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The God of War is all grown up, but his latest journey lays the foundation for his most devastating tragedy yet.

 

The following is filled with story spoilers for the new “God of War.” It is recommended for those who have finished the main storyline.

 

 

Who is Kratos, the God of War? The answer to that is usually some form of, “an antihero with a singular emotion: rage.” When examining a younger Kratos than the hardened one found in the latest “God of War” for PS4, he is driven solely by a self interest in vengeance against those who have wronged him. It seems like he can be figured out after taking one look at his white and red skin, but the new “God of War” starts to peel back the layers of ash to reveal one of the most tortured souls in video games.

 

Kratos had a rough life. He was born to be a soldier, tricked by the gods into murdering his wife and child and banished to a cursed existence of servitude. After breaking those chains, he joined the ranks of gods who didn't want him and was a son to god who hated him. Kratos doesn't know how to be a son or a father. He’s forever damaged by his past, but the events of “God of War” give him hope. But, that hope could very well be ripped away from him in revelations following the events of the new “God of War.” In order to properly understand how this will affect Kratos, it’s important to see how he got to this point.

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“God of War” is a coming of age story in many ways. Not only is it a story that explores an aging Kratos as a stranger in a strange land, and being a reluctant single father to a grieving boy who's desperately looking for guidance. It's also growth for the entire “God of War” series.

The last numbered “God of War” game (not including “Ascension”) released eight years ago. “God of War 3” pushed the series forward with staggering graphics and massive set pieces for the time thanks to the added power of the PS3. But, in order to grow even further, this new “God of War” needed to be more than just a “bigger” “God of War” experience. We've seen that already. That's why this game ditched the fixed camera, button mashing and quicktime events that reek of a game from 2010. The new and improved “God of War” is an expansive and fully fledged RPG that takes hints from the best games in the medium, all while paving its own path to becoming one of the most novel action games of this console generation.

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Over the course of two E3s, we’ve seen two slices of “Days Gone,” the upcoming open world zombie game. The first, very early, footage from E3 2016 showed off just how many zombies this game can throw on the screen at one time. This year’s look showed off some actual gameplay. Many of the game’s concepts look like they could form a fun and unique final product, but that product will need some time and polish first.

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This is Sony’s second E3 showing featuring their PlayStation VR (PSVR) headset. This year’s lineup is a mix of fresh ideas and ones we’ve seen before. They range from a military shooter that makes use of the Aim motion-controlled gun, a side scrolling adventure, competitive dodgeball and psychological horror. Here’s what’s worth getting excited for and what looks like it still needs some time in the oven.

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“Horizon Zero Dawn” marks the first entry of what is sure to be PlayStation’s next big thing. When examining Sony’s storied franchises, the first entry typically has its issues. “Uncharted” is one of the most beloved series in modern video games, but “Uncharted 1” isn’t remembered with great fondness. “Horizon Zero Dawn” manages to clear that low bar, but there is room for this eventual series to grow.

 

This title is developed by Guerrilla Games, the team that is almost exclusively known for the “Killzone” series. “Killzone” was once billed as Sony’s “Halo killer” before becoming a middling sci-fi shooter. Now that they’re away from the long-running series, they show what they are truly capable of: a story-driven open world game that takes historical aesthetics while creating a post-apocalyptic environment. This game is nothing like any “Killzone” game and that’s a good thing.

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(7:32) And that's a wrap. What a show! What did you think of all the announcements? Let me know on Twitter @GameGuyPgh. 

(7:23) Uncharted 4 is going to close the show. Oops. Gameplay ran into some technical difficulties. Drake wouldn't move. The demo is now restarting. We're seeing crazy, Indiana Jones-style, cover-based gameplay we're used to in an Uncharted game. It's just a lot prettier this time. 

(7:19) Now it's time for Star Wars Battlefront. New gameplay is shown. Looks like gameplay can be switched from third person and first. This morning we saw gameplay from Hoth. This was a different planet. They showed two-player split-screen in the montage. So that's neat. 

(7:14) But we're not done yet! Star Wars is on the big screen. Time for Battlefront news. Show us more! Nope I'm wront. They're talking Disney Infinity 3.0. Starter Kit with Twilight of the Republic play set coming exclusively to PS4. The game itself is coming to the PS4 a month before anywhere else. Boba Fett is a timed exclusive for PS4. The figure looks amazing! Fans will be happy! 

(7:12) Montage to wrap up everything. It looks like that's it. Shocking that there was no Uncharted 4 shown. 

(7:09) The singleplayer and multiplayer is definitely 30 FPS. That is a first for the series. It's strange looking. Doesn't even look like a Call of Duty game at that point. And there's the announcement. Maps and content coming exclusively to the PS4. 

(7:02) Call of Duty Black Ops 3 is on the stage. I forgot that contract ran out with Microsoft. Wow. Call of Duty on a Sony stage for the first time. So exclusive content will be coming first to the PS4. The year is 2065 in Black Ops 3. Whoa. Youll have force-like powers. The soldier stuck his hand out and made an enemy vomit. People make fun of Call of Duty for being the same stuff over and over, but their trailers are some of the best in the biz. 

(6:58) Project Morpheus time. Give us all the details! New FPS coming from Guerilla. 3v3 arena shooter. Spotify has the quickest app adoption rate in PlayStation history. Impressive. Talking about all the apps now, including Vue. You'll be able to purchase channels a la carte. The crowd is happy about that. Channels will be discounted for PS+ users. 

(6:54) Arkham Knight is up next. It's a cinematic. Looks creepy, dark, and I have to have it. I can't wait to play it. 

(6:50) Shemue is back. A new Shenmue is coming thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. That's as good as funded. 

(6:45) Final Fantasy up next. It's called World of Final Fantasy. But Final Fantasy isn't finished. 7! Final Fantasy 7 is back! Final Fantasy 7 Remake is coming first to PS4. The crowd is on their feet for this news. The room is pumped! 

(6:44) Assassin's Creed Syndicate up next. PS4 will have exclusive missions. 

(6:38) Destiny up next. Tell us about The Taken King! His name is Oryx. Looks like it's Crota's dad. Subclasses shown. An arc bow, Solar ax, lightning attacks. A guardian made copyies of himself. New gear, new map, a new strike are coming to the PS4 on day one of the expansion on 9/15 

(6:32) Media Molecule is on the stage to show what they've been up to. New game is called Dreams. It will have a focus on social gameplay like LittleBitPlanet. You will draw by using the DualShock4. Media Molecule insists that we'll have plenty of questions upon seeing the presentation. I already have questions. This trailer is all over the place from a polar bear and it's cub, to space battles, to zombies vs. teddy bears. Looks like a crazy dreamscape. Not sure what it is, but I want it. 

(6:25) Hello Games is up next to show off some No Man Sky. Space battle is going on. Player can join in and take sides or avoid it all together. The game is massive. Each dot shown is a sun and that indicates that there is its own unique solar system around that dot. There are thousands of them, maybe millions. That game is just endless. A planet is picked at random to visit. Everything on the planet is fully destructable. he destroys a mountain side. Then takes a dip in a body of water to see fish. FPS combat. Robots patrol to look out for exploers. The player can take them down. still no release date. Hello Games says "soon." 

(6:23) Street Fighter V is up next. Cammy confirmed. Beta coming July 23 exclusively for the PS4. Nice! 

(6:20) Square Enix cinematic up next. Not sure what to make of this trailer. Lots of different characters in different settings from running in the woods. Oh it's a new Hitman. Looks like it's just called Hitman. We're learning more about the game now in a presentation. Coming to console, but leading with a digital release. Interesting. 

(6:19) It's called Horizon: Zero Dawn. This is a new IP to look out for. Impressive stuff. 

(6:13) Guerrilla Games is on the stage now, presumably to discuss Horizons. Demo time, of course captured entirely on a PS4. Just a cinematic trailer right now. Shows vast cityscapes. Eventually nature takes over. Shows overgrown urban settings like "The Last of Us." Humans went back to hunting and gathering. Humans are being hunted by machines. Cinematic switches to gameplay. Impressive, beautiful visuals. Birds can be seen fliying in the sky. Plant life moves based on character interaction. The character is in the bushes hiding from robots, similar to Assassin's Creed. This leads to a huge showdown with a giant robot bull-type thing. She's taging it with her bow and taking it apart piece by piece. She dislodges a gun from the robot and uses it against it. 

(6:11) Gameplay demo is still going on. More than 7 minutes now. Such a touching demonstration. Can't wait to play the real thing. The title flashes on the screen and the crows loses it. Shehei Yoshida is on the stage now. "You don't know how long I've waited for this moment," he says. He introduces Fumito Ueda who receives a standing ovation from the viewers on the ground level. 

(6:04) "I believe we are witnessing a history revolution." First game is up. Fumito Ueda presents The Last Guardian! It lives. Crowd is understandably excited. We're seeing actual gameplay. A boy running around ruins. Calls out to the guardian. Looks beautiful! Puzzles are shown envolving the boy and his guardian companion. The boy jump off a ledge, isn't going to make it and the guardian catches him. This is going to be heartrenching at times, I'm sure. Such companionship. Sony is showing a good amount of this game. I wonder how far along it is. Gameplay looks sharp. I'm sure they'll give those details after the gameplay demo. 

(6:03) "A reality where games and gamers come first." This is a solid intro, but expected at this point. 

(6:02) The crowd is pumped as expected. Shawn Layden President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America takes the stage. 

(6:01) Just hit refresh for all the info from the presser. Montage time. Battlefront, Destiny, Mad Max, The Show and others appear. 

(6:00) It's 6 by my clock. Should start any moment. Music is building. Here we go! 

(5:57) Take your seats. The event is about to start. 

(5:52) Of course, this is going to be updated on the minute once the presser goes live. Just trying not to ruin the wi-fi before the event begins. 8 minutes remaining. 

(5:48) 10 minute warning! Get your beverages and go to the bathroom if you need to! Sony usually stretches these things out for as long as they can. It will definitely be longer than an hour. 

(5:40) About 20 minutes before showtime. Will we finally see The Last Guardian tonight? Is the wait over? What do you think??

(5:34) We didn't get any Rock Band or Guitar Hero footage from Xbox this morning. One of those has to appear here tonight. Which one will it be? I'm prepared to see Destiny news about The Taken King expansion. 

(5:30) We are packed in here and it's about a billion degrees inside the Memorial Sports Arena in L.A. This place is so old. Kind of surprising it's still standing. 

(5:27) - We're a little over 30 minutes from Sony's E3 presser. Get your last-minute predictions in now! Will we see Kingdom Hearts footage? Will Last Guardian be officially announced? Time will tell. I'll keep this liveblog going for as long as the wi-fi holds. Fingers crossed! 

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015 00:50

'Grim Fandango' a timeless classic - Review

 

GrimFandangoCoverWho would’ve thought that 17 years after “Grim Fandango’s” original release would be the perfect time for a remastered edition? Here we are in 2015, and the peculiar point-and-click adventure fits perfectly among newer friends like “The Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones,” “Tales from the Borderlands,” and “The Wolf Among Us.” “Grim Fandango” returns to show how it paved the way for these games back in 1998.

What “Grim Fandango” has that the aforementioned games don’t is a unique cocktail of narrative themes and devices. Developed by Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Games (originally developed by a LucasArts team led by Tim Schafer), “Grim Fandango” tells a comical tale of the afterlife through a veil of noir styling. Comedy and noire aren’t normally paired, but the narrative makes it seem like the perfect fit in its distinctiveness.

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Tuesday, 09 September 2014 11:55

'Counterspy' review - Secret agent man

The world is on the brink of extermination thanks to Russia and the United States’ nuclear standoff. Both sides have shaky fingers on the trigger, ready to fire a warhead to eliminate their enemy, but taking everything else with it. It’s up to a third party to intervene and stop the apocalypse. This is “Counterspy.”

“Counterspy” is one of the latest downloadable games that is exclusive to the Sony empire of the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita. This sidescrolling stealth game with 3D elements adopts a 60’s-era comic Pop Art style, which is fitting given its Cold War-inspired plot.

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Sony’s E3 2014 press conference will begin at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Check back here at that time for a live blog of the event that will include all the announcements and impressions live from the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.

Note: Internet access at this venue has been historically horrible. The live blog will happen if possible.

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TheShowCoverSports games are finally starting to trickle into the next-gen platforms. We have “Madden,” we have “NBA 2K,” and now we have the PlayStation exclusive “MLB: The Show.” “MLB 14: The Show” continued its long running hit streak when it released for the PS3 and Vita last month. While the PS4 adds some extra gloss, that comes with some new problems.


Let this be addressed first: “MLB 14: The Show” for PS4 is not a rushed cash grab. This isn’t a watered down version of last month’s PS3 edition. All game modes, gameplay updates and flexibility are all included in the next-gen version. Gameplay is virtually untouched. The improvements are all in the aesthetics.

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