So E3 isn’t over, but Origins is beginning. Back to the Board Games!

Origins Game Fair

From excitement about trailers to excitement about box art and rulebooks

So E3 is winding down.  My Video Game stuff isn’t stopping, but it is slowing to a trickle as I take in more of the stuff I am excited about.

But while the public spectacle side of E3 is winding down, over in Columbus Ohio the Origins Game Fair is just warming up!

The Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has been hosting Origins since 1975, and is five days of gaming.  And not just Board Gaming – if it involves a table, someone is at Origins to represent!  RPG’s, Miniatures games, Table Wargaming, even LARPers are there!

There is also the Origin Award to look forward to.  These are awarded annually for contributions to gaming over the previous year and will be announced Sunday (Australian Time).  While the Origins awards do not have the same buzz around the world as the Spiel Des Jahres, these nominees and winners are no less important for their contributions to gaming.

But that’s enough for today – tonight I will be eagerly combing through as much Origins news as I can, and I will start sharing my thoughts tomorrow.

Until tomorrow!

JohnHQLD

To the Australian Classification Board – let me play Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 Feature

When your government doesn’t think your adult enough

So after all is said and done, the most excitement over all of the trailers over the last few days is Cyberpunk 2077.  This is a game I didn’t even know I wanted to be made until CD Projekt Red announced they were making it.

As mentioned, I have played Cyberpunk and Cyberpunk 2020 at various stages of my life.  Cyberpunk as a genre offers so many possibilities, it’s a genre anyone can jump in and out of at any time.  Or even be neck deep in it without realising it.

Relaxing and looking at a few things, one headline in my feeds from Kotaku caught my attention.  In it, they had the following tweets from one lucky journalist that got hands-on time with Cyberpunk 2077:

And Julian Rizzo-Smith is not the only person saying this.  Many feeds are echoing the concerns, especially over what seems to be the drug delivery system entrenched in the game – an inhaler.

Most descriptions at the moment talk about the inhaler being how you heal yourself, and a generic hypo was a tool in the original Cyberpunk games.  And that’s when it hit me – drugs were all through the original Cyberpunk RPGs.  I think David Milner summed it all up quite nicely:

A little while ago, I wrote an article about the Refused Classification status of ‘We Happy Few‘.  Cyberpunk 2077 is a long way from being put in from of the Australian Classification Board, let alone being reviewed by them.

But a lot of the red flags from We Happy Few are front and center in Cyberpunk 2077.  I already was curious what was going to happen with Call of Duty 4 and their return to an active health system (applying stims).  According to the loose standards of the ACB, ‘being able to continue playing’ seems to be a reward for drug use and banned.

It’s true that most narcotics in Cyberpunk were optional, but some were not.  Health definitely is not optional for a game.  Nudity and violence are generally subject to review and must be ‘in context’, but has anyone on the ACB watched Game of Thrones ever?  Oh wait, they must have.  It’s OK if they want to watch it then.  Even the latest Netflix Cyberpunk show Altered Carbon, which shares a lot of Cyberpunk 2077s themes in a general sense, had what I would consider incentivized drug use and nudity.  Why is this OK because it’s on TV?  Oh, and rated MA15+, so anyone can still watch it legally with a guardian anyway?

It’s important to keep in mind that the Australian Classification Board hasn’t said a thing about Cyberpunk 2077 – this is all conjecture and thoughts from fans that really want to play this game.  But because of an inconsistent set of standards in Australia, there is a possibility that we will not get what is shaping up to be a genre-defining experience.

The only thing I would like you to take away from this article isn’t fear that we won’t get another computer game.  In the day to day battle that is life, not being able to play a game is an inconvenience at best.  No, what we should be concentrating on is that Australia needs to look hard at its politicians and systems and push for changes in both.

Why are games held to a different standard to every other form of entertainment?  This should be a simple argument.  We speak loudly enough, the rules should all be bought into line.  It’s not making new rules – it’s applying consistency.

And if we can get together on something so relatively trivial in the grand scheme of running this country, imagine what else we could do?  There are plenty of vitally important topics screaming for common sense reviews that can make life better for Australians as a whole, not just for some groups with a specific interest.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Fire Emblem: Three Houses coming to the Switch next year

Fire Emblem Three Houses Feature

How can one little console make me so happy

I do enjoy my video RPGs.  JRPG’s though have a very special place in my heart.  Sitting down and learning the secrets of an entire world while usually all but single-handedly saving it are hero fantasy to the extreme.

Everyone nowadays has heard of the Final Fantasy series, but classics like Chrono Trigger and the like are still sadly neglected.  Over the last few years, the Disgaea series has been my main poison of choice, mainly on the PSP and the Vita.  JRPGs are great as mobile games, their turn-based nature thriving in the pick up and put down environment.

Being a Sega and then PlayStation child, I admittedly missed quite a few classics growing up.  One such series was the Fire Emblem series, that I started with Fire Emblem Fates on my 3DS.

The mechanics of Fire Emblem are typical of a lot of JRPG games – seemingly superficial until a critical mass hits, then incredibly complex.  These same systems can also lead to unique mechanics though as well.  For example, in Fates, you can romance and marry other characters in the game.  You can even have children.  Great from a branching narrative perspective to be sure, but there is more.

Through time shenanigans, your children can grow and fight alongside you, beginning with traits from both parents and then becoming another member of your army.  Find another game that not only does that but makes it seem natural as you play!

Fire Emblem on the DS has made great use of the system, but now a lot of hallmarks of the series look set to change as the series makes it’s RPG debut on the Nintendo Switch.

There isn’t much more known about the game now, but I am sure much more will be coming to light over the coming months.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is set to release in Spring 2019.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Sony Honorable Mentions – Ghost of Tsushima, Déraciné, Spiderman

Déraciné Feature

Ghost of Tsushima puts you front and center in an epic Japanese adventure

There has been talk about Sucker Punch’s latest game Ghost of Tsushima since it was first announced last year during the Paris Games Week.  There has been a lot of talk and conjecture, and I am not going to add to it here.

You play as Jin, a lone Samurai, during the Mongol invasion of Tsushima in 1274.  That is pretty much all we know at this point.  Sucker Punch Productions has shown it’s open world abilities with the Infamous series, but compared to what was shown at E3, Ghost of Tsushima is clearly leaps forward in anything they have done.

It doesn’t matter what I say – if the below gameplay trailer doesn’t make you want to play this game, nothing I say can change your mind.

FromSoftware is moving from Souls to PSVR Spirits

There is very little knowledge of the upcoming Déraciné.  It’s being made by FromSoftware, famous for the Souls games and Bloodborne.  It’s on PSVR.  From the small information given in the Sony E3 presentation, you play a spirit summoned to a boarding school, and use your powers to alter the fates of the students.

It almost sounds like a paranormal Moss, but the video below shows a gorgeous world that I need to know more about.

Marvel’s Spiderman goes Arkham

The new Spiderman game is honestly one I haven’t been paying any attention to.  And then I saw this.  Insomniac games are definitely borrowing heavily from Rocksteady’s Arkham formula, and it looks amazing.

Do I really need to say more?

I know I haven’t spoken much on these titles, but honestly – what can I say other than “Look at the videos?”

Hopefully, these caught your eye as well.  If not, there will be more tomorrow!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

The Last of Us Part 2 – still no release date, but wow

Last of Us Part 2 Feature

When the end of the world is only the beginning

If you don’t know about The Last of Us and own a PlayStation, just go buy it now and play it.  It’s OK – we will wait.

You might think I am joking, but seriously every PlayStation owner should own this game.  The Last of Us Remastered on a PS4 Pro looks amazing, but somehow Naughty Dog pulled graphical magic even on the PlayStation 3.

From the 2016 trailer, we knew The Last of Us 2 was going to look gorgeous and the world had become even more brutal.

The new gameplay trailer revealed at E3 2018 shows a grown up Ellie at a party, talking to someone I am assuming is in her group.  She then dances with someone I assume is her partner, or at the very least her love interest.  The graphical power for what is obviously a cutscene cannot be questioned.

But then Ellie ‘remembers’ things she has done that she should be feared for, and the video cuts to gameplay footage.

I feel this is going to be a long build, and I would be surprised given no release window has been given if the game will be out in the next 12 months.

The Last of Us Part 2 is a game that in my mind I am keeping in the happy place at the back of my mind for game releases, but it was awesome to see how far Naughty Dog is coming along.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

So the E3 Nostalgia Train continues with the Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake Feature

Another reason to relive a classic series

Resident Evil.  Like so many franchises I have written about this week, I have so many fond memories.

I remember jumping out of my chair and sending my controller the first time the dogs jumped through the window.  You know the scene.  Back when Resident Evil was still a horror franchise (or more correctly, creating the survival horror genre for many) I couldn’t get enough of these games.  This continued all the way up to Resident Evil 4.  It took Resident Evil 7 to truly reignite the spark for me.  And don’t listen to anyone else – the only way to play 7 is in VR.  It’s such an amazing experience.

But a few years ago, an announcement was made that many seem to have forgotten over time.

This got me really intrigued years ago.  Some games I have picked up and are low on the ‘go and play’ list are Resident Evil 0 and the Resident Evil remake.  I have yet to play Resident Evil 0 at all, and I have always meant to play essentially the GameCube Remaster.  On the Switch, I have the Resident Evil Revelations series to finally give them a go and are a bit higher on the list.  I started the original Revelations on the 2DS, but as a platform, it just didn’t quite cut it for me.

But last night (my time anyway), this was dropped during the Sony E3 presentation.

This looks amazing and is a real reason for me to elevate playing the remakes as soon as I can.

Resident Evil 2 broke a lot of ground back in 1998.  Back in the day, the graphics were amazing, but almost every part of the game just clicked.  The audio was that perfect level where you just forgot you were listening to a computer game.  The level design was unique and hid a lot of surprises for players.  The multiple storylines worked really well with the different characters.

Of course, there was also the cheesy voice acting that the series is infamous for, as well as the ever so popular tank controls and the like.  I mention this simply because the series had real faults that not everyone could get past.

But for me, the real thing that will delay me buying and playing Resident Evil 2 Remake?  Kingdom Hearts 3 comes out 4 days later on January 29, and I have been waiting a lot longer 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Fallout 76 has me in a hard place. Am I looking forward to it?

Fallout 76 Feature

So I have until November to finish Fallout 4

Bethesda was talking about another old favourite of mine today.  And over the last couple of days.  They have been so excited to talk about it, they decided to troll the world with a 24-hour Twitch stream of ‘Please Stand By’.  They even jumped into the XBox presentation a few hours before their own.

Of course, I am talking about Fallout 76.

I first played Fallout in 97-98 I think?  It was after Doom, that’s for sure.  And I spent a lot of time playing it when I should have been studying.  It was a new type of RPG for me, with isometric views and an insane deadline to get the water chip and save your vault.  Not to mention Ron Pearlman as the Narrator – I can still listen to the into to every Fallout game except Brotherhood of Steel just for him.

And there were so many ways to play the game and complete the quests..  So much of the world to explore.  Many games were simply me running around doing quests just to see what else was in the game, completely ignoring the main quest and letting the time run out.

Fallout 1997
Believe it or not, there was a time this was considered the same as 4K HDR quality graphics

This was before the patch that removed the time limit, and for a long time, I didn’t get the patch even when I knew it would remove the time limit.  It was just too much fun.

I have heard a lot of people already coming down on Fallout 76.  Internet game?  Multiplayer?  That’s not MY Fallout!

To those people, I have only this to say.  Fallout 3, New Vegas and 4?  They weren’t my Fallout either.  But I gave Fallout 3 a try, and it is to date right up there as my favourite Fallout ever – bugs and all.

So let’s have a look at the trailer shown at E3 yesterday:

So it sounds like Ron Pearlman is back as the narrator, and the Fallout ‘feel’ is definitely a high priority.

Comparisons have been made over the last few days to Rust, an online survival game with heavy player vs player leanings.  I can’t say too much about Rust as I haven’t played it, but Fallout seems to be similar if friendlier.

I say friendlier, mainly because Bethesda was quick to point out that dying in Fallout 76 isn’t the end of your play experience.  This will be great for new players, but hardcore survival players may find this too casual.  I will say it’s probably a good move by Bethesda overall though because I am tempted to give it a go.

But that is where I am with Fallout 76 – I will give it a go.  I am not overly excited by it, but I am definitely going to keep an eye on it as well.  If Bethesda.net comes back online properly and lets me join up, I will be applying for the beta and giving it a hammering.

What about you?  Where do you stand on the Fallout 76 hype train?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

**Quick Update

So I misunderstood the B.E.T.A. access.  I do love the name – Break-It Early Test Application.  I thought it would be a great chance to see if I could get into the game or not.  I thought I could help test out a game from a studio that has famously launched buggy the last few releases.

So to get access to the beta, you need to preorder.  OK, not a ‘free’ look that’s fair enough though.  You don’t want hordes of people playing for long enough for free.

But you have to order the Power Armour collectors set to get access.

UPDATE:  You just have to preorder, so I can order the game for the normal AUD$99 and get beta access.  Yay for looking again a day later!

Fallout 76 Preorder
Wait, to get early access I need to buy what?

So here in Australia, that means EB Games.  OK I am good with that.  Let’s have a look at what the deal is.

Fallout 76 Power Armour EB Preorder
Click on the image to go to the EB games site

I don’t think I will be paying for beta access somehow.

Doom Eternal has me looking forward to another fun time

Doom Eternal

Probably my favourite Bethesda announcement during their presentation looks like Hell on Earth

I remember playing the original Doom way too much.  I mean WAY too much.  I remember finishing Episode 1 on Ultra Violence in about 11 minutes.  OK so to today’s speedrunners that wasn’t anything special, but in 1994 it was a heated competition between myself and a student named Willy for the particular crown.

Flash forward to 2016, and DOOM is released.  I had a steam voucher, and I was hearing OK things, so I loaded it up.  My mental process was something along the lines of the following:

Metal music.  Fells like Doom I guess.  It’s definitely very pretty in a hellspawn mass murder kind of way.  Strange start, but ahh right there is the armour.  Nice touch.  Shooty shooty.  Glory kills?  Wow, that’s too much fun!  And here is the end of the level.  Yeah, this is pretty cool.  Wait what is this lever?  Secret doors!  Yes, this is just like… Wait… The secret is a Doom level!  LMAO!

Then I look up, and it’s been 7 hours, I have almost finished the campaign, and I need to shower for work.

Doom 2016 Cyberdemon
The Cyberdemons look a little different to what I remember from the 90's

A little while later, I was upgrading my PC and had a mate bring his PC over so I could install my old graphics card in his rig (upgrade for him, and I was happy it found a new home).  Asked him if he had anything ‘pretty’ to see the improvement in graphics, and brought him DOOM on the spot when he said not really.

DOOM is by no means the greatest game ever.  It pushed few technical boundaries.  But it was so much fun – something that had been lost in a lot of modern shooters.  I never got into the multiplayer (big surprise) but I randomly reinstall it and play through a few levels for a bit of mindless fun.

So during yesterday’s Bethesda E3 presentation, this little gem caught my eye.

It is really only news that it’s coming, and I have to wait until August and Quakecon for more news.  But I can wait.  There is a sequel coming, and if the formula stays about the same, I will be enjoying every second of it 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Cyberpunk 2077 owned the XBOX E3 Conference for me. Reveal 101 is in session.

Cyberpunk 2077 Feature

One cyberpunk door is closing, but another is getting closer to opening

Way back in 2013 CD Projekt Red was getting ‘close’ to finishing the highly anticipated The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt.  Fans of the game were clamouring for any morsel they could get.

Then this little nugget dropped with the title reveal of the next project CD Projekt Red.

I love the cyberpunk genre as a whole.  Growing up, the role-playing Cyberpunk was my second RPG campaign.  Burning Chrome was a constant travel companion.  It’s numerous short stories meant I could carry one book, and have a variety of things to (re)read constantly.

After seeing the improvement in basically everything from The Witcher to The Witcher 2, I was already happy that the Cyberpunk license had ended in the hands of this amazing company.  Back then, I was already preparing myself to get The Witcher 3 on PC to finish the trilogy as it began (and the upgrades to the PC to handle it!) as well as double buy on PS4.

The thinking was simple – how will they handle consoles?  Only one way to find out!

Fast forward a little over five years, and I was watching the XBox E3 Presentation WAY too early in the morning and preparing to go to work.  There were things that raised my eyebrows, and things that I looked at with a ‘meh’ attitude.

At the end of the XBox presentation, as Phil Spencer was closing out the event, the sound of Archive’s ‘Bullets’ began and the screens and lighting glitched.

On the screen a DOS Prompt flashed, and the directory changed to HAX.  Then, someone entered ICBRK.exe.

Beginning of Xbox 'HACK'
Programming wise, these don't mean anything. They do kinda look like Windows product keys though.

This was all done slowly, milking the atmosphere for all it was worth.  Then, some hacky looking code scrolled up.

**UPDATE: It has been found since these were actually working giveaway codes for complete versions of The Witcher 3, including all DLC!

Once everything had ‘loaded’, it was time for the new teaser trailer for Cyberpunk 2077.

It’s still not gameplay.  It’s ‘just’ another teaser.

But the world building is starting to be shown.  The snippets of player choice suddenly gel with the world displayed on a screen.  CD Projekt Red has already said that the world of Cyberpunk 2077 will dwarf that of the Witcher 3, and the information on the setting is starting to give clues how this could be.

I can’t wait to play Cyberpunk 2077.  Like everyone else though, I will have to though.  Ah well, patience isn’t a lost art.  Just one I wish I didn’t have to practice so often 🙂

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Kingdom Hearts 3 has been delayed! And it’s awesome! Wait, what?

Kingdom Hearts 3 Feature

OK technically it’s a delay, but there is an actual date!

At E3 2013, Kingdom Hearts 3 was officially confirmed to be in production.  It had already been 8 long years since devouring Kingdom Hearts 2, and like much of the community couldn’t wait for the next ‘real’ installment.

For months, we have had the confirmed release window of 2018 from Square Enix.  Selfishly, I was just praying it didn’t come out at the end of October – it’s hard to devote console time to a game while at PAX Aus!

But yesterday, ahead of the official Square Enix presentation (because no one is waiting this year), the official @kingdomhearts twitter page dropped this little gem:

Considering I was already preparing for a late December release with the 2018 timeline, an extra month isn’t too much to ask for, especially as it comes with a solid date!

It’s a shame I won’t be spending my holiday break hip deep in Kingdom Hearts 3, but I am sure there will be plenty of other games fighting for my attention.  Even if somehow I don’t get any new games between now and the end of the year, my backlog is still sitting there silently watching me.

Oh, and if I am being completely fair, there was another important announcement today in regards to Kingdom Hearts 3.  For the first time ever, Kingdom Hearts is coming to XBox.  It will be interesting to see if 1.5 and 2.5 will also be re-released as an XBox master as well 🙂

Until next time,

JohnHQLD