WWE 2K19 Review

 

It is that time of the year again as WWE 2K19 is now in our hands. I got a review copy of the PS4 version of the game a few weeks ago, and now it is time for me to share my thoughts on this year’s installment of the game.

The cover star this year is the current WWE Champion AJ Styles as this year alone, he has proven to be “the face that runs the place” on the Smackdown brand. If you were to ask me 10 years ago when he was still wrestling for TNA if he would be on the cover, I would have said “not in a million years” but it happened this year as he is the MVP of Smackdown.

The roster this year is almost the same as last year with new additions to the 200 playable character roster such as The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’ Riley, and Bobby Fish), Andrade “Cien” Almas, The AOP, Bianca Belair, Riccochet, EC3, Tyler Bate, Pete Dunn, Lio Rush, Ronda Rousey, and Velveteen Dream. You can mix and match the current stars of today and from previous years in many matches to your desire. With the stacked roster this high, there is no reason for Tommaso Ciampa to be cut from the in game roster this year especially since he is the current NXT Champion.

This year, we got the return of 2K Showcase which was missing from the last two entries. 2K Showcase tells the story of the rise of Daniel Bryan in WWE. In between the matches, we are shown a video package along with narration of Daniel Bryan himself setting up what was going on storyline wise at the time before the match loaded up. It begins way back to his match with John Cena at Velocity from early 2003, all the way to his Wrestlemania return match from this year teaming with Shane McMahon going against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. All of those matches were great to play and I would have wished that we would have gotten to revisit the CM Punk/Daniel Bryan/Aj Lee love triangle and matches from 2012 but I understood why they could not do it. My only other gripe with this mode is that many of the matches can last up to 30 minutes due to the objectives that you have to do during the match.

For the first time, MyCareer mode plays like a WWE storymode from the past games. You start off in an independent promotion and then work your way up to the WWE Performance Center and from there, it is NXT and then the main roster of Raw and Smackdown. I love that this time, the WWE Superstars and even your own character is voice acted during the scenes. In fact, the scenes with “Woken” Matt Hardy during this mode is quite funny but you will have to see that for yourself. The learning curve during this mode can be frustrating at times due to you starting with a very low set of moves and abilities and most of them you will have to unlock via randomized lootcrates and even those are very expensive when you purchase them by in game currency so it is good that there are no paid micro-transactions, but this system needs to go in the next game for good.

The gameplay is much more solid than the last two entries as I rarely encountered glitches or bugs even when there were 8 men in the ring during a Ladder Match. The Cage Match has been reworked so you can escape easier along with fighting on the top edge of the cage. I wanted this feature for many years since it adds more drama to the match itself. The custom match creator this year can be saved in the option that you create it even in Universe Mode. The lightning and the entrances are on point and the presentation looks like if you are watching it on TV. The commentary has improved a slight bit, but at times I can hear repeated words during matches.

Speaking of Universe Mode, this year, you can finally assign managers to any superstar on your Universe Mode roster. You can also have up to 6 championships per show now which is great news for anyone that wants to have two mid-card championships on each show. On this mode now as well is the ability to choose who will be the Money In The Bank holder and which championship that either he or she will target. I wanted this feature way back in Smackdown vs Raw 2011 and it is great to finally see it being used in this game. Also, you can finally pick who wins simulated matches in case if you do not want to play the match and that lifted a huge weight off my shoulder. Universe Mode always needed adjustments since it was first introduced 8 years ago, but I felt that this year the developers made more effort to tweak it than any other game.

The Creation Suite’s features can have you there for hours doing customized things such as Create A Superstar, Arena, and Entrance but also for the first time this year, you can create a MITB briefcase with your own design as you please and use it on Universe Mode. You can also create block versions of WWE superstars or your own characters as well.

There is also an towers mode where you can face different superstars in different match situations. It starts off easy, but it gets hard with each match that progresses. It is like WWE’s version of Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter with their towers mode.

This year’s game has been a massive improvement from the last two games. The last overall game that I loved was WWE 2k14 and every year since then, it has not matched up to how fun a WWE video game is supposed to be and I can say that the fun factor has returned in this game. It is so fun, that they even added (by Xavior Wood’s request) a big head mode. I have not used this yet, but I know it was added in for nostalgia of silliness of 90’s games. Despite the hard learning curve of MyCareer mode and their lootcrate system, I fully recommend this game to pick up.

My score is a 8.9/10

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Developers of Telltale Games Breaks Their Silence on the Layoffs

The news broke out Friday that Telltale Games has laid off over 250 members of their staff and only kept 25 members of the staff to complete the Minecraft Story Mode for Netflix. This is the same company that has produced many hit titles such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Batman, Game of Thrones, and Tales of Borderlands and their upcoming titles included a sequel to Game of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us and an upcoming Stranger Things title. The news came out of nowhere and those titles were canceled. The biggest hit from the titles is The Walking Dead as their final season of the game just started over a month ago and after the second episode which will release this Tuesday, we will not get the rest of the planned episodes. This caused a huge uproar online due to the fact that many people has paid for season passes for the game and they cannot give out refunds to the people who has purchased the game expecting a full season.

Since then, the hashtag of #TellTaleJobs started trending and major gaming studios started to pick up on this and it shows a good sign that they want to hire many of the former developers. Of the many developers, I have interviewed one of them and his name is Johnathan Straw of Telltale Games and this is what he had to say of the situation:

Me:Hey Jonathan. Thank you for taking the time for this interview. I appreciate it very much. What can you tell me about the situation at Telltale and did you have any indicator that this was going to happen on Friday?

Jonathan: “Here’s my side of things. I was actually on PTO on Friday, and noticed something was up as I was waiting for my flight at SFO. I noticed rumblings through our Slack channels, and saw an all hands company meeting appear on the calendar. Shortly after I saw a cryptic condolences message on Slack and began asking for clarification on what had happened. While waiting for a response, my company email account force signed off. Then peers started alerting me through Slack that the company had been closed and everyone had half an hour to vacate, then return on Monday to gather belongings. There was no indication that this was going to happen. In fact, just within the last week or two, we had made new hires, and one of my supervisors had just returned from intern recruitment outreach in Florida. I had a meeting on Thursday right before the closure concerning training plans for transitioning the studio to Unity, and even had a candid conversation about converting my employment status from project hire to permanent hire. Both of my immediate supervisors were enthusiastic about advocating for my conversion. My team had a major project review that is typical and routine to our development process still on the calendar as the employees were being ushered out of the building. All I can really say is that everything was running as normal until suddenly it wasn’t.”

Me: Yikes! This is crazy. So of the 25 that stayed, were they alerted also, or they found out as it happened. And there is a load of rumor and innuendo going on with the last few episodes of the game including the talked about situation of the way they will be released and that the CEO’s only focused on gathering as many IP’s as possible. Would you like say your input about it here?

Jonathan: “I don’t even know who the 25 retained employees are. I won’t comment about rumor and innuendo. The official statements from Pete Hawley and Telltale official social channels are as much as I know about project and IP status. I hadn’t gotten to a point in my employment to begin exploring our IP library, as I was primarily focused with getting The Walking Dead: The Final Season out the door. Even if I knew what else we were exploring, I wouldn’t be able to reveal them if they hadn’t already been announced by the company.”

Me: Interesting. My final question is, since a number of former employees were let go while their health benefits were cut, did that happen to you as well? And do you feel that there was an over saturation with the amount of people that were hired through them? I would also would like to add in that there will be a class action lawsuit (which just came out today) against Telltale. Would you like to comment on that?

Jonathan: “All my benefits were rescinded immediately just like everyone else’s. I didn’t feel there was an over-saturation of hires. I was hired after the November layoffs, and it was a bit sad to see a quarter of the building empty where there were previously desks and people when I first interviewed. The teams I saw there were adequately streamlined, and in general we were all working under better creative conditions both from my observations based on my previous employment at Telltale Games (2010 – 2012) and from sentiments among my peers. I am following the class action lawsuit. We have all been discussing the legality of the lay-offs, but none of us are lawyers. I suppose it was only a matter of time until this all caught the attention of lawyers. If it gets me and my peers the severance we all deserve, then I am all for it. Fortunately, I have been in this kind of situation before. I am prepared with alternate sources of income, independent game projects of my own making, and a healthy network of friends in the industry.”

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WWE 2K19’s Showcase Mode Is Putting The Spotlight On The Career Of Daniel Bryan

WWE 2K19 will see the return of Showcase Mode this year (which was missing for the last two games) and this time, we will get to relive the career of WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan. I think that this choice is a good one since he came out of retirement earlier this year and has had matches on the main roster ever since. He has reunited with his former tag team partner Kane and has had feuds this year raging from Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Big Cass, Harper and Rowan, to now The Miz which has been building up since Bryan was the General Manager of Smackdown over two years ago. Daniel Bryan and The Miz will finally have a match on this year’s Summerslam. So far, his year is shaping up to be a very good one for him and the fans are happy that he is back wrestling once again. Now it is time to dive down to the news that came out today.

 

While he has been back in the ring to create new stories and memories for fans to remember, 2K Games took the time to revisit his best feuds and matches from the past. There is said to be about 11 matches on this mode and some of them features his first WWE match ever with John Cena on an episode of WWE Velocity way back in 2003, his tag team title win against Kofi Kingston and R-Truth back in 2012, His street fight match against Randy Orton on Raw in 2013, and his WrestleMania 30 match with Triple H along with the triple threat match later that night that included Batista and Randy Orton which was also the height of the “Yes” movement. We do not know yet of the other matches, but there will also be a “surprise match” on this mode that was not shown yet so everyone including myself can guess on which match that will be.

I would like to point out that CM Punk was also in WWE during Bryan’s career and with the controversy that surrounded him after he quit WWE a few years ago, many fans wonder if his [Daniel Bryan] matches with Punk will be featured as well. Another person that is not currently under contract with WWE as well is AJ Lee and she was involved with the feuds between Bryan and Punk along with Bryan’s feud with Sheamus. Only time will tell before we know if those particular matches will be included of the 11 matches. In fact, what if one of the matches i just explained is the “surprise match”. Other notable superstars that were there while he was there are Ryback, Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, and John Morrison as they were all also involved with his run in WWE in the early 2010’s. We will know very soon as the video game is released this October on Playstation 4, PC and Xbox One and there is a collector’s edition with bonus material that features WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair.

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Top 10 WWE Games Changes That Nobody Asked For

The WWE Games series has come a very long way. From the days of the NES to now the current generation of video game consoles and PC, it is not going away soon. I enjoyed WWE video games for years especially the early years of the Smackdown! and Smackdown vs. Raw series along with cult classics such as WWF No Mercy, WCW/NWO Revenge, and WCW World Tour. I loved them and at this time, each series improved over another in great ways, but there are some changes that i myself including many fans did not like. I am here to count down the top 10 changes in WWE video games that nobody asked for.

 

10. Ridiculous Camera Angles (Smackdown vs. Raw 2009)

I start this list with a decent entry to the series even though there were a few major flaws. Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 was built around the new tag team engine but that did not stop them for having a good idea with poor execution. One of those ideas were the outside the ring camera angles. This feature made the game play irritating on where to locate the superstars and even though I liked that they wanted to have a visual presentation to what it looks like in real life, the results were not the same when that feature was implemented into this game. Have they saw other games with poor camera angles before deciding to go with this?

9. Removing GM Mode for Career Mode (Smackdown vs. Raw 2009)

General Manager Mode is a popular mode among Smackdown vs. Raw veterans. Although today’s Universe Mode is good, it is not as in-depth as General Manager mode so when fans found out that this mode is going to be removed in Smackdown vs. Raw 2009, the entire community was very angry. What they did was added a Career Mode and trust me, it is very dull. You chose a brand, your superstar, your match of the week and try to build attribute points and repeat. This mode was so repetitive that you will get bored with this mode after one hour.

8. Promo Engine (WWE 2K17)

We all thought that this engine would change WWE Universe Mode in this game but we were so wrong. Want to have Bray Wyatt say something like “i will defeat you at the next show” or “me and my friend John Cena will team up tonight”? Well that is the promo engine for you. Every character has their own way of cutting promos on television in real life. In this game on the other hand, it is as robotic as a Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar match. There is no life to these promos and it was a huge waste of time trying to create segments with the superstars too. Did i forget to add that the promos are in on screen text instead of voice overs?

7. Fighting Styles (Smackdown vs. Raw 2008)

This game is considered the worst of the Smackdown vs. Raw era and it shows the moment you play this game. There was a new feature that included fighting styles and your superstar had a choice of having two out of eight different styles. This decision was very poorly received because this game had far too less moves and limited down how many moves a superstar can do. Good thing that this feature was removed in next year’s game and turned those styles into a variety of abilities that your superstar can have.

6. Removing 2K Showcase Mode (WWE 2K17)

The 2K Showcase mode goes way back to The Attitude Era mode way back in WWE ‘13 and to see it being removed in 2K17 is a huge mistake. The only way you can play this mode is by DLC but in 2K18, this mode was not brought back. You cannot sell a video game with no base story with it.

5. Not Including Many WCW/ECW Superstars (Smackdown! Just Bring It)

Lets keep this in mind that i said “many” because this game was released at the height of the WCW/ECW Invasion storyline. The likes of Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Hurricane Helms, Mike Awesome, Tommy Dreamer, DDP, Lance Storm and many more huge names were absent from this game. It is the first WWF game on the PlayStation 2, but it was a disappointment by fans despite the fact that the game actually looked great. The roster was extremely outdated and there was no excuse for this since Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role had a very stacked roster a year before.

4. Very Minimum Content (WWE 2K15)

2K15 was a graphical improvement since it was running on PS4/XBOX ONE hardware and that is all it was. Removing many content such as multiple match types, the ability to create custom soundtracks, Create a Superstar, Match Creator, Entrance Video and other content was just very jarring for a WWE Video Game. You would think that you would have multiple options and decisions in this game when it is first announced but I along with many other fans learned the hard way and that is, when there is not much announced before a release date, then there is something that they are hiding that does not want to come to light and this game is a prime example of that. The last WWE video game I have enjoyed was 2K14 and that is almost 5 years ago now.

3. Character Models (WWE ‘12)

This game has some of the worst modern character models for a WWE video game at the time and it was a shame to see the downgrade of graphics compared to the previous game’s graphics engine. I will say no more other than Look at Booker T in this game compared to others.

2. Merging GM Mode With Season Mode (Smackdown vs. Raw 2008)

“Why did they do this” comes to my mind when i first tried it out at a comic book store when i was still in high school back in 2007. This is another idea that sounded good on paper, but bad when you see it. The ratings system is extremely broken, your selected superstar burns out quick within a few matches, the ECW Brand would lose every time and so on. There is more to be said badly about this decision and I am glad that they never did this again. The last game to have a good GM mode was Smackdown vs. Raw 2007.

1. Adding Loot-crates (WWE 2K18)

In the age of Loot-crates and micro-transactions, this one takes my number one spot because when gamers hear those words, there is trouble to come. Of course you cannot use real world money to buy those crates in this game, but i have a bad feeling that it will happen in the next game since 2K Games did it to a few of their game lines such as NBA last year. Loot-crates are for My Career only, but nobody should have to rely on randomized boxes to increase stats and etc. We saw how this damaged EA’s and Bungie’s reputation and i have a bad feeling that 2K will get that reception too on this year’s game. This is a feature in every game that NOBODY asked for and that is my main reason why this takes the number 1 spot.

 

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E3 2018-The Good, The Bad, And The Very UGLY

 

E3 is like Christmas for nerds. For a few days, major publishers get on stage and show off new footage, whether it be gameplay or CGI trailers, of their up and coming games. The companies involved include EA, Sony, and Bethesda. Like many others, I watched many of these live myself, or at the very least had it on in the background while I was working on something else. Now that E3 happenings are wrapping up, it’s time to do what every geek like me does…grade the conferences!

A few things to mention before I give my thoughts on the different conferences. First, I’m basing my feelings on the conferences based on two things: games and presentation. I place the emphasis on the games at the end of the day, but presentation can factor into how I feel about a conference. Also, I’ll be omitting Devolver Digital, Square Enix, and the PC Gamer Show from this particular discussion since Devolver’s is mostly a joke conference and Square Enix didn’t really show anything in their conference that hadn’t already been seen in others, specifically Microsoft’s. As for PC Gamer Show, I remember watching the first one they did and being bored for three hours, and I’d rather not do that again. With that out of the way, let’s get to grading, starting with…

Oh boy, EA…let’s just get them out of the way. I’ll say this about EA, you can always count on them to be the most boring of all them. No style, no real interesting games beyond a couple EA Originals…just a stale presentation. It doesn’t help that they once again spent a good chunk of time talking about sports games because they haven’t realized yet that nobody tunes in to E3 to learn about Madden. The ultimate takeaway here is that EA does not seem to understand how gamers work. They don’t seem to know what they want or what they’re here for. That’s why we get dreadfully long segments talking about the next FIFA game or the awful looking Command and Conquer mobile game.

There’s only two games that EA showed that were at all interesting. Unravel Two, a platforming game where you play as creatures made of yarn, looks pretty fun. I’m actually tempted to see if my wife is willing to give it a go with me, since it seems like it’s built to be played with another person. As it turns out, this game is out now, so it’s not like we have to wait to try if that’s what we decide to do. The other game is Sea of Solitude. I can’t say I fully understand what the game is, mechanically speaking. Hard to tell if it’s supposed to be a 3D platformer, an exploration focused game, or a puzzle game. But it looks visually interesting and could potentially be an enjoyable game. At least as enjoyable as a game about loneliness can be. But other than those two games, EA’s offerings were very slim.

I also thought it weird how much time was spent trying to convince us that they “made a mistake” when really they knew exactly what they were doing with Star Wars: Battlefront II and just wanted to nickle and dime us for all we were worth, only for their lootbox focused strategy to blow up in their face. They’re promising all sorts of things with Bioware’s Anthem game, and I just can’t see it ending well. I don’t see how anyone can be excited about Anthem when EA has essentially shown us what they really want to do with their games. But we’ll see…Anthem still looks boring. Yeah, I said it. Putting aside the fear of EA tampering with Anthem to make as much money out of it as possible, the game itself doesn’t look very interesting to me. Always online games tend to bore me. They promise to have a campaign or something for single players, but I get the feeling that will go the way of Destiny 2 where the campaign was pretty forgettable. Regardless, single player is obviously not the focus for Anthem, and thus it does not have my interest.

Conference Rating: F

If you had told me that Microsoft would have been one of my favorite conferences of all the E3 shows, I would’ve laughed. But I think it’s a combination of the rapid fire presentation of a variety of games along with the fact that many of them will come to PC (my platform of choice) actually had me really happy with Microsoft’s presentation. They kicked things off with a trailer for Halo: Infinite. No gameplay was shown, but I’m happy to see some Halo finally making its way to PC. I’m wishing so hard for a proper Halo to come to the PC platform that I’m even willing to play this even if it’s some always online game, just so Microsoft can know that they’d have people willing to buy Halo on PC. Because let’s be honest, if you’re a PC gamer then you have no reason to get an XBox just for one game since most every XBox game is coming to PC anyway. And even if you’re not a PC gamer, I would still question the need to get an XBox.

But this isn’t about consoles right now. This is about games, and Microsoft came out swinging. Kingdom Hearts III got its first of many showings here. A cute fox game called Tunic was shown off that looks like it could be a lot of fun. Fallout 76 took up a little time, but obviously Bethesda was saving most of that game for their own conference. From Software’s newest title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice reminds me that I still need to try Dark Souls sometime. Gears Tactics could also be right up my alley, as I do enjoy a good strategy game. There were, of course, a couple duds. Forza Horizon 4 is not going to sell an extra copy by being at E3 (but at least they didn’t bring out the car this time), and Gears Pop looks weird and out of character for the Gears of War franchise.

Of course, we can’t mention the Microsoft conference without talking about the reveal at the end. Cyberpunk 2077 has been in the works for a long time now, and it’s nice to finally see that come out of hiding. There was a ton shown here, and it would take forever to talk about them all. Needless to say, however, Microsoft’s show has given me a few things to keep an eye on. In terms of conference presentation, everything was so rapid fire that there was barely a presentation to speak of. It was just one game after another, with a few occasional moments of talking. The focus was on the games here, and for that I’m pleased.

Conference Rating: A

 

For the third year Bethesda has brought their own conference. I think of all their conferences, this might be their second best. Their first conference still reigns supreme, but I feel this did a fine job. Though I could’ve done without the concert at the beginning before Rage 2 was announced. In fact, I think the entire conference could have been shortened by a good twenty to thirty minutes and we wouldn’t have lost much, if anything. But once again, let’s get to the games. Rage 2 and Fallout 76 were the two main titles of Bethesda’s E3 conference, with more emphasis on the latter. We started with Rage 2, and I still think that game could actually be pretty fun. It looks to borrow a lot of ideas from the DOOM reboot, and I believe DOOM 2016 sets the bar for how first person shooters should be from this point forward. We’ll just seen when it gets here.

Speaking of DOOM, a sequel to the 2016 reboot has been announced, but it was ultimately an announcement announcing an announcement. We got a teaser trailer for DOOM: Eternal, and then were told that gameplay would be shown at Quakecon in August. I wish they had just not said anything and shown off everything at Quakecon instead, but at the same time I can’t be mad about a new entry in what I think is the best shooter to have ever graced us. We also got a look at a new Wolfenstein game, but once again there was no gameplay.

Fallout 76 was definitely the main attraction here, and I gotta be honest I’m not sure what to think of it anymore. I think I’ve made it clear that online only games aren’t very interesting to me, but Fallout 76 has the potential to be an exception to that rule. It’s hard to know without playing it though, and considering it’s coming out around the same time as Smash Ultimate, I doubt I’ll get to playing the game for some time, if ever. One game that surprised me in how fun it looks is The Elder Scrolls: Blades, a mobile game of all things. Yet it seems to be a mobile game that actually, you know, has gameplay. Once again, it won’t be till Fall of this year when we get our hands on it, but consider me intrigued. Bethesda ended it all with two teasers, one for a new IP called Starfield and another for Elder Scrolls VI. There’s not much to say about either one, since we did just get logos after all, but I’m always down with new IPs and I’ve been waiting a while for Elder Scrolls VI to be formally announced, so it was nice to see them.

Conference Rating: B-

Starting off with a dancing panda was not a great way to start Ubisoft. Stop doing stuff like this. Anyway, I’m so terribly indifferent to the Ubisoft conference that I considered not bothering with reviewing it when I started thinking about this blog post. Ubisoft is a bit like EA in that nothing they do is particularly exciting or interesting. But the difference is whereas EA just has boring conferences, Ubisoft has boring, predictable games. We’ve seen Assassin’s Creed over and over again. Just Dance is nothing new. The Division looks like an online only bore. The only possibly interesting thing they had was Beyond Good and Evil 2, and I still have no idea what to think of this game. I’ve not played the original Beyond Good and Evil and even I know the tone of this game is very, very different from its predecessor. And being open world doesn’t help my interest levels.

Starlink could be cool if they cut out the toy stuff. Transference could be interesting, but it’s VR only and who knows when I’ll ever get a VR headset. I still question the future of that technology. I could talk about the Donkey Kong Country expansion for Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle but that’s for a game released last year. There’s so little to discuss here that I think I’ll just move on. If you like Assassin’s Creed or The Crew, then I’m sure there was something here for you. But for me, there was nothing of interest. Just a very “meh” showing. The dancing panda did not help.

Conference Rating: C-

I hope you’re not squeamish because Sony made it a point to bring out all the blood and gore in the games they showed. I also hope you’re not the type of person who has trouble sitting still for several minutes because Sony made sure you would do that for far too long. Things kicked off in a confusing fashion. The auditorium was dressed up like it was supposed to be some kind of church setting, with a man playing the banjo for several minutes. Then a trailer begins, and it’s for The Last of Us Part II. I know a lot of people are looking forward to this game including myself.

After a lengthy Last of Us trailer, we’re then stuck with talking heads…for thirty minutes. I’m not making this up. A bunch of randoms sat behind a test and talked…and talked…and talked…and talked…and talked some more.

It. Was. Awful.

I was moderating a facebook with some friends commenting on everything live, and when this segment played out everyone, me included, was losing our minds. We could not believe what we were seeing. No gameplay, no trailers for anything, just talking heads for thirty minutes. And when things finally begin to pick back up, we had to listen to some musical number before finally getting a look at the next game, one of the only ones shown at the Sony conference that I found interesting. Ghost of Tsushima is not only a pretty game, but it looks like it could be quite a lot of fun. Although I can’t say much more than that since the gameplay wasn’t necessarily something we’ve never seen before, but it looks like its well put together.

The Sony conference continued at a much better pace after that. A remake of Resident Evil 2 was shown, as well as yet another Kingdom Hearts III trailer. Death Stranding made its third appearance, and we still have no idea what it is. I really wonder about Death Stranding and how it will be received once it finally comes out. I fear it’s getting more hype than is really healthy, and on release it could suffer for it. But only time will tell, I guess. A new game called Control looked pretty interesting, but not a whole lot was shown. Nioh is getting a sequel. But the last game shown, and the other Sony game that has my attention, is the new Spider-Man game. We got a good look at what gameplay is like as well as some characters who will be making their appearance. A lot of people have compared this to the Batman: Arkham games, and I think that’s a good comparison to be made. If Spider-Man plays at all like the Arkham games, then I think we’ll be in for a real treat.

After so many successful E3 shows, it was pretty hard to watch Sony fail so hard this year. A lot of was down to how it presented its conference. A thirty minute long talking head segment soured the mood fast, and brief musical numbers throughout the show all felt extremely out of place. I found out later that those music moments peppered between trailers was for that Dreams game, which has been in development for a long time now, but I wouldn’t have known that just from looking. All in all, presentation was bad and there weren’t many games shown that interested me at all.

 

Conference Rating: D-

They showed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Instant A+.

Okay, but really. Nintendo got right to business by showing Daemon X Machina, a mech based action game. I like mechs a lot in video games, so it quickly got my attention. I also really enjoyed the visual style of the game. We then got a look at a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 expansion, then swiftly moved on to the two new Pokemon Let’s Go games. I was surprised by how little time was spent on Pokemon Let’s Go, but at the same time I think I see why. Most people know how Pokemon works at this point.

Another neat looking title was Fire Emblem: Three Houses. If they can move away from the waifu simulator stuff the last Fire Emblem game (or rather, games) did, then that’ll be enough for me to be a happy camper. It’s also nice to see Fire Emblem coming back to the big screen after being relegated to the 3DS for a long time. They then showed off a handful of 3rd party games coming to the Switch, but a lot of them we already knew about like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Wolfenstein II, and Dark Souls: Remastered.

Then we get to the main event: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. A lot of people wish more was shown, but being someone who considers Smash his favorite game series, of course I was all over this. The main takeaway is that everyone who’s ever been in a Smash Bros. game is coming back. This includes Solid Snake, Young Link, Pichu…yeah, they mean everyone.

It may come as no surprise then that I loved this conference. I will eat up anything with Smash Bros. in it. So this rating might come off as a bit biased, but there’s a good reason for that…it is. But as I mentioned, I judge these based primarily on games. And I love Super Smash Bros., and a half hour of that is perfect for me. Yes, I’m still giving this one an A+.

Conference Rating: A+

Regardless of my or anyone else’s opinions, I think it’s safe to say at the end of the day there was something for everyone here. I think Microsoft should especially be proud of the show they put on. I didn’t expect to be saying that at the end of E3, but here we are. Nintendo would of course captured me with ease when they started showing Smash, but I didn’t expect to get so much of it. It’s a shame Sony’s conference dropped the ball so hard when it came to presentation, but they were bound to do so at some point. Even if most of the games don’t interest me, I’m sure there are plenty of people excited to play Nioh 2 or The Last of Us Part II, so to you all I say happy gaming. Now we just need to hope that none of these projects get cancelled (RIP Scalebound). My ultimate (heh) conclusion is that there’s still not a great deal of games coming in 2018 that I desperately want to play, but since 2019 is when a lot of the games shown are planned to release it looks like it could be a crazy, fun filled year.

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Nintendo Switch Online Service Will Not Have Virtual Console

 

Today, Nintendo released new information about the online service that will be released in September:


So this offers not only the opportunity to play switch games such as “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” or “Splatoon 2”, but also classic NES titles such as “Ice Climber” or “Baloon Fight” online. 20 NES games will be available for release, but the selection is expected to expand steadily. All NES titles are supported by the Nintendo Switch Online App voice chat.


In addition, a kind of cloud storage system is introduced, with which it is possible, in the case of a reinstallation of a software saved scores again via the Internet. There is no more detailed information about the cloud, it is only pointed out that this will not be available for every software.


Further, the membership options are more accurately executed. So it will be in addition to the individual memberships for $ 3.99 (1 month / 30 days), $7.99 (3 months / 90 days) and $19.99 (12 months / 365 days), a family package for $34.99 be available for 12 months / 365 days. This is not only convenient for homes with multiple switch consoles, but also for people who have multiple accounts on a console because the online service will be account-bound. How many accounts can use the family package, is not yet known.

Last but not least, probably a less gratifying news: Nintendo confirmed to the English-language gaming news site “Kotaku” that there are currently no plans to bring classic games under the “Virtual Console” branding on the switch. However, this statement does not mean that there are no plans to bring classics to the Switch, not just under the name “Virtual Console”. So it could be possible that various SNES, N64 GameCube and GameBoy titles could later be available via the online service, or how the “NeoGeo Arcade” classics will simply be ported to the switch for a low price.

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My Arcade Gaming’s Mini Arcade Machine Review

If you love arcade machines or retro gaming, then this is for you. I have first seen this at the NY Toy Fair and i was interested in trying it out. Here is my review of the Micro Player Arcade that is produced by My Arcade Gaming.

Right from when you see the box, you know it speaks retro and something you used to play when you were a kid. I was given the Karate Champ game and there are many other mini arcade machines made by them including Pac-Man, Galaga, Rolling Thunder and much more coming soon. The buttons work great with no input lag at all. You can also detach the joystick from the machine too if you want just incase if you want to use the directional pad. The feel of the arcade is very smooth but also glossy on the edges just like an original arcade machine. The micro machine takes four batteries but you can also use an USB charger since there is a USB port. There is volume control too on the back of the machine and you can even plug in headphones if you do not want to have outside noise. To turn on the machine, there is a button in the bottom front and it is shaped like a coin slot with the “player one” or “player two” button but you do not have to use quarters to play these machines.

This is a great product and you can buy this for your kids during road trips or for yourself to play and collect. The publisher did a great job making this in an age where retro gaming is still in today’s society. I highly recommend for you to go to your local gaming or comic book store to pick this up.

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Toy Fair 2018-Keep Calm and Game On Review

If you love party card games such as Cards Against Humanity or Apples Apples, Then you can add one more to your collection that you can play with your friends and that is Keep Calm and Game On. This card game has a familiar concept of those two games but it has an interesting twist to the other two games that i mentioned and you will be laughing for hours during your time with the game. So what is in this game? Well it is time to dive in the deck of cards to see what is there.

Keep Calm and Game On is made by Breaking Games and they also have a library of games that you can check out. In this game, Each player is dealt with 6 response cards and the rest of the cards that are in the deck is placed in the middle of the table. Every player takes turns drawing a situation card and they have to read it out loud to the other players. The other players choose one of their response cards and gives it to the judge of the game to read. The judge has to decide of the response cards that was given to him, which response was the best out of all of them. Whichever the judge decides, the player gets a point and control of the situation cards. Then, each player draws another response card to fill their hand and repeat the next round. The first player to have 6 points wins the game. You can also change the rules to how many points the player must have in order to in to your own liking. The cards itself can turn situations into very hilarious responses. For example, one of the situation cards might read “WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS” and then one of the response cards might say “KEEP CALM AND BECOME A SUPER VILLAIN”. The possibilities are endless with this game. The twist comes with the “Panic!” cards as they bring a fun new element to the game such as skipping a judge or discarding responses.

This game can be played between 3-8 players and the age range is between 18+ and older. You can play this in parties or with your friends at gatherings. I highly recommend for anyone to try it and it only takes less than two minutes to understand the gameplay.

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Toy Fair 2018-Retro Gaming with My Arcade

If you love Retro Gaming, then My Arcade is for you. Their booth showcased their latest and upcoming products of 2018. Some of their arcade games that you can play anywhere included Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Rolling Thunder, Mappy and much more.

You have the choice of choosing between the arcade games, or the handheld retro games and all of them has a different set of games for you to experience.

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Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Review

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is the long-awaited follow-up to Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy crossover titles that were released for the PSP back in 2008 and 2011. Although the game has been playable in its native Japan since 2015 in arcades, we’ve now finally gotten it released on the PlayStation 4 with a bunch of new content to boot.

If you’ve played the older Dissidia titles, you might imagine that you already know all about this new one, but you’d be surprised. While the core mechanics are still generally the same, there are some big shake-ups in how battle is done, largely to accommodate the now 3v3 setting the game defaults to.

While 2v2 and 1v1 battles are possible, it’s very clear that the game is built around this 6-player team-based format. Characters have been divided into classes. Fighting itself has been somewhat simplified, and some characters have had their movesets changed entirely from previous games, so your main might not work the way you’re used to. If the game still feels too daunting or confusing for you, there’s thankfully an extremely informative tutorial that’ll have you geared up and ready to go in no time.

These classes are: Vanguard, bulky up-close fighters with hard-hitting attacks such as Sephiroth; Assassin, quick-hitting speedy characters like Squall who’ll take you down fast if you’re not ready for them; Marksman, long-ranged fighters, for example Terra, who will make your matches very difficult from afar unless you brave their attacks and close the distance; and finally Specialists, like Vaan, characters who don’t quite fit into any of the aforementioned categories and have their own quirks that go beyond these roles.

The first thing you need to realize when picking up the game is that teamwork is an absolute must. You can’t just charge in on your own and expect to win, so the ideal way to enjoy the game is to have a couple of friends to go online together with, and try to best your foes with a solid gameplan, a balanced team setup, and proper communication. Of course, you don’t have to get so serious about it – Dissidia allows you to get matched up with random people online as well, though if you’re hoping for any success you should probably try your best to co-operate with others properly.

Although Dissidia Final Fantasy NT does bill itself as something of a reboot, especially with new developers at the helm, Square-Enix really are sticklers for continuity. As such, the story picks up after the previous Dissidia games, with earlier established relationships between characters intact, though you probably won’t feel lost in the game’s story even if you haven’t played them, just so long as you’re somewhat of a Final Fantasy fan.

The story is nice enough on its own, with diverging paths and fun interactions between characters, but the way to play it is a bit awkward; you’re required to play through online matches or the game’s single player modes against CPU fighters to unlock credits which will take you further in the story. Presumably, this is to make the story feel longer than it is, and while it might sound like a bit of a grind, it really isn’t that bad since the story continuously unlocks new Gauntlet challenges for you to conquer and this leads to more story credits unlocking at a smooth pace. It should be noted that while the story mode itself starts off fairly easy, and continues that way for the most part, there are a few boss battles where the difficulty spikes heavily, so be prepared to bring your A-game when you see them pop up.

One of the best thing about Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is the level of customization for characters, with loads of unlockable voice lines, different weapon skins, character skins, and so on that are all gained in-game without any monetary cost. Of course, the Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is no stranger to DLC, with 6 characters promised for release this year, but the game itself doesn’t feel incomplete at all.

While the game does have a fairly robust story mode and several single player modes that will earn you credits which you can use to unlock the wealthy amount of extras, you may well grow tired of it if you’re planning on sticking to offline only, as there’s no local multiplayer functionality. Playing online does feel like the game’s bread and butter, especially grouped together with friends, so if you’re averse to online gaming this might not be the fighter for you. For what it’s worth, the vast majority of online matches I played were a smooth experience, with a few choppy outliers and one single match that was entirely unplayable, out of close to a hundred matches played.

With 28 characters available at launch, there’s a wide variety of heroes and villains from the numbered Final Fantasy series to play as, and even two spin-off characters in the form of Ramza Beoulve from Final Fantasy Tactics and Ace from Final Fantasy Type-0. You’ll quickly notice that even within the four different fighter archetypes the characters are vastly different from one another. If, like me, you don’t have any of your absolute favorite characters in the game, settling for main protagonists or antagonists from your most beloved titles does just fine, and with the promise of future support by Square-Enix and Team Ninja, the characters you’re missing just might make the cut somewhere down the line, too.

In the end, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT gives you a lot to do, and is clearly focused on being a fighter that will have continued support for the foreseeable future. You might want to try it out at a friend’s house first to see if the gameplay jives with you, but any Final Fantasy enthusiast should at the very least give this title a shot. There’s a lot of love poured into the game, and seeing big team battles between Final Fantasy icons in familiar locales is bound to strike a chord with fans.

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