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[E3 2014] Battlefield: Hardline Impressions

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[E3 2014] Battlefield: Hardline Impressions

The Battlefield franchise is near and dear to my heart. I have incredibly vivid memories of the huge hype leading up to Battlefield 1942, the bewildered excitement, the confusion. What do you mean I can be a soldier and drive a tank and steer a battleship? HOW?

Battlefield 1942 and its slew of excellent successors – Vietnam, 2, and especially 2142 – ran along the cutting edge of class-based, team-oriented objective multi-player in the competitive scene.  Battlefield has inspired many of the industry’s finest titles, from Star Wars: Battlefront to the Enemy Territory games, to Red Orchestra and a handful of others. Battlefield has always led the way in large-scale military multi-player mayhem.

The adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” doesn’t seem to be first in mind with the Visceral Games team for the franchise’s newest outing Battlefield: Hardline. They’re looking to take the franchise in a very different direction with a strong campaign featuring a TV-centric  episodic structure, big-name voice-over actors and likenesses, and a highly-modified multi-player dynamic. As per usual policy, EA has given Visceral the greenlight on a Beta test to run the new mechanics around the corner and see how they hold up. The Pixelated Geek staff, particularly PXL Plays! Johnathan Crass and your truly, have spent the last several days pulling heists and TASER-ing bros in order to bring you the most honest and grounded of impressions.

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Pixelated Geek presents PXL Plays!

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Pixelated Geek presents PXL Plays!

If you haven’t already subscribed to Pixelated Geek’s Twitch.TV Channel, we’ve got a great new reason to do just that! This week, the PXL Plays! Crew is going to dive first into the mysterious galaxy of Bungie’s Destiny to suss out whether or not Activision’s new juggernaut FPS franchise lives up to the hype!

Make sure you tune in at 10PM PST/7PM EST this and every Thursday to catch the PXL Plays! Crew in action!

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[E3 2014] Nintendo Trailer Round-Up

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[E3 2014] Nintendo Trailer Round-Up

Nintendo surprised a good many people today.  The first Nintendo Direct conference that was worth the time it took, the first conference of the show that was predominantly first-party products and the first time Nintendo has truly given us more than one reason to own the Wii U.

Nintendo, in the shortest conference of show, presented heavy-hitters and no-brainers like Super Smash Bros Wii U & 3DS and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, as well as exciting new projects like the adorable Yoshi Wooly World and Splatoon.  We were even blessed with a sneak peak of the new Zelda Wii U and Starfox Wii U titles.  It’s unusual to say this, but Nintendo has the most solid conference of show, with best promised value and smallest amount of fluff or gimmick – plus 100% more Robot Chicken than any other show.

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[E3 2014] Nintendo Announces Amiibo

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[E3 2014] Nintendo Announces Amiibo

Like it or not, the Toys-to-Life category is here to stay. Between the financial titan that is Skylanders and the license to print money that is Disney: Infinity – particularly with the new Marvel license and the inevitable Star Wars tie-ins, these collectible cross-media figures aren’t going anywhere.

 

Amiibo Detail Shot

 

Nintendo knows its audience, and the cross-section between Nintendo and the above franchises is almost completely congruent – and this is something Nintendo paid attention to. Their response is an incredibly clever and well-thought out line of Nintendo-branded Toys-To-Life products called Amiibo. Amiibo are small figures, styled after the collectible figures in the Super Smash Bros. games, that can interface with major Nintendo releases both past and present, as well as the Skylanders and Disney: Infinity line. The figures may provide a bonus such as a secondary character to fight by your side in the upcoming Super Smash Bros., or providing an exclusive Nintendo character in Disney: Infinity, and so on. Each title will have a different functionality with each Amiibo, and as the Amiibo are used, they will gain levels and distinct  abilities that progress as you choose, becoming more effective in their respective roles in each title.

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[E3 2014] Alien: Isolation Gets It Right, Is Scary

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[E3 2014] Alien: Isolation Gets It Right, Is Scary

In a sense, the interactive entertainment based on the Alien universe have translated that universe quite well: some of them were solid and workmanlike, and some of them were complete train-wrecks – an almost-perfect parallel to the film series.  Some of the Alien games were mindless, idiotic action-fests with little in the way of subtlety or pathos, chock full of static characters, awful dialogue, and poor visuals but still bewilderingly maintaining a basic, lowest-common denominator sense of appeal – yes, James Cameron, that was a shot across your bow.

Some of them have been mediocre – good ideas, acceptably executed, but ultimately flawed products – David Fincher’s Aliens 3 & the Aliens versus Predator series.

None of them have measured up to the taut, brilliant, innovative masterpiece of tension and terror that was Ridley Scott’s Alien.  None of them have even managed to be genuinely frightening. And while it’s a bit early to judge Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation, it certainly isn’t too early to say that the storied developer behind the Total War series is taking it in precisely the correct direction.

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[E3 2014] DOOM

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[E3 2014] DOOM

The last few years have not been kind to idRage, a labor of great love and the freshman outing of the idTech 5 engine was met with something short of all-out enthusiasm.  Wolfenstein was met with rave reviews and great audience response – but Wolfenstein had far more to do with Machine Games than it did id. DOOM was announced several years ago, but after months of silence came a statement indicating progress on the project had stalled, and the title would be rolled back and reset. Since then it’s been quite difficult to divine just what id has been doing with themselves.

Earlier today, a hint was given in that direction.  Bethesda Softworks, the publisher now exclusively backing id‘s software development added an enigmatic glimpse into the direction of newest outing in the DOOM franchise.

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[E3 2014] Grand Theft Auto V Confirmed for Next-Gen, PC

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[E3 2014] Grand Theft Auto V Confirmed for Next-Gen, PC

Grand Theft Auto V broke every major sales record in the industry, and was universally hailed as a phenomenal game-play experience.  The critical and audience reception was universally positive and it broke new ground in technical and narrative avenues alike. Even to audiences disinclined to interest, Grand Theft Auto V was an in impressive and compelling title.  A single question surrounded the release of the latest outing in Rockstar’s flagship franchise, and that was: “Last gen only? Really? Are you sure?” and that usually uttered in tones as hopeful as they were concerned.

 

The reasons were unquestionably financial. Within six weeks of release, Grand Theft Auto V had sold 29 million copies. Next-gen console sales, given very positive sales forecasts, won’t hit that number until March of 2015.  Rockstar undoubtedly wished to spend their polish-time for the current generation, and consider next-generation and PC development at a later date.

That later date has come. During last night’s Sony Press Conference, a Fall release for Grand Theft Auto V was announced for PC, PlayStation 4 and XBONE.

 

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[E3 2014] Batman Arkham Knights: Batmobile Battle Mode & Gameplay, YAY!

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[E3 2014] Batman Arkham Knights: Batmobile Battle Mode & Gameplay, YAY!

Last week Warner Bros and Rocksteady gave a tantalizing look at Batman Arkham Knight’s newest attraction, the Batmobile.  With an informative video and enough mayhem to tease any Bat-fan with a promise of more to come during E3, the Batman has come to fulfill his word.

I’m just gonna leave this video here… Yeah, that looks good.

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[E3 2014] Battlefield: Hardline – Six Minutes

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[E3 2014] Battlefield: Hardline – Six Minutes

… And those six minutes speak for themselves. Lately, the industry has seen a trend: merging the single- and multi-player game-play dynamics into one, connected experience. Red Dead Redemption’s Posse mode, GTA Online, Payday I & II, and many others have tried to create the most dynamic possible experience, bringing together the narrative quality of a single-player and the dynamic flexibility of a multi-player experience. Battlefield: Hardline is the latest foray into this trend, and from what we’ve seen, is poised to make some serious waves.

As you’ve likely heard, Battlefield: Hardline is a heavily-media inspired title, structured episodically and informed by works such as Heat, The Wire, and similar crime epics. The new direction allows the team at Visceral Games – that’s right, the developers behind the Dead Space franchise, and Dante’s Inferno – to jump the military ship in favor of a world of crooked cops, and brutal criminals and everything in between.

 

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