If you’re like the rest of us in the gaming world who saw that Rockstar was teasing a new Grand Theft Auto reveal, then you’ve been waiting with anticipation of where it will be located.
Well, the secret is now out that Grand Theft Auto V will be making a return to the city of San Andreas – the Rockstar version of Los Angeles (and hopefully some Las Vegas in there).
While I’m not opposed to them reusing previous locations, I feel like it would have been a lot more fun to revisit somewhere like Vice City, which I still believe is the best game in the series (graphics be damned!).
The trailer looks great, though. I’ve always enjoyed the way Rockstar draws you in with their trailers and then makes you wait with anticipation for their game, and I expect this will be no different.
The characters look clean, the animations look (mostly) fluid and I anticipate the missions will be just as awesome as past games.
Either way, I’m really excited to learn more about this game and the characters that will inhabit its world.
Here is the official trailer for your enjoyment. Let us know what YOU think:
For those of you who didn’t follow the E3 Convention very closely, we have a special treat for you thanks to the folks at Irrational Games and SpikeTV.
The hotly anticipated BioShock Inifinite, which garnered a great deal of accolades at and after E3, has only been seen in a few carefully released gameplay videos. However, last night Ken Levine shared a 14-minute demo that had only been seen by a few select media members at E3 before now.
Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to be able to share this with you.
My initial thoughts are that this game looks fantastic. And why wouldn’t it? After playing through the majestic and sinister city of Rapture in the first to BioShock games, expecting anything less would be incredibly disappointing.
However, Levine and Irrational do not disappoint in any way. The dialogue between the characters in the demo above is one of the first things I noticed, simply because the storyline of the last BioShocks was relayed through audio recordings and radio contact. Now that we have person-to-person interaction, I am excited to see where things go. It certainly keeps me excited knowing that the interaction thus far seems natural.
The visuals themselves are stunning, just as I’m sure we all hoped they would be. A city in the sky could have been done very poorly and with a great deal of cliche, but I believe Irrational met that challenge very well. What’s more is the skylines are a very cool dynamic mixed in with the rest of the gameplay that open the world of Columbia up to more than just walking from place to place. After seeing some of the ability to use them (and what looks like a clean guidance method for mounting/dismounting), I am eager to try it myself and really explore Columbia.
Another aspect that hasn’t been very largely touched on until in this demo is how the tears that can be manipulated by Elizabeth will affect the gameplay. Judging by the scene with the horse, I’d say it will likely lead to some fantastic scenes in the game and some interesting combat situations (since,you know, she could have made a barrel of guns or areas of cover appear).
It was really good to see more of one of the warring factions – the Vox Populi – than had been seen in previous demos. I felt that it gave them a true hardness that they didn’t quite have until now in my mind. With the first game demo released, it seemed that they weren’t quite the “good guys,” but perhaps the more rational of the factions. This is no longer my opinion of them as they show themselves as a ruthless group teetering on the edge of sanity and rationality.
As with the last BioShock installments, it will be interesting to see the historic and social undertones carried throughout the story. With the first game having a very “Ayn Rand-centric” vibe, I really can’t wait to see the full scope of this game.
The gunplay looks very clean and reminds me of the previous games as well. The heads-up displays are also themed well to the era of the game, which makes me smile with glee with how awesome it all looked together.
That said, if you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty excited to see this come out. Here’s to hoping it’s in the early part of 2012.
Among the many anticipated titles coming out at this year’s E3 was the latest entry in one of my favorite series: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Anyone familiar with this series knows the level of detail typically paid to the games by RPG kings (in my mind, anyway) Bethesda Softworks. In an exclusive gameplay segment on G4, nearly half the content was pulled from what was to be a 30-minute private viewing at this year’s convention and discussed with Bethesda Game Director Todd Howard.
Attention to Detail
Right out of the box this game impresses. The amount of detail you see around you in the world is more than enough to impress even the most skeptical gamers. And when you consider there are approximately 16 miles of land inside the game to explore, all with the same level of detail, it becomes very hard not to be excited.
According to Howard, the goal of this game was to utilize the new Creation Engine – an internally-built game engine – as much as possible.
“We have a brand new engine we’ve written for the game, all-new graphics, all-new gameplay; we just tried to make a big, crazy role playing game with as much stuff as possible in it – just overwhelm you with detail.”
Hearing Howard talk about how they wanted to approach the details with the mindset that they shouldn’t be hidden really speaks to the pride he and the rest of the designers and artists take in their job and in this game. He said he wants you to believe you’re really in that world and when you look down at a flower, he wants you to be able to see every detail it has.
With the new game engine comes the addition of a new animation system. Character movement and features move with great fluidity and realism. Even the third-person perspective looks fantastic compared to Oblivion and past Elder Scrolls entries. This aspect is very appealing to me as someone who traditionally plays RPGs from the first-person perspective.
A new area of interest to many players will be the improved menu interface, which has begged for reinvention since Morrowind. The menus of past Elder Scrolls entries always seemed to be a boon on the gameplay, what with the fumbling around with multiple menu levels for this item or that item. That, however, is a bygone time.
In its place comes a four-section menu with categorical separation and the ability to inspect every single item with a 3D view.
“Our artists just went to town,” said Howard. ”Literally thousands of objects.”
Joining the items menu overhaul is the skills menu, which faced challenges of its own in past games. However, it now takes a path-oriented “perk” direction. And, in true Elder Scrolls fashion, this new menu has you look to the sky in a star map perspective, with constellations representing different skill sets.
“It’s like you have this custom constellation for how you’ve been playing the game,” said Howard. ”And what’s really cool is when you level up you get to choose a perk, so each [constellation] is actually a perk tree as well.” As you continue playing, the constellations will follow with your progress and essentially evolve throughout the game.
The screenshots of Skyrim that we have seen magazines and online are but a taste of the amazing views the game has to offer.
Two Hands are Better Than One
This new functionality goes hand in hand (quite literally, actually) with many character ability changes that are present in the game. One feature you’ll notice right off the bat is the ability to dual-wield things like weapons (dual swords, anyone?) or – my personal favorite – magic. As you’ll see in the demo below, dual-wielding the same spell allows you to create a more powerful iteration of said spell than what you would get without combining them.
Basically, you can select what items/spells/weapons you want to use in either hand and hot-key them to where you want them. A feature I cannot wait to try out and one that Howard says puts you in control of who your character becomes.
“You are who you play. You want to play like a Battle Mage? You do it. You don’t have to pick some character in the beginning,” he said.
I really like the sound of this option. While I appreciate character customization, not being confined to selecting specific classes and restricted to what that class offers is incredibly appealing. Still, I will be interested to see what the character customization actually DOES include – that is, if they will retain many of the options that have made it so much fun in past Elder Scrolls games as well as in the likes of Fallout.
Here are just a few of the other features that were not only highlighted in the video, but stood out to me as well:
The openness of the world – Howard gave the impression that nearly every single location you can see in the world is a location you can visit. That means the mountains you see in the distance are a place you should add to your list of “things to climb.”
The ‘Radiant Story’ feature – Though he didn’t detail this much, Howard implied that there is a radiant story system that will create a dynamic experience specific to each gamer.
Character functionality – the ability to change your settings on the fly and adjust your character during battle is going to be awesome and I can’t wait to try it out. Mix in the ability to complete “finishing moves” against enemies and you have an entirely new battle experience.
Map changes – feeling lost? Now, instead of having to scroll through a bland, medieval map on an item menu, you need only select the map function button and watch as the camera pans out to the sky for a bird’s-eye view of the area. This comes complete with location-specific markers and user-set waypoints.
Over 150 dungeons means plenty of time (reportedly 300+ hours of possible gameplay) and locations go loot for items.
Dragons in this game were created to be unscripted to the rest of the action. That means, they are randomized throughout the game and in how they will act. No one encounter will be the same.
Dragon-shout abilities – This is not confined to just a “shout,” which references the dragon language, but actual abilities you can gain and build (each ability has three tiers) by capturing the souls of dragons you have killed.
Economics – The game has a working economy that you, the player, can participate in and build skills. So if you want stronger armor and better swords, get a job as a blacksmith!
The game compass looks much more user-friendly and enjoyable to use.
Overall, this game looks absolutely fantastic. From the detail in things like foliage and water flow to the lighting in nearly every situation, if there is one word that I had to apply to this visual spectacle, it is “beautiful.”
Advances in player control, menu options, battle options and even physics show a committment to improving this entry over the others to keep the franchise from growing stagnant with repetitive gameplay.
If you’ve enjoyed the Elder Scrolls games at all, or even the Fallout series, this game should be a day-one purchase for you when it hits shelves on November 11 of this year. I know it will be for me.
Don’t believe me? Watch the gameplay video for yourself below:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 showcases the events that immediately follow 2008's Modern Warfare 2
Ever since the first Modern Warfare hit shelves in November of 2007, Activision has seen its most popular franchise set record after record, releasing games annually with imaginative story lines and of course, the online multiplayer that set the series apart from its competition in the first place.
This year, Activision looks to continue riding the wave created by its first Modern Warfare title with the release of its third (and last?) installment under the name. If E3 popularity is any indication of future success, then Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) is looking to be another hit, with it being the most watched game trailer of the convention.
However, the gameplay demo conducted at this year’s E3 left me with several questions about the direction the series has taken and what it means for possible future installments of the Call of Duty franchise.
Before I continue, please take a moment to view the gameplay for yourself below:
Robert Bowling plays Modern Warfare 3 Demo at E3
The first thoughts I had after the first 4 minutes of this gameplay were “what’s new about this?” and “why does this feel the same?”
Since it has been two years since the release of the last Modern Warfare entry, my expectations for this game – which I hope is the concluding entry – were set pretty high. Despite the fallout at Infinity Ward following the Zampella/West debacle, one would think two years is enough time to inject something new into the Modern Warfare series. However, that does not seem to be the case here.
There is no new engine powering this game, which is something frustrated fans on message boards everywhere have been asking for since Modern Warfare 2. There are no graphical improvements over any other entry save for last year’s Black Ops, which wasn’t even done by Infinity Ward. Even in the entire eight minutes or so of gameplay, I didn’t see a single new feature in the progression that suggests “we’re making this the biggest game so far.” Amphibious assault? Seen it. Commandeering a vessel? Been there, done that. Speeding across the water while avoiding obstacles? A regular feature by now.
While the setting may be different and the mood has slightly more urgency/intensity, the overall tone and theme remains the same: Follow this path, shoot those guys, repeat. To be completely honest, it looked as though they put the same flow from the past two games into this one and set it in New York (or wherever around the world this game is going to take you).
I understand it though. When you’ve got a winning formula, you don’t want to change the ingredients, right? From that perspective, it’s hard to fault Activision. There’s no reason to mess with success. But from a gamer’s perspective, there are only so many times you can change the cover of the same book and get me to believe it’s different. And that’s exactly what this looks like: The same book with a different title.
The only thing that has me wanting to play it currently (since no multiplayer details have been released) is my interest in continuing the storyline from the previous entries. If there is one thing that Modern Warfare 1 and 2 had going for them, it was an interesting – albeit a tiny bit predictible – plot. I only hope this game is a stopping point, otherwise I fear even the story will be viewed as “been there, done that.”
Speaking of the multiplayer aspect, I’m sure even now, fans – and even extreme critics – of the franchise are concocting message board entries and blog posts about what they believe the new multiplayer should have. Well, we too will have a piece on this facet of the game. However, due to the overwhelming amount of information there is to discuss about the multiplayer – especially now that the new Call of Duty: ELITE service has been announced – I am going to share that as a separate piece, so be sure to check back over the weekend for the online side of this discussion.
Overall, the game looks clean. But it looks like it has looked since 2007. Some people will appreciate this fact. They will take comfort in knowing that the product they are buying is the product they have played and enjoyed. However, I think more players – myself included – will be reluctant buyers (at least until otherwise swayed). We see a product that has a great deal of potential that is being wasted for the sake of making a safe profit. And while we will still play the game (because I know I will, however reluctant), there will be that nagging voice in the back of our heads continuously saying “I wish this,” and “I wish that,” about our gameplay experience.
I can only hope that Activision hears our collective desires long before Call of Duty becomes a “used to be” franchise. As in, “Call of Duty used to be good… until they started giving gamers the same game experience every year.”