Game Hype 2015-2016
(Warning: This is a long rambling, meandering very personal/subjective and opinionated blog like post. Avoid and skip it if that bothers you.)
Metal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG_8ZMtQ58Y
Comes out September 1.
From what I've read MGS 5 has 200 hours of main story and a MASSIVE open world. If you played Ground Zeroes it's using that same engine, the 'Fox Engine'
Batman Arkham Knight
Comes out June 23rd.
Bigger, more diverse city than they had in Batman Arkham City...which is incredible. Graphics had a massive upgrade as well...and finally vehicles are included, namely the Batmobile. I normally dislike any sort of comic book, primarily because of the corny suits and silly plots that would never happen...though I love this series as done by Rocksteady Studios. That and Christopher Nolan's rewrite of the series...he had the same impression about the silliness that turns me off too...and his attempt with his trilogy was to take Batman out of the realm of silliness and ground it in gritty reality bound to what is basically a workthough of Sartre, Immanuel Kant and even a bit of Hitler's Mein Kampf and Ayn Rand's Fountainhead(notably as opposed/or inspired specifically by) Atlas Shrugged.
Mad Max the Game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hDPmTvqob0
I'm not familiar with this series...however I'm hyped about it because 1) It's going to be a massive open world sand box, and b) It's being made and designed by Avalanche Studios...the studio that created one of my all time favourite sand box games, Just Cause 2.
Comes out September 1
Call of Duty Black Ops 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58Pspqx0XGs
I'm not the biggest fan of the series itself...nor it's yearly release which, in my opinion, compromises the quality I think these people are capable of if allowed the time and freedom to really flesh out their ideas. And, when I'm in the mood for a shooter...turning it on and playing coop Zombies is a great mindless outlet. As a girl, and I'm not interested in pretending girls = boys, I'm content with and appreciate our inherent and fundamental - obvious - differences...and I tend to hate the sort fo competitive gameplay in death matches...possibly because I suck but also because I'm not interested in trying to get better. Still love the series for the personal interactions and because, as someone born in one of the Soviet Unions sattelite states I really appreciate their take on WW2 that wasn't the normal vision created by USA and British Propaganda...specifically by including and focusing on the importance of the Eastern Front...arguably the part of the war that lost the war for the Nazis. It's likely if Zhukov hadn't encircled the German 6th army(up to 1 mil nazis killed or captured, including Paulus himself who made the shocking statement of refusing to commit suicide as Hitler demanded for his attempts to mythologize the war to Germans. Paulus later became a major critic of the policies of 3rd Reich Germany.)
Star Wars Battlefront - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwWLns7-xN8
I'm not specifically interested in or following this game so I don't have anything I feel motivated to say about this. It's extremely hyped and the number of people following it rivals ANY game released in recent years...including GTA 5 which sold millions of copies in the first 24 hours of release, prompting near riots and actual stabbings and theft from people who had the game in their possession.
Just Cause 3 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR4EBYeh8BQ
No release announced...expected 3rd-4th Quarter 2015.
As said above...this game, made by Avalanche Studios, is part of a series that I actually hold on an equal footing in my mind with GTA 5 and Rockstar Studios. Just Cause 2 was an attempt to make a silly Hollywoodesque/Michael Bay-esque game where the real star was the open world itself. To this day no other game has even approached having a meaningful, hand made, as opposed to computer/voxel generated games like Minecraft(world is the size of Neptune...but entirely computer generated.) or 7 Days To Die which is also voxel based.
This game looks to have a world comparable to that seen in Just Cause 2...which I timed myself before driving from one end to another and taking 45 minutes...it's insanely big, probably 10+ times the size of GTA 5 or Witcher 3.
Halo 5 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0YkQ4YKOSw
No release date...expected 3rd/4th Quarter 2015.
Always loved this series, though I primarily, ie 99% of the time, just play the single player stuff which Bungie/353 Studious have both earned a very enviable reputation for meaningful, literature and film worthy plots and storyline. They both have the creative talent to create and maintain sweeping, epic plots with plot twists and arcs that surprise and impress. This one is going to be the first focusing on something other than Master Chief which will either make or break 353 Studious in my opinion. Their last major release, after the insanely good Halo 4, was the Master Chief Collection which became infamous for its broken multiplayer and the massive length of time it took to fix things.
Assassins Creed Syndicate - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKR42Ci000k
Released October 23rd.
Lots of people have grown to be cynical, if even outright hateful, towards this series. However I don't share their hate and cynicism. Mainly for two reasons: a) I feel the game is advertised entirely incorrectly. It's portrayed and presented to customers as an Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider style adventure game...which it isn't at all. The game is essentially an alternate history novel with the main attempts being the researched and historically accurate open world portrayal of historically relevant places and cities. and 2) the game has been hijacked by a multi billion dollar company, Ubisoft, who pressure the writers to work in teams at an insane pace, with a relatively unmanageable number of developers being brought on board who have no understanding of the lore and ideas the original makers had.
The game, to me, is a great and heavily researched exploration of history in the world, allowing players to inhabit and take part in the world as they witness historical events that actually happened...take place in game. The rest is an alternate history with iffy, sometimes questionable interpretations about how the world got from point a to point b. My main criticism is how sometimes it takes the power and impact of these actual events and the incredible emotional power to move the world forward according to personal ideas and actions of a single person using only the power of ttheir Will to succeed...and lessens their presence by attributing these actions to essentially supernatural powers. Either way, the game as an open world sandbox and interpretation and explication of important world historical events. The view afforded players who love history is of insanely interesting importance. To me, I love history above and beyond every single subject in the world(even more than I love physical and organic Chemistry which is what I actually double major in).
My favourite points in history include the French Revolution, its causes, impacts and events and how they impacted the overall sweep of time from point a to point b to point c and d, etc. How it created the atmosphere that allowed Napoleon to rise in power, to dream of the ideas he had and the necessity he saw in the need to end the chaos the French Revolution. He first gained the military power to make political moves nearly unquestioned, then created the dictatorial matrix which brought the Revolution to its natural end and guided that dissolution into the vacuum of power, as he intended it to, leaving him in the position to immediately fill the vacuum of power and then hijack it and use it to his own personal ends which became 2 specific events where. with only the power of his will, he managed to gain control of the entire military and political situation of France and lead it into what was essentially 2 world wars between 1795 and 1820. I love Assassins Creeds portrayal of these events leading up to Napoleons intentional creation of a massive Vacuum of powers oriented just right for him to step in and fill it....
And my second favourite is the creation of the Russian Revolution, its management by Lenin who then removed the country from WW1, eventually leading to the Versailles Treaty which effectively set into motion the events that would inevitably cause WW2/whats called 'the great patriotic war' in eastern Europe/Russia. During this period Stalin hijacked and manipulated the fervor of revolution in Russia and further manipulated the adaptation of Communism and its practical application. His 5 years Plan eventually settled the revolution and installed him as dictator...however it also intentionally starved to death millions and millions of people in the Ukraine, where my family is from (we lost many family members first to starvation...and then when Hitler invaded they fled east to Russia where many volunteered to join the Soviet Army.) After the 5 years plan Stalin had in mind to solidify his power on the world stage by the creation through minor wars with Finland and Japan of buffer states helping to isolate and protect the USSR/...as well as the advertising and selling of revolution to other Communist movements in Spain and the funding of Mao in China. This lead Stalin to his initial alliance with Hitler in an attempt to gain possession of Poland and the Baltic states, as outlined in the Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact. As we all know this was an intentional set up to manage the number of fronts the German Army was handling at any given time. As Hitler successively took Norway and France, he then realigned his focus to the exploitation of the centuries old (going back like 700 years to the Teutonic Knights and the intentions of the historical Holy Roman Empire in Germany.) notion where Germany sought out 'lebensraum', or living space for specifically their race, and with it the planned removal and liquidation of the entire Jewish, Polish and Russian races and the annexation of their land and its eventual Germanification. In response Stalin nearly had a break down in disbelief of the betrayal of Hitler and the amazing power his Wehrmacht and their practice of 'Blitzkreig'(ie, 'Lighting War' where no declaration of war was made and the invasion lead by a massive and disorienting aerial assault by Hermann Goring's Luftwaffe, followed by the attempt to destroy the centralized locations of power such as Warsaw or Paris causing the inability to mount anything resembling an organized opposition.) As the German army raced into Russia. they made it to the suburbs of Moscow. Importantly Stalin successfully incited and motivated the Russian to national, ethnic pride in defense of the Motherland. This concept in Russia creates a degree of meaning and sentimental feelings of national responsibility that approaches the emotional impact and inspiration of protection a parent feels for their child. Once he calmed down Stalin made the genius decision to put Zhukov in place and control of the response. As Russians felt the obligation to their country...they volunteered in the millions upon millions. In the end Zhukov made the play that lost the war for Hitler...first by encircling the 6th army outside of Stalingrad, and then the creation of what others called the Soviet Steamroller which consisted upon sheer numbers of faceless millions of soldiers that endlessly replaced any soldier fallen on the front lines. As winter fell the momentum of the Soviet Steamroller increased exponentially and the millions and millions of soldiers thrown to the frontline eventually overwhelmed the unprepared and under supplied(specifically they didn't have winter boots or coats) germans. This lead Hitler to the necessity of throwing the vast majority of his resources to the eastern front with the USSR...exposing and creating the weakness that allowed the USA and Britain to open a more defined second front in France. They likely would have failed were it not for Zhukov and the massive patriotism of the Russians. Importantly Stalin played into the patriotism by refusing to ever leave Moscow even as he hid in a bunker and the front line got to within 20 miles of the city he was in. This further encouraged the Russians to refuse to give up...even when the Germans bombed their cities into entire fields of rubble. The citizens of Stalingrad his in basements and rubble with absolutely no ability to receive food shipments or supplies for 6+ months. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad All told, the citizens of Russia and Zhukov pushed the Germans strategically towards failing and literally won the war for the Allies on their own. The statistics for this are amazing and explain the emotions of the Russians as compared to the USA and Britain. Civilians losses during battles based on their countries soil were: 40 thousand deaths in the battle of britain, 3,000 in Pearl Harbour, which were mostly soldiers and not civilians, and in Russia - 15+ million civilian deaths. This is my favourite subject in World History mainly because the propaganda of the USA and Britain lies and shifts the focus of the war from the front lines to what was essentially a minor invasion on foreign conquered soil, made successful by the endless battles in Russia on civilian soil and in Russian cities...unable to match the momentum the Germans sank into a mire of confusion further complicated by Hitlers inability to accept and adapt to losses.
The new AC will attempt the portrayal of Charles D]ickensesque London towards the end of the 19th century. The world in London then was filled with a massive disparity between the common man and those with the power created by the industrial revolution. To these ends those in high society used the common civilian as ants in a farm to gain the manpower necessary to produce and make money as they wanted. It was this disparity and its inherent problem that lead Marx in Germany to write Das Kapital and lay out the fundamental problem in vaguely objective terms which both highlighted the problem as it was and how those problems would resolve themselves by adapting the notion of Communism as he laid out in that book. Many people seem to miss the importance of that book because they incorrectly draw comparisons and conclusions about the modern world based on the incorrect assumption that the late 19th Century industrial revolution was experinced by the common person in any way comparable to modern 21st century life. The two situations were inherently different and his answer of Communism and the creation of Unions was an answer that applied specifically and only to that situation in the 19th century that saw a major decline in life expectancy, the near slavery of the common person and the abuse of children who were forced to work from the moment they could run.
T'will be interesting to see their interpretation and application of this point in world history and how it's explained.
Games already out this year or that still remain relevant:
Destiny. At first I and most people very emotionally disliked this game because it very obviously failed to deliver on its promises...there was an extreme lack of story and a very limited number of things to do. All of this was seen in light of the knowledge that what actually happened was Bungie unexpectedly exploited their fans and customers by withholding content of the game itself with the explicit intention of releasing it all later over time in the form of very expensive DLC. However, many fans eventually looked past this in light of the fact that Bungie likely had to do this because of the massive amount of money spent on the games development. Bungie finally started earning fans back by the sheer fun of the game combined with their promise to support and continue developing and backing the game for years and years to come...making the $60 and $30ish dollar investment in the game and expansive, meaningful and ever changing, relevant DLC all a bit easier to swallow and accept. The game has now finally found its place, footing and built a diverse and fun community. I still play the game almost a year after buying it and I find it just as populated and active...even as relevant...as it was last September. If you ignored the game before I highly suggest you give it another chance and see what it's become. It's highly worth a second chance. As opposed to Titanfall and Evolve, this game correctly manipulated the market and carved out a new community dedicated to it by continuing to make the game distinctive and meaningful compared to more established games. While Titanfal and Evolve have slowly sank and disappeared because of their inability to justify themselves in opposition to other more established games...Destiny still feels brand new and the upcoming changes and DLC make it still exciting and fresh.
Witcher 3, likely my pick for game of the year. Interestingly, because the so called iron curtain put in place by Stalin to isolate Communist USSR and the Satellite States and East Germany, this is one of the first pieces of media that exposes the rest of the world to eastern European and Russian mythology and folklore as opposed to Nordic, Caucasian, Greek and Roman mythology/folklore.
Dying Light. Many consider the zombie genre overdone but the downright infectious enthusiasm and creativity of the writers involved in this game takes what would otherwise be a forgettable game and elevate it to a status very few games EVER attain. Definitely one of the all time best open world games and second only in the Zombie genre to the insanely good game 'The Last of Us.'
Dragon Age Inquistion. Made by bio-ware, creators of the Mass Effect series...this is the 3rd game in the Dragon Age series and is the game that finally made real the promises hinted at in the previous 2 games. Open world, Sand box...endless quests that allow the player hundreds of hours of content...combined with a degree of storytelling that is finally on par with Mass Effect. This game is a MUST buy for anyone that enjoys Fantasy and Fantasy based open world games.
Far Cry 4. This is a great open world first person shooter combined with an impressive story, a great number of guns and a truly impressive created open world.
Wolfenstein. This amazing game came out last year and has ever since been slowly building a following while still proving unable to break into the mainstream for whatever reason. The game is astonishingly well made and just recently they released an entirely new DLC installment that actually released as a stand alone installment of the game...literally you can buy the DLC and play it without owning the original game. And it, called 'Old Blood', is as impressive and well made as the original. As both games are still under the radar for most people I feel they remain relevant and deserve to be discovered by the larger gaming community, including casual players. Check it out.
Bloodborne. In my opinion this was the first truly great next generation game to be released. It's more known for its difficulty than anything else, however this difficulty is misunderstood. This is an amazing game and the difficulty involved in its playthrough justifies it and makes the game meaningful with the difficulty proving itself as one of its best features. The game refuses to hold your hand but, in my opinion, it is never unfair. Some games are difficult, they make you frustrated and mad at their unfairness...but in my playthrough of this game I never felt anything was unfair. Key to playing this game is the idea that you HAVE to just submit and accept the difficulty and the fact that you will die...a lot. But you quickly learn that the dying is expected and always meaningful in teaching you what to do next. This all puts you in a situation rarely achieved in any game at all(the other From Software games accomplish it as well) where you sit back, consider the impetus blocking you and strategically work out what you need to do on your next attempt and the one following that and the one following that. Dying is just part of the game...beating the boss is not expected but highly rewarded. For me I had my hardest time with Father Gascoigne because of his insane speed, the distracting clutter of the map and the changes and forms he goes through depending on his level of health. When I finally figured out a tactic and strategy I successfully killed him easily and the emotional reward was incredible...something I've never felt from any game except for the other From Software games(Dark Souls 1, 2 and Demon Souls.)
Dark Souls 2 the rerelease. This game is a rerelease and rework of the original game. It includes all DLC release as well as a step up in graphical fidelity. It's highly worth buying, especially if you have never played it. My suggestion is to start with Bloodborne... if it connects with you and you love it you will absolutely love the other games released by the same studio. They all follow the same formula and they all pack in roughly 100+ hours of content making them very much worth the pricetag. Bloodborne is somewhat shorter than the others and it is still massive. Definitely check out Bloodborne and then check out this game and work your way through From's catalogue of incredible games.
Games of note for which only limited information is known but which have a massive following:
Fallout 4 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAnJUE5xDXw
This years E3 is expected to have many surprises that will fill the calendars this fall and early winter. (3rd and 4th quarters)
Games that were hyped but, in my opinion, fail to deliver on their promise nor justify the price tag on them:
Battlefield Hardline. The game doesn't even have a friggin Battlefield and discourages and even punishes the use of weapons. Basically DICE sold the rights to use the Battlefield moniker to a totally unrelated game company which utilized the Frostbite Engine to make a game that fails to understand either the series or the vision DICE had with Battlefield by pushing out what is essentially a stealth based cop drama focused on using handcuffs to arrest enemies as the sole weapon. Basically you're made to feel as if you're doing it all wrong and like a noob if you do anything close to firing a gun.
Apparently the multiplayer is also largely an unrewarding and often broken reskin of Battlefield 4 which has actually remained as the primary competition for Battlefield Hardline. Don't buy.
Evolve. Made and developed by Turtle Rock Studios, the developers of the awesome Left 4 Dead series. The game was unfortunately modeled around the ideas developed by Respawn and used in their game Titanfall. Both games involve great multiplayer but sacrfice content and single player stories to provide simply an open world location to interact within. Both games failed for the simple reason that they failed to distinguish themselves nor make themselves specifically relevant against their very well established competition, Destiny, Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo. Both Evolve and Titanfall are great and very well made...they quickly lost their commercial value as customers saw no reason to invest more time in them, choosing instead to return to those other games which had a much larger install base and thus a better community.