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E3 is now over and for the most part it was pretty – okay. xxxBoxOnexxx managed to reveal some sequels to well know franchises but also gave us some new ip: Sea of Thieves, Anthem and A way out. Sony gave us an update of all the games it showed us  2 years ago. For the first time in about 4 years Nintendo actually put some effort in and gave us what we wanted.

Not too bad really.

Now we just have to wait for everything to show up. Unfortunately this is where it all falls down. Beyond Good and Evil 2, is rumoured to have only just started development and games like God of War 4 are still another year away. Problem with this approach is people get bored of waiting, or generally loose interest in games which are still a good 2-5 years away.

Some games manage to buck this trend and take ages to be released but then people loose their shit when it finally comes out. For example: Breath of the Wild. Some games release never ending gameplay trailer until it looks dated or someones already re-hashed the ideas into a game thats available now. Others choose to release early and go with the episode approach like Hitman. For some people this is fine, but for me I like to buy the complete product not be drip fed episodes then made to wait for the next one, which could turn out to be crap.

The best announcement for a game, I can remember was the announcement of Fallout 4, a game that rode the hype train and then massively under-delivered. But people rode that hype train, they didn’t have chance to think much about it. From announcement to release was about 4 months.

Most of the time dragging something out is worse than not announcing anything at all. If Sony took the approach of only announcing games that where at maximum a year away people would loose their shit more than a game thats like 5 years away.

But then if all you have is a selection of games 3-4 years away the last thing you want to do is a Nintendo where you go on stage and cry into the camera.

Difficult.

 

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The Nintendo Switch

I jumped on board the Nintendo switch basically as an impulse buy, which for me is a bit out of the norm. I’m normally the first one to throw Nintendo on the fire, but not for the reasons most people hate on the company. I see Nintendo as the kid with allot of potential, unfortunately they always just do the minimum.

I see Nintendo as the kid with allot of potential, unfortunately they always just do the minimum.

Nintendo lives very much off its fan boys. Die hard fans who see 8 versions of the same game as some kind of achievement. New IP are slow to hit the Nintendo console, the last one being Splatoon(?). Admittedly they do like taking old IP and throwing them into new situation, like Paper Mario, Breath of the Wild, Mario sunshine, Mario.. cocaine filled drive-by.. etc. However this is unlikely to attract a new player base.

In my opinion Nintendo never quite reaches its potential and nothing highlights that more than the Wii-u failure, maybe it was the Dreamcast of its time.

The Wii was a success but mimicking that success is going to be hard. The casual player base it managed to crack have no idea that any other console exists and is still playing Wii tennis with their nan.

The Gamecube was an excellent machine and one of my favourite consoles, but if you think back to it – what did you actually play: Wind Waker, Twin snakes, Pikmin and Metroid. A good selection, but does it justify a whole console.

We have the usual games that show up each generation, Mario Kart and Smash-bros. Someone once told me that buying a Nintendo console, not to play Nintendo games is pointless. Which would be good if the Nintendo market share wasn’t shrinking.

I think all this might have finally sunk in at the Nintendo office, like the kool-aid guy showing up to your dads funeral.

Which is why I have faith in the Nintendo Switch. Rumours have it that this years E3 is going to be Nintendo, after a dismal few years. They have invested heavily in getting games on to the system, along with re-energising some of their older IP. BOTW has easily pushed the sales of the console but I’m confident the system will continue to grow.

If all else fails, I still own a N64.

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2017, predictions in gaming

2017 is starting to look like a good year for games similar to the explosion of quality we received in 2015. It hard for me to choose a GOTY for 2016, simply put i never played allot of new games over the year. However now i have a rather large back log of games from last year, including Deus Ex, Dishonored 2 and Uncharted. Undeterred I’m aiming to blast through them ASAP.

If i had to choose – DOOM won GOTY for 2016 followed by Overwatch and Firewatch. This was picked up by Polygon, but not followed up by the Game Awards who went with Overwatch. Personally I can’t see a purely multiplayer game taking GOTY, but thats the elitist in me who see’s online games as little more than crack and insult generators.

So 2017.

I have a few predictions for this year. Im not going to list all the games coming out, just the ones i feel could be contenders for 2017 GOTY and ones which will amount to nothing, like how No Mans Sky was the best thing since the atom bomb but failed to take off (thats a space joke).

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard: The last 2 Resident Evils have been pretty under whelming. Resident Evil 4 took a different turn and became an instant classic. Five saw you play a steroid addicted beat the shit out of the locals followed by a fight in the a volcano. Six, something happened… but I’m confidant that seven will take the franchise into a different direction and could potentially take GOTY.

Conan: Exiles: This showed up late to my game radar and i predict it going down as a cheap mans Skyrim. But i’m hopeful its more.

For Honor: I’m going to call it now, this is going to be a buggy disappointment. Not only is it made by Ubisoft (boo) its all so hyped up to shit. Personally i hope i’m wrong, but something seems off about this title.

Horizon: Zero Dawn: This game is the reason i bought a PS4 (that and FFXV), I hope it lives up to my expectation. I hope it even goes down as GOTY.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands: This ones here for the bro’s, you know who you are. It’s likely to be a Steam Sale (Origin?) buy for me. I can see the appeal and i hope it does well, but not the game for me and unlikely to be GOTY.

Mass Effect: Andromeda: Its Mass Effect, its going to be good. The gameplay seems to have further evolved from the original cover shooter idea, but in general it seems to be grounded to the originals. People love Mass Effect so i see this doing well and maybe even taking GOTY. On a personal level i felt disappointed by the two and three, I can’t see me being that impressed by the fourth outing.

Prey: Im not entirely sure what i expect from Prey, its definitely not a sequel to the original Prey released in 2006. The game play and media released around it gives off a solid appeal which could do well. Definitely one to look out for.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: You could put a good amount of money on this taking 2017 GOTY. It’s Zelda, it’s Nintendo, it’s taken fucking ages to release. The gameplay released around this title looks polished and i’m generally excited for its release. Zelda being one of a few title i generally give a shit about when it comes to Nintendo. However the constant delay and the over the top hype coming in from the gaming media might see it fall flat on its arse, followed by a large amount of blog post entitled “It’s time to stop over hyping games”.

Read Dead Redemption 2: Another strong contender for GOTY. Unfortunately i see this getting delayed to early 2018. But still i’m hyped. Having not played the original for more than 2 hours i’m looking forward to getting into this sequel.

 

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Is VR the future of gaming?

Is VR the future of video games…

Errr difficult one. Yes. But not yet.

The state of VR is impressive. Its a marketing team dream, it sells itself. Everyone is going nuts over a “immersive” experience  which allows you to further remove yourself from the blackhole which is your life. Want to spend quality time with the kids, nah fuck it – VR porn.

But despite the impressive marketing spiel will people actually buy into the idea.

“LOL a Rattata on the toilet”, get in the bin.

Along with VR we also have its cousin; augmented reality. You have already used augmented reality if your one of the many Pokemon Go player gorging yourself on pidge’s down the local park. Allot of people/blogs have talked about Pokemon Go finally making augmented reality a thing. In my opinion the game is easier and better with out it. It in no way adds to the experience, all it does is help make rather funny imager posts – “LOL a Rattata on the toilet”, get in the bin.

Augmented reality is a trend, until it jumps from a shitty phone apps to something more seamless, i’m talking computers in contact lenses. Or fuck it, robot eyes. Getting your phone out of your pocket to interact with a laxative app on a billboard is not going to happen.

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I feel the same way about VR. Lets not forget VR was about in the 80’s. Look how well that did. The idea of putting a fuck off head set on just to essentially have two tv screens 2 cm from your retinas wasn’t as appealing as we first thought.

Also the cost of the thing, and Im not entirely sure what you even get with an Oculus rift other than debt from paying out 2k for a gaming PC to run the fucking thing and the headset (queue flame war about PC prices).

People do not have the money to payout for a VR headset. The same people never invested in the Playstation eye or the Xbox stalker bar thing (Kinect) so why would they pay out for this.

Despite the negativity I really do hope VR sells so that in 3 generations time we get the VR experience we deserve: I want movement, I want recoil on the gun i’m shooting or the keyboard I’m using, I want to collect the thumbs of the people I kill, I want a large collection of games and above else I want it at a cost. I also want it to replace my current gaming set up and not just be another peripheral I pay for and then put in the cupboard.

Me, me, me, me, me.

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Putting on a pair of glasses then having a full on immersive experience with out being tethered is the future of gaming. Unfortunately we have a long way to go, but will get there.

Probably not in my life time.

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PUG’s

PUGs or Pick up groups originated from MMO’s. It’s a group of people who have been put together by the server or by a lonely person looking to progress in the game but having no friend to help them. Normally used in a negative way; PUGs have become a staple of not only MMO’s but also FPS.

Although people have been throwing themselves into Team Death matches, etc with unknowns for a while its only recently been used to describe computer generated groups in FPS’s. And I think thats the point, the server puts people together; you don’t pick a server or a team. It’s completely random. Exactly like a group finder in WoW.

So what can we do to curve the stigma around this often negative term. Well for a start stop blaming everyone on your team for being “NOOBs”. At the end of the day its a team thing. You will find players that look at a teams loosing as the fault of everyone else other than them, and when that happens your chats going to fill up with abuse.

Most people are just hear to kill something. They might only play 5-10 hours a week (if not less), they probably have a family and this is just something to kill time. Then you have people who are here because no one else will play with them and thats the person shouting abuse at you in the chat window.

Apart from when I was at university most of my group experiences in games have fallen down to playing with PUGs and you get to learn a little bit about the types of groups that will win and the types of groups which will loose. Or the types of groups who will kill the raid boss; and the types of groups who get crushed in to elf paste.

Despite what 80% of PUG players think, people are not psychic talking about what your going to do, or what your team needs; is essential. Start the dialogue early. Outline what your group is missing, highlight what you group doesn’t need. Talk about tactics and ask if everyone is okay with the up and coming boss fight. If you get the chat flowing early people will be clear on what they need to do.

In order to keep it positive shut down negativity. It’s okay to get annoyed 10 mins into a game because everyones face planting a heavy-medic combo in TF2. Or your team has 3 Blackwidows in Overwatch. Provide constructive criticism, help people see the issue.

The types of people you want to shutdown are the ones who 2 mins into the game are shouting in caps and calling everyone a “noob” because they went off on their own and died.

So block, mute, kick, stab these people. They do nothing but shit on the game.

It’s okay to loose. Yep its fine. Someone has to loose its just ensuring everyone had fun getting their.

If you do loose a game drop in a “GG”, fuck the haters it was still a good game. I watched my team get shot in the head continuously by a sniper. Despite this we gave it a good go but in the end we couldn’t break through the last checkpoint. So at the end of the game I told the sniper he did a good job and he thanked me. The next game I didn’t get shot in the head once.

Its okay to disagree with someone on your team. Sometimes you might learn something. I had an issue with someone telling me what class to play. So I questioned why it was an issue. They then highlighted that Zenyatta was actually quite a weak hero and would require a decent buff before he could be usable as a support class. This was not that new to me but we did a a little test and Mercy performed much better.

WoW introduced PUG Raids about a year ago. The the role of a PUG Raid was to get people who only play part times through the end game content. After all they still pay the same as a hardcore gamer but they normally miss out on half the content. Normally a Raid is led by a tank, so if you have no interest in speaking to anyone I suggest you avoid this role.

Its rare but sometimes you will drop into a game, say nothing and steam role the opposition/Raid. It can happen. Sometimes you loose 20 games in a row. When this happens go watch a film your in no fit mental state to handle another lose.

Finally – you will never beat a pre-made group with a PUG.

Keep it positive.

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