Checkpoint: Unreal Uncharted Edition

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It’s magical until somebody points it out. It’s even more impressive when somebody points it out.

And that’s how I feel about the recently released Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End extended E3 2015 gameplay video. Say what you will about the actual gameplay (I’m still excited for this kind scripted action) but you cannot deny the technical and artistic expertise at work here. Just keeping in mind the fact that the cutscenes are rendered in real-time is enough drop jaws. This NX Gamer walkthrough does an excellent job explaining the latest tricks in Naughty Dog’s arsenal. If you’re interested in in 20+ minute videos that scrutinize graphics, then give that video a look.

I’m equally impressed with Batman: Arkham Knight which is essentially this 2011 Unreal Engine 3.0 technical demo brought to life. I didn’t even put the two together until Digital Foundry pointed out in their Face Off.

These consoles are quite limited in horsepower but as always, it’s what developers do with that horsepower that matters. Arkham Knight looks good and runs well and it’s no wonder that people are focusing on the divisive Batmobile more than anything else. And that’s how it should be.

Checkpoint: Post-E3 2015 Edition

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E3 2015 is over which means it’s time for some random impressions and thoughts.

Star Fox Zero

I had Star Fox Zero in my list of pre-orders before seeing it in action on Nintendo’s E3 Digital Event. After seeing the footage and the announcement of PlatinumGames’ participation, I decided it wasn’t worth the $69.99 asking price. It looked stale and sterile; certainly not like the wonderful Super Mario 3D World or any number of Nintendo’s other first party titles.

People claimed it’s taking cues from Star Fox 64 and I can see it but I don’t have nostalgia for that game and thus adhering to its legacy doesn’t appeal to me.

Virtual Reality

The buzz around virtual reality coming out of E3 2015 has been positive but I’m still not sold that it’s something that I want to partake in yet. It all seems very early and nothing has come out to convince me that I need to get this for myself. I’ll wait for HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift or Sony’s Morpheus headset to release a second revision before I will seriously consider it. That or one of these headsets can be had for less than $150.

The Division

I have The Division pre-ordered but every time I see it, I cannot help but think back to my initial gut reaction and cancel it. The player vs player betrayals sounds cool but everybody knows that the internet is full of assholes and I cannot foresee any other outcome outside of constant betrayals.

The beta will be the ultimate decider though and I’m glad it has one. I don’t have an Xbox Live! Gold membership so I’ll be giving the PlayStation 4 beta in early 2016.

Super Mario Maker

I’m impressed with Super Mario Maker and felt the need to partake in it. I don’t know if I’ll be developing levels but I’m so happy to see Nintendo get the idea right. The game specific physics, the easy level editing and easy sharing were pillars that we were all expecting but worried about when they first announced the title.

The horizontal limits may prevent players from recreating every Mario level but I’d love to see people try.

Hitman

The Hitman trailer was my favorite CG trailer coming out of E3 2015; it screamed Hitman. The gameplay trailer showed off classic Hitman ideas but blown out for modern technology. I’m very tempted to get into it on the first day and see this crazy “World of” Hitman idea unfold.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

That E3 2015 press conference demonstration featured the most impressive car chase sequence of any game. But before that impressive chase, the fire fight in the market was also dazzling. There’s just so much activity on screen with items exploding, falling off carts and cover disintegrating.

It certainly looks like more Uncharted but fans of the series will notice many tiny refinements to animation and transitions to elevate it above the notion of it being a 1080p30 version of Uncharted 3.

Street Fighter V

I don’t blame anyone who thinks Street Fighter V looks like Street Fighter IV but all I ask is that you remind yourself what the game really looked like. The mind’s eye likes to embellish things.

Street Fighter V looks fun and appears to be promoting offence with normal attacks causing chip damage. Normal punches and kicks causes damage? Sounds crazy but a welcome change. At least you can’t be chipped out which will hopefully force me to become a better defender.

Fallout 4

I really want to believe in Fallout 4 but after Skyrim and their promises of a new engine filled with refinements, I’m left very skeptical. Especially coming from The Witcher 3 and its quality quests.

I have it pre-ordered but I don’t believe it’ll stay.

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Speaking of bad side quests. This game looks awesome in trailers. Giant mechs and dinosaurs in a large open world are fine ingredients to brew a quality game but if you have nothing to populate the world with, that’s a big problem. And one that I don’t want to futz with so I’m going to pass on this.

That’s it

That’s everything that I had on the top of my head. Many of it may have been negative but I was focusing on those that had 2015 and early 2016 release dates. I felt it was a great E3 and one that makes me very optimistic about future trade shows.

Uncharted, Warcraft & Halo Hollywood style

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Are you sick and tired of all these comic book super heroes being made into competent movies by Hollywood? Do you wish for the days featuring hot video game properties like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter or Doom?

You’re in luck because the next few years will see the likes of Warcraft, Uncharted and live action Halo make its way through Hollywood’s studios. Maybe — just maybe — some of these movies and shows will actually come out.

Warcraft Movie Title Card

The Warcraft movie actually has a title card and a handful of props. No date or footage was revealed but this is progress, right?

The Uncharted doesn’t have a title card but this movie actually has a June, 10th 2016 release date set by Sony themselves. With no cast and filming slated for next year, who knows if they’ll actually make that date.

And finally, for something that may actually see the light of day, there’s Halo: Nightfall. This five part mini-series directed by Ridley Scott will debut in November 2014 and here’s a trailer for it.

To be fair, Halo isn’t a stranger to live action films (see Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn)

E3 2014 Day 1 Impressions

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Sony’s E3 presentation was chalk full of games but it was marred by a half hour’s worth of multimedia nonsense. Nintendo’s E3 Digital Direct thing was a tighter presentation and upon reflection, I think they may have had the best as well.

Sony E3 2014 Press Conference Highlights

Uncharted 4
Release date: TBA 2015
Platform: PlayStation 4

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