Oddly enough, Mad Max was one of the biggest surprises of E3 2013 – not so much in terms of impact, but just because so much of E3 was content we’d already known about. When Avalanche introduced the reveal trailer on the Sony stage back in early June, no one had any idea what they were watching until the iconic shoulder pads and sawed-off shotgun entered the frame.
As soon as the novelty wore off though (which was almost immediately), there wasn’t much to be excited about. The premise of Mad Max is one that games have explored over and over and over again: A post-apocalyptic desert wasteland where bandits and lawless savages fight for the last supplies. Hell, you could have replace the reveal trailer’s title card with Rage2 and no one would have batted an eye. However Avalanche are promising a pretty huge scope with this next-gen title. Here’s the breakdown from SuperHeroHype:
[box_dark]”Become the legendary lone warrior as you craft and upgrade his equipment and weapons in order to survive in a brutal post-apocalyptic world. Fight with savage moves and combos to brutalize the deranged bandits of the Wasteland. Engage in dynamic, physics-based vehicular combat, taking down enemy vehicles with a slew of deadly weapons and customizable parts. Choose from different car bodies and construct the ultimate war vehicle with dozens of upgrade combinations. Explore an immense post-apocalyptic open world full of unique missions and side quests. Scavenge every scrap you can find to build upgrades for your equipment and vehicles. Take down eccentric bandits & gangs that roam the Wasteland.“[/box_dark]
Avalanche released a gameplay trailer which offers another peek at the world of Mad Max:
I think the trailer makes a serious mistake by focusing on the story rather than the scope and mechanics involved in the game. Like I said, we all know what these dystopian-future settings are like, even if the current generation of gamers has mostly likely never heard of Mad Max until a month or two ago. By focusing on the premise (and vaguely, at that), all newcomers see is a re-hashed concept and all of us who know the films are just thinking “movie-game”, a term that often goes hand in hand with “shovel ware”.
It’s too bad, because Avalanche have had major success with Just Cause and they might be able to turn the old IP into something really fun and interesting. We will have to wait and see more of what Mad Max looks like as the game develops.
Excuse me as I have the biggest fangirl moment you’ve seen in a while…
What could cause such a reaction? Well it’s only a game announced at Sony’s E3 press conference that has been a long time coming. “Oh. All this over a game?”, you might say and I’d be inclined to agree except I. Love. This. Game. What game? It’s none other than Disney’s Kingdom Hearts.
When the first Kingdom Hearts came out in 2002, I only picked it up because I’m a fan of Disney characters. I hadn’t really played much of the Final Fantasy series so that aspect of it meant nothing to me. However, within a couple of hours of gameplay, I was hooked. It’s not often I’ll play through a game more than once, and it is rare that I’ll do it more than twice. I have played through that first Kingdom Hearts game at least ten times. Then 2005 rolled around and Kingdom Hearts 2 came out. Back then I thought I’d waited an eternity for that second game. Little did I know that I’d be halfway to my grave before the third full game was announced. Sure there have been quite a few small games released, mostly for Nintendo handhelds, but they haven’t captured the greatness that is the full-blown console version.
Thankfully, it seems as if my wait is finally over…
That’s right, Kingdom Hearts 3 is finally going to be released! Not only that, but Square Enix is putting together the first few games of Kingdom Hearts and re-releasing them for the PS3 in September. NOT ONLY THAT but if you preorder you will get a limited edition artbook.
[quote]How about 24 pages of behind-the-scenes imagery like character renders, promotional artwork and concept artwork from various Disney worlds from previous KINGDOM HEARTS titles like the original KINGDOM HEARTS, KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories, and KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days. — Square Enix[/quote]
I didn’t really need another reason to preorder, but I’m a sucker for behind the scenes stuff and my bookshelf is missing a Kingdom Hearts book.
So if you were looking for a reason to justify purchasing the Playstation4, you’ve got one now. Lest you all think I’m alone in my excitement for this new chapter of a great franchise, the moment people realized what they were actually showing a trailer for, Twitter was one excited Kingdom Hearts tweet after another. It seems there are quite a few of us who’ve been waiting patiently for this day!
Never to be outdone by the competition, DC and Marvel both premiered some interesting footage at E3 that showed off some of their new games.What’s interesting is they are both fighting games, though pretty different from each other. Let’s start with Marvel, who premiered The Avengers: Battle for Earth. First stop is the teaser trailer:
This is Button Mashing, Grizzly Bomb’s video game news headquarters. Previews, interviews, rumors and all the latest stories relating to the biggest games, all in one place. Here are the most important things you need to know for the week of May 28, 2012:
‘Diablo III’ Updates Coming This Week – (Battle.net)
It would be an understatement to say that Diablo III had some technical issues upon its release, but Blizzard has certainly been working hard to iron out the kinks and get their game fully operational and optimized. These fixes, patches and tweaks continue with the game’s latest design update, which has been outlined on Blizzard’s own community site, Battle.net. The update plans to balance out all kinds of idiosyncrasies that haven’t quite met Blizzard’s standards, which I imagine means adjusting all kinds of knobs and dials, and turning a large wooden crank in a dusty old room somewhere underground.
Suffice it to say that you may notice some slight changes to the effectiveness of your characters’ attacks, as well as the damage output of NPC’s, particularly on higher difficulties. Blizzard is very clear that they want all classes to feel equally capable, and hope no single attack, rune or character will inevitably trump all others.
‘Far Cry 3’ Gets Trippy
Far Cry 2 certainly didn’t play well with the vast majority of gamers, but there were a few here and there that responded positively to the game’s ambitiously open world. Among them was one of my favorite industry people, Hey Ash Watcha Playin’ co-creator and current Gearbox Software employee, Anthony Burch. And while I didn’t take to the game as easily as he did, I definitely felt it had a lot of potential, and didn’t deserve to be dismissed to the extent it did.
Far Cry 3 looks like it’s trying to find a middle ground between becoming more accessible to the majority of players, and maintaining its unique take on the FPS genre. There clearly appears to be more of a linear story this time around, with a voiced character who seems to interact a lot more, a defined character/narrative arc and seemingly some scripted gameplay moments, but these all look to be interesting enough that it isn’t necessarily turning me away. It certainly helps that the graphics look fantastic. This particular trailer for the game showcases some of Far Cry 3‘s more guided moments, an interaction with the island’s resident doctor:
I’m really looking forward to seeing more at E3.
Metro: Last Light Points the FPS in the Right Direction – (IGN)
I never played Metro 2033. I hear it was very intriguing, but fundamentally, too flawed to garner huge praise. With this article by IGN, I can certainly believe that first part; Metro: Last Light looks like it might, along with Far Cry 3 above, convince me not to abandon the FPS genre for good.
“Moscow […] is bleak and surrounded by collapsed buildings, but it’s not the type of setting you might find in Fallout 3 or Rage. Metro’s world is one of horror, where psychic visions drive the few people still alive completely insane. And air isn’t the only thing that’s scarce. In addition to looking for new air filters, you’ll always be searching for light, bullets, battery chargers and even other people as you explore what’s left of Moscow.“
“Exploration is Metro’s greatest strength. Moving through the tunnels of Moscow’s underground subway system, you’ll use a lighter to see where you’re going (or a flashlight if you’re fortunate enough to find a charge). There’s a real sense of terror moving through the dark, never knowing what you’ll find around each corner. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across some supplies, maybe a shotgun. If you’re not, you’ll find mutant spiders bursting out of a corpse.“
I can do without the ‘psychic visions’ and mutated enemies. Those are tropes that I’m not particularly fond of (as I mentioned in my ‘Last of Us’ article the other day), but the environment described and showcased in the above clip looks promising. This might be the first time I’ve ever cared about an FPS setting.
‘Heavy Rain’ Developer Might Unveil Next Project at E3 – (Side Mission)
A “trusted” source claims that Quantic Dream have two new projects under way, and one or both might be revealed at E3 2012. Quantic Dream’s debut title Heavy Rain was one of Sony’s biggest stories when it was released in 2010, and though I found it to be a fundamentally flawed experience, it was an ambitious and interesting direction to take interactive storytelling.
The team released a tech demo earlier this year that showcased the gorgeous visuals and emotional range they’re able to create in studio:
There’s no telling what direction Quantic Dream will take with their impressive development tools, but if they can create an experience more conducive to the interactive medium of a video game, it may well be the next step in the industry’s evolution.
‘Dead Space 3’ Unofficially Announced – (IGN)
Sources indicate that Dead Space 3 is on the horizon, though it’s not exactly a shock considering this is an industry that hands trilogies out like beads at Mardi Gras. There are however some interesting tidbits to note regarding the supposed new chapter:
Isaac Clarke, Unlucky Space Engineer Extraordinaire, reportedly crash lands onto Tau Volantis, a frozen planet which serves as the game’s new setting:
“Isaac believes he’s the only survivor and begins heading to an abandoned waystation. He soon finds that others are still alive, including Ellie from Dead Space 2 and a new character named Jennifer. The report adds that the enemies will be known as The Hive Mind. ”
Additionally IGN has heard rumors that Dead Space 3 will feature drop in/drop out co-op, a feature that I imagine must work against the horror game’s atmosphere of isolation and helplessness, but nonetheless:
“Isaac Clarke will, if players choose, fight alongside a man with a gnarly scar on his face, an engineering RIG of his own, and glowing red eyes peering from his helmet. During single-player, this character acts as Isaac’s guide.
The cooperative mode mirrors the single-player campaign, but Isaac’s story changes to accommodate it. At one point in Dead Space 3, Isaac and his counterpart stumble, wounded, bloody, and missing chunks of armor, out of burnt wreckage together. In single-player, the same scene happens without the other character. While Isaac may have a psychological breakdown and experience hallucinations on his own, certain traumatic events don’t occur with someone by his side.
Players will also work together (using telekinesis, for instance) to interact with pieces of the environment. In addition, you’ll be able to share ammo with and heal your co-op partner, although there is no revive system — once someone’s down and dead, both players reload the last checkpoint.”
I can’t imagine how this will change the game but co-operative campaigns are always more satisfying and entertaining than competitive multiplayer. From what I understand, Dead Space‘s foray into PvP didn’t exactly pan out, so hopefully players take more to the new feature.
That’s it for this week’s Button Mashing! E3 is fast approaching so stay tuned – we’ll be keeping on top of all the major stories.
“The Last of Us is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing triple A titles to be announced in a long time.” There’s a sentence that, if you were to read to me just after the game’s announcement, would make me laugh and call you names (If you then explained you were quoting me from the future, I’d probably call the authorities and/or ask to use your time machine for some…uh…private matters). That’s because the undead/mutant/alien apocalypse thing is one of the most tired ideas in video games, maybe only drawing a close second to gritty military shooters. Leave it to Naughty Dog, though, to take a concept I couldn’t care less about and infuse it with character, atmosphere and a story that bears delving into.
The Last of Us centers around Joel and Ellie, two survivors making their way through the remains of Pittsburgh after a pandemic has decimated the general population. As far as we can tell from what’s been revealed so far, the plague has mutated or otherwise turned its victims into grotesque, mindless swarms, making the environment fraught with danger at every turn. Resource management is a must, with the city in ruins and survival tools hard to come by.
At E3 Judge’s Week just nine days ago journalists were shown the first demo of the game, and though no footage was provided, Shane Satterfield of Game Trailers transcribed the experience for all to see on Side Mission. The demo apparently coincides with the latest trailer to come out, which appears to be the opening cinematic to the gameplay Satterfield and others were exposed to last week:
“As it begins the pair is driving in a car and they pull up to an overgrown urban area. Joel has second thoughts and decides to keep going. As they drive along the player is shown the decay of a post-apocalyptic Pittsburgh until, eventually, a pair of staggering feet are shown. Joel draws his gun and tells Ellie to put on her seat belt. Ellie begins to panic as Joel barrels towards the injured man. She asks if they should help the injured man and he quickly states, “He’s not injured at all.”…“
And some highlights from what we didn’t see in the trailer:
“…Now the first guy who was feigning injury on the road comes in with a gun. Joel pulls out his own and the game goes into Uncharted’s cover-based gunplay as two more enemies appear. Eventually he runs out of ammo and Ellie tosses a brick, smashing the enemy in the head. Joel then rushes in and finishes him with a melee attack. He then drops another enemy with fisticuffs and finishes him off by bashing his head with a plank he finds on the ground.
…In a panic they climb out a window and begin hiding behind various vehicles. Joel has the plank he used earlier strapped to his back and eventually he creeps up behind one of the enemies and strangles him. He then scavenges his bullets utilizing the same exact interface and icons used in Uncharted.“
Most interesting of all, though, is what Naughty Dog reportedly said before showing off the demo:
“…Representatives from Naughty Dog took the stage to explain that the game is their take on the survival action genre. Set 20 years in the future after an outbreak has taken over the US, The Last of Us chronicles a cross-country journey shared by a middle-aged man named Joel and a young girl named Ellie. Naughty Dog stated that their main goal is to parallel the emotions of the player with Joel and Ellie and create a reality that you can invest in so that you believe that they exist. They want you to feel the same tension and survival instincts that they’re experiencing.
Lighting is paramount because there’s no electricity, so more ambient and soft lighting is used to make the environments feel richer. They also added that the music is not typical video game fodder. It does not parallel the action because they want it to foster some sort of emotional impact. They want the characters to feel real as they experience what Naughty Dog calls the balance of power. They explained that the pair will react differently based upon what resources they have and how many enemies they’re facing.“
The survival horror/action genres are heavily dependant on atmosphere and emotion. Anyone who has played a success like Amnesia: The Dark Descent or a failure like Silent Hill: Downpour can attest to that. Naughty Dog certainly seems to be taking that into account, and considering the Uncharted series is one of the industry’s best in those categories, The Last of Us has potential to be another massive hit.
It’s June in Los Angeles, and while that means horrible humidity in the gridlock infested ‘City of Angels’, it also means that it’s time for my summer Christmas treat: The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or as it’s affectionately called everywhere, E3!
I have had the pleasure to go to E3 a few times, and I remember it being probably one of the coolest experiences of my life. It’s pretty much an assault on the senses, where strobe lights and booth babes puts stars in your eyes. The subwoofers buried under the exhibit floors, and concerts rattles your ear drums, and your fingers develop blisters from the severe button mashing and controller switching done at the conference. My favorite thing was to try out the Wii the year before it came out, being treated to one of the best experiences in gaming, and getting to brag about it on the intraweb. Although getting kicked out of the bathroom by Vin Diesel’s bodyguards so he could take a piss was a close second…
Regardless, I’m not there this year and this seems to be one of the best years to attend. There’s a lot of excitement in the air from the ‘Big 3’ and storylines are abound: What is Nintendo’s successor and will it appeal to the hardcore? How will Sony recover from the PSN debacle? Can Microsoft carry the Xbox for a few more years as it now enters it’s swan song?
Like I said, I’m super pumped about this year, and while it may not encompass what everyone else is interested in, there is a comment section so feel free to say what you want to see. And with that, let’s start off with the honorable mentions:
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Other than the fact that FFX-2 was an absolute debacle, (yes, decent game…until you realize it completely ruins FFX’s story in my opinion) I’m still curious to see this game.
I have yet to beat the original, but I dug the combat system (although XII still has a special place in my heart). The trailer is below, but apparently it ruins the last game, so SPOILER ALERT in case you don’t want it ruined for you. Also, apparently feathers are to Final Fantasy like doves are to John Woo…
I like the Bioshock games, I don’t love them. I get that I’m in the minority in that but my reasoning is that System Shock 2 is one of the most fantastic games of all time, so anything that is supposed to be a psuedo-sequel/spin-off has a hard time to capture my heart.
Still, they are considered great games and it’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. That and I LOVE the trailer.
The New Harmonix Game
I love Harmonix. The creators of Frequency, Karaoke Revolution, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Central, should I keep going…? They are extremely innovative when it comes to music genre, and more importantly, we are at a crossroads in music gaming. Guitar Hero is basically dead, there’s no Rock Band this year. What does Harmonix have up their sleeves? Guess we’re going to find out this week…
UPDATED> New Harmonix Game will be: Dance Central 2!
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
I’ve been playing through the 2nd one and I dig it. It’s a lot less repetitive than the first, so I assume the third is even less repetitive and this 4th part of the series should be good times. And also my mentioning it gives an excuse for Dr. Kronner to a picture of Kristen Bell…
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Now, I like the Elder Scroll games because you can do whatever the hell you want in them. I also hate the Elder Scroll games because they’re so absolutely non-linear that I never remember what the main quest is after I’ve decided to become an assassin, who specializes in real estate and being a traveling merchant.
Daggerfall remains one of my favorite games of all time, if not also the most frustrating because for the life of me, I have no clue what the hell I was supposed to do in that game.
Star Wars Kinect
Yes, I need an excuse to purchase the Kinect. Having my avatar wield a light saber with my movements would be that excuse.
This is kinda a cool concept where you customize your character, decide if you want to go X-Men or Brotherhood and it’s written by X-Men Legacy writer Mike Carey. Obviously, not like Marvel Alliance where you pick up any character but it gives the idea of growing your mutant into a team and making your own storyline. Intriguing of course so I think it’ll be something this site will follow for the months to come.
Now, to the Things I Really Want to See…
In this order:
I love Battlefield all the way back to the 1942 days. There’s something about mass chaos and being able to fly, drive, shoot, or snipe your way to glory. The battle also made me pee my pants a bit. I normally do not play a lot of FPS (I think Halo is overrated to be honest) but sometimes you just need to jump into a game and just go nuts. Plus it honestly looks like the most amazing thing I’ve seen in awhile. Or at least until the end of this conference. It’s a long trailer but considering it’s all gameplay, you better take a look at this.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
It’s freakin’ Zelda. Why the hell should I explain why you should be excited for this game? One more reason? Okay, with the new Wii motion plus, you can actually control where the sword strikes, hits, swings very accurately. Hold the sword to the right, Link will hold it ready to the right. Hold it back to charge, guess what? You just charged your sword. Again, this is stupid why I have to explain, because it’s FRIGGIN’ ZELDA.
Batman: Arkham City
A terrific game gets a sequel, and I know it’s be covered ad nauseam by us, with reveals of Catwoman and trailers and such, and it will only continue to grow as we inch closer to October. The first game was terrific and actually gets me to tell the story of Dr. Kronner’s first attempt with the game. He was on the rafters and was ready to swoop down to take out the bad guy. So he does his Batman glide down and you can see Kronner’s eyes light up as he has taken control of his boyhood hero, and is about to make his first victim feel the wrath of the Dark Knight. About 3/4 of his dive down on top of the victim, I noticed that his line was a bit off and that he was going to miss horribly so my eyes started to widen with glee. Kronner lands in front of the bad guy. Shot in the face. Dead. One of my favorite video game moments ever. Regardless of first try follies, I know he loves this game, I love this game, you love this game, and that most likely means you’re going to love the follow-up.
Contra is possibly one of my favorite games of all time. It’s also one of the most frustrating games ever this side of the first Battletoads(more specifically the speed bike stage, I mean C’MON).
So imagine my excitement that they are bringing it back. I mean, yeah, they brought it back once before for the Playstation and that blew ass, but it’s Contra.
If they go back to what made the originals awesome, we will have zero issues here.
So here’s the Gamespot link, because there’s no big news on it as of yet. I’m sure however, we’ll have good stuff to deliver by the end of this week…
Mass Effect 3
I love the Mass Effect series and it’s been one of the most engrossing games I’ve ever played. Plus, to actually carry your character over from the first game all the way to the last game without having to start new characters and stat distributions is genius. They have had the best storytelling and character development I have seen in games and it’s not surprising considering that Bioware, responsible for the Knights of the Old Republic series, is behind this effort. This is the last game of this trilogy and I cannot wait. Now if the combat system can finally be fixed…
The next first person shooter from ‘id software’, responsible for Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake? Yeah okay, I’m in. They always push the envelope on what to expect from shooters, but let’s be honest, when Half-Lifecame out, we began to look at Valve as the best FPS developer out there. But enough time has passed for id to reclaim the throne. I believe they have a great shot with this game. Check the trailer and judge for yourself.
Gears of War 3
Dear God yes. I love these games and it has the best co-op I ever played in my life (sorry River City Ransom). This game series really put me on edge while playing it, just like seeing the first bezserker in the first game to having bunches of fun on top of the giant riding things (my research is impeccable). Having one of the best single player campaigns ever really works in your favor but like I said, it’s all about the co-op. I think my old roommate and myself played through the first Gears 5 times on different difficulty levels and the second one 4 times just because it was that damn fun. So yeah, I’m pumped for this one and can’t wait to finish this trilogy off.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
We’ve mentioned Bioware before, and how awesome they are right? They did Mass Effect, Dragon Age, even the oldie but goodie Balder’s Gate. Well, they also did Knights of the Old Republic. They basically were in the golden age of Star Wars games with their RPG, and the FPS Jedi Knight series (which was AWESOME for multiplayer) and guess what? They are going back to Star Wars with this online game.
Now, let me get this straight, Galaxies was cool then sucked pretty fast. The outset was great, but the more you played the game, it made you miss being jedi because you had to be “chosen” in order to accomplish that feat. Instead I was a sniper killing farm animals while Kronner’s Wookie charged in with a giant hammer. Try doing that for 2 months straight. Regardless, if anyone was going to revive the series, Bioware was the right pick.
So I’ll just post a new gameplay trailer, reiterate that Infinity Ward is behind it and they are better than Treyarch as a developer, and it’s full of pure awesomeness. That is all.
Wii 2/Project Cafe
Oh yeah. This is coming out. Touchpad controller? More powerful than 360 and PS3? HD? A callback to hardcore gamers instead of soccer moms? Well, I want this system. I’m watching the Nintendo conference as we speak so expect a report and that’s why I made this one last. Because I’m pretty sure that this will change gaming. Again. Like the last time. Sort of. Please don’t let me down Nintendo.
So that’s what I got. And I’ll be doing updates throughout the week. Especially after the Nintendo presser…happy gaming people.
The game was good, not without a few issues, but overall I had fun playing it. But the best levels were easily Amazing (Noir was great but repetitive) and 2099 in my opinion, so I’m quite excited to hear the news that a sequel to Shattered Dimensions is coming out, and will focus on these two characters exclusively.