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Exit Project Morpheus…Enter PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR

Sony shows off PlayStation VR at TGS 2015, hints at price

If history is any indication of future events, then Sony consumers across the globe know all too well the Japan-based video game juggernaut can’t have a feature product without PlayStation in its name.

That is why Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House officially announced the name change of Sony’s flagship foray into virtual reality gaming from Project Morpheus — which sounded like something out of the Terminator franchise — to the clean and simple PlayStation VR.

But that’s not all PlayStation fans were offered at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show this week. House did not specify an exact price for the headset but did confirm it will be priced as a “new gaming platform.” So consumers will have to be really committed to PlayStation VR to consider shelling out another $350 or so dollars for it.

House believes PlayStation VR will be a key part of the PlayStation ecosystem.

“VR rewrites the rule book on how you can create games,” House noted in an interview with Bloomberg. “You’re seeing a large amount of interest and work happening among smaller teams, because it’s possible to create something in VR that is very simple but still very magical.”

Playing catchup?

PlayStation VR has come a long way since its introduction in 2014 at the Game Developers Conference.

Since last year’s prototype, several modifications have been made to improve the Sony piece into the leading VR headset in the industry. In addition to changes, PlayStation VR packs a hell of a punch in terms of its specifications:

  • New 120Hz refresh rate (up from 60Hz), the fastest available across the “Big Three” of VR headsets — PS VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift
  • Additional 90Hz display option to give developers more flexibility
  • 5.7 inch 1920 X RGB X 1080 resolution OLED display, which expands the field of view and enables low persistence, removing motion blur
  • Reduced latency to less than 18ms, about half of what the first PlayStation VR prototype had, helping to deliver a sense of presence and comfort to players

PlayStation VR, which will work in tandem with the supposedly-underpowered PlayStation 4, shocked the VR community when it announced its upgrade to a 120Hz refresh rate, the highest of any VR headset on the market.

Release date

House confirmed earlier reports that PlayStation VR will enter the market in the first half of 2016. Additionally, the Sony executive said it plans to deliver over 10 titles for the device throughout the course of next year.

For now, PlayStation VR seems to have the hot hand. Time will tell if Oculus or HTC can halt Sony’s momentum.

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Homefront: The Revolution gameplay trailer showcases game’s progress since last bankruptcy

Homefront: The Revolution has had a rocky history with it’s original owners (THQ) went bankrupt, and then the company they were sold to (Crytek) moved them again due to “internal restructuring.”

Now the game’s developers at Deep Silver have finally come to something resembling a finished product and the latest “Red Zone” gameplay trailer shows off some fantastic visuals for the guerrilla-warfare focused FPS.

While this trailer does run in real time at 1080p, 60 FPS, it’s important to consider that it is run on a PC rather than the Xbox One console like the control scheme shows in the trailer. So the visuals may not look quite as spectacular on Xbox One or PS4, but even if these visuals are simply the height of what the game is capable of it still will look very good on whatever platform players choose.

The combat shows some great interactions between CPU players and the player in an open world, but Deep Silver also suggested in the past they’re hoping for equally immersive online multiplayer.

Combat looks to be smooth and polished with CRYENGINE running things. CRYENGINE boasts not only an excellent engine, but compatibility with Linux and Mac promises great gameplay on every platform.

Homefront: The Revolution is due to release on Xbox One, PS4, PC, Linux, and Mac in 2016.

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Borderlands movie being made by Lionsgate with same “in your face attitude”

2k Games’ Borderlands series has had tremendous success on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation and Lionsgate is hoping that success can translate into a role on the big screen. The movie studio announced in a public statement that they’re working on formatting the FPS for a live-action, feature-length film.

The Creative Director at Marvel, Avi Arad and his brother Ari Arad will be leading the project and both had very positive things to say about the Borderlands franchise in a recent public statement.

“Borderlands has a unique story-driven narrative energy and rich multi-dimensional characters that position it to become a singular motion picture event.”

Two chairmen with Lionsgate, Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger expressed their own positivity as well claiming they have “the right partners” and the “ideal creative team” to lead a Borderlands movie to success.

The positivity is warranted with the success that Avi Arad and his brother have had in the past working on the Ironman, Spiderman, and other Marvel movies.

Two of the most definable characterisitics of the Borderlands games are the cell-shaded art-style which compliments the exaggerated personalities. Both will be a challenge for Lionsgate to adapt for a live action film. The correct use of special effects as well as the best actors to portray whatever story they’d like to present will be crucial in representing the Borderlands universe fairly.

No release frame is yet ready, but the movie is likely at least 2 years away from word on a release.

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Wolfenstein: The Old Blood brings back the classic video game feel to the new generation | Review

The Wolfenstein franchise is over 30 years old, and since 2009 has begun being rebooted for contemporary consoles. While the 2009 release didn’t fare particularly well on the Xbox 360 and PS3, this latest installments including Wolfenstein: The Old Blood from MachineGames and Bethesda Softworks is the perfect approach to introducing the old arcadey style from its early days as Wolfenstein 3D to the modern style first-person shooters have today.

Wolfenstein merges the old with the new and does it really damn well.

There's some flashes of beautiful vistas, skyboxes, and ruins amid the death and destruction.
There’s some flashes of beautiful vistas, skyboxes, and ruins amid the death and destruction.

The developers at MachineGames weren’t looking to completely conform to what the prototypical modern first-person shooter is now — and it’s awesome. What they made is truly fun to play. It takes the FPS gameplay trends of the late 90s and reintroduces them to many gamers who have not experienced them. It’s not flashy and it’s not a game riddled with little gimmicks.

Heck, the game can get pretty chaotic at points with that slight touch of the old rapid movement of the first FPS games like Doom, Marathon, and Wolfenstein 3D. But duel wielding shotguns and Ak47s while flying down corridors and the ruins of Castle Wolfenstein make the experience as fun as a game can be.

Even the setting is a tad off-putting for those not familiar with the Wolfenstein franchise. A Nazi-controlled alternate universe set in 1946 with America still fighting despite bleak circumstances.

Players are placed in the shoes of B. J. Blackowicz, a U.S. marine helping to lead the fight back against the Nazi oppression. The main mission for Blazkowicz is to find Helga Von Schabbs, commanding officer of Castle Wolfenstein. Blazkowicz is set forth to find and capture documents that could potentially help win the war for the U.S.

And while that’s absurd itself the game takes a dramatic sci-fi esque turn later in the story.

*Spoiler Alert*

The game initially plays in a somewhat reasonable setting, but as the game progresses through the eight-chapter long campaign the developers take some fantastic creative liberties opening up a world of zombie-apocalypse with flaming — yes, flaming — Nazi zombies raining down from above. Even further down the line, the story’s primary antagonist — Helga von Schabbs unlocks the uncovered demon/monster creature from the dark depths of ancient ruins.

*End of Spoiler*

Any sense of realism in this game can be quickly dismissed.

This is what a pure video game should be.

Exageratted physics, overpowered characters, and the ability to withstand multiple (graphic) stab wounds adds enough ridiculousness that a hint of comedy is in almost everything as well.

wolfenstein the old blood 3

Adding to that is the sometimes cheesy dialogue with an overly badass main character  taunting the enemies around him.

Blazkowicz serves as the primary protagnist for the entirety of the story, and “badass” really isn’t quite a strong enough word. His attitude oozes confidence and stares down the face of those who would like to (and do) stab him in the face repeatedly with no remorse as he mows them down and attacks back with his trusty (and rusty) iron pipe.

The iron pipe is one of the first weapons and tools shown to players and serves a variety of uses from wall climbing like a mountain climber to killing your Nazi/zombie/mech opposition.

While the rusty piece of piping is certainly the most versatile weapon in the game, there are six main weapons — the Handgun 1946, Assault Rifle, Schockhammer Shotgun, Double-Barreled Shotgun, Bombenschuss rifle, and Kampfpistol.

wolfenstein the old blood 6

Each weapon is well balanced with no being too overpowered to be deemed better in every situation over anything else. In addition, each enemy has specific niches that give players the opportunity to think more creatively with how to kill them.

While the combat is great, it is very fast paced and some players that are used to contemporary shooters may find it disorienting at first. The game does allow you to aim down the sites for more precision like contemporary games, but it is definitely much more fun to just go berserk dual-wielding and hip-firing shotguns or other guns.

And fun is what this game is all about.

Which leads to an unfortunate aspect of the game that inhibits how enjoyable it could be with friends — the lack of multiplayer. While a full online multiplayer system complete with lobbies, ranking, classes, and more is understandably not fitting for the game nor likely in the budget with just the $40 price tag, a small local co-op mode would have been extraodinarily well-placed in the challenge mode that is also offered in the game.

Challenge mode lets players rack up points and fight for high scores against an endless onslaught of enemies from every chapter in the game. It’s an excellent addition to add a touch of replayability in a game that doesn’t offer too much more after beating the game the first time.

It’s very surprising to not see multiplayer incorporated into this game mode whether it be online or local.

The lack of multiplayer is about the only drawback of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood.

wolfenstein the old blood 5

However, even with the fault of no multiplayer the game is still incredibly enjoyable and well worth it for the campaign alone. Currently available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC Wolfenstein: The Old Blood offers a blast-from-the-past style gameplay reminiscing the classic Wolfenstein 3D game and brings a great level of pure fun, silliness, and insanity that isn’t always prevalent on modern consoles. It’s lack of multiplayer is disheartening, but not dismissing of how enjoyable this campaign is.

8.9/10

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is currently available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC retailing at $19.99.

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Emotional Metal Gear Solid V: The Phatom Pain trailer showcases evolution of series

As the final game in the Metal Gear saga, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will bring everything to a dramatic end following the story that’s spanned nearly two decades in gaming. This trailer is one of the last pieces of work fans will ever get to see from Hideo Kojima with the franchise.

Kojima served as the director, designer, and ultimate creator of the Metal Gear games since his first released in 1987. As the franchise progressed and evolved into the more recognizable Metal Gear Solid games, his influence on the game made ripples throughout the entire gaming industry and this latest trailer showcases just a small bit of the progress the series has made over the years.

Though Kojima and Konami had a distasteful breakup, the quality of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will not take any negative hits. MGSV is bringing “the ultimate thrill,” and “the ultimate story” wrapped up in massive open world to improve the iconic stealth element of the game. With realisitic day/night cycles and weather patterns players can recognize and adapt to their situation to take the best approach to gameplay.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will release on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC on September 1, 2015.

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EA celebrates Madden Season with ridiculous Madden 16: The Movie trailer

With the start of the new NFL season EA sports comes with their yearly iteration of the Madden series and the gaming giant is celebrating with an insane, ridiculous, and hilariously silly Madden 16: The Movie trailer.

Starring Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Julio Jones, Rob Gronkowski, Colin Kaepernick, Antonio Brown and Rex Ryan the Madden: The Movie trailer is complete with a list of some of the biggest names in the sport today. Those big names come face to face with dinosaurs, evil bosses, intense coaching courtesy of Rex Ryan, and a cyborg-football monster (Rob Gronkowski).

Madden 16 will release on Xbox One and PS4 August 25 retailing at $59.99. A Deluxe Edition is also available catering to the Ultimate Team fans with “up to $50 in value” for $69.99.

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Rockstar Editor coming to Xbox One and PS4 in upcoming update

The Rockstar Editor that made way for an abundance of GTA V fan-made videos and mini-movies is now coming to Xbox One and PS4 in the game’s upcoming update.

Rockstar announced the mode would be coming to consoles back in May, and in the latest reveal of the winner of the Ill Gotten Gains Video Contest it was announced that the update is finally coming.

The winner of the contest (seen below) takes viewers through a dark story showing both the glamour and the hardship of a life of crime.

Now console players can join in on the action expanding the competition for Rockstar’s video contests.

The Editor will be available for both single player and GTA Online giving players the ability to transform into amateur video makers with extensive access to characters, pedestrians, and animals. Players may manipulate and direct short clips however they see fit.

Rockstar has said the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the Editor will be specifically tailored for the limited processing power they have in comparison to high-end PCs.

While no specific date is known yet, more info will soon come regarding both the update and the video contest.

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EA introduces new control point game mode, Supremacy, for Star Wars Battlefront

Mutliplayer is all the focus of Star Wars Battlefront and EA is ready to make sure fans get enough variety in their online gameplay experience as they announce a new game mode called Supremacy.

Designed to encompass a variety of situations ranging from close-quarters combat to long-distance sniping battles, Supremacy faces two teams against each other with a series of points (5) to control in “the largest fighting grounds that Star Wars Battlefront has to offer.”

The game mode along with the large map sizes will be reminiscent of Conquest from the Battlefield franchise — something for fans should expect of the whole game given this a DICE developed game.

The influence from previous Battlefield games will show, but some key tweaks will make “improve the formula” that was used for Conquest.

Merging the Star Wars characters into the gameplay will give it its own sense of fun.

“Using a character like Darth Vader to secure control points is great, as he can take increased damage before going down. Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett are great for moving swiftly between attacking and defensive positions, and giving you the edge against opponents in battle,” – Lead Level Designer Dennis Brännvall

While the action takes place on the ground the battles continue on the sky with “TIE fighters and X-wings soaring through the sky to assist the quest for supremacy at each location.”

Supremacy will be available right away on Star Wars Battlefront when it releases on Xbox One, PS4, and PC November 17, 2015.

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Gearbox working on new Brothers In Arms; yet to secure publishing partner

The Brothers In Arms games have always offered masterfully told WWII stories and now six years post-release of Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway, the game’s developer, Gearbox, is looking to bring the series to the new generation consoles provided they’re able to secure a publishing partner.

The Brothers In Arms IP has been held to only mobile platforms since Hell’s Highway’s release in 2008, but in an interview with IGN at the Develop: Brighton Conference co-founder of Gearbox, Randy Pitchford claimed that they’re next release will be “authentic” but the money and resources involved would be extensive.

“…it’s not something I feel I could completely do alone. I need good partners for it, so we’ve been talking to great folks but it’s really putting all that together that’s the limiting factor. Once we put all the partnerships together in terms of publishing, collaborators and creatives, we can talk about it.”

Though no deals are place as of yet Pitchford still has great confidence that a deal is “on the brink.”

“…but we’re not quite there yet. Once it happens development will really take off and then sometime after that – if we don’t completely kill ourselves – we’ll announce.”

Perhaps Ubisoft will again be the partner for Gearbox to really get the project off the ground, but regardless of who it is, it seems likely that the next Brothers In Arms game is very close to being a reality for an Xbox One/PS4/PC release.