Bigger isn’t always Better

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the highlights, if not one of the best games shown at this year’s E3 press conference. They seem to be doing all the right things and taking the series in the right direction. The art style is simply gorgeous, matching that of gouache painted landscape. The exclusion of a hand holding tutorial and an open world in which I can explore is something I’ve longed for in ages.

There were so many positive additions to the game – forging, cooking, climbing, various weapons and armour, just to name a few. The new gameplay mechanics that saw Link having to consume food to stay alive, whether that be gathered through foraging or hunting. The temperature gauge, that saw him losing hearts if he was stationed in a cold area for too long, meaning Link would have to acquire warmer clothes to stay alive. It was brilliant, finally, Nintendo seemed to be getting everything right.

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A screenshot taken from the 2014 trailer when the game was set for a 2015 launch and was known as The Legend of Zelda Wii U. This is the game that I was looking forward too.

Then the exploration was shown, I managed to watch the whole Nintendo Treehouse event and throughout I couldn’t help but feel that the Map was a little sparse and empty. Now I know that towns and storyline related NPC’s were stripped from the demo due to Nintendo not wanting to show too much at E3. The map was also restricted to just 1% of the final size, in order to not reveal too much.

All that aside, I felt as though the map lacked any real density. They mentioned how Breath of the Wild’s open world is 12 times bigger than that of Twilight Princess, as if bigger is always better? Personally, I’d rather have a map half the size but densely packed full of life, something that thrives and feels lived in, where the deep forests feel overgrown and uncharted and the valleys are bursting with personality.

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Screenshots taken from the 2016 trailer. Set for a 2017 launch. The difference is all most polar oppisite compared to the screenshot above, where as this should be the better version. It’s a dreary set of images when stacked up against that of the 2014 trailer screenshot.

After playing the Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 last year, the bar was set higher than ever for open world games. Traversing through those worlds made me want to explore every nook and cranny and leave no stone unturned. Both worlds were packed full of places to explore. Even walking through a small wood in The Witcher 3 proved to be an exciting experience. The grass was long and overgrown, the trees shadowing over you, danger arose greatly as bears and beasts roamed in the area, you’d feel a real sense of Adventure and exploration from the map design alone. Whereas I just didn’t get that from Breath of the Wild.

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Horizon: Zero Dawn, another open world game set for 2017. This game features a densley packed world that looks deep and condensed, similar to that of the Legend of Zelda screenshot from the 2014 trailer, but a million miles away from the most recent 2016 ones. Not a good sign.

What we’d seen in the first trailer didn’t seem to represent the full game. The trailer seemed to be rich in life and dense in nature where the game demo lacked any real personality as if the game was bare beforehand and a few trees and camps were plonked within it to give an effect of a stocked landscape. Eiji Aonuma recently spoke about the games density.

“We talked a little bit about the idea of density, how dense to make this big world” Aonuma explained. The team realised that filling the vast landscape with things to do and explore would be a lot of work.

As the team experienced moving around on horseback or climbing up to a high place to paraglide down, they realised that their desire to see what’s ahead of the next horizon grew. At the same time, the team realised some moments should be subtle as you explore. “We realised that it’s OK if there’s pocket of emptiness”

– Interview source: IGN.com

I don’t want pockets of emptiness, what good is a huge world if that’s the case? why not a world half the size that isn’t as sparse? The encampments and shrines seem to be quite similar too. I’m aware each shrine will feature different puzzles and treasures but the game seems to resemble Far Cry in a way where you traverse to different outposts in order to overcome them, something that got boring quite quickly. A similar resemblance was shown many times in the demo with Bokoblin camps and each one seemed to be a similar setup. If this is representative of how each camp in the game is going to be, it’ll grow tiresome quite quickly.

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A Bokoblin camp, again the texture and setting of the world fail to resemble that of the 2014 trailer screenshot toward the top of this article.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the Zelda game I’ve always wanted, but in terms of exploration I’m a little worried. I don’t know if it’s the lack of power on the Wii U, the stripped back demo or just bad examples used throughout their official game trailer and demos. I want this game to succeed on all levels but seeing something like the examples above gets me a little worried. This is a detrimental time for Nintendo and all I want to see is them return to form.

I hope I’m proved wrong, I hope this is just due to parts of the game being stripped back for the purpose of the demo. I’m curious to see what awaits over the horizon within the game. I don’t voice these opinions because I want to put Nintendo down or because I’m not fond of the game, I do it because I genuinely care and I want the game to be as best as it possibly can be. If the game is slated for its sparse appearance or lack of density it’ll be a blow, not just to Nintendo, but to myself and those of us that love the series.

It seems that the nature of the games industry is that “bigger is always better”, that the bigger a map can be made the better it will be, as if it’s some kind of achievement, regardless of what lies within it. In general, I’d rather have a map that was half the size and full of personality, rich and alive, as opposed to something huge, barren and boring. Let’s hope as more of the game is unveiled my worries for its lack of density disappear.

/ CR

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E3 2016 in Retrospect

Well another E3 has passed and it’s unsettling to think how fast this one has come and gone. It seems not long ago I was sitting down to watch the reveal of Fallout 4, and now it’s been nearly a year since it’s release. I’m not here to talk about what was and wasn’t at E3 or what the games are like in terms of features, gameplay, story etc. That’s all already been covered by press insiders and the likes, as always I’m here to give my opinion on the last couple of days while I sip on a freshly made brew.

I always look forward to E3, the build up before the conferences can only be compared to the sleepless nights as a child on the eve of Christmas Day. I become very excited and giddy to see what the next year holds for the gaming industry as a whole. As many of you know I’m a PlayStation and Nintendo gamer at heart, but that’s not to say I don’t like to dabble in what Xbox and the other third parties are up too.

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Gears of War 4 is looking absolutely incredible, a big miss for PlayStation fans.

Xbox seemed to have a very strong conference this year, far improved to what was shown the year previous. Every year there’s always a game from their conference that I wish would be coming to PlayStation, this year it was Gears of War 4. I’ve only ever played the first two from the series and although enjoyable I’ve failed to work through the whole series, but the latest instalment looks incredible and is sure to be making a lot of GOW fans very happy.Project Scorpio was also revealed, something to get very excited about, as of now I’m a little wary about the whole concept. I’d like to see how developers will provide the better game for the newer consoles when they will always need to cater

Project Scorpio was also revealed, something to get very excited about. As of now I’m a little wary about the whole concept. I’d like to see how developers will provide the better game for the newer consoles when they will always need to cater for the lowest denominator. However, they could take the approach of a PC mentality, where the game is able to run at low, medium and high settings. Allowing Scorpio to take advantage of the high end and the original consoles run on the low end. Still no confirmation has been made although I’m very eager to hear more.

When voicing my opinion I try to avoid the negativity surrounding games and focus on the more positive aspects of the industry, but I really can’t fathom the words to describe the EA conference in a positive way. I feel like EA is kind of going through an identity crisis at the moment, in terms of where they stand or who they really appeal to. Their conference and genre of games seem too diverse in relation to the audience in a way that their showcase is never going to appeal to everyone. Once again the word on Twitter was that there was far too much talk about sports games, with FIFA and Madden taking up most of the show. I would’ve loved to have seen more of Mass Effect personally, as well as the Star Wars game from Visceral, sadly that wasn’t the case as it appears that both titles are too far away to devote any solid time to either one.

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Dishonored II’s setting is definitely remincient of the Bioshock series.

Without fail E3 always causes me to face off against my backlog of broken dreams, all those games I pictured finishing but just never got round to. In this case, it was Dishonored. As the second instalment began to unfold on stage it reminded me that I really needed to get back to the first game. The showcase of Dishonored II was glorious. Drawing me straight into that living, breathing world. The setting, atmosphere and culture of Karnaca, known as “the jewel of the south” in game, seems to absolutely thrive. It reminds me of the Bioshock series, which holds, in my opinion, the most unforgettable setting in a video game to date.

The conference I most look forward too is Sony’s. Mainly due to Nintendo not holding a traditional conference and PlayStation being my go to console ever since I was young. Last year’s conference was described as the “Year of Dreams” due to how well-received it was. They had a lot of competition this year from Microsoft and I thought that Xbox may steal this year’s event. That was until PlayStation came out firing on all cylinders, the conference kicked off with the reveal of five PlayStation exclusives off the belt, all revealed alongside a live symphony orchestra that was playing the score along to each trailer.

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God of War made it’s triumphant return and is looking as beautiful as ever.

It was great to see God of War return, many have said that it’s a little too close to the Last of Us, yet I’d disagree. Kratos, the main protagonist of the series, has never been a character that I’ve cared much about. The God of War games always had a fantastic concept in terms of reference to Greek Gods and Norse Mythology, yet Kratos was just an angry ball of fury and the games just seemed to be a tech demo for each console. However that changed with the reveal of this new title, Kratos seemed to convey more emotion in that one trailer than all three games previous. The game looked stunning and I can’t wait to see more of it and who can deny Kratos’ new epic beard.

I was also blown away by how great Horizon: Zero Dawn looked too, the animations when taking down the mechs were incredible. The fights seemed to convey the protagonist in the form of a dancing duel with the walker while using whatever she had in her arsenal to take it down. it’s so great to see the folks at Guerrilla, who’s portfolio consists of nearly nothing but the Killzone series, excelling on every level in order to create a fantastic looking game with a truly unique concept.

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In terms of sheer beauty, Horizon definitely took the show for me. The game is shaping up to be one of the best I’ve seen.

The pacing of the Sony show was total perfection and every game they revealed was something that genuinely interested or intrigued me. The surprise of the show was definitely the Crash Bandicoot remastered collection, I never thought the Bandicoot would see the light of day again, but as promised the three greatest crash titles will be remastered from the ground up. A highlight was seeing Hideo Kojima unveil his new game while uttering the words “I’m Back” with a smile beaming across his face, it was certainly a special moment for the fans. A truly magnificent way to round off another great year of games for Sony.

Last but not least was Nintendo, although they were showing the least amount of games I was fully aware that Pokemon Sun and Moon and The Legend of Zelda were the only ones being shown. It was great to see new additions to generation 7 of the Pokemon franchise, although I do feel as though more could have been shown, especially the next evolution line of the starter Pokemon.

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It was brilliant to finally get an in depth look at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and what an incredible one at that. 

The Legend of Zelda was finally given its title, Breath of the Wild. I have a lot more to speak out on about the title, which will be coming in my next post, mainly to talk about my biggest gripe with the game. However, the game looks beautiful. The art style is right up my street and the general design aesthetic in terms of monsters, clothing, weapons and architecture is just stunning, going as far as to exceed Windwaker on a visual level, in my opinion.

All in all, it has been a fantastic E3, There’s so much to look forward to in the next year. Not only are all these great games coming out in the next year and onwards, but we have the reveal of the NX to look forward to along with VR and the 0.5 releases of PlayStation and Xbox. Certainly a lot to look forward too.

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My Top 10 Games of E3 2015

It was over in a blink of an eye it seemed and E3 is now behind us for another year, I wanted to take a look back at what my personal favourites of the show were. It all kicked off with a tremendous bang as Bethesda revealed the games behind the curtain of their first showcase.

I literally never slept a wink afterwards, staying up to watch the live on twitch and Youtube. I was blown away by the Fallout 4 reveal, it’s safe to say that Fallout was the game I was looking forward to most before the event, as most of you may have guessed already. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a reveal like it! Announcement after announcement, revealing all of those amazing features that would take place in the upcoming title. It was incredible!

Going into the rest of the week it seemed the majority of the companies had learnt a lot from last years conferences. Sports games weren’t the highlight this time round, VR was barely mentioned when looking at all conferences combined and there was very little filler in between, especially from Sony; who’s press conference just featured heavy hitters one after the other – they really did come out swinging. Xbox also had a really solid press conference and it was probably the best they’ve had in years, in my opinion.

It was great to see the return of the Nintendo championships. I thought it was a fantastic way for Nintendo to not only provide some thrilling entertainment, in the form of some old fashioned competitive gameplay, but it was also a brilliant way for them to showcase their previous classics and upcoming titles, especially Super Mario Maker.

E3 2015 certainly was a one for games, no doubt. Especially compared to last years Expo, there was barely any mention of the phrase ‘media centre’. After the conferences had ended I thought to myself “hmm, it seemed a little average this year” that was until I sat down to create this post, realising just how hard it was to compose a list of my ten favourite games of the show.

It’s literally took me a week, chopping and changing my mind, reading into these upcoming titles so I could develop a further understanding for them. As hard as it was I was finally able to separate them into a list, ranking them in order, number one being my game of the show.

Now don’t get me wrong, all these games are so close to number one I easily could have listed them all joint top, but that wouldn’t have been much fun. It was so hard to decide what would feature in my list as the contenders this year have been phenomenal, so without further ado, here’s MY personal top ten of E3 2015.

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#10 DOOM


DOOM was a game that was never on my radar, I’ve played the first one when I went through a phase of revisiting old classics, but this latest instalment has come along way since its predecessors. The game just looked outright fun and seemed a right blast from what we were shown. I thought the introduction to SnapMap, the map/level creation system, was a brilliant addition, making it even easier for fans of the series to create their own maps and what looked to be game modes. It’s assured to be a hit with fans of the series, I can’t wait to see what the community brings to the table in that aspect of the game.

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#9  Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End


Although the demo started with a few hiccups (Drake must have froze once he saw the Sony crowd) the game just looked stunning, what else would you expect from a Naughty Dog game? Although many people may greatly compare the Uncharted series with that of The Last of Us in terms of gameplay, both couldn’t be further apart in terms of storytelling and atmosphere.

The Uncharted series always managed to make you crack a smile with its humorous cast and over the top, fast paced action as opposed to its counter part, The Last of Us, which tells a more darker tale. I can’t wait to see the potential of this next instalment and if your new to PlayStation I strongly advise picking up the Uncharted collection, coming later this year, before you dive into U4. The game’s looking fantastic and just had to feature in my list.

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#8  The Last Guardian


Ahh, The Last Guardian, a game who’s demo has not only graced this generation with its presence, but also last gen too. I remember seeing this way back at E3 2009, I was blown away, finally a new IP from Team ICO, the studio who brought us Shadow of the Colossus, it was just what I had been waiting for.. but I didn’t expect I’d be waiting nearly a decade for it though.

Since its showing at E3 2009, The last guardian has been through 8 years of development hell, as the game was being worked on since 2007, so it was with great surprise that it made it’s return, back and better than ever, on PS4.

Troubles aside though the game looks stunning and seems like it may take us on an even more emotional journey than Shadow of the Colossus did. I’m curious to see more of this game and was surprised that it wasn’t coming this autumn, instead we’ll not see this until 2016. Let’s up that it stays on track this time.

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#7 Tom Clancy’s The Division


The Division returned with a pre-scripted gameplay video showcasing the sheer gluttony and greed you may come across when playing against your fellow team mates, especially from players who aren’t willing to share their Black Friday deals as the grim, isolated holiday season approaches.

The reason The Division doesn’t feature higher up my list is because I’m still curious to see how they handle the survival element of the game. It seems all we’ve seen is a lot of pre-scripted events and nothing that gets into the true grit of what the game is all about. From what I’ve seen so far it still takes the number seven spot with ease.

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#6 No Man’s Sky


It was a shame that we only got to see a very brief video of No Man’s Sky, again showing us a lot of what we’ve already seen. The game is HUGE! I really don’t understand how Hello Games are able to pull off such an ambitious project. Sean Murray, again, seemed very apprehensive to define what the game is as a whole.

Although this frustrates a lot of people, I ‘m not to worried about it at the minute, just look at Minecraft, no one had a clue what that was when it first released, or what you done in the game for that matter and look how that turned out.

I’m very intrigued though and can’t wait to get my hands on it. Hopefully that becomes a reality at EGX 2015. I’m not fussed about knowing every little detail about the game before it releases and I wrote an article detailing that further; which can be read here. I have a lot of faith in the team but would certainly like to see a release date soon.

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#5 Horizon Zero Dawn


I was extremely pleased to see Guerrilla Games’ new IP – Horizon Zero Dawn. From the company that brought us the PlayStation Exclusive Killzone series, they now take on a completely different game. Horizon Zero Dawn is a combination of modern, futuristic, dinosaur like mechs battling against an ancient civilisation whom harness technology from these gigantic machines. The game is essentially a highly tactical open world game that will feature RPG elements.

It was hands down my favourite of Sony’s show. I can’t wait to delve deeper into this title, plus it’ll be great to see how Guerrilla Games handle their first open world game, or at least a game that isn’t part of the Killzone series. It’s certainly a one to keep an eye on and one that’ll only be available on PlayStation 4.

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#4 Cuphead


This game was probably my favourite surprise of the show, this wasn’t the first time the game had been announced but somehow I’d managed to miss it whenever it had been previously mentioned. Cuphead is basically a classic run and gun action game that focuses heavily on boss battles. As soon as I saw the game I instantly fell in love with the visual art style, which draws great inspiration from 1930’s cartoons.

Once I investigated into this further I found out that the visuals and audio are all painstakingly created using the same techniques of that era, i.e. traditional cel animations, all hand drawn and hand inked, water colour backgrounds and original jazz recordings featured throughout, The Studio really has seemed to go the whole nine yards when creating Cuphead and Mugman.

If you saw screenshots form this game in the 1930’s I don’t think you’d bat an eye lid, it looks as though it has been plucked straight out of that decade. I was devastated that it wasn’t coming to PlayStation 4, as the game takes the deserved fourth spot in my list. Thankfully this will be available on Steam and also for you lucky Xbox One players.

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#3 Firewatch


It was great to see more light shed on this upcoming game from Campo Santo. If you’ve never heard of it then I suggest you read a post I put up back in January when I first caught a glimpse of what Firewatch was all about. It truly is visually stunning, the art style is beautiful – which is always going to be the case when it involves Olly Moss. The story is so intriguing and compelling and everytime I see the game I’m just left wanting more.

I wrote in my last article that I was going radio silent until the game released. I didn’t want to hear anything more of it or have anything spoilt until I was able to play it for myself, I was already sold on the concept months ago but to hear that the game was finally coming to PS4! Man, I literally jumped with joy.

I was all for getting it on PC but I much prefer my console over my Desktop, mainly due to sitting at a Mac all day as part of my day job, it’s nice to just come in and crash on the Couch. Now being able to do that while playing Firewatch will be even sweeter. I’m sure It’ll be a fantastic addition to the PS4 library and will be a day one purchase for me, without a doubt.

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#2 Star Wars: Battlefront


Although EA Games had a shocking press conference, in my opinion it was somewhat saved by the Battlefront gameplay trailer we finally got to see towards the end. I had high expectations and it’s safe to say I wasn’t let down.

The gameplay was beautiful but what blew me away the most was just the sheer sense of scale – looking at the rebels scurrying through the trenches while the AT-AT’s and AT-ST’s rained laser fire down upon them, that historic sound, the chaotic gunfights and then finally that epic dual between Luke and his father, Darth Vader.. It was brilliant.

I was so worried that the gameplay just wouldn’t live up to the sheer beauty of the reveal trailer, which I’ve watched countless times times now. That just wasn’t the case and it’s such a relief to say that. I can’t wait to see what else is in store come mid November.

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#1 Fallout 4


Now this game needs no introduction. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game reveal as mind blowing as this one. From start to finish it was just one thing after the other. Reveal, after reveal, after reveal. I couldn’t believe how much we were shown. Being able to customise your own base and shacks and eventually turning them into your very own settlements was an absolute highlight for me. I’ve always wanted a game of Fallout’s caliber that offers a feature like this, but never thought this would be the one to do it.

The fact that survival and scavenging is going to mean so much more in this game, especially compared to previous games in the series, it makes me drool just thinking about it. Todd Howard is an absolute god and I for one could have kissed the man that night. Fallout Shelter was a great addition for the time being, more to come on that one later though. But Fallout 4 hands down won the show for me, November is going to be one hell of a month. Guess I can say goodbye to anything but my PS4 once the fall comes round. If you want to read more on what I thought about the Fallout 4 showcase follow this link.


There were so many games that didn’t make my Top 10 that looked fantastic – For Honor, Super Mario Maker, Just Cause 3, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, KH3, FFVII and many more. It was so hard to choose what deserved a place in the list above and what didn’t. Hopefully the majority of these will be playable at EGX 2015, which I for one cannot wait for. I’d love to hear what your Top 10 of the show were, so comment below and let me know!

/ CR

Fallout 4 has just won E3 2015

Todd Howard steps on stage and I can barely keep my composure, anticipation builds and I feel sick, stomach is all knotted yet I have butterflies at the same time. I’ve literally been waiting for this game for the past seven years. It has been one of my most anticipated games ever.

It was hard to believe the game has been in development since 2009, since right after Fallout 3, and not one iota of detail has leaked or let slip from the Bethesda team. Then for it all to be revealed today and when I say ‘all’, I mean it – Concept art, screenshots, gameplay, features, environments, customisation, limited collectors edition, companion app and even a mobile fallout game and that was Todd Howard’s way of just getting started.

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This game looks beautiful, all worries of mediocre visuals have disappeared.

The obsession to detail is what really stood out, Howard talks about how the designers have been so meticulous when creating in game assets, as we saw from the different concepts of buttons, light switches etc. which will more than likely go unnoticed by many. The concept art looked absolutely beautiful, I’m really hoping they release some kind of artwork book to showcase all of the visuals shown prior to the Fallout reveal. It was stunning and would be a brilliant edition for someone who who appreciates video game artwork or the Fallout series in general.

We are given a little introduction to Fallout 4, as Howard states that “The game starts before the bombs fall on a beautiful Saturday morning in downtown Boston” we are able to see our protagonist in the mirror and literally select parts of the face to sculpt while your wife looks on at you in the mirror, commenting whether you should have a beard or not.

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You can easily choose between a Male or Female protagonist; both fully customisable.

You can swap between your wife and husband and from that you can choose between being a male or female character. Although not much was shown, from what we did see the customer creation looks quite extensive and a great step up from in previous games. Vault-Tec, Sugar Bombs and Nuka Cola, all which were seen in the previous games, are referenced straight away as the player opens the fridge for a fresh, ice cold bottle of the latter.

I’m so pleased we’re going to get to see the environment before the bombs drop, being able to experience gameplay in that situation is something I’ve wanted from the Fallout series since I first played it. A Vault-Tec employee knocks on the door to offer you access to the vault, which is 111 in this game as opposed to 101 in Fallout 3.

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A Vault-Tec employee calls to secure your placement in Vault 111.

From the get go the voice acting is amazing, on a total different level from Fallout 3, with over 13,000 lines of dialogue recorded for each male and female protagonists, resulting in 26,000 lines recorded and that’s just for your main character. It’s crazy considering you didn’t speak a word in Fallout 3.

Breaking news reports on the TV, commenting on how the bomb will be dropping imminently. You and your family then rush off to your secured vault and then… It happens. You reportedly survive the blast and get lowered into the vault, susceptibly before any real damage occurs. You then emerge 200 years later as the sole survivor from vault 111, no details have been revealed on how or why but my guess is the player being cryogenically frozen, or something similar at least.

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The lighting is stunning and the environments looks a lot more in depth compared to it’s predecessors.

It’s such an Enormous dynamic world, create who you want, go where you want and it all just looks beautiful. Full psychical based rendering, full volumetric lighting and I can’t emphasise just how good it looks. Even better than the reveal trailer. Any concerns people had about the graphics have instantly vanished.

You then meet Codsworth, which was your robot assistance that resided with you before the bomb dropped, the two of you once again become accustomed in your neighbourhood that has been totally destroyed. Humour is passed on between both characters and the voice acting totally shines, I’m left laughing out loud by the comradery both characters exchange. Something that hasn’t ever really been shown in previous games. It’s a great addition to the game and the facial animation is fantastic.

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A conversation with Codsworth is a lot different in Fallout 4 with a totally revamped dialogue system.

Dialogue is fully dynamic meaning you can react how you want, walk away while talking or even “shoot them in the face mid conversation” as Howard chuckles away to while telling us. You can give the dog commands as well by simply pointing and clicking in the environment. I can’t get over how good this game looks. It’s just crazy.

Weather effects are shown with thick green fogs covering the landscape and violent thunderstorms brewing in the distance. After all that, Howard then states “And now to the cool stuff”as if we haven’t heard or seen enough. I already want to kiss the bloke and he’s not even finished yet.

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So happy with see weather affects playing a big part in Fallout 4.

We’re then given an intro to the new Pipboy. Featuring a digital animated vault boy, the animations on screen totally come to life, as opposed to it’s static predecessor. It also features a reworked and layered armour system, video game tapes that you can actually play from your pip boy – paying homage to classics like donkey kong and missile command, with a Fallout spin. You can also view weapons in 3D, rotating to see all angles of your new and shiny killing machine.

And… Oh. My. God. Something that I really couldn’t believe. A psychical Pip boy comes as part of the deluxe edition… and that’s not all, it’s wearable and you can be combined with your smart phone, from there you are then able to download an app so that you can use your real life pip boy as a second screen while playing the game. You can actually wear and use the Pip boy on your wrist while playing the game! Madness!

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The PipBoy that is available as part of the Fallout 4 limited deluxe edition.

As far as stupid gimmicks go, this is the best fucking one I’ve ever seen

– Todd Howard (In relation to the IRL Pipboy, shown above.)

Back when the iphone came out Bethesda fell in love with it and along with creating Fallout they also developed a mobile game which was said to be perfect for touch screen – That game is Fallout Shelter, available for iOS right now (Sadly not for Android).

In Fallout Shelter You get to make create your own vault, you are the overseer, controlling everything in this God sim like game. Inspiration for this game has clearly been taken from X-com, Sim City and XTL. Vault dwellers can be levelled up, items and weapons to be bought and you can send them off into the wasteland to secure resources.

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The newly released mobile Fallout game, Fallout Shelter – Out Now for iOS.

Howard tells us that the game is Inspired by an odd RPG called project quest. You are able to control resources, food, water, power all within lots of different rooms. You can also build up your vault dwellers stats in which you will be rewarded with lunch boxes full of loot. Accidents can also happen, fires break out and raiders can attack.

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Another example of the game running on iPhone.

You can also reproduce in order to get new vault dwellers. It looks amazing and is sure to tie us over until November. The game is free and doesn’t contains no in app pay timers. My god, I could kiss Todd Howard and all of the Bethesda team working on Fallout right now.

Then we are shown the structure building mechanics. Where you can actually build your own settlement! Wow can this game get any better!? Yes! Yes it can! You can build your own structures, bases, houses; whatever you want to call them, use pieces of scrap found amongst the wasteland to build them in real time, literally build your own shack from the ground up with items you scavenge from the wasteland. It looks fantastic!

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Behemoths are also back for Fallout 4 – looking better than ever.

You are able to decorate your camp any way you want. As your settlement grows people will arrive, you can plant food, create water supplies and power generators, allowing you to create power grids with terminals. It’s like bloody Little Big Planet/Minecraft, but in Fallout.

With this you can set up defence mechanisms like turrets as your settlements will and can get attacked by Raiders. Run Brahmin caravans between settlements to more than likely increase resources between your bases. Its absolutely mental. Its like a combination of The Sims and LBP, but in Fallout!

The game can obviously be played in 3rd and 1st person. The VATS system has been reworked and the way the enemies take damage and literally explode into pieces looks incredible. The reworked VATS system is shown off against another brilliant sound track, harking back to the 1950’s soundtrack that was one of the best components in Fallout 3.

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Total power armour customisation is present in Fallout 4.

The power armour looks crazy, all totally customisable and in some forms resembles something similar to mech robots. Deathclaws are still terrifying as ever and the protagonist is shown going up against one. You can also call in Vertibirds and use them to attack opponents on the ground, while flying over the waste lands. Power armour jetpacks are also seen in trailer.

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Weapon customisation looks incredible. Very detailed and extensive.

This crafting system also lets you build your own custom weapons. Literally gather items to build attachments for weapons, which you are then able to combine to create totally unique weapons. Over 50 base weapons are available from the get go and these feature 700 available modification. From the video a laser pistol is literally able to be modded and turned into something completely new. The weapon customization is just so extensive, it’s absolutely mind blowing. This combined with being able to modify your power srmour and settlement. Holy Mother of God!

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Yao Guai’s are back and looking scarier than ever.

Then the date of November 10th 2015 is given. Wow. Honestly it just felt so surreal sat watching that. It was honestly the best showcase for a game at E3 I’ve ever seen. Man, Todd Howard knows how to make a game and give a demo. I really can’t believe it. I’m shocked at how spoilt we’ve been.

I really can’t see how that can be topped. The rest of E3 may aswell just pack up and go home now. That was so worth staying up for. What a way to kick off E3. This has to be Game of the Show for sure!

/ CR

Update: While writing this the Fallout 4 Pipboy edition went live to pre-order with Game.co.uk The traffic to the site was super crazy but I managed to get through and pre-order this bad boy. So happy!

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Also been invited to join the Fallout 4 Vault Club, which gives you access to lots of exclusive updates and additions for fallout fans. I can’t wait.

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E3 is Coming

It’s that time of year again, what feels like Christmas for us gamers. The anticipation builds up as we eagerly await to see what all contenders have in store for us. The console wars flare up once again and fanboys rear their ugly heads. Thousands of those involved in the industry flock to the event from all parts of the globe, as if to make somewhat of a gaming pilgrimage, only letting the most elite through it’s doors, while the general public huddle around computers and TV’s, sat in the ambient glow of their screens. Many of us living overseas from the event become nocturnal creatures for the week just to catch the latest news as it happens. Just for one week of the year. E3 is coming.

As every year begins, E3 is the one event I mark down in my calendar each time. It’s an event I just get so giddy about. I really am like a kid at Christmas, apart from this holiday lasts three to four days as opposed to just one day. Each year I make sure I take the week of E3 off work, and this is the first year I have a blog in place and can give you my impressions of the event first hand. Thankfully my week’s holiday has been approved and I have already organised to watch a few of the events with my brother – meaning pizza, booze and a boatload of hopes and predictions lies in store.

Getting to try out some of the newest and latest games, weeks or months before anyone else would be a fantastic experience.

This E3 really is shaping up to be one of the best there’s ever been, for me personally. With so many great games already announced I can’t wait to see what else is in store. I wouldn’t call myself a fan boy, but I really did love seeing Sony wipe the floor with Microsoft at last years event, considering they’d been getting it in the neck from Xbox for the last few years, previously. I’m always one to welcome competition between all parties, if all are fighting to win our attention then each need to improve to keep that. I’d love to see Nintendo blow both out of the water, although I can’t really see that happening, seeing as though they’ve mentioned NX won’t be shown or talked about.

I’ve already been spoilt with games I’ve been waiting on for years. Fallout 4 is probably my most eagerly anticipated at the moment with Star Wars: Battlefront and Metal Gear Solid V sharing that top spot – I’d be happy with just those alone to be honest. Knowing there’s a lot more to be unveiled, especially unheard of projects, leaves me feeling elated even before the event has began.

Crowds of people gather to play the latest games from all of the biggest companies (and some of the smallest) in the industry.

Of course I’m looking forward to Sony’s conference the most, but apart from that Bethesda is the one I’m most excited for. I think everyone knew that Fallout 4 was a given as soon as they revealed they were having a press conference. It’ll also be great to see how DOOM is shaping up and I think we’re sure to see another instalment of Dishonoured. A brand new IP from Bethesda would be fantastic too and as much as I’d like to see a new Elder Scrolls game to follow up Skyrim, I really don’t think we’ll be that lucky.

There’s tons of other unannounced games I’d like to see made, such as Modnation Racers 2 for the PS4. I sunk so many hours into the first game and currently still stand in the top three of the leaderboards, worldwide, for Mod creations. Check out CreativeRhino on that game if you’d like to see some of my custom made creations. 

Sony and Microsoft finally seem to be stepping away from last gen, which couldn’t be a better step to take in my eyes. It’s time we allowed developers to harness the potential of the new machines, rather than being held back by the previous ones.  It’ll be great to finally see what next gen is made of, as these consoles are over two years into their life span now and games only get better on a technical level as the life of the console progresses.

It is a dream of mine to one day attend E3. With only those that are involved in the industry being granted access this may be a harder task than normal. But hopefully one day that dream will become a reality for me.

But for the sake of us all, I hope all platforms concentrate mostly on the games they have on offer. I don’t want to hear anything about media centres or streaming services, I didn’t buy a games console to watch TV. I’m happy to hear about VR projects but god forbid they exceed the twenty minute mark. Music platforms can be kept to a minimum, again I don’t use my console as a spotify hub.

All I want to see and hear is the stuff that matters most – Video Games. This is the reason so many of us tune in every year. I want to be left in awe from what the future of games has to offer, not the latest films added to Netflix.

I want my mind to be blown and to go into the next E3 with an even bigger grin on my face. So let the commotion of the next week commence as we await the first conference, as our frenzy of excitement fails to sustain itself. But going into this weekend, remember  #E3isComing.

/ CR

War… War Never Changes.

Wednesday just didn’t seem real to me. When the announcement was made and the count down released I completely lost it. It was finally happening. I’d waited so long for this, and what a trailer it was as well! We were totally spoilt. I honestly thought we would have gotten an image of the logo and maybe a slow pan of that at most – Boy was I wrong. I think I kept my browser open for the majority of the countdown. This was a great move I thought, allowing the hype to build and expectation rise. Which totally paid off when the trailer dropped.

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Literally just over an hour into the countdown and I couldn’t contain my excitement.

I appreciated the honesty of the reveal, because this is the way the final game is going to look, they could have shown us a high rendered trailer that wouldn’t of been anywhere near the likes of what we were going to get in the final release – similar to what a lot of games have done in the last year or so, resulting in a huge graphical downgrade *cough* Watchdogs *cough*.

All of the trailer was created using in game assets, so what we see is more than likely what we’ll get. I didn’t expect a Fallout game to be so colourful either, the environments and visuals looked so vivid and completely popped as opposed to it’s predecessor that consisted of a grayscale with washes of green and blue.

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It was great to see events before the destruction, I’d love to get to experience what the world was like as an introduction to the game.

I’d like to talk about the trailer for a minute, some good, some bad. There has been a ton of controversy surrounding it and a lot of people are being very negative about the way the game looks visually. Fair enough, it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but that’s not where Bethesda really shines.

The mechanics did seem a little off at first, the way the dog conveyed it’s movements within it’s animations – it all seemed a little sloppy and clunky, it didn’t seem to move naturally within the environment. This is similar to what we may have seen in the likes of Fallout 3 so I can understand people complaining about that aspect.

The models weren’t the best looking and the baby on the bed doesn’t look as natural to me as it may do in other games, to be frank I first thought they were picking a doll out of it’s crib and not a baby.

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Some of the character models do seem a little rigid, hopefully we’ll be able to take a closer look at E3 to see if this concern is rectified. 

But this is Bethesda, their distinctive graphical style is noticed straight away across the likes of the elder scrolls series and fallout. They proudly showcased the jankyness of Fallout in all it’s glory, that weirdness has always been there. The strange reaction you have with some NPC’s as a user.

I mean, imagine what Fallout 3 would have been like without Vats, the game would have been borderline unplayable, especially in the gun mechanic department. I’m not entirely sure what people were expecting? Personally I feel like the game looks a lot better than I thought it was going too. But high fidelity graphics are not the main reason I played, or am going to be playing Fallout for, although personally I think they done a good job.

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Fallout 4 looks to expand on the towns and cities it . It looks as though the communities and urban areas are going to be a lot larger in this instalment.

The gameplay itself was the reason why I fell in love with the Fallout series – exploring the setting, interacting with the eccentric characters that roam the wasteland and getting lost in the post apocalyptic surroundings. I didn’t ever expect to go to Fallout for the graphics, animations and mechanics. It something that it’s always kind of stuttered with.

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The way colour and lighting is used throughout the trailer really reminded me of Bioshock in some places, specifically in the image above.

Did people really think Bethesda were going to emphasise the way the game looked after never doing that in the past with the likes of Fallout and their elder scrolls series? those games have always been clunky. It’s not like Fallout 3 was a pretty game and it seems there’s a lot of hyperbole about this game, people are already saying it looks like Fallout 3.

I feel like a lot of people who are saying that couldn’t have possibly played Fallout 3 or New Vegas, If you think that this trailer looks like fallout 3 I advise you to pop the game back into your machine, take a quick gander at it, then re-watch the reveal. The beauty of this trailer is that it’s all in game, it isn’t pre-rendered at all.

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The lighting effects look absolutely stunning. Hopefully we’ll see live weather effects in Fallout 4.

Fallout has never been a game that has ever cut to insanely beautiful cut scenes, everything has always used in game assets to replicate the story and to present the goings on throughout your journey. Personally I was surprised by the negativity, considering how long we’ve been waiting for the game – which is approaching a decade.

I want a pretty game, but I’d rather a game that is fun, interesting and sucks me in – wouldn’t you agree? I want to get lost in that world, not hung up on what things look like, sure I don’t want it to look awful. But it hasn’t kicked that much of a fuss up with me from what I’ve seen so far. 

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What seems to be some kind of fort containing a lick of green paint is guarded by raiders of the wasteland.

Speaking out of total speculation, it looks like we may get to see the world of Fallout before it went to pot, although I don’t think this setting will play a key role in the game. It’d be great to at least see a portion of the setting and experience the game before the bomb inevitably drops, similar to how the introduction played out in fallout 3, where you started as a baby and progressed in age until you were cast out of Vault 101 onto the open plains of the wasteland.

We know very little about the game, no features have been confirmed as of yet, we don’t know anything about the characters we can see within the clip and nothing has yet been revealed. There’s a lot of familiar monsters such as what looks like a Deathclaw and ghouls, there’s also Airships and the iconically recognised Brotherhood of Steel. Bobble heads, Nuka-Cola and other familiar brands are still scattered about the wasteland.

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A Death Claw roams the plains for it’s next victim. Argghhh, Death Claws!!

I was quite surprised of how much of it we got to see, especially compared to the kind of reveal trailers that released when Fallout 3 and New Vegas came. Obviously a whole ton of content will be showcased at the E3 press conference. This is going to be a significant game, what we’re going to find out at E3 is presumably when the game is released.

I suspect we’ll see full gameplay and I still have a strong feeling the release date will be imminent and we’ll be playing the game before the year is out. I think Definitively they will have to have a date reveal at the show, my assumption is that they’ll either have a specific date in 2015 if not then a suspected quarter within 2016.

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We see a return of many familiar faces – Human, Monster and Robotic. Although they look such much better at next gen.

So the speculation of Fallout 4 coming to the previous generation (PS3/360) is untrue. Which is a great decision from Bethesda, from my point of view. I know a lot of people haven’t made the transition yet, but if a game is being developed solely for next-gen the developers are then able to harness the power of the new machines and aren’t held back by the old consoles, quite frankly if you are that serious about gaming I can’t understand why you’d haven’t made the jump yet.

A few people are confused as to why Bethesda have chosen to open their mouths about the game just a few weeks before E3. Pete Hines is the head of marketing PR at Bethesda and seem like a very smart guy. He and his team would have realised the chance of this game leaking prior to E3 would have been very strong.

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A Dog roams the shadows in this brilliantly lit underpass. I really can’t understand the negativity around the visuals of this game.

Announcing Fallout 4 not only allowed Bethesda to own the day, have video game sites go nuts about them, trend on twitter world wide and have their official announcement trailer reach nearly 10 million views in it’s first day, but it created a such a buzz within the gaming community that nearly everyone is going into the expo talking about it beforehand.

I have very high expectations for this game. I seriously cannot wait to see more of it. I can’t wait to step out of Vault 111 and experience this world once again. A few of you may remember the article I wrote about re-visiting Fallout 3 and just how much that game meant to me. It seems like 2015 is shaping up to be one of the finest years for entertainment, especially for me personally.

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Vault 101 is a distant memory now as we began out new journey from Vault 111.

Most of the films I grew up with are either being reissued or sequels to those series’ are being released – Mad Max, Jurassic World, Terminator: Genisys and not to forget Star Wars, as well as an announcement of a new Ghostbusters. Not only does it feel like one of the best years for films but for games too – Star Wars: Battlefront, Metal Gear Solid V, Fallout 4 and E3 is still around the corner.

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“Lets go, pal”.. Did anyone feel a similar vibe to the Star Wars Ep 7 trailer at this point?

I personally can’t think of a better year, that has appealed to me more, for both mediums. And it’s even better to know the majority of the above is still all to come. So bring on E3 I say and lets potentially see what the rest of this year has in store.

/ CR