Skyrim is Forver

This is a couple weeks late, but I keep seeing people complain about the fact that there are two new iterations of Skyrim coming out this year. People are accusing Bethesda of milking the game that was originally released almost six years ago. They say that Bethesda doesn’t have the gamers’ best interests at heart, but I whole heartedly disagree. Bethesda isn’t doing anything wrong upgrading the game for modern platforms, especially with the upgrades that they have added with the switch, and psvr versions of the game. I think I am the only one who is actually happy that Skyrim is being released again.

Skyrim is an immensely popular game, or at least it was before they announced that they are still making new versions of it. Skyrim is so popular, because it is a good game, and a groundbreaking game. It has such a large, densly populated world that redefined how we think about open world games. It does something that few games have been able to match since dispute having better hardware. I am glad that more people will be able to experience this world, whether you have already said hundreds of dragons, or if this is your first time in Whiterun, it is always good when more people are able to experience a game that will surely become a classic.

Another thing that people are overlooking is the fact that these games are very different from when Skyrim was originally released. Sure, it is the same world, but both the switch and psvr versions of the game offer new experiences that were never offered with previous iterations of the game. Game play had to be completely reworked, and now motion controls were added to both versions of the game. Finally, with the switch version of the game, you can take the Elder Scrolls world with you, wherever you want. The mobility of the switch version makes me excited to renter the world of Skyrim. Slaying dragons on a plane, at the park, or while avoiding the in-laws during the holidays is a great addition to the game. Now, Skyrim is an experience that you can take with you everywhere. But, still much more exciting than Skyrim switch, is Skyrim VR.

Words can hardly begin to express how excited I am to revisit Skyrim again in VR. Finally, a full length open world VR game to play, but even better, it is one of the best open worlds that video games have had to offer, ever! Skyrim VR will take what was already an incredibly immersive game, and take it to the next level. Now, you will not just be looking at a screen where the dragon born is out exploring the vast open world of Skyrim, but you become the dragon born. The world of Skyrim will exist around you, not just in front of you. And creatures will be vanquished, magical spells will be cast, and dragons will be slain, all by your own hand. I am more than excited to pay $60 and revisit Skyrim in VR, which I am convinced will be the definitive way to play the game.

I have heard the argument made that while Bethesda is working on porting these existing versions of Skyrim, they are not working on The Elder Scrolls VI, or whatever their next game will be. While this is true, it isn’t entirely true. Recently, Bethedlsda Games Studio has been increasing the size of their team. They recently opened a new office in Montreal, and have been expanding a lot. So, there are probably just as many people working on the new games as there were working in Skyrim for most of its development. But another thing that needs to be considered, is that they are working on understanding new technology, something that they would probably try to do for their next game whether or not they made Skyrim VR. So, if they are going to take the time to understand how VR works, it is good that they have something to show for it sooner rather than later. Now, with VR already being integrated into there games, as they work on the next game, they can focus on the software. They will not have to devote extra resources to figuring out the technology since they will have already made two VR games. And while making Skyrim VR will push the timeline of The Elder Scrolls VI back a little bit, it isn’t as much as one may think, and we are also getting another game to hold us over u til they do eventually decide to reveal their new game.

The return of Skyrim is not a bad thing. Bethesda is making changes to the game that are still ground breaking and new. While new versions of Skyrim will undoubtedly slow the production of The Elder Scrolls VI, the benefits of having a great game to play on the go, and in virtual reality make up for it. I am glad Bethesda chose to go forward with making these games. I know I will surelybspend a lot of time with them.

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Is The Pokemon Go 50 Coin Cap Wrong?

While I have been an avid Pokemon Go player since day one, I never really got interested in the gym system before this most recent update.  I would take on maybe one gym a say, just so i could get a few coins, but I never had control of more than two gyms at a time. I would always collect my coins after the first gym to avoid the disappointment of having it taken before I got another, and them wouldn’t care a for another day. Now, with the new format for gyms, I have been more willing to try and take the gyms on. So far, I have gotten many more coins this weekend than I had gotten in the few weeks prior to the new gym system being implemented, but I am still somehow disappointed. Because of the new system, coins are easier to come by, and I am more driven to try to take out gyms, but the 50 coin cap per day is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

It is strange, because I am getting many more coins than I was before, but because I think about the coins I might be getting, I am disappointed by how many I am getting. Today, I put 4 pokemon on gyms, and I have had one pokemon that has held a gym since Friday. Now, of the 5 pokemon I had defending gyms, only 2 are still standing guard. Of the 3 that have been returned to me today, only one has given me coins. The pokemon that had been diligently standing guard for me since Friday was my first pokemon to have been returned to me today. Since it had been guarding the gym for well over the time it takes to amass 50 coins, it came back with 50 coins. That is good, except when my other 2 pokemon were returned, they came home empty handed. Now I’m conflicted. The logical side of me understands that 50 coins today is more than the 10 or 20 I would have gotten without the new gym system, but then again, I know that if there were no 50 coin cap, I would have gotten hundreds of coins.

So, is this coin cap wrong? Niantic needs to make money some how, and selling coins is the primary way pokemon go makes money. If people were earning hundreds of coins a day, no one would need to spend money on it any more. So Niantic does need to keep the amount of coins people earn every day down. And the coin cap isn’t wrong, it just seems like it some time. I just wish they could do it so my efforts don’t seem meaningless.

The gym system is much better than it was before. I feel like I can actually take on a full gym by myself without wasting 30 max potions. I am happy with the higher turn over of gyms, it actually makes me want to go fight them. And there is the added benefit of Raids as well, giving me another reason to get out and find gyms. Overall this new update is a success in my book, they just need to do a little bit of tweaking on the coin system. Make it so that additional pokemon being returned on the same day don’t bring nothing back. If the cap were smaller, but it were a cap per gym, say 15 or 20 points per gym per day, that would be better, or if they don’t offer extra coins, they could convert the additional coins you would have gotten into something different, like star dust or experience. I just wish the effort I went through to put out extra pokemon wasn’t wasted.

So, for me, a 50 coin cap had a net positive effect for me,  but it seems to have been implemented in a less than optimal fashion. The new format for gyms is great because I have incentive to try to take on gyms all day, instead of just when I am available to get coins, and I get many more coins than if I were using the old system. The 50 coin cap isn’t bad, and it isn’t wrong, it just needs to be im0lemented differently.

The Best Thing About E3 This Year Is Next Year’s E3

E3 is far from over, but the big announcements are out of the way, and we have a good idea of what the gaming landscape is going to look like over the next year. The conferences are over, and there were not many surprises this year. According to my count, there were only 2 new AAA intellectual properties announced across all of the conferences this year, Anthem and Skull & Bones. There were many leaks, and we saw more information about the games that were announced last year, but over all, there was a lack of exciting new surprises. But fear not, all is not lost. We still have a slate of awesome games coming out over the next year, and this “dry spell” means that future E3 conferences will be even more exciting!

This year, there were more games shown slated for release in the next year than usual, and significantly fewer games that are really far out. Bethesda is continuing the trend that they started two years ago with Fallout 4 by releasing both of the games they announced this year. EA held back on the star wars games that we will have in the future in favor of showing more Battlefront II, and Ubisoft’ s flagship titles of Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry are also due to release before Christmas. Sony and Microsoft managed to avoid showing off tempting teasers, and many of the games that were shown had dates of 2017 or 2018. Of course, there were a few games that won’t make it into our consoles any time soon, but generally, it seemed like most games that were shown only a year or two away. This is a new trend that the industry seems to be taking, and it is because of this there were fewer surprises this year or, but that just leaves more room for next year!

By this time next year, we will already have played (not accounting for delays) Destiny 2, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Wolfenstein the new Collosus, Star Wars Battlefront II, Mario Oddesy, Crackdown, God of War, Call of Duty WWII, and many other games that were shown at this year’s E3 conferences. That leaves the stage wide open for many more games to get announced next year, and, if trends continue, it is likely that the time between announcement, and shipping will be smaller. That means we will be shown more complete games, games that are closer to the final build, games that will have fewer delays, and fewer games should be cancelled. There are lots of benefits to waiting to announce games until they are ready. Sure the shiny new toy may be appealing at first, but as things change, as games are delayed and parts are stripped out, the community gets irritated, upset, and even angry. So this E3 may not have had the surprised that we may have wanted, but this could mean better announcements in the future. Instead of people being excited about something they won’t see for years, they will be excited about games that we will be playing before the year is over.

So if this E3 was dissappointing to you, fear not, remember that everything that wasn’t shown is waiting to be shown. And the longer they wait, the less dissappointed we are. We will know what to expect, and games are more likely to come out when they are supposed to. This E3’s shortcoming will be next year’s strengths.

Nintendo: Worst Console Manufacturer, Best Mobile Publisher

Nintendo has been going downhill for years. Always making underperforming consoles, alienating their third party partners, and failing to keep up with the constantly evolving principals of game design. For so long Nintendo has been faltering, and finally, they are making their way back to the top. I’m not talking about the Switch, which has all the aforementioned problems. I’m talking about their recent foray into mobile development.

Nintendo’s journey during the last decade has been an interesting one. It has been a long time since I have used a Nintendo console as my primary platform for gaming. It just hasn’t had the power to support the best games that are being made, and, while Nintendo does make good games, they don’t make good enough games to make them my primary console. And the recent release of the switch isn’t making them any more appealing to me. Since Breath of the Wild is on Wii u, until Mario Oddesy comes out this Holiday, there isn’t anything that I want to play, that I can’t play (or haven’t played) somewhere else. But despite Nintendo’s failing battle for my tv, they have almost completely won me over on my phone.

Right now, most of the games that I play on my phone are Nintendo, or Nintendo affiliated games, and there aren’t even that many of them out there. It all started with Pokemon Go last year. That is the mobile game that I have played the most by far, and it is the only mobile game that has actually affected my daily life. When Mario Run came out, it was always what I used to kill time, even being the cheapskate that I am, and not paying to unlock the full game. And now, my attention is completely diverted to Magikarp Jump. It is a silly game, but since I have slowed down on Pokemon Go Magikarp Jump has been a fun use of my time, and another outlet for pokemon.

It makes sense that Nintendo would take to the mobile environment well, having cornered the handheld market for years, but I am still surprised at how well they have captured my interest. When I was younger, I didn’t play a lot of Nintendo games. I started gaming later in life, on PlayStation and Xbox. I don’t have the nostalgic connection that many people do with Nintendo, but their mobile games are good. They do a good job making mobile games that are fun to play, without requiring microtransactions. So far, I haven’t spent a penny on any of Nintendo’s games, and I am still having a blast!

Nintendo has done something with their mobile games that they have had trouble doing anywhere else. They have adapted. Not only are these new Nintendo mobile games good Nintendo games, they are also good mobile games. This is great considering most Nintendo games still use game design principals from the 90’s. When these new games were made, there was a lot of thought put into them, making the moat of the platform they are on. Nintendo has had hit and miss success with this in the past, and these are certainly a hit. And the best part about it is that they didn’t take the annoying things from other mobile games too. No annoying ads. Microtransactions exist, but aren’t required to enjoy these games. It is the beginning of a new Nintendo.

I like the new direction Nintendo is taking. I hope they can soon separate themselves completely from consoles, and just focus on making great games, whether that is for PlayStation and Xbox, or android and iOS. Nintendo makes great games, and I would love them to be more accessible, instead of being trapped on their own devices. Zelda sold extraordinarily well considering it is only found on the two least popular devices on the market, imagine what would have happened if they had the power and install base of PlayStation, Xbox, or PC behind that game. Nintendo only has themselves to hurt if they don’t start broadening their horizons.

I like Nintendo’s games, and I am glad they are moving them out of the prison that they call consoles. Nintendo’s mobile titles have been some of the most fun I’ve had playing their games, and I hope they continue to expand. Getting their games into the hands of all gamers would be great for them. I hope they can move forward, and bring great games to everyone.

Pokemon Go Johto Woes

Pokemon go was a worldwide sensation when it came out last July, and the game was supposed to be reinvigorated when the second generation of pokemon was released a few months ago, but gen 2 didn’t make nearly the splash that gen 1 did not even a year before. During the first wave of pokemon, I had a blast. I spent nearly six months of my life trying to fill my pokedex as best I could, looking on forums trying to find the best nests, and biomes in my area, finding out tips to get the best pokemon I could. I was just starting to feel a bit fatigued before they announced the new Pokemon were being added to the game, having caught every pokemon I could except for one, I was ready for a new wave of pokemon to search for, and another six months of excitement, but now, barely three months later, I am feeling fatigued with the game again. This time, I am not even nearing pokedex completion, but I am tiring of the game anyway. I think gen 2 has a lot of issues, and Niantic has some things to learn before they release gen 3 pokemon.

During the first few months of the game, I felt like I was consistently making progress. Every week or so, I would get a new Pokemon, whether it was collecting enough candy to evolve something that I had been holding on to for a while, or from finding something new and exciting in the wild. This was thanks to Niantic tweaking the algorithms, and making the rarer pokemon become more common as the game when on. It was coincidental, but it felt like actual progression, similar to a single player game, where as I kept playing more rare pokemon showed up. It was due to this tweaking that when gen 2 came out, I managed to fill up half my pokedex in the first week. By the time gen 2 was released, common pokemon were everywhere, in a large variety, and uncommon pokemon were easy to find, unlike the original launch where they appeared seldomly. And unfortunately, the rare pokemon are just as hard to find, if not harder, since they are competing with other rare pokemon to spawn. It is because of this I feel like I have hit a wall. I’m rarely finding anything new, and there are no nests for me to find. Anything that can spawn at a nest, I already found it’s entire evolution tree, and the pokemon I don’t have are so rare, I have only seen one or fewer the entire time gen 2 has been out.

Another reason I am feeling unenthusiastic is because there are fewer pokemon to evolve. If a pokemon does evolve, more often then not, it only evolves once. Other than the babies, of which I already had the second and third evolutions, if they had them, and the starter pokemon, which were much more abundant than the gen 1 starters were at launch, there are only three pokemon in gen 2 that can evolve twice: Mareep, Hoppip, and Larvitar. Because of the aforementioned uncommon spawn increase, I was able to catch a Jumpluff, Hoppip’s third evolution, on the first day, and because of where I live, i have not seen a single Mareep, and I only managed to find one Larvitar outside of the adventure event. This is very different to the slow trickle of new Pokemon hat came in through in gen one. I was collecting Oddish, Poliwag, Abra, and even Dratini, until I finally managed to get enough candies to evolve them. The pokemon were not always rare, but it was still exciting to see them, knowing what they had in store when they finally evolved. I would be excited to see a Mareep, or a Larvitar as well, if I ever saw one.

Because so many gen 2 pokemon have ties to gen 1, there is limited use for exploration. All of the baby pokemon can’t be found in the wild. They have to be hatched from eggs. Thus it doesn’t matter where you go, just that you walk, and hope that this next egg is something good, that is if you don’t want to spend money getting limited use incubators. Even if you do, there is not even a slight guarantee that you will get what you want. The pokemon that evolve from gen 1 pokemon were difficult to evolve because there were special items needed. These are found through interacting with pokestops, most often on the 7th day of a streak. Again, it doesn’t matter where you are, just that you can get to a pokestops 7 days in a row. Eventually you will get the items you need. And there aren’t nests for as many pokemon either. If you need to find a pokemon that has a nest, it takes patience, and research. Or just getting lucky. Either way, it was possible for me to find pokemon that don’t exist normally in the region in which I live. I was able to evolve Magnemite, Kabuto, and Seel by going to nests. As far as I can tell, Mareep, and Larvitar don’t have nests. I would have to travel to find them, not just explore. So at this point in time, it seems that the pokemon that I need are going to have to be acquired through extreme luck, and walking. I can walk the Larvitar I have hundreds of kilometers, until I finally get a Tyranitar, I need to walk eggs for hours, hoping for the babies to show up, and I have not seen anything to help me find a Miltank, or an Unown. With those, I need to luck out, while walking my buddy, and my eggs.

What can Niantic do to get my love back when generation 3 pokemon are released? The good news is many of my problems will be solved automatically. Gen 3 is a self contained generation with no ties to either of the first 2 generations, and it has more three tier evolutions. This means more new Pokemon, and working towards evolutions, instead of finishing them quickly. What Niantic needs to change is their spawn algorithms. It worked so well with gen 1, when the pokemon were slowly more common. It took me a month I’m gen 1 to do what it took me a week to do with gen 2. The slow burn is what made pokemon go fun at first. And the flash in the pan is why I’m disappointed with gen 2. I hope they can get the slow buildup back for gen 3. Pokemon go has been a lot of fun for me over the last year, and I hope they are able to recapture the magic when gen 3 is released.

A Nostalgia-Free Look at Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was praised by video game journalists everywhere as a phenomenal, nearly flawless game. After spending almost one hundred hours with the game I can say with certainty, those journalists were blinded by nostalgia.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun playing this game. I’m not sure if I have ever played a game where the world had such breadth and diversity, but other than that, Zelda does not have much going for it. The story is discombobulated, boring, and has some of the worst voice acting I have ever heard. And any side quests that you do will be so poorly written it is almost laughable. Breath of the Wild is a good game, but don’t expect the story to stay with you. The world definitely takes center stage during this adventure.

The Good

During my time in Breath of the Wild, my favorite experiences were when I was removed from the story completely. Finding shrines and climbing towers, while navigating the expansive map is where this game thrives.

The map is huge, but it is also very diverse, putting you in mountainous terrain, green plains, arid deserts, and frozen tundra to name a few. Each zone has it’s own challenges and enemies, and Link has to prepare differently depending on where he goes. Link may have to put on warmer clothes when exploring the colder regions, bring his climbing boots to more easily navigate any mountainous terrain, or remove any metal weapons and gear during a lightning storm. Learning how to navigate the different areas to best find shrines was what kept me coming back to this game every day.

There are no boundaries when it comes to exploring this world. You can go anywhere you want with complete freedom. With the right equipment, you can scale the highest mountains, swim across the widest rivers, and fly over the deepest gorges. Nothing was more satisfying than making it to the highest point in an area, and marking all the shrines that you can see, so that you can go back and get them later (As long as you don’t get distracted by the immense beauty, or the Korok seed puzzles.)

After you have braved the elements, and spotted the shrines, the next step is solving their puzzles. The shrines are small enclosed spaces that you need to complete to get upgrades to your health, or stamina. Each shrine will have a different challenge that Link has to overcome. Sometimes it will be fighting a guardian, sometimes it will require memorization, and sometimes it will require good old fashioned problem solving. The shrines are fun, albeit a bit simple for a franchise that is historically known as for its tricky temples.

The game does include larger puzzles in the form of the Divine Beasts (the only good thing involving the story.) There are for divine beasts, one located with each of the games factions: The Zora, the Gorons, the Rito, and the Gerudo. After you have gained the factions trust you must lower the beasts defenses, with a 90’s style boss battle that includes dodging patterned attacks and getting close enough to hit the beast with your arrows, then once you are inside you must find 5 terminals using each beast’ s unique puzzles, and remove the corruption. The puzzles can be a bit tricky at times, but it is never too hard to figure out. Then you must beat boss battles that range in difficulty from easy, to harder than the final fight. The Divine Beasts gave me an appropriate challenge, and level of excitement.

If you spend your entire time exploring and solving puzzles, Breath of the Wild is a fun game, but when you play the story, you are likely to find yourself disappointed.

The Bad

Breath of the Wild’s main story line is told in two ways: Interacting with the 4 factions, and helping them defeat the Divine Beasts, and through random snippets of flashbacks found scattered throughout the map. While the interactions the the factions are poorly written, the flashbacks are a disorganized mess that should have been left out of the game entirely.

For a game with so much freedom in world exploration, it is strange how much it limits you in player choice during the story. During each of the Divine Beast quests, you are forced to look on as the factions squabble and work their way into a corner, making it so you are the only choice left to try and stop the Divine Beast that is ruining their lives. There is no way to let them know that you are the princesses champion, the only person alive that can stop the Divine Beasts, you just have to wait until they figure it out themselves. They scream and plead for help, but don’t let you do anything until you have done some obnoxious side quests. And even then, they usually don’t want your help, they just don’t have any other options. And as annoying as these quests are, they get much worse.

The flashbacks are points on your map that have to be found using pictures that Princess Zelda left you. They are meant to give you insight on what happened before the events of the game. There is no order to when you have to find them, so they appear out of order, and sometimes make no sense. On top of that, these cutscenes are poorly written, forcing tutorial hints into what is said, giving lore that doesn’t matter, and have dreadful voice acting. Zelda, with her weird semi-British accent will tell you that you can cook things, or give you useless tips on how to ride a horse when she isn’t complaining about her general uselessness, in her squeaky whiny voice. And worse than the voice acting, is the lack of voice acting from our protagonist, Link. Nintendo made the conscious decision to never give link a voice, so the players can project themselves on to the character. While it is a good idea, it counters itself out when you give that character a predefined backstory, and use them in cutscenes. Instead of feeling like I was Link, as the designers intended, it made Link seem bland, and sometimes he just seemed like a jerk. And as bad as these flashbacks are, the side quests are even worse.

The side quests in Breath of the Wild consist entirely of uninspired and poorly written quests. The characters have absurd reasons to get you to do things, and worse reasons for why they aren’t doing them themselves, and how they say things is the worst part about it. The lengthy dialog lacks personality, and reads like a text book. And most of the quests that you are given make little to no sense. I found myself searching for people that weren’t lost, gathering ingredients that are readily available, even getting an apple in an attempt to save someone’s marriage (don’t ask me how that helps). I skipped most of the dialog, and went straight to finding the materials, that often were already in my inventory.

The Ugly

There are many things that Breath of the Wild includes that are strange and archaic that are personal gripes. Others may not be bothered by them like I was.

The first of many annoyances that pestered me during my adventure in Hyrule was the control scheme. Nintendo has never conformed to what any one else was doing, and it took me a while to get use to the controls that are not very customizable. If it didn’t tell me, I would have never thought to Sprint with the X button. And as I started to get the hang of controlling Link, other annoyances started popping up. Breath of the Wild often confuses complexity with interesting gameplay. The game has a lot of systems and subsystems that the player has to interact with that cause unnecessary difficulties. Having to change clothes every five minutes to fit your frequently changing situation is mildly obnoxious. Having to find new weapons constantly because the swords are irreparably damaged after only a few hits made me try to avoid fighting things if I had the option. And I could never get horses to go where I wanted them to.

Another odd thing about the game, is that it uses archaic game design. Nintendo used game design principals from the 90’s and puts them in a modern game world. The constant pausing of the entire world so it could tell me that i had completed an objective was a bit jarring at first. The odd requirement of beating all of the enemies in a location for a chest to magically unlock seems outdated. Modern games have moved past this, and improved them to make the worlds feel more alive. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. It might spark nostalgia for some people, but it didn’t for me. It just made it seem a little strange.

And when the game is over, you are done. There is no option to continue. If you want to go back and get any shrines you missed, or finish restoring Links memories, you have to load a previous save. This is something that people have been complaining about in open world games since the first one that cut off their progress. Why can’t I see a world where the castle isn’t shrouded in darkness? Few people will complete everything before trying to take on Calamity Gannon, and the fact that I had reload a save discourages me from even trying to get 100% completion. I spent time and resources taking him out, I want to be done with it.

The Verdict

Fortunately for Zelda, the story, and the micromanaging are not what most of my time was spent on in this game. I spent most of my time exploring, and conquering shrines, so my overall experience was good. If you have a switch, or a Wii u, and are looking to put them to good use, you will enjoy yourself with Breath of the Wild. My review may seem harsh, but that is because everyone in the world seems to think this game is perfect, and it is honestly quite baffling to me how it has received the scores it has. There are obvious flaws with the game, and everyone just wants to ignore them because it has the word Zelda on the title.

7/10

The world is fun to explore, but the game is seriously lacking in good storytelling. There are many small annoyances involving item management, but the world makes up for it.

Fists Should be a Last Resort

I recently watched some game play for the upcoming video game Mad Max. In this game they have decided to make an interesting decision in regards to combat. To be fair, I have never seen any of the movies, and if they made this decision based on the movies, this article is still applicable, but the interesting decision was made about the movies rather than the game. The car combat looks great, but what strikes me as odd is that when you are our of the vehicle, there seems to be an emphasis on bare fisted combat.

The player character can’t be in his vehicle all the time, he does have to get out, and clear areas inside that his vehicle can’t reach, and when he does, he seems to do a lot of punching. It isn’t a secondary mechanic like it is in so many games, one that you would only end up using if you are in a pinch, and need to deal with the guys that get too close, it seems to be the primary method of fighting when not in your vehicle. They have it set up with heavy attacks, light attacks, counters, and finishing moves that you do with your fists.

This is weird to me because a majority of the characters on the screen were doing this. It was as if they were all to stupid to pick up a knife or a rock or something. This would be fine in a setting where there weren’t a well established alternative, but there is. This is our planet, there may be limited resources, but not on the mechanical front. Everybody is driving around in fancy cars, with rams on the front, and shoot fire! if your can’t even pick up a piece of the exploded car to hit someone with there is a problem. There are plenty of thundersticks, exploding spears that can be shot out of the harpoon gun, but no one can even find a regular stick to beat the player character up with? The player character even has a shotgun that he uses on occasion, wouldn’t that be more effective to beat people up with as a club than his fists?

In all of fiction, there is seldom a setting where the go to method of fighting is fists. There are some exceptions, but usually the people who fight like this are specialists in some way. They may be a huge dude who can easily crush a human skull with their fist, or some sort of martial arts master, but when this happens, they have friends, or enemies that use swords, clubs, or even guns around them. Unless it is a Kung Fu movie, or a fighting game, (or something where you don’t want people to die) a majority of the people in the fight will use something other than their fists.

Don’t get me wrong, the game still looks great, I just thought it was an interesting choice to use fists so much in a post-apocalyptic setting, especially when there is still technology like cars around. You would think they would at least use their engineering skills to make more useful weapons than fists.

Gamescom Xbox Conference Review

Microsoft under Phil Spencer definitely knows how to put a conference together, I watched the whole thing from beginning to end, and saw things that were very interesting to me, despite a lack of new information. The presentation was great, but the content was a little lacking.

Exclusives, The Top Priority

First, they talked about their first party line up for 2016. They kicked off with Quantum Break, the TV show/game. I tried to play Defiance, so I’m not convinced that the idea of a TV show being mixed into a game like this will work. With Defiance, I was never able to watch Syfy on Tuesday nights, so I really felt like I was only able to experience half the game. Quantum Break seems to be avoiding this issue, saying that it is an in game TV show, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be a impediment to gameplay. There will still be times when you will have to put down the controller for at least half an hour to watch the show. I am interested to see if they can do it well.

All of the negative things aside, I am still very interested in the story. The world is thrown into turmoil because of a time travel accident. The game is played from the side of the good guys, and the show tells the story of the bad guys. This is something that I want to play.

Then was Crackdown, and Scale bound. The  original Crackdown games weren’t really my cup of tea, with their over the top action, but I can appreciate them.  It seems like the new game is more of the same, with more exploding buildings. if you like that stuff, this is great news for you. Scale bound looks excellent though. It looks very Japanese, because it is, and that is great. It looks like a fun hack and slash game with giant freaking monsters in it. You have a Dragon on your side, and you are using them to help you fight other giant creatures, like Hydras.

Halo 5: Guardians is sure to be a game that people will love. I mean, it’s Halo. Who can argue with that? I have always been more of a fan of the Single player side of Halo, but the multiplayer part is always fun for everyone. There are few things more exciting than filling your friends with needles that explode, or blowing up their Warthog with a Spartan Laser from across a map. Even though I am generally a single player person, they showed some things in the multiplayer that get me excited to play it. With friends, not online. More for fun than for competition. It was nice to see that 343 is bringing Halo Wars back though.

The Indies

The next news that I was interested in (since I don’t care about Killer Instinct) was ID@XBOX. They talked about Bloodstained, Ritual of the night, made by the maker of Castlevania. They also talked about Thimbleweed Park, a point and click adventure game, and a Worms game. The most interesting known game that ID@XBOX talked about was Ark Survival Evolved. It isn’t an Xbox exclusive, but it looks great. PC gamers can already get it from Steam, and it will come to Xbox One and PS4 as well. A great surprise was We Happy Few, a very creepy game. there wasn’t much shown past the creepy guys in masks that seemed to be part of a dystopian society. I will be looking forward to this game when it comes out.

The boring stuff

Even though they have been from the same company for years, the union of Windows and Xbox is finally becoming real. A lot of the games that have been Xbox exclusives for years are coming to console. Killer Instinct, Gears of War, and Sea of Thieves are just a few of them.

There was some new information on the sequel to the incredibly poorly received 2011 Homefront. This is a sequel that shouldn’t be. Crytek would probably have been better off it they just made a new IP instead of trying to resurrect this franchise. That being said, the game actually does look pretty good. Not great, but good. It doesn’t seem like anything new on the gameplay front, it really just looks like another military shooter.

More of the Same

Some things that were talked about that may be good, but weren’t too surprising. Just Cause 3 looks like it is still an excellent GTA clone. The world looks like it will be more fun than GTA though. Fifa is still a soccer game. Forza is still a racing game. Dark Souls 3 is still a game that hates you. Tomb Raider is still pretending like it is an exclusive.

The Virdict

All in all, the conference was good despite not having any new announcements besides a couple of Indy games, that are not exclusives. They did an excellent job of showcasing the games that we know about, and making me want to play them, but there wasn’t a whole lot of new content. I was thoroughly entertained, except when they were talking about racing, and sports. Microsoft did a good job with what they had. 7/10