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Only a month late.....

The follow up to my previous blog post:

In 10 years, the entire landscape of the gaming world has changed, and to mark my 10 years at Gamespot, I thought it best to look back at 2003 and see how many and how big the differences really are.

Hardware
2003 saw the almighty PlayStation 2 continuing it's march towards world domination, leaving everything in it's dust. The Xbox and GameCube did get some nice games but they were never able to compete. Sony released the first images of their entry into the handheld market, with the PlayStation Portable (PSP). Nokia tried to enter the market as well with the N-Gage, a phone that also played games (it'll never catch on!!!), but it never gained any popularity.

2013 seems completely different, with the end of one generation and the beginning of the next. Microsoft and Sony will be releasing follow ups to their consoles, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Nintendo are continuing to dominate the handheld market, but are struggling with the Wii U.

Software
On the software side, wonderful games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, SSX 3, Jak II, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne kept gamers entertained, but 2003 will always be remembered as the quiet before the storm, as 2004 proved to be the peak of the generation for games.

The year also had a lot of trash, with the bugger mess Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, the movie tie in that provided tie ins were destined to be terrible, Enter The Matrix, sequels that did not meet the standards of their forebears (some things don't change it seems), Medal of Honor: Rising Son, Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, Deus Ex: Invisible War, Silent Hill 3, Soul Calibur II (OK, I'm being a bit harsh on this one) and Devil May Cry 2 to name just but a few.

News
Half-Life 2 leaked onto the internet, leading to a 12 month delay, Steam was released in a stable form, Square and Enix merged, EA were considered even more evil than they are now, Pro Evolution Soccer was ahead of it's time, and Obsidian Entertainment were founded.

Gamespot
I think we can all see how much this site has changed, videos are common place all over the site, Gamespot UK now exists, a lot of the editorial team have moved on, social media is everywhere, The WInd Walker got GOTY,and the ratings system was very different.

For comparison, check out how the site looked in June 2003: http://web.archive.org/web/20030623011343/http://www.gamespot.com/ 

Look out for my next post with some more ramblings from the past 10 years.

10 Years a Spotter

Where the heck did the time go?

I'll write a more comprehensive blog post over the weekend to celebrate (is that the right word?) this occassion.

From Bedrooms to Billions

Despite reading and following many Kickstarter campaigns over the last few years, I've never felt compelled to fund anything. However this documentary about the UK Games Industry, From Bedrooms to Billions, has peaked my interest, and with 11 days to go, already has the necessary funding to get made. What would be good to see is the added stretch goals met.

Glorious High Definition!

Like many people, I'm not the biggest fan of having to buy the same game over and over again. However, if a game receives a proper update for current systems, with all the bells and wistles, I may be tempted.

Having trophy hunted through Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, I've moved ontoMetal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and wow, what a sight. When originally released in 2004 in North America and Japan, the game already pushed the PS2 hardware to the max, but now with fluid 60fps (up from 30fps) and a full HD makeover, the game is up there with current generation offerings. I can't wait to see the later levels.

It's a shame that other companies rush these HD remasters out (Ubisoft and ironically Konami are guilty of this) instead of giving them the attention they deserve.

Happy New Year!

OK a couple of days late but better late than never!

2013 looks like being a big year for myself personally but also for the games industry, with new consoles from Microsoft and Sony certainly being announced at some point, but also some great games for current generation systems still to come.

No, thank you for the memories

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So today marks a very sad day for the UK and the wider games industry as a whole with the closure of Studio Liverpool. Sony has decided that other projects are going to be given priority, which is a shame, as we never did that the planned full PS3 Wipeout game and the now rumoured PS4 Wipeout game!

During the PlayStation era, I played Wipeout, 2097, 3 and 3 Special Edition, Dstruction Derby 1 & 2 and Rollcage 1 & 3, which made up a large part of my childhood and occured during a time when they helped change the games industry forever.

The PS2 era was relatively quiet for Studio Liverpool, with one Wipeout game and a bunch of Forumla 1 games, but Sony's first entry into the portable console market brought them back into the limelight. I bought a PSP on launch day with Wipeout Pure. To put it simply, the game was fabulous! Lots of content (and loads of free DLC!), solid gameplay, top notch visuals and of course a top of the chart soundtrack. The game was so good, I ended up breaking the PSP nib whilst frantically playing Zone mode.

Back onto consoles, Wipeout HD was my second PS3 game, my first downloaded title and the first game I reviewed on GS. The silky smooth 60fps 1080p visuals are clearly ahead of the times and again brought hours of fun.

To fully appreciate what this studio has done, a quick check of their wikipedia page shows just how many memorable games they have produced over the last 28 years, a longer time than most developers and even customers (including me) have been around.

Thanks Psygnosis / Studio Liverpool you will forever be remembered.

E3 2012 Predictions

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E3 is a mere week away, or at least the start of the various conferences, it?s time to start guessing what wonders we will hopefully see. By "guessing", I actually mean confirming what has already been confirmed and then wildly speculating! Here's a small selection:

Software

Sony have already announced God of War: Ascension and The Last of Us, which will no doubt have playable demos at their conference, but also look out for PlayStation All Stars: Battle Royale, LittleBigPlanet Karting, Dust 514, Sly Cooper Thieves in Time, and possibly new games from Media Molecule, Sucker Punch, Cambridge Studio, Evolution Studios and Guerrilla Games for a variety of PS3 and Vita games.

EA will as usual have their big FPS, Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Battlefield 3 DLC, a new Need for Speed game from Criterion, Dead Space 3, FIFA 13 and a bunch of EA Partners titles including the generic looking Overstrike, Crysis 3 and something Rock Band related.

Borderlands 2 is a game I'm excited for after the excellent job of Borderlands.

Activision will show Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, 007 Legends, Tony Hawk?s Pro Skater HD, all of which sounds pretty dull.

Halo 4 will be big for Microsoft, as will Forza Horizon and Fable The Journey, and they?ll probably pimp Kinect even more than last year.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance will have the first playable build of the game on show to the public, so expect lots of previews and media coverage, and hopefully a confirmed release date. It's also Metal Gear's 25th Anniversary this year, so hopefully Kojima Productions will announce either a Metal Gear Solid HD remake, or the next chapter in the series Metal Gear Solid 5. Also look out for Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2 and Mirror of Fate. Konami are also holding a pre E3 conference again on Friday 1st June 8am UK Time.

Ubisoft's conference will be very similar to last years, just with updated games, so look out for Assassin's Creed III, Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 and Far Cry 3. Hopefully the new Rayman and Splinter Cell games will bring some more excitement.

Square Enix will have the recently delayed Tomb Raider, hopefully with some gameplay, Sleeping Dogs, some Final Fantasy game and Hitman Absolution.

Namco will have Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tekken X Street Fighter and some Dark Souls PC stuff.

Capcom will have Devil May Cry, Lost Planet 3 and Resident Evil 6.

Sega will have Aliens Colonial Marines and probably some sort of Sonic game.

Value seem to be missing E3 this year, but they've said this sort of thing before with surprise results, most notable being Gabe Newell turning up Sony's stage at E3 2010 to announce Portal 2 for PS3. Like many others, I would love some sort of Half-Life 3 announcement.

Hardware

We?ve known they'll be full blown coverage of the Wii U from Nintendo, which will have to impress many, especially the hardcore fans with details of the power of the console and it's online features.

Most of the speculation at the moment is on whether Sony and Microsoft will reveal anything of their next consoles. Everyone seems to think there is little to no chance of new consoles, but given the constant Q4 2013 rumours going around for the 720, I?d be surprised/disappointed if nothing was mentioned. This is also the rumoured Steam box/cube/thing, but I can?t see that happening, and possibly something from Apple, but Apple likes to do things by themselves, so don?t expect them to turn up.

Epic games will be showing off Unreal Engine 4, which give us a glimpse into the future of any new hardware, hopefully with less of the problems that has plagued Unreal Engine 3.

Anyway, that's enough of my ramblings.

Charted!

I've finally finished the main campaign of Uncharted 3 for the first time and have come away thoroughly satisfied. Naughty Dog have outdone themselves in many ways, continuing the series high quality approach and fully justifying the need for £40 games.

I won't spoil the game for anyone but graphically the whole game is beautiful especially Nathan Drake's character animation. The audio and voice acting are at a very high standard as usual and the whole game just has that fun feel that makes me want to replay sections again and again. Some of the puzzles are trickier but there are fewer of them and the gameplay pacing is excellent. As has been mentioned in most reviews, the game is slightly shorter than Uncharted 2 and doesn't quite have the same impact. It does feel that for the first time, Naughty Dog were struggling with the 2 year deadline. None the less, it's still a spectacular adventure.

Anyway, look out for my review soon.

As for the future of the Uncharted series, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is coming out as a launch title for PS Vita and will hopefully link in to the trilogy in some way. The success of Uncharted 3 all but guarantees Uncharted 4 (not a Kart racer like previous generations), most likely as a PS4 launch title.

I would like to see the series shaken up a bit to keep things fresh and interesting; a deeper hand to hand combat system that feels less like a QTE, a more open world style, akin to Jak & Daxter, but keeping with a focused narrative, less guided platforming, again like J&D and older Tomb Raiders, and more expansive puzzles which aren't confined to one room, like the original Tomb Raider.

To put it simply, go buy Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. See you in the multiplayer!

Level 63...sigh

I don't normally comment on Gamespot levels, but having just reached the dreaded Level 63 (with 64 to come next), lets just say: this may take awhile.

See you in a year!

Charting!

My copy of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception came today (1 day early in the UK) and despite me currently really enjoying Borderlands, I had to play it.

Five chapters in and I'm absolutely loving it. I won't say anymore.

SCEE should also receive some credit for making the packaging of the Special Edition into a replica of Drake's journal. It really does look and feel good.

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