Rising from the Grave: Siren

Fingers crossed for Siren on PS4!

Fingers crossed for Siren on PS4!

No matter what we may say, we like being scared. The thrill of the unknown, never knowing what is going to happen next. That’s why horror games have seen such a rise in popularity recently. The success of a single game have revitalised an entire genre. I talk of Slender of course, a game that set YouTube on fire and has spawn endless imitators. However, even with this increase on popularity, we’re still only really treated to small survival horror experiences. Where’s all the big hitters? Resident Evil is being put back on the drawing board, Silent Hill struggles to resonate with its fans and Project Zero/ Fatal Frame is currently stuck on the 3DS. This had me thinking of a game series that I use to love, yet never really struck gold with horror fans as sales were never spectacular. That series is the Siren series, developed by Project Siren, a small team working within the SCE Japan Studio.

With only 3 entries into the series, and the last one being somewhat of a retelling of the first game, I feel this is a series that died before it was ever given a chance. Siren is about a Japanese village with strong religious beliefs important in the area. The locals like to keep to themselves and have sought to keep their village isolated from the outside world. The story usually focuses on the leader of a local religion, a his attempt to resurrect or re-awaken a god through a ceremony. During the ceremony, residents immerse themselves in the surrounding water that is now red, thus creating an army of subordinates called Shibito. The Shibito then go about building a nest to house the god’s corporeal form once it is summoned, as well as killing and converting any remaining humans left, that usually includes you. With the popularity of horror games on the rise, does that mean Sony have Project Siren hard at work on a new game in the series for the PS4? This is ‘Rising from the Grave: Siren’.

It gets worse...

It gets worse…

Why? When Sony tried to reboot the series with Siren: Blo0d Curse on PS3 in 2008, they did something that was simply ahead of its time. They released the game in episodes, a format that The Walking Dead game from Telltale Games proved to be highly successful and a great way to distribute a game. They also released the game on disk too, for those of use that weren’t exactly in tune with downloading games yet. This is a strategy I’d love to see revisited for a new Siren game, with each episode ending on a cliff-hanger and a teaser for the next episode. When you think about it too, horror games fit the episodic nature extremely well, with deaths, reveals and intensity around each corner. The time is right for the next Siren episodic adventure.

How could it improve? I say it each time, but yes, the graphics could do with being upgraded. I’d actually like a more unique look to the game too, whether it be graphical or mechanical with perhaps retro style menus and items within the game. Something else that would benefit the game greatly too, is less weapons. Siren actually had a decent amount of weapons you could use against the enemy, from swords to shotguns. Maybe dial that back a bit and go a little deeper. With smaller characters not being able to handle the few larger firearms, but be quicker with their melee attacks. There’s a lot potential with being able to see through the eyes of the enemy too, with some of the scarier moments coming from that mechanic. With some tweaking, it could become a highly valuable tool to the player and one of the developers best opportunities to deliver some great scares.

Realistically, could this game happen? Project Siren had only been known for their Siren games. But in 2012, that all changed when they released a PS Vita game that saw both consumer and critical praise. This game was Gravity Rush, it was very different from the Siren games. It was such a big success for them, that it quickly gained a dedicated fan base and there is a high demand for a sequel. Project Siren has also shared their interest in making a sequel to Gravity Rush, so it would seem that a new Siren game is quite far off. However, Sony have stated that they have many first-party exclusives in development of the PS4, and we still have many of them to be revealed. Perhaps one of them is a new Siren game, if it is though, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in development at a different studio with Project Siren doing nothing but overlooking the development as they work on Gravity Rush 2.

... like this much worse!

… like this much worse!

Probability of Rising from the Grave: 58%

-ast

Rising from the Grave: Syphon Filter

Your the best, around!

You’re the best, around!

Today, I have to watch and play things in order. It’s who I am. If I fancy re-watching Rocky IV, then I’ll start from the beginning and work my way up the ladder. As for games, when Assassins Creed 3 was due out, I went and replayed all previous games leading up to the release of the third one. I did the exact same thing when Mass Effect 3 was almost out, I went back to the first entry in the series and started a new character I could play as I an inevitable second/ third play through. When I was younger though, I couldn’t have cared less. That’s why I start at Syphon Filter 2, then went on to the first game, and finished with the third.

Syphon Filter is a game series about stopping the release of a deadly virus named Syphon Filter. You usually play as Gabe Logan, however you also are put into the shoes of many of characters in certain levels during your play through of the games. The last Syphon Filter game was released 6 years ago, with the suspected death of Gabe Logan, but he is a videogame character and could easily return with the correct writing. I won’t lie, my experience with the series ended with Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, which I didn’t like. But the original trilogy was so good, fun to play and had great boss fights. SCE Bend Studio is behind all Syphon Filter games, they’re also behind the more recent Resistance and Uncharted games for the PS Vita. But will Sony now use them to create a new chapter in the Syphon Filter series on PS4 or will they stick with PS Vita development? This is ‘Rising from the Grave: Syphon Filter’.

I hated this level in the first SF.

I hated this level in the first SF.

Why? I could have gone off saying Sony need this because Splinter Cell is seemingly sided with Microsoft. But with Splinter Cell now releasing on PS3 as well as Xbox 360, does Sony really need to bring back Syphon Filter? It’s usually seen as a stealth-action game, and sure we don’t have a load of those right now. I’m finding it really hard to find a reason for them to get behind another Syphon Filter. Don’t get me wrong, I want it. If Sony announced this, it would become one of my most anticipated games ever. Sony have lots of exclusives already announced for PS4, and the more the merrier, and perhaps this is what Sony may want. A stealth-action exclusive game, for PS4, from a studio that knows the genre and licence better than anyone no less. Honestly though, if they did announce the game, I would probably see it as a game Sony got behind to simply add to the number of exclusives for PS4. Nothing more.

How could it improve? New generation, new look. With the power of the PS4 behind them, a globe-trotting adventure of espionage and saving the world sounds nice. People also have certain expectations these days with third person games, so a familiar control scheme will help with selling the game to people who may think Syphon Filter’s golden age has come and gone. I remember playing the multiplayer, split-screen with my mum. A ton of fun, feeling a lot like a third person Goldeneye. Multiplayer is of course a massive selling point for a lot of people, so some imagination and originality would go a long way in making a great multiplayer component.

Realistically, could this game happen? SCE Bend Studio have been working on something for the past couple years, what it is exactly, we do not yet know. They have vast experience working with the PS Vita, however this coupled with the fact that the PS Vita isn’t getting nearly enough games that it deserves, I think if we are to get any new Syphon Filter game, it will only be on the PS Vita. I hope I’m wrong, perhaps being able to stream any PS4 game to your PS Vita will help in the decision to make the next Syphon Filter a PS4 game.

Reminds me of the Air Taser, good times!

Reminds me of the Air Taser, good times!

Probability of Rising from the Grave: 45%

-ast

Monday Conferences – My E3 2013 Highlights

e3_2013

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

e3_2013

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

Rising from the Grave: The Getaway

The memories!

The memories!

So I live in the UK, yet it feels like I’ve visited everywhere on earth, despite only being to France. It seems every game today, mostly open world, takes place in America. That’s why whenever a game reveals it’s got a few levels or partially takes place in the UK, I can easily get excited for it. This may just be me, but surely there are many more gamers out there with the same feelings. So I ask, where is The Getaway series? Set in London, being based around gang and police life, The Getaway and it’s sequel, The Getaway: Black Monday, always felt like a breath of fresh air.

Exclusives these days are what help sell consoles, and Sony already has their fair share of amazing exclusives already. The Getaway 3 has been rumoured for quite some time now. To be released on the PS3, it was being developed by Sony’s London Studio, quite fitting when you think about it. Then news came that The Getaway 3 had been put on hold by SCE London Studio so they could focus their attention to games for the EyeToy and in the SingStar series. Seems like a waste of talent to me and reminds me of Rare’s current standing with Microsoft. So with the PS4 on the horizon, a new start, maybe the chances of The Getaway 3 are slowly improving. This is ‘Rising from the Grave: The Getaway’.

Try and picture how this would look on PS4.

Try and picture how this would look on PS4.

Why? If the critical success of Sleeping Dogs is anything to go by, then you don’t have to have your open world in America for the game to sell. There’s a lot potential with having the game set in the UK, we have different laws, a different society and different architecture. That alone would bring back that feeling of freshness, something new and exciting. Also, game mechanics like leaning up to a wall the help recover your health and having to watch your indicators on your car to find your way through the streets would be welcomed back with open arms.

How could it improve? We’re yet to see what the PS4 could do with an open world game. The Getaway series always went for authenticity and realism, whilst still keeping the game side of thing intact. It’s a hard balance to achieve, but one that the series is known for. So with the improved power of the PS4, everything could be improved to make it look more lifelike than ever before. With firearms being less prominent in the UK too, we could have a see an improvement on the brutal fighting we saw in the previous game and when we do get our hands on some guns, the shooting mechanics will need a complete rework as they were never that great to begin with.

Realistically, could this game happen? So SCE London Studios have been hard at work for the past few years on many EyePet and SingStar games. They are also responsible for PlayStation Home and their newest project, Wonderbook. Since last year though, they’ve released nothing, leading to speculation that they’re working on something for the PS4. I’m not saying it’s The Getaway 3, I’m sure they have enough exclusives in the pipeline, all ready for the launch later this year. But let’s not push aside the facts, they were working on The Getaway 3, It was put on hold, not cancelled. Of course that was back in 2008 and later reconfirmed in late 2009. I do think we’ll see something from this series in the near future, whether it be a full-blown PS4 title or a PS Vita title.

On my way to SCE London Studios to arrest them for not making The Getaway 3!

Off to SCE London Studios to arrest them!

Probability of Rising from the Grave: 83%

-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