Saturday, May 28, 2016

Preview: E3 2016

E3 is right around the corner (June 14-16, 2016), so here are some guesses for titles that will be featured over the course of the event.

Oddworld: Soulstorm
An upcoming remake of 1998's Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus. The game will serve as a direct sequel to Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty.

Mass Effect: Andromeda
The first major spin-off in the widely popular action RPG shooter series. You are able to play as either a male or female human character. The game takes place long after the events of the first three Mass Effect games.

An action role-playing video game played in a third-person perspective, in which players assume control of Drew, as he progresses through the world of Draconis. Players are bonded to and accompanied by a dragon called Thuban, who can breathe out fire and assist players throughout the game. Thuban is controlled by artificial intelligence, but players can give commands to the dragon when performing attacks.

Shenmue III
The long awaited open world, action adventure game that stirred up major news when a Kickstarter campaign was used to crowdfund Shenmue III. The campaign met its initial target of $2 million USD in under eight hours, making it the fastest Kickstarter campaign to reach that amount. It ended in July having raised over $6 million, making it the highest-funded video game and the sixth highest-funded campaign in Kickstarter history.

Legend of Zelda Wii U/NX
The Zelda game that has been in development for the past few years. This game will be released on the Wii U and Nintendo's new system currently codenamed "NX". The game allows the player to have more freedom, allowing them to decide their destination and method of travel. The overworld can be traversed on foot or on Link's horse. The game is said to be the largest of any Zelda game, and is as large as the Wii U's hardware can handle.

Final Fantasy VII Remake
The game that all RPGs fans have been eagerly waiting years for, and then it was announced at last year's E3 . It was then announced that this would be release in an episodic way, and that they are changing some other functions from the original. Hopefully they don't change too much and ruin what was once magical.

Gran Turismo Sport
The newest installment in Sony's long lasting racing simulator series. The big reason Sony is going to be hyping this up this title at E3 is because of the Playstation VR support.

Kingdom Hearts III
The next game in the Kingdom Hearts series sees the unbelievable mix of Disney and Final Fantasy coming together again to tell the next part of this epic tale. Due to Disney owning Marvel and Star Wars, these worlds could possibly be included in the upcoming game.

Resident Evil 2 Remake
Resident Evil fans went crazy for the remake of the original Resident Evil, and this upcoming remake will only be better. Double the story lines, double the playable characters, and its a full remake.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force
This game garnered majored headlines last year because of severe major fan outcry over this title. Let's see what Nintendo has changed from last year to this year.

Attack on Titan
Flying around and chopping up titans in glorious HD. Let's hope it all goes according to plan and that they don't mess it up, like the last Attack on Titan game for the 3DS.

Final Fantasy XV
This game was announced in 2006...yes, it has been over 10 years since this title has been announced and finally a release date is in sight. They have released 2 playable demos and they have been awesome. Let's see what other craziness Square-Enix can throw at us this year. 

Gears of War 4
The next installment in Microsoft's monster franchise. It features a new Combat Knife, which can be used for melee attacks and allows new ways to perform executions. New weapons have been introduced and players can also perform a short distance shoulder charge, knocking enemies off balance and enemies can also pull players out of cover and perform their own takedowns. The game will also feature four categories of weather.

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon
The latest generation of the franchise that is celebrating it's 20th anniversary this year. They haven't unveiled much besides some quick gameplay, the region (based on Hawaii), the starters, and the legendary Pokemon. Nintendo will be going all out with Pokemon this year at E3.

Gravity Rush 2
The sequel to the gravity defying action adventure game that picks up right where the first one left off. Sony is promising that this gaming is massive in comparison to the original title with the three times more missions to do and a map that is over double in size.

Halo Wars 2
Halo Wars has filled the void that Command & Conquer has left on consoles. The first Halo Wars was extremely fun, so hopefully the next one is even more fun.

Paper Mario: Color Splash
Not too much has been revealed bout this title besides that it will continue the gameplay of the previous Paper Mario which has caused an outcry from longtime fans of the series. This title will definitely be featured during Nintendo's showcase.

Microsoft will undoubtedly unveil a lot about this game at E3 being this game comes out this year and still very little is actually known about it.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole
What do you get when you take Obsidian Entertainment (who developed Fallout: New Vegas, and Star Wars: KoToR II), the satire and crudeness of South Park, and you throw it in a blender? You get one of the funniest and most fun RPGs that I have played. Now take that same formula and add in the recent superhero craze and you have a recipe for another amazing game. Hopefully, we see more of this title this year from publishers Ubisoft.

One of the biggest franchises for the Nintendo 64 was Rare's Banjo-Kazooie. Now over a decade later, some former Rare employees are making a spiritual successor to Banjo with Yooka-Laylee. From what has been shown, it looks like it has the same magic as Banjo and Kazooie had but with a Lizard and Bat.

This action RPG revolves around vampire doctor Jonathan Reid who is coming to terms with his undead condition. He must deal with being torn between the Hippocratic Oath and his newfound bloodthirsty nature. The player is under no obligation to kill to finish the game. Dialogue options can be used for hunting prey to feed on, which replenishes strength and levels up the lead character. Vampyr is based on the 1918 London Spanish flu pandemic.

Sea of Thieves
An upcoming adventure video game developed by Rare and published by Microsoft Studios for PC and Xbox One. The game features user-generated content, in which players have the ability to craft their custom stories by using in-game tools.

Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls
Level 5's answer to Game Freak's Pokemon. Last year Yo-Kai Watch came out and it was a huge hit. This year, they are taking another characteristic from the Pokemon series by releasing two versions of their next title. Let's see if the sequels are as good as the original.

Sony VR & PS 4 Neo
Sony will undoubtedly show off its VR headset and some of the software that will go along with it but recent reports are also saying that Sony is working on an updated PS4 that will most likely be shown off at E3.

Xbox One Scorpio
Just as Sony is making an updated PS4, Microsoft is doing the same with the Xbox One. Microsoft will definitely be showing this off if reports start coming out that Sony is showing off theirs.

Mother 3
Last year, Nintendo shocked US fans buy announcing that Earthbound Beginnings (aka Mother) was finally being released in the US after 25 years. This year is the 10th anniversary of Mother 3 and US fans have yet to play an official release (there is an amazing fan translation available though). I am willing to bet that we finally get Mother 3 this year being the past two years we got the previous two installments on the Wii U Virtual Console. Hopefully this is the year for an official release (My guess for a name would be Eathbound Finale).

Friday, April 1, 2016

10 Video Game Hoaxes

Happy April Fool's Day

Before and during the early days of the internet, rumors about secrets in video games would spread across the playground like wildfire. While some were believable, some were beyond ridiculous, yet in the end we still spent hours trying to see if they were true. Here is a list of some of the most popular ones:

Akuma in Resident Evil 2

EGM claimed that Akuma is unlocked by typing in "AKUMA" instead of "GUEST" on the laboratory console, allowing a new save file to be made in which he will be playable. To actually allow "AKUMA" to work, however, EGM claimed that the player would have to beat both sets of Resident Evil 2 scenarios a total of six times on the 'A' rank, and only using the handgun and a knife. Only by playing the game a seventh time would it work. Akuma is claimed to have be ability to fire Gohadokens instead of using guns, and can explore through the entire game without need for keys.

24th Cheat in Goldeneye 64

When you have unlocked all of the cheats (23 in total), it looks as if you are missing one cheats being they are arranged in 2 columns. This spawned the rumors of a 24th cheat (which was actually cut before the game was released). The most popular rumor was a cheat called "All Bonds" which would allow you to play as other James Bonds such as Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Timothy Dalton. The only way to actually get all the Bonds is using a cheating device.

The actual removed cheat was "Line Mode" which turned your screen into a pen and ink display of the game.

Bigfoot in GTA: San Andreas

Players generally say that they have seen Bigfoot from far away, usually as a burly figure walking through the forest who would flee if the player gets too close. Rarer accounts say that Bigfoot attacks the player, or that the player could get close to him. Nevertheless, the majority of video or photo evidence that proves Bigfoot's existence are either fake or mods. The debate that Bigfoot exists in San Andreas is still active to this day. The existence of Bigfoot in GTA San Andreas has been the focal point of many internet-based rumors since the game was released in 2004. It is impossible to determine the start of these rumors.

In an official interview with Terry Donovan released in 2005, he stated, "There is no Bigfoot, just like in real life. But there is something in the woods." This statement spurred a large debate within the GTA community about what Donovan was referring to. Many people take Donovan's message as a hint, and are searching for Piggsy (a killer in a pig mask from the game Manhunt) and other similar creatures (such as the Chupacabra) in the San Andreas countryside.

Ermac in Mortal Kombat

In the first few arcade versions of Mortal Kombat, there was a listing in the audit menu for "ERMACS". In Revision 3.0, it was actually listed directly underneath "Reptile Battles" giving the appearance that they were grouped together. It was believed to reference a character the same way "Reptile Battles" does which led people to believe that Ermac was also a secret character. The Ermac listing is a shortening of the term "Error Macro". Electronic Gaming Monthly published a photo to accompany a letter from Tony Casey reporting an alleged encounter. However, Ermac did not appear in any version. There is also no naturally occurring default character palette that would provide a full palette swap for Ermac. The developers denied that he existed in Mortal Kombat II with one of the jumbled messages that appeared at the bottom of the screen after beating the game: CEAMR ODSE NTO EXITS (an anagram of "Ermac does not exist"), and the occasional appearance of the secret character Jade with the message "Ermac Who?" The numerous rumors of his existence led to his debut as an official character in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.

Luigi in Super Mario 64

The garbled-looking symbols on the star statue in the courtyard fountain are actually a message reading 'L is Real 2401', and is a secret message from Nintendo on how to unlock Luigi as a playable character. This was actually started long ago on Nintendo's official website when Editor Dan Ownsen was asked a question about this, with this very speculation laid out. He repeatedly refused to answer it. After months of refusing to answer the question, he finally included it in his FAQ and admitted it meant nothing, but by then the myth had spread and is still believed.

Sheng Long in Street Fighter II

The name Sheng Long comes from a mistranslated portion of Ryu's Shoryuken; "shō ryū" (昇 龍, "rising dragon") from Shōryūken (昇龍拳, "Rising Dragon Fist"), Ryu's flying uppercut, is "shēng lóng" in Chinese pinyin. This was carried into one of Ryu's quotes to defeated opponents in the English localization of the 1991 arcade game Street Fighter II, changing the Japanese quote, "If you cannot overcome the Rising Dragon Fist, you cannot win!"(昇龍拳を破らぬ限り、おまえに勝ち目はない, Shōryūken wo yaburanu kagiri, omae ni kachime wa nai!) to "You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance." As a result players were given the impression that Ryu was referring to an actual person instead of the physical attack itself.

EGM first started the Sheng Long rumor with a hoax article, revealing the rumored method to access him. He is described to have over-the-top powers, with fireballs faster than Sagat's and kicks deadlier than Chun-Li's, also with the special attack of each fighter and "mega-damage" attack. He was also said to possess an air throw and have a Shoryuken engulfed in flames. The method described was as follows: playing only as Ryu, the player cannot take a single hit until M. Bison's stage. Then, the player must not hit M. Bison or allow him to land a hit for ten rounds straight. Afterword, Sheng Long would appear to throw Bison off the stage and face Ryu. When facing Sheng Long, the timer will freeze at 99, leaving a full "fight to the death".

Shoot the Duck Hunt Dog

You know him, you hate him, and you would love to shoot him. That smug dog who laughed at you whenever you were unable to shoot a duck got on everyone's nerves, and I bet you did shoot at him when he laughed at you. But what if you could actually shoot him, and that's where the rumor started. This lead to people making ROM Hacks where you could shoot him or where you hunted the dogs with a mini gun, but there was no way to shoot him in the official NES version.

Mew and the Mystery Truck

In Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, as well as their remakes FireRed and LeafGreen, a truck was placed in the S.S. Anne's port, which seems to serve no evident purpose except as scenery. With scenery being very sparse in the Generation I games, and this being one of the few sprites with no other purpose than to exist in one spot, fans began speculating that another purpose existed for this truck. The truck cannot be accessed without Surf, which the player would not normally have or be able to use before the S.S. Anne departs (The ship will not set sail if the player challenges a Trainer after obtaining the move Cut and loses the battle. The player will be returned to the last Pokémon Center visited, and the ship will not leave the dock, making it accessible later in the game when the player had obtained Strength and Surf). Rumor claimed that the truck could be moved with Strength, and Mew could be found underneath it.

In FireRed and LeafGreen, the truck is still present; however, there is actually something of a point to get to it this time around. On its pier, if the player walks down a bit, they can find a Lava Cookie, normally unavailable until later in the game. This could possibly have been put into the game as a reference to the old rumors. In the ROM Hack version "Twitch Plays Pokemon" you can actually move the truck using Strength to get Mew.

Aerith Lives
By the time you get to the end of the first disc of Final Fantasy VII, you have already gotten all the team members and most likely have started having a team combination you enjoy. Aerith was probably on your team as your healer. Then it happens, the cut scene and scream heard around the world from fans. Sephiroth drops down and plunges his sword through Aerith. No big deal though, you have some Phoenix Downs so you will just revive her and continue your journey, but you can't. She is actually dead and there is no bringing her back... or is there? Numerous rumors floated around online and through schoolyards about ways to revive her but alas none were true. It sucked losing her in the game but if you could bring her back, that kind of ruins and messes up the story.

Nude Raider

When Tomb Raider came out it took the gaming world by storm. You played as a female with guns and went around exploring a 3D world. Well, when you combine horny teenage guys and anything involving a female it normally results in one things. This time it was the infamous "Nude Raider" code. Rumor had it that you would type in a code and Lara Croft would be naked. It wasn't true but that didn't stop the rumor from spreading like a plague on school buses, playground, and GeoCities websites. When Tomb Raider 2 was released, the developers included a code to make Lara explode. People used this new code as a prank by telling people it was the nude code for Tomb Raider 2 and watched in delight as the person entered the code Lara exploded.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Upcoming Games of 2016

All release dates listed are for the US

Pokemon Sun & Moon
3DS - Holiday 2016

Fire Emblem Fates
3DS - February 19th

Pokken Tournament
Wii U - March 18th

Dark Souls III
PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One - April 12th

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Playstation 4 - April 26th

Street Fighter V
Playstation 4, PC - February 16th

Star Fox Zero
Wii U - April 22nd

Ratchet & Clank
Playstation 4 - April 12th

Roller Coaster Tycoon World
PC, MAC - Early 2016

Quantum Break
Xbox One - April 5th

No Man's Sky
Playstation 4, PC - June 2016

Night in the Woods
PC, Mac, Playstation 4 - 2016

PC - March 17th

Mirror's Edge Catalyst
PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 - May 24th

PC, Mac, Playstation 4 - February 9th

Final Fantasy XV
Playstation 4, Xbox One - 2016

PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 - Quarter 1/2 2016

Attack on Titan
Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita - 2016

Shadow of the Beast
Playstation 4 - March 2nd

Horizon Zero Dawn
Playstation 4 - 2016

PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 - 2016

PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 - Quarter 1/2 2016

Honorable Mentions:

Pokemon Z
3DS - 2016???

Pokemon GO
Android, IOS - 2016

Mother 4
PC, Mac - 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

Top 10 Import Games

Mother 3 - Game Boy Advance

This is probably the most requested for the Game Boy Advance, maybe for any system. There is a petition that is 31,000+ signatures and every year fans hope that Nintendo announces a release at E3. Check out my earlier review of this fantastic title.

Captain Rainbow - Wii

The game's story follows Nick, who is able to transform into "Captain Rainbow", a yo-yo-wielding, superhero that stars in his own TV show. Unfortunately, his TV show is no longer popular and to restore his popularity, Nick ventures to Mimin Island, an island where wishes are said to come true. This game is known for having an overweight Little Mac and a detective mission where you're asked to find evidence that Birdo is female after he/she is locked up by police for visiting the little girl's room. Entering Birdo's bedroom, you notice that a pillow is vibrating. You pick up the  item underneath, and you'll be told the item you're carrying is "proof the owner is a woman". Who knew Nintendo had a twisted side?

Blood of Bahamut - DS

Blood of Bahamut is an action role-playing game in which up to four players battle giant beasts that are featured on both screens of the DS. In order to defeat a giant, players must first destroy its protective armor, then attack its "core," and finally attack its other body parts. The giants can summon smaller beasts, which the players must battle simultaneously. The Gigants include BahamutIfrit, Shiva, Fenrir, and Gilgamesh, many of which are also summon monsters depicted in Square Enix's popular Final Fantasy series. I love how you are confined to an area but it still feels pretty wide open. This isn't your typical RPG and some of the are extremely tough, requiring a lot of strategy to defeat.

Pop'n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures - Super Nintendo

Rainbow Bell Adventures is a side-scrolling platformer that is full of bright colors. All characters use their punch to attack, which can be charged to unleash a punch wave. They have two sets of weapons, one of them is either a short or long-ranged weapon, and a gun. The visuals of this game make me want to eat a ton of candy.

Hammerin' Harry: Ghost Building Company - Game Boy

Take Harry on a journey through the city streets with his hammer. Smash your enemies in whatever form they appear in, no matter if it's bullets, ghosts or monsters. Get ready to play this game because "It's Hammer Time", and what better way to defeat your enemies than smashing them with a giant hammer.

Terranigma - Super Nintendo

Terranigma tells the story of the Earth's resurrection by the hands of a boy named Ark, and its progress from the evolution of life to the present day. Terranigma has been referred to as one of Square Enix's greatest RPGs to never make it to the USA.

Rent A Hero - Sega Genesis

Rent-A-Hero takes place in the town of Corja, Japan. Taro Yamada received his armor by accident during their house-warming party, when he ordered a pizza. After realizing the suit gave him incredible strength and that he is required to pay for the armor, Taro decides to become a hero for hire. This game was remade for the Dreamcast but the US version was cancelled. This game is every comic nerd's dream. How awesome would it be if this actually happened.

Final Fantasy III - NES

This is the real Final Fantasy III, not the one we originally got for the Super Nintendo that was actually Final Fantasy VI. We didn't get to play a version of this until 2006 when Nintendo did a 3D remake for the Nintendo DS. The story revolves around four orphaned youths drawn to a crystal of light. The crystal grants them some of its power, and instructs them to go forth and restore balance to the world. Final Fantasy III is also the first game in the series to feature summoned creatures, which are called forth with the "Summon" skill.

Bahamut Lagoon - Super Nintendo

This Tactical RPG was released towards the end of the Super Nintendo. It combines RPG mechanics with squad-based combat. Characters have HP, SP/MP, EXP, equipment, stats and class-specific, SP-draining special elemental abilities very much like traditional console RPGs. The player can explore his surroundings, talk to people and visit shops when not in battle. This game also has Dragons! Dragons have their own stats and gain experience like normal characters do. Dragons will eat anything and raising them by feeding them items is an important part of the game. Feeding can improve their stats as well as affect their behavior on the field, and the dragons develop into new forms as they grow.

The Firemen - Super Nintendo

When a large fire breaks out in the middle of a Christmas party at the chemical company Microtech, firemen Pete and Daniel, along with second pair of firefighters in another part of the building, are tasked with saving civilians, putting out fires, and removing an explosive chemical called MDL from the basement of the facility. The characters in the game put out fires using hoses with the ability to shoot a direct stream or have a more proximate spray and fire-extinguishing bombs. Use of the fire extinguisher is unlimited although continues are limited in number. Pete takes damage from fire and extreme heat, and when the life gauge reaches zero, the game is over. Each level has a "boss fire" that has a specific way of being extinguished. There are also civilians who were not able to escape throughout the levels, and saving them partially restores the player's life gauge. This is the type of game that I'm surprised there isn't more of. I can only think of a few firefighter games across any system.

Honorable Mention:

Super Mario Bros 2 (aka The Lost Levels) - NES

This isn't the Super Mario Bros. 2 that you may know of, that game is actually a redo of a totally different game. This version of Mario was called "too difficult for the North American audience", so we were given the version that everyone knows. This title was eventually remade and released on the Super Nintendo game Super Mario All-Stars as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.