Tag Archives: games

John Robertson: The Dark Room

John Robertson: The Dark Room
20:00 Underbelly, White Belly (Venue 61) until Aug 26th

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have waited for three years to see this show. The Dark Room is without a doubt one of the best things I’ve ever seen. It’s everything it promises and more besides. As the game is played by audience members, it becomes increasingly funny and slightly frustrating, just like the real text based video games of consoles past.
The writing, the stage presence and presentation for me was completely perfect. The feeling of spontaneity and crowd work sets this show apart.  The democracy round is another stroke of genius where people practically tear out their vocal chords to be heard and make a difference…
It is a highly odd experience to be made to feel like you’re working with and against those around you to try and beat the game.

The only down side is that every now and again, the memory of this marvellous show will pop into my head and for no apparent reason, I find myself whispering ‘You awake to find yourself in a dark room’. This I’m told is slightly unnerving for the rest of my colleagues but who cares?

There are so many reasons to see this dark humoured show from the exceptional writing to the character work of Mr John Robertson, this is really some top draw stuff that’s worth every penny and more.

Tickets can be bought here:

http://bit.ly/2L7jZbB

Plus there’s a child friendly show at 17:30, The Gilded Balloon, Teviot (Venue 41) Until 26th Aug

Tickets for this can be bought here:

http://bit.ly/2OLd7D4

 

The Roleplaying Comedy Hour 2

The Roleplaying Comedy Hour 2
22:00 Bar Bados (Venue 32) Aug 4-25th
PBH’s Free Fringe

Bunbury Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If Roleplaying is your thing (no, not that kind, get your mind out of the gutter) then this is the show for you. If you don’t really know what Roleplaying games are or have never played one, then this is the show for you. It is easy to watch this with or without any prior knowledge of games like Dungeons & Dragons etc and it is a really good laugh.

The stories change from night to night and so do the guest comics. No one knows what the outcome will be or what situations the group will get themselves into as the game is played with real dice and so all in the room are at the mercy of the dungeon master.

It’s something a bit different and so worth going to see and who knows? You may vent become a part of the action yourself. There’s only one way to find out.
Take a chance on the roll of a dice.

Playstation Gamescom Press Conference Recap

It’s time to recap the Playstation press conference from Gamescom. As I stated in my recap of Microsoft’s presentation there are a few things that need to be remembered and I’m going to copy and paste them here. First off I don’t yet own any new gen consoles, however I will attempt to write this either as if I owned them or as a perspective buyer. Secondly be weary of the term exclusive, too many times we’ve heard the word exclusive bandied around when the words timed exclusive or console exclusive might have been more applicable. Finally I will be writing about the games as I see them but remember publishers lie. As we have discovered in the past with Killzone 2, Colonial Marines and more recently Watch Dogs, what is shown might not be what we get. We have been misled before and it is important to keep expectations in check. Be excited but don’t be fooled.

Sony’s game division is currently in a very strong position at the moment (even if the rest of the company seems intent on killing itself) after an excellent E3 last year and what I personally thought was a good E3 this year, although most people believe Nintendo had the best showing and it’s easy to see why. Some very bad decisions at the launch of the PS3 has taught them a lesson about being arrogant and thinking your better than your customer, or at least taught them to hide it better, and those lessons have been paying off so far, so let us see if they can keep that going.

The stream started before the actual presentation had kicked off, however we were treated to a few trailers while we wait. Included in this were “Little Big Planet 3” (I am unsure if this is still Media Molecule helming or someone else) and From Software’s much anticipated “Bloodborne.” Both trailers appeared to show gameplay and I am looking forward to playing both of these titles. I’m a big fan of the LBP series and I’ve been meaning to pick up copies of Dark Souls and its sequel for a while.

The conference started up eventually with a montage of different games sown at past events. Jim Ryan the CEO of SCEE is presenting tonight and kicks things off with the announcement that Sony has sold ten million PS4’s to customers. Good for them but not exactly why we’re watching, also claiming that these very impressive numbers are down to the PS4’s social features might be a bit of stretch. Dylan Cuthbert from Q games, creators of the Pixel Junk series, arrives on stage to introduce a trailer for their new game “The Tomorrow Children.” This is a weird, cute looking but ever so slightly creepy (just realised I’m going to be using the word creepy quite a bit in this) game that seems to involve lots of characters mining statues or stone giants and defending themselves from attackers in a weird communist themed society. It was with some disappointment that I learned later that this game is probably a multiplayer online only game. This is followed by a trailer for “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter” by Avalanche Games. There wasn’t a lot shown in this trailer, from what I can gather it appears to involve ghosts, puzzles and a possible murder mystery but it’s hard to be sure.

Mike Bithel, creator of the indie darling “Thomas was Alone” takes the stage. There’s a bit of brown nosing for Sony but can’t argue with the respect they’re giving the indie scene at the moment. Bithel is here to show a trailer for his new game “Volume,” an “old-school” stealth game inspired by Metal Gear Solid which he claims is a retelling of the story of Robin Hood. To be honest from the brief gameplay they showed I fail to see what this had to do with Robin Hood outside of a character being called Rob, but the game looks fun if a bit aesthetically dull (it basically looks like the VR training from early MGS games.)

A trailer now for “Holowpoint” from Paradox Games, a side scrolling shooter, which are usually fun but not overly original. It will be interesting to see what this game can do that’s special. There’s also some chatting about a deal Sony have with Paradox for games and console exclusives or timed exclusives. This is followed by Dean Hall (“I’m a grenade see.”) coming to the stage to talk about how great DayZ is and that there will be a console version coming to PS4. DayZ is an incredibly popular zombie survival game that started life as a mod for Arma 2. This announcement should make a lot of people happy and it is worth researching the crazy stories that have come from this multiplayer game where any player could be your friend or a psychopath ready to kill you and steal your tinned beans. Unfortunately no footage was shown of a PS4 version so I’ve got to wonder how far along this plan actually is.

We were then treated to trailers for a new Ninja Theory game “Hellblade.” The trailer was a cg creation that showed and told you nothing about the game other than it has a creepy scarecrow, a lead character that looks like the protagonist from PS3 launch game Heavenly Sword, and a big sword with runes on it. It’s probably safe to assume it’s another hack and slash or spectacle fighter from Ninja Theory. This was followed by a trailer for the fully exclusive “Rime” by Tequilaworks, a gorgeous looking game with an art style similar to that of Nintendo’s Wind Waker. I’m kind of hoping this isn’t a Proteus rip-off and to be fair there looks like there’s actually stuff to do and puzzles to solve in this game. This game has potential and I’d like to see how it plays out.

It’s now time for the predictable “we love indie developers, honest” indie montage. A surprisingly small selection was shown in this montage, and annoyingly it doesn’t mention the names of the developers for each game which means I’ve had to look them up myself. The following games are all apparently making their console debut on PS4 first;

“Snow” by Poppermost,
“Dreamfall Chapters” by Red Thread,
“Pixel Junk Nom Nom Galaxy” by Q-Games/ Double Eleven,
“Pix the Cat” by Pastagames,
“Papers, Please” by Lucas Pope (this is an excellent catch for Sony,)
“In Space we Brawl” by Forge Reply,
“Ether One” by White Paper Games,
and “Qube 2” by Toxic Games.

Not a huge selection however I’m incredibly pleased to see “Papers, Please” coming to consoles. The game might be basic in graphics and mechanics but if what I’ve heard is true you’ll be emotionally involved in this game after a short time and the agonizing decisions and their consequences will have you thinking about it for a long time afterwards.

After this we had Eric Hirshberg, the CEO of Activision, followed by Jonty Barnes, Bungie’s director of production, to talk about Destiny again. I’ve got to be honest I am starting to get sick of hearing about this, if you’re a fan of shooters and a fan of Bungie’s work on Halo I’m sure this game will be great, but to me it looks like another FPS, a pretty FPS and no doubt a good one, and with music by Paul McCartney and voice acting by the great Peter Dinklage you can’t go far wrong, but I’m just tired of the marketing and hype for this thing, and does it really need more conference stage time this close to release. Anyway we get the usual announcement of timed exclusive content for PS4 in the form of maps and expansions, the announcement that Destiny has become the most pre-order new IP in history (god damn it gamers enough with the pre-orders) and a trailer showing off the competitive multiplayer in a multiplayer only shooting game. The trailer seemed to be showing off different match types but it was hardly informative or just showing regular matched we’re used to in other multiplayer games but with different names.

Ubisoft’s “Far Cry 4” is up next with creative director Alex Hutchinson presenting us with a trailer showcasing the games environments. This game looks absolutely stunning and I hope it still looks this good on release and more importantly I hope they keep the fun of “Far Cry 3” intact. We also finally get details on the PS4 exclusive feature, Keys of Kyrat. Basically when you buy the game you get ten “keys,” when you send one of these keys to a friend they will be able to play Far Cry 4’s co-op with you for up to two hours without owning the game themselves. While this isn’t as good as they made it sound at E3 this is still a pretty sweet deal and a good way to market the game. This is followed by a trailer from Warner Brothers Games for “Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor.” Unfortunately I can’t tell if this is gameplay, in engine, or just flat out cg, I think there might be a mixture but there was not enough footage shown to be sure.

We now have an appearance form the legend himself Hideo Kojima. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a lot to show us but we do get to see some more upgrades for that essential sneaking tool the cardboard box. The video being played shows off the box’s new abilities such as standing up in it with a picture of a saluting soldier or a bikini model on the front in order to trick, confuse and distract enemies from discovering you. It all ends with Big Boss/ Naked Snake/ Punished Snake/ Venom Snake/ whatever they’re calling him now Big Punished Naked Venom Snake Boss, sitting on the floor with a PS4 box on his head. A very amusing trailer that shows despite the darker story elements the Metal Gear series hasn’t yet lost its weird sense of humour. As a huge fan of the Metal Gear series I have high hopes for this one and really hope Kojima doesn’t pull a George Lucas on us and f*** it up in some horrible way.

The next part of this conference is a mysterious trailer from a new developer 7780s Studio for their game “P.T.” As many of you might already know, in between seeing the conference and writing this blog the truth behind this interactive teaser “P.T.” was figured out by gamers. However for those who don’t already know the truth I won’t spoil it for you in this blog post, instead if you have a PS4 I highly recommend you download this free demo from the store if you can and attempt to complete this demo, failing that find a gameplay video on YouTube like I did and watch it, I recommend this one and this one in that order (which since writing has had annotations added to it to spoil the suprise, typical.) Be aware though, I was incredibly unnerved by this game, it was incredibly creepy, unnerving and barring a few cheap jump scares really knew how make you afraid. I was intrigued by the weird trailer they showed in this conference (barring the stupid “gamer reactions” bit which just irritates me) but knowing now what it truly is has me very excited.

We now move on to the announcement of firmware updates (how exciting), during this section Jim Ryan talked about adding the ability to upload footage directly to YouTube with the share button and we finally got some information on the “shareplay” feature that was promised back at the PS4 reveal. Playstation Plus subscribers will have the ability to virtually pass the controller to a friend (I assume a PS+ subscriber) during a game even if that friend doesn’t own the game, this apparently includes couch co-op games and no doubt utilises streaming technology with you streaming footage of the gameplay to the friend in question. Sony also announced that “Playstation Now,” their by all accounts underwhelming overpriced rental streaming service would be coming to Europe soon with a beta starting in the UK in January, and that “Playstation TV” a nifty little device that plays Vita games on your TV and can stream games from your PS4 to another TV in your house, would also be coming to Europe. All this talk of streaming games via wifi and the internet would be great if Sony’s stream of this conference didn’t keep breaking on their end while they were talking about it. Not giving us a lot of faith in your streaming abilities guys. There was also some talk of their highly anticipated VR headset “Project Morpheus” however don’t ask me what was said because of the aforementioned broken stream.

On a more positive note Michael Denny from Sony World Wide Studios came out to re-introduce first party exclusive “Until Dawn” by Supermassive games. This game is another creepy horror game whose premise involves teenagers spending a night in a cabin in true slasher flick style. The hook of the game is that your decisions affect who will live and who will die by the end of the game, every character as a chance of living or dying and if it can live up to that promise, if the gameplay and mechanics are good and if those graphics are in engine and gameplay, then this game is going to be a real treat.

We now move on to often talked about and constantly delayed “Drive Club.” At this point it’s starting to get embarrassing. Like most racing games Drive Club is graphically amazing, (assuming those are the actual graphics but who knows at this point) and the dynamic weather effects look good but how much different can it truly be from other racing games and after so many delays is anyone still interested at this point. Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of racing games but I don’t see the appeal in this game and Sony need to get this over with or take it round the back and shoot it. On the plus side no one said “drivetar.”

We now have Sony darlings Media Molecule on stage to announce we are getting a port (although they refuse to call it that) of the Vitas “Tearaway.” This lovely little game that took advantage of the Vita’s functions will be making use of the PS4 controller’s specific functions such as using the touch pad to control the wind or throw objects to the characters, or using the light bar to shine a light into the game world and affect the environment. This is looks like a lot of silly fun and will be great for people who don’t own a Vita but one can’t help but feel Sony are continuing their campaign of screwing over their own handheld console. The Vita is already struggling to find an audience and why should we buy one if you’re going to just end up porting its best games to PS4.

We now come to the last announcements of the night. Housemarque unveil their new game “Alienation” with a gory cg trailer which when we get to gameplay appears to be a twin sticks/ directional shooter. The game looks fun but hardly ground breaking. Finally we end with Michel Ancel announcing his new game from his own Wild Sheep Studios “Wild.” This game, which invokes memories of a little known PS1 game called “Tail of the Sun,” involves cavemen and animals living in an open world supposedly “as big as Europe” (I’ll believe it when I see it.) It’s a cool trailer but it appears to be entirely pre rendered and therefore doesn’t show what the game truly is. Regardless of this I am interested in this game and kind of hope it turns out to be more than just a caveman survival game.

And that’s the end of the press conference, however the post show had some trailers to show off and some mildly annoying hosts to talk about them. We got a bit more “Bloodborne” gameplay and that game still looks great, plus a trailer for “Order 1886” showing off some of the games weapons. I’m really interested in this games steam punk horror setting which might breathe some life into cover shooters, I just hope this doesn’t end up like former Xbox One exclusive “Ryse,” all flash and quick time events and no substance. We also got more trailers for “Infamous Second Son” DLC/ expansion, “Far Cry 4,” ”Until Dawn,” “Little Big Planet 3” and “Drive Club.” The “Until Dawn” footage interested me most has it claimed to be showing actual gameplay. Assuming this isn’t bullshit then the graphics look brilliant and it appears it might be a horror adventure game of some sort. I just hope the gameplay doesn’t boil down to a David Cage style walk around and push the button on the screen to occasionally make a decision.

Overall Sony as had a decent showing this night. I’m not as blown away as I was at their last two E3s and for some reason even though Sony had more I was interested in I was more impressed after Microsoft’s conference. It’s only with hindsight I’m starting to appreciate what Sony showed and nothing beats what happened with “P.T.” although that was actually nothing to do with Sony as I will discuss in a few days. Either way I’m feeling positive about what I’ve seen and I am cautiously optimistic about the future. Let’s just hope we haven’t sat through a bunch of industry lies, I’m sure there are enough of them in the EA conference which I will be recapping next.

Richard Hillier – Bunbury Correspondent

Gamescom Xbox Press Conference Recap

Gamescon is currently happening in Cologne Germany as of writing and so far there have been three press conferences from Microsoft, Sony and EA with a forth from Konami Scheduled later this evening. After watching the life streams I have decided to recap the announcements made and offer opinions on what I saw.
However there is something that we need to discuss. First off I don’t yet own any new gen consoles, however I will attempt to write this either as if I owned them or as a perspective buyer. Secondly be weary of the term exclusive, too many times we’ve heard the word exclusive bandied around when the words timed exclusive or console exclusive might have been more applicable. Finally I will be writing about the games as I see them but remember publishers lie. As we have discovered in the past with Killzone 2, Colonial Marines and more recently Watch Dogs, what is shown might not be what we get. We have been misled before and it is important to keep expectations in check. Be excited but don’t be fooled.
With that said let us start with the Xbox Conference.

Microsoft has had a rough start this generation. While the Xbox One is by no means doing badly it is definitely lagging behind the competition at the moment. A lot of back pedalling on unwanted and poorly explained features and a decent showing at this year’s E3 has put them back on track but there’s still a lot to make up for.
We open with a trailer for Ubisofts Assassins Creed Unity. The setting is interesting although this trailer doesn’t show much about the game. While it wasn’t presented in this trailer I can’t say I’m happy with the focus on co-op. It feels unnecessary to what was once a great single player experience and I hope this new focus doesn’t interfere with the ability to play on your own if you so choose.
Enter Phil Spencer, the new head of the Xbox division and the man tasked with getting the Xbox One back on course, who then proceeds to talk about Fifa 15 and EA access. EA access is EAs subscription service and on the surface appears to be a good deal. A few dollars a month to access some free games from EAs back catalogue, discounts for future games and dlc, and brief access to new games a few days early. However forgive me for being a little bit distrusting of EA in this situation, if anyone can find a way to use this to screw over the consumer it’s them. Phil Spencer also took this opportunity to announce a Fifa 15 Xbox One bundle available in Europe the day the game comes out. We then had David Rutter, general manager of EA sports, and former footballer Peter Schmeichel to talk about creating teams in ultimate team mode using Fifa legends. To be honest I failed to see the point in this segment as all they essentially did was tell you what ultimate team mode was which I’m sure fans of the series already knew and people who didn’t could’ve been informed with the words “You can make a team using famous footballers.” After this we got a montage of the Fifa legends that would be exclusive to Xbox including but not limited to Alan Shearer and Sir Bobby Moore.
Indie game time. Chris Charla from ID@Xbox came on stage to talk about Xbox’s indie timed exclusives. We were presented with a montage of the many indie games making console debuts on Xbox One and It has to be said many of them look great (and some not so much.) The games in this montage were (deep breath);
“Blues and Bullets” by A Crowd Of Monsters,
“Cuphead” by Studio MDHR,
“Dungeon of the Endless” by Amplitude Studios,
“Fruit Ninja Kinect 2” by Halfbrick/ Hibernum Creations (Yeah, Kinect is pretty much dead),
“Funk of Titans” by A Crowd of Monsters,
“Ghost of a Tale” by SeithCG,
F****** “Goat Simulator” by Coffee Stain Studios/ Double II (God Damn Goat Simulator),
“Gunscape” by Blowfish Studios,
“Massive Chalice” by Doublefine,
“Inside” by Playdead,
“Knight Squad” by Chainsawesome Games,
“Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime” by Asteroid Base,
“#IDARB” by Other Ocean,
“No Time to Explain” by tinyBuild,
“Plague Inc: Evolved” by Ndemic Creations,
“Rivals of Aether” by Dan Fornace,
“Smite” by Hi-Rez Studios,
“Slashdash” by Nevernaut Games,
“Space Engineers” by Keen Software House,
“Spectra” by Gateway Interactive,
“Pneuma: Breath of Life” by Deco Digital/ Bevel Studios,
“Threes!” by Sirvo/ Hidden Variable (really guys, Threes!),
“The Escapists” by Team17,
“Volgarr the Viking” by Crazy Viking Studios,
“SpeedRunners” by tinyBuild/ Double Dutch Games,
and “Superhot” by Superhot.
A couple of the games on this list got extra attention from Microsoft after this however I’d like to give special mention to two games that caught my eye and one that should be burnt to the ground. I am loving Cuphead’s old timey cartoon visuals, no idea what you actually do in the game but it looks great, and I really liked the look of Ghost of a Tale, come on, you play a cgi mouse in a RPG fantasy setting, what’s not to love.

Look at it's cute little whiskers. I SAID LOOK AT IT!!
Look at it’s cute little whiskers. I SAID LOOK AT IT!!

Dishonourable mention to Goat Simulator, the joke was barely funny to begin with, why is this being ported to consoles, are we actually stupid enough to buy an April fools joke. I despair for humanity I really do.

During this indie segment Microsoft spend time taking a closer look at a few select games, some of which are already available on Steam. We got a bit of footage of space engineers (available on Steam early access, eeeeww.) showing off some of the gameplay, “Space Engineers is a sandbox game about engineering, construction and maintenance of space works. Players build space ships and space stations of various sizes and utilization (civil and military), pilot ships and perform asteroid mining.” (Quote taken from the space engineers’ website.) Next up we have a trailer for Superhot. While the trailer was bloody stupid (do we really need a narrator just saying the words super hot over and over again, your flashing them up on the screen as well.) the game itself is interesting, on the surface it’s just another first person shooter, the twist is that time only flows when you’re moving and you need to use this to strategise your attacks. We then had “The Escapists” by Worms developer Team17. This 2d top down game appears to be an RPG set in a prison. It looks neat and I look forward to playing this one day. Finally we have “Smite,” a third person fantasy MOBA. To be honest that’s about all I can say about it, I didn’t see anything that seperates this from other, already established, MOBAs. The indie section ended with a brief trailer a game called “below,” a trailer that simultaneously showed me gameplay and told me nothing about it.
So back to Spencer for a look at Activision’s “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” Sledgehammer games first attempt at a full Call of Duty game. Co-founders of Sledghammer Games Glenn Schofield and Michael Condry presented this segment and started off by talking about the innovation and great story in this instalment of COD. No offense to fans of the series but I remain sceptical of that claim. We are then shown a level called “collapse” which takes place on the golden gate bridge (guess what happens.) If this is truely gameplay then there is no denying that this is a damn good looking game, the visuals were very impressive. We had some basic shooting shown off and a few interesting weapons like homing/hovering/flying grenades, although I was under the impression they were supposed to be showing off this exo-suit the characters are all wearing and all the cool things it can do, all I saw was some Titanfall style boost jumping. I’m actually cautiously optimistic about this game, while I doubt it will innovate as much as Sledgehammer claims I do think this might be the game this franchise needs to get it out of its rut, and having Kevin Spacey in your game is always a plus. This footage came with the par for the course announcement that Xbox would have exclusive add on content (probably timed). Following this was the announcement a COD:AW Xbox One bundle with a terabyte hard drive, don’t look at the price, you won’t be happy.
Phil Robb from Turtle Rock on stage now to talk about “Evolve.” The Xbox One is getting an exclusive beta in January and at this conference they showed off gameplay footage from a new map. I’ve got to say I am really interested in this game. Four players face off against one other player controlling a monster that evolves in different ways during the battle, with the many different ways it can adapt changing each match. I only wish there was a single player mode for this game, this industry needs to stop forgetting about the single player experience. The footage of the match being played looks fun but the two guys they’ve got doing a sports style commentary is grating, also one of the guys on stage is calling the other “j-Party.” No hope for the human race.
We briefly get Phil Harrison out on stage to introduce Darell Gallagher from Crystal Dynamics to talk about the new Tomb Raider game “Rise of the Tomb Raider.” With this comes perhaps the biggest announcement of the night, Rise of the Tomb Raider will be and Xbox exclusive. While they are being vague with the meaning of the word exclusive (“Exclusive to Xbox in holiday 2015, what does that mean guys,) this is a huge deal, on Microsoft’s side well done for nabbing one of the biggest franchises the industry as an exclusive, on Square Enix’s side what the hell were they thinking. To quote Escapist Magazines Jim Sterling “So Tomb Raider sells under expectations and Square Enix makes Rise of the Tomb Raider an XBO exclusive. This industry.” As I was grabbing this quote for this article I found a news story revealing that this is indeed a TIMED exclusive, I’m thinking that Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics should be banned from using the word exclusive again, in fact they should be banned from using words.
Next we have Sam Lake from Remedy to finally show gameplay from their Xbox exclusive title “Quantum Break.” They’ve been talking about this game since the Xbox One reveal in 2013 while only showing cgi and live action trailers and something about a TV. show tie in (is that still happening with Microsoft shutting down their Xbox TV division.) Finally we get to see this much anticipated game in action. Turns out it’s a cover shooter, well that was worth it. To be fair it does have an interesting mechanic in form of time manipulation, you freeze or run through time to confuse and ambush enemies, adding a new tactical edge to combat and powerful ways to attack foes such as stopping time, firing a barrage of bullets and then un-stopping time so they all fire at once. It’s a good looking game and if they can keep the time manipulation mechanic fresh and interesting it might be good fun, I just hope that cover shooting with some time powers isn’t all this game has going for it.
We then got another look at the latest entry in the Fable series “Fable Legends.”I wasn’t particularly blown away by this co-op fantasy game when it was announced at E3 this year and this trailer has done nothing to change that, the characters seem annoying and it looks like another third person generic fantasy MOBA, however I do like the idea of a fifth player taking control of the villain and setting up the traps and enemies Dungeons and Dragons style.
We then got a CGI trailer for new IP “Scream Ride,” which appears to be a futuristic “Theme Park” or “Rollercoaster Tycoon.” Nothing particularly special but when we see more I’m sure there will be people who will be all over this, it’s been a while since I last played a ”Theme Park” style game.
The next several minutes were dedicated to two Forza games. Forza 5 will be receiving new cars including a Rolls Royce Wraith, the first Rolls Royce to appear in a videogame apparently. We were then subjected to a talk about Forza Horizon 2. I will say what everyone has been saying for the past year, “Drivetar” is a stupid bloody word. The buzzword here is social, apparently we all want to be social and the developers want us to be social so social features are being implemented in this social game for social people and if this guy says social one more time I’m going to go to Redmond and hit someone.
Time for “Ori and the Blind Forest” from moon studios. I have high hopes for this Xbox and PC exclusive, it’s a 2D platformer and it looks gorgeous and while I don’t think this new gameplay trailer showed enough to get me excited previous trailers have shown a very promising game.
Next up we have Ted Price from Insomniac studios, creators of the popular “Ratchet and Clank” and “Resistance” franchises. Time for another “Sunset Overdrive” trailer and while it didn’t really show us anything new other than another insufferable character, this bright, colourful, insane, free-roaming, stylish zombie monster shooter looks like a lot of fun and a welcome change from all the realistic browns and greys we’ve put up with the past few years. We also got the announcement of another Xbox One bundle to coincide with this game.
Last gaming related segment of the night which will make a lot of Xbox fans happy. The end of the show was dedicated to Microsoft’s heavy hitter “Halo.” Bonnie Ross from 343 came on to talk about the “Masterchief Collection.” The collection originally contained updated HD versions of the first four Halo games but will now also include the new live action “Halo Nightfall” TV show and a beta for Halo 5’s multiplayer. They also announced a Halo channel, an interactive network on Xbox and Windows with Halo content and a partnership with Twitch. I honestly have no idea what they were on about but there were lots of images on the screen. Dan Ayoub came on stage to show a demo of the collection. During a very brief playthrough of Halo 2 they showed that you had the ability to change the games graphics from the classic setting to the new upgraded ones at the touch of a button. He then goes on to talk about the multiplayer and how they will be using Halo 2’s levelling system. We were then shown a multiplayer match from the collection with what I believe was some cheesy scripted e-sports style commentary before heading back to Bonnie for a quick video about the Halo 5 beta. This collection sounds pretty amazing if you don’t already own the games and unless there’s a catch it’s hard not to recommend it.
We are at the end of the show with one final small announcement from Phil Spencer that pre-downloads (downloading a game before release date ready to be played on day one) would be coming soon. Had to laugh slightly at the final “thank you for your constant feedback” line. You were getting that feedback ages ago but still went ahead with stupid decisions anyway until it bit you in the arse.
Overall a pretty decent showing barring a few irritations and lack lustre reveals. For the most part though Microsoft seems to be getting back on course but need to show they can deliver on the promises of great content and show that they can be trusted, not an easy task after the stupid mistakes and lies but maybe things will change for the better and finished this show feeling mostly positive about what they’ve got in store. Just please stop with the drivetars and pre-order bullshit.

Check in in the near future when I will recap the other three press conferences.

Richard Hillier – Bunbury Correspondent