E3 2014: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Preview

E3 2014: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Preview - 2014-06-17 15:15:41

With the hustle and bustle of E3 finally over, I am getting time to sit down and write down the most memorable things I saw. The one that jumped out at me the most had to be Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. From the exceedingly long trailer during the Sony Press conference to the hour long demo shown off at the Konami booth, Metal Gear is a game that showed very well at this year’s show.

Sitting down to watch the hour long, strictly hands off demo, I was expecting a game that offered little new in ideas but packed with graphical fidelity. What I actually got surprised me, a game that looked gorgeous and from what was shown, seems to be a more fluid experience. MGS5 seems to be cherry picking the best of the series and dropping them all into this one game.

Executing missions in an open world sandbox is an exciting new direction for the series. It shows the true freedom of what Metal Gear can be and how it will allow for many play styles. From the choices to go in gun blazing to taking the stealthy, non-lethal approach, the game is made to be played the way you want to.

The Phantom Pain also expands on the Mother Base concept seen in the portable Peace Walker game. Players can capture rather than kill the enemies on the field. From here you can then send them back to Mother Base to be used as soldiers for the cause. Once back at base, recruits can be used to produce new weapons, Intel, or items for missions.

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One noticeable item you can call from Mother Base was the trusty cardboard box. The iconic image of the series is back, only this time it appears to have a few improvements to ensure its usefulness on missions. Beyond just being used as a hiding place, the cardboard box now allows for taking out enemies by popping out of the box,  using items in it, and even jumping out to use the box as a decoy. The Boss appeared to be much more agile from the demo that was shown. The Konami staff claims that new moves are included in Phantom Pain above and beyond what was seen in the Ground Zeroes preview that came out earlier in the year.

The last, and most interesting part of the demo showed off going to Mother Base. This section lets you see everyone you save or capture along with all the gear you have taken back from the mission. It also is interesting to note that everyone’s Mother Base will be unique to them. As you play though The Phantom Pain, it will be built up to suit your needs and your play style. Each artillery launcher, jeep or member of the crew will be selected by you, the player. This should lead to some exciting gameplay, that if done right will make each play though of the game exciting and new.

The Phantom Pain may not be a revolution of the Metal Gear series, but it is an evolution, taking some of the best aspects from past games and meshing them together into a truly interesting package. If Konami and Kojima pull it off, it is poised to be one of the must own games of this generation. But as with anything at E3, we will have to wait and see how it all turns out.

Sound off, what is the most exciting game for you from E3 this year. Is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain even on your radar? Let us know in the comments section bellow, we are eager to hear your take!

The Surprise Resurrections of E3 2014

The Surprise Resurrections of E3 2014 - 2014-06-17 14:06:13

As expected, this year’s E3 has had its fair share of new announcements and first looks at upcoming sequels and new IPs, but it’s also been a year filled with surprising nods toward cult classics and games that have either faded with time or haven’t been relevant in years. Here’s a list of the biggest (and most surprising) out-of-nowhere cult classics that were resurrected and mentioned at various points throughout the week.

PHANTOM DUST

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Phantom Dust takes place after the collapse of the world. A mysterious dust covers everything, and those who are exposed to it lose their memory over time. Some even gain the ability to project their thoughts into actions, leading to the game’s emphasis on psychic ability combat.

Phantom Dust coupled mechanics of classic deck building games with fast-paced combat for a fluid (and surprisingly well-detailed) action game. It might not be the most easily recognizable name in the Xbox lineup, but its existence is nonetheless important. The original Xbox has a long history of fantastic games, many of which managed to slip under the radar. The fact that Microsoft is willing to acknowledge this and make good on bringing it back gives us hope that we’ll see more cult reboots on the Xbox One.

CONKER (IN PROJECT SPARK)

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The appearance of the binge-drinking squirrel Conker during Project Spark’s feature at the Microsoft conference, was both a warm hug and giant middle finger for fans of classic Rareware. Ever since his days in Conker’s Bad Fur Day on the Nintendo 64, Conker has been a beloved character for his brash and rude sense of humor.

Ever since Rareware was purchased by Microsoft and moved to developing Kinect games, he and all of Rare’s other beloved properties have gone dark. His appearance in the Microsoft press conference was a brief moment of bliss, but the fact that Conker is only a playable character in a content creation game was a pretty big disappointment. It did, however, give hope that we might one day see him return in all his glory.

FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0

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Once a Japan-only title, Final Fantasy Type-0 will finally be coming to America.

Originally released for the PSP in Japan in 2011, Type-0 has long been sought after by fans, many of which even took to making their own English translation of the game. The story of the twelve magic students of Class Zero will, for the first time, finally be available for western gamers. It’s an encouraging announcement that bodes well for Final Fantasy fans and shows that Square Enix really does want to do right by them.

VIB RIBBON

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Quite possibly the strangest mention during the entirety of E3, Vib Ribbon came up twice onstage during Sony’s press conference. The strange part? It wasn’t an announcement of the game’s future arrival, but more of a gesture from new SCEA president/CEO Shawn Layden to connect with Sony fans.

Although it hasn’t achieved the same immortal status of PaRappa the Rapper, it was still a revolutionary rhythm game on the PS One that created entire levels out of the tempo and rhythm of a player’s personal music choice and had them guide a rabbit-like creature through the spikes and spirals formed by the song. It was kind of a cruel tease for many, but perhaps a mere mentioning of the game will lead to it making another appearance at some point in the future.

GRIM FANDANGO

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Easily the most surprising news of the Sony conference was that of a remastered Grim Fandango making its way to the PlayStation 4 and Vita. Frequently lauded as one of the best adventure games of all time, Grim Fandango was among the first to use computer graphics over pre-rendered backgrounds.

Its noir film and Latino culture influence made it even more unique, and it was the humor inherent in so many of old LucasArts games that capped one of the most beloved games ever made. Obtaining the license and ability to remake the game is something of a miracle, and it gives hope to classic adventure game fans that maybe we haven’t totally lost many of the greats to the ages.

Brendan’s Best of E3 2014

Brendan's Best of E3 2014  - 2014-06-17 12:26:39

With E3 over and everyone from the convention centre in LA on their way home, it is time to go over what were some of the best things CGM saw. With a large assortment of games shown off ever year it is hard to nail down the top games people should be excited for but today I am going to try to give my best of E3 2014.

Best New Title

Dreadnought (PC)

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I have always been a sucker for giant spaceships. Watching them in Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, etc, they sparked a sense of awe at the sheer size and destructive power. The guys over at Yager, the studio that brought us Spec Ops: The Line, now bring us Dreadnought. Giving players the helm of a giant ship, Dreadnought will be an online Free-to-Play multiplayer title that is shaping up to be a fantastic experience. Unlike Homeworld, this isn’t a real time strategy game where you direct capital ships on plotted out courses, you take direct control of the destroyers and dreadnoughts in your fleet.

The concept is simple, two teams with a selection of ship classes go into the battle field. At the end, the team with the most kills or points wins. It is a simple concept and makes for frantic and fun gameplay. When your team works, it can really feel like you are on the bridge of a capital ship, ready for anything.

Dreadnought is a game for the science fiction fan in all of us. A game that gives you the command of the ships that make the galaxy run and hide. Now, they are all in one area, ready to destroy one another and it works! Nothing has been said about the business model for the game yet, but if Yager does it right, this could be a Free-to-Play game that everyone should be playing.

Best RPG

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt(PS4, PC, Xbox One)

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I am ashamed to admit it, but I have never managed to finish a Witcher game. I always start out strong, thinking “This is it, I will do it this time.” But hours pass, I die time after time, and eventually I walk away admitting defeat. They are hard games, yet they have some of the best storytelling that players can experience in Western RPGs today. The concept of a morally grey world is exciting. It is a world where every choice you make will have consequences, and you as the player have no clear right answer. For a lover of story, this is the ultimate experience.

The Witcher 3 keeps up this tradition, you play as the iconic hero, Geralt of Rivia, continuing his adventures. This time, a strange force, The Wild Hunt, endangers the land, leaving only death in its wake. The story is the start of a great fantasy epic, but it is the small stories along the quest that make The Witcher 3 so unique. Injecting quests with moral choices, similar to what we have seen in games from BioWare, is a great move. The developers over at CD Projekt RED have  developed some troubling scenarios that go far beyond what many RPGs offer. It all works together to craft a dark, brooding world that needs to be experienced.

Making its move to the PS4 and the XBOX One, The Witcher 3 is also poised to be one of the most visually stunning titles we will see for the platforms. Each aspect of the game shows off a richly detailed, dark fantasy world. Characters and environments breathe with life, and the expansive landscape shows the sheer vastness of the world. Coming out in 2015, The Witcher 3 is looking to capture the audience it deserves. I for one am planning to jump into the world on day one.

Best FPS

Destiny(PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

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Built by Bungie, the studio that brought us Halo, Destiny is a multiplayer FPS mixed with an MMO, and it actually seems to work. When Bungie first showed Destiny at last year’s E3, I was sceptical. It felt reminiscent of Hellgate London, taking the concept of an action game, and injecting it with the concepts from MMOs. However, the demo showed last year left me curious, and I was interested to know more.

When I got to take hold of the controller and jump into the world this year, I have to say I was surprised by the organic feel of the game. The game and the universe Bungie have built all work and it is a very fun experience. Taking control of a super-powered Guardian, it is up to you and the other Guardians to defend a recovering, post-apocalyptic Earth from a new invasion. This will take you and/or your team on missions to fight against a collective of aliens that threaten humanity.

It is a Halo style story from the team that brought you Halo, but honestly it all works. The missions were fast and fun, the gameplay was easy to get into, and the shooting felt tight and responsive. It is all about teamwork and working together to achieve an objective, and it all seemed to work. It is hard to tell if the final product can keep up the interest for the dozens of hours it is aiming at, but if it does, it will be the title players must own. We will find out this holiday season, and I for one am excited to see firsthand how it all works out.

Valve’s Year and a Half Bread Tease Might Be Breaking

Valve's Year and a Half Bread Tease Might Be Breaking 1

Something tasty has been rising in Valve town. About a year and a half ago, mention of a foul tasting loaf of “eighteen-dollar bread” teed off a faint background theme in Team Fortress 2 lore. The Western staple began to appear in various forms, some more conspicuous than others. Baguettes have appeared in blog updates, pretzels have been held aloft by doves in content promotions, and recently, the occasional stray baked good has spit out alongside teleporting players.

Those willing to dig into the game’s code have found still more hints. A bread monster texture made an appearance alongside others yet unused. The Medic has gained throwing animation files and various bread types are represented in file names.

And now there’s a countdown. Valve doesn’t host this kind of performance for small stuff. Reddit suspects that the short film revealed in January of 2013 is involved – possibly odd bits like bread bosses and moon bases as well.

At time of writing, there’s fourteen hours to go. Will this event be what pulls you back into the game? Check back soon to see what pops out of the oven!

Witchmarsh Sailed Well Past its Funding Goal

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Inglenook’s so-called Jazz Age RPG has become the latest in the long and storied history of (relatively) large budget crowd funding indie successes. Witchmarsh has managed to score more than double its Kickstarter goal with a £102,430 sum, having garnered the attention of many a high-profile publication along its way. Unlike the enigmatic and unnatural shenanigans taking place therein, this co-op side-scroller’s appeal is plain to see.

The Great War is over. Something is amiss in New England. People are missing, their rescuer’s fee attracting would-be gumshoes from all walks of life. Claiming their reward, however, will require more than discerning wits and tenacity: there are horrors stalking the shadows who’d much prefer to explore an abdomen than indulge in verbal jousting. Your investigator will be suitably armed.

 

 

Character tailoring will involve a pick-‘n’-mix of attributes, perks, abilities, and equipment. The team suggests interesting interactions between your playable personalities, branching dialogue, and a system of clue-interpretation that will skew where your endeavors lead you. The intention is to wrap all this in an appealing early 20th century style and a combat system that preserves the depth of the likes of Baldur’s Gate despite Witchmarsh’s 2D perspective.

With funding achieved, a publisher found, and stretch goals atop the base application to build, a late 2015 delivery is expected. See you then!