E3 2017 – Part 1 – EA Press Conference

When it comes to the EA press conference, I usually have mixed feelings because they do a lot of sports stuff that really puts me to sleep, but they also have a variety of other games that I would enjoy playing a find them interesting. Usually these come from BioWare, but sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised. I made a lot of predictions for this year’s EA conference, so let’s see how everything played out for their hour + conference.

EA kicked off their press conference with a band to come out and play the drums in order to promote Madden 18’s story mode Long Shot. Seriously, I had thought that Ubisoft was the only one that did this kind of thing each and every year for Just Dance. Guess not. Moving on, EA then went on to do a reveal of some Battlefield 1 content. The team working on Battlefield 1 is still working on it and there will be new maps and a whole new DLC to go with it. That’s cool if you’re a Battlefield player, but if you’re not then it’s really not that interesting. Moving on there was some new information on the FIFA and Madden Championship games where real people play for real glory and all that other stuff. This is about the time of the show when I start to glaze over a little because it seems like the sports stuff is the same each and every year. I know that EA is trying to incorporate some kind of story mode into each and every sports game, but it’s still not drawing in any interest from me and I don’t think it’s drawing in any kind of interest from non-sports playing gamers. Anyway, Men in Blazers came up to do a thing about FIFA and I guess it was a big deal. So I just don’t look like someone who hates sports games, I used to be totally into sports games on my PS2 and even tried playing FIFA once, but it just never worked out for me and since then I’ve given up.

The reveal for Need for Speed Payback was up next. I feel like this was a cool game when it first came out in 1994, but this is one of those franchises that should just give up. Correct me if I’m wrong, because sometimes I am, isn’t this just the same game over and over again? Anyway, what I did notice about this game was that the voice acting was just terrible. Anyone else get tired of the voice acting within the first minute or two of the game demo? Next up was a presentation from EA originals. I have to say I was excited about this because last time we got Unravel and it was awesome. I was excited to hear that the creators of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons have joined EA originals to come up with their next game. I thought this was going to be awesome, but I was soon sadly mistaken. The next game coming from this studio is A Way Out. This is basically a prison break game where you’ll play one of two inmates who for whatever reason don’t want to serve their time and just want to break out. The catch is though that you can only play this in co-op mode and while it does support online co-op it was mostly made for split screen on the couch co-op. This had me groan because seriously who likes split screen co-op? I thought the overall concept of the game was a pretty stale one and the graphics didn’t look all that great anyway. I feel like this studio can do so much more especially after Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons but did a complete 180 and I don’t think it’s going to work for them.

There was also talk of a new SEED team which is basically a research team so that maybe EA can stop getting as much hate as they do. Tall order. Anyway there was some project Scorpio talking from EA about how amazing it is and so and so before the semi-reveal of BioWare’s mysterious new IP dubbed “Project Dylan.” There was about a minute preview of the game along with the reveal of the game title which is Anthem. The minute preview really wasn’t enough to judge the game, but the rest of the game along with gameplay footage would have to wait until the Microsoft conference. There was then some more sports stuff with NBA Live. They showed off some of the mechanics of the game and it had me think that “Wow these games have become complicated.” NBA Live will also have a story mode that still did not get me interested and had me sitting on the edge of my seat. After this we finally get to the good stuff which was Battlefront II. Not a Star Wars fan, I did love Battlefront I and though it was amazing even though it got a lot of hate for having no single player mode. EA has listened to the fans and have added a full story mode for this game along with a more enhanced version of the multiplayer. All of this looks fabulous and what they showed off secured my pre-order. Everything about this game looks amazing and I really can’t wait for it to be released. That being said there is no season pass for this game either. This was surprising because it’s EA we’re talking about here, but any updates done, characters added, maps added, and whatever else will all be free. I had to double check and make sure that this was still the EA conference at this point.

Overall I felt that EA was a little lacking this year and it felt like all they really had was Battlefront II. This was disappointing as I thought some more games would be revealed and the show would be bigger. Starting E3 is a big deal and if you aren’t going to bring it, then you should schedule your conference some other time. I also feel that BioWare was really slapped on the wrist this year for making a mediocre Mass Effect game. Nothing was revealed about upcoming content and they sure as hell didn’t mention anything about the confirmed Dragon Age 4. At this point I’m thinking that BioWare is looking like they’re in a really bad situation at the moment and it’s sad because they really are a great company. Sure they suffer from mistakes and stuff, but so does Bethesda and a bunch of other companies. It just seems like BioWare gets shit on the most. Anyway, I’m thinking that if Anthem doesn’t work out, the studio is done for.

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What to expect at E3…Maybe Part 1

E3 is less than a month away and as you can probably tell, I’m super excited about it. I love just about everything at E3. Especially the conferences. I usually have pretty high expectations, and I usually come away pretty hyped for the upcoming gaming year. Keep reading to see what I’m expecting at this years E3 starting with the EA conference.

EA Conference

Let’s start with the EA conference since they will be kicking off the E3 conference line up. What I’m expecting from them is the following:

• More information on Star Wars Battlefront 2. More information on the game itself as well as more information on the actual story mode that has been previewed.
• The new BioWare IP announcement even though it won’t be released until 2019. It’ll be big, and I really think BioWare will have a big presence at the EA conference this year.
• Since we’re already talking about BioWare it goes without saying that there will definitely something Mass Effect: Andromeda related will be announced and I’m thinking it will be the first major DLC for the game. I know EA said they were holding off on Mass Effect stuff, but I still think there will be DLC for this game. At this point it might not be much, but it’ll be something since there was a ton of build up especially towards the end of the game.
• I’m also thinking on the BioWare front there will be a very small peek at the next Dragon Age which probably won’t be released until 2018.
• One last BioWare item will probably be something to do with Star Wars: The New Republic.
• Moving away from BioWare, I’m sure the next Battlefield will be announced.
• I’m also expecting something PvZ related or Peggle related.
• Then I’m expecting a little bit of a snooze fest as we get into the sports stuff.

SURPRISES!
I’m expecting some surprises from this conference as well. Something that would be a surprise would be the announcement of another Titanfall. And then something that would also be surprising, but most welcomed would be the announcement of the Mass Effect trilogy being remastered for the Xbox One and PS4. Why am I thinking this? Because the famous N7 day falls on a Tuesday this year and it would kind of make the whole day since this has been something that has been asked for.

That’s what I’m expecting out of the EA conference. Agree with me? Disagree with me? Expecting something entirely different? Let me know in the comments section and come back tomorrow to see what I’ll be expecting from the Microsoft and Bethesda conference.

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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 1 – The Ties that Bind Part One Review (PS4)

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

The Walking Dead is the game that first got me into playing Telltale games. I received the first two episodes free thanks to PS+ and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve played each season multiple times and enjoyed every second of it. So, when A New Frontier was announced it was a no brainer that this was a day-one pick up for me. It took me a little while with work and the holidays but I finally got to play the first episode and here’s what I thought of it.

This time around you’ll be playing as Javier. You’ll see Javier rushing home to be with his father as he dies, but he’s too late. While he’s too late to see him fade off, he’s not too see him turn into a flesh eating zombie. Cut to years later, Javier is the leader of his family as he travels around scavenging with Kate, his brothers wife, and his brothers two kids Mariana and Gabe. Trying to survive they’ll run into a really sticky situation and get separated before Javier meets up with just about everyone’s favorite Walking Dead characters, Clementine. You’ll find out Clementine’s back story and what brought her to the present day after the events of season 2 as she tries to help Javier for her own personal gain.

Ugh! So I played The Walking Dead Season one and two originally on my PS3, but I did play again on my PS4 meaning that I had two saves that could have been imported over to this new game, but Telltale decided that everyone was either going to use the in game system or use their Telltale account to create a more accurate account of what happened to their games. But my main question is why? I can see if you didn’t play on the PS4, there was no way of importing your save but if you played on the PS4, your save is right there. To me this was a little sloppy and could have been handled better.

I found the story this time around to be really intense. It’s been that way with the other seasons, but this time was different. It’s established really early on that this is Javier’s family that he’s traveling with and it made me have more of an attachment to them knowing that everything Javier did for them was to keep them safe. He wasn’t wandering around with a group of random people for the hell of it. I was however a little disappointed that I was only able to play as Clementine in a flashback scene and not throughout the game. Switching back and forth between two characters had been really seamless and easy with Tales from the Borderlands and I figured that Telltale would follow suit with this game and do the same thing but they didn’t. While I enjoyed playing a new character and learning his back story, I was really more interested in playing as Clementine again. The episode did end on a “Holy Shit” moment that had me left with my mouth hanging open as my jaw just dropped.

Eh… So Javier just meets Clementine in this episode, but the player knows her for two whole seasons and has basically seen her grow up. While I chose options that would protect her, knowing who she was, it had me wondering. If you’re playing objectively and solely as Javier, a man who wants to get back to his own family, would you still want to protect Clementine? You just met her and truth be told she’s been through so much that she’s a completely different person. She’s not the sweet and innocent Clementine everyone knows from season one. My point here being that a lot of decisions were influenced by what the player already knows about this character instead of using Javier’s instincts. When I think back on it, a lot of time I would have saved my own ass instead of protecting Clementine if I didn’t already know who she was. What about you? Did you feel the same way? Let me know in the comments section below.

While this is basically a choose your own story type of game, I have to say that there were some improvements to the overall playability of the game and that the quick time scenes felt more natural. In the other games it felt like you had to prepare for the quick time events and you knew when they were coming up, this time around they naturally fitted into the game with a smooth transition that made the overall story run more smoothly. I thought that this was a major improvement with the overall playability, but I was disappointed with the extremely slow and lagging loading times. This is one of the things that can ruin a game. I understand that the game has to load, but it needs to be done in an efficient manner and be fluid. It shouldn’t have the player waiting so long that they feel the need to put down the controller and let their mind wander off as your game loads the next scene.

The graphics for this game are the one thing that has been consistent from season to season and it’s one of the things that I enjoyed. I really liked how it felt like you were playing the same game that you had played for the past two seasons, but that they were also enhanced for a new generation of consoles. I enjoyed that they stuck to the same comic book / graphic novel type of graphics but also added some realism into the graphics as well.

What the hell happened to your face??!! I thought that the aging process with Clementine was perfect and spot on. It was the one thing this game is doing right, but what the hell happened to Jane? Spoiler, obviously. So I choose to stay with Jane and during the flashback scene I was presented with someone who had a complete 180 face lift that had me shouting at the TV “Who the hell is this?!” A few seconds later you come to realize that it’s Jane, but why did her face have to change so much, I thought it was weird and a little off putting especially since she transferred from the PS3 version to the PS4 version without a problem. If we come across other characters from previous seasons will they also be unrecognizable?

Of course there are trophies for this game! You get the huge bonus of getting a platinum when the game is all over, but if you make it through the first episode you’ll be rewarded with the standard 6 trophies. You’ll get one trophy for completing each “chapter” without the pesky task of doing certain things at certain times. Play the way you want and be rewarded for doing just that.

As always there’s no multiplayer for this game, but there is crowd play which I haven’t tried yet because I’m still refusing to make a Telltale account.

Overall I give this episode a 4 out of 5.

What’s Great:
+ New story, new characters, but the return of Clementine.
+ A more family aspect this time around as you aren’t some random person being found by random people and being forced to go along with them. You’re choices heavily reflect what happens to your characters family.
+ You get to see what’s happened to Clementine during your time away from her.
+ More natural feeling quick time events.
+ Nice graphics with a realistic upgrade.

What’s Not So Great:
You only get to play as Clementine for one small scene. There is no back and forth and you’re kinda stuck with Javier.
Really horrible loading times.

Overall I thought this was a good start to the new season. I enjoyed the main story, enjoyed the cliff hanger of an ending, and was eager to play the next episode. Luckily the next episode was available because it was released at the same time. Even though this is one of those games that a lot of you have to have day one, I’m going to say hold off on getting it. I would seriously wait until all the episodes are released because even though I enjoy Telltale games, I’m getting really tired of the episode thing and if I could I would personally wait myself until the whole game came out to get it and play at once.

Spoilers! Below are the choices that I made for my backstory and the first episode.

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Video Game Tattoo Chronicles Part 1

When it comes to tattoo’s most people, non gamers, scoff at the idea of having something video game related inked on their body for life.  Not me though, I’ve always known that one day, when the time was right, I would get my very own video game tattoo.  Of course though, just like video games, one isn’t enough.

I started my journey a few years ago with my Mass Effect Paragon tattoo on my left wrist.  At the moment it’s not complete and doesn’t look how it should, try not to get tattoos people at comic book conventions, it’ll get there some day thanks to my fabulous tattoo artist.  For me though, the tattoo has so much more meaning than just a symbol representing Mass Effect.  Just like in the game, the paragon symbol represents Shepard making good choices and my tattoo represents the good choices I’ve made in my life.

Now for my next  tattoo, I could have worked on fixing up my paragon symbol to how I wanted it, but I decided to go big.  Big meant getting an Athena (Borderlands) tattoo that covered my forearm.  So why this?  Mostly because I can relate to Athena.  Not the whole assassin thing, but the way people perceive her and the way she comes across to people.  Can I also relate to the fact that she is a prominent gay character in a huge video game, sure, but for me it’s so much more than that.

So as I take my journey on getting this tattoo, I welcome you to join me.  Below is the original outline of what my tattoo artist came up with.  I had a different idea in mind, but when I seen this image I just fell in love with it.  When things are right they just fall right in place you know? Pretty sweet right?  So far, this tattoo which covers my whole outer forearm will take two sessions to complete before we move onto the inside of my forearm.

Athena Tattoo - Session 1

I had my first session this past Saturday and my five hour session was no walk in the park.  My tattoo artist first worked on a thin outline of the whole image before going in and doing a heavier outline to highlight some of highlights of the tattoo itself.  After that came the shading.  While he was shading we came up with the idea of doing a space theme since my inner forearm was going to be dedicated to Mass Effect, which was where the background scenery to go with Athena came along.  When everything is done both images will blend together and white ink will be added to the darker areas as stars.  Take a look at what was done so far below.

Athena Tattoo - Session 1

My next session is next month and after that it will be fully colored in before moving on to the next design and getting my Paragon tattoo fixed.  I’ll let you know how things went next month.

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E3! E3! E3! – Part # 1

So it was that time of year again. The gamer version of Christmas where just about every big name in video games makes an appearance to show off what they’ve been working on for the past year, or the past couple of years for every gamer to ooo and ahh over. There was so much news coming out of E3, it was almost hard to keep up with everything going on. I tried as best as possible, and here are my highlights from this years E3. Because there was just way too much to put into one blog, I’ve broken it up into two parts. Kicking off part one of my E3 blog are my highlights from the Bethesda, Microsoft, and EA conference.

Fallout 4

Bethesda kicked off E3 this year with their first ever press conference and boy did they really set the bar. While they started off a little slow with Doom, they slowly worked their way up by announcing Dishonored 2 with a new female protagonist. Nice. I have to admit I have the first Dishonored sitting on my game shelf just begging me to play it and I’m going to have to get to it one of these days before Dishonored 2 comes out. While the Dishonored 2 announcement was pretty big, it wasn’t as big as the Fallout 4 presentation. Fallout 4 was what everyone was really waiting for and it made just about everything else that was shown look like a filler since they couldn’t possibly devote whole hour to this game. I mean, they could have but they didn’t. Everything about this game looks amazing. From new ways to create your characters with out the character “sliders” to the reveal about being able to create your own settlement in game for other survivors to join you, everything about this game excited me. Then just when you thought it was over, the release date was announced. 11/10/2015. This year! This game is only months away!

Bonus: After the announcement of Fallout Shelter, the new mobile game, I was quick to download it since it was released that night and I’ve been addicted ever since. While you can spend money if you want, there really isn’t a reason too and this game is totally free.

Backwards Compatibility

Although I’m a strictly Playstation gamer, I still watch the Microsoft conference just to see what the competition is offering. I have to be honest and say that they’re kind of offering a lot, not a lot that it would ever make me change my gaming system, but I was pretty impressed by their show. There were just a ton of games announced during this show it was crazy to try and keep up with all the games. While some were just blah so I didn’t mind those being exclusives there were some games that wowed me and I was a little sad that they were exclusives but that’s how it goes. Some of the best looking games that were shown at the Xbox conference were Tacoma, Ashen, Day Z, Sea of Thieves, and Fable Legends. Sure, Rise of the Tomb Raider was shown during the conference as their big “this is OUR Uncharted” type thing, but at this point I don’t even care. The game seriously looked like the previous game but now with ice and snow, so whatever. Backwards compatibility was a huge thing because as of now Playstation has said they aren’t doing it which makes me sad. I would love to play some of my PS3 games on my PS4 with all the capabilities that my PS4 has, but what are you going to do. Kudos to Xbox for being the first to do this. Finally, how badass did Hololens look especially while playing Minecraft?

Seriously? So after announcing that you don’t have to waste your money buying games that you already own since the Xbox One is now backwards compatible, the Gears of War Ultimate Edition was announced. Seriously?

Mass Effect: Andromeda

While most of the EA conference was just a huge snooze fest, I mean did Pele really have to be on stage that long for what had to be the most boring interview in the history of interviews, but the conference as a whole just dragged. Racing games, sports games, and a bunch of other stuff I wasn’t interested in made up this really long conference. Although I haven’t played Star Wars: The Old Republic, I like how EA is finally letting BioWare do what they do best with this game and that’s tell stories. The expansion looks really cool and while I would like this to come to console like ESO I know it will never happen. As excited as I am about Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, I was just as bored with Mirrors Edge: Catalyst because I really disliked the first game. I know I’m in the minority with that game but it just didn’t appeal to me. It seemed like every good game that was announced came with one that wasn’t as good. I also couldn’t not mention Unravel which not only looks totally amazing, but has a deep meaningful story to it that I can’t wait to play. Now to the show opener, the game that I thought was going to set the pace of the show, but sadly didn’t, Mass Effect: Andromeda. Nothing was said about the game at all except for the title and cryptic “Holiday 2016” release, but nevertheless I was excited. Although I enjoyed the tease I could have done without it since they aren’t going to do a big showing of this game until next year. Knowing EA and BioWare, this date will roughly change and I’m thinking that Holiday 2016 will turn into Holiday 2017.

Predicting the Future: So, any of my friends could vouch for me as I always said that the next Mass Effect would never be Mass Effect 4. I have always said that it would be Mass Effect “Whatever” and it totally is. Why have I been saying that? Because I still hold onto this little ounce of hope that the true Mass Effect 4 will be the return of Shepard. Doubt me all you want, but you’re going to have to wait and see.

That’s it for today! Come back tomorrow for part 2 of my E3 blog where I’ll go over the Ubisoft and Sony conference. I’ll also be going over some games that I thought would be at E3 but sadly weren’t and I’ll tell you who I thought won this year between the Micosoft and Sony yearly battle.

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