IDL FEATURE – PAX Prime Day 4: Forza 6, Tomb Raider, Hitman aaaaand They’re Gone :(

-Day four, the last day of another exhausting, but really fun year. Only myself and my girlfriend remains of the original four, so we started the day slow, packed up everything and checked out of the hotel.


DAY 4 – PAX Prime 2015: Going Home

-Upon exiting the monorail in the shopping centre, we had a quick lunch at the food court and made out way to the convention hall for the last time. Exiting from the shopping centre, we bumped into Gabe himself, Mike Krahulic, said hello, and kept walking. He seemed really busy.

-Today my intentions were to try a few more games, and leave early for the drive home. As it was a Monday, and not a long weekend, we were hoping the convention hall would be a little quieter. It was, but not by much.

-Rounding on the Square Enix booth, we watched a quick demo for the new Hitman. The game very similar to its predecessor, Absolution. Instinct mode returns, but the game looks very gorgeous, and the levels are huge. The game promises more open ended levels and more free-play, reminiscent of the earlier Hitman games, like Blood Money. Costumes still play a large role, as they allow us to enter into guarded areas.

-Onward and upwards, we checked out the Just Cause 3 area and watched the destruction challenge demo that they had on display. Wielding a rocket launcher, the point is to cause as much damage to the surrounding area in the time allotted. Game looks nice and plays pretty smooth from what I saw. The demo itself didn’t show any story missions though.

-Next stop in our brief day was the Microsoft Xbox quadrant. This portion had a lot of big games on display. I expect to already get most of them anyways, so this area wasn’t my initial priority this weekend, but with the convention closing today, I figured I should get some hands-on while the crowds were smaller.

-On display at the Xbox floor was Plants Vs Zombies – Garden Ware 2, Halo 5, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Rainbow Six Siege, Forza 6, and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

-I already have the beta access to Siege on Sept 24, so I just watched from the sidelines. The game was 5 v. 5 and have the groups go through the viewing and staging section, and then onto gameplay, playing 6 rounds. It seemed like it was only elimination and objective mode. No hostages.

-For the most part, the game looks and plays really good, however, it did seem to suffer from some lagging issues. I wasn’t sure if it was just this build, or the setup, but there was noticeable hiccups. Possible one of the reasons for the game’s delay. The games mention of the one bullet, one death is evident, as enemies will go down quickly. The level of destruction was less evident as previous demos seen last year. There are breachable walls, and you can drive around the camera bot. But I didn’t notice as much wall destruction or floor breaching from the matches I saw. Could just be a unique occurrence, but I’m sure I’ll have more opinions come Sept 24th and the beta.

-Mirror’s Edge Catalyst looks gorgeous and plays smooth. The demo was showcasing the parkour elements, and the game clearly looks like it’s on the latest Dice Engine. Very clean and colourful.

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-The Forza 6 demo had 6 playable races, but I was only interested in 2: Rain, and Night Time. The game feels and plays like Forza 5, so nothing new or surprising there. It boasts 60fps and 1080p which is to be expected, and 400+ vehicles. Sounds good. It doesn’t necessarily look any better than Forza 5, but they’re claiming a 70+ hour campaign. I don’t yet know what they mean by campaign, as Forza 5 was just a list of races to know off. Is there a story?

-Night time looks nice, but its unclear if there’s different levels of night yet. Midnight, Sunset, Dawn, dusk? or is it just straight black? Headlights looks nice, and having 24 vehicles on the tarmac adds a challenge.Cars feels a little more solid, and hopefully more of a detailed damage model.

-Rain looks great. The game already looks great as is, mimicking near real life quality, but the rain effects are pretty cool. Again, unknown if the rain is just the one setting, off and on, or is there gradual rain, downpour, wind, etc. Reflections look nice, and the puddles on the track are 3D rendered and will make your car slide realistically. Fun addition, but basically they act as an obstacle. Colin McRae’s Dirt 2 had puddles, if you’ll recall, Forza, 6 years ago. I think I failed to mention that in my review….

-Lastly, after my Forza fun, I waited to play Tomb Raider, The Rise Of. Before me was a Tomb Raider, player Tomb Raider. ZOMG!

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-The demo was from the story, and focuses on the exploration and platforming of a hidden, ruined temple. We start off in a vehicle with our driver, who we found has called in our location for a reward. The jeep gets taken out by helicopter gunfire, and we’re sliding down the cliff face to our doom, only to grab on with our rock climbing axe, which saves us.

-The feel of the character plays exactly like the original Tomb Raider reboot, but just a little more fluid and nuanced. Her next-gen hair returns, with all its physics. level design and detail is bolstered, and lighting and effects look good. Climbing, and breaking through walls feels familiar and intuitive, and the torch from the first game is replaced by a handy beautiful blue glow-stick, as Lara is expected to be a more established explorer this time around.

-The character animation has received another coat of mo-cap which is appreciated, and the game feels very cinematic, like its predecessor. Lots of in-game cutscenes break up the exploration and gameplay. It’s a nice touch and should be a blast to play when it’s fully released. I loved the first one.

-We ended the day on the 6th floor checking out the 2nd half of the exhibit on the floor (I did find the Rooster Teeth merch booth, but none of the prime significant members where there), the classic freeplay area, and when we were sitting down, resting our legs, caught some more cosplayers.

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-Leaving around 3PM, headed back to the car, and drove the lengthy 4 hours home. Another successful PAX. Another great show.

-iRogan

Gamescom 2015: Cologne, Germany – EA Press Conference

ELECTRONIC ARTS Gamescom 2015 Media Briefing:

Wednesday, Aug 5th – 1am.


-EA’s press conference starts with a quick sizzle reel showcasing The Sims 4, Need For Speed, FIFA 16, Star Wars Battlefront, and Mirrors Edge Catalyst, along with their tag line “Live to Play”.

-ANDREW WILSON – EA CEO, takes the stage. Thanks German for hosting one of the largest game conventions, and points out that the games discussed today will feature on the game room floor. Introduced Need for Speed first.


Need For Speed

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-MARCUS NEILSSON – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, takes the stage and shows a quick trailer highlighting the 5 pivotal styles found in Need For Speed: Speed Icon, Style Icon, Build Icon, Crew Icon, Outlaw Icon.

-This years’ Need for Speed is 20 years of history to make the definitive NFS experience. 5 ways to play, and each way is based of a real world icon.

Need For Speed this year will showcase real-time compositing into the Frostbite engine, merging real world actors with in-game footage. NEILSSON leaves the stage with the new trailer showing.


Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

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-SARA JANSSON – SENIOR PRODUCER, takes the stage to discuss Mirror’s Edge and her love of the character, Faith. Mirror’s Edge has the freedom to explore combined with an immersive experience. With a hero at the center of everything: Faith.

-JANSSON states that Faith doesn’t need guns. Faith is the star of the game and its an origin story. Faith is a carefree runner, but a little bit reckless. The story will see Faith grow into the person we know.

-The world of Mirror’s Edge includes free-roaming, collectibles, and the companies that spark’s Faith’s journey.

-Trailer: Pre-alpha footage shows free-running and traversal similar to the first game. Wall running, and sliding, big jumps and rolling. Levels look less linear and more open, although less colour, and colourful flares highlight the objectives. More destructive elements: glass walls, lighting fixtures. Fast melee combat.


Star Wars The Old Republic

Star_Wars-_The_Old_Republic_cover-JAMES OHLEN takes the stage, and discusses the new expansion to The Old Republic called Knights of the Fallen Empire. “Become The Outlander” is the tagline. The ability to recruit companions and change destinies is mentioned. Choose the Light Side or the Dark Side is an option. The expansion includes the first 9 chapters and then the rest of the story will be released episodical.

-Game will carry over your existing character, or you can choose to create a brand new one. Release date is Oct 27, and is free for all current subscribers. OHLEN states that this expansion is a return to Bioware’s storytelling roots. A quick trailer wraps the segment.


Sims 4

-“You Create. You Control. You Rule” Live action trailer is shown to start the Sims 4 segment.

-RACHEL FRANKLIN takes the stage to discuss the new expansion.”Everything is up to you, you rule.” Sims 4 gets bigger and better every month. New expansion this November: Get Together. New world. Quick in-game trailer is shown.


Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2

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-JEREMY VANHOOZER – SR. CREATIVE, takes the stage and states the in Garden Warfare 2, the script has been flipped and the Zombies have taken over, and plants are now on the attack.

-Recalls the previously noted 3 Zombies introduced at E3: Captain Deadbeard, Superbrains, and the Imp. Now introducing the 3 new plants: Rose, a sorceress, Kernal Korn and his dual machine guns, and Bouncing Orange, a citrus tank.

-Game now has solo-play and couch co-op across all modes. and introducing the new Playground Battleground. An open-world in-game hub. You can introduce friends into your game and then go to a warp game to start a new game.

-Pre-order’s get a Grass Effects spoofed Z7 mech custom armour for the Imp. Game is available Spring 2016. Gameplay trailer is shown, showcasing the space map on the moon.


Unraveled

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-PATRICK SODERLUND – EA EXECUTIVE VP, comes to the stage and is thankful for video games as they allow creativity, innovation, and passion. Making the next truly awesome game also involves risk. Screenshots are shown of some of the early concepts in development that could lead to the next awesome game.

-To show an example of creativity, innovation,passion and risk, Unraveled is up next.

-MARTIN SAHLIN comes to the stage and says he is just overwhelmed and stunned by the response to his game and Yarny. Slide show of the art, drawings, and Yarny dolls is shown. He encourages people to keep sending in their submissions.

-SAHLIN discusses games and how they can do proper good, and that they’re not just escapism. He says he is glad to be a part of this trend, and he wants to show us more Unraveled footage, promising this is still very early pre-alpha gameplay.

-Level: Sea. All the levels take place in Norther Sweden. The purpose is to make it to the end of each level without running out of yarn, but you can find more yarn throughout the level, The gameplay is all physics-based.

-The game looks gorgeous so far, and is all about overcoming obstacles and is really all about the wonder of discovery and beauty. Will be available on the Xbox One, PS4, and PC.


Star Wars Battlefront

star-wars-battlefront-offers-first-look-at-fighter-squadron-mode-488398-2-SIGURLINA INGVARSDOTTIR – DICE, takes the stage to discuss Star Wars.The weapons and vehicles, the characters. Star Wars Battlefront is all about the thrill of living out our Star Wars fantasies. The game is all about fun, and the thrill of fighting for survival.

-Introducing new game mode: Fighter Squadron.

-Fighter Squadron is a 20 player dog fight mode. Game mode includes Tie Fighters, X-Wings, A-Wings, and Millenium Falcon. The game mode also supports an additional 20 AI fighter so that the action is always intense. This game mode has the most intense dog fights in video game history.

-Promises that Dice and EA still have a lot left to show before the November release. Trailer is shown for the full game including Walker Attack and Jedi fights.


FIFA 16

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-DAVID RUTTER – EA, takes the stage to discuss FUT Draft 16, the Fantasy Ultimate Team Draft. A quick trailer is shown with two legends picking a team and arguing and then playing the game. “What is the best choice: Best Players or Best Chemistry.” And you can bring your fantasy team online.

-New introductions to the game include: Pre-season tournament in career mode, and Player Training in career mode including up to 30 drills.

-Also new to ’16 includes 12 of the National Women’s teams, and promises more innovations across the entire pitch. ’16 promises to be the most balanced and most beautiful FIFA football game.

-9 iconic stadiums, new weather conditions including rain and fog. And 900 new crowd chants. A quick trailer is shown.


And that’s all for Gamescom 2015 press conferences. I’ll be attending PAX Prime 2015 so I’ll have lots of news and insights when I return. Aug 28-31.

-iRogan