Blogs > Yay For Video Games

Random thoughts and news in the world of video games.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Microsoft's sudden reversal on used game and Internet connection policies a smart move, but Sony still has them beat

Microsoft angered a lot of people with its controversial Xbox One policies restricting used games and always needing an Internet connection to play them. A LOT of people. And when Sony announced at E3 they were doing a complete opposite of that (putting Microsoft into the burn ward, no less), the troubles for Xbox One continued.

So it comes to no surprise that Microsoft decided to ease back on those restrictions, recently announcing changes to the Xbox One console. An internet connection will not be required to play offline games, and there will be no limitations to using and sharing games.

It's a win for the consumer (and GameStop). They're our games and we should do whatever we want with them. It's kind of sad that news like this is a relief, but that's the video game industry for you.

Still, Sony still has the Xbox One beat with the PS4, because in the end, price will matter. Sony's aggressive $399 price point for their new console beats out the $499 price tag on the Xbox One (mainly because Microsoft is still requiring the new Kinect for every console ... for now). $500 is a lot of money to throw down on a console, and that's without any games. Plus, the PS4 is more powerful at a cheaper price, and they seem to be focusing more on games and developers, like the big indie portion during their E3 conference.

Both consoles will likely release around the same time, so it'll be interesting to see who comes out the winner this holiday season. Sony has the more positive press now, so I expect them to pull ahead this year, putting Microsoft in a slight panic mode to start 2014. Plus, you can't forget about Nintendo and the Wii U, which is finally looking like games are coming out for it.

Let a new round of consoles wars begin. Enjoy the ride.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nintendo plays it safe during E3 Nintendo Direct

It was going to be hard topping Sony's press conference where they showed off the new console, put Microsoft in the burn clinic, and announced a $399 price tag for the PS4 to the cheers of many. Nintendo decided not to waste money this year putting out a big fancy presser of their own, opting for the cheaper and successful Nintendo Directs they've done lately. It was short and straight to the point: Showing off games. And while there weren't many surprises, at least we have a glimpse at what the struggling Wii U's future will be. Finally, the games are coming.

The revived Bayonetta 2 got some love with the heroine in a new hairstyle and still kicking butt. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was officially announced, and looks to play very similar to Donkey Kong Country Returns, which recently received a 3DS version. Dixie Kong is also a character, which is nice.

Mario Kart 8 looks very cool with motorcycles and karts, and traveling along walls. This will be a hot seller for sure, along with Super Mario 3D World, which was revealed for the first time. It's inspired by the amazing 3DS game Super Mario 3D Land, and will feature 4-player co-op with Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad, and a new cat-suit power-up where you can climb up walls. I was hoping the new 3D Mario game would have been more open like Super Mario 64, but I'll take it anyway.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD was also shown. It looks really nice, but I'm having trouble noticing the graphical updates from the GameCube version -- that one already looked good because of the cel-shaded graphics. I've also had my eye on Wonderful 101, which features up to five players in co-op mode. Art Academy is also being worked on. Wii Party U is releasing in October and Wii Fit U in the winter. Third-party games and the Wii U eShop were showcased, too.

From Monolith Soft was a trailer for X, which just looks awesome with its graphics and open world mecha. The finale was the expected Smash Bros trailer for the Wii U and 3DS, with both versions coming out in 2014. Revealed characters include The Villager from Animal Crossing, the Wii Fit Trainer and ... Mega Man! It looks awesome and the wait will be painful.

For the 3DS, Pokemon X/Y will be releasing in October. It includes new fairy type Pokemon, and this game will sell millions for sure. Other than that, there was no mention of a price cut to help boost Wii U sales. I'm totally expecting one now that the PS4 is $399. There is no way Nintendo can keep the Wii U premium at $350 after that announcement. Some time in the future, don't be surprised to see a cut to $300 for premium or maybe even lower.

Nintendo's put a lot of focus on the 3DS lately and has righted that ship. Now it's time to put Wii U in the spotlight. It needs it very, very badly.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sony stuns gamers with $399 price point for PS4

Sony dropped a bomb on the gaming world by announcing the PS4 will launch this holiday season for $399, which should leave Microsoft executives sweating. That is $100 less than the Xbox One that was announced earlier in the day at E3, and the PS4 has much better tech inside it.

But that's not all. Sony announced the PS4 will have no used game restrictions and will not be required to be connected to the Internet to play, both of which are a big part of the Xbox One. Has the next-gen console winner already been decided? This is a huge blow to Microsoft and I'm not sure how they'll recover from it if they decide to stay the course. Sony has made the PS4 very user-friendly and simple to use, unlike the Xbox One which just seems to be a complicated mess right now.

Launch titles for the PS4 include Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub and Knack. Multiple indie developers were in the spotlight as well during the Monday press conference showing off their unique-looking games. Other games announced include Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, which got some applause. Bungie also revealed gameplay for Destiny, a futuristic first-person shooter. It looks really good and I've had my eye on this one for a while.

However some upsetting news, but not so much since we know the console's price. A PS+ subscription will be required to play games online, which costs less than $5 a month. From a business standpoint, this was a no-brainer since Microsoft raked in the dough from Xbox Live Gold. But being a PS+ subscriber has its benefits -- the Instant Game Collection lets gamers play games for free and DriveClub PS+ edition will be in it to celebrate the PS4's launch.

Overall, this is one of the more memorable E3 conferences in years, mostly because of the jabs Sony delivered to Microsoft. The next-gen console war has begun -- or is it already over?

Xbox One to launch in November at $499

Microsoft's E3 press conference finished a little bit ago and while games were a big focus, they finally let loose details on when it will launch and the price: In November (not shocking) at $499 (shocking).

It's definitely pricey. I was expecting between $400 and $500 since it comes with the new Kinect and new tech, but it's a risky bet for Microsoft. The Xbox One has received a lot of negative press lately for its policies on mandatory connection to the Internet and anti-used games sentiment. I could have seen them low-balling the price on the Xbox One to ease those pains...but nope.

If Sony plays their cards right with a lower price, they could take back the video game console crown they owned during the PS2 era.

As for games during the Microsoft conference, there were no short of them. Exclusive is Ryse: Son of Rome, which featured a Roman commander leading his troops in battle. It looked nice but had too many quick time events for my liking. Dead Rising 3 was also shown, which looks like a gritter version than past games. Forza 5 has all those shiny cars we wish we owned in real life.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain began the conference showing off the open world and stealthy gameplay from Konami. While World of Tanks is coming to the Xbox 360, Minecraft will be released on Xbox One. Next-gen blocks, hooray! We got a look at Battlefield 4, which looks eerily like Call of Duty, and Titanfall was showed off, a shooter featuring mechs and jet packs. Rare unveiled Killer Instinct with awkward banter between a couple of Microsoft producers; Quantum Break was shown, even though I have no idea what the game's about; and the magical Project Spark utilizes the Kinect and focuses on user-generated content.

Other games included Sunset Overdrive, The Witcher 3, Crimson Dragon (with an audio-less trailer, bad time for that glitch), and D4 from Swery 65. Footage for a game called Below was short but sweet.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Quick thoughts on Remember Me

I've been messing around with people's memories in Remember Me, the latest release from Capcom. Here are some thoughts on the game.

Remember Me is a visually impressive game. Developer Dontnod Entertainment utilizes a full-color palette to make the world of Neo-Paris 2084 stand out in a hurry. Digital signs pop up all around you. Robots and drones do their business as you walk by. The soundtrack is also impressive.

The combat system is not difficult to understand. You build customized combos with unlockable Pressens to fit your own style of combat. Power moves increase attack damage and Regen moves heal Nilin during fight sequences. However, meticulous timing is required to keep longer combo chains going, and groups of enemies constantly ruin the flow.

Check out my full review at

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