Sony’s PS4 Conference

In an extremely anticipated event on February 20th, Sony finally revealed the PlayStation 4 to the public, along with some upcoming games for the system. The system is coming out for the 2013 holiday season, and sports impressive technical specifications and a modified DualShock 4 controller with extra features like a touchpad and a built-in speaker.

PS4 Logo

As I did for last year’s E3 conferences, I have prepared a comfortable bullet-point summary of the major announcements during the conference, in order of appearance.

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Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

The first Uncharted was pretty cool, and the second one was even better. I expected the third game to be as good as its predecessor, but I also knew that there really wasn’t that much room for improvement for the series. Uncharted 2 had pretty much reached a peak, which would be a tremendous challenge for Uncharted 3 to overcome. But credit must go to Naughty Dog – they tried. The third game introduces some new and exciting details that make it seem more polished. It comes even closer to the blockbuster movie feel. But there were also several aspects where it couldn’t live up to the high standard set by Uncharted 2.

Uncharted 3 Cover

Game: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Developer: Naughty Dog
Platform: PlayStation 3
Original release: 2011
Territories: All

Uncharted 3 is a fun game, definitely a pleasure for the player. There is pretty much never a dull moment, even more so than in the first two. There are exciting new environments like a London pub, a shipyard, a cruise ship, a desert…, further showcasing Naughty Dog’s talent in the graphics department. The relationship between Drake and Sully is further developed, with some most curious episodes. The villain is, unfortunately, rather lame (like in the first game), but Drake’s group of friends gets a pretty cool new member in Charlie Cutter. The story, as a whole, is nothing special, and the lack of a strong villain presence makes it less impressive than the second game that at least had that. Overall, however, the game will impress you with its numerous breathtaking moments.

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Magnificent Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes trailer

I know I am almost 2 weeks late with my comments on this, but it only became available to the public after I had gone on vacation. On the event celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the best series in gaming – the Metal Gear series, Kojima showed a breath-taking trailer of the new and upcoming game in the saga – Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. In the off-chance that you haven’t seen it, here it is:

The most important story bits, with my short comments:

  • Cipher references, Paz and Chico have been captured – this means the ties with Peace Walker will be strong
  • Big Boss is aging – the game will most likely take place some 8-10 years after Peace Walker
  • Young kid in a cage shown – might be Chico, but, considering the game takes place a while after Peace Walker, Chico must’ve grown up! So it must be little Solid Snake! There has been very strong evidence that child Solid Snake will be in the next Metal Gear chapter
  • “From FOX, two phantoms were born”, FOX vs. XOF – Big Boss has the FOX logo on his shoulder, while the seemingly bad guys have XOF emblems on their equipment and machinery, in an opposing colour scheme (the fox is also facing right instead of left). Could the quote be referring to The Boss’ legacy, and Big Boss and Zero’s respective takes on it?
  • Mysterious man with a burned face, wearing a fedora shown as the likely villain of the game (leader of the XOF guys) – who could it be? Maybe Zero, considering the above thoughts? Or maybe just someone working for him?
  • “Army without a nation” still mentioned – Big Boss is probably still working towards his grand mission, even if he is part of FOX (could also be using FOX for his purposes)

Other details:

  • Uses the FOX engine – the new engine Kojima has been talking about for a while now
  • Runs on PC with specs comparable to PS3/360 – considering the dated hardware, it looks very impressive – the rain, the visual details, the character models (especially Big Boss)
  • PS3 and 360 logos appear at the end – seems like the game will come out on PS3/360, probably as one of the last big titles on those systems. Still, I’m having a hard time buying it – with PS4/720 reportedly launching around the holiday season of 2013, it would make much more sense to develop such a massive game on the new platforms.

As a whole, I am impressed… Very impressed, and very excited. I’d like to learn more about Big Boss, about his motives, about how Outer Heaven came to be. This game seems like it will offer a lot, maybe all those details. I am also pleased that Kojima is keeping his word regarding Metal Gear Solid 4 being the end of the saga, chronologically. That way, Metal Gear is keeping its artistic integrity, while still releasing games filling the gap between Solid 3 and the original Metal Gear.

Big Wii U rumours by Ubisoft developer

Recently, pretty big rumours have surfaced regarding Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console from a Ubisoft developer in Italy. Surely, we’ll get a lot of actually factual information in just a couple of weeks at E3, but why not speculate today, too?

Wii U Tablet Controller

Here’s a list of the important stuff:

  • Launch date – November 23rd
  • Launch price – between $350 and $450
  • Radeon HD 6770 GPU
  • DirectX 11 support
  • Can run Unreal Engine 4
  • 2GB RAM, 560 MB reserved for OS
  • Support for 2 touch-screen controllers
  • Trigger buttons won’t be analogue
  • “New button” has a link to the Wii Vitality Sensor
  • Multiple versions of the console given to developers – perhaps hardware is not completely finalised yet
  • There will be achievements
  • UI will be customisable
  • Launch titles from Ubisoft: Rayman Legends, The Avengers, Assassin’s Creed 3, Just Dance 4; Killer Freaks from Outer Space to arrive weeks after launch
  • Assassin’s Creed 3 to run at 60 fps at 1080p, compared to 720p on PS3/Xbox 360
  • Crytek, EA and Valve are working on Wii U
  • Valve working on a digital distribution platform and Portal ports

Source: http://www.nowgamer.com/news/1388344/wii_u_price_release_date_details_leaked_by_ubisoft_dev_rumour.html

Most of this is very interesting. I highly doubt Nintendo will go for anything above $350 for the price. With the word out already that Wii U will not be THAT much of an improvement over the other two, a $400 price tag would be a certain recipe for a slow start, unless they manage to convince everyone that Wii U is truly full-fledged next-gen at E3.

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Metal Gear Solid 5 speculations by PSM3 magazine

Big Boss wants you

Today, I have come across a very interesting article by PSM3 magazine, concerning the next Metal Gear Solid game. Some interesting assumptions are made based on existing data, and they all seem to make a lot of sense.

The main points are as follows (of course, keep in mind this is just speculation):

  • You’ll play as Big Boss
  • The game will take place between 1974 and 1980
  • It will be set in Africa
  • Gray Fox will make a return, possibly the young Naomi will be featured, as well
  • The game will examine the foundation of Outer Heaven and Big Boss’ war against the Patriots
  • It will be open-world and will be built for next-generation consoles and possibly PC
  • It will use the “Fox Engine”
  • Kojima’s often mentioned “Project Ogre” may be Metal Gear Solid 5
  • Child Solid Snake may make an appearance

Source (WARNING: THE LINKED ARTICLE CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE METAL GEAR FRANCHISE): http://www.computerandvideogames.com/345106/metal-gear-solid-5-whats-next-for-metal-gear/

I’ve gotta say I’m very excited about this. I am certainly interested to see how things continue to develop after Peace Walker and before Metal Gear, and I’d love to play as Big Boss on a full-fledged console game again. Africa and Gray Fox make perfect sense, as we know the location of Outer Heaven from the original Metal Gear. Witnessing the animosity and open conflict between Big Boss and The Patriots should be incredible. And Solid Snake as a child? Wow, that could really be epic, especially if the relationship between Big Boss and him is shown.

The Fox Engine will allow for very impressive graphics, of course, but the open-world idea is even more intriguing. Perhaps it would expand on the “missions” notion in Peace Walker, allowing for many side missions alongside the main quest. An open-world environment could potentially even allow for conducting military operations with Big Boss’ men on a larger scale, opening up so many possibilities. And I would LOVE for Metal Gear Solid to come back to PC… It’s a huge shame the latest games abandoned it.

While I do believe many of these assumptions may be accurate, I am also really looking forward to some actual news on Metal Gear Solid 5. It is not unlikely we’ll get some in less than 2 months at E3!

PS4 “Orbis” rumours – no used games or backwards compatibility

A rumour has recently surfaced regarding the next PlayStation console, codenamed “Orbis.” The most important points being:

  • Is called, or at least carries the working codename, “Orbis”
  • Is scheduled for a Holiday 2013 release
  • Won’t be backwards compatible with PS3 games
  • Will lock new games to a PSN account as an anti-used games measure
  • New games can be bought either on Blu-Ray or downloaded
  • Current specs are an AMD x64 CPU and AMD Southern Islands GPU

Source: http://kotaku.com/5896996/the-next-playstation-is-called-orbis-sources-say-here-are-the-details

With the rest of the points being either details or expected (such as the release date), the two in bold are the ones I’d like to comment on.

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