Monthly Archives: September 2015

XONZ 2015 in pictures: A mini, mini E3, of sorts

Last Thursday, I was kindly flown to Auckland (a city in New Zealand in the North Island) by Xbox NZ to check out XONZ, an Xbox One-dedicated showcase of upcoming games and some hardware for the Xbox One console.

The event was open to invitees today but I attended the media day on Thursday.

While there weren’t a huge number of games on display, it was a nice, intimate event where I got to show how badly I suck at Halo MP (there were a couple of rounds of one of Halo 5 Guardian’s 24-player MP modes), I got to play through a level of the soon-to-be released Rise of the Tomb Raider, ate some popcorn chicken and some Mac ‘n cheese balls and then chat with Chris Bishop (Forza 6), Kevin Franklin (Halo 5 MP) and Mike Brinker (Crystal Dynamics/Rise of the Tomb Raider).

My interviews will be up when I’ve transcribed my interviews (I’m still yet to decide whether I just publish the audio of the interviews as is, with all the noise and stuff, or transcribe them and write a story from each one. If you have a preference, let me know in the comments)

I thought, though, to tide you over until I get the interviews posted/written up, I’d post some photos I took from the event. Caveat: The photos were taken with my smartphone (an HTC One M8) and it the venue was mood-lit (translation: It was dark with lots of Xbox green) so they’re not that great but I hope they capture the event nicely.

Disclaimer: A big thanks to Xbox NZ, which flew me from Christchurch to Auckland to attend the event. I paid for my bus fare from the Airport to the city and back again, though.  I was too cheap to pay for a taxi to get me there. 

Sharp looking: The hands belong to Xbox NZ chief Steve Blackburn and he's holding the new Elite controller. It's highly customisable and in high demand, even before it's launched.

Sharp looking: The hands belong to Xbox NZ chief Steve Blackburn and he’s holding the new Elite controller. It’s highly customisable and in high demand, even before it’s launched.

Lego Dimensions

Lego Dimensions

Vault Boy: This fine chap was guarding a presentation from Bethsda for Fallout 4.

Vault Boy: This fine chap was guarding a presentation from Bethsda for Fallout 4.

Bird's eye view: The main area at XONZ was where the Halo 5 Guardian's MP matches took place.

Bird’s eye view: The main area at XONZ was where the Halo 5 Guardian’s MP matches took place.

XONZ: Bathed in Xbox green, XONZ showcased upcoming Xbox One games.

XONZ: Bathed in Xbox green, XONZ showcased upcoming Xbox One games.

Grapple, grapple, grapple in the latest Tomb Raider trailer

 

Lara Croft’s grapple hook gets a work out in the latest trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider, the Xbox One-bound game that’s due to hit gamers’ wallets on November 10.

Titled Descent Into Legend, the trailer  sees Lara exploring ancient tombs filled with traps and puzzles, and battles the harsh elements and landscapes in her search for the Lost City of Kitezh.

Speaking of Rise of the Tomb Raider, I’m heading to the media day for XONZ, an Xbox One showcase and will be speaking to Mike Brinker, whose lead designer on Rise of the Tomb Raider. Any burning questions you’d like me ask?

Tearaway Unfolded video review

 

OK, after much faffing about, I’ve managed to get my headset mic [if you’re interested, I’m using Turtle Beach’s PX22 headset} working so that it’ll record external audio so here is my first video review of PS4-exclusive, Tearaway Unfolded, from developer Media Molecule [the makers of Little Big Planet].

Apart from some notes, the narration was pretty much off the cuff so apologies if I “um” & “ah”a little too much or  it’s lacking in detailed content. It’s not perfect, and I’m  not sure if my voice really suits video, but hopefully it sounds OK.

Let me know what you think in the comments section.

 

Metal Gear Solid V just went all cute on me & update: I’m liking it [may contain spoilers]

Note: If you’re playing it and haven’t got far, this could spoil a really nice moment for you. You’ve been warned

A few days ago I wondered whether I’d made a mistake buying MGSV: The Phantom Pain.

Well, after a few more hours, I can report I’m actually starting to dig it. It’s really throwing up some neat little touches that I’m liking [I really like the shower on Mother Base so I can wash off all the enemy blood from Snake. Thumbs up, Mr Kojima]

I think the turning point was a mindset change. I started playing it more Splinter Cell and less Gears of War [insert any other shooter name here, if you like]. I started thinking  tactically, rather than go in guns blazing [although during one early mission I was doing incredibly well, being stealthy, until a guard spotted me carrying an unconscious buddy – then all hell broke loose]

Then this happened during the opening moments of, I think, the third mission:

METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN_20150917111253

Up, up & away: Yes, that’s Snake fultoning a puppy back to Mother Base.

So, I completed the mission, returned to Mother Base to wash off the blood, not really giving the puppy a second thought, then this happened as I stepped from the helicopter.

Oh, Mr Kojima, you know how to generate the “Awws” from me. Nice work.

 

 

News roundup Thursday

I know I said I didn’t usually do news, and I don’t want to be one of those gaming sites that regurgitates the same news as every other site, but, hey, it’s Friday (at least it is here in good ‘ole New Zealand) Thursday, I’ve got a three-day weekend starting from tomorrow, so here’s some stuff that’s landed in my inbox over the past 24 hours.

Uncharted Moments

With the Nathan Drake Collection due to drop on PlayStation 4 on October 7 (three days before my birthday), Sony has released a video that is said to contain developer Naughty Dog’s favourite moments from the series.

The 11 minute, 14 second video has some nice moments that should whet the appetites of gamers waiting for the remastered Nathan Drake Collection.

According to Sony, there will be a demo of the Warzone chapter of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves up on the PlayStation Store from September 29.

Sony’s VR headset given a name

sony-virtual-reality-headset-playstationSticking with PlayStation, at its Tokyo Game Show presser earlier this week, Sony announced that PlayStationVR was now the official name for its virtual reality headset.

The VR headset will have a 5.7-inch OLED panel pumping the pixels out at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (960 x 1080 per eye) but no release date has been mentioned.

Keen to go VR with Sony? Let me know in the comments section.

Metal Gear Solid V: Did I make a mistake buying this game?

MGS5Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the game of the moment, it seems, getting rave reviews from critics and fans of the series alike, but here’s a confession: In the two hours or so I’ve played it of it, I can’t get into it, and I’m actually starting to regret buying it. I kind of wish I’d bought Avalanche’s Mad Max instead.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have a strong history of playing the MGS series that is taking over here. The only MGS game I’ve played was MGSIV, and I didn’t like that much either. The Phantom Pain just isn’t capturing my attention. I don’t think about it every waking moment. In fact, I’ve played Tearaway Unfolded, a PS4-exclusive, than MGSV: The Phantom Pain.

I don’t know why the game’s not impacting on me. Maybe I was swept away with the hype surrounding the game, convincing me to buy it and be Big Boss. Maybe I was captivated game play I’d seen that made it look really, really great and I just had to have it. I don’t know what it is but at the moment, I almost have to force myself to play it, to justify the money that I paid for it.

I’ve heard that the first two to three hours will be make or break as to whether you’ll like it – is that right? – so maybe I have to grit my teeth and persevere until I get access to Mother Base and the ability to fulton things. I guess in a game that can give you 40+ hours of game play it’s going to have a slow start, right?

The first hour was totally confusing (Hideo Kojima has a wild imagination, that’s for sure), and to be honest, half the time I had no idea what was going on (I’ve just come across some zombie-like soldiers called the Skulls – this is also confusing the hell out of me). When I’d finished the prologue I was still none the wiser as to what had just happened.

So, have I made the right decision with MGSV and should I stick with it? Will it get better?  Or do I cut my losses, try and sell it and pick up something like Mad Max? I’ve also got Tearaway Unfolded, Forza 6 and Until Dawn to play.

I’d appreciate your thoughts in the comments section.

*I’m going to continue playing MGSV and see whether I get hooked. I’ll keep you posted!

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