness, or even cast a nano-program that will temporarily turn themselves (or friends) into that same little creature. I speak of Anarchy Online’s beloved leets. They’re odd little rodents that seem to defy the laws of physics with their giant heads and two tiny, bird-like legs, with no clearly discernible center of gravity.

AO has an extremely high learning curve, with the only hand-holding you receive being what you ask for from other players, who are usually willing to offer tips and help. While character creation is pretty basic compared to most modern games, the way you can customize your character’s play style as you progress is so detailed, it’s unmatched by any other game. You can create the strongest, most indestructible character, the weakest, most useless character, or anything in between by simply spending your Improvement Points on the right or wrong things. Guides are a player’s best friend, and with an 11-year-old game, there are plenty available for those who are new to the game.

There isn’t a linear questing system as with most modern MMO’s as we’re now used to. You can take “oldskool” Rubi-Ka solo or team missions from a mission terminal, hunt wildlife solo or with a team, complete daily missions for bonus experience, join an organization for extra help, or pay the subscription for the expansion areas to access places you can level more quickly and see more of the game. There are a million options for PvE, and you can also PvP with many different options for dueling, fighting political tower wars, or simply killing the opposition in your chosen playfield.

If you truly don’t have any interest in any of that and are more of a creative, free spirit, roleplaying is also alive and well in AO. With a game whose backstory was written by acclaimed author Ragnar Tørnquist, the world has a rich history and is writing more of it every day.

I’d like to also talk for a moment about what you may think my view is the most biased about – the community. I’ve played a lot of games, but I don’t have friends in other games like I do in AO. I think part of the reason for this is that it’s a more difficult game that’s been around for a long time, and the average age of players is older than that of more modern MMO’s. Age in this case, seems to equal maturity, for the most part. As part of the game’s radio station, I can tell you we have parties every day of the week normally and have a great crowd at most of them. We look forward to logging in and hanging out with our friends, and make new ones all the time. We just had our first fan convention for AO this past summer. AO Con 2012 [ http://ao-con.com] was predicted to only draw maybe 20 people, but instead we squashed the skeptics’ numbers by drawing a crowd of 51 people to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a weekend of partying with our AO friends, live DJ’s, a nerf gun battle, a presentation from Funcom on what they’re working on right now and tons of other fun activities. If that doesn’t speak for the dedication and closeness of the community in the game, then there’s no convincing you.

But let’s take an honest moment to look at the most obvious disadvantage to AO – the outdated graphics. The game hasn’t had a full graphics engine update, ever. Funcom is working on it as we speak and has been for a long time, and many players have grown tired of waiting for the new graphics engine and left. But if you look at the bigger picture, that AO is an incredibly fun and challenging game with so many different opportunities for PvE, PvP, roleplaying and socializing, and the beautiful vistas in Elysium in the Shadowlands and the amazing Rubi-Ka sunrise, it’s well worth looking past some polygonal edges and outdated textures.

To say that Anarchy Online is the best game ever made is totally true, in my opinion. Does it need some polishing to compete with more modern games? Sure. But is it still worth trying out for free and taking a chance at finding out for yourself what a diamond in the rough this game is? Absolutely. See you on Rubi-Ka, friends.