Microsoft has been lagging in sales compared to the PS4 and soon the Switch. The largest part of the problem seems to be a lack of exclusive games. While not exclusive we did see the debut of a new Kingdom Heart 3 trailer featuring Frozen.
Square Enix announced that KH3 will be released January 2019 :
Halo Infinite was announced for Windows 10 and Xbox One. Personally, I stopped caring about Halo years ago but I would like to see fans of the series get another good entry. The teaser was brief and will be made by 343 Industries.
Gear of War is another series that I stopped caring about. The gameplay that was at one point revolutionary became rather stale. The large brooding characters and large monsters are back. Along with Gears of War 5, Microsoft announced a mobile game as well a turn-based strategy game for PC.
Gears of War 5:
Finally a game I’m excited about, Devil May Cry 5. It’s been a decade since DMC4 and apparently this is the “true” sequel. The trailer seem to introduce a new remodeled Nero, and of course Dante returns, regardless it looks epic.
E3 is back, starting with an EA conference. They revealed several new games in the Battlefield, FIFA, Madden series. They presented a new “Cloud-based game streaming service,” that will allow gamers to “stream games to their phone and attach their own controllers or play on a laptop.”
However, the news that piqued my interest was the new entries in the Star Wars universe. Personally, I don’t really care about Star Wars: Battlefront 2 but if you do there will be “brand new multiplayer sandbox mode,” as well as Clone Wars characters. The most potentially promising game announced was Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, a new single player game that is set between Star Wars Episode III and IV. Expected to be released in 2019, the game may see player play the role of the Sith. Star Wars games have been disappointing, I’m still waiting for a KOTOR remake, maybe this game will be good.
Anthem, is a new IP from Bioware/EA, slated to be released in 2018. The game will be released on PC, Xbox One and PS4, an open world RPG that is being compared to Destiny and Titanfall, with some Mass Effect elements. Anthem is a science fantasy game similar to Star Wars, meaning that technology and the surrounding environment isn’t using real science. You play as a Freelancer, an explorer of the large landscape. Up to four players can play together, you share in the exploits of missions. Freelancers can wear fully customizable exosuits called Javelins. So far two Javelin types were revealed the Ranger and the Colossus.
Bioware has made it clear that single player will also be a big component of the game. Anthem’s lead designer Corey Gaspur confirmed on twitter that, “single player experience is very important to the team.” EA has suggested that Anthem is a “10 year journey,” this is a similar strategy to that of Activision’s view of Destiny. EA’s executive VP Patrick Soderlund stated that “Anthem is a social game where you and your friends go on quests and journeys. It’s a game that we’ve been working on for almost four years now, and once we launch it next year I think it’ll be the start of a ten-year journey for us.”
The former script writer from Mass Effect and KOTOR is work on the story for the game, showing that EA/Bioware is serious about single player. Players will encounter “world-altering events called Shaper Storms.” These storms are similar to Destiny’s “public events,” they are “massive tempests crackling with lightning that wreak havoc on the environment as they intensify. Shaper Storms seem to warrant grouping up to prepare for an added challenge.” You will face off against marauders and beasts, you will have a home base or main hub called Fort Tarsus. Protected by a wall that segregates the civilians from the more dangerous outside environment, you’ll be free to go in any direction.
Nintendo has always been an innovating company and the Switch continued this innovation. Today, Nintendo introduced a new way to play the Switch, combining “cardboard accessories,” with the Switch, players are able to play games with these “DIY creations.” Nintendo Labo, incorporates “augmented-reality game that turns cardboard models into fully functioning toys.” When you buy a Nintendo Labo you are given “25 sheets of thick, brown, branded cardboard, and a little cartridge.”
Following the on screen instruction on the Switch you can build several creations like, a 13 key piano, fishing pole or motorbike. You can customize these creations with markers, stickers or paint. By building the piano you can play as the “IR Motion Camera in the Right Joy-Con detects which keys are pressed and translates them into unique notes that are heard through the console.” Being cardboard Nintendo expects them to break and plans on replacing cardboard kits, however, you can “stick the cardboard Toy-Cons back together with glue or tape.”
Nintendo Labo will launch on April 20 this year and will have two kits called, the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit respectively. The “Variety Kit” will cost $69.99 and feature ” two Toy-Con RC Cars, a Toy-Con Fishing Rod, a Toy-Con House, a Toy-Con Motorbike and a Toy-Con Piano.” The “Robot Kit” will cost a little more at $79.99 and feature “you can build an interactive robot suit with a visor, backpack and straps for your hands and feet, which you can then wear to assume control of a giant in-game robot.” You can also purchase a $9.99 “customization Set that includes fun stencils, stickers and colored tape.” The cardboard toy-con are not from me but the technology is actually pretty cool and hope it’s another success from Nintendo.
The first grand-slam of the 2018 tennis season begin in the middle of January, The Australian Open. I previously mentioned an upcoming game from several former game developers from 2K Czech, creators of the Top Spin series. Tennis World Tour will be released sometime in the spring. AO tennis will be released on January 16th in New Zealand and Australia and in March it will debut in the states. According to press-star, “The control scheme will be very familiar for those that have played Top Spin 4. ”
The gameplay is very similar to the Top Spin series (which is a good thing), “Controls in rallies are also very familiar, with you being able to hit flat, top-spin, slice and lobs, with power being increased by holding and releasing or just tapping to hit a more controlled shot. You can also rush to the net or hit an inside out shot exactly like you could in Top Spin. ” A new entry to a tennis game will be the challenge system (where players challenge calls they believe were wrong).
It’s of course no surprise that the game is graphically better than any previous tennis game. Big Ant made good use of their new “photogrammetry tech,” animations seemed to be “realistic and smooth.” Despite it’s title the game is not entirely focused on the Australian Open, and it will feature “a career mode and clay and grass surfaces,” as well as A.I based on “ten years of ball tracking data taken from Australian Open.” Finally, there will be player creation, in addition to customization of “clothing, stadiums and logos,” and of course online play. I looks like will be a good year for tennis gamers.
A lot of criticism was sent Nintendo’s way for the failure of Wii U. The Switch has turn all that around, on Thursday, Nintendo announced that the “Nintendo Switch has become the fastest-selling home video game system ever in the United States. The system has sold more than 4.8 million units in the United States in the 10 months since it launched on March 3. Nintendo‘s Wii system was the previous record holder, selling more than 4 million units in its first 10 months.”
I’ll admit that I’m pleasantly surprised that the Switch has done this well. What doesn’t surprise me is the high attachment rate of their first party titles, Nintendo stated “that more than 60% of Nintendo Switch owners in the United States have Super Mario Odyssey, and more than 55% own The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo noted that the games are two of the highest-rated games in history. The company also revealed that more than 50% of Nintendo Switch owners have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and more than 20% have Splatoon 2.
Nintendo has often had issues with third party support, this did change with the Nintendo DS, 3DS and Wii. However, during the short Wii U era third party support was scarce. Nintendo said that “more than 300 titles by third-party developers have launched for the Switch, and it has “received strong support from indie developers.” The Nintendo Switch, as of December 10 has sold over 10 million units worldwide. With a new Metroid Prime and Pokemon RPG on the horizon things are looking good for Nintendo’s future.
As a tennis fan and an avid gamer it shouldn’t be a surprise that I love tennis games. However, unfortunately the tennis genre is one that is under represented in gaming. Unlike, the most popular sports titles like Madden, FIFA and NBA 2K, tennis has failed to capture the same sized audiences and sell millions of copies. Generally, the games tennis games that sell the most feature famous characters from other gaming franchises like, the Mario Tennis and Sega Superstars tennis series.
In 2011 2K Sports cancelled the Top Spin series, the most prominent of the simulation tennis series. Top Spin 4 sold over 600,000 copies across several gaming platforms. I personally spent over a hundred hours playing that game and was disappointed when the online support ended. I’ve been waiting for a new tennis game ever since.
Finally, the wait for another tennis game is over. Tennis World Tour is a game from some of the producers from 2K Czech and 2K Sports. It will be the first tennis simulator since Grand Slam Tennis 2, in 2012. Back in May Developer Breakpoint Studio and publisher Bigben announced the game, which will feature some of the top ranked tennis players like Roger Federer and world number one Rafael Nadal.
Pierre André, a former Top Spin 4 producer, stated that due to technological advances “we can create the ultra-realistic simulation that we’ve always dreamed of.” André told Polygon during this year E3, “in that the game will be very close to what we had in mind for Top Spin, with the shot control and the movement of the player models. The meta-gameplay and tactical, strategic layer is where we will be innovating the most.”
He suggests that the game will have better “character building, playing style and strategies,” it will also feature created-player customization and a career mode. However, the tennis venues will not be licensed, despite this Tennis World Tour will have a variety of new features. André hopes that this series will be the unofficial successor to Top Spin 4 and so do I.
Microsoft revealed the official name and some details for the previously dubbed Scorpio console. It’s called the Xbox One X, if this is the next gen console for Microsoft the name similar to the Wii U doesn’t give that impression. Regardless, the next console is unsurprisingly a powerhouse. It doesn’t really look different from the Xbox One S, but it’s much smaller. It will be released in November.
Price: The console will be $500 US, £449, €499, CA$599, and AU$649.
The Games, let’s face it the only thing that matters are the games, so:
The fifth installment of the Far Cry series, will be released on February 27, 2018. Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, the open-world game will allow gamers to play single player and two player co-op. “Players will take on the role of the new junior deputy in Hope County, Montana, where players will become embroiled in an attempted takeover of the county by the Project at Eden’s Gate, a doomsday cult.” You are tasked with establishing a resistance, using any means at your disposal.
In March, Capcom will release Monster Hunter XX, full details will be provided this weekend in Japan. “It’s still unclear whether the Switch’s XX will be localized – although given how easy it is to pick up games from Japan on the region-free Switch there’s potentially only the language barrier to get over.” The game will likely be a place holder until MH5.
Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age Official gambit trailer
FF12 is my favorite game from the series, the voice acting, story and characters were the most impressive of any FF game I have ever played. The remake will be released this July for the PS4. With updated graphics, a better jobs system, the game will bring a previously Japan only game to the masses. “A perfect excuse to experience an awesome game in a whole new way.”
Square Enix announced that the RPG’s will be released as of fiscal 2018, the president said Yosuke Matsuda stated that “we plan to launch each of these upcoming titles in the next three years or so.” If you like me having been waiting for Kingdom Hearts for over a decade this isn’t new but it’s ridiculous. There isn’t too much information on either game at this point.
A few days ago I wrote a post that suggested that while the previews of Mass Effect Andromeda weren’t good, I looks like the final build of the game isn’t much better. The reviews have been mixed and most results are average, leaving on review to say that he was “conflicted about Mass Effect: Andromeda. There’s a lot of roughness throughout the game, and the technical issues, while not game-breaking, are often incredibly distracting.”
“The latest entry in the beloved video-game series is part of a larger industry trend offering a vast playground for users without the narrative investment to justify it.” – David Sims (The Atlantic)
“Mass Effect: Andromeda spends a lot of time not really feeling like a Mass Effect game. If anything, it feels like a spin-off” – Brett Makedonski (Destructoid)
“it’s my time with the cast that I’m still thinking about, and the mysteries about the world that haven’t been answered that make me feel like I’m waiting once again for a new Mass Effect game.” Arthur Gies (Polygon)
“In many ways, Andromeda feels like a vision half-fulfilled. It contains a dizzying amount of content, but the quality fluctuates wildly. Its worlds and combat shine, but its writing and missions falter” Scott Butterworth (Gamespot)