Whilst I’ve still got a few reviews to sort out, for some reason things seem to be a bit calmer than they’ve been for the last few weeks.
This could be just the calm before the storm, but nevertheless I though I’d take the opportunity to knock out a rather belated edition of Week in Review. It’s a bit of a mishmash, I’m afraid, but I’ve lots of thoughts and little time to put them down in words.
Next week’s E3 guarantees some excitement as the now two-horse race between Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s recently announced XBox One, go head-to-head. We have Sony’s MIA machine that we’ve heard about but not seen and Microsoft’s device the so far seems to be aimed a folks that like to watch the telly. With Nintendo’s Wii U being effectively still-born, the battle between Sony and Microsoft means that the 2013 could be the year that redefines or destroys the console gaming industry.
On the subject of E3, I’ve just watched the Metal Gear Solid 5 part of the Konami E3 pre-show. The first bit of E3 shenanigans that I’ve taken a look at. I’m smarting a bit about missing out on another trip to E3 (I’ll be there next year, without a doubt), especially one as important as this one. Kiefer Sutherland as Snake is an interesting announcement by Konami which shows the direction that games are moving.
Being a sad bastard, when I feel that I recognise a voice in a game, I’ll often check the IMDB for the voice actor’s details. Usually the same names come up. These voice actors make their living via Saturday morning cartoons, dubs of Japanese anime and other video games. I’m sure they are lovely people, but they are voice actors, nevertheless. With the exception of Mr Nolan (I’m in every single fucking game there is) North, I’m not that your average voice actor is going to have the chops for the games of the future. We don’t want flapping mouths and manually synced voice-overs; we want performance capture. And we can have it, but developers are going to need actors of a certain caliber to pull it off. Actors like Kiefer Sutherland.
David Hayter is the voice of Snake, and always will be in my mind. But by Christ, he is a shit voice actor. Even though his stunted, emotionless delivery of Snakes dialogue has defined the character of Snake, there’s no way that he’d get the job today. Which is exactly what has happened: he didn’t get the job. Nevertheless, I salute you Mr Hayter for your work on Metal Gear Solid and the marvelous job you did on the Watchmen movie script (which remains my most favorite comic book movie).
Check out the MGS5 segment of the Konami Pre-E3 show, below.
I don’t talk about technology as much as I would like. To be honest I love tech more than gaming. There’s nothing I like more that getting old of a new device and putting it though its paces. I’ve got hold of a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. A tablet, not something that I ever though I’d end up with. No, I’ve not turned into some sort of yuppie B’Stard- I just figured that a tablet would make dealing with emails and writing blog posts bit easier. Then there’s reading comics on the go and…um playing games. You got me, yes, it’s just a big boys handheld console, really.
This tablet business is a bit of a minefield, even if you do rule out Apple’s shite. My first choice was to go for one of the Microsoft devices, given I’m transitioning over to Windows 8 and I’ve got an Xbox 360. Being sensible, though, the M$ mobile OS is still relatively new and the apps catalogue in still a bit sparse.
I settled on the Samsung device as I’ve got the thing on a plan that means that I’m stuck with it for a couple if years. A couple of year for Microsoft to establish the their Surface line of tablet whilst, meanwhile I get to enjoy the not unsubstantial back Android app back-catalogue. I’ll talk more once I’ve figured the thing out.
Back to games.
I’ve been playing EA’s SSX, which I picked up for only AU$20 in EB last week. I think it’s a game that got caught up in my planning for the trip across the Tasman. A little gem, it is. I was a great fan of the snowboarding series on the Ps2/Xbox and this manages to capture that SSX feel perfectly. To be honest, I was expecting EA to have polished out what made the original games so great – as often happens with remakes, but they didn’t. It is all there, even Run DMC getting all TRICKY.
It have been a nightmare few weeks trying to get anything out of Sony for their upcoming post-apocalyptic survival horror game The Last of Us. The concept of someone who is predominantly an NZ games journo living in Sydney seems to have escaped Sony’s Australian PR. The result has left me to be batted back and forth across the Tasman. As a result I’ve not been able to cover any The Last of Us events in my home city, not even seen a preview and will probably get a review copy of the game a few days after I’ve picked up my pre-ordered game from EB. Well, there you go.
In any case, The Last of Us does look awesome. Based on Naughty Dogs previous efforts on the PS3, the Uncharted games, we are certainly in for a treat. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was the reason I purchased a PS3 (that and I needed a blu-ray player). The idea that those same minds are going to give what is effectively a zombie game fills me to the brim with excitement. I can write about zombies forever, so watch this space.
Whilst a new Week in Review has not been forthcoming for a while, you will have seen a few of my reviews posted up on this website over the past couple of weeks; I’ve been busy.
First up, I did a fantastic and exclusive GRID2 Q&A with Iain Smith, the game’s producer at Codemasters; as published on this website, here, and on Game Console, here. GRID2 is a fantastic game that I was fortunate to have a go on a few weeks ago. I’m currently reviewing the game and I must say that I’m really enjoying it. you can keep your Gran Turismos and your Forzas, only Criterion’s recent Need for Speed games can hold a light to the gritty and heart-in-mouth sensation of speed the GRID2 provides.
Over at Shane the Gamer, I finally finished my review for the DC Comics beat ’em up Injustice: Gods Among Us. Not an easy review as my figures are not as fast as they used to be, the game needed a fair bit of effort on my part in order to get to grips with. Suffice to say in the end I found the game to be one of the best examples of the genre, offering up not only a great fighting game but also has plenty of winks to fans of the DC comics. Check out the review here.
I managed to slip an extra game review into the mix with Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. I’d been playing through the second game in the series, Brothers in Blood recently when I noticed an offer for Call of Juarez: The Cartel – the poorly received third game in the series – which is set in modern day Los Angeles. The Cartel isn’t great, but it’s not bad either; I can, however, see why with Gunslinger the franchise has taken a step back. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger takes the game back to a wild west setting in download-only more bite-sized game. It still took me a few hours to play and was perfectly formed. You can find it on this website, here, or check it out on Shanethegamer.com, here.
If you read my PC review of Metro: Last Light, either on this site here, or over at Game Console here, you will see that I was pretty impressed. The eerie setting and the incredible detail in the game made it one of the most intense and scarey experiences that I’ve had for a long time. I didn’t go in expecting much (the game started life as a THQ title), but it delivered and then some.
Spreading my wings a bit, I attended a hands-on session with EA’s FIFA 14 last week on behalf of NZGamer.com. Not only did I get to have a go on the game, but I also interviewed FIFA 14 game-play producer, Aaron McHardy. Clearly a man very keen about football, Aaron provided me with an in-depth insight into all the new teaks that they’ve put into the game this year, most of which seem to be aimed as stopping my cheesy goals. You can check out the hands-on and interview on NZGamer.com, here.
That’s all for now, it’s a packed slate for me with reviews of GRID2, Fuse, Tiger Woods 14 and Wargame: AirLand Battle in progress; all of which are likely to be severely hampered by E3 and the release of The Last of Us!