Tag Archives: God of War

PlayStation E3 2016 Press Conference Highlights

Sony is the final Press Conference of the year, and like last year they saved the best for last.  There were a few lowlights in the conference, like Skylanders inclusion, so I’ve taken the big moments from the presser and condensed them below for you.  But that’s enough blabbering by me, let’s get started!

1. Kratos is back and in a Norse setting in God of War

Sony opened the press conference with a long and impressive demo for a new God of War game, simply titled God of War.  This demo follows Kratos and a young boy whom calls Kratos his father as they hunt for a deer and are attacked by Trolls.  Kratos no longer wields the Blades of Chaos, instead opting for an axe that is imbued with an ice rune by the look of it.  No release date or window was given for this title.

2. Last Guardian is launching this October!

Finally.  It’s finally happening.  The Last Guardian is actually going to be releasing this October.  Sony dropped a two minute long trailer during the presser and revealed the game will be coming exclusively to PS4 this October 25th.

3. Horizon: Zero Dawn wows with another massive demo

Guerrilla Games showcased a brand new demo of their upcoming action adventure game Horizon with a long extended gameplay demo.  In the demo, Aloy uses her hunter’s vision to determine enemies weak points to find new parts for crafting for her weapons and gadgets.  The demo showcased branching dialogue as well, with Aloy being able to ask a scared villager different questions.  On top of all of that, we saw Aloy tame a wild beast to ride and use in her fight against a Corrupter.  Horizon: Zero Dawn comes out on February 28th.

4. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare looks so much better than could be anticipated

When Infinity Ward announced the futuristic sci-fi setting for Infinite Warfare, they received a lot of flack.  Thankfully, this game looks like it is going to deliver as the team premiered an extended gameplay demo for the game during the Sony press conference.  During the demo, the player character Captain Reyes decided where to travel to with his crew, opting to attack an enemy frigate.  Reyes and his team took to their fighters, the Jackals, and put on an almost Ace Combat style demo.  Following that, we witness some zero-G gunfights that look so much better than I anticipated.  Infinite Warfare is coming to consoles and PC on November 4th.

5. Insomniac is making a Spider-man game!

A new Spider-man game from the creators of Ratchet and Clank and Sunset Overdrive?  I’m so in.  Sony revealed that their long time collaborators at Insomniac have taken the reins on the Webhead and will be making a game that is exclusively on PS4.  No release window was revealed, but one could guess it will be near either the July 2017 release of the film, or when it (presumably) releases on Blu Ray (Holiday 2017).

6. Sony Bend is taking us to the zombie apocalypse with Days Gone

Syphon Filter developers Sony Bend have created a new IP set in the zombie apocalypse with Days Gone.  You will play as a survivor “Deacon St. John, a Drifter and bounty hunter who rides the broken road, fighting to survive while searching for a reason to live.”  Sony Bend describes the game as an emotional tale about survivors and what makes them human.  No release window was spoken of, but below is an extended gameplay demo.

7. PS VR is coming this October with 50 games

Sony took a brief pit stop to talk about the PlayStation VR during the conference and to confirm that it will be launching this October 13th for $399.  It will have 50 games available for it, though they did not confirm how many will be there for launch.  Their defintion of games is also potentially suspect, as two of the games they showcased for it (Star Wars Battlefront: VR Mission and Batman Arkham VR) seem like tech demos rather than full games.  They did show off an internally produced game called Farpoint that did get me excited though.

8. Resident Evil 7 is real, first person, in VR, has a demo out right now, and coming out in January.

Holy crap did Capcom go big with this one.  With an absolutely terrifying trailer, Capcom revealed Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.  Capcom is taking the game into first person, with a photo-realistic art style that can also be played through fully in VR.  The game will follow the events of RE6 “taking place in modern day and revolving around a foreboding, derelict plantation mansion in rural America. Players must explore and survive the horrors within the mysterious, sprawling estate.”  Their is a demo available exclusively for PS+ owners right now on PS4, and the game will be coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on January 24th.

9. Hideo Kojima reveals his next game: Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima revealed himself at the press conference and showed off a trailer for his upcoming game from Kojima Productions.  What the game is actually about is anyone’s guess, but the trailer does feature a naked Norman Reedus (who is the game’s star) holding a baby fetus that transforms in black blood.  Yea, it looks absolutely bonkers, but I am completely onboard.  The game will be a PS4 exclusive, but do not expect to see this game anytime soon.

And that was the massive Sony presser for E3 2016, and I even left out the awesome Detroit Become Human trailer.  What was your favorite moment of the press conference?  How do you think their show stacked up with Microsoft or other publishers?  Let me know in the comments below!

by, Bobby Marquardt

 

Sony on Sony Santa Monica layoffs “Sometimes a project needs a reboot”

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Last week, Sony Santa Monica, developers of the God of War franchise, was hit with layoffs.  Sony went on to confirm that 27 employees had been laid-off, but did not comment as to why these employees lost their jobs.  IGN followed up with Sony today, speaking with Scott Rohde, The PlayStation brand’s head of internal software development, about the layoffs.  He started off speaking about the unique framework Sony World Wide Studios has, but noted that not every project can be a success within that framework.

“There’s not a single business on the planet where every single project that is started is a success. And that’s just what happened here,” Rohde said.  “So sometimes, high profile projects or studios need a reboot, and that’s what’s happening here. Santa Monica will always be a hugely important part of our global family of studios. It’s still a huge studio that’s right up there around 200 people, even after the recent layoffs.”  

Rohde reiterrated the important of Sony Santa Monica to PlayStation.  The studio not only develops games in house, but assists with other game’s developments.  Previously, Santa Monica helped with titles like PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale and Hohokum.  Currently they are helping Ready at Dawn with The Order: 1886.   IGN continued to press Rohde about which project were effected, but he would not say.

“We’re not talking specifically about what projects were going. What I will say is what I said earlier. It’s that, sometimes, a project needs a reboot. So that’s what we’re doing overall with the titles we’re working on there, and the studio itself. And I believe it’s a very good thing for the health of that studio.”  Rohde asked for patience, and said to wait on what Sony Santa Monica would announce next.  He confirmed that AAA retail games would still be coming from the studio, and they will continue to help with development on other games.

by, Bobby Marquardt

Source: IGN.com

Sony Santa Monica hit with layoffs

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image credit: Dualshockers

Sony Santa Monica Studios has been hit with layoffs today, according to a report from IGN.  No numbers have been released for the layoffs, nor has Sony confirmed which projects have been effected.  Sony did confirm that some layoffs had occurred at Sony Santa Monica in a statement to IGN, saying:

“SCEA can confirm that we have completed a reduction in workforce at Santa Monica Studio. This is a result of a cycle of resource re-alignment against priority growth areas within SCE WWS. We do not take these decisions lightly. However, sometimes it is necessary to make changes to better serve the future projects of the studio. We have offered outplacement services and severance packages to ease transition for those impacted.”

What this means for the future of Sony Santa Monica is anyone’s guess, but it has been one of Sony’s most consistent performers over the years, with it’s releases in the God of War franchise, as well as assisting in developing games like PlayStation All Stars: Battle Royale, The Order: 1886, and Fat Princess.

It was rumored that at least two new games were in production from Sony Santa Monica, including a potential new IP.  Will either of these be effected?  That’s anyone’s guess.  Director of God of War 2, Cory Barlog rejoined the studio in August of last year, after the studio’s most recent release, God of War: Ascension was critically panned, and under-performed at retail.  I even found the game to be quite mediocre in my very first review on this site.

We here at The League of Mediocre Gamers hope all those effected by the layoffs can find new jobs, and that less people get laid off from any jobs.

by, Bobby Marquardt

Buy God of War Ascension, get the God of War Saga (all previous God of War titles) for free

Gamestop.com is offering a great deal from now through March 24th, giving you all previous God of War titles (including PSP games) via the God of War Saga package free with the purchase of God of War Ascension.  I recently reviewed God of War Ascension, and found the game to be a fun experience, but it was not without it’s major missteps.  This deal seems completely worth it for the money, as it comes with 6 total games for $60 (plus tax & shipping).  All of the prior God of War games are exceptional experiences alone and when bundled together, it creates a must have package.

For the record:  I do not mean to advertise with these posts, but rather show deals I think our readership would enjoy.  I am not paid for any posts of this nature.

God of War Ascension review: Descending from the action game throne

Image   God of War has been a Playstation main stay ever since the franchises initial debut in 2005.  It has consistently pushed the boundaries of what the hardware can do, and helped redefine the action game genre.  With Ascension, Santa Monica Studios tried to do the same for multiplayer games by releasing a full featured online mode for the game. This bold move proves to be a pleasant surprise; the overall product however, is a mixed bag.

The story once again focuses on Kratos and is a prequel to his adventure in the first God of War game.  Here we see Kratos trying to sever his bond with Ares, the God of War, by killing the three Furies.  The Furies are “The Guardians of Honor”, who seek retribution against those who break oaths and our protagonist is no exception.  The game opens with a shot of Kratos in chains being tortured on the Hecatonchires, who is a one hundred armed giant whom the Furies have now converted into their own “Prison of the Damned”.  The shot proves just how good the game can look and immediately puts you right into the action, where the combat proves to be just as fluid and tight as the series is known for.

gowascesnsion_screens_chainedintro_720Combat overall works very well, but is incredibly unforgiving.  The sheer level of timing that is required to effectively avoid or parry attacks is just ludicrous in many cases.  I often times found myself dying for what seemed to be incredibly unfair reasons.  For example, against the Cerberus enemy you have to time parries and attacks perfectly to avoid getting stuck in a four to five attack loop where you have very little chance of blocking or dodging.  It becomes unnecessarily frustrating.  I will say though, when you the player do figure out the combat it becomes a beautiful and visceral experience.  There are frequent times during the game where combat feels entirely unnecessary.  For instance, in puzzles Satyrs will spawn for you to fight for no real reason.

This feeling of being unnecessary is something that plagues the game as a whole.  The game has an entire feeling of monotony about it.  For the early portion of the game (beyond the tutorial) there is a lack of real direction for the story.  You are dropped into a village after being told to go see the Oracle of Delphi and just expected to fight foes that are attacking you for some reason and solve puzzles.  This type of storytelling plagues the game as you can go for about an hour or two in between cutscenes or narrative explaining what’s going on.  Many of these storytelling problems seem to sort themselves out toward the end of the game but it all just feels like too little, too late.  I will give the story credit though as the ending is a very humanizing moment for Kratos, showing us how he really is a broken man from having killed his wife and daughter in the past.  It is a beautiful moment and almost makes the entire previous 9-10 hours worth it.

gow singleAs I stated earlier the game is just plain beautiful, as is expected in God of War games and on the PS3 in general.  The textures on the enemies and environment bring a new gold standard to the franchise, and the sound design is no slouch either.  The enemies all look gorgeous and the execution animations are top notch.  The games camera shows off these works of art very well but it also detracts from the game as a whole.  During all parts of the game the camera will often swing outward to show off these beautiful landscapes but I found myself often quite lost in the chaos.  You are so small on the screens that I died at least three times purely from the camera angles.  These three times are not including an awfully frustrating platforming section in the Prison of the Damned.

Glitches are something I have never really experienced in previous God of war games, but were found plentifully in Ascension.  Two stages in particular, Delos Landing & Passage to Delphi, had multiple glitches where the camera would stay in one place or the game would freeze due to certain attacks I use.  Having to restart an entire chapter just to get past these glitches is just plain sad in AAA first party title these days.

Introducing multiplayer for the God of War franchise was met with a lot of hesitation upon its announcement, but I am happy to report to you today that it is one of the areas where the game excels.  They seem to have put a lot of time and effort into making this into more than a simple tacked on mode. Starting you off by pledging your allegiance to one of four gods of Olympus offers a great introduction to the fray, you then unlock new weapons, armor, and abilities by playing the matches and completing different challenges for each god.

gow multiWith the standard fare of gametypes (Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag & Free For All) being its primary downfall, it all just works well.  The combat can seem random at times, but seems to also have a skill gap not seen in many recent console multiplayer games.  The ability to effectively parry an opponent’s attack or knowing when to use an item may seem simple but really separates the good from the bad in the multiplayer.  There is also a two player co-op horde-esc mode that can be fun, but lacks any real depth that will keep players coming back.  The primary versus mode however, could be an online draw for many months to come.

Conclusion

Kratos’ adventures have always been a high point for Playstation gamers and I suppose that’s what makes the mediocrity of Ascension such a letdown.  The game just feels directionless and pointless for a large portion of its single player mode.  The combat is as tight as ever, but with the newly placed importance on parrying and blocking it also becomes incredibly unforgiving and you may find yourself dying quite frequently.  The camera angles, while showing off the stunning visuals, will also become a source of frustration.  The multiplayer is a worthy addition to the franchise and I hope it continues to be a part of the series into the future.  Kratos’ journey in Ascension is a rocky one that unfortunately causes the future God of War to fall from the action game throne.

Overall Score: 3 out 5

By Bobby Marquardt

Follow Bobby on Twitter @The_R3medy