PS4 @ E3 2015


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Well having watched what Microsoft were bringing to the table yesterday, I have recently finished watching rival Sony’s briefing at the hyped and famed convention in Los Angeles.  Riding high on strong sales figures that have been way ahead of Xbox One, Sony were seeming to be getting a little too smug … with last year’s e3 offering very little beyond Destiny hype and Bloodborne.  So with another twelve months since then, what have Sony delivered?

FFVIIThe vibe it seems this year was a lot of old, and a handful of new.  Answering hard-core gamer’s wish lists for dream games was firmly on the agenda as two much desired franchises got a mention and new games being announced that we never thought we’d see.  Yes namely Final Fantasy VII getting the remake treatment and finally there will be a Shenmue III.  Both niche projects it may seem, but exciting none the less.  Also surprisingly we got to finally see the much delayed, rumoured cancelled but highly anticipated The Last Guardian in action … and underwhelming graphics aside, looks as engrossing and as powerful as Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus that proceeded it.  The only thing missing from such wish-fulfilment was Half-Life 3.  Oh well, we can’t have everything it seems.

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Thankfully then Sony did have a few new titles up their sleeve, most notably Killzone Creator Guerrilla’s very promising looking Horizon: Zero Dawn – which seems like a post-apocalyptic transformers, with tribes people up against mechanised dinosaurs in a somewhat Monster Hunter vein.    Yet Media Molecule’s game making painting-thing Dreams looked pretty, technically interesting but well, didn’t Project Spark do all this a while back?  Then we come to Street Fighter V … which looked, dare I say it a step-back from the visual cartoon beauty of SF IV…  I was expecting to be blown away by a franchise that has been close to my heart for decades, and it looked old and out-dated.

Adobe Photoshop PDFThankfully then it was down to some old faces from last year and a few multi-platform titles to liven up the show with a newly announced Hitman – always a yay from me, a very Advanced Warfare looking Black Ops III and erm, no in game footage and just a cut scene for Assassin Creed Syndicate?  Bizarre.  Although Star Wars: Battlefront looked amazing.  So naturally Sony closed the show with what was easily their best chance for a win – Uncharted 4: A Thieves End – and despite what I’d seen over at the Xbox briefing – this was the killer game of the show for me.

Sony also had Project Morpheus which they demo’d to interesting results and an extended look at No Man’s Sky, the ambitious space travelling simulation that wowed everyone a couple of year’s back.  Still no release date on that one though.

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Sony did a good job but felt like beyond Uncharted and Horizon, were trapped on the promises offered up in the past and not kept.  Pinning their hype on a former PS3 game that was rumoured dead (The Last Guardian) and giving us games only the hard-core care about anymore (FFVII and Shenmue) seemed a gamble.

It didn’t excite me as much as what the Xbox briefing did … no real welcome surprises and a lack of new IPs.  We’ll see.  Either way PS4 has little to worry about, but for me Microsoft just pipped them this year.

Console exclusivity strikes again!


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Well have been reading this weekend about the somewhat unexpected announcement of Street Fighter V, and the fact it will be exclusive to PlayStation 4 and PC when it’s released.  Now I like Street Fighter and think it’s a good win for PS4, as their exclusives have been a bit lacking – but it’s also a series that has a very niche following.  I can’t play it online for getting my arse handed to me, and well beyond the art style it has very little to offer single player gamers (especially SF IV).  So not too peeved as an XB1 owner.  I intend to finally get a PS4 next year, but until then I’m happy with the games XB1 has, including exclusives like Sunset Overdrive and Quantum Break.

Now what does annoy me is that the huge backlash Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics got when they announced Tomb Raider would be a (timed) exclusive for their console, so far doesn’t seem to be happening with this announcement – showing how biased towards Sony the industry has got for a company whose last console was a bit over a slow burner – why the love?  why the unabashed support for it? 

Competition and exclusivity is good though, keeps things interesting, sells consoles but bias and fan boy outrage and backlash does not – get a grip people and just enjoy the games!

Street Fighter IV impressions


I have always loved fighting games.  Theres something classic about the relieving of the stresses and strains of life by beating seven shades of S*** out of some games character on screen, that no other gaming style comes close to.  Street Fighter has always been one of the biggest names in the industry, but had lost its way in recent years due to countless unimaginative spin-offs from the legendary Street Fighter II with the exemplary Alpha series to the downright bizarre Puzzle Fighter and Pocket Fighter titles.

Yet after sitting in the shadow of the acclaimed Virtua Fighter series or the fan-favourite Tekken, now was as good a time as any to step back into the ring and reclaim its crown.  Street Fighter IV stays true to the game’s formula whilst re-imagining it with vastly improved 3D graphics, and a more friendly control system that allows even novices to pull off amazing moves, whilst still leaving plenty of intricacies for experts to get to grips with.  The on-line mode is very well implemented (something that has always been hit and miss in fighting games), with a great medal and battle points system.  Of course facing experienced players if you are a novices like me, will mean plenty of embarrassing defeats, but there is enough depth in the offline single player modes to hone your skills before facing the world … something I recommend.

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So I am glad Street Fighter is back, it’s never looked so good, and although still not as easy to get to grips with as Tekken, has enough personality and entertainment to keep me coming back for a while yet.