Monday Conferences – My E3 2013 Highlights

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With Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Sony setting many social media sites on fire with announcements, what were the highlights for me as I stayed up until around 4:30am in the morning? Spoiler… They’re mostly games!

Dead Rising 3 – Something I should have seen coming, but never gave a thought to. I’ve said previously, that Dead Rising was the reason I bought an Xbox 360, and it was looking like the reason I was going to buy an Xbox One. Being exclusive to the Xbox One is a huge kick in the nuts for me, and a real shame. It went multi-platform for the second game, so I did not call this to be exclusive. Anyway, it looked fantastic, both graphically and mechanic (no pun intended) wise. I just fear that the comedic side of the game is lost along with psycho boss fights and the time limit that I have come to love with many other fans.

Titanfall – Ex Infinity Ward staff created Respawn Entertainment, and their first ever game is an Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC exclusive. No PS4 version in sight which is a shame because this is right up my alley. Mechs, first person shooter, multiplayer with story, there’s a lot to be excited about with this game. A little downside though, it seems as though graphically it had quite a way to go, it wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve seen.

Battlefield 4 – The single player demo didn’t do much for me. It showcased pretty graphics and what seemed to be something I have already played in a Call of Duty game. The multiplayer on the other hand, my god. It impressed me so much that I simply cannot wait to get stuck into it, and it has already become and day one buy for me. From destroying pillars to get tanks to fall through the floor, to destroying and levelling an entire skyscraper. Sure it was all staged, but the beauty of Battlefield is that anything can happen, even what we saw on stage.

Tom Clancy’s The Division – I said in my previous E3 article (Click Here) that I wanted a standout game in the same vein as Watch_Dogs last year. Watch_Dogs stole the show for me and many others last year, so whilst it may not have quite stole the show overall, at this point, The Division, an online, open-world RPG, was the best thing I’d seen all night. Presentation was similar to Watch_Dogs and it was a Ubisoft title, they sure do love to surprise us. Set after an infection has swept the US, you’ll play as a sleeper agent who now has to survive on found resources like food and water, as well help civilians and fight back gangs. The US is in pieces and it is looking very fresh, with the ability to walk into other players as you play and get into fire fights.

PS4 – It stole the show. It did. The reaction of the look of it, to how they said the restrictions on the Xbox One surrounding used game and always online, were non-existent on the PS4. The price too, the crowd exploded when they announced the $399/ £349 price tag compared to the $499/ £429 price tag of the Xbox One. I said that it always falls down to price (See Here), like a friend of mine tweeted me during the conferences, he was simply getting which ever was the cheapest. I replied with it all about the games for me, and it was, the Xbox One price was expected in my eyes. But when Sony put that price tag on the PS4, I was sold, but there was a game (See Below) to help me with that decision, it may not be exclusive, but it will have exclusive content only on PS4.

Destiny – Possibly the game of the night for me. I may end up changing my mind once the hype boils down, but from what we saw towards the end of Sony’s conference, it was magical. Being a big Halo fan, the music excited my ears and the gameplay looked a solid as Bungie always makes it. The world events, drop in co-op, fantastic art style, great A.I. and addictive loot system made this new game from Bungie, best of the show.

-ast

What I want from E3 2013

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With E3 just around the corner, news sites are exploding with leaks and speculation. It’s always the surprises that stick in your mind however. I remember last E3, Ubisoft showed off Watch_Dogs for the first time, it blew my mind and became a game a have followed very closely since then. But what do I want to see announced and talked about at this year’s E3?

Next Gen Console Release Details – With the Xbox One and PS4 to be released this holiday season, we still know nothing about the release of the consoles. Hopefully those details are revealed in the next few days. I want a solid release date, including a UK/ Europe date please. As well as the price of the new consoles and the launch titles we can expect to be able to pick up with them.

PS4 Design – We will see this. I’ve even had an email off Sony confirming it, but will it look nice? The design for the Xbox One is something I quite like, it’s simple, minimalistic and the use of both gloss and matt finishes work well. For the PS4, I’m hoping for something with a little more character though, the Xbox One is a simple box shape and I wouldn’t mind something a little more out of the ordinary for the design of the Ps4.

Games Everywhere – I want to see more of a focus on the game in these conferences. Sure if Sony decide to focus a little more on the console, they could be forgiven as they’ve shown quite a bit already, but Microsoft have an uphill battle to fight. From both companies and even Nintendo too (doing whatever they’re doing?), I want to see games that sell these console to us gamers. Times have change since 2005, we want more diversity and complexity to our games, but there’s a solid target audience for the smaller titles too.

The Show Stopper – It’s no secret that Watch_Dogs was the talk of E3 last year. I want another game to do that this year. The real shocker though, was it was a Ubisoft title and not a game from Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo. Maybe Activision will shock the world with Destiny? Or will EA have a surprise up their sleeve with a Mirrors Edge 2 announcement? For all we know a small Indie Developer may steal the show floor with a truly unique experience that gets everyone talking.

Day Z Console Release – This is a little more specific, but ever since Dean Hall revealed that he had a meeting with Sony, I have long wished for an announcement for the release of Day Z on the Ps4 when it launches. A launch on both next-gen console would be even better, but I feel like Day Z is the new Minecraft, and someone may try to get exclusive rights. All info currently points to Sony, but Microsoft have deep pockets they’re not afraid to reach into.

Expect more E3 thoughts and articles during the week. With The Last of Us and Man of Steel this week too, keep your eyes glued here, and click that follow button to be notified by email when I do a new post.

-ast

Standout Summer Blockbusters of 2013

The summer always provides us movie goers with a great selection of movies, with big budget action movies, to the smaller, more character focused movies. There is however, standout movies that really make the audience walk away with a smile and the intention to tell everyone how great of a movie it was. These movies are the heart of the summer. So what do I think will be the big standouts this summer? Below are some movies (with UK release dates) I think will bring in the money and praise they seek.

After Earth – June 7th

Will Jaden Smith see as much success as his dad?

Will Jaden Smith see as much success as his dad?

Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith star alongside each other in this Sci-fi epic, directed by Sixth Sense and Signs director M. Night Shyamalan. Crashing down on a long abandoned Earth, we follow both father and son as they try to survive on an evolved Earth. It’s no secret that Will Smith is a big selling point already to this movie, but with M. Night Shyamalan directing, this movie could go either way. He hasn’t had the best track record lately, but I hope this movie shows he’s back on form.

Man of Steel – June 14th

Michael Shannon as General Zod looks fierce

Michael Shannon as General Zod looks fierce

Henry Cavill plays the famous Kryptonian, Superman, in franchise reboot Man of Steel. Having Christopher Nolan as a producer and David S Goyer as writer with their Dark Knight credentials behind them is certainly promising. Let us not forget Zack Snyder as director and this movie has to succeed. A lot of hype is gathering for this movie from both comic readers and original Superman movie fans. The question now is can Man of Steel repeat the success of The Dark Knight movies and make Superman just as popular as Batman? I sure hope so and I can’t wait to see this at IMAX!

World War Z – June 21st

Am I the only one who thinks this looks awesome?

Am I the only one who thinks this looks awesome?

In a similar position to After Earth, can the pedigree of a famous actor sell a movie to people? With Brad Pitt at the heart of the movie, and a horror movie at that, World War Z is looking quite promising from the trailers. Based off a Novel, World War Z sees an unstoppable infection sweep across the globe, with the infected outnumbering us more and more with each day that passes. This movie has seen a lot of problems in production, from script re-writes, to re-shoots. However, despite all that, early viewers have praised the movie. Fingers crossed we see more zombie movies at the cinemas in the future.

Despicable Me 2 – June 28th

Clearly the best part of Despicable Me

Clearly the best part of Despicable Me

Everyone loves an animated movie. Toy Story proved that. Despicable Me was a favourite of mine, I love it. So with the sequel looking to be just as funny as the first, I can’t wait to see it. Of course the Minions steal the show, so I look forward to seeing how they will keep the humour consistently funny. As crazy as it sounds too, I’m looking forward to the inevitable short movies on the Blu-ray/ DVD release just as much.

Pacific Rim – July 12th

Can't wait!

Can’t wait!

By far my most anticipated movie of the whole year, Pacific Rim sees giant robots fighting giant monsters. That’s pretty much the movie, of there’s a lot more to it than that, but I’ve been distancing myself from info/ interviews as much as I can. The trailers are simply amazing though, however I hope they aren’t showing all the best scenes from the movie. I love the work of Guillermo del Toro, so I have much faith in his ability to provide an entertaining movie. It’s also worth mentioning that Idris Elba makes everything 10x better!

Kick-Ass 2 – August 14th

Predator reference?

Predator reference?

Chloë Grace Moretz and Aaron Taylor-Johnson return as Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass respectively, in the sequel to the surprise hit (no pun intended) Kick-Ass. I wasn’t a massive fan of the first movie, to me the Hit-Girl and Big Daddy scenes stole the whole movie for me. But with Jim Carrey joining the cast this time round as Colonel Stars and Stripes, that has put this movie on the list for me. I guess the pedigree of an actor does sell a movie!

Elysium – September 20th

Sharlto Copley stars in another Neill Blomkamp movie

Sharlto Copley stars in another Neill Blomkamp movie

Neill Blomkamp made a name for himself when District 9 was released. So with Elysium, he has a lot to live up to. Judging from the trailer, it seems to have a very similar style and tone to District 9. This is not a sequel however, Max played by Matt Damon, takes it upon himself to fight his way to Elysium, a space station for the rich and powerful to escape the overcrowded slums of earth. Sci-fi is big right now, and this movie looks to deliver a truly terrifying visual representation of the future.

Honourable Mentions: Monsters University, The Wolverine, 300: Rise of an Empire, Red 2, The Lone Ranger, Only God Forgives.

-ast

PS4 or Xbox One?

A week ago, the world witnessed the reveal of the Xbox One The reaction to the Xbox One was unfavourable at best. After the hour-long conference, the PS4 was now the first choice amongst console gamers, Sony’s stock value increased by 9% and Microsoft had dug themselves into a very deep hole. I have always been an Xbox 360 gamer, it was the first (at the time) next-gen console I bought. I ended up purchasing a PS3 about a year and a half after the 360, yet still used my 360 as my primary platform. To this day I’ve accumulated over 150,000+ Gamerscore and played nearly every game I’ve ever wanted to. So when I’m ready to throw that all away for a new start on the PS4, that’s a sign that at the moment, the Xbox One has failed to impress.

I might wait for the slim version!

I might wait for the slim version!

Let us focus on the positives of the Xbox One conference. Firstly, the Halo TV Series was a very welcome surprise. Even though Steven Spielberg’s role is no doubt a minor one, the very idea of a Halo TV Series is exciting. Secondly, Remedy has a new game coming out. From the creators of Max Payne and the fantastic Alan Wake, Quantum Break looked very interesting. Judging from the trailer too, this game may see a TV Series of its own, with the trailer to the game being a mix of live action and game. Lastly, all the minor things like a Blu-ray drive, Skype and of course improved hardware, are fantastic.

I won’t focus on all the bad news we heard though, why you may ask? Well it was a console reveal conference, not a game reveal conference. So having Microsoft show what the Xbox One can do to make life more lazy than it already is, I fully expected. The wait for E3 now feels longer than it has ever been, only 2 weeks until we will know everything about both the Xbox One and PS4.

Specs for both Xbox One and PS4 have been revealed, and with many people stating the PS4 is already a more powerful machine, that had no effect on the current generation. The PS3 may have been more powerful, but yet it was harder to develop for and was more expensive. That’s the real kicker here, the price. Prices have not been announced for either the Xbox One or PS4, and whilst many gamers have their hearts set against the Xbox One, it will always boil down to the price. If the Xbox One is cheaper than the PS4, then I can almost guarantee that will be enough justification for some gamers.

I don’t think the competition of ‘Which Console is Better?’ will boil down to graphics, look of the console or even what games will be available. It will boil down to what is the cheaper option. PC gaming may be the only way to get the best out of a game, but why do you think everyone still hasn’t adopted PC gaming yet? Convenience? Not at all, it’s because it’s too expensive. Every Xbox One will come with a Kinect 2.0 included, that already boosts the value for money right there.

Looks nice, but how does it feel?

Looks nice, but how does it feel?

The PS4 is what I am looking forward to, being a member of PlayStation Plus and slowly but surely moving my gaming to my PS3, I start to understand why Sony has had so much success with the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 in the past. They focus on giving the gamer what they want the most, games. Not new ways to change a channel or surf the internet whilst watching a movie. However I still reserve my judgement until E3 is over and the dust has settled. Microsoft could throw game after game up on their conference screens. Sony could announce that the PS4 is £500 and shoot themselves in the foot again. Only time will tell.

-ast

Coming Soon – An Interview with Bruce Wayne

Within the next few days I shall be posting an exclusive interview with the one and only Bruce Wayne. At the night of the Wayne Enterprises Orphanage Fundraiser, I was able to sit down and get an inside look into the life of Gotham’s favourite son, Bruce Wayne.

I find out all his dirty secrets, how he’s helping to build Gotham’s future and what he thinks of the sudden increase in crime in the city. Most excitingly, I ask what he thinks of the vigilante Batman. Can he be trusted? Find out everything when I post up my 2 part interview within the next few days. Keep your eyes glued here, you don’t want to miss it.

-ast

Coming Soon – Iron Man 3

Tomorrow is going to be a great day. Why? Amongst other things, I’m going to be watching Iron Man 3 at IMAX. After seeing The Dark Knight Rises at IMAX last year, making sure to see more blockbuster movies this year at IMAX was a no brainer.

So expect a Review to be up later tomorrow evening. Can the first movie part of Marvel’s Phase 2 kick things off with a bang? Or will it simply feel like a filler for Avengers 2?

Find out everything, tomorrow.

-ast