‘Call of Duty’ Returns to Roots

If you grew up with video games in the last decade or so then ‘Call of Duty’ has been a staple of your world. In fact the series, which is often shortened to just COD, has been on an almost yearly release for awhile now — always pushing the envelope in terms of multiplayer scope. Now we are seeing the legendary series return back to its roots: WWII. The announcement was recently made that Call of Duty will be turning away from the modern warfare that we are used to, no pun intended, in order to focus on the Golden Era — the men and women who risked all to prevent the greatest evil the world has ever known from overcoming us all.


Many folks are going to raise an eyebrow over Activision’s decision to roll back the clock and return to WWII. In fact, the cynical among us will even call their decision a ploy for nostalgia — recalling CoD 2 and the days of laying down sniper fire in France. We’re okay with the decision, even if it is a ploy to pull on the greatest real life drama that the world has ever seen. We’re ready to return to Normandy and storm the beaches. We’re ready to go back to Europe and see a war front first hand that has never been replicated, and hopefully never will.


We suppose the biggest risk that Activision is taking is that they could be treading the same ground that we’ve run over, over and over again. How can Call of Duty, a series which was built on the Golden Generation, return once again and come up with something fresh? Well, Activision’s response seems genuine and simple: they are going to focus on the mortality and vulnerability of the soldiers who fought in that war. Nowadays, it is easy to get lost in the almost super-human characters that have populated the CoD landscape. We’re too used to high tech weapony, super muscle bound dudes, and seemingly super human feats of strength in the face of hordes of enemies. For our taste, we’re ready to go back to the days where a single determined sniper could keep you planted in your spot. We’re ready to experience that feat in the newest installment of Call of Duty.


The World of Gundam is Coming West!

Where were you in the mid-90s when ‘Gundam Wing’ was dominating Adult Swim? Well, if you were anything like us then you were probably glued to your television set. There is something sweet, simple, and absolutely alluring about watching giant robots beat the heck out of one another. We’re a fan of the entire mecha genre and the ‘Gundam’ series has been at the forefront of it for, well, forever. Now, fans out West can get their hopes up for another new entry on their consoles in the mecha field — ‘Gundam Versus’.


‘Gundam Versus’ is being released through Bandai Namco Entertainment America within the next year. The game focuses on 2 v 2 battles and it features many of the most famous mechas from the ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ universe. The game will be released on the PlayStation 4 in both North America as well as Europe. Are you ready to get back into the mecha fray with a game that has been translated and ported for your enjoyment? We know we are.


Gundam fans have, for years, been forced to make due with shoddy translation via imported games. Gundam games seem to be released only in Japan, leaving many fans out West bereft of their wonderful mecha action. All of this isn’t to say that we’ve forgotten ‘Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS-Force’ which was released on the PlayStation Vita. Extreme VS-Force was a fun entry into the portable action genre, but it wasn’t the kind of game that gets us to glue our butts to the couch while we let our eyes focus on the screen.


‘Gundam Versus’ is going to bring to the screen more than 90 different Mobile Suits from the coveted Gundam Universe when the video game drops. Bandai Namco has been propping up this entry with particular oomph, which is a good sign that they believe that the series will be a success in America. We’ll get to put ourselves into suits from all eras while we play alongside friends in fast paced, frantic 2 v 2 action. We all know that Japanese imports can be hit or miss so, for right now anyway, we are holding our breath and hoping that this game is more ‘Endless Waltz’ than it is ‘SD Gundam’.



Is the Netflix of Video Games Coming?

Let’s take a moment to go back in time, at least in our minds. Can you remember what it was like before Netflix was pioneering the online streaming world? It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? There used to be a time when you couldn’t expect to have a huge library of new and old movies at your fingertips awaiting the click of a button. You used to have to actually go to a rental store in order to get what you wanted to watch that night. Now, let’s flash back forward to the present. Phil Spencer, the head chief of Xbox, is looking at that business model and pondering — where is our option for video games?


Phil Spencer is a former video game developer himself who has been tasked with heading one of the largest video game enterprises on the planet. As the chief of Xbox, Spencer has a very serious and specific focal point for his work: “We put the gamer at the center of everything” and that phrase is more than just a string of words. Spencer knows that you need quality content to keep gamers happy, but you also need innovation. Innovation for Spencer could lead to a Netflix-lite for video game enthusiasts.


Now before you scar yourself scratching your head, yes this is a new concept. Right now we do have some measure of ‘on demand’ video game service with streamlined DLC packs, constant online updates, and even games-on-demand via Xbox Live. This still isn’t there and it still isn’t quite the mark that Spencer wants to hit on. Spencer is actually surprisingly, or non surprisingly depending on your view of Xbox, in tune with the current trends and problems that plague the gaming experience.


For example, Spencer knows that multi-player games that rely on ‘season packs’ and DLC are currently the rage. In fact, these games are such the rage that single player experiences with a definitive end are dying as a medium. He believe that a digital and on demand service, much like Netflix, could be the cure to these woes. He’s kicking around the idea, at least publicly, where the future of gaming could survive around a subscription service not unlike what Netflix is offering for the world of TV and movies. Will it work? Who knows.


Zelda: Breath of the Wild Tears up Marketplace

If you are a fna of gaming then you are intimately familiar with Nintendo and their star franchise, ‘Zelda’. The story of ‘Zelda’ has been told for years, across generations and consoles, with fans begging for a new entry every step of the way. With the recent release of the Nintendo Switch fans were able to jump back into the world of Hyrule with ‘Zelda: Breath of the Wild’. For fans worried that franchise fatigue may be finally setting in we may have some good news: it isn’t. Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ is currently outselling the Nintendo Switch console itself. Yes, the game is outselling the console!


With a full month of sales behind it we can finally get an idea as to where the Nintendo Switch and its various games are sitting at. ‘Breath of the Wild’ opened up with over 2.75 million copies sold through the 31st of March — according to Nintendo. These sale figures are gigantic and they are representative of both digital and physical copies. If you have decided to avoid jumping to the Nintendo Switch then you can still enjoy this new entry into the Zelda franchise by playing on the Wii U — which sold an additional 1.08 million units around the world. According to all of these wild statistics, ‘Breath of the Wild’ is the fastest selling launch title in the history of the company as well as the quickest selling entry into the Zelda franchise.


We know that sale statistics can be misleading when it comes to the quality of a title, but that isn’t the case here. ‘Breath of the Wild’ has been released to almost unanimously positive reviews. The game currently spots a perfect 10/10 rating on IGN and fans are mirroring that sentiment with gusto. ‘Breath of the Wild’ is a return to the roots of the series, giving fans the chance to roam through an almost apocalyptic Hyrule. The game world is vast, unforgiving, colorful and alluring. We’ve got all of the nostalgia of Zelda games from years gone by with a new coating of modern technology over the top. If you’ve been holding out from jumping into the next generation, for whatever reason, now should be your chance to get in on the action.


Computers and Games Might Be Closer and More Distant at the Same Time

There’s an old saying that the more things change the more they stay the same. It’s hard not to reflect on that while reading a recent article about computers and gaming moving to a more streaming based architecture. The article begins by discussing methods by which one can play video games without even having them running on a local system. The details get more complex as the discussion progresses. But right from the start anyone who’s familiar with the history of gaming will recognize a pattern.


Video games have been in the home so long that most people consider that the norm. But before home gaming was a reality there were arcades. And shortly before that period there was a mix of the two. And that mix has a lot in common with the cutting edge of today.


The earliest video games made use of a client server model. These tended to focus on dungeon crawling computer role playing games. When people think of these early games they tend to assume that they were similar to a modern MMORPG. It’s true that some of them did have extensive multiplayer functionality. But it was more common, especially at the start, for the games to focus on a single user experience. The player would simply sit down at a very under powered computer that would connect to a far more powerful one. The powerful computer, a server, would essentially run the game. The text and graphical output would then be sent to the player’s computer.


Today this concept is being used by services such as Shadow. For a small monthly fee a customer can sign up to essentially rent out a powerful Windows based computer. They’ll never actually see this computer in person. But they can use a windows or mobile app to connect to the system’s video display. From there the user will essentially be using this very powerful computer from their much more humble home setup. It makes it possible to essentially play even the most demanding Windows games from one’s phone or under powered non-gaming laptop. Though there’s even more interesting ways to tie this into one’s setup.


Adding cloud technologies will mean that someone can integrate file sharing with home systems. This can be an easy way to share files between a home computer, a powerful computer accessed through the Shadow service, and other instances of a particular game. Such as one might be able to play at a friend’s house. It’s a whole new era of streaming games. But at the same time one can easily see where it all began.


New Nintendo 2DS XL to Hit Market!

If you are a fan of handheld gaming then you’ve spent more than a couple of hours with your fingers wrapped around the Nintendo DS. The Nintendo DS is one of the greatest handheld gaming consoles in the world and, of course, it was the team at NES behind it all. Now the Nintendo DS is getting a big old upgrade in the form of the Nintendo 2DS XL. If you are a fan of 2D gaming, like the savage that you are, then this announcement can only be met with a resounding cheer. 2D gaming is still where w want to spend our time at and any upgrade to 2DS technology is a huge welcome.


Nintendo is and has always been a handheld gaming company first and foremost, at least if you were born in the early ’90s. The Gameboy may have gotten us all started but the guys and girls developing at Netflix haven’t slowed down in the slightest bit. Now Nintendo is focusing on their 2DS XL which offers size, efficiency, and a sleek design in an affordable package. Reggie Fils-Aime, the Nintendo of America President, put his thoughts into a succinct statement regarding the new launch, “The new Nintendo 2DS XL sports a beautiful clamshell design and offers a great balance between prize and performance.”


If you have refrained from jumping into the handheld market until now, which would be absolutely shocking, this might be the perfect time to strike. While there is no price point attached to the Nintendo 2DS XL, we expect it to be relatively competitive — especially thanks to the fact hat the Nintendo Switch is getting such a huge push right now. The newest Nintendo 2DS XL will be released in conjunction with two brand new games to the handheld Nintendo family: ‘Hey! PIKMIN’ and ‘Mitopia’. Of course, these new games won’t be the only reason you need to jump on board.


No matter where you stand on the console race, you have to admire Nintendo’s focus on improving their older hardware. There used to be a time when consoles would get their release and then get used until they were done. The fact that Nintendo is holding tight to a non-3D option of their famous 3DS is great, and what we respect most about them.



Xbox One: Backwards Compatible Titles Hit Market!

The further we get away from the original Xbox, the more things seem to change — while still staying the same. There used to be a time when we just assumed that there would be some level of backwards compatibility between sequel-systems. For awhile the Xbox One seemed to nail that concept shut but a much needed upgrade came along. Now you can play some of your favorite Xbox 360 titles on the Xbox One simply by downloading them through the online store via your Xbox dashboard. Today we’re jumping into announce six of the newest titles to get released with backwards compatibility.


If you’re a fan for atmospheric, science fiction themed horror games then you need to get ready to jump back into the world of ‘Dead Space’. This past week we saw both ‘Dead Space 2’ and ‘Dead Space 3’ join the backwards compatible crowd, joining the original entry in the series. If you’ve never experienced any of the ‘Dead Space’ games this is probably the perfect chance to get in on the horror action — especially with ‘Alien: Covenant’ coming out here soon. While ‘Dead Space’ and ‘Alien’ share only a genre and theme, they make perfect companions to one another. Besides, who doesn’t love the thrill of fear that only space creatures can bring?


Looking past ‘Dead Space’ we see that Cabela is getting in on the action. Cabela’s famous hunting series just dumped seemingly its entire library onto the backwards compatible store: ‘Hunting Expeditions’, ‘Alaskan Adventures’, ‘Dangerous Hunts 2013’, and ‘Survival: Shadows of Katmai’. While we can’t personally attest to the quality of these games, they are there for you if you need them. What we appreciate most about the Cabela dump is that it shows that developers are alright catering to niche audiences, which means your favorite game might be joining the compatible list in the near future.


We also want to post a heads up to gamers on the Xbox One. If you subscribe to Xbox Live then you are granted the ability to download multiple games per month for free through the ‘Games With Gold’ service. Two XB1 options are available as well as an Xbox 360 option. These games are only playable while your subscription to Xbox Gold is in tact.


Ken Levine Stays Silent About New Game

Ken Levine made a substantial following thanks to BioShock and BioShock Infinite. His next task remains a mystery, it is only known that he is focused on the “narrative LEGOs“.


He intends to stay in silence for a while, as they want to prevent people from generating high expectations and that everything ends up being as the case of No Man’s Sky, He stated that they really will not be talking about this publicly until they have a high degree of certainty about how the game will look and how it will feel.


And this seems like it will be going on for a long period of time. As Levine said in an interview with Eurogamer, they are putting in the time to attain their objective. He stated that he feels grateful since they do not have a launch date, and although 2K will not release the game, they are still part of Take-Two.


Ken says that Take-Two are really generous with them by offering space and time. He also states that they need to have an entrepreneurial spirit about what are the restrictions that they are giving and ‘when will this game end?’ And they truly aim to do that, because things have the tendency to turn in a different way if it they don’t set constraints.


For now, Levine’s job is focused on the narrative LEGOs, where the designer looks for the characters to have requirements and desires. It is a total game system. As he stated throughout the BioShock Infinite launch, Levine is not pleased with working on a game for 5 years for the gamer to complete it in a weekend. A lot of video games are now developed to keep a long relationship with the gamer.


The task of Ghost Story and Levine will take some time. The designer also described that his game will have a high level of difficulty.



Super-Villains Play A Big Role in Injustice 2

The new trailer for Injustice 2 really does the video game, well, a lot of justice. Fans of D.C. Comics are going to really love this game. The game is filled with many top heroes and villains from current movie and television projects featuring D.C. characters.


Cool heroes such as Green Lantern and Wonder Woman are present, but it is the villains who really steal the spotlight in the trailer.


Back in the 1970’s, D.C. Comics gave The Joker his own comic book. While the writing was solid, the book didn’t sell. Comic book fans simply were not ready to accept a book with a villain featured so prominently. All that has changed now that fans of comic books and related movies and video games find many villainous characters intriguing. Adding more depth to various classic villains has paid off.


And then there is another factor in the mix. Some video game players really love being villains themselves. Anyone who really cheers for the bad guys has a lot to cheer about after checking out this trailer.


Gorilla Grodd opens up the trailer and he thrashes both The Green Lantern and The Flash. Grodd was a character unknown to the mainstream for years. The brilliant villain was made famous to large audiences on The Flash TV show. His presence on the video game should really move sales. Grodd is an awesome bad guy.


The same can be said of the menacing Bane, a character that debuted in one of the all-time most famous Batman story arcs in The Dark Knight’s history. Tom Hardy’s portrayal of the powerful anarchist in The Dark Knight Rises absolutely cemented Bane’s pop culture legacy. Bane truly looks incredibly tough in the trailer for Injustice 2. The character loses none of his trademark menaces.


Villains really do need to be formidable in order to be successful with fans. Incredibly powerful villains are not pushovers. While heroes always win out in the comics and the movies, such may not be the case in a video game. Players really need to perform at their best in order to win. Beating the bad guys of Injustice 2 absolutely won’t be easy.


Nintendo Released A New Patch For Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Nintendo just launched the 1.1.1 patch for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and although the company did not describe exactly what the brand-new functions are, it is known that it intends to enhance the game’s frame rate.


Through the Nintendo site, it is stated that the patch includes settings for a more pleasurable gaming experience. And although that doesn’t mean anything by itself, gamers have been reporting that the update enhances the frame rate per second in various locations.


It is suggested to download the update as quickly as possible, as it will enhance the experience and bring more enjoyment out of the online functions of Breath of the Wild. The download will start instantly if your console is online.


Previously, Nintendo announced the end of production of the Wii U, due to poor sales of the system and the arrival of the new Nintendo Switch. In spite of this, the company launched The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for both systems. This game caused an increase in sales to the Wii U system, as it is stated by Eric Bright, director of GameStop.


The executive commented that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild not only indicated an excellent launch for Switch, it also assisted to renew pre-owned Wii U sales. In that regard, they started offering numerous used Wii U consoles along with brand-new copies of Zelda.


Bright offered his viewpoint of Link’s brand-new experience by saying that Nintendo is really excellent at providing high quality video games, and that Zelda is one of the most highly ranked video games we’ve seen in a while.


It is easier to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Wii U and it is a lot cheaper. It has to be taken into consideration that there are currently not enough Nintendo Switch units in the market. GameStop stated that they will not have stock of the brand-new Nintendo console, regardless of the high need of the system.