Saturday Video Round Up: Holiday 2016 Edition

Look show’s back?! After a long winter nap, the video round up has finally returned to deliver you the best trailers and gameplay from the week that was. There’s a lot to catch up on from the past few weeks. Not to mention, this is going to be a heavy Nintendo episode.

Let’s be honest here, expect to see a bunch of Nintendo Switch trailers below considering that the highly anticipated event took place the other night. In case you missed it, there’s a ton of new Switch stuff including a massively impressive Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild trailer, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2 and much, much more.

If you’re not a Nintendo person, don’t worry, there’s plenty of other stuff below the jump as well. We’re getting closer to some major releases like Horizon Zero Dawn and in an effort to get you excited, Sony released another gorgeous looking cinematic. Find out a little bit more of the story and world before the game hits next month.

I’ve also got new videos for Ghost Recon Wildlands, For Honor, Overwatch and so much more after the break, so come check out this week’s batch of trailers!

The full list of videos await you after the jump…

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Nintendo Switch Presentation – Quick Thoughts and Concerns

After the disappointing lifespan of the WiiU, Nintendo is betting big on the Switch, their newest console that acts as both a home and portable system. It’s an interesting concept and one that really seemed to capture people’s attention when the debut trailer arrived last October.

Still, Nintendo withheld a lot of information from fans, ultimately waiting until last night to officially reveal the system in full. As many expected, the console launches with a $300 price tag, which isn’t terrible, though I feel like $250 would have been the sweet spot. It’s hitting earlier than many people expected on March 3, 2017. Like the WiiU deluxe model, it sports a 32GB HDD.

nintendo-switch-tablet

In my opinion, the press conference didn’t do much for me. I came in curious but not sold on the new console. It’s still a fascinating concept, a home console that can be taken on the go. It’s a great idea, especially in the go, go, go style world we live in now. Being able to take your games on the go is going to be a great feature for many, especially those who travel often.

While it was nice to finally getting some solid details on Nintendo’s plans, the presentation did nothing to really wow me. Getting critical details such as the launch date and price right out of the gate was great, but the show spent entirely way too much time on those small Joy-Con controllers which players can attach or use away from the tablet part of the console.

nintendo-switch-tablet-joy-con

Sure, the things do a lot, but we’re focusing on motion controls again? Maybe you enjoyed it, but the fact that I can now feel like I’m drinking a glass of water with three ice cubes in it thanks to HD Rumble tech didn’t strike me at all. In fact, it was kind of useless information. Cool feature I guess, but certainly not worth a 5 minute demonstration.

Speaking of controllers, Nintendo released information on accessories and prices after the show and I nearly fell out of my chair after seeing it. Those tiny Joy-Con controllers retail for $80 bucks (for both left and right) and individually at $50. For just one (left or right), it’s pretty much 10 dollars less than a regular Xbox One or PS4 controller. The accessory prices feel a bit like price gouging if I’m being honest.

Games were clearly not a focus of the show even though they did reveal Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey, a bunch of JRPGs, and a very awesome Legend of Zelda trailer. I have to say, hearing that Breath of the Wild now has voice acting was a wonderful surprise and considering how long the franchise has fought against that, it didn’t feel weird or out of place at all. It is a long time coming, that’s for sure. That said, it’s unclear if Link actually has spoken words. My money is on he’s still a mute character.

nintendo-switch-joy-con-colors

Ultimately, the press conference didn’t do much to sway my opinion, which is disappointing. As someone who wants to really enjoy and love what Nintendo is up to, I just don’t feel that pull towards the Switch. I’m still fairly apathetic towards the system. After being a lifelong Nintendo fanboy growing up, this feeling is a little dis-concerning. People change with age, that much is sure, and maybe it’s the fact that I just don’t have as much time for games as I once did. I don’t know.

I know this post may have been sort of a downer but I do remain hopeful that Nintendo can not only turn it around, but convince me to be a Switch adopter. Either way, I remain hopeful that the Nintendo Switch will deliver in its promises and it is able to restore Nintendo back to where it used to be. Time will tell.

What are your thoughts on the Nintendo Switch after seeing it fully unveiled? Are you a day one adopter?

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GamerCast: Looking Ahead to 2017

So here we are, Happy New Year everyone! 2017 is finally here and I don’t know about you, but from what we do know, this year is shaping up to be another great one.

In a long-standing tradition, it’s time for the GamerCast, my not so clever rebranding of the “FutureCast” segments that a weatherman uses to show you what the weather is bringing for the next few days.

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Since I deal more in video games rather than what ol’ Mother Nature is up to, here’s a quick look at some of the games I can’t wait to get my hands on in the coming year. I’ve switched things up a bit this year as well and added a couple of categories for easier viewing as well.

So it’s time to dust off that crystal ball and have a sneak peek into the future to see what’s coming out in 2017.

Have something that I missed? Let me know down in the comments as I’m always on the look out for quality games.

Full list after the jump…

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Now Arriving: Games of January 2017

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2017 is treating you right so far and Santa (or your equivalent present bearer) gave you everything you wanted this holiday season.

While you’re undoubtedly catching up on your backlog, the new month means a variety of new games to check out even if it is January. While things remain somewhat slow this month, there are a few big names coming in the back half of this month.

Obviously, for horror fans, things don’t get much bigger than Resident Evil and with number 7 arriving this month, gamers look to be in for a treat. Interestingly enough, things are a bit different this time as the perspective has moved to first person as the main character appears to be trapped in a broken down house with a family who is clearly insane. Fans have already gotten a taste thanks to a couple of demos, but now it’s time to see if you can survive when the full game launches on January 24.

Not a horror fan? Perhaps the full and complete release of Hitman will keep you company or the gravity defying antics of Gravity Rush 2 will tide you over until the heavy hitters of February arrive. That’s a story for another time however…

The complete release list for January waits for you after the jump…

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Gamer Crash Awards 2016: My Game of the Year

Here it is, the final award! If you need a refresher on the previous winners this year, make sure to click here.

It’s hard to believe but we’re finally at the end of 2016, a year which, well, certainly had its fair share of moments, right? On the gaming side of things, a ton of high profile titles finally launched giving fans plenty of talking points through out the year.

Gamer Crash Awards

While the future continues to look bright for the gaming industry, fans of games were also given a huge amount of excellent content to play this year. The games below represent titles that had the biggest impact on me, whether it was a title I couldn’t wait for, or a surprise gem that came out of no where. One thing to note here is that I generally love each and every game listed below and picking one to stand out from the rest was an absolute nightmare.

So before we jump ahead into the promise that is 2017, let’s have one last look back at the year and some of the standout titles from 2016.

and the nominees are…

overwatch_cover_art_pcOverwatch
Was there any real doubt? Arguably the biggest game release of 2016, Overwatch continues to be a steamroller as we enter into 2017.

After a wildly successful beta, the game launched and continues to be a first person shooter force thanks to an easy to grasp gameplay system, a diverse and colorful cast of characters, and a constant stream of new and free content. While the initial offering of content was somewhat limited, Blizzard has not shown any hesitation with adding more whether it’s through seasonal events, new maps, new characters, and a completely revamped Arcade mode. Seriously, there’s something for everyone here. Plus, Overwatch has given fans more stories through different types of media such as online comics, and stunning CG animations as well.

I mean, at this point, is anyone surprised that we’ve gotten another well crafted and compelling game from Blizzard?

uncharted-4-boxUncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The Uncharted franchise is well known for its excellence and the trend continues on the PlayStation 4. In addition to sporting stunning visuals, the same addictive gameplay of platforming, and third person action is on full display here. Naughty Dog is at the top of their game with Nathan Drake’s final adventure.

Seriously, if playing through Drake’s story and find out what happens to him isn’t enough of a draw for you, Uncharted 4 is easily one of the best action games out there featuring some intense moments, fun combat situations, and even great dialogue between the characters. With a fun and frantic multiplayer side and an upcoming story expansion, Uncharted 4 will likely be in rotation for quite a while.

forza-horizon-3-box-artForza Horizon 3
I’ve already covered this game quite a bit in my other categories but it does bear repeating: Forza Horizon 3 is not only just a gorgeous, open world racing game, it’s also one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had.

Seriously, the diverse environment of Australia is really a playground of opportunity, letting players streak through the streets of urban cities, fly over the sandy dunes of the outback, or dodge trees through the lush jungle areas. There’s so much to explore and do, you could easily be playing this one for a month straight and not get bored. Add in some of the downright insane events such as racing a train, or racing with or against friends and you have the makings of a great time.

watch-dogs-2-boxWatch_Dogs 2
I’ll fully admit, I was someone who enjoyed the first game. Sure, it wasn’t the technical marvel that everyone thought it would be and it did have its own set of issues but for what it was, the game was a fun open world title.

Cut to the sequel and I was on board initially, but not super hyped over it. Maybe it was because of those feelings that the game blew me away after playing it for the first time. It’s almost as if Ubisoft stripped out all of the elements people didn’t like and replaced them with things that made more sense. The open world of San Francisco and the surrounding areas are vibrant, lively, and a whole ton of fun to explore. There’s a ton of things to do and see, a rich palette of colors bringing the game to life, and the characters are compelling and fun to root for. The missions are fun, the AI are incredibly diverse, and multiplayer is seamlessly integrated into the experience.

If you’re someone who hated the tone and style of the first game, give this one a look. This just may be the experience Ubisoft was aiming for all along.

titanfall_2_box_artTitanfall 2
I’ve always had a soft spot for Titanfall. I mean, who doesn’t love acrobatic and fast moving characters being able to call down and ride inside of giant metal sky monsters? The first game was a fun concept, ultimately undone by a lack of content, something the team was aware of and tried to fix through its multiplayer DLC.

With Titanfall 2, everything is there right from the start. Not only is the frenetic and fun gameplay still there, but Respawn has added in more of everything. There’s more multiplayer modes, more customization options, more titans, more weapons and gear, and more ways to play.

For many though, the addition of a dedicated single player campaign is a game changer. The best part here is that it’s not just a traditional first person shooter. This one tries to do more than let you shoot at nameless soldiers through interesting and evolving gameplay mechanics like time shifting, light puzzle solving, and platforming elements. Sure, there’s plenty of shooting, but between fantastic storytelling, fun gameplay mechanics, and awe-inspiring set pieces, this is a game everyone should experience.

dishonored-2-box-artDishonored 2
It’s clear that Dishonored 2 is lovingly crafted, taking what worked really well in the first game and just building on top of that in some really interesting ways. This one is a treat for any fans of stealth action games for sure.

This time around, Arkane is giving fans two characters to pick from and both offer very different experiences. Corvo is back if you want, but this time around, Emily Kaldwin is also a playable character and better yet, she comes with a whole different set of powers like the fantastic domino ability, linking multiple enemies together, sharing the same fate. The thing that I love about Dishonored 2 however is the sandbox of opportunity players are handed in each level. Each environment has multiple ways to get things done, letting the player figure out how they’d like to complete each objective. The end product is usually different for everyone and results in some insanely creative ways of getting things done. This element makes replaying the game almost a must just to see what other things are possible.

battlefield-1-box-artBattlefield 1
The return of the first person shooter behemoth also marked a drastic change of pace for this genre. While these sorts of games have continued to march towards a sci-fi/future soldier style, Battlefield 1 is taking things back to the past and exploring the horrors of World War I.

While the weapons and technology may not be nearly advanced than what was seen in the last few games in the franchise, the addictive multiplayer gameplay returns in all of its glorious objective based forms. In addition to the standout modes like Conquest and Rush, DICE has also added a dynamic and evolving game mode called Operations, where an attacking team is trying to push back a defending team. Each round changes based on the events during the battles.

Considering the material they’re working with, DICE has taken more care with the single player offering as well, opting to focus on smaller character driven stories. I particularly liked this method as I found each story memorable and genuine rather than playing as a faceless and generic army dude along for the ride. With Battlefield 1, we get a better idea of just how the war affected people not just physically, but psychologically as well.

quantum-break-boxQuantum Break
Remedy is known to take their time with its games and the end result is typically always worth it. High production values, a willingness to try things, and state of the art technology typically make their games something to remember. To this end, Quantum Break fits right in.

Quantum Break throws third person conventions right out the window in favor of an almost movie like presentation. Not only are high profile actors like Shawn Ashmore and Aidan Gillen on hand to play prominent roles, Remedy has also weaved legit 20 minute TV style episodes in between each chapter in the game. It’s an odd thing for a video game, but in the grand scheme of things, I enjoyed it. Gameplay wise, Quantum Break centers around the ability to mess with time giving the protagonist a ton of time manipulation powers that really make you feel powerful. In addition, there’s a ton of memorable holy crap moments that happen throughout the story centered around time essentially breaking. It’s certainly a visual showpiece and worth a look if you’re into strong single player titles.

and the winner is…

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Gamer Crash Awards 2016: Best Character

Not sure what The Gamer Crash Awards are? Want to see a list of all the winners so far? Catch up here!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! My present to you is the next award for Best Character of 2016, enjoy!

Gamer Crash Awards

While games can certainly succeed through great gameplay, is there nothing better when a game features a villain you just love to hate or someone to a character that you can really rally behind? It’s because of this that I’m a big fan of compelling characters in games.

Regardless of whether it’s a bad guy or good guy, these characters bring a little extra something to the table. It was another great year for characters with that special ‘X’ factor so narrowing the list to something manageable was a bit tougher than in years past. Without further adieu, here are some of my favorites from the year that was.

and the nominees are…

Frank WestFrank West (Dead Rising 4)
The man that once covered wars and fought zombies off in a giant mall is back in action once again in Dead Rising 4. Yes, he’s a little older and a little wiser, but it wouldn’t be Frank without his trademark sarcasm and ability to basically turn anything and everything into a weapon of some sort.

Unfortunately for him, he’s back where it all started at Willamette where another outbreak has occurred. For Frank, it’s just another day at the office, as he now fuses all sorts of lovely holiday and Christmas themed objects into weapons of chaos. Though the work is violent, Frank never forgets that trademark wit and sarcasm. Besides, who else would you want riding shotgun during a zombie apocalypse?

Captain QwarkCaptain Qwark (Ratchet & Clank)
I mean, the Ratch & Clank series has provided fans with a variety of cool and engaging characters over the years, but there’s just something about Captain Copernicus Leslie Qwark which stands out from the rest. Perhaps it’s his self inflated ego or taking credit for things he may not have actually done.

Okay, so I may have just described a pretty detestable person, but Qwark does have his selfless moments while being unintentionally funny as well. There’s a sort of charm to the man, almost a child-like quality, which is why he stands out each time he shows up in the game.

titanfall-2-btBT-7274 (Titanfall 2)
While not the funniest or emotive character on this list, the vanguard-class titan known as BT-7274 is a powerful machine players use during the impressive campaign. Though he may lack emotion, BT has a certain child-like charm to him and how he interacts with the outside world. When the player controlled character of Jack Cooper tries to use humor or sarcasm while speaking to BT, he tends to takes it at face value, missing the point completely.

What’s cool about this character is the evolution he goes on as the game progresses. At first, BT is ultra professional, unsure of this newly minted pilot, fresh off the loss of his previous master.  The relationship starts off cool, with BT referring to Cooper as simply Pilot, but as the game progresses, the dialogue begins to open up a bit more with BT using Pilot Cooper, and then finally calling him Jack by the end. BT also starts to pick up on quirks and gestures as well, such as giving a thumbs up, which only adds to how endearing this companion is.

The WrenchThe Wrench (Watch_Dogs 2)
In a game chock full of interesting characters, it’s the mysterious man only known as “The Wrench” which stands head and shoulder above them all. I mean, his name is The Wrench, so how could I really pick anyone else, right?

While he certainly stands out thanks to his mask which shows emotion through electronic symbols as he talks, this a sort of unhinged spastic energy to this character which makes him a lot of fun to interact with in the game. To him, there isn’t a problem he can’t solve, just in his own special way. Why take apart a toaster when you can smash it apart with a sledgehammer? This intelligent and off the wall hacker brings a much needed infusion of humor and personality to the franchise.

recore-corebotsCorebots (ReCore)
The cute and charming corebots from ReCore are easily one of the best aspects of the game. Not only are they able to emote and animate extremely well, they’re capable partners, helping Joule navigate the world or beat up deadly enemies.

Each one has its own personality to. The main blue bot is named Mack, with the qualities of a loyal dog, while Seth is a bit more timid, though can help out in a pinch. The final bot is Duncan, who is the muscle of the group, aggressively attacking the players enemies.  For robots, it’s amazing just how the developers have managed to bring these characters to life and give each one a very unique and distinct personality. They certainly add so much personality to this unfortunately overlooked title.

And the winner is…

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The Gamer Crash Awards 2016: Best Soundtrack

Miss any of the previous awards? Catch up here!

I’ve always been a big fan of music in games. To me, music is critically important as a great soundtrack and really elevate an experience. In addition, a game with bad or forgettable music can be just as detrimental as a broken feature or mechanic can. I mean, if you’re going to spend a significant amount of your time with a game, isn’t it only right that your ears have a great time as well?

Gamer Crash Awards

This year saw no shortage of games with great and memorable soundtracks. The funny thing is, even though I’ve felt that way, I never got around to highlighting any through my Soundtrack Central feature. Maybe that’ll be a site resolution to do more in 2017. In the meantime, maybe think of this award as a Soundtrack Central Round Up of sorts.

These games got top marks from my ears this past year.

And the nominees are…

killer-instinct-season3Killer Instinct Season 3

For a franchise that has had consistently excellent soundtracks over the years, I think fans were a little nervous with Season 3, considering that Mick Gordon was moving on to other projects like DOOM. Thankfully, with Atlas Plug and Celldweller on board, that consistency lived on and fans got even more excellent themes to hum along to like Rash, Kim Wu, and Eyedol.

The duo did a masterful job mixing both the themes of returning characters and adding in new elements to put their stamp on things as well. The result is a wonderfully crafted soundtrack that stands up to the previous work done on the franchise.

uncharted-4-boxUncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Even though longtime composer Greg Edmonson is no longer with this series, the sweeping orchestral sounds by composer Henry Jackman stepped right in and fit like a well worn glove.

The music comes off as epic sounding as it did in previous games, perhaps with a big more dramatic flair to match the high stakes presented in the story. The familiar orchestral sounds of the classic Uncharted theme make a return here and as a whole, the music is a bit more atmospheric than it was previously, similar to The Last of Us. It’s a great fit to a franchise which has clearly matured from its PS3 days.

deus-ex-mankind-divided-boxDeus Ex: Mankind Divided
For me, Deus Ex: Human Revolution had a mighty fine soundtrack when it released a number of years ago. Thankfully, Mankind Divided continues that tradition with the combination of Michael McCann and Sascha Dikiciyan who manage to really set the tone for this futuristic universe.

For those who remember the thematic and haunting futuristic boops and beeps in the soundtrack to the previous game, that familiar sound carries over here into this sci-fi dystopian future. It’s a soundtrack that pairs incredibly well with the gameplay on screen, but one that does not simply fade into the background. The tunes are sure to stay with you even after turning off your console.

destiny-rise-of-iron-boxDestiny: Rise of Iron
I’m probably as surprised as you are to see this entry here, but Rise of Iron has really impressed me with its range of music. Considering that Rise of Iron sees Guardians delving deeper into the mythic lore of the Iron Lords, the sounds created by Michael Salvatori, C Paul Johnson, Skye Lewin, and Rotem Moav are equally epic and mighty sounding. The theme song alone gets you pumped up to do battle alongside Lord Saladin.

The tipping point for me though came after playing through the newly remastered Devil’s Den strike, where players had to defeat the newly resurrected Servitor, Sepiks Perfected. As soon as the boss appears, a heavy guitar riff takes over, completely slapping you in the face. It’s heavy, threatening, and completely epic. A perfect theme for a boss battle, and one you don’t expect to hear in a game like Destiny.

gears-of-war-4-logoGears of War 4
When you manage to bring on the composer of such high profile shows like Game of Thrones and movies like Warcraft and Iron Man, you know you’re doing something right. Looking to make a splash with the return of the fan favorite franchise, The Coalition enlisted the help of Ramin Djawadi to handle the soundtrack in Gears of War 4.

What’s great here is that even though Djawadi makes this project his own, he manages to insert familiar sounds from past games every now and again letting you know that this is indeed a Gears game. Still, the tracks are moody, atmospheric, and jump into action when things heat up on screen.

Titanfall 2 roninTitanfall 2
While it may not stand out as well as some of the others on this list, I’ve always viewed Stephen Barton’s work on the Titanfall franchise as sneaky good. I feel like it’s only gotten better in Titanfall 2, which fans got a first taste of in the debut multiplayer trailer earlier this year.

The music is completely dynamic, ebbing and flowing with what’s happening on screen almost like a big budget movie soundtrack would. It’s exhilarating and thrilling to hear as you’re running across rooftops, or using your titan to decimate your enemies. Just listening to it once again, the music is thematic and exciting all rolled into one.

street fighter 5 ryu artworkStreet Fighter V
While the game didn’t grab me like previous entries in the long running franchise did, I have to give it up for the soundtrack. Street Fighter V features a lot of great new tunes, especially for some of the characters like Rashid, but what helps the soundtrack stand out is the fact that Capcom decided to bring back the classic character themes as well. The excellent remastered versions of themes that players have been hearing since Street Fighter II have been remade from the ground up and sound better than ever.

Disappointingly, players were only able to hear them while fighting against other human players online. Thanks to continued fan requests, Capcom has finally added the option to switch from new stage music, the character themes in any mode as well.

and the winner is…

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