Earlier today FromSoftware, who previously developed Dark Souls and Bloodbourne, showed off some new footage of their will-be smash hit, Elden Ring. Watch the trailer here:
Based on what we have seen so far, this game will definitely live up to the hype that it’s generating. Graphically it retains that FromSoftware aesthetic while managing to look visually ethereal… Is that a good way of putting it? Anyway… the world looks beautiful and looks to be packed with more fantasy elements.
The gameplay looks incredibly fluid. Even more so than FromSoftware’s predecessors. This game looks like it will allow a little more versatility to the attacks, allowing attacking from the air and horseback. And there looks to be more of a allowance for stealth gameplay. On top of that, there will be a greater focus on magic and player builds. This will give variety and greater utility in the items you pick up. Players will have fun being able to approach and defeat enemies in a variety of ways.
They have kept invasions as a part of online gameplay. But it will also be possible to play cooperatively with other players online. One of things shown in the gameplay trailer is a co-op boss fight that looks AWESOME. Some of the NPCs shown are more traditional RPG characters while some of them are more unique and whimsical. I think this will be a really unique gameplay experience and I can’t wait to pick it up!
With the new 007 movie, No Time to Die, being out in theaters, I have been revisiting some of my favorite James Bond video games. The original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming have inspired one of the longest running movie franchises in history. Along with the movies, there have regularly been 007 themed video games released since the early 1980s. Some of these games follow the plots of their film counterparts and others have a plots that belong all to themselves. I have not personally played every single Bond game that has been released, but I have played a lot of them. Here are my 5 personal favorites from the 007 franchise.
Here are a few honorable mentions:
Tomorrow Never Dies (1999)
James Bond 007: Blood Stone (2010)
From Russia With Love (2005)
These are fun games and I have fond memories playing them. While these games are solid entries in the series and its cool to play as Sean Connery in From Russia With Love, these games don’t do quite enough to crack the top 5. The remaining games on this list either brought something fresh to the series or really nailed the “Bond Game Formula”.
5. Agent Under Fire (2001)
Agent Under Fire is a really fun game. This was the first Bond game of the sixth console generation. It was first released on the Playstation 2 and was later ported to the Gamecube. It took the first person shooter formula of the Bond games from the N64 and brought it into the new console generation. Most of the game is an FPS, but there are sections of driving and rail shooting as well.
This game has all of the James Bond cliches. You get to use your fair share of cool Q-Branch gadgets. The thing that puts this game in slot number 5 is that the controls do feel a little clunky and there isn’t enough stealth gameplay. One of the things I love about Bond games are the levels where you really feel like a spy getting to sneak around and collect intel. It’s a good game and a fun James Bond experience, but the other games on this list would probably be better for an introduction to the series.
4. Everything or Nothing (2003)
It was really hard to rank the rest of this list. I really love all four of these games so the ranking could change depending on the mood that I’m in. The next game in my ranking is Everything or Nothing from 2003. This game, like Tomorrow Never Dies, took the common FPS Bond format and moved the game to a third-person perspective. ‘Everything or Nothing’ also introduces a cover-based shooter element that is really well done.
This game has some really cool level design and a lot of variety in gameplay. The gameplay is classic Bond, but there are levels where you drive a cool weaponized Bond car, a tank, fly a helicopter, and repel down buildings. This game also has a really fun co-op campaign that you do not get with most Bond games.
3. The World is Not Enough (2000)
The second 007 game to be released on the N64 was The World is Not Enough. This is the first game on this list that is based on a movie of the same name. And compared to other games that are based on films, this game does a really good job of following the movie closely. ‘ The World is Not enough’ to me is a really good blend of the stealth based gameplay and the classic FPS Bond experience.
The story is really cool and you feel like each level really has weight to it because you care about the outcome of the story. The multiplayer was a really fun experience with a lot of fun weapons to use. And there are a lot of really cool gadgets to use that are useful in progressing through the levels. The different difficulty settings are appropriately scaled and the additional objectives on the harder difficulty settings are really satisfying to complete. All in all, this is a really solid 007 game and a great introduction to the series.
2. Goldeneye 007 (1997)
Alright, I know that you are probably thinking I lose all credibility by ranking this game 2nd. What can I even say about Goldeneye and how influential it was as a FPS title? This is a game that brought the genre to home consoles and did it with a bang. Goldeneye offers a fun and challenging campaign that follows the movie really closely.
But what most people probably remember about Goldeneye, is the multiplayer. The N64 gave players the chance to play local multiplayer with 4 players. This gave many people a lot of fun memories with friends. And the local split-screen multiplayer would go on to define the next console generation with games like Halo.
When people think of James Bond video games, the first game they probably think of is Goldeneye. It is such an iconic game and for good reason. This is definitely a great introduction for people to the series. The only thing preventing it from being number 1 on the list is that the controls have aged. This was before modern dual stick FPS controls so it takes some getting used to if you pick it up today.
1. Nightfire (2002)
My absolute favorite Bond game is Nightfire. This game took everything good about the 007 games from the previous console generation and improved them. The campaign in this game is a classic ridiculous James Bond plot (complete with a giant space laser). But every level in this game is fun and engaging. There is such a good mix of action packed FPS gameplay and stealthy gameplay.
This story of this game was written just for the game, but it really feels like it could be a movie. Some of the levels can be completed in multiple ways and you really feel like a spy when you can successfully get through a level while causing minimal damage.
If you thought the multiplayer in Goldeneye was fun, then this game will blow you away. There are multiple fun game modes and tons of classic Bond characters to choose from. The maps are some of my favorite multiplayer maps in the entire series. And this game has my favorite selection of Q-Branch gadgets to use.
I love the 007 games and these are just a few of my favorites. I really wish that game studios would have continued to regularly make quality Bond games. It has been a while since there has been a really good 007 game. To me, Nightfire is the best game in the series and the perfect introduction to the series for someone who has never played one of these games.
For the month of November 2021, the free games that are included with the PS Plus subscription have been revealed. There was a leak posted on the French website Dealabs that has now been confirmed to be accurate.
There are total of 6 games that have been announced:
Knockout City (PS4 & PS5)
First Class Trouble (PS4 & PS5)
Kingdom of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (PS4)
The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners (PSVR)
The Persistence (PSVR)
Until You Fall (PSVR)
Knockout City (PS4 & PS5)
The first game on the list is Knockout City, which was originally released by EA in May 2021. This is a multiplayer dodgeball game with fast and fun gameplay. The players knockout their enemies with different types of balls that have differwnt powers. The clever gameplay mechanics make this a unique experience. This is definitely worth checking out while you can grab it as part of the PS Plus subscription.
First Class Trouble (PS4 & PS5)
First Class Trouble is a multiplayer party game that involves 6 players. While aboard a space cruiser, the players decide who among them is actually a human-like AI. 4 of the players will need to use deduction to decide who they can trust.
Kingdom of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (PS4)
Kingdom of Amular: Re-Reckoning is a remaster of a game from 2012 that originally released on XBOX 360, PS3, and PC. It is an Action RPG where you play as “The Fateless One” who sets out to solve the mystery of his own death. This is a vast game with plenty of fun RPG elements if thats your thing!
The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners (PSVR)
This is a virtual reality survival/horror game based in the ruins of New Orleans. You fight off zombies and scavenge for materials to craft with. This is probably one of the more immersive games on PSVR. If you can, definitely check it out.
The Persistence (PSVR)
The Persistence is a survival/horror game set in 2521, aboard a failing deep space colony starship. You upgrade your character and your inventory as you descend deeper and deeper into the ship to fix its systems. Along the way you will fight and avoid aggressive clones of the past crew that infest the ship.
Until You Fall (PSVR)
Until You Fall is a VR sword fighting experience where you fight many types of enemies. The gameplay allows you to develop your own style as you defeat twisted humanoids and monsters. It is fun to use different strategies to cut down your enemies. This is a solid addition to the PSVR if you don’t have it yet.
Today Sony aired their anticipated State of Play announcement and update event. The general response seems to be that people are a little disappointed in the announcements. This was all third party games, so no Sony AAA titles were announced. Among the announcements there were a few highlights.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach
In the latest installment of Five Nights at Freddy’s, you play as a little boy named Gregory who has to escape Freddy Fazbear’s Mega Pizzaplex after being trapped there overnight. Like the other games in the series, this is a survival horror game and you will have to use your wits to avoid the animatronics. This is one of the trailers that stuck out to me from todays ‘State of Play’.
Star Ocean The Divine Force
This year marks 25 years since the first installment of the Star Ocean series was released. The new installment, Star Ocean The Divine Force looks to have some serious depth based on the trailer. Players choices will affect events and outcomes in the game. There will be a solid list of characters to choose from and this game will have fast and intense action.
Death’s Door by developer Acid Nerve is heading to Playstation consoles (and Switch) on November 23rd. Death’s Door is definitely one of the better indie games released this year and it will be a welcome addition to the consoles lineup. This game has been compared to the Zelda series. It is an action-adventure game where you play as a Crow who reaps souls for the ‘Reaping Commission Headquarters’ in the afterlife. It has a very unique art direction and offers simplicity that makes it easy to pick up and play.
This State of Play event didn’t blow up away gamers, but I am excited to check out a few of these titles.
Low poly graphics are graphics that have a low polygon count. These are graphics that are reminiscent of the N64/PS1 generation. Whenever I say that I genuinely like the look of low poly graphics, people immediately accuse me of just being a victim of nostalgia. I guess enjoying a game that you played years ago and then picking it up and enjoying it again means that you are blinded by nostalgia goggles.
Yeah, I’ll admit that having good memories of playing a game can make a game seem better. It can be fun to try to recreate those memories that you previously captured. However, I’m not really talking about a specific game. I’m talking about the graphics style in general. I love the simplicity of the low polygon count character models and textures.
In the current year, there are tons of games with mind blowing graphics. Now it is reasonable to make a game that has super realistic visuals. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game that visually blew my mind when it came out. We are getting to the point where photo-realistic graphics are probably not far off.
With that said, one of the things that I love about games on the N64 is that photo-realistic games were not a possibility. These limitations on the developer made them get really creative with how games looked. I love the colorful and surreal worlds that these games take place in. Of course, in the modern day there are games that don’t look like the real world, but this was a necessity for almost every game in previous generations.
I absolutely love the art style and direction of games like Super Mario 64, Rayman 2, and the N64 Zelda games. As much as I love games with realistic graphics, I also like to sit down and suspend reality when I play a game. I want to step into the cartoony worlds.
When developers had to get creative with the art style in games, a lot of the time they had to reuse a lot of in game textures and models and it the end it saved a lot of time in the development process. I like when developers spend more time focused on the mechanics of the game and how to actually make it fun instead of spending so much time on making realistic looking games.
I think its important for game to have a focused direction for the art style of the game, but I think the gameplay is far more important than the graphics being perfect. I have played a lot of big triple-A titles that looked beautiful, but just aren’t that fun. I have also played a lot of indie games that didn’t look like anything special, but were really fun.
Modern Low Poly Games
There has been a big resurgence in games that use 16-bit graphics. Among indie developers, retro style platformers have been really popular over the last few years. I am hoping that the next step is for late-90s/early-2000s low poly graphics to come back. There is already a few examples of this.
Here are some modern games that make great use of this graphical style:
From the same developer as Macbat 64, here is Toree 3D:
Here is an N64 inspired horror game called Earl’s Day Off:
I recommend downloading and checking out all three of these games. They are all really fun and really different experiences. We need to give indie developers our support so that we can see more games like this in the future.
The GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition was recently announced by Rockstar. Today we finally got a release date. The remastered trilogy will come to all major platforms for digital download on November 11. A physical release will be headed to Playstation, Switch, and Xbox on December 7th.
What we know so far is that these games will have certain quality of life improvements. There will be some improvements to textures, models, and overall resolution. We are finally able to see these visual improvements in the trailer that Rockstar shared this morning.
Rockstar has said that the games will control like GTA 5. That alone will be a massive improvement. On top of that, the aiming and lock on system will be improved. The Radio station selection system will also resemble the wheel that is used in GTA 5.
The Switch will have some exclusive controls with the addition of gyro aiming and touch screen camera controls. I’m sure if you don’t like the gyro controls, this is something that can be toggled off in settings.
We still haven’t heard anything about the radio stations and if any songs were removed or added. I speculated about this in a former article:
The beloved franchise “God of War” has long time been a Playstation exclusive. Now the 2018 award winner is being ported to PC. The Steam page is already live where preorders are being accepted. The game will be available to play on January 14, 2022.
Before God of War it was Death Stranding and Horizon Zero Dawn that made their way to PC. On one hand, it is great that more players can experience these games. On the other hand, one of the big arguments for getting a Playstation over Xbox is that there are great exclusives. With these exclusives moving to PC, will Playstation lose potential customers?
God of War (2018) will have ultra-wide support and we can expect better visuals from the game on PC.
I am excited to see what craziness the modding community will stir up!
Rockstar recently announced the release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition. This was sure to make fans of the franchise really excited. This month marks 20 years since the release of Grand Theft Auto III so this is a great way for Rockstar to celebrate the anniversary and reintroduce these great games to us.
To this day, I periodically will pick up GTA: Vice City and play through it. Some of the gameplay mechanics are dated, but is still a really enjoyable experience fueled by the awesome atmosphere of neon saturated Miami nights.
The Definitive Edition is sure to contain quality-of-life improvements and hopefully modernize the controls. This will be a welcome change and will make these games even more approachable for a modern audience.
The difficult thing about remastering old games, apart from the technical work required, is dealing with the licenses that the company originally paid for. I think I’m not alone when I say that one of my favorite parts of Vice City is THE MUSIC. The music in this game adds so much to the 80s atmosphere.
This is purely speculative, but I would venture a guess that the licenses that Rockstar originally purchased have expired by now. This means they would have to buy the rights to use these songs again. I’m not sure if that makes financial sense to repurchase these licenses just for a rerelease of older games.
I hope I am wrong. I am excited for the Definitive Edition release and will definitely pick it up. But I would love to hear that same old soundtrack.