Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bottom of the Pile - June 18th, 2014


.....Ultron.  Really.  Let me, go back a bit, just to get this straight.   The guy you idiots went back into the past to completely erase from the timestream, actually shattering time altogether in the process--the full repercussions of you still aren't even sure of yet....somehow still exists, and took over Earth 500 years into the future anyway. 

Y'know what?  Quit.  This is clearly not a winnable battle.  Either that, or Marvel could...oh, I don't know...stop spamming the same fucking villains so they don't seem like implacable singularity points who will exist regardless of what the heroes do to get rid of them. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Battle Rap Wednesdays: Charlie Clips vs. Tay Roc

Feels like it took forever for this battle to actually happen, but SMACK finally made it happen.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bottom of the Pile - June 11th, 2014

This is the part where I do four of these in roughly a week's time.  >_<

All-New Ultimates
It's literally rule one Bombshell/Lana: Don't get high off your own supply.  You've got a lot to learn if you're going to be a drug dealer.  Or, apparently, a superhero who specializes in stopping drug dealers.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Post-E3 Thoughts

Two weeks out from E3 and I'm finally overcoming the disgusting amount of inertia it took to actually write this piece.    I've got a lot of content due out for this place, so let's just jump right into it.

- It's 2014, and publishers are finally taking advantage of the internet.   "And it's available...right NOW!" became a catch phrase for the pre-show conferences, as publishers offered everything from betas to full games.   This is really something that should've happened with the PS3 and 360, but they were too busy figuring out the "season pass" concept, I guess.

- Nintendo won E3.  Y'know, a couple days after E3 I had this big report on each company's press conference that was three or four pages long in MS Word, and then I realized it all broke down to this: Nintendo kicked ass.  Microsoft did good, Sony did okay, Ubisoft was Ubisoft, and EA was garbage, but Nintendo came in and blew the fucking doors off.  I know from doing some brief looking around right after the conference there were some disappointed people, but I also know a lot of those people were looking for Metroid and F-Zero and anything less would've been a failure.  No, we didn't get those, but Nintendo was still incredible.

In forty minutes, they managed to show off: Super Smash Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Yoshi's Wooly World, Bayonetta 1+2, Hyrule Warriors, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Mario Maker, and Splatoon.   That's ten games, six of which you had never seen before the show started.  Then later they revealed Devil's Third was a Wii U exclusive.   This is all without showing a single "indie" that games complain about being at Sony or MS' shows, and with very little third-party support.   Everyone was convinced that Nintendo quit, but honestly they seem more invested in the latter half of 2014 and 2015 than they did when people thought they had a chance in 2012. 

Do I think this will bring the Wii U back from the brink of irrelevancy?   Unless Splatoon is a shocking smash hit that literally sells 20 million consoles on it's own, probably not.  The lack of third-party support means that the Wii U can only ever be most gamers' "second console", while the system being underpowered ensures that after the cross-gen era dies there won't be much point in third-parties giving support that isn't exclusive.   But, I love that Nintendo is refusing to simply "give up and move to 'next-gen' " like so many fans think they should.

- This year's E3 set an impossibly high standard.   Now that we're well and truly into the new generation, companies spent this E3 in "fan pleasing" mode.  And what's the one thing fans want to hear about at E3?  Games.   That's literally the only thing they want to hear about, and this E3, that's what we got.  Aside from Ubisoft's brief push-up contest and the random dance thing, each conference was stuffed to the brim with games.  The problem is, this isn't sustainable.  I mean, look at the first half of 2014--barren as fuck.   

Sometimes that happens.  Sometimes a year's first half is just...empty.   Games cost a lot to produce, and publishers often try to compete rather than schedule their games for empty spots in the year, so to expect the avalanche of games we got in the conferences this year, every year, is going to eventually lead to disappointment.

- There were a lot of "expected" games missing. Yes, yes, there were back to back games but I was honestly surprised at how many titles we didn't hear about.  EA's showcase was a joke, so while I consider Mass Effect 4 to exist, it wasn't fucking "revealed" by any means.  Same with whatever Bioware's new IP is.  Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 were noticeably absent.   To say nothing of Square's Western games that skipped out on E3: Deus Ex.  Hitman.  Just Cause 3. The game I actually care about amongst them, Triad Wars (successor to the Sleeping Dogs franchise).   Then there's Cyberpunk 2077, Beyond Good and Evil 2, and Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem. 

I think pretty much everyone expected at least one of these games to be present, and to have all of them missing left a hole that even this year's monster number of titles couldn't quite fill.   This means...

- Expect the remaining game reveals from now up to and including E3 2015 to be crazy.  I was told not to get all that hyped for E3 2014 because most of the really insane stuff would be saved for next year.  Aside from Nintendo (who we covered already), and Microsoft's random "these will be out in 2016" games, this was mostly true.  So expect conferences like Gamescom and possibly even TGS to have some nice reveals--especially since they'll be away from the insanity of E3 and have their own little hype cycles.

I'll be back later this weekend with the best in show for me.  'Til then.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bottom of the Pile - June 4th, 2014

I know, I know.   Weeks two and three of June are coming up shortly.

All-New X-Factor

Come now, Gambit.  You had to see this coming.  Also, you kinda deserved it for defining your superpower being irresistible to women. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Live E3 Commentary

Sunday, June 8, 2014

2014 E3 Hopes and Predictions

One thing you can say about me, I'm habitual in my lateness.   E3 is upon us once again, only this time I've been talking about it for months because quite frankly...this year has been pretty shite for announcements, with everyone using the excuse that we should "wait for E3".   At one point I literally watched some people try to count down from 100 days.   These gaming fans out here are thirsting, son.

I've heard conflicting rumors from everyone's new favorite source for gaming information (Twitter)--some say this E3 will be crazy, others claim you should only get excited for games you already know about.  Now to me, that makes E3 pointless since E3 should be about the new.  But hell, they've revealed so many games prior to the show that I honestly wonder if anything will be left to reveal at all.   Still, let's go down the list of hopes/predictions.

Prediction: More Information on the mysterious "X"

I've been excited for this game since the moment I saw it.  Nintendo's show last year really wowed me because I forgot they hadn't tried HD gaming yet--Mario Kart and Smash were actually some of the coolest parts of last year's show, but...full disclosure?  The Wii U sitting underneath my television was bought for X.  Exploring a vast, alien landscape in what appears to be a wide variety of mecha that can either fly and/or transform is something I dreamed about as a child.   It's unmistakably a Japanese RPG, but so far without any of the moe garbage or awful anime cliches that plague modern-day anime.

So here's my prediction: First off, we'll see the first story trailer for the game.  Finally the trailer will reveal X's actual name, and we'll finally get our release date.   Now, before you scoff at the release date part, let's go over some facts. This game is still listed on Nintendo's release schedule as coming out in 2014, worldwide.    We're already half of the way done with that--E3 generally gives us a look at the remaining titles due out at the end of the year.  Should Nintendo STILL have an intention to release the game this year, this is one of their last and best places to do so.   If we don't see a release date, then expect the game to be pushed back to 2015 to join the rest of the games we were all excited to see this year.

Hopes: Rocksteady gives more information on Batman: Arkham Knight

Thus far, aside from the initial CG trailer, all we've heard about from Arkham Asylum has pretty much been about the Batmobile.  Even the facts you think don't involve it.  They made the city five times larger...because of the Batmobile.  There are taller skyscrapers and buildings in the game...because you can eject from the Batmobile to pretty crazy heights.   Personally information on the story would be great.   More importantly, are Robin and Nightwing playable.   For me, that's the difference between Day One and waiting until it's half-off. 

Also I'm hoping for a release date, which will tell us more about the game.  If there are serious problems, then probably a Q2 or Q3 release.  If there aren't any serious issues and they're really only trying to give Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor some breathing room, then I'd guess Q1 2015, since that would still let the game turn a profit before the Fiscal Year ends.

Toss-Up Prediction: Injustice 2 makes an appearance

So on Twitter for about a month now Ed Boon has been teasing the appearance of a new game.  But he sort of flip-flopped between it being Mortal Kombat X and Injustice 2.  A couple days ago, Mortal Kombat X was finally revealed, settling the debate once and for all...or did it? 

Ed Boon's still kinda hinting at Injustice making an appearance.  He's known for trolling, so maybe that's what he's doing here.  Or maybe Injustice 2 is being worked on at the same time as Mortal Kombat X, even if it's in a much earlier stage.   Let's face it: both games made money, and NRS isn't going to stop making either any time soon.  If they're large enough to work on two titles, this could easily happen.   Let's just hope the next game doesn't have nearly as much DLC fuckery. 

....Okay, now I'm really kidding myself.

Hopes: Mass Effect: Contact doesn't break the streak

No, not that streak.  This is a different one.  inFamous: Second Son was the first Playstation 4 game I actually paid for, and it was excellent.   Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of the few games (left) coming out this year that I'm excited to play.   Neither of those franchises appealed very much to me last gen, but improved graphics and changes in art design made a huge difference. 

Mass Effect "4" has long been in the works.    We also know it's not called Mass Effect 4, and the most reliable rumors say it'll be called Mass Effect: Contact.   Whether that's true or not remains to be seen.  Hell, whether it makes an appearance at E3 even remains to be seen, but the rumor mill certainly believes it strongly enough, and I don't know very many titles EA could be working on that could help them fill out their "half a dozen new game reveals" they've been boasting about if we're taking Bioware out of the picture.  Let's see.

No Chance Prediction: Rockstar reveals Agent

So, Agent is this title that was initially revealed back in 2009.  All we got was a single logo (shown above), and this description:

Agent takes players on a paranoid journey into the world of
counter-intelligence, espionage and political assassinations during the height
of the Cold War at the end of the 1970s. 

The one Rockstar game that actually sounds interesting to me, so naturally there's been zero news on it for nearly six years.  Fortunately, I understand that's semi-normal for them, and Rockstar's supposed to release a PS4/XB1 title before April 2015.   Now, smart money says this is just GTA V which I couldn't care less about.  But who knows?  Maybe they finally finished this thing.

Hopes: Triad Wars makes an appearance.  ...And isn't simply online.

Sleeping Dogs is one of my favorite games of all time.  They created a beautiful city utilizing an exotic locale, a by-the-numbers but very well written story, and a simple but fun combat system, then tossed you in it to have fun.   Really, all I want is an off-line mode.  I don't care if there's an online mode at all, just so long as it accompanies a robust campaign, a la Watch_Dogs or even GTA V.   Don't let me down, United Front.  Please.

Prediction: Uncharted is a lot further along than people think

Naughty Dog has had two teams for awhile now, and Uncharted has been rumored to be in development for something like three years.  It's a given that we won't see this title in 2014, but I do think this summer might not be the worst time to release Nathan Drake's latest outing.   That said, I doubt we'll get more than a loose "2015" date for the game.  MAYBE they'll nail it down to the Quarter.

Hopes: Just one new IP

Again, I hope for just one new IP--or even a new revival--that I can get excited for.  I know most of Sony's surprises (The Last Guardian is almost a given, and Project Beast seems confirmed at this point) and they don't particularly impress me.    More accurately, I'm hoping for a new RPG or a new open-world game I can sink my teeth into.  Last year I got my wish in the form of The Order: 1886.  Can I go two for two?   Let's see.

Either way, I'll be back here on Wednesday (hopefully) with my Gaming Calendar for the remainder of the year, and 2015.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bottom of the Pile - May 28th, 2014

All-New Invaders

Wait wait wait.  Captain America is immune to radiation?!   So, the guy who should've pulled Rick James away from the gamma testing site should've been Steve.  Could've saved us billions in property damage.