Sunday, January 22, 2017

PlayStation VR - YouTube 360 Support is Live

If you have a PS4 and PSVR, then you may have noticed that a new update was released for the YouTube App. While most might not think much of it, considering updates aren't uncommon, but this time around they have brought us something special -- 360 video support for PSVR.

For anyone who doesn't know, YouTube supports 360 VR videos for most VR headsets. These include both the VR sets you can buy for your phone, and the higher end ones such as the HTC Vive. Now that very same support has been brought to the PSVR, and it works exactly the same way. Upon opening the YouTube App you now have the choice between the standard YouTube, and the PSVR version. The difference here is, the PSVR version will allow you to not only view the 360 videos, but it'll also set the YouTube video player at a set location within your virtual reality space. In other words, it'll become a movie theater screen floating in front of you, and your headset will track it's position. It's similar to the PSVR's default viewing mode for non VR content, but in this case you don't risk screen drift (which is sadly still an issue with the PSVR when it is not in full tracking mode).

As for the 360 videos themselves, they can be watched by going to the new 360 Video tab located at the top of the YouTube app, or you can simply search YouTube for them yourself. There's a lot of them out there, and they all offer different experiences. Of course this doesn't mean they are perfect. Sadly not all 360 videos are uploaded in 4K, so the resolution on some can be much lower than expected. Also since these are video files, they are not in full 3D like a standard VR game would be. Yes they do allow you to look around the world, but it isn't as immersive as full VR content. Even so, there's a lot of fun to be had with these videos, and it's a great addition to the PSVR's library.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fire Emblem Echoes - Gaiden Returns on the 3DS!

Today was the official Fire Emblem Direct from Nintendo, and quite a few interesting games were announced. First of all Fire Emblem Warriors was officially announced for both the Nintendo Switch and New 3DS, and the short gameplay clip confirmed that Chrom from Fire Emblem Awakening would be playable. After they also announced that a brand new Fire Emblem game would be coming to the Nintendo Switch in the near future, and that the new mobile game, "Fire Emblem Heroes," would be coming out on 2/7/2017. This game is a free to play title where you summon past FE heroes, and battle it out against other enemies on an 8x6 grid. Like many games out like it, you can pay to gain access to summons faster than by playing the game normally, but payment is optional. However, one of the most interesting announcements during this direct was something completely unexpected -- a full remake of the Japanese exclusive "Fire Emblem Gaiden."

Fire Emblem Gaiden ("side story") was the second Fire Emblem game to ever be released, and it was quite a bit different from the original which put most of the systems we know today in place. Rather than being a pure tactical turn based RPG, Gaiden featured an open map where you could choose locations to go to, there were towns you could explore, NPCs to talk to, and there were even full dungeons to explore with monsters to fight. Of course the turn based strategy battles were still in the game, but the other systems and features put a unique spin on things that we haven't seen since. Or, at least until now.

With Fire Emblem Echoes (as it will now be called), Gaiden has now been fully remade from the ground up using the same graphics/engine as Fire Emblem Awakening and Fates. Dungeon crawling takes place fully in 3D, battle scenes take place in 3D, and your classic TBS maps continue to use the same mix of 2D sprites and 3D maps as the previous two 3DS games used. To put it simply, it's Gaiden, but updated to the series' current standards. To top it all off, the game will be released on 5/17/2017!

It's hard to believe that Nintendo is finally bring this game over after all of these years, but it's finally happening, and many fans are sure to be excited.

For more information on Echoes as well as the other new FE games, check out the full Nintendo Direct!
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Nintendo Switch Presentations

Miss out on the Nintendo Switch Presentations? Well look no further! Nintendo has now uploaded both in their entirety! Check them out below:

Nintendo Switch Show:

Treehouse Live:

(Skip to 30:00)
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Nintendo Switch Release Date and Game Information

Well it's official! The Nintendo Switch will be releasing on March 3rd, and will go for $299.99. Also launching along side it is none other than The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, and a pretty interesting list of games will follow after. Below is a quick list of some of the other games we will be seeing:

Super Mario Odyssey:

Mario is back in a brand new 3D adventure. This time using the more open world style of Super Mario 64 and Sunshine, Super Mario Odyssey will see our hero in a new strange land. Along with his new living hat, he will travel through different locations (including our world as it seems), fight new strange enemies, and once again try to save Princess Peach from Bowser. Sadly the game won't be launching until later this year, but it's something to look forward to.

Fire Emblem Warriors:

Not much is known about this title for the time being, but the title should say it all. If you're a fan of the warriors games (Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Warriors Orochi, Hyrule Warriors, One Piece Pirate Warrior, Dynasty Warriors Gundam, Dragon Quest Heroes, etc) then you know what to expect. This game is a Fire Emblem based hack n slash game, and will be the second collaboration between Nintendo and KT.

Xenoblade 2:

Another title not much is known about. Xenoblade 2 is the third game in the Xenoblade JRPG series, but the title itself is a bit misleading. While Xenoblade Chronicles X wasn't a sequel to the original, but rather a new game set in it's own universe, it was still technically the second game. As for what the "2" in Xenoblade 2 stands for, that's really hard to say. Is it a sequel to the first game? Is it a sequel to X? Or could it be something new, but in the style of the first game? We won't know for sure until more information is released, but judging by what was shown, it's possible this is in fact a sequel to the original Wii release. The game sports a new art style as well.

Splatoon 2:

The follow up to the Wii U's Splatoon. Like the first game, this is a PvP based arena shooter where players get to control squid people that can transform into squids and use weapons to spread their ink across the map. For Splatoon 2 new weapons, maps, equipment, power ups, etc, have been added to the mix, which has expanded the game greatly. Of course it's still the same game you may already know and love, it's just that now it has new content, and is on the new console.

No More Heroes:

Once again not much was said about this game, but Suda51 confirmed that Travis Touchdown will be back -- something fans of the original No More Heroes games may be excited to hear.

Other Upcoming Games:
  • Shin Megami Tensei - Announced, no further information.
  • Skyrim - Skyrim will be ported to the Switch.
  • Fifa - EA will be bringing Fifa as well as other sports games to the Switch
  • Yooka-Laylee - Confirmed for the Switch
  • Sonic 2017 - The upcoming Sonic 2017 project will be making it's way to the Switch
  • Dragon Quest - Multiple Dragon quest games will be on the Switch, including XI
  • Lego City Undercover - The new port of Lego City will be releasing on the Switch also
  • And more! Nintendo and other developers will be announcing more games from here on out, so keep an eye out for more information soon!

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Scalebound Officially Cancelled

Today I have some sad news for all of you Xbox and Platinum Games fans... The very much anticipated action role playing game "Scalebound" has officially been canceled. Earlier today Microsoft made the announcement on their official blog that the project will no longer continue (although they did reassure fans they are still dedicated to their other current projects). No official reason was given for the cancellation, but the game's troubled development may be the cause. The game seemed to suffer from technical issues due to it being on the Xbox One, and there were rumors of clashes between Microsoft and Platinum as well. Either way, no matter what the cause, the game is now officially dead and will most likely never be seen again. As for what the game could have been? Well...

Scalebound was set to be an action RPG where players would form a bond with a dragon, and fight along side it. There was going to be four player co-op play, the dragon could be customized, and you could even issues commands to it and ride on it's back. Areas were large and open, there was a wide verity of weapon types to use, and players could use them to take on massive monsters. The idea did show a lot of promise, and it's really no wonder many were looking forward to seeing this. Sadly considering the fact that Microsoft owns the IP to Scalebound, it's very unlikely to ever see it revived elsewhere by Platinum themselves.
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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Two Nintendo Switch Video Events Coming Next Week

Next week Nintendo will finally be showing off more information about the Nintendo Switch. With it's release getting closer and closer, two events are scheduled, along with a country wide tour to let gamers demo the console for themselves.

First up is the Nintendo Switch Presentation. This event will be live streamed from Tokyo on the 12th at 8 PM PT/11 PM ET. This is the main show where we expect to learn nearly everything about this console, from the release date and price, to the upcoming games. If you're interested in the console, this is the live stream you won't want to miss.

After the main Switch Presentation, Nintendo Treehouse will be having a follow up show on the 13th at 6:30 AM PT/9:30 AM ET. This event will focus on the games shown during the Switch Presentation, but will give us a more in depth look at what's to come.

Finally, once everything is said and done, the Nintendo Switch Preview Tour will begin starting on the 15th. Nintendo will be demoing the Switch in multiple cities across the United States over the course of the next few months. If you're lucky enough to live close to one of the locations listed on Nintendo's website (See Below), then this may be your chance to play it before it's official release.

For more information, preview tour schedules,  and links to the Live Streams, check out the Official Nintendo Switch page.
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Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Top 10 Video Game Related Things People In The Past Wouldn't Believe

So, there's a theory. If someone could in fact time travel to the past, would their actions truly change the future? There's a few possible answers to this, but let's take this route -- they'll only change the future if what they do in the past leaves a big enough impact. So, what does this mean? Well exactly what it sounds like. If someone were to travel into the past and do something major, it'll have some sort of noticeable change on the future; however, if they were to travel into the past and no one cared about what they did, it would be so small of a change that it wouldn't even matter. So, how does this apply to video games? Simply look at all that's happened in the industry, and you'll see what I'm getting at.

This list is the top 10 things a time traveler could tell someone in the past, without changing our current future because no one would believe them (at that time). Before I begin this list however, I'd like to remind all of you one thing... This list was originally written in December of 2016, and because of that it will not include whatever major video game events that will happen after this point. Of course even if someone from the future told me some of these things that are going to happen, I doubt I'd believe them... Thus leaving room for a possible second list... And on that note, let's get started.

1. The Graphics of the Future:

Okay, to kick this one off let's get the most basic one out of the way...

Imagine you have just traveled back in time to the days of the Atari 2600, and you decide to tell everyone what the games of the future look like. How are you going to do it? Do you really think you'd be able to convince the world that video games will one day look BETTER than even their top Hollywood movies? Yeah, good luck with that. Pretty good chance you'll be ignored, and your crazy rantings of the future will be forgotten.

Sure, the Atari wasn't the first game console to hit the market, nor did it have the most advanced games of their time (as arcades existed), but this was what most house holds had back then, and it's what they were used to seeing. Even those who worked in the field of game design would most likely have a hard time believing your claims, as the technology to create something like that was just unheard of. Maybe someone out there might believe you, but unless you bring back physical proof that you're a time traveler, even they might see what you're saying as just a dream.

Either way, whatever you try to tell these people about future graphics, you're not going to change the way time progresses, and you'll most likely be forgotten. So, the only thing you can do now is move on to your next stop.

2. How Big the Game Industry Will Become:

After trying to convince the early gamers of the Atari era that graphics will advance into something they could never imagine, you decide to head to the early 1990s. In this time period a lot has already happened with games, and the general public's feelings are pretty mixed. In their life time they got to see the video game industry rise, they got to see it completely crash and burn, and they saw this new Japanese company "Nintendo" rise up and bring it all back with the release of the NES. So, you'd think it would be easy to convince people that games are here to stay, and that the industry will continue to advance and grow, right? Wrong.

It may sound funny to be hearing this now, but in the early 90s a lot of people, mainly parents, didn't like the idea of having new game consoles. They bought the NES, they saw this "SEGA thing," and now Nintendo was trying to make them buy yet another console called the SNES. Needless to say, these things weren't cheap back then, and it's understandable that parents wouldn't want to have to keep buying new consoles... But to call the entire industry a scam? That's pushing it a bit far.

Using your own "time machine" in the form of online videos, you can see this for yourself in the form of interviews. In the 90s a lot of parents actually thought video games was just a scam, and that companies were only releasing new consoles to make more money. In their eyes, hardware didn't need to advance, and that games could continue being made for what they already had (the NES). Meanwhile others just saw the whole thing as another passing craze, and they felt it wasn't worth spending money on. To all of these people, video games were just a dumb kid's thing, and they would never go anywhere... So, how are you going to convince them that they are wrong?

The industry back then is completely different from what we see now. What was once just a small form of entertainment, is now one of the largest in the world and it continues to grow. It has become a major part of this world that we live in, and even non gamers are invested in it. From mobile and social games, to indie developers following their dreams, to large AAA $1,000,000 budget titles, games have evolved into something much bigger, and they are in fact here to stay. So, again, how are you going to convince these people of this? Pretty good chance you'll be laughed at, and be accused of being involved with the "scam" personally. Them video games... Just a waste of time and money. Never gonna go anywhere.

3. The Digital Future:

Up until the 2000s, digital gaming wasn't really much of a thing. Yes there were PC games you could download, and there were some failed console ideas in the past, but in general digital just wasn't an option. Video games were released as hard copies on disc, and you would either go out to the store and buy them, or rent them from your local rental place. That's the way things were, and how things continued for a very long time. Then consoles like the Xbox, PSP, PS3, and Wii hit store shelves, and the whole PC digital download thing hit all gamers everywhere. While it did take some time for each of these consoles to get to the point where you could download full games of almost any kind (as Xbox had Live Arcade, and Wii used the virtual console for older games), they did eventually get there, and some gamers today actually prefer going full digital. This is the age we live in, but it's something that our past selves would have had a hard time understanding. How would you convince others that one day nearly all of the games in the world would be up for download on a server somewhere, and that all you had to do was use a credit card (or point card) to buy and download them to your gaming console -- which now also had a built in HDD just like a PC. This sort of think was unthinkable in the early generations, and even those who did pull off something similar (Sega Channel for example) it was clearly very limited and nothing like what we have today. For the people of that time, this new digital age is a whole new world, and even if some were to believe your stories, they would never truly fully understand how things have progressed.

4. Mario & Sonic Together:

Staying around the same time period, you'll find yourself caught up in the whole "SEGA does what NintenDONT" console war. Nintendo fans calling their NES (and later SNES) the better console, SEGA fans going on and on about blast processing, and both companies taking constant jabs at each other. This is what it was like back then, and it's how things would continue for a very long time. Now, how about we tell the fans about Mario & Sonic? Think anyone will buy it? Yeaaaaah, no.

Sonic games being released on a Nintendo console isn't much of a shock in today's world, but up until the Dream Cast was dying out, it was just flat out unheard of. Nintendo and SEGA were huge rivals, they had their own exclusive games, and there was no way that Mario or Sonic would switch console sides -- it's just how things were. When the DC did die however, it wasn't as big of a shock to start seeing games like Sonic Adventure 2 being ported to the Nintendo GameCube (still something fans would have never expected in the 90s), but a crossover itself still seemed unlikely. Then, it happened, and it wasn't anything like we expected. Not only did we get a game where Mario & Sonic were together, it was an official Olympics video game, and it was something that would turn into a series all its own. Can you honestly say you ever saw this one coming? I think not. Even if you came across a leak a day before it was announced it would have been hard to believe, but it was true! And here we are today.

Now, going back to the 90s... How are you going to handle this one? Are you going to go up to every Nintendo fan and tell them that Sonic would one day be on their console? Or are you going over to the SEGA fans and let them know their beloved Genesis would one day span multiple follow ups that were fated to fail? Even if you just flat out told everyone about Mario & Sonic at the Olympic games without saying what console it was on, you'd most likely just be made fun of... Again... You would be seen as one of those rare kids who owned both consoles, and had dreams of a future that would never be. Or you'd just be called crazy. Yeah, crazy works.

5. Nintendo Creates Their Biggest (new) Rival: 

Might not seem like much of anything now, but again, you're in the 90s.

Back when Nintendo and SEGA were still going at it, other companies tried to enter the fray, and constantly failed. Nothing out there could really beat the "big two," and things didn't seem like they were going to change. This was when Nintendo decided that it was time to advance their own technology by switching from cart based games to CD ROMs. For this new hardware, Nintendo originally teamed up with the Japanese company Sony for what was going to be known as the "Nintendo PlayStation" -- a SNES with a built in CD Drive. Well, long story short, things happened... Sony wanted the rights to Nintendo's IPs, Nintendo didn't like it, Sony thought their deal was still on, Nintendo went behind their back and teamed up with Philips instead. This event is what lead Sony to take matters into their own hands, and create a game console all their own.

So, why wouldn't you be able to convince people of this in the past? Well, just look at that story. How likely is it that Nintendo would bring another company into the market, and how likely was it for them to actually succeed when so many others failed? Looking back on it, it's actually pretty shocking things became the way they are now. Seriously, who is even going to buy into the idea that this "PlayStation" console would ever be created, yet alone out sell the Nintendo one day? (Wii U vs PS4.) Even if you ran around telling Nintendo or Sony about the deal, it's very unlikely that they would listen to you and history would continue as normal.

6. The Power of Handhelds and Mobile Phones:

Jumping ahead to the end of the 90s, gaming has advanced quite a bit. Games are now fully 3D, CD ROMs are now common, arcade games are getting more and more advanced, handheld gaming devices are now true gaming devices (and not just Tiger Games), and even mobile phones are getting simple games like "Snake." Things are looking pretty good, but yet still so far from what we have now.

When walking into an arcade in 1999 you could possibly spot two things. One, the arcade "racer" titled "Crazy Taxi," and two, someone playing Crazy Taxi who owns a basic cell phone. How do you think they would react if you told them they could just play Crazy Taxi on their own instead? Yep, impossible. It would take a lot to convince someone that a full 3D game with "realistic graphics" like Crazy Taxi could be playable on a mobile phone, but guess what? It's true. In today's world we have Crazy Taxi, we have Pac-Man, we have the PS2 classics like Grand Theft Auto, and we even have games that come close to today's console quality. Sure we aren't quite there yet, but with handhelds like the PlayStation Vita, and the upcoming Nintendo Switch console, we just keep getting closer and closer. This isn't something someone in the late 90s would believe though. To them a cell phone was just a phone, and anything extra was an unlikely bonus. Snake wasn't on every phone out there, and unless you lived in Japan where things started to evolve into the smart phones we know today, they didn't have much use outside of simple calling... And maybe a note pad. Yeah, you're not convincing anyone with your stories of gaming on your phone.

7. Square and Disney Teaming Up:

So, Disney has always been pretty big, and it still is. We love the classic movies, they've released multiple successful shows, and then there's the whole Disney Land and World thing. Needless to say, this is a company that isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and they will continue to grow (heck, they even own Marvel and Star Wars now). But in the early 2000s they did something no one would have expected -- they teamed up with Square-Enix to release a brand new JRPG.

Now days Kingdom Hearts isn't a shock. It's a massive franchise that also continues to grow, and it looks like it'll be around for many more years to come. Even with the completion of the current story arc (which is said to come to an end in Kingdom Hearts III), more is planned for the future. But what if you traveled back in time to a period Pre-KH? Do you really think you can convince others that this crossover will one day happen? I mean, come on. What does a series a company like Square, and a series like Final Fantasy have in common with Disney? They didn't own Star Wars yet so you couldn't use that as an excuse... Oh wait, in Japan they share an office. Even so, what's the chances of a... chance... meeting on an elevator that will spark such a strange, yet epic, series? Well, that is what happened, but it's very unlikely that as a time traveler you could convince those in the past that it'll one day exist. Even if you brought back proof, most will assume you faked it. This is just one of those rare games that no one would have ever thought would happen, but it somehow did.

8. MEGAMAN IS DEAD (Sort of):

Oh Mega Man Legends 3. Remember when this project was announced and how excited everyone was? Well, it was a big deal. After Mega Man Legends 2 ended in a cliff hanger roughly 10 years before it, Legends 3 was something MANY fans had been waiting for. There really seemed to be little to no hope of this project ever happening, but when it was officially announced fans went nuts. Finally the game of their dreams was on it's way, and to top it all off it was coming to the brand new Nintendo 3DS. The project showed a lot of promise from the get go, but Capcom actually took all of that a step further.

The Dev Room was a special community within Capcom-Unity, and it was seen as a new way to develop games. Rather than making the game on their own, Capcom decided to let fans get in on the action. Each of us got assigned Servbot numbers, forums were set up where you could submit ideas for the game, and special events were held where our own user created content would have a chance appearing in the game (in fact, my boss idea was one of the final few that made it to Capcom's desk -- only to lose in the end... Poor mecha duck...). The Dev Room alone brought life back to Capcom-Unity, and it brought together so many Mega Man fans that it was actually pretty amazing to see. The late night chats on the IRC channel, the thousands upon thousands of discussion topics popping up all across the site -- it was all so crazy, and unless you personally a part of it, there's no way you could possibly understand just how great this truly was. So, during all of this excitement and chaos, how would a time traveler break the news of Mega Man Legends 3 being canceled, and the Mega Man series "dying" along with it? Yep, no way.

The thing is, the cancellation of Legends 3 was leaked a few days before the official announcement. Originally the plan was to release a paid for demo on the new Nintendo 3DS eShop, and then based upon the sales they would see if the game was worth putting into full development. We all knew there was a small chance that this game wouldn't be made, but after all of the events, and everything Capcom had done over the last year, it was almost guaranteed that the game would be made! So, imagine our surprise when the eShop launched, and Capcom didn't release that demo... Instead the Japanese site seemingly closed down, and rumors of the game's cancellation spread. Of course no one believed it. Even with pretty solid proof, no one would admit that the game was history. Not until that fate full blog post that is...

So yeah, this is really one piece of news a time traveler couldn't ruin. Especially during during the all time high of the Dev Room's activity.

(Note: At this moment in time Mega Man is "dead," but it isn't fully gone. Mega Man has since appeared in Super Smash Bros, new comics have been released, a Mega Man X novel is in the works, X is appearing in the upcoming Marvel vs Capcom game, and Capcom promises to bring the series back at some point in game form. Even so, it's been a long time since the release of the last Mega Man game, and for a series that used to release games basically every year... It is quite sad to see.)

9. Konami and Metal Gear Solid:

 Man... Remember when Metal Gear Solid V was officially announced? This was THE game people. Up until then, the Metal Gear series was one of the king's of the game industry. It revolutionized what gaming used to be back when the first Metal Gear came out, and it continued to grow and expand changing how stories were told in games as well. Just about every release became an instant classic, and although not all fans agreed with every decision (looking at you MGS2), there was no denying that it was one of the greats that every gamer should at least try once. As for the man behind it? Not only did he prove that an underdog could rise up to become an industry great, but Kojima surpassed everyone's expectations and became an icon within the industry. He really was (and still is) someone special, and we still look forward to his games even today... But that's besides the point.

Look, I'm not saying that I agree with everything he does, nor do I like everything he's been a part of. He's not actually some king or anything, but there's no denying that he has accomplished some great things, and many fans expect a lot out of him when he releases said games. So when Metal Gear Solid V was announced, it's understandable why everyone got so excited. It was Metal Gear Solid, with Big Boss, in an open world, with what looked to be an amazing story. It was a series with no real end in sight, and everyone was excited to see what was coming next... So, time traveler, what are you going to tell these people?

Putting aside all feelings on how MGSV actually turned out, let's talk about what happened. To put it simply, Konami, the company Kojima works for, hates Kojima. They stripped his name from the front of the game's cover, they locked him in a room on a different floor of the building, they didn't allow him to speak to his team, and to direct the game he was forced to send messages through someone else. How do you make a game like that? Well, I guess you technically don't. While Kojima was able to guide his team to "complete" the game, it really appears to be a shell of what it was meant to be. The game engine is solid, the gameplay mechanics are great, and the things you can do in this world are actually pretty amazing (for example, you can use a sniper to take out power lines to cut power to a base). There's a lot to MGSV, and it still has an interesting story overall, but it's clear that this game isn't what it was actually meant to be. Most of the story is told through radio conversations, there's not many actual cutscenes to be seen, there's only a handful of main story missions, and a large chunk of the game is made up of repetitive side missions that cause you to revisit the same areas over and over again. It's a shame to see the game get so cut back, but it's also pretty crazy to think that it even got finished in the first place with the sort of working conditions this team was put under.

If you were to travel back, you're not going to be able to convince people that this will one day happen. You could try going back to any point before the announcement of MGSV, and no one would ever believe that Konami would do something like that to him -- one of their star staff members. On the other hand, you could travel to any point after the announcement of MGSV, and those same people will still not believe it, nor will they believe that the game will end up being rushed and "unfinished." Both things were just so very unlikely, that even when the rumors began popping up we didn't believe them. It's still hard to believe actually, but what's done is done, and Kojima has moved on to bigger (and hopefully better) things.

10. Mighty No 9:

Mega Man is "dead." As mentioned above, we're currently in a period of time where Mega Man games just don't happen. We here promises of more to come, but we have yet to actually see this. That's when Inafune, the "father" of Mega Man decided to step back into the picture and do something of his own. I still remember it just like yesterday. Getting home after working at my family's bakery, getting on Skype to see my friends freaking out over some new Kickstarter project, and that image of a strange little robot popping up along side Inafune's name. A brand new action platformer, made in the style of the classic Mega Man games. It. Looked. AMAZING! Finally Mega Man was "back" but in a new form! Inafune was back at it again, and I personally couldn't wait to see where this project went! The hype was real, and that concept video they released was outstanding. Both Inafune and Inti made great games in the past, they were reviving a series I loved, and the future looked bright. Seriously, there was no way this game could fail as it was everything fans were asking for. Yep, it was going to be great. Oh, you're saying that this isn't true? Yeah right! Like you know the future or something? You really expect me to believe this game is going to fail? Ha ha, good luck making anyone buy that stupid story! Go cry like an anime fan on prom night.

The sad reality of this project is, it was nothing like we expected. Putting aside the bad (and offensive) advertising, there were many other problems with this game's development, and we were mislead in so many different ways. First of all, one of the Kickstarter goals mentioned how it would include two extra levels. The game was called Mighty No. 9, and we knew that the other 8 mighty robots were going to be the bad guys, but what we DIDN'T know was that those "two extra levels" were actually might no 7 and 8 (if you believe Inafune that is). No where did they mention only having 6 of the 8 bosses in the original plans (why even have them if they didn't plan on using them?), and when we reached the goal they passed it off as fact. Second of all, the milestone that would add Call as a playable character, also didn't really deliver on it's promise. Call was only playable for a single puzzle level, and in a mini co-op mode (which was also a let down compared to what they made it seem like). That's it. These are just two of the misleading things to come out of this game, with one of the major ones being that teaser that was developed in "two weeks" that ended up looking a lot better than the final product itself. Sadly, things get even worse from there...

Although the project received millions of dollars worth of funding, Inafune chose to use the outdated Unreal 3 engine rather than the newer Unreal 4 (which was actually pretty cheap at the time, and is now free for use in today's world), which caused the game to suffer multiple technical issues. Because of these issues the game was hit with delay after delay after delay, and even the finish product suffered from technical problems across multiple platforms. Despite not looking anywhere near as good as it did in the teaser, the game still suffered from framerate drops, freezing, glitches, etc, and things only got worse when playing on weaker consoles like the Nintendo Wii U. Sadly Mighty No. 9 couldn't deliver on what was promised all those years ago, and it's uninspiring stages and bosses really didn't help much.

Now let me make this clear, I'm not actually hating on the game. I actually gave the game an "okay" review. The game can still be fun, and it might still be worth checking out due to it's low price point, but there's no denying that it isn't the game we were promised back when it's Kickstarter launched. Because of this, MN9 is one of the biggest let downs of 2016, and most will have a hard time forgiving it for it's low, million dollar, production value. Unless you were one of those who were really looking forward to this game, there's no real way to describe just how big of a let down this game was, and even those who liked it can still see it doesn't live up to what it should have been. Sure, you can say it's "better than nothing" (which, was a translation error people) and enjoy it for what it is, but there will be those who can't and will always hate it for that... Go back to 2013 though, and you'll never convince the masses otherwise. To them, MN9 is the Mega Man game they've waited years for, and it's release date can't come soon enough.

The future is a funny thing. One minute you think you know what to expect, but then everything gets flipped upside down and nothing is as it "should be." As with life in general, this will also always be the case with video games, and even if we were to travel back in time we couldn't change that. There are things people will just never believe about the future, until it's right in front of their face. But maybe it's better that way. The things that happen to us in life, and the events we live through are what makes us who we are today, and going back in time to change that would be like undoing how far you've come. When it comes to games, maybe it's better for our past selves to not know as well. Back then, at each of these moments, we got to live in and enjoy our own fantasies. We got to look forward to games like Metal Gear Solid V, and Mighty No 9, unaware of their rocky releases, and back before games really took off we got to dream about what things would one day be like. Going back to tell ourselves, and others, about the future would just be spoiling the fun. It would be better to just let everyone see for themselves what's to come, and enjoy the ride along the way. (Not that anyone would believe you if you were a time traveler.)
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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

RockBand Turns 10, and Legacy Songs Return!

Here's a little bit of shocking news... But did you know that the Rock Band series has been around for almost 10 years now? Yep, it's true! Back in 2007, after moving on from Guitar Hero, Harmonix introduced to the world the newest craze in the music game genre, and it has been growing larger ever since. Sure, the series may not be "all the rage" as it was back in the day, but it continues to stand strong despite the passage of time. Since the release of the original game, there has been multiple sequels, spin off titles, song packs, etc, and the online store has been populated with thousands of songs to download as well. What was once a single set list evolved into something massive, and it continues to expand week after week thanks to the release of Rock Band 4. Well, today it was announced that the library will be growing even larger, and to celebrate 10 years of RB, Harmonix will be licensing old songs for release once again!

While this isn't something everyone will care about, it's actually one of the best things they could have done for the game. You see, not everyone has access to every song in RB's history. Licenses expire, songs are removed, and the option to export songs from RB1, 2, Lego RB (and a few others) was put to an end. Because of legal issues, these songs from the past are no longer available to those who missed out on them the first time around, and that's really a shame considering how many great songs there were. Of course now this will all be changing.

Although we don't know all of the specifics, Harmonix has announced that they will be bringing back some of the most popular songs from the past in the form of DLC that everyone can buy. According to this official blog post, the first songs releasing will be "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" from RB1, "Carry On Wayward Son" from RB2, and "Swing, Swing" from Lego RB, with even more to come throughout the year. If this pattern were to continue, that would mean we will be getting at least 12 songs from each game by the end of the year. Of course they could always release more than that, and they could always release less -- nothing is confirmed here besides the first three. Either way it's a promising start, and it gives many a reason to look forward to the coming months.

Thank you Harmonix! Can't wait to see what will be coming next! (Please be Free Falling, Summer of 69, In Too Deep, and Accidentally in Love!)
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The Platinum Log: Rune Factory Tides of Destiny

When I was 15 years old a massive ice storm trapped me home for days. School was canceled, we lost internet and cable, and all I could really do was stay away from the windows (as trees were falling down across town), and play my video games. One such game was Harvest Moon 64, and although I had never really given it much of a chance before, it was just about the only game I had I hadn't finished. So, I sat there, played for a "bit," and watched the hours fly by. I loved Harvest Moon 64, and after "finishing" it, I was very eager to play more.

Jumping ahead quite a few years, my love for Harvest Moon eventually turned into love for the spin off fantasy version of it called Rune Factory, and my newer PS3 with very few games for it lead me to buy none other than Rune Factory Tides of Destiny. Now I had heard mixed things about this game from those who had played Japanese versions of it, but I really didn't care. The moment I learned my local GameStop had a copy, I rushed to the store before it was gone (as only a handful of copies came in apparently), and then spent the entire night in front of my TV. (Looking back now, this was during the early days of NGR... Amazing how time flies!)

While Tides of Destiny was in fact different from past HM and RF games, it was still something I really enjoyed. Farming was replaced with an automatic system where different captured monsters would grow different crop for you, but thanks to the new fully 3D world and focus on exploration, I didn't miss it much. Rather than constantly worrying about my farm, I was out in the town making friends, exploring ruins I had found at sea, and running around leveling up skills to make my character stronger. The story was also interesting enough for me to become more invested in these characters and their life, and by the time I finished I wanted to keep going -- so I did! At first I was planning on making this game my first platinum trophy on PSN, but after finishing most content I became less and less motivated. You see, after finishing all of the challenging trophies, and that is really left was grindy ones -- or more specifically "catch a cold 100 times." While this might not sound like much, it is... To get this trophy you had to pass out day after day hoping you would wake up with a cold. This means you would end your days early, possibly missing events and neglecting others, and then possibly wake up sick for the next. Considering the game has abilities to level in all categories (including walking), your character eventually builds up an immune system to sickness and it becomes harder and harder to catch a cold. This is why it can possibly take hundreds of in game throw away days to achieve this trophy, and why I walked away from the game.

Awhile later, after I got the platinum in Gravity Rush, I did return to RF to finish what I started, but because I waited, it didn't end up being my first platinum as intended. Even so, it was a game I really liked, and I'm glad I did go back for it eventually. Sure it might not be the best "Harvest Moon" out there, but it was still a fun RPG.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

7 Reasons I'm scared of Resident Evil 7, but will buy it anyway!

It is almost here everyone! Resident Evil 7 will be releasing later this month, and I personally can't wait... Or can I? Honestly this one actually scares me, and I'm a little unsure if I'll actually be able to finish it. That being said, I'm getting it anyway! Call me a wimp or whatever, but horror has never been my forte, and this is the first Resident Evil that I ever felt was a true horror game. Even so, as a fan of the series, I can't help but excited for this one, and today I am going to tell you why! Here are my top seven reasons I am scared of Resident Evil 7, but will buy it anyway because it excites me!

1. Return to the "Roots" -

Lately Resident Evil has been a series about action. Although 4 was still closer to it's original horror survival style, Resident Evil 5 buffed up the main character Chris, had him go on an action packed shooting adventure, and gave him the ability to punch giant rocks with his fists. The game expanded on the systems created for RE4, added in a second playable character, and also introduced co-op to the main story. While not all may like the changes made in 5, it was still fun for what it was, and Resident Evil 6 turned up that action even further. It too was a really fun co-op experience (if you gave it a chance), and it's story was very cinematic in nature. On top of that, there's also the more "arcady" modes of Resident Evil such as The Mercenaries, and Raid Mode. While Mercenaries is a game about killing enemies within a set time limit to gain the highest score, Raid mode is more of a shooter RPG mix about killing enemies, getting better weapons in loot drops, and unlocking new abilities. Both modes are pure action, and are great for co-op as well! But this isn't really what Resident Evil started as, and RE7 aims to fix that.

Rather than being an action game, Resident Evil 7 is locking us in an old creepy house filled with monsters, and asking us to survive. No longer can you run through the world guns blazing, but instead you have to progress with the fear of the unknown, and do whatever it takes to actually survive. Although games like Resident Evil Revelations 1 and 2 brought some of these elements back to the series, RE7 is the first time they went full horror survival in quite some time, and this time it is actually true horror.

2. The Family -

"The Family" (which most likely isn't the same "family" mentioned in RE6) is a group of disturbing hillbillies that live in this old house you're locked in, and they are freakin crazy (to put it lightly)! There's multiple members to this family, and each one is terrifying in their own way. The thing is though... These people aren't your average deranged country hicks, but rather they are deranged country hicks that cannot die! From what we've seen so far, they are immortal (most likely due to the new virus going around), and they will stop at nothing to get you. Decide to set one on fire to get away? Yeah, good luck with that. Instead of burning to a crisp, they'll just keep coming at you as their flesh falls from their body and hits the ground... And THEN kill you. These people are not to be messed with, and often it'll be better to run than to stand and fight. Of course that is easier said than done, as they can apparently crash through walls, and jump out from behind almost any corner to scare the heck out of you! You'll never know where they are, and they really will stop at nothing to get you. They're also completely crazy... Did I mention that? Seeing the "dad" saw through his son's arm with a knife just because he feels like it isn't something normal people do. Although, I'm sure you knew that... I hope...

3. The Monsters -

Wouldn't be Resident Evil without monsters would it? Besides having to put up with the family, this house is loaded with who knows what! From the demo and trailers we have so far only seen one type of monster, but that doesn't mean there aren't more out there to surprise us. As for the one type we have seen? They are no push overs. These things are bullet sponges, that will lunge at you, and kill you fast. The demo had you trying to outrun the thing, while using body bags to knock it over, but a few hits from it and you would be dead instead. The good news is, although it may not die normally, you can dismember it to prevent it from swinging it's arms at you, or moving, so it's not like they are completely invincible. Even so, these things are pure horror that could pop up at any moment, and if you run into one it may be best just to turn around and run away (and hopefully not into a member of the family instead).

4. Video Tapes -

Hidden throughout the house are old VHS tapes that can be played on any VCR you come across. While the main game has you play the role of a man searching for his wife, these VHS tapes take you to another moment in time, and put you in the shoes of someone else. It's pretty safe to assume that most of the other characters you play as won't get a happy ending, but their viewpoint will provide insight to what is actually going on. These sections of the game seem to be pure horror, and have no escape outside of finishing the tape. In some of the few we've seen so far, characters had to hide from members of the family as they hunted their pray (you), while in others they met their gruesome end instead. What we will all be seeing and doing in these tapes is mostly a secret for the time being, but they might be one of the freakiest parts of the game.

5. Using Real Meat -

Did you know Resident Evil 7 uses REAL meat? Yep, it's true. This is a fact I might have been better off not knowing, but it does add to the realism of the game. Apparently RE7 uses a lot of 3D scans for actor's faces and what not, but it was announced they also went a step further. Rather than just creating all of the monsters from scratch, the dev team paid a visit to a meat processing plant, and actually used REAL meat. Yes, that's right. They took real, dead, ground up animals, slapped the bloody mess onto models, and created our new enemies. So, when you think of the monsters I mentioned in number 3, also think of how "real" they actually are. (Needless to say, the real meat was used for more than just the monsters, so there's something else to not look forward to!)

6. First Person -

Resident Evil 7 is the first mainline RE game to use a first person point of view, and that alone really helps build up the fear. When playing games in third person, you can almost always see what is around your character, and it often gives you some kind of sense of security; however, when you limit that view to what is directly in front of you, then you never know what is lurking behind. Mixed with the shaky camera, darkened vision, and other graphical effects -- this view point really helps build the tension, making the sense of dread much worse. Sure third person games can be scary too, but first person opens a whole new world of jump scares, and more.

7. Virtual Reality -

As many may know, RE7 will be playable fully from start to finish in VR... And it is a nightmare! It may be hard for anyone who hasn't experienced VR to understand this, but VR really does mess with your brain. Although you know what you're seeing is fake, your brain relies on your senses of sight and sound to tell it what is real or not, and because of this it can be tricked. Playing a game like Resident Evil 7 in VR can easily put you into your "panic" mode, and make everything seem so much worse than it actually is. While you may be able to run through the entire game on a TV without getting scared even once, putting on a headset might cause you to stand in the first room unable to take your first virtual step forward. It's a truly strange experience, and even if you know what is to come, your brain can't help but tell you to "GET THE HECK OUT!" Resident Evil 7 looks to be freaky enough, but Resident Evil 7 in VR will be the ultimate test. I seriously don't think I can handle it, but I'm still going to try.

Well there you have it! My top seven reasons why RE7 scares me, yet I still want to play it! Really, although each of these things freak me out, I'm also excited to experience all of them for some strange reason. Again, I'm not sure how far I'll actually get into this thing, but it's worth a shot! This game's release date can't get here soon enough...
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