Fallout 4 on the way?

  With much speculation, and only 15 minutes until announcement, Bethesda has reportedly prepped a ‘launch’ video trailer for their new little ditty called Fallout 4. The excitement is slowly seeping out of my pores, yet I have too many games to fully get through before I let the ego grab hold and whip out the ol’ money bag at my local video game store (I refrain from using store names because; a) I don’t have popularity so there is no need for financial kicks and, b) my preference is my preference).   This update is late, but I know someone out there has not heard of this announcment (highly unlikely, yet possible) and bears no real information other than what I have seen and heard, not what has been reported to me.

  Indulge me for a moment: I have a lot of respect for the idea of Fallout and the series. I hold a lot of scenarios dear to my heart. Choosing an alliance in the past games have always troubled me which indicates to me that I do in fact have an emotional tie to the characters and the universe in which it is set. But the longevity of the games has always gotten the better of me. So here, with this new installment on the “next gen” I am going to recycle the personal quarrels that I had with the past titles, get over myself, and allow Fallout 4 to consume the little social life that I still hold dear to me.

  So at 10 am.m est, please if you’re curious, check out the Bethesda website : here : and enjoy the announcement one way or the other.

-FbG[R]

Ps4 Multimplayer Online Free this Weekend!

For those who have a Playstation4 but strictly play the single player versions are welcome to open up their point of view and step into the multi-player realm for free. That’s right, if you are apart of the no-pay-to play group, and don’t own a ps plus membership; have no fear for the rewards have come here!

Sony has announced on their blog that this weekend(Psblog): March 20th-22nd, ps plus will be free. I am not sure whether or not it is for all of the gaming universe (yet I would assume) but only a handful of games are posted up in visual form, but it could be that those are the promoted games up until now. Those games as of right now are included but not limited to: Battlefield: Hardline, GTAV, Destiny, FIFA15, and NBA2K15.

So pencil these dates in and cancel all social activity. SO let us all thank Battlefield: Hardline for its promotion technique, and allowing the psn to literally open its doors to everyone (not even for a price this weekend!). It’s like Obamacare, but so much more rewarding!

Hope the weekend goes smoothly! See you in the portal!

-FBG[R]

A zombie isn’t alive, its undead!


The idea of surviving a zombie apocalypse is… exciting! The question begs; what is your ideal zombie game? A smasher? A minimalist survival scenario? Would there be a specific approach you would take? Or would you just go in the zone and free-wheel it? There are as many ways to kill a zombie as there is to skin a cat. Luckily every way is just as fulfilling as the next and Dying Light is one for the taking. As of right now, (no real significant changes to the game itself) Dying Light is a top-shelf game for the next-gen that needs to be explored. Personally I am NOT a zombie fan (of which I can rant about on a later date) however the aspect of Dying Light has turned me on to the idea of slaughtering mindless creatures. But you’re not out of the woods yet, because the plot thickens rather quickly in Harran.

Once that game is unwrapped, the disc is popped in, and the software downloads and installs to your device (I am speaking from a PS4 point of view) it’s time for self-preservation. When the game starts you are being flown over an exotic city named Harran that is labeled as a quarantined zone. As the main protagonist, Kyle Crane descends you learn is motive of going in is strictly military based. Get the antidote information and get out. Does it work that way? We wouldn’t have a game on our hands if it worked that way, nor would it be worth a look! To introduce the newly parkour expert; Techland runs you through a series of warm ups to get you ready for the free running madness that takes place outside of “the Tower” (which is where you start off after you land with Crane).

The story itself is quite enjoyable. It isn’t a typical end of the world zombie apocalypse style that have been pushed out in prior years. As Crane you have some time sensitive events to accomplish, day time versus night time missions, as well as hundreds if not thousands of nooks and crannies to cypher through and discover to ‘patch-work’ your way through the city of Harran. Mindless zombies will be hanging out on the streets, in houses, on bridges eagerly awaiting your arrival to your checkpoint. Some infected runners, and the night stalkers at night, will be keeping your gear in check while you take Crane on his turbulent journey; oh and don’t forget about the giant mammoths that roll around (you can hear them by listening for deep grunts and loud smashes).

All in all, after all has been played out (minus the glitched trophies that I have been attempting at) Dying Light puts itself on my shelf as one of the best games in the zombie genre I have played. Is it a blend of games we have seen in the past? Yes. Does it make it any less significant? No. The story brings you into an area not yet explored. The zombies that they throw at you are a great combination of styles from “The Walking Dead”, “28 Days Later”, and a lot of “The Evil Dead”. The easter eggs in the game aren’t all that they are choked up to be, and honestly I don’t ever go looking for them unless I have beaten a game 100%, which still remains to be up in the air at this very moment.

The game grade I would give Dying Light is easily a 9, and stretching it possibly a 9.5. The replay of it is high, and the graphics themselves are stunning. Add the story, the messed up protagonist, and the senseless zombie violence and you have yourself a game worth adding to your collection!

-FBG[R]


A linear Lifestyle

From the beginning of time in video games, there have been shifts in how the games are made and how the story is told. Before it was a simple 8-bit pong story of a friendly competition and that has transitioned to a Wi-Fi-loaded, 1080p experience of just about anything you can think of. Want to build your world? – Minecraft. Want to rob a bank? – Grand Theft Auto. Want to play as a starter on the pitch for one of the best teams in the world? – FIFA. Games have come so far that now when my parents look at the TV. screen they are utterly stunned by the advancement of the graphical arts in video games. A graphical change has been the highlight of games for nearly 20 years now.
starfox
gtav4
It has always pushed the industry of gaming to its limits to ensure a look as similar to reality as possible. Although this has been a driving force within gaming, and for gamers, this isn’t the shift that I am trying to underline. Regardless of the graphical capability of a system, the MOST important part of the event is gameplay. Regardless of graphical art or not, if the game isn’t playable then well, it really can’t be tolerated. Nowadays the consoles have been hit hard, and influenced even more, by a competitor that has seemingly locked down the consumers want in play: the MMO.
As gamers, what is better than making your own character (the way you want it to look) and building up skills the way you see your character and yourself playing the game? It is this gift that has been presented to us, but most of the time it is a double edged blade. This ability, this paradigm shift, has come about and has brought with it a new wave of gamers, as well as a lot of dedication time that these gamers must endure. Whether you consider it good or bad, it is here to resonate for some time. The paradigm shift I am talking about is that of a linear gaming experience now having been turned on its head to resemble the ever popular MMORPG style of game that has been dominant on the PC.
When I was able to purchase my first console with my own allowance money, that console was the PS One. It came with the attachable screen for traveling purposes, but more importantly it was accompanied by games such as Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, and Crash Bandicoot. These games were great. What they all shared was a main character, a main villain, and a fun and entertaining story line to play through. Also, what these games had (we could label it almost, “this generation of gamers” created) was a linear game style. By saying linear style, I am referring to the build of the levels and how the game is played out. Yes, the games previous listed are great games (and are a PlayStation bias, but even if you look at how Halo was created, Gears of War) but there is almost an invisible director behind the scenes allowing you to move through the levels in a certain way. These certain games enable the player to treasure hunt, find Easter eggs, yet the story line itself is more influential to the style of play then the gamer’s decision on how to attain the final goal. In a sense, more limited for the gamer.

The paradigm shift now incases the gamer in the world. Decisions have to be made such as; “Do I conquer this stronghold, or do I continue with the story line (thank you Shadows of Mordor for allowing me to use this example)? Do chase after my goal of winning the last race, or do I upgrade my car as much as possible, race other players and then go after the last race? Should I play the non-existent story line in Destiny, or do I just choose to PvP to level to 20? Prior to these consoles (by these I mean PS4, Xbox One and ever more changing Wii U) these decisions weren’t as easily, or flexible. Granted if you were on the pc playing a massively multiplayer role playing game, then you did have this experience, however for the noobs out there, this will be a shocker. The linear game has been changed to a mantra heard at the last E3 – “open world”, “free roam”. These concepts have been making “their” way into the brains of developers, who have in turn put them into the brains of the gamer. This shift has been slow, maybe even before the next gen with the introduction of GTAV, or even beforehand.
cb
Is this shift a plus? Or is it a way to get gamers to ultimately pay upwards of 90 dollars per game after the DLC’s have been purchased? Eventually games are going to have to go down in price, yet the industry is pumping out extra content as a marketable event, causing the games to be even larger. This isn’t an issue with me and how I game, yet if it is something to debate about, then why not attack the fact that it costs me more to game now? Yes free roam is something I enjoy, yet other times I just need the option to beat levels. I was born on levels, and now it has shifted towards an open map, open world, to choosing which missions best fit my mood at the time (unless it is a ‘story mission’ then which is a necessity to play and beat). This style hasn’t taken on to every game because every game doesn’t need to utilize this style of creation. However, it is only a matter of time before each game adopts this lifestyle of development, so be mindful of your time, and your wallet.

barrel !

Formula Force Racing

The Pixle Bullies logo

This post is long overdue.  

Formula Force Racing is a development brought to us by The Pixel Bullies for any smart phone device (I play it on my iPhone4 and it runs great). As you may know by now; yes, it is a racing game! It is actually one of the better racing games that I have picked up and have been able to play on my smart phone. Instantly, I want to thank them for allowing me to pick up a racing game and not have to deal with the added stress of moving my arms around in public, or having to tap the screen a hundred times to get up into second gear. In fact, all you have to do is let the car run on the track, and simply hold down which ever direction you would like to turn.  So if you are all about picking your lines on the track, forcing opponents out of your way, and never hitting the brake, you are in for a treat.

photo 2

When the app boots up, you get a great image of cars racing on a track (above), which then loads you to the main screen (just below the paragraph). I like the graphics in the main menu, because it reminds me of some of the late ’80’s and early 90’s arcade games I play a lot when I break out my Nintendo products or load the SEGA arcade disc into my Playstation. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting the folks at The Pixel Bullies studio, a) because they are located in the U.K. and b) I don’t have the influence nor monetary means to travel across the pond to check them out, but I get a gamer vibe that I rarely get from companies I have tried to reach out to that make me want to stick with their product.

photo 3

Historically (as their blog read, and you can find them here on WordPress linked up with my blog site, or click here) they have aided predominantly in the development of games. Formula Force Racing is their self-published game (fact check me on that, but I believe it to be so) so they have been around for over 20 years, but as far as producing under their own name, I believe this to be their very first own self-produced game. Yes it is an app, and yes this is a predominant console reporting website, but the game itself is worth a take. Whether you are into graphic design, one of their 10 tracks that you can race on should suffice for now to keep you entertained, or if you love racing, then you are given three options to take one of the 12 car models, accentuate them how you please, and then get to the starting line. photo 5

The point of the game? Go fast, win challenges and unlock everything. It is simple, well executed, and the replay is so good it is almost annoying.                                                               photo 4!

If you have a smart phone, pick this game up. It is .99 cents in the app store (with options of in-app purchases), and could be priced even higher in my opinion, so these folks are doing the gamer a favor. I love when that happens! Pick it up, and let me know what you think! I love it, I have fun with it, and I think anyone who loves fast cars, crashes and good graphics would have a really fun time checking this out. At the end of the day, it is a .99 cent risk I am asking you to take, and I feel it is a good one!

– FBG[R]

E3 Day One [Nintendo]

 

Nintendo
This afternoon Nintendo sent their digital presentation in. Yes, digital. The staff of Nintendo did not present personally at the conference this year, but they did have a lot in store for those who are big fans of the Nintendo franchise. Within an hour Nintendo presented us with games for this year, and next year, that fans of the Nintendo franchise may have something to look forward to and get excited about. The anticipation of Zelda, Super Smash Brothers, Bayonetta 2, and a new Yoshi World are just a few to name that got my Nintendo gland shooting out euphoric memories of insomnia. The developers for Nintendo must have been reading their fan newsletters because the amount of talent coming out this year and next year is astounding. After all they are Nintendo… and they know what they are doing. From Wii U to the 3DS, Nintendo is stepping up their game and bringing gamers what thy have been needing, pure bliss.

I think it is important to let the public know that Nintendo announced a new version of Super Mario Bros. As of right now Mario Maker only be released for the 3DS, but nonetheless it is a really neat concept. In the game you are available to pick and choose which elements you want to include within the maps. Add enemies, put in more springs, hell even more mushrooms. Or, all enemies, no mushrooms and have your buddies try out a Mario death pit! Even if you didn’t like a certain spot in an original Mario level, you are able to go in and edit it, play around and have fun. The developers at Nintendo have added an element to Mario that wasn’t there for the player, but wasn’t something that changed his look, or the feel for the game. I think this will be a fun purchase, and one to look forward to in the future.

mario makerIf Mario isn’t something you are looking to purchase or play (I wouldn’t know why you wouldn’t..) then maybe Yoshi can help you out. Personally you won’t find a Yoshi World game on my shelf, or even hear me talk about Yoshi unless I am yelling at the one I fell off of in Super Mario Brothers Wii. Regardless, Yoshi World is coming back and looking very (insert pun here).

yoshi yarn

 

 

Yoshi Woolly World is a new installment of a friendly face of the Mario franchise. New levels, worlds, and even coop are apart of this comfy adventure. It looks stunning for a Wii U game, and also a lot of fun. The past couple Yoshi games were not my cup of tea, and honestly I never wanted to play them but I did. Yoshi Woolly World does not look like a chore, nor a pain in the ass to play. It actually look like it could play off very nicely, minus all the fun features of Mario, but it isn’t a Mario game, its Yoshi’s a Yoshi game. It has a very ‘crafty’ look to it, so its time to swallow some yarn, and manipulate it to defeat the enemy! Posts should follow later on this one, when the time is right.

One game in particular that really made me want to highlight it in this post. It is a mash up of two games that I have come to love and respect, and have followed for some time now. The Zelda franchise and the Dynasty Warrior franchise has teamed up to create Hyrule Warriors (though rumors are the name may not stick). This game got me out of my seat and made me contemplate a Wii U after my purchase of a Ps4. In Hyrule Warriors you are the iconic Link running through fields of soldiers, of whom are attacking your team members.

Zelda

In a nutshell, this game is going to be fantastic. Picture the collaboration  of characters of Zelda, and the fight-style of Dynasty Warriors. EPIC. That is the only word to describe. There is a suggested cast of some characters whom pop up in the series, most notably Princess Zelda herself, that you can choose and unlock. But honestly this game has me itching to buy a Wii U. I knew Nintendo was going to come out with some great games, and they have, but Hyrule Warriors is definitely my highlight. I cannot wait to get ahold of it! I suggest you  save some cash for this one, because the Wii U is in desperate need of this game, it could be their beacon of light.

Before I do finalize what game will make Nintendo a smash hit again, I must interrupt the post and introduce what we feel here will be THE game to revive the Wii U. It is early to say, and also very daring, but a highly anticipated game that we here a FBG[R] that will make the Wii U a must purchase will be released in 2015. Squid Splatoon

Yes, Splatoon. Childish, hilarious, fun, and outrageous. Characteristics that Nintendo has thrived off of and has really flourished. Think. Mario is a plumber running through tubes and chasing a giant turtle. Splatoon is a battle of four player squads shooting ink every where that then allows you to turn into a squid.

Splatoon

The mechanics look spectacular and the gameplay is seemingly easy, but what really highlights this game is teamwork and madness. It truly is the ultimate water-gun fight crossed with squid s and squid ink. The maps are small, and you can travel fast through them by shooting your ink throughout, but the ink is a highly effective tool for both offense and defense. If you do have a Wii U a pre-order is in order. If not, then save up. 2014 was a big announcement year for Nintendo, and Day one was definitely their day. Even though Nintendo had a giant release conference, these games were the ones I felt had the impact worthy of noting. The games in production for the Wii U have shown promise and maturity. Yes this is a family based system, and a very kid friendly one at that. But what about the adults? The parents who bought the system for their kids? Don’t they deserve a ‘top-shelf’ ‘off-limits’ section in their library of games? Yes, yes they do. With these games coming up even the owners of the house will have their chance to get in on the fun.

 

 

“Day Zero” at E3 [EA]

E3  Today at E3 it was technically day one but what the media is calling it is ‘day zero’. It is the day where the big franchises showcase their new projects, leak critical information, and leave gamers wanting more. It is the perfect tease for any one who wishes to know what is in store for the future of the next generation consoles. From Microsoft to PlyStation, from Bungie to NaughtyDog, there were some amazing showcases for the start of this amazing event. Unfortunately I was unable to be there (this year) however the lovely group Twitch is broadcasting every event that is happening live on their website twitch.tv/e3.

If you cannot be there then you need to get on this site.

The times have been listed on this blog, and I am continuing to update. After watching the press conferences today, I would like to touch upon one that I was fully involved in from minute one (sorry Microsoft I will touch on your conference soon).  But let me cut to the chase: EA had my attention. I am an avid player of their FIFA titles, NHL titles, and almost every Battlefield going back to Battlefield 2 (yes on PC). I wanted to start off ‘Day Zero’ with a trip to the EA conference first, and then walk you through Ubisoft and then Sony in two separate posts. electronic_arts_ea_mobile  Electronic Arts took the stage under a highly anticipated showcase light. With titles ranging from their sports genre, to their  fps (first person shooter) platform, EA has delivered. I, a giant Battlefield gamer, was stolen from the Call of Duty franchise when EA linked up with Frostbite to deliver one hell of a punch to the FPS community. If I didn’t like the building obstructing the objective I simply aimed my RPG or my tank cannon and fired away until I was able to walk through the building much more effortlessly as well as eliminating any lurkers. When I was logging on to watch the live stream presented by Twitch, I was hoping for a possible new preview of Battlefield: Hardline. What I got was a full hour of gameplay coverage followed by interviews!

BF HArdline EA teamed up with a company called Visceral, and for those who don’t know they created this little ditty called ‘Dead Space’. Granted the two genres are different, but they both share a love for the FPS. One is killing the undead by any means necessary, and the other is a take on modern combat in a modern war setting. Unbelievably you cross the two and get a wonderful love child of cops v.s robbers with amazing detail and ultimate destruction! Hardline is featured in a cityscape of L.A. A very metropolitan location set in modern times. Instead of fighting a war against Russians, Chinese or Americans as you would in Battlefield 4, the objectives revolve around heists, or defending what is being heisted. Whether you are a cop protecting the loot, or being a robber and stealing the loot, both sides are free to blow up anything they want! But of course one stands on a higher moral ground than the other…

EA Leaves it up for you to decide whether or not you want to be in pursuit of the robbers, or be the robbers enacting the heist. Either way, there is seemingly no wrong choice. Robbers Hardline Cops HardlineIn anticipation of the release, the beta has gone live for ps4 users today, but does have a limit to downloads and you must own Battlefield 4 already to access it. Aside from that, if you don’t meet the prerequisites to do battle in the beta, just sit tight and wait until October 21st of this year! Thanks to the generous mind of Sean McIninis I was able to get some much needed insider info for the game, and the multiplayer game modes themselves. I will be diving into this game at a later date once I am able to get my hands on it because right now I can only preach about how amazing the gameplay LOOKS, and how excited I am to PLAY it. So I will hand it off to Sean to explain it in his wonderful, in depth look at the EA studios. Please follow this link if you want first hand insight into the new EA, Visceral, experience. And of course its run with DICE!

 www.gamespot.com/articles/e3-2014-everything-you-need-to-know-about-battlefield-hardline/1100-6420088

The fun does not stop there! EA also announced their sports title releases for the ps4 including NHL15, PGA Tour (which I have my reserves over), Madden 15 and of course FIFA 15. The most notable changes of their sports series is seemingly Madden 15.Madden15 Now personally I have not picked up a Madden game and played it for fun since Madden 2008 and that is a rough guess. The main reason why is because I just cannot play the offense and without offense you are nothing. We all know that. But at the E3 conference EA announced that the defensive aspect of the game will be reinforced and modified to make it so defense is… its fun to play. With newly installed camera angles, and defensive tactics, holding up the defensive line should be easier maintained as well as advantages at times. Whther you want to hold the offensive line up for your d-backs, or rush the passer with some Chandler Jones type plays the controller allows you to play it. The graphics are outstanding, and the gameplay looks as if it has taken advances in the right direction.  This adds the fun element that I am looking towards, but also keeping the always entertaining long ball for the the touchdown. Only difference with Madden 15 is that I am hoping to sack the QB before they throw that long ball! What I enjoyed about the presentation is it left me waiting for more. Wanting to play some football inside as opposed to tossing the old pig skin with the fam’.

Next on the docket is the NHL franchise. They have put out a stunning… stunning presentation of the next chapter in the series. Most notably the stadium. I know this sounds silly but they have introduced authentic looking stadiums that are packed with details that will make you question whether or not they have visited and followed each and every stadium’s blueprint to a ‘t’. The graphics are refined, but it all comes down to the gameplay. I know that many of you have reservations based off of the glitches in NHL14, which I can attest to, were bad and never repaired. Regardless, the playability will be there, and the graphics will keep you coming back for more and more, as far as I can see.  There will be a post stock full over these videos of which I shall link to this page. So please hold tight, and within a few short hours I will have the videos posted of all the EA sports games!

One title that did not escape without making some noise was the launch of Dragon Age: Inquisition.Dragon Age screen shot EA announced that this Title will be released October of this year, the 7th to be exact (without any delays reported). It is the third installment of this series, so one can only think if its the end of a trilogy, or the beginning of a saga. It is a party based fighting system, with four characters to battle with. There are two styles of combat that each player can interact within the game: one being the standard yet very reminiscent action style where the player can switch between each character (similar to that of Ni No Kuni) attacking at will; and the second style which is similar to that of Final Fantasy Tactics. The player will choose how the battle will be conducted and by whom. Now I am an avid player of RPG’s. Action RPG’s are my favorite kind of game style (if I had to choose). When I see something like Dragon Age: Inquisition in such a refined setting with an intriguing story line, I can’t help but want this game.

Dragon age inq

If there is an opportunity for me to gather a group and fight dragons, then sign me up.! This year, EA delivered. There is only one other game that has been highlighted today at ‘Day Zero’ that maybe have inched out Dragon Age, and that would be The Witcher III. Granted both games are set in two different universes, they both have a similar mystique to it with their creatures, environment and magic involved. Now most of these games, and by most I mean generally all, have similar character classes, moves, and monsters with each own’s individual twist. But Dragon Age introduces a party style fighting, and a tactical option that has been rarely used on consoles. EA could either start a new trend, or introduce to the next-gen console a blueprint on how not to carry out an action RPG game. There;s only one way to find out… PLAY IT!

Overall; EA’s conference was in my opinion a hit. A success. They got me wanting more than I anticipated and E3 has not even begun! Here on the East Coast we have less than 12 hours to go, and I know the party has begun in L.A. With this press release, EA has me paying attention, and storing money for game titles that I didn’t even think I wanted. Hell, I am even thinking about purchasing Mirror’s Edge II, and I haven’t even played the first one let alone had any interest in it. But when it released I didn’t catch on to the hype as easily as I have with the second edition. Honestly, the new games coming out have mind/retina-blowing graphics that can turn any bad storyline into an amazingly fun and intensely artistic experience. From the sporting arena to the age of dragons, EA has covered a lot of ground during their first press-conference and I am sure has much more in store. With E3 starting tomorrow the exhibits and previews will be pouring out faster than I can write them down and that is the exciting bit of the whole exhibition. So keep your eyes peeled and your fingers clicking here! I will have as much EA information as possible with links elsewhere to keep you informed!

-FBG[R]

E3 Is Coming To Town!

Hello Los Angeles!

 

With only 3 days left until E3, the most important thing to have is knowledge. The Electronic Software Association (ESA) is throwing the biggest electronic entertainment exhibition in the world and inviting leading computer and video game companies, business partners/investors, gamers and media personnel from over 100 countries to the show! Not only will you see the best developers in the world, but you will have the chance to watch the best gamers in the world test the new games in a competitive fashion!

Be sure to catch the exhibition on a live stream hosted by, as far as I know, Gamespot. I know most of you will be working, but each time slot is linked to each corresponding game/company/personnel so you don’t have to load the entire show and you can pick and choose which one you want to visit. There are usually a few groundbreaking announcements made within the electronic community at this exhibition so being there for them somehow is exhilarating!

 

According to the expo website the show will run as follows (mind you these are Pacific Standard times):

Date Time (Hours)
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:00 – 6:00
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:00 – 6:00
Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:00 – 5:00

 

 

There are a lot of notable companies stepping into L.A. ready to show off their new products, and the stakes are being raised once again for new-gen gaming. If you have the slightest bit of interest in anything electronic then these three days will give you insight into what you should be saving your pennies for this year in 2014 and some anticipation of ’15. I am hoping by now you are asking where you can find these links, and for that I have listed the link below so that you may navigate through any of the games of companies that you wish. Remember these links will not go live until Tuesday June, 10 at 12 p.m. which on our side is 3:00 p.m. Regardless, I want to thank the ESA and Gamespot for making this possible. Also I will be live as well during most of these times keeping you updated via twitter and Facebook, so remember to follow along so I can at least keep you up to date while you work or sit there at summer school!

 

http://www.gamespot.com/e3/live/

Download the e3 2014 app in the app store (droid or itunes) and it will send live updates to your phone, as well as allow video streams!

 

I hope you are all as excited as I am!

-FBG[R]

A Giant Amongst Giants

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

         ImageYes, this one is over due. So overdue I am almost embarrassed that I am posting this now, yet proud because this is ultimately my first blog post for this blog site, and personally, I could not think of a better game to begin the journey with. When I had first heard of Ni No Kuni I was intrigued to say the least, and the more I read about it, the more my excitement grew. I must admit, I read about the anticipation of this game when E3 2013 was at the stages of being hyped the week before (kind of like right now… funny how life has a simplistic rhythm to it) and looked for more than a simple blurb of info on the game. This for me, this game, this new edition of adventures that was just waiting to be launched, could not have had less of a hype than it did last year, and the coverage of it was not received well in the United States. Well, Bandai Namco, let me try… just try to redeem last year, and make this game a very appealing take for the reader here who is looking for a new game to play, because Call of Duty, and NHL are getting too annoying with the headsets, and glitch gameplay (which we will [R]age [Q]uit about later).

         When dropped in January 22, 2013, Namco Bandai supposedly shipped worldwide 1.1 million copies. Worldwide. Now I know I shouldn’t, but comparatively to that of a dominant gaming studio, that is a terrible release because 15 million people went out and bought GTAV on the first week it launched. 15 million people worldwide! And even with the one million shipped, 5-600,000 of the copies where sent to Japan (which received the amazing cover to go along with it) that leaves only 5-400,000 copies shipped to both the UK and the U.S. and Canada regions alongside the rest of the not-named world.

So in a nutshell, a masterpiece has slipped through the cracks, and I want to make my audience aware.

Granted you may be in a super-store looking through the game titles that they have, and this little red box with the PlayStation’s Greatest Hits at a can’t beat price of $19.99 is just staring you in the face. What do you do? Nothing. Possible have an inquiry about it, but where have you ever heard of this game?

This is my problem. It is the lack of knowing what the box holds inside, and in this case it is probably one of the most beautiful games created for any system up to date (and selfishly I love that it is a PlayStation exclusive). Not for just its genre, although holding interest in the adventure RPG area will only reinforce my opinions here for you and vice versa, but in its entirety Ni No Kuni brought to the table, and still does bring; a story like no other, a lovable cast and character base, and the creature hunting adventure that we all use to have when we were young be it with Pokémon, Monster Hunter, all the way back to the Ferbie (am I spelling that correctly?). Yeah I said it, I hated those things but they were ubiquitous in my young past and kids were raising little monsters right before our eyes. Ni No Kuni did hit my nostalgic love for a very similar creature catching game that I would play for endless amounts of hours with my best friend, even breaking curfew to evolve that one creature that I waited so long for… and when I got it, it was like winning the Super Bowl, well not that insane but it was very exiting. The world of creature catching and training them so you can defeat evil has far surpassed the times of Team Rocket! and moved on to bigger and more important things: defeating the most evil wizard in dark times to save your mother from death! Yes! This young, vivacious game drops one of the heaviest hammers I have ever encountered.Image

         Let us begin then. Once you pop the game in, Ni No Kuni brings you on an adventure with a boy named Oliver in a simple town. Unfortunately Bandai doesn’t let you enjoy the peacefulness of the town and Oliver’s situation for too long before his mother is pronounced dead, and all Olly is left with is the stuffed toy his mother sewed for him. Mind you throughout this experience the scenery and the graphics of this game are extraordinary simply because of the graphic design. Bandai created an anime-like look for its people and most of its environment, but does not withhold on the talents of their design teams or their [assumed] highly talented musical producers. Final Fantasy definitely holds up to having the best music for video games, hell they even sell their soundtracks on iTunes, and in stores on cd, but the group that worked on Ni No Kuni has made a statement on their own. But I digress… the adventure that Oliver embarks on, begins when his tears leak onto his toy and spark a magic that brings him into some sort of parallel universe. Now, as a gamer and someone who pays attention to the story, the question for me is: Is it a parallel universe that he travels to, or is it all just in Oliver’s head?

         For me, of course it is the parallel universe triggered by magic caused by love! How could it not be?! As soon as Oliver is introduced to his wizardry talents, the quest for finding his mother begins! The characters that Oliver team up with correspond to those whom existed in the other universe from which he came, and are utilized throughout the game in both universes. Oliver’s story carries you along through a timeless adventure in search for his mother. His companion, Drippy, is definitely there for comic relief throughout some of the more heart aching points of the game, but is also very helpful in times of duress in battle. At one point in the game Oliver realizes that the only way to save his mother (or get to her) is to save all of those whom are heartbroken, and distraught by the evil wizard Shadar. Now I know this may sounds terrible, and something that a little boy should never endure on his own… and you’re right! Because not only does Oliver get Drippy to hang with him the entire time he his joined by Swaine (the DPS/Theif) and Esther (the healer). Oliver is the wizard of the group, and the most important in this universe because he is the only one who is destined to defeat Shadar and restore all of those whom are broken hearted in the world.

Now before I blabber on about the story and make this a book report, I need to explain exactly what makes Ni No Kuni a great game. Personally I have logged over 50 hours on the game, and have not completed the story. I know that sounds crazy but when I pick up a game I need to get almost everything done before I see those end credits roll. Within those 50 hours I have tamed, trained and fought over 200 hundred familiars (minions who fight for each main character).Image

The familiars are a major factor in the game, and similar to the old classic Pokémon, you have to catch them all. Except now the Pokémon have grown up and have become more intricate in keeping them by your side. Each member of the group has benefits with certain familiars, and the same goes for certain foods for the familiars. You are able to evolve each one, teach them moves, and conquer evil with them! But as a gamer in this universe do not forget about Oliver and the all his capabilities.

From casting spells to conjuring up rare items in the cauldron, everything can be used as an ingredient and should not be forgotten. Ni No Kuni is a wonderful story about a brave little boy with endless love for his mother and the willingness to aid everyone who needs his help. The story is very well written and excellently composed by the Bandai Namco company which creates a true piece of art in a time of mass produced assembly line type of game. It is very rare for me to say that a video game should be held up to as a masterpiece, but Ni No Kuni definitely gets my vote. It truly was an exciting find for me, and playing it proved to be an even more enjoyable experience than I had originally anticipated.

As stated previously, my aim is to try to extend why these games that I write about are worth buying or not, and in this case Ni No Kuni is a game that NEEDS to be on your shelf if you like to think of yourself as a true PlayStation gamer. From fresh animated action fighting, to the travel music, Ni No Kuni delivers in every which way. Yes it is a bit childish, but the message that you can make everyone happy, or fix their broken heart just by doing good by them, sends a brilliant message to those who are the younger generations of gamers. So not only are you running around thrashing monsters and potentially one of the most evil wizards to ever exist, you are spreading joy and healing those who truly need you!

 

Overall grade: 10

Gameplay: 10

Story line: 10

Graphics: 10

Re-play: 10

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