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The Darker Side of Animal Crossing

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Ever since the unveiling of Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U, whenever you think of the Villager, you think of this. 

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Creepy and disturbing, I know. Yes, it's a bit terrifying that a supposed innocent anonymous villager is potentially an axe-wielding psychopath, but this my friends, is barely the beginning.  There exists a darker side, a truly horriffic town, that is straight out of the Twilight Zone on a very, very bad day.  

One of Animal Crossing: New Leaf's new features is the Dream Suite.  Once you approve and fund this public works project, the Dream Suite allows you to visit someone's town via a dream. In it, you can roam around and mess with things without worrying about destroying or upsetting their town. There have been some inventive towns, but none so mysterious, so intriguing, so ... god damned unnerving, as this one. What you're about to experience is a handful of shots I took from my trip... in Aika's Village. 

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You arrive in Aika's Village with the ground covered in what can only be described as shiney. Aiko, pictured in the Mrs. Santa Clause outfit, always seems to be close by.  I would assume she's only stalking me, waiting for the perfect moment to kill me in my sleep. The age old question: if I die in a dream, do I die in real life?

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Roaming through Aika's Village, endless rows of cloned flowers and golden peach trees (not shown) line the northern border of the town. To the southwest, a graveyard is peppered with trash, rotten turnips and dead saplings that never made it. Husks of what used to be beautiful Perfect Pear trees are all the evidence that remains of a once flourishing paradise. If I'm not tripping over dead vegetation, I'm stubbing my toes on one of the many tombstones. 

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A hedgemaze pock-marked with holes and laden with pitfall traps baits and snarees unwary trespassers. Candy litters the ground, accompanied by cake.  Yes, there is cake, and one needn't think twice whether it is a lie or not. Coffee can also be picked up and imbibed, but no matter how many sips you take, it will not wake you up.  Not here, and especially not while you're struggling to climb out of a pitfall. 

Before we continue on with our trip into madness, I want to show you a pic of one of a room from one of the four player's main residences.  This is the Garden of Eden room. 

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Unfortunately, the forbidden fruit didn't make it into the picture, but you get the idea. Now, I'm actually surprised to see these uncensored pieces of art, and I'm rather pleased to see they weren't. I wasn't expecting to see this at all in Animal Crossing. As for the room, it obviously has some symbolic meaning in Aika's Village; a representation of Paradise existing in a world far from it. 

Back to madness. There is house more disturbing than the other three combined. A house that literally gave me goosebumps, something I rarely get from games unless I'm playing a Silent Hill game. These next shots came from this house. 

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A room full of bookcases forming a maze. Before you even step foot in the path-obscured room, you are greeted by a lifeless doll, with an axe sitting in front of her. What the hell... 

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The same doll, with the same axe, sitting next to Mr. Clause, who is actually a mannequin. Did it HAVE to be a mannequin? The barricades.. is that to keep me from messing with Aika's display? Or is it meant to keep the doll from killing me with the axe?

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That freaking doll again, with that freaking axe! Those paintings!  Everyone but two people crossed out!  Who are those people? Why are they crossed out? What will happen to them? Has something already happened to them?

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This one really gave me the creeps.  The picture doesn't even do it justice.  For one, I couldn't even capture all the furniture that had the child paintings all over them. Two, you don't really get the sense of it without hearing the static coming from the TV.  Honestly, I was ready to leave at this point, but I had to delve just a bit deeper...

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I should not feel this way about an Animal Crossing game!  I mean, I'm incredibly freaked out right at this moment!  Who does that outline belong to? Her brother? Sister? Aika herself? Did Aika kill that child? Or did someone kill her?

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You are god damned right, I want to wake up!

Ladies and gentlement, what you've seen is only a small fraction of what's out there in Aika's Village.  There's also a small piece of shoreline that contained something buried that I wasn't able to get to because I couldn't find the wetsuit to swim over there, and I also had a present waiting for me by the side of the bed.  It was that damned doll.  The town was designed by a Japanese player. If you own the game, her Dream Code is 2600-0218-7298. I suggest you visit it. It will be even more disturbing for you when you hear the music that plays in each house.

Even though I'm immensely creeped out by this town, I'm also incredibly impressed by it.  It's given me a new understanding of the power Animal Crossing holds for creativity. It also makes me quesiton if the person who designed the town is mentally stable.  Taking something as innocent as Animal Crossing and twisting it so, well, it makes you think regardless. 

Where have my reviews gone?

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You may or may not have noticed, but I haven't been uploading user reviews as often as I have before.  I've still been reviewing my ass off, but now when I do a review, if it's a relatively new game, it gets submitted exclusively to DefaultPrime.com  I just wanted to let you all know in case you were wondering. Since I'm writing this blog, I thought I might as well share with  you my most recent review.  It is of course for The Last of Us.  Fair thee warned: Tom and I agree. 

The Last of Us

Why you shouldn't concern yourself with Kinect 2.0 [edited 6/21]

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For the past couple of months or so, I've been very anti-MS, but in the wake of yesterday's good news, I feel good enough to write something positive about MS now, even daring.  I'm going to be defending the Kinect 2.0.

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Xbox One is now region free. There are no longer DRM restrictions on used games.  Most importantly, the system will no longer require a 24 hour connection check. Major deal breakers have gone away, but there's still one major hang up that a lot of people have with the Xbox One. Kinect 2.0

http://www.edge-online.com/news/xbox-ones-kinect-isnt-always-on-says-microsoft/

I think people are forgetting articles like this one.  

A post on Xbox Wire explains that if you dont want the Kinect sensor on while playing games or enjoying your entertainment, you can pause Kinect. Essentially Kinect will not be forced upon players, but it will have to be actively turned off.

That's right.  You can turn it off.  If you don't want Kinect tracking your every movement while playing a game or watching a movie, you can turn it off.  Granted, you'll have to make a conscious commitment to turn off the Kinect 2.0, but if you can remember to do so, you can enjoy your console without fear of Big Brother.  

"But the Xbox One is always listening!"  Is it?

When the system is off, its only listening for the single voice command Xbox On This feature can be turned off as well. Some apps and games may require Kinect functionality to operate, so youll need to turn it back on for these experiences, said Microsoft.

That's right, even though its standard standby option is to listen for that one key phrase, you can actually turn Kinect 2.0 off completely, even when the system is off.  And, if your paranoia is getting the better of you, can you simply unplug the Kinect from the Xbox One, or better yet unplug the entire system. 

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"Xbox, turn Kinect off!" 

 "But it records my face and heartbeat and junk while I watch things!"  Valid concern.  Indeed it does, but remember this:

The platform holder also said that personal data stored on Xbox One and picked up by Kinect, like videos, photos, facial expressions and even your heart rate, will not leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission.

So, whatever Kinect 2.0 picks up on, you can keep it from leaving the Xbox One. If you don't want your personal data and your emotional responses shared, simply don't allow it.  If you have no problem with companies acquiring data that you feel is harmless to collect, you can let them have it. Now, I also understand the concern that Xbox One will secretely submit that information the next time it connects. Although that sounds a little conspiracist to me, here's the beautiful part. Since the Xbox One no longer requires the internet to function as a gaming console, you don't have to worry about that anymore, even if were true. Just keep the Xbox One offline. And well, even if they were secretely submitting information, that would be a scandal that MS simply doesn't want to deal with right now. They're already under a large enough microscope. 

"But the military deems it a threat!" 

I was trying to find that article the Navy Times wrote about the Kinect 2.0 invading military privacy, but it appears to have been retracted.  Even so, that was a valid concern, which is now rendered useless due to the fact that Xbox One no longer requires a check in.  Even if it did, the option to turn the Kinect 2.0 off is still there, and could be ordered by bases to be kept off.

Also, there's this on going bill called We Are Watching You Act. If this passes, this is only good news. It would mandate that anything the Kinect 2.0 does that tracks your info in anyway will need to be disclosed to you.  You'd either be able to say "No thanks." or simply stop using the app or service or even the Kinect 2.0 itself. You also need to remember that we've been recorded before. For example, when you call in to a call center, you're given a prompt saying "We may be recording this conversation for training purposes" or something akin to it. If you have no problem with it, they listen. If you don't want the conversation recorded, you can tell them no, or could just hang the phone up. Even websites that require membership disclose the fact that they might share your information, or at least give you a chance to opt out. Being transparent is something that I think is in Microsoft's best interest here, and they should convey this with their customers immediately before this bill even passes. 

"But if I can turn it off, why the hell am I REQUIRED to have it connected to the Xbox One?"

Ah. That's the:

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Why DO you need to have Kinect 2.0 connected to the Xbox One in order for the console to work? Could it be the same reason that Sony's PS3 had an advantage over the 360 by having an HDD as a requirement so developers knew every console had it and could plan for it? That's my theory. Now, developers know that Kinect 2.0 exists with every Xbox One, and they can make features for their games that will utilize it.  It will be a deciding factor for which version of a multiplatform title a gamer will buy.  If they like Kinect, they'll go for the Xbox One. I'm also sure that developers will still use the standard controller, but now Kinect can play an important optional and supplemental role in gamers looking for and accepting new ways to play. 

"But dammit, I don't want to pay an extra 100 dollars for a bundled in accessory I'll never use!"

I'll concede there.  THAT sucks.  The fact that there's no Xbox One bundle without Kinect 2.0 is a mistake. But you know what?  That's only a problem for you if you want one right away. You don't need to pay 500 dollars for a console at launch. You can wait for a price drop.  You can wait for a sale.  You can buy a used one.  You can... steal one (although I'm not condoning such behavior). The thing that you need to keep in mind here that makes the 500 dollar price point far less egregious than a 24 hour connection check is that it doesn't prevent you from playing it when you obtain it.  It only inconviences your ability to buy it exactly when you want it. Also keep in mind that there are benefits to wait for the price to come down. You'll most likely avoid the first couple waves of hardware failures, and your available library will have filled itself out.  Also... you could just spend that time waiting by playing the PS4. :P  

I'm writing this because I feel that amongst the storm of such bad press, there are so many gamers out there who have simply lost focus on that very important ability to turn off the Kinect 2.0.  None of those security and privacy concerns should bother you. If you're bothered by the fact that it's packed in and you don't want to pay extra for something you're not going to use, again, you can wait for the price to drop, or for MS to come out with a Kinect-less SKU. 

"But...but... STAR WARS!"

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... You got me there.

BREAKING: Kinect may not be required after all.  Mind you, this is rumored.  If true, this is huge, fantastic news for all those worried about their privacy.  If true, people can simply just unplug it and the Xbox One will continue to work. However, the bundle will still cost 500 dollars, but could we see a Kinect-less Xbox One at 100 less?  MS would be nuts not to do this.  This would put them right back on a level playing field with Sony. 

UPDATED:  I should have figured it was too good to be true.  Rumor denied.  BOO-URNS!

The "Vocal Minority" Gets Results

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"Quit bit ching about it."
"If you don't like it, DON'T BUY IT!  That's all you got to do!"
"This is MS we're talking about.  They aren't going to listen to you!"
"Do you think your blog is going to change anything?"

All these are paraphrased, but these are the types of comments that I, and other bloggers who've voiced their oppositions against MS and their policies, received.  Eat. Your. FVCKING. Words. 

http://news.xbox.com/2013/06/update

Don Mattrick himself bowing down before the consumer, admitting that their policies were wrong. Mattrick and everyone else at MS were confident that they were doing what was right for them. THEM.  Not US.  So, us as in we, told THEM, "No, that's not going to work."  Granted, some of us did it... more passionately than others, but at the end of the day, they listened. 

You know, we shouldn't really applaud MS for doing a 180 on their policy stances, but we ended up applauding Sony for simply not doing anything.  The question remains: do we applaud you for wisening up?  Or, do we applaud you for being scared shytless that your machine wasn't going to sell in the state it was in?  Regardless of why you caved, you did cave, and now those major deal breakers are gone: the DRM and the 24 hour connection check.  You've restored my faith in your company, so now you get to earn my business again. I can now buy an Xbox One with a clear conscience, and I'll preorder one when GameStop allows preordering again.

Now, I can enjoy a system that has: 

  • Dead Rising 3
  • Crimson Dragon
  • Quantum Shift
  • Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare
  • Kinect that actually doesn't require me to move my furniture around
  • TV! (ok not, really)

Now I can enjoy a system that lets:

  • Gamers across the world play without worry of region-locking
  • Gamers in the military play while on break
  • Me retain the rights that I desparately hold dear
  • Me play a fvcking single player game OFFLINE!

I want to quickly touch on Kinect, because I never really blogged about it before.  My MS rants were focused on the policies.  So, what do I think of Kinect?  I still think it's unneeded.  I bought an original Kinect for the 360, but it's still boxed up after I found out there's not furniture arrangement in my tiny room that lets me enjoy the device. Hearing that the Kinect 2.0 works around furniture now makes it more appealing to me.  I don't like the idea that it has to be always connected to the Xbox One to work, and I wish they made a cheaper SKU without it, but since I'm getting it bundled, I might as well try to warm up to the thing.  I'm also not keen on the whole NSA thing, but I don't plan on gaming in the buff or do anything illegal in front of the camera. 

I cannot believe that I'm so happy that a company came out and said they're going to do something now that they should have done in the first place.  Some may chalk it up to Sony for simplying not going MS's old route, but why do you think Sony did nothing? They listened.  True, the Internet may be a "vocal minority", but when you get passionate people in that minority to speak loudy enough, it's like listening to the majority. This feels extremely liberating to know that we fought against Microsoft and their policies.

We won, and what's best about this for them is the war's over before the boycott could ever truly begin.  Their sales will suffer less now, and we no longer have to exclude the Xbox One when considering a next gen purchase. Everyone's happiest when they're given choices.  That's how the free market works.  To put restrictions on freedom is never a good thing. It hurts you, the company, and it hurts us, because we love your products.  We as consumers should never have to say "I want it, but I hate everything that comes with it." Console releases should be a joyous occasion, not a series of scandalous events.  Thank you, Microsoft, for coming to you senses.

Bonus content: Never forget. Courtesy @kbaily.  Had it not been for her, I'd have missed it completely. 

The Last of Us: AAA Experience, Triple Meh Gameplay

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What's that? Lucas isn't doing an anti-MS blog?

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Anywho, moving on.

Today, the world is playing this game.

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EDIT: It's been pointed out to me that these creatures in the game are not zombies, but living breathing infected. They are zombie-like in nature, so that explains the confusion.  To avoid me having to replace every zombie with infected, from this point on just read zombie as infected.  If anything else is contextually out of place, chalk it up to late night proofreading.

I would be included in that group.  I went to Best Buy today to pick it up, and I've spent a good four or so  hours on it. I will say, as an experience, the game's phenomenal.  Its sense of atmosphere and tension is quite immerserve. I love the graphics and the way the characters are portrayed. And the surprises?  Emotional. Loving the story. 

But.. the gameplay fails to win me over.

It's not a very good stealth game

I remember Tom catching some flak for this in his review of the game, but he's right. The rediculous enemy AI really disrupts the immersion. Enemies have poor eye sight, even the humans, not being able to spot you at the other end of the hall. You're obviously jutting out from a corner, right next to them while they're looking your way, and they still don't see you. Your partners will run right in front of enemies at times, and won't set off their alarms. 

The biggest issue I have with the stealth is the Clickers.  These mutated zombies are supposed to have highly tuned senses of hearing, and the game even tells you they can hear you when you're crouched.  Yet, I can creep right by them moving at full crouching speed and they just keep hobbling about. My AI partners fumble into them; we vault obstacles; I can take a zombie out right next to a Clicker, and its none the wiser.  If I can "hear" them through walls, they should be able to hear us talking to each other from three feet away.  It's just flatout dumb. 

It's not a very good action-adventure game

Now, this is obviously subjective, because some people really enjoy the action; I don't.  I think the shooting's terrible.  Granted, I might suck at it, but I find it not very fun at all to even try to use my guns when the ammo is so scarce, even by survival horror standards.  Plus, the melee isn't the best, and sometimes you can't even escape from getting jumped even when you're prompted to.  

I know this isn't Uncharted, but the the Uncharted comparisions will inevitably be made. Naughty Dog's previous three titles have been Uncharteds, and the way The Last of Us is presented storywise exhibits a bit of an Uncharted vibe, just with a post-apocalyptic theme instead of a treasure hunting one. So, instead of climbing majestic mountains and scaling ancient architecture, I slink through dirty alleyways, muck about in sewers and crawl through dilapidated buildings, all without any climbing (there's the normal hoisting one's self over a ledge, but that's it). This makes the downtime between each action scene less interesting, at least to me. 

It's not a very good zombie/survival horror game

I say this because it really isn't as scary as it should be. I jumped in a couple places, but it was one of those "BOO!" type scares. The zombie designs are very typical, and the Clicker designs are a joke. It's like someone had a bad intern exam of making a Headcrab mask, and put it over a zombie's head. They also wander around sometimes like they were comical versions of themselves, more drunk then they are infected, not to mention the guards that can't make up their minds which way they want to investigate something. Also, there are some freshly turned zombies that just stand in one place, crying, with their head in their hands.  When I first saw this, I thought, "OOOOH!  THE WITCH!" from Left for Dead. Walked right up to it killed it with no problem. 

Don't get me wrong, though, the game's definitely worth playing, and any PS3 owner should add it to their library. I'm just not one of the many people going, "OOH PERFECT GAME! 10" like the rest of the Internet.  The presentation is just outstanding, clearly a product of the Naughty Dog pedigree. The gameplay itself, however, falls short of perfect. Again, I find myself agreeing with Tom McShea.  Poor guy, gets so much hate and outrage aimed towards him when really... he's just voicing an honest opinion that happens to be in the minority.

Now if I can, I just want to talk about AAA games being overhyped. In my mind, this is one of them. It seems that the majority of the gaming populace is too easily wowed with high production values.  All it takes is amazing graphics, full of set pieces and explosions - or in The Last of Us's case, zombies - and halfway decent gameplay to become a stellar game. Too often, they're blown away by the cutscenes and the world and the characters that they don't spend enough time focusing on the game's weaker points. It seems GameSpot's harsher scoring criteria should be adopted by more people, I'm not saying low ball games to just low ball them (and really Tom's score of an 8 is far from low balling), but I'm saying that 9s and 10s shouldn't be handed out to AAA games just for showing up.. 

Xbox One to work in only 21 countries at launch

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http://www.gamespot.com/forums/topic/29406249/x1-only-works-in-21-countries-at-launch.?page=0

I'll stop writing negative Xbox One blogs when MS stops fVcking up. I'm warning you, if you're tired of my MS bashing, leave now.

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You that see that massive piece of land shaped roughly like Africa?  That would be Africa. I'm sure Africans are gamers, just like the rest of us, and as one of the seven continents of the world, I'm sure they're a very important part of the world. So, Africa just doesn't seem to be important to MS? I knew their Internet-bound console would leave out millions of gamers, but I had no idea they'd leave out an entire CONTINENT! How can MS be a global market leader when they can't even sell their product to 1/7th of the world? 

It really is sad that we have to see something like this happen all because of a policy that requires something that doesn't need to be always online to be online. 

"Piraters are bad!"

Solution? Fvck Africa. 

"Used games are bad!"

Solution? Fvck Africa

"But teh cloud! It makes games better!"

Not in Africa, because they fvcking can't play those games!

Ok, ok, winding it down a bit. This is only at launch. MS will eventually get Xbox Live working in Africa, or at least a handful of countries there, so that the Xbox One will be able to communicate and authenticate. People in Africa who want an Xbox One will just have to wait. Will it be worth it for them?  How do they feel about this?  And it's not just Africans, but how does the rest of the world's countries feel about being left out at launch, even though the consoles could very easily be shipped there?

Well.. at least they can buy an Xbox 360. 

http://www.gamespot.com/e3/microsoft-xbox-one-will-be-leading-product-people-love-and-embrace-6409895/

Yep, even the people who live in Africa that have perfectly capable internet will not be able to use an Xbox One, but they can still buy a 360. This Don Mattrick is full of shyte. How can the Xbox One be "the leading product people love and embrace" when an entire continent can't use it! I'm getting really tired of this MS damage control. The point of damage control is to... uh... hold on a second.. I know this one... just can't put my finger on it... umm... oh yeah!  TO CONTROL DAMAGE!

Oh, and then there's this new little gem. 

http://www.gamespot.com/e3/microsoft-the-idea-of-ownership-is-morphing-6409910/

Microsoft is trying to tell us that our idea of ownership is changing?  No, THEIR idea of our ownership is changing.  They're trying to tell us that because things are becoming more connected, we have more abilities to use our content than ever before, yet that somehow justifies them taking away our actual rights to ownership.  So, does this excuse all the restrictions they've placed on our games? Does this excuse a policy that cuts out the entire African landmass from being able to play Xbox One?  I love this little bit from the article.

"One example Spencer pointed out was the ability for up to 10 family members to log in and play Xbox One games wherever they are."

THANK YOU MICROSOFT FOR ALLOWING UP TO 10 OF MY FAMILY MEMBERS TO PLAY MY GAMES!  I'm shocked that they tried to make this a positive bulletpoint.  I suppose we should consider ourselves fortunate enough that up to 10 of our family members can access our content, considering every family in Africa can't even access the god damned machine!

And this one here:

http://www.gamespot.com/e3/microsoft-disc-based-market-really-important-for-xbox-one-6409984/

Haha, no they're not!  Discs are useless once they load to the HDD. You don't even need the disc to play once you've installed it. So, because of that, this justifies MS's policy of 24 hour check-ins to validate. If that weren't the case, you could easily pass on the disc to someone else and have them install it and keep passing the disc around. All MS had to do was require the disc to boot, just like previous consoles have done. They only stuck with discs to prevent those opposed to DD from speaking out in rage but if you are REQUIRED to have BB and REQUIRED to install the disc, you might as well just download the games.  Sure, hackers would just get a CD key like they do with PC games, and I guarantee you it's only a matter of time before the Xbox One gets cracked. Then, Africa will be able to enjoy Xbox One. 

One last one: 

http://www.gamespot.com/e3/xbox-one-terms-of-service-prevent-class-action-suits-6410038/

Already set in place in 2011, MS will continue requiring its consumers to waive their rights to class-action lawsuits. To be fair, MS isn't the only doing this, as Sony updated their Terms of Service as well. I am not that keen on that idea, and I'm also suspiscious of the legality of such a policy, but you should always have the right to sue a company if they do you wrong and won't compensate. It's just kind of a shame that we're so eager to give up our rights just to play video games. I know there's an entire continent out there that would love to give up their rights to sue you, MS, just to play your games. 

If you're tired of my MS ranting and you still read up to this point, well, I'm sorry you did.  I warned you... I myself am tired of writing these blogs, but I find that it's therapuetic, even a bit cathartic. I've been gaming for a very long time, probably before some of you were born, and I've never, ever seen fvckery like this. This baffles the mind. And you wonder why the press continues to paint MS in such a negative light. I got news for you. They aren't. It's MS who's painting themselves in a negative light. The press is only directing attention to it. 

Ok, fine. Let me say some negatives about the other companies to make this blog sound a little more fair. I'm sick of Nintendo always rehashing older franchises when they have a number of older franchises they could draw from. Plus, making some new ones wouldn't hurt. And I'm tired of the Wii U collecting dust. We need games, dammit!

I can't believe Sony would charge for online multiplayer now!  Those bastards!  Honestly, that was a major screw up that hurt their mage a little, just when everyone was putting their entire trust in them.  Plus, how the hell can you make such an ugly, ugly console!  It's like I'm looking at the Xbox One, only after five shots of whiskey! 

And well, enough negativity in general.  Here's a video of kittens!

 

EA and Ubisoft E3 Press Conference impressions

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Nintendo impressions
Microsoft Impressions
Sony Impressions

I'm doing to do this one a bit differently. Instead of typing each one out as transcripts like I've usually been doing, I'm going to groups games that I see in three different categories. Games I Want, Games I'm Interested in, and Games I'll Pass On.  I'll still have overall thoughts for each one.  Sorry if the new format caught anyone off guard, but I'm finding myself running out of time. 

EA

Games I Want: 

  • Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare - I absolutely loved Plants Vs Zombies. To get more of it is only a good thing. Unfortunately, I'm only hearing about Xbox One and 360.  Exclusive? Anyway, this game's a third-person action game. You can still set up towers, but now you're free to move around and shoot at zombies. The demo looked absolutely fun and exuded charm and humor.  
  • Need for Speed: Rivals  - I love Need for Speed so this is a given. Looks like it'l be a reuion of drivers vs cops again. They showed a nifty demonstration where a multiplayer game blended seemlessly into a single player game. The game itself looks really fun, just what I'd expect from an NFS title. Oh, and apparently there's an NFS movie coming out starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul. 
  • Mirror's Edge 2 - I already saw the trailer before, but I'm enjoying it a second time. And, I'm so relieved that it's going multiplat, because I'd be quite angry if it was Xbox One exclusive.  

Games I'm Interested In: 

  • Titanfall - I saw a bit of this during the MS conference.  It looks like a lot of fun, especially when you get in the mechs.  
  • Star Wars: Battlefront - This game got a quick tease.  I never played a Battlefront game, but I think I would like to in the future. 

Games I'll Pass On: 

  • Dragon Age: Inquistion - Surprised to see this game here?  Well, I was entirely put off by the direction Bioware took Dragon Age 2 in, so the announcement of this title just doesn't do anything for me.  I'm sure it will do great things in its own right, but I doubt I'll be playing it. 
  • NBA Live 14 - Not really into sports game that much, but I have to say the bounceTek software they're showing off really helps the game look more realistic. 
  • Madden NFL 25 - DIE ALREADY, JOHN MADDEN!
  • FIFA 14 - Never been into soccer. But hey, Drake's a real big fan!
  • UFC - Seeing a trend here? At least it's nice to see actual UFC athletes endorsing a game they're starring in... "Fight fans everywhere will get to experience this game."  NOT XBONE GAMERS WITHOUT INTERNET!  HO HO HO!
  • Battlefield 4 - I just don't like modern war games.  At leat there was a 64 player demonstration... 

So, as you can see, there'ss a lot of games that I'm going to pass on.  Several of them are sports games, and that's why EA conferences generally aren't my favorite E3 conferences to watch.  PvZ: Garden Warfare was a real delight, but I'm really hoping it's going multiplat. Also, they quickly plugged a Peggle 2 announcement, and I loved Peggle, so I'm looking forward to that. There were also a lot of prerendered trailers and teasers with no gameplay footage shown, such as Dragon Age and Star Wars Battlefront.  Ending the show with the Mirror's Edge 2 announcement  did manage to leave a good impression with me though, so overall, personal sports game bias aside...

Rating: C+

Ubisoft

Games I Want:

  • Splinter Blacklist - What can I say?  I love the series.  Sucks that Michael Ironside isn't the voice anymore, but I'm sure I'll love the game nonetheless. The preassembled footage looks pretty interesting, and I can't wait to get my hands on it to try it for myself. 
  • Rayman Legends - The only question is... what platform do I get it for? They showed off a fun prerendered trailer, and some more gameplay footage.  I honestly cannot wait for this game!
  • The Crew - From the trailer they showed, it appears to be come kind of open world driving game. One of the developers came out to talk more about the game, saying that you'll be working your way into a criminal organization. The gameplay demo they showed off looked fantastic.  Originally, I put this in Interested, but I bumped it up to Want.
  • Watch Dogs - Maybe I should make a category for I WANT IT FVCKING NOW!  I've been anticipating this one since it was shown at the last E3. I love the unique spin they have on the sandbox genre.  The whole futuristic stealing personal info setting is widly intriguing. They showed off a prerendered trailer. I was hoping for stage demonstration. 
  • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Another must have title. I've been playing the AC games since the first and loved them. The CG trailer looks amazing as usual. And, they showed off another CG trailer as well, soundtracked by some beautiful music. I'm disappointed they didn't show any gameplay footage, though. 

Games I'm Interested in:

  • South Park: The Stick of Truth - I know I'll probably want to play it, but I wish they showed off some gameplay.
  • Trials Fusion and Trials Frontier - I remember playing the first Trials and it was pretty fun. I wouldn't mind checking them out. 
  • The Division - There was a really intriguing and even scary in a paranoid way trailer about the collapse of the world due to a pandemic. The gameplay footage that follows shows a team of people working together as they scout a post apocalypitc city. There's lots of overlaying interfaces, such as maps. Gunplay features a pop and shoot cover system. The reason why I haven't put thsi in the Want category is because I'm not sure if it's online only, or if there's a single play mode.  A story mode would easily bump this up to want.

Games I'll Pass On: 

  • Rocksmith 2014 - This is what Ubisoft decides to start their conference with?  Anyway, I'm not into guitars at all, and this is a very complex version of Guitar Hero. Total pass. 
  • The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot - It looks like multiplayer dungeon raiding game. It has humor to it, but I just haven't seen enough of the game to say whether or not I'll be intersted in it. They showed off a funny CG trailer.
  • Just Dance 2014 - Just not intersted in dancing games. Plus, the song selection sounds like it will be horrible. They had Pitbull during the video, and I can't stand him. Plus, I saw Nikki Minaj's name thrown across the screen, and I can't stand her either. 
  • Rabbids Infvasion - This is an interactive TV show?  I wonder how that works. Good thing someone explained it. So, it's using tech on XBox One to point and shoot things at the TV while it's playing the show. And... now I've bumped this down to Pass.

 Overall thoughts: Well, you can see in direction comparison to EA, Ubisoft has a lot more games that I want. I personally feel they had a stronger showing, although I'm disappointed in no gameplay demos for both AC IV and Watch Dogs. I'm very curious about The Division, and I really, really hope it isn't strictly online, because that kills games like that for me. I like to explore at my own pace, and MMOs just ruin that experience. Anyway... I'd have given this conference a higher score except, Aisha Tyler just had to host it again, and featuring a t-shirt with #girlwood across it.  That says it all, right there.  Rating: B

Nintendo Direct E3 Impressions

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Sony impressions
Microsoft impressions

EA and Ubisoft impressions

Satoru Iwata comes out and shows of a trailer right away.  It's for Pokemon X and Y for the 3DS. I really don't care much about it, because I never got into Pokemon.  I do, however, acknowledge the massive popularity of the franchise, so I know this will be huge. Looks like they've added some pet handling gameplay similiar to what was done in Nintendogs.  It's actually quite adorable. Iwata talks more about the new gameplay elements, including the fairy type, and that it's coming out in October.

Gameplay for the new Super Mario is now being shown. Mario jumps into a new animal suit, runs around bopping enemies, running up walls, etc.  The world looks beautiful and a lot of fun. It looks like you'll be able to play with other characters, such as Princess Peach, Luigi and Toad. There's snow levels, water levels, I saw one with a pipe system, they're riding some kind of water creature, I just saw that football koopa from Super Mario World.  The more of this game that's being shown, the more I want to play it! It's Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U.  Iwata comes out to talk more about it, saying there's online cooperative and competitve play. He also talks about the new animal suit, which is Cat Mario. Man, this just looks like too much fun!  It will be available in December. 

YAY NEW MARIO KART FOOTAGE! Oh man, this is going to be crazy!  I just saw the carts turn into anti-gravity vehicles, and they're riding on vertical surfaces and whatnot.  There's motorcycle and hangliders and the courses themselves look fantastic, if a bit too familiar.  There's a San Francisco inspired track where they jumped over a trolley.  It's Mario Kart 8, and damn I want it now!!!!!!  Iwata comes out again to talk a bit more about it. It's coming out Spring of next year... DAMMIT!

Now he shows off some gameplay footage for Mario Party U. Looks to be a lot of variety. They showed a slot car game that was playable on the gamepad with two players. It looks like you'll be able to play with your Miis in this game. Also, it will be delayed, as it was supposed to be out this summoer . Wii Fit U that was supposed to come out soon is now being delayed to add more features. He's also apologizing for more delays.  Typical.

He mentions how community members are continuously sumbitting incredible drawings. A new Art Academy will be released for Wii U, which will most likely take advantage of Miiverse.  It will be out this summer via eShop. You'll be able to post your artwork directly to Miiverse. It seems cool, and it makes me wish I was an artist, because my drawing ability sucks. :(

Nwo he talks about third party releases.  A montage is shown featuring Assassin's Creed IV, Batman Arkham Origins, a Batman game for the 3DS, Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut, Disney Infinity, Just Dance 2014 (please stop.. ), Rayman Legends, Scribblenauts Unmasked for both the Wii U and the 3DS, Disney's Planes, Shin Megami Tensai IV for the 3DS, Skylanders SWAP Force for the Wii U and 3DS, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Sonic Lost World (HURRAY!), Watch Dogs. Looks like a lot of support, but the majorit of it seems to come from Ubisoft. 

Iwata talks more about eShop games. Another video shows off Ballpoint Universe, Cloudberry Kingdom, Coaster Crazy Deluxe, Ducktales: Remastered (HURRAY!), Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystera, Mutant Mudds Deluxe, Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty, Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails, Shovel Knight, Spin the Bottle: Bumpies Party, A World of Keflings. Seems a lot of indie games are coming their way to Nintendo systems. Nothing really got me excited, though, except for the Ducktales remake. 

Iwata talks some more about A Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. and honestly, I simply cannot get myself to care about this game. So it looks a bit prettier, big deal. I'd much rather just have a fresh new Zelda, although I know one's in the works. All Nintendo needs to do to get me sold on this remake in include the dungeons they cut out from the original. It comes out in October. 

Finally, he shows more of The Wonderful 101.  God, this game's taking forever to release. Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen gameplay for this game, but it does remind me of an action-heavy Pikmin. There seems to be a lot of powers you can buy, and big enemies you can fight. This game needs to hurry up and come out. September 15th is a long ways off. He also mentions an upcoming Nintendo Direct will be dedicated to the game.

Next, Iwata makes a new announcement.  He shows a video which turns out be a new Donkey Kong Country. It looks fun and beautiful, with new scenery and gameplay, camera angles and the like.  I wouldn't mind playing this, as I loved Donkey Kong Returns. Dixie Kong also returns. It's called Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeeze, coming out in November.

Now, Iwata shows another trailer for Bayonetta 2.  They got rid of her beautiful long hair, which I don't care for.  They show off some gameplay footage, but it was a very short tease. AND IT'S PUSHED BACK TO 2014!  You kidding me?! That's disappointing. 

Next up is a trailer for the new Monolith game, which is obviously Xenoblade Chronicles 2.  It looks very pretty. It comes out sometime next year. It closes with new footage of Super Smash Bros, featuring a lot of new things from all sorts of franchises including Animal Crossing's Villager. Surprise, surprise, it's next year. Hah, Mega Man is now part of the roster, and oh man, his theme music's got me excited!  I think I'm going to have to get this game now.

Overall thoughts:

It's hard to judge this one, as it's not a standard Nintendo conference. It feels weird not seeing the likes of Reggie Fil-Aimes on stage, but I'll just have to settle when what I got.  As for the Direct, there wasn't much announced that I didn't already expect, but it was really exciting to see new gameplay footage of Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8. I'd love to pick up the new Donkey Kong Country as well. The show faltered, though, during the presentation of all the numerous third party games. It just ran through them so quickly. This is a very important Direct for Nintendo, so more is more. Also, more delays such as Bayonetta 2 slipping to 2014 is very disappointing. As much as I'm excited for the major Nintendo players, I'm also disappointed by any real surprises.  So, overall, the direct failed to really impress me.

Rating: C

Sony E3 2013 Impressions

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Microsoft impressions
Nintendo impressions

EA and Ubisoft impressions

The show begins with Jack Tretton. He talks and talks. Rambling off numbers.  I forgot how boring Sony conferences start off. Finally, he announces a new Vita bundle with The Walking Dead.  He mentions more about PS4 and Vita interconnectivity.  

The first game they display is of course the Last of Us. Sony always starts their shows off with games that are already out, or almost out. It looks fantastic, and I will definitely be picking it up this Friday. The next one they show is the Puppeteer, which looks fun and unique. Then, there's another game called Rain, which seems to be a very peaceful game about a ghost, or something of that nature. 

Now, there's more footage of David Cage's Beyond: Two Souls. It's actually looking really good, I'm just hoping the gameplay holds up. Next up, is Gran Turismo 3. Er, I mean 4. Er, I meant 5.  Crap... I meant 6.  I really enjoyed this trailer because of the song they used. I'm sure it will be an amazing game, but I haven't been interested in GT in a long time. 

Jack Tretton returns laying praise on Naught Dog for their Last of Us. He rolls out a trailer for Batman: Arkham Origins.  I'm really interested to see how well this game comes out, because Rocksteady won't be making it. It does look good, but I have my reservations. Tretton announces exclusive DLC for the PS3 version. September 17th will see a GTA V PS3 bundle with headphones. 

Andrew House comes out to talk about how the PS4 is continuously evolving. He's leading up to show the PS4.  Finally, the console itself is shown off for the first time and it's... a doorstop. Seriously, it's a freaking parallelogram.  Not feeling it at all. It's far from the ugliest console design, but it's just... weird. House talks and talks.  

Michael Linton CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment comes out to talk and talk. Ugh... "Movies, TV, music."  Well, at least he didn't spend an hour talking up entertainment stuff like some other company... Oh wait, House talks more about media services. I skipped.

Shu Yoshida comes out to talk about how large his team is. He talks about social media. This conference is starting to drag at this point now. He says 20 new titles are coming, 12 of which are new IPs.  Well, that beats MS's 8 out of 15. He shows off the first, which is by Santa Monica Studios, only known for God of War. The footage being shown isn't a God of War game, though, so I'm surprised. It's some game that looks like it's set in London. It's called The Order: 1886, and it looks pretty interesting, fighting monsters with futuristic weapons in old England. No gameplay was shown, though. Bummer. 

Now, a short clip is shown of Killzone: Shadowfall followed by a clip of Driveclub. Next one is inFAMOUS: Second Son. Looks frigging fantastic!  My first must buy on the PS4. Now, Knack is being show, and it looks pretty fun as well.  I might make this my second purchase. Yoshida confirms that Killzone, Drive Club and Knack will be available at launch, with Second Son available first quarter of next year. 

He now shows some footage from a new game called The Dark Sorcerer. For a cutscene running in real time, it looks extremely amazing. I missed the part where it was a tech demo, so there was a blooper of the actor screwing the line up. I got a laugh out of it. 

Adam Boyes comes out to introduce Amir Rao and Greg Kasavin (EX-GAMESPOT GUY!) of Supergiant games. They're showing off their new game Transistor. It looks like it's going to be quite similiar to Bastion in terms of gameplay and perspective, just with an entirely new setting.  The trailer also had some incredibly powerful music behind it. I'm looking forward to it. 

Boyes again, and he talks up more love for indie publishers, including the ability to self publish.  He rattles off a number of small studios. There's Clay Entertainment. They did Shank and Mark of the Ninja. Tribute Games, who did Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Young Horses, who made a game called Octodad. Switchblade Monkeys, who are making a game called Secret Ponchos. Ragtag Studios, who's making some kind of zombie game that looks like it's using the same style zombies as from Plants vs Zombies. Red Barrels who are making a scary game called Outlast. Outworld Inhabitants! Wow, I haven't heard anything from these guys in years! I was excited to hear that a new Oddworld game is coming, but disappointed to find out it's just a remake. 17-bit games, who did Skulls of the Shogun, who are now making GalaxZ.  That's a lot of time spent announcing indie games. And those games are exclusive. 

Diablo III will have exclusive trinkets. A video message of Tetsyua Nomura plays to unveil a trailer. Beautiful rendered cutscenes. It can only be the new Final Fantasy XV.  The gameplay looks nuts!  I definitely want this game. Nomura unveils one more teaser. A new Kingdom Hearts, and I'm not intereted in the series, so I'll be passing.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is now being talked about, but in the interest of time, I'm going to skip it. Same with Watch Dogs. Then, there's some movie talking about the new NBA 2K14. Not into basketball, so I'm skipping this too. The next game up is Elder Scrolls Online, but I have no interest in it, so again, I'm skipping. Now, a new teaser is shown, and it looks like Mad Max, and it is.  I'm looking forward that one!

Jack Tretton returns once again. Now, he's going to confirming policies.  PS4 supports used games with no restrictions.  Good. Paraphrasing, "When a person buys a PS4 title, he has the rights to do what he wants with that game.  Trade it, lend it, sell it."  Praise be to you Jack Tretton and Argo Fuc k Yourself, Don Mattrick. No online requirement to play.  Good. No requirement to check in online at all. 

Now he talks up PSN and its new features, including be able to play a game while it's still downloading in the background, cross game voice chat (FINALLY!), friends stuff and more. PS+ will continue foward to PS4.  Here's the thing that gets me, though. "Immersive online mulitplayer for PS4."  Looks like playing online for free on PS4 is out. Drive Club will be offered as a free game via Instant Game Collection.  

World gameplay premier of Desitny now rolls out. It's being done in co-op, and they're approaching a massive wall. Three minutes have passed and not a god damned thing has happened. This looks so underwhelming.  I'm skipping it. I'm sure the game will be fantastic, but this demo left a very poor impression with me. 

I believe it's House again? he's talking amore about Gaikai.  Their cloud service will be available next year.  You'll be able to play games via streaming across all Vita, PS3 and PS4. Now he announces the price, THREE NINETY-NINE!  And the crowd goes wild! He drives home "True consumer ownership and true consumer trust," as in "TAKE THAT MICROSOFT!"

The show closes with another music montage. 

Overall thoughts: 

Quite a lot of talking. Caused the show to have some pacing problems. But, there was so SO much shown, so many games listed they couldn't even spend time on most of them. Sony kicked MS in the nuts by confirming no DRM, restrictions or online checks, and delived a knee drop to the sternum with a price point one hundred dollars lower than MS.  Yep, I'm preordering one first thing tomorrow!  I think I'll preorder a few more games with the money I'll be saving by not buying an Xbox One. 

Rating: A