EVO ’16 with The 3rd Runner: Of Downloads and Thuggery

EVO ’16 with The 3rd Runner: Of Downloads and Thuggery

So, last time we talked about fighting games (see: CEO with The 3rd Runner: The Rift), we left off with a pretty big question: could the regulations over typical FGC behaviors, perceived by the higher ups at Capcom as thuggery, hamper the overall Evolution Championship Series experience, in favor of a more sanitized and less entertaining enviroment, more akin to other eSports competitions?

Well, except for a couple of pretty dumb decisions made mostly to pander to the ESPN 2 audience (because surprise surprise, the Street Fighter V grand finals were broadcasted there too!), I can safely say we’re not yet in MOBA territory: players faced eachother side to side like usual, still showed spontaneous signs of respect beyond conventional handshakes, like little fistbumps and eventually hugs, so yeah, they still haven’t robbed us of our emotions!

Unfortunately, though, i can’t say anything about our beloved Heels, because this year they apparently didn’t make it to Top 8, and the most villanous player i can describe is Hollywood Sleep, Killer Instinct’s champion, that still proved to be a pretty decent person outside the metaphorical ring, only displaying his inner Heel by showing off a damn ruthless Gargos (the final boss character of Killer Instinct, which is -needless to say- pretty overpowered); we can assume they maybe dropped their villanous personas for this special occasion (after all they were on national TV this time), saving boisterousness and theatrics for smaller, less public events? We may never know until the next WinterBrawl.

What we may know is that ESPN’s management section doesn’t like women’s physical attributes, beaches and white rooms full of squares, since they forced all Street Fighter V players who used female characters with slightly skimpier outfits to switch to alternate costumes, banned the “Kanzuki Beach” stage because the 10mm of water on the ground could “alter the perception of the characters’ position” and the Training Room Stage, a white room with a square pattern on the walls and floor, generally used as the “grand finals” stage because the squares helped players manage their spacing better, because…well…it looked bad. Now, while these restrictions WERE stupid, the Training Room problem was solved by Capcom, that recently made a stage just for competitive events like EVO and Capcom Cup, the bombastic Ring of Destiny…which is now being sold to us uncultured swines for 25 bucks…one step forward, two steps back, right Capcom?

Even through all these restriction, though, the tournament went great i must say, with Infiltration completing the download of the “Final_Apocalypse.exe” program into his brain, managing to pull off three (three!) no damage, perfect victories DURING GRAND FINALS with his flawless Charlie Nash against Fuudo’s R. Mika (one of the ladies who got their costume censored) which, even though put up a good fight, couldn’t really stand against the Sonic Hurricane called Infiltration. The other tournaments were, of course, no less exciting, with Pokken Tournament being surprisingly hype and the Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- finals showing off the power of a fan-favourite returning character; the katana wielding american Zorro: Johnny. Omito, Johnny’s user, still got soundly beaten by Machabo’s monstrous Sin Kyske. Last but not least, the Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 tournament was finally won by Chris “Touhou” G, who surprisingly didn’t burst into a maniacal laughter after realizing his victory, like the son of a Succubus and a Demon that he is,  and instead reacted quite…modestly.

So, to put it short, this first year of the FGC’s eSports transition went smoothly all things considered, and probably had a good effect on the community’s growth…but as much as i hate leaving discussions open, this isn’t the kind of subject you just archive and leave be: truth to be told, I feel this is just the beginning of a new era for the FGC, and like in any “new era”, changes will be inevitable, even if sadly only time will tell what kind of changes they will be. As far I can guess, though, we behaved pretty well this time, so i feel no further restrictions will be needed in the future.

What do You think, dear reader?

I just hope you found both EVO and my article over here entertaining, but this time for the insight you’ll have to look on EventHubs, DustLoop or whatever wiki your game of choice has when it comes to competitive, this is The 3rd Runner, off to practice some Sol Badguy Fafnir Counter Hit mixups!

 

 

 

 

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CEO ’16 with The 3rd Runner: The Rift

CEO ’16 with The 3rd Runner: The Rift

So, guess who’s back from a little hiatus? And this time we talk about competitive gaming, finally! Not quite eSports, as much as “WWeSports”, because Evolution 2016, the biggest fighting games tournament of the year, is only a week away! So, to better get “in the zone” with this Whole fighting game business, today we’re talking about Evo’s louder little brother: Community Effort Orlando.

Now, part of the reason of this “pause” i took was that i couldn’t find a proper way to talk about an event like this, since it’s not really the same as E3, and since it’s a tad late to discuss the highlights of the various tourneys, a matter that would also require countless hours of technical explanation, let’s focus on a different, but not less important, topic: a “rift” that it’s starting to form between Community events and “official” events.

Allow me to explain: the fighting game community is famous for being a lot more similar to the old school pro-wrestling scene, revolving around “personas” and “feuds” rather than teams and coaches, like “regular” eSports, and with feuds come various degrees of trash talking, grudge matches with money on the line, and general behaviors that don’t take the PG limits of the eSports scene much into account. All of this, even if in some cases can get slightly obnoxious, is pretty entertaining and has contributed to give to the FGC its unique flair and “personality”, and community founded tournaments like CEO are the best way to witness both its virtues and vices. CEO in particular is the one that tries its best to be somewhat wrestling based, with players facing eachother in actual boxing rings, the catwalk to the ring for those who want to try more “theatrical” entrances and a straight up belt (like the one in the picture above) given to tournament winners! Quite fancy, huh? Because we’re not done! Get this: after years and years of buildup, players getting more and more elaborate entrances (Kenneth Bradley’s replica of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s, complete with Stunner performed on the referee, along with Dieminion’s Undertaker entrance, both from last year’s CEO, being the pinnacle) and mentions of the tournament from actual wrestlers, CEO ’16 hosted a once-in-a-lifetime Street Fighter V showdown between New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Kenny Omega (pictured above, on the right) and WWE’s Xavier Woods, both already well known above-average Street Fighter players, both well determined to put on a show and to bring their recently born “friendly rivalry” to an end: it was the closest the FGC has ever been to becoming what i like to call “WWeSports”, and honestly even more entertaining than some of the most recent WWE events.

That sounded quite hype, right? Well, sadly there’s no coin with just one face, and the other face of this coin doesn’t really like how this whole situation has been evolving, having other plans in mind for the fighting games competitive scene: we are, of course, talking about Capcom, Street Fighter’s publishing company and the one with the biggest influence when organizing competitive events, being Street Fighter the most conpetitively played fighting game.

You see, since the release of Street Fighter 4, the FGC has been slowly but steadily growing, gaining notoriety and getting more and more in the public eye, a public eye that came to consider those player behaviors as “thuggery”, an adjective that Capcom -of course- didn’t like to see associated with events they sponsored, so they straight up introduced more and more regulations in regards of gambling, trash talking, money matches and so on, to try and “conform” EVO and Capcom Cup with the rest of the MLG-organized events, instead of continuing being the “black sheep” of the bunch: the consequences of these “disciplinary actions” will be seen for the first time at this year’s EVO, broadcasted for the first time on ESPN2…will there be that much of a difference? Will the personas we all know and love be hampered by the trash talking regulations? Will it feel too “sanitized”?

We’ll find out in a week, i guess!

While this article wasn’t that insightful, i hope you found it at least entertaining, this is the 3rd Runner, going back to Guilty Gear Xrd’s training room, since i don’t have a ps4 to play Street Fighter V.

 

 

E3 2016 with The 3rd Runner: From Japan With Love (and 26 hours of Stream)

E3 2016 with The 3rd Runner: From Japan With Love (and 26 hours of Stream)

Square Enix and Nintendo sure love streaming, because that’s what they did instead of a regular conference: respectively EIGHTEEN and six hours of content each, and i’ll say it right away, i was only capable to watch Nintendo’s live, i had to watch Square Enix’s trailers separately, because let’s be realistic, EIGTHEEN HOURS (six hours for three days)? Sadly the rest of the conferences left me sleepless (fun fact: i live in europe, where Sony’s ended around 5 Am), and i had to recover.

Enough atpologies though, we have to skim through those eighteen hours of Square Enix, let’s go.

 

Final Fantasy XV/XII HD

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The Regalia is quickly becoming one of my favourite fictional cars of all time.

After the downright awkward live gameplay at Microsoft’s conference (which i didn’t even mention, it was THAT bad), Square Enix showed how you’re supposed to play Final Fantasy XV with a special “e3 mission”, the Trial of the Titan: in this showcase, the Backstreet Bo-i mean Noctis’ party fight a…well…titan, to prove him that Noctis is fit to inherit his power. So, after a short escape sequence and a quicktime event involving parrying the Titan’s punches with a greatsword, the fight flows quite nicely: Noctis is able to warp around while slashing, so you see him pulling all sorts of Tracer-like maneuvers, teleporting around the behemoth’s hands to get some hits in, and once on the ground occasional QTEs (which inclusion i find questionable…why not a simple block mechanic?) allow him to counter the titan’s attacks and stun him for a short period of time; of course, this game being a Final Fantasy and all, the “special moves” ,like the warping attack, at your disposal are limited by a meter, and while you still control just Noctis, the rest of the party actually helps you by healing and enchanting your weapons, allowing you to use classic spells like Blizzara, used in the showcase…everything’s pretty by the book, really

Also, the Regalia, Noctis’ crew’s car can turn into a jet (Type-F), because screw airships.

The other “big” announcement Square gave about the FF series (outside some mobile game) was the release of an HD Remaster of FFXII, and considering i -as a “casual” on the matter of RPGs- know FFX by heart but i’ve never even SEEN XII, it’s probably a good idea, to boost its popularity and whatnot.

 

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

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Gentlemen, welcome to Dubai.

And finally we get to Deus Ex! This time Square showed off the first mission of the game, where Adam Jensen is sent, along with a strike force of regular human soldiers, to take on an augmented terrrist group, and ensure the safety of one of their contacts who led them to it, and while the guy playing clearly knew what he was doing, almost pulling off a perfect stealth run and managing to stay non-lethal for the whole mission, the poor guy they had to protect during an arms deal got offed, with the arms dealer, by a squad of masked cyborgs, who opened fire on everything that moved.

The game looked, as expected, amazing: all of the augmentations from Human Revolution are back, along with plenty of new ones, and some of them seem to be available from the start, allowing for a bit more freedom of action, especially when talking infiltration. The returning ones have obviously being reworked and rebalanced, like the Smart Vision, which now looks a lot more like Metal Gear Rising’s Enhanced AR: grey/blue vision with incoming threats highlighted in red, along with their equipment and possible loot, like credit chips, pocket secretaries and ammo.

Another big shocker was that, for first time in Deus Ex History, the tranquilizer rifle wasn’t shown to be complete garbage! Both in looks and function, it has been greatly refined, not shaking around incontrollably while aiming, with a faster reload time and a really sleek white and red frame that looks like an actual sniper rifle, a far cry from the prequel’s desert-camoed animal tranquilizer.

What can i say? The guys at Eidos are clearly nailing it, and this gameplay is just other evidence to add to the pile.

Oh, right, almost forgot: Breach Mode has been shown again, for those who missed the pre-e3 Eidos stream. It’s basically a hacking, but your program now has humanoid low-poly shape and the defenses of the system you’re breaching in are actual guards, drones and turrets. It’s a nice way to “recycle” assets and mechanics by changing their looks and names, and looks like it’s gonna be pretty fun. It’ll be included in the final game for free, obviously.

 

 

NiER: Automata

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Literal Spectacle Fighter.

Now THIS is a gameplay presentation, Platinum! Clean, smooth, that emphasises the double nature of this sequel of the critically acclaimed action RPG “Nier”: under this melancholic and “artsy” post-apocaliptic RPG, beats the heart of a pure character action game with 3d bullet hell elements, a match of Taro Yoko storytelling and trademark Platium gameplay truly made in heaven.

The E3 gameplay showed the androids YoRHa 2B (the girl in the picture above) and 9S facing off against an eerie looking animatronic dressed in a once beautiful baroque dress (decorated with tiny robot corpses), that used regular “character action” attacks and projectile patterns typical of 2D bullet hell games: about halfway in the screen looked like a 3D recreation of a Touhou game, and it was nothing short of amazing.

The player character, 2B, has also the chance to play bullet hell with her foes, thanks to a machine gun unit that constantly floats around her, in a similar fashion to the book from the original NiER (or an Option from Gradius, to put it simple), and the aiming is controlled with the camera and/or with the lock-on functionality typical of other Platinum titles…for the rest, the gameplay is pretty straightforward: you got your light and heavy attacks comboable in all kinds of ways, you got your dodge (without bullet time, though), and it’s safe to bet that dodge offsets, resets and whatnot will also be part of the final release’s combat system.

Let’s go Platinum, what can i say?

 

 

Agents of Mayhem

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From right to left: HOLLYWOOD, FORTUNE and HARDTACK. Personally, i hope the designs of the next “heroes” will be sligtly more daring: these are alright, but…lack something.

Overwatch meets Saint’s Row in this open world “hero based” third person shooter, where you get a team of three characters to switch on the fly, each one with specific weapons, sets of skills and “mayhem” moves, only this time in an open world enviroment: your characters are agents of the M.A.Y.H.E.M., the Multinational AgencY for Hunting Evil Masterminds, founded by Persephone Brimstone, and your goal is to capture -dead or alive- the leader of L.E.G.I.O.N., or League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations, who goes by the name of Dr. Babylon and attacked Seoul to get his hands on the “Zero Point Dynamo”, a superbattery that creates infinite energy, that he’ll probably use to wreak havoc with the satellite cannon shown in the cinematic trailer, if everything goes according to plan. Fortunately enough, M.A.Y.H.E.M. operatives are pretty carefree when it comes to collateral damage, and if stopping this fool means blowing up a few apartment blocks, so be it.

The currently known characters are FORTUNE, aka Marina Santos, the glass cannon of the bunch: dual wields pistols, high mobility, stun grenades and can use an armed drone as companion, HARDTACK, aka Ishmael Funderburke, a self-proclaimed badass sailor who uses an automatic shotgun and an harpoon as a melee and throwable weapon, and HOLLYWOOD, basically Johnny Cage from Mortal Kombat, who goes to fill the role of “basic assault rifle class”, even though the moves in his repertoire are not basic at all. Of course the roster is gonna fill up with other nine “heroes” for a total of 12, and an “archer” class was briefly shown in one of the gameplays.

The structure of the game and pacing themselves is going to be reminiscent of titles like Saint’s Row, where you alternate between time on the field and time in “the crib” (this time is a base called A.R.K), where you micromanage upgrades, funds and so on, and of course, being a Volition game, you can expect any form of seriousness to be left out the door, starting with the agents themselves, who banter most of the time between a “hot tag” and the other on the field.

As far as what i’ve seen, looks like an alright game, one of those solid 8s that don’t change the world but are just a good way to spend 40 dollars. If you’re a fan of comic book styled games and third person shooters, and you ran out of f*cks to give about the story in a videogame, keep an eye out for this one.

 

 

I Am Setsuna

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Ehi, look: turns!

This one looks inspired by classic Final Fantasy games, taking the camera angles and “semi-chibi” character design typical of the SNES days but giving it a 3D coat of paint, and the combat looks pretty old school too, turn based with no “action commands” or input-based attacks: just you, your enemy and your brain, just like in the ’90s.

I’m not a fan of games like these, but i know some folks who were ready to sacrifice goats for Square to release something like this, so there you have it! It comes out July the 19th on PS4 (and possibly Vita).

 

 

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithfullness

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Now this a japanese videogame, right here.

A mid-quel between Second Story and Till The End of Time, this Star Trek-inspired RPG…well…looks really cool, and that’s all i can say for sure about the story, frankly: the trailer talked about a contact with another space traveling race (outside of the humans), that turned the protagonist’s planet into toast and…well…stuff that people who actually played other games of the series will probably understand.

Sorry about this one, i disn’t know Star Ocean was a series until five minutes ago, all i can say is: if you played the previous entries, you’ll probably love this one, because if to an outsider like me a JRPG manages to look good, it means it probably has something going.

 

 

To forget about this shamefur dispray, let’s move on to something i actually know!

The Nintendo Digital Event was basically, outside of 20 minutes dedicated to Pokemon Sun & Moon, a 6 hours Zeldacast, and here’s what it came out of it!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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Take that, Skyrim.

What is this game?

This game is all of the games: it’s Dark Souls, it’s Shadow of the Colossus, it’s Metal Gear Solid V, it’s Devil May Cry, it’s Tony Hawk, it’s Far Cry, it’s Cooking Mama, it’s the FIRST The Legend of Zelda, the one where you got dropped into this big freaking world with literally nothing, an old man gave you a sword and off you went, adventuring!

You’re Link, but not some farmer Link, you’re Doomguy Link: you wake up in the SHRINE OF RESURRECTION in your underwear, where a voice tells you to open your eyes and GO, LET THE LEGEND COME BACK TO LIFE, so you get up from your alien-looking bed, you grab some clothes (now there’s multiple kinds of them, and all have different effects and LORE) and get out, and what welcomes you is just…everything: you see that landscape in the picture above? Yeah. That’s all explorable. YOU SEE THAT MOUNTAIN OVER THERE? YOU CAN CLIMB IT, FOR REAL! Because you have a stamina meter used for running  and climbing ANYWHERE, talk about a game changer! But hear me out, it’s not done: hearts? Screw those! Real men hunt their food, so go kill a boar or steal some moblin’s lunch after you brutally murder them with their own weapons, that’s how you replenish your health: find animal, kill animal, cook it with a bonfire, because you can start bonfire by hitting branches with your sword now…but did i say sword? Yeah, good luck finding that, dumdum! Fortunately enough, EVERYTHING is a weapon now! See that tree branch? Pick it up and stab the final boss in the eye with that, because yes, you can just run off -naked- to the final boss if you know where he’s located…or just be lame and find weapons and equipment inside chests, you know.

Ok, that incoherent stream of nonsense was the most effective way to describe the train of thought while playing that game: nothing is given to you, just run off and do your thing, you’ll probably find a military grade bow in the chest up on the peak of that mountain, if you try hard enough, but watch out: if you enter snowy enviroments with light clothes you’ll take damage from the cold. Oh, you want bombs now? Go get them, they’re in a Trial Dungeon (basically a mini-dungeon, without a boss) somewhere. What’s that, you need a horse? Mount one, there’s a herd a few miles from here. An enemy outpost gives you trouble? Push a boulder down there and watch them getting squashed, or steal all their weapons before they get to them, it’s your call really.

And that is why i’m hyped as f*ck for this game: it’s your call, really.

 

…you can’t even choose to NOT follow story, how sick is that?

 

 

 

Ok, hang in there, the next article is the last one, than we can go back to our regularly scheduled whatever, and talk about ONE game at a time: up next is Sony, but i could just post a picture of Norman Reedus staring naked in the distance with dead cyberwhales all around him, in what’s gonna be Hideo Kojima next mindf*ck and just call it a day, really.

I hope this didn’t drag on for too long, this is The 3rd Runner, signing off.

E3 2016 with The 3rd Runner: “Emotional Rollercoaster”

E3 2016 with The 3rd Runner: “Emotional Rollercoaster”

This is what this year’s conference was to me: a sequence of ups and downs, that could have been the best Microsoft presentation in a while, and was pretty good, but not an All of Famer, that’s for sure.

This year’s keyword was cross-buy, a feature i always found incredibly useful with multiplatform games, and that not many of them actually pull off. A feature that Microsoft decided to turn into their defining trait, allowing cross buy between Xbox One and PC using Windows 10’s shop, giving players a reason to not just use Steam for every game they want to buy on PC, and to incentivise the use of those  features they also announced XBOX ONE S, basically a “Slim” version of their current flagship console: 500 gigs of memory for 300 dollars, which is quite the offer for a “next-gen” console, if you ask me.

Unfortunately, even though now i’m pretty confident the games presented will probably turn out really good, what they showed  ended up being that aforementioned rollercoaster between good looking and lackluster trailers, which in quite a few instances had me either not that interested, or straight up worried for the games that were shown.

Enough chit-chatter, though, let’s get to the memorable stuff (which won’t include Minecraft):

 

 

Scalebound

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Yup, Beast Tamer, that was my reaction too.

Now, i’ll be honest with you, even if i try my best to stay as neutral as possible, i’m quite a fanboy when it comes to Platinum Games, and when i saw Hideki Kamiya, co-founder and mind behind most of the company’s best titles, walking on stage, i couldn’t help but grin.

It was a short lived grin, though, since the little speech Kamiya gave about wanting to do something like Scalebound since forever, sounded really bored, and was followed by a pretty…lame boss battle, where four players, each one with a dragon and different set of weapons, faced this kraken-like monstrosity that filled the entire level. Now that’s sounds exciting, right? Four dragon riders facing a freaking kraken, what a videogame! Well…let’s say they probably weren’t the most skilled of players, and the boss was probably tuned to the easiest difficulty, since it behaved pretty passively for the whole sequence.

What came out of it was four unexperienced players trying to take down a sleepy seamonster with a hole-ridden plan, which is pretty bad pubblicity for what is supposed to be a big semi-open world RPG with character action elements, dragon aside.

While i’m confident this might be a screwup on Microsoft’s end, since paradoxically the gameplay trailer showed one year ago turned out much better, let’s say this wasn’t the best way to show off a co-op mode.

 

 

Sea of Thieves

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Mistakes were made. Many of them.

This for me was unexpected, since i gave Rareware for dead since they when published Banjo & Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, and the announcement of Yooka & Laylee by Playtonic Studio, ex-rare developers gone indie, was the last nail in the coffin. There was no way this husk of a studio could rise from their ashes to me…then Sea of Thieves came around, with both a trailer and a gameplay showcase, and made me think that maybe who’s left has actually idea of what they’re doing.

This game is supposed to be a cartoony-looking pirate crew simulator, with an obvious focus on multiplayer: you take a bunch of friends (or make new ones on the spot), try to get a proper vessel, then you’re off to the seven seas, looking for treasure chests, other crews to murder in cold blood or just an island to leave your newfound friends on while escaping with the ship and all there is in it. What i really liked about it was the “trust” factor: everybody can screw you over, and you can screw over everybody, but if you don’t want to walk on some other crew’s board right into a pack of sharks, after getting your ship destroyed, you might want to play cooperatively. Because yes, to properly man a ship teamwork is a must, much like in Guns of Icarus, a multyplayer-only airship simulator with a similar premise, but a simpler execution.

So, will Rareware return to be a somewhat successful software house? Let’s find out in the next episode of Microsoft Z!

 

 

Gears of War 4

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Guest Starring: Chloe Price

…And down we go again, with a Gears of War 4 that just feels…uninspired: it’s got the signature gameplay, it’s got the guns, it’s got the (slightly less)overmuscular characters, both women and men, and it’s got the aliens, that apparently seem to have some degree of control over the human race (having played only the first one, i’m a bit out of the loop plot-wise, so take my words with a grain of salt). It’s more of the same, like i said, and it’s good for the fans of the series, for sure…it just wasn’t that impressive.

The one thing i really appreciated was Marcus Fenix’s new appearence, all Big Boss-ed up, looked slightly cooler than it’s GoW 1 counterpart.

 

 

Dead Rising 4

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That’s Frank West alright. #FrankIsBack

If only Marvel didn’t took the title first, this game should have been called “Welcome Back, Frank”, because guess what? He IS back! The war covering, zombie slaying, FAAAN-TASTIC Mr.Frank West is back (although with a different voice actor), and the Willamette Mall is back too, a “memorial mall” built over the original Willamette, that got destroyed after the event of the first Dead Rising. This might have more than a few connections with the source of this new outbreak, and looks is up to Frank to make it sure…when he’s done taking selfies and having the time of his life impaling zombies with candy shooting crossbows (yes, the absurd weapons are back, no need to worry).

So, Dead Rising is gonna be cool again, good job Microsoft and Capcom!

Next time show a longer trailer, though, will ya?

 

 

Inside

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Inside

This is all the teaser trailer shown.

We know it’s from the guys that made Limbo, and that’s it.

 

 

 

We Happy Few

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Welcome to Wellington Welles.

 

So, i had this game under my radar since its kickstarter campaign ended, a year ago or so: it’s from the dev team that made a really neat “shadow based” platformer called Contrast, which i enjoyed quite a lot, and seeing how they stepped up their game is amazing.

While Contrast was a “simple” 2.5 D platformer with a charming mid-1920s/early 1930s atmosphere, almost a la Skullgirls, this one is a bit more diesel-punkish, set in the british town of Wellington Welles, in an alternate timeline where nazi germany invaded the UK, and to stop the invasion the british had to to a “very bad thing”, an act so dire that the surviving inhabitants developed a drug specifically to counter their sense of guilt and perception of reality, killing on sight who refuses to take it, a drug called “Joy”.

You are one of them, Arthur Hastings, who realized that, after not taking joy for around half an hour, you start seeing how the world really is: the pinata you were bashing a minute ago? That was a giant rat, and people were eating its organs after you killed it. The people around him also realized he didn’t take his Joy, so they called in the happy little policemen (in the picture above) to crack hid skull open in, a similar fashion to that pinata earlier on. So now he has to book it.

And that’s the goal of the game…just the “goal”, though.

You see, under this roguelike first person survival game there’s also a whole layer of lore, secondary characters and hidden subplots that the developers won’t seem to reveal until full release: as of now all we have are the heroes who played the Early Access build for +50 hours and already put together all the bits of lore they found, which, right or not, it’s still “just” speculation. You guys did a good job though, i probably couldn’t even figure it out myself.

Needless to say is that i’m pretty hyped about this game, it’s surely going to be a…Joy to play.

 

 

…thank God i kept that one for last.

So, this is all for now: i’m not including Project Scorpio, the new Super Ultra Xbox Ex Plus Alpha because it’ll be in a separate article along with PS4 Neo, an i’m not including Tekken 7 because the trailer was just Akuma fighting Heiachi Mishima, which is a big deal in terms of story, and was followed by an actual in-game fight, but all it did was reconfirm stuff already well known about Akuma’s peculiar mechanics, having a Street Fighter moveset (originally 2D, with actual “special” moves like projectiles) in a Tekken context (3D, where special moves are just “big” normals)…technical stuff, basically.

What i AM including is this majestic picture of Katsuhiro Harada, creator of the Tekken Series, because this man, like many other japanese developers, is a blessing to this world.

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Next on the list are Nintendo and Square Enix, i hope you found this report entertaining and somewhat insightful, this is The 3rd Runner, signing off.

 

E3 2016 with The 3rd Runner: “Heads of Cerberus”

E3 2016 with The 3rd Runner: “Heads of Cerberus”

So, it’s finally over: the gaming industry’s showcase of the year, the main event, the literal SummerSlam, that sometimes can turn in somewhat a lying contest…but we’re not here to debunk possible graphical downgrades, aren’t we?  Let’s leave that to the actual debunkers.

What we ARE here to do is discuss the good stuff that e3 has brought to the table this year, focusing mainly on full fledged games…so yeah, DLC and various Updates not included. But let’s cut to the chase fellas, shall we? We got a lot to cover!

Today we talk EA, Bethesda and Ubisoft, so small fry, but with big plans.

 

 

EA: It May Be In The Game This Time

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A match made in hell, but will they right their wrongs?

 

Aside from a whole lot of FIFA-related news, including a “story mode” similar to NBA 2K16 (hopefully better written, Spike Lee sure has lot his touch), the Scrooge McDucks of gaming didn’t bring nothing too spectacular or unexpected, the highlights of the conference being:

-The Titanfall 2 trailers, one for the regular multiplayer and one for the long-waited singleplayer Campaign. The game seems to improve the already pretty good formula of its precedessor, with new pilot and Titan abilities like a device that will make the pilot go invisible for a short period of time after being hit (in a similar way to the Dead Ringer clock from Team Fortress 2), AoE “moves” for the Titans like what looked like an energy beam and a ground pound, better Titan melee, specific “anti air” weapons -still for the Titans- to punish pilots who jump in front of them, hoping to land on the “weak spot”, Zero-G grenades to make opponents float in place, incapacitating them, and the Grappling Hook, an item that we’ll see come back many times during the rest of the event.

-A one-hour long match of Battlefield 1, confirming that the pacing of the game will be similar to the previous games in the series but in much bigger maps  (no soul crushing trench warfare and suicidal bayonet charges), the playable “classes” (Assault, Medic, Scout and Pilot), vehicles ranging from the british Mark V proto-tank to bike-sidecar combos, and the presence of the Behemoths, massive “special vehicles” that need +4 people to be manned and consist of a Zeppelin, an Armored Train and a Battleship, each one specific to a particular map.

-A trailer dedicated to all the “Star Wars” related projects that EA is working on, one for each dev team, apparently, which didn’t show much of the actual games (sadly), but gave some insight on where the Star Wars franchise is going, videogame wise, and fortunately it’s not just EA Battlefront and mobile games.

 

 

 

Bethesda: The Bring-Backers

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Familiar faces…let’s hope the gameplay stays familiar, too…

 

Bethesda loves to play Frankestein these days: when it’s not announcing DLC for Fallout 4 (Nuka World and Build-Your-Own-Vault) or another repackaging of Skyrim (a remastered, this time, with mod support enabled on console), it’s resurrecting franchises, and after Wolfenstein and Doom, now it’s Quake’s turn, confirming the pre-e3 rumors.

…And yeah, about Quake…it’s called “Quake Champions”, and it looks like it’s going to fill the slot of “Character-based multyplayer FPS” that Overwatch created the need for. Now, i know that the purists must be freaking out in pure desperation, but i wouldn’t be so quick to judge: the last time we did that (Doom), it turned out pretty awesome, hasn’t it? Even if i myself don’t like the idea of Over-Quake, let’s give it some time, shall we? Bethesda may have an card up their sleeve.

Also, Dishonored 2 looks amazing, Corvo and Elisabeth (who grew up from the last game) will be playable and will have some different powers to eachother, Elisabeth’s signature technique being…the Grappling Hook.

 

 

Ubisoft: Potential and Lies

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Now THIS is a change of pace…will it be a change of quality, too? Come on, Ubisoft.

 

O  Ubisoft, Ubisoft…wherefore art thou, Ubisoft?

You see, these guys have the potential, so much potential, and sometimes they even let some of that slip out of the curtains, with a Watch_Dogs 2 or a South Park: Fractured But Whole…but then it comes to delivering what they promise, and everything just falls down…it’s like they don’t want to use that potential!

Their big promises this time are:

-Watch_Dogs 2 looks really fun, both in trailers and gameplays: San Francisco is a good choice for the sequel’s setting, Silicon Valley and all, and looks much more vibrant than Chicago, and the new protagonist himself, Marcus, feels a bit more of an actual character than his predecessor, Aiden “Irish Punisher” Pearce, showing actual humour and personality…something nice to see, once in a while.

This time you’re part of DedSec, the most “gangsta” hacker group i’ve ever seen, and act out of a mixture of conscience and boredom, exposing all kinds of corporate and political scandals like it’s a game, to initially tear down some congressman’s presidential campaign, who is apparently using social media to manipulate the opinion of the voters…you know, your tipycal cyberpunk-ish plot where hacker groups are involved. Your options have been greatly expanded, with more non-lethal weapons (like the melee Clacker Volley) and hacking options to compensate for the variety of 3D printed custom guns you’ll have at your disposal, to offer a freedom of approach similar to the latest Deus Ex games.

There also seems to be a greater emphasis on hacking, and now nearly every object in can be manipulated, even in multyple ways: cars, cranes, forklifts, choppers, cellphones, and other electronic devices like cleaning robots, televisions and so on are all toys for you to play, to either cause mayhem and destruction on your way to your objective, or to provide a swift escape by making everybody’s cellphone in a radius of 30 minutes vibrate at the same time.

All of this is pretty cool, and a vast improvement over the first chapter, and -like the naive fool i am- i have somewhat high hopes for this game…Ubisoft, don’t screw this up.

 

-Sout Park: Fractured But Whole is just all i wanted from an eventual Stick of Truth sequel: it leaves the fantasy-role playing game aesthetic behind, becoming a parody of modern superhero movies…hell, the whole premise of it it’s how Eric Cartman, the “con artist” of the bunch, fails to impose his business model for their new superhero “franchise” on the rest on the rest of the kids, causing a Marvel-style “Civil War” between them (way ahead of schedule, apparently).

Gameplay wise  is a straight improvement from Stick of Truth, adding a movement grid reminiscent of games like Fire Emblem, farts so powerful that switch the turn order (it’s South Park, people) and “shoving” moves that can knock enemies into props and your own alllies for extra damage (cue to people screaming “Wombo Combo”). This is, of course, as far as they’ve shown, and we’ll probably hear more about it in the near future. Again, the hype is pretty real, but i’m sure these guys will deliver.

 

-For Honor: the year is…somewhere around the middle ages. An earthquake of apocalyptic proportions killed EVERYTHING other than a few thousand survivors in europe and japan, and each of the three big “clans” of survivors is guided by a “raider”, a warrior of ungodly skill who took them under his wing and rebuilt their respective civilization: these three warriors are a samurai, an european knight and a brutish viking, and the gameplay trailer at the conference, introduced by the sexy beast that is Jason Vanderberghe, showed quite the” cultural clash” between the viking survivors and japanese survivors.

As far as we know it’s gonna be a hack and slash game somewhat similar to Ryse: Son of Rome, with a singleplayer story mode revolving around leading one of the three factions to supremacy, and a multyplayer pvp mode that will probably play similar to a Souls game, but with a bit less weapon variety.

Even though i personally despise everything regarding the Middle Ages, this game has me quite intrigued, and there’s not much for Ubi to screw around either, so let’s keep an eye out for this one.

 

-Ghost Recon: Wildlands looks like The Division’s big brother, ditching the futuristic look of Future Soldier for something more “present”, but plays like a mix between regular Ghost Recon and Metal Gear Solid V, so you got this big open world with towns, outposts, gas stations, roadblocks and fortresses and so on, vehicles to travel it (choppers included, unlike Metal Gear, and this time you can literally HALO jump from them!), and of course the missions sprawl through it, with stuff like “interrogate guy in point A to know where point B is”, and you can either massacre everyone bewteen you and your target or slowly crouchwalk your way to him, occasionally popping some “hombre”‘s head with your silenced pistol,  if they get too close.

About hombres and cabrones, this time your “sandbox” is -apparently- the whole Bolivian state, offering a great lot of enviroment variety, since this little South American state has got everything a good tactical shooter map needs to be interesting, ranging from Metal Gear Solid 3-style jungle enviroments to montainous deserted regions, with your urban enviroments here and there. The game will have, of course, an online co-op component, but if the bots are as good as Future Soldier’s, it won’t be a Payday 2 scenario, where playing without human players means certain Death.

Another incredibly promising game, what a coincidence! It would be a shame if bad business practices were to ruin it…

 

-HONORABLE MENTION TO-

Steep…a really weird way for Ubisoft to finish the conference, this “sports action game” is basically a playable version of those go-pro extreme sports videos that Red Bull posts constantly, an unexpectedly violent first person snowboarding, skiing, skydiving and parachuting simulator with possible VR support that…well…looks really neat. It’s not a groundbreaking game frankly, but i think it deserved some recognition just for the shenanigans that are going to ensue, being DEATH in gruesome ways enabled and all…

 

 

…So, this one was just a warm up, to get the small fish out of the way: from here on out it’s gonna get better and better, with the literal Umbran Climax that was Sony’s conference, so, if you don’t find me literally painful to read, stick around, ok? It’s gonna get really hype up in here!

I hope you found this report entertaining and somewhat insightful, this is 3rd Runner, signing off.