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E3 2019 | Xbox Overview

E3 officially kicks off this year with the Xbox conference. A lot of games were announced and shown off here, as well as, new hardware; and services had more brought to light. Since there were 60 games shown I will talk about the ones that got the most attention and just seemed all around the most interesting games.

Kicking the conference off was Obsidian with their game The Outer Worlds, this game actually looked great and had a great art style to it. It was certainly a great way to kick off the conference.

Ninja Theory followed showing off Bleeding Edge which looked pretty great as well especially for those into 3rd person action games, this being multiplayer online I got good vibes from it and think it could be great.

Ori and the Will of the Wisp got a trailer and release date for February 2020, I loved the first game so I’ll definitely play the second.

Minecraft Dungeons was announced too, which had Diablo-style gameplay and is coming Spring 2020.

Cyberpunk, FINALLY, -and I have to put that in caps cause it’s about damn time- got a release date. The game also showed off that Keanu Reeves is in the game and with everything he has been doing lately, that’s awesome to see him in it. This was the first thing that actually had me hype for the future.

Battletoads have a new game coming out which is also amazing. Then we had a lot shown for the Xbox Game Pass and that it was also coming to PC for an all in one price of $15 USD. There were things like Halo Reach coming to PC, and there was also a new Flight Simulator which had amazing graphics for those who love those games.

Jedi Fallen Order had a short trailer showing off things we had seen mostly before at EA’s conference outside of E3.

Blair Witch is a new horror game coming soon that looked amazing and could be really good so I am pretty hype about that.

Age of Empires definitive edition in 4k, Wasteland 3, and Double Fine announcing they are now with Xbox with a new Trailer for Psychonauts 2. I never played the first one but I know it certainly has a following behind it.

Lego Star Wars announced a new game that is covering all 9 films which Lego rarely disappoints to be a silly and fun experience.

More was shown for the upcoming Dragon Ball RPG, but nothing that really stood out and made me think that it was going to be an amazing game.

12 Minutes had its premier trailer and this game looks promising; it’s a thriller game about a guy stuck in a time loop. This could either be amazing or really bad depending on how they tell the game’s story.

Now we are getting to the big stuff, the stuff everyone has been waiting for. Gears 5; they showed off a short story trailer and then announced the games release date of September 10. They then showed us a cool trailer for the games Escape mode which saw WWE Superstars, Xavier Woods, Tyler Breeze and AJ Style playing it. Also, those who preorder or play early get access to the Terminator pack.

A new Elite controller was shown, which for a controller there’s not exactly much you can hype up about that.

Dying Light 2 got a trailer as well; I remember the first game was pretty well received, so I am certain that people have been really looking forward to its sequel.

Forza Horizon 4 showed off its Lego DLC and that might be one of my favourite things of the conference. It just looked silly and fun and sometimes that’s what games just need to be. Not everything needs to tell this amazing story or have a huge online scene. Sometimes it’s good to just have a chill and fun game.

State of Decay 2: Heartland was also shown, as well as, Phantasy Star Online 2, which got some pretty big attention since its coming to Xbox free in Spring 2020. Crossfire X showed off that it is coming to consoles and coming to Xbox first which is cool for people who are big on that game.

Tales Of Arise had a trailer and release for 2020; considering how long this franchise has been pumping out games for I am sure a lot of people are pretty hype for that.

Borderlands 3 got a new trailer showcasing the games new playable characters and setting up the game’s story a bit. It seems to really be going back to the Mad Max approach which I am all on board for and look forward to this game heavily. They also showed the free DLC for Borderlands 2 that is a lead up into 3 that’s available right now.

Elden Ring is a new game being done by Bandai Namco and George R.R Martin, it’s not the Game Of Thrones game people were expecting, but it actually looks pretty good from the story trailer we saw. Can’t wait to see the gameplay footage for it too.

They then showed off a little for the streaming service but kicked it into full gear announcing the Xbox Project Scarlett for Holiday 2020. So we can expect more and more on this new generation of the console within the next year and a half, they made sure people knew that they had really cut down loading times and gave it a processor four times more powerful than what they are running now. The console can apparently run 120 FPS which if true is a huge step up.

After announcing this console, they announced its first launch title, the highly anticipated Halo Infinite. Xbox and Halo of course always come to mind when you think of one another so it’s a perfect launch title for the new console and the story trailer they showed actually looked pretty damn good. This was the last thing that they showed too, so a good way to end it.

Overall it was a pretty good conference and great to see more moving into the next generation, there weren’t as many big heavy hitters from third parties shown this year as there normally is but they showed a lot of first-party content to get people excited. Overall definitely worth watching.

RELATED: Hellblade: Senuas Sacrifice | Video Game Spotlight

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New OCTOPATH TRAVELER Entry Hinted At For Future Console Release

Last July, Square Enix had a monster hit on their hands with the release of their original JRPG Octopath Traveler, which was released only for the Nintendo Switch and has sold 1.5 million units thus far. Recently the company has also stated that they’re going to be releasing a prequel to Octopath Traveler in the form of a mobile game, tentatively titled Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continents. This game, which by the way will be accepting applications for players to try out an early demo on March 12, will feature similar gameplay to the original, but it will also be both simplified for the mobile market and feature a new cast of characters. Fans were upset though because this news seemed to imply that a new console entry in the series wouldn’t be coming.

 

However, with such a success on their hands, it looks like Square Enix is far from done with the series. According to their Twitter, a sequel definitely seems to be on its way.

Everyone waiting for a new game on console, we’re sorry, but production will take a little while longer, so in the meantime, we hope you can enjoy (the smartphone game)!

Square Enix has also stated that, since Octopath Traveler was such a success, the team that made it has officially become a division of the company, where they will be focusing exclusively on making Switch games. Their goal is to release one a year. With such a lofty objective to reach it sounds like a new console game will take a while, especially since the first one hasn’t even been out a full year yet. However, with how well the Switch has been selling, and how positively Octopath Traveler has been received, it looks like this series has a long and prosperous life ahead of itself.

RELATED: Kingdom Hearts: Classic or Cult | Video Game Spotlight

Source: Square Enix

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Kingdom Hearts: Classic or Cult | Video Game Spotlight

Hey there everyone! My name is Phil Bruno, and I am one of the newest editions to TNH. For the few of you that follow Chicago Independent Wrestling, some of you may also know me as “Future Sight Jack Shatter”. That, however, is for a different time, and that is NOT why I’m here.

I am sure that a lot of the people reading this article are within my age range (between 20 and 30). I think that it is safe to say that all of us are beyond excited for some of these hot new video game titles to be released in 2019. With Apex Legends springing out of nowhere, Anthem about to drop within a couple of weeks, and the highly anticipated release of Kingdom Hearts 3 finally hitting shelves, there is tons to cover.

For us 20-30 year old’s, let’s take a step back.

Let’s take a step back to a time when we were just getting off the school bus and had no homework to do. Let’s take a step back to a time to when the only care we had in the world was what was on our 8 megabyte PlayStation 2 memory cards.

From my childhood up until now, I have always heard a lot of positive hype about the Kingdom Hearts Franchise. I myself have had many positive experiences with Japanese Hack and Slash RPG’s such as Tales of Symphonia and YS VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. I always find myself entrenched in the story as the main protagonist who works with his friends to achieve that common goal.

With the new Kingdom Hearts just being released, it made me start to think as to why this franchise has eluded me for so many years. With that, I decided to not swing by my nearest GameStop and pick up a copy of Kingdom Hearts III, rather head over to my local Disk Replay and snag a copy of the original Kingdom Hearts for the PlayStation 2.

I assume anyone reading this article has had a childhood filled with this wonderful franchise,

so I will not go into great detail with the story. You play the role of Sora, a young boy who lives on an island with his two friends, Riku and Kairi. From the start, it is apparent that saving and earning the affection of Kairi would be the primary objective of this game. Riku is the much larger (most likely older) of the three and maintains all of the physical traits of a potential antagonist.

Anyways, long story short, this hidden door on the island eventually blasts open, the Heartless swarm all over, all three of the youths are drawn into another universe and are separated. You wake up in the cartoonish land of Traverse Town to fight and eventually befriend Leon and Yuffie. Leon better explains the current story and objectives, you eventually run into your two primary party members; Donald and Goofy, and you proceed to travel via a “Gumi” ship to save all the different lands in the Disney Universe. All of this leads to you saving the world from the Heartless and saving your close friend Kairi.

Okay…I’d be out of breath if I was talking right now. I’m not here to go into detail in regards to the story because like said, you’ve most likely had a childhood filled with this wonderful franchise. Let’s go into how this game from 2002 plays today.

When it comes to the movement and animations, this game has held up surprisingly well for its age.

The smoothness of running and turning is very crisp in comparison to a lot of other PlayStation 2 games that I have played. This mixed with the customizable abilities later in the game to double jump really shows the potential of Squaresoft’s (now Square-Enix) development team back in the early 2000s.

While we are on the topic of movement, here is a little negative: The movement and depth perception of the Gumi Ship AND the Gumi Ship mini-game in general. As far as I know, there is no way to disable the inverted controls on the ship. This never actually ended up with my ship being destroyed throughout the countless hours that I have spent playing this game, but it still ended up being a nuisance. I know that this game played an integral part in a lot of readers childhoods, but let’s be real; this Gumi Ship mini-game felt VERY out of place. The art style was very simplistic, even for a PlayStation 2 game. It seemed to clash with the obviously Disney-esque art style of most environments and characters in this game. On a high note though, there was customization of your Gumi Ship with the items you would pick up from this mini-game. This ended up being pretty entertaining once I figured out the building interface, but seeing that this ended up being mostly cosmetic, there is not much need to dive into it.

As for combat: the combat itself is pretty much unmatched compared to any PlayStation 2 game that I have played. With a lot of the button bashing of X in combat situations, you later on gain abilities to roll, have timed blocks (you can’t just hold block to block everything), and utilize spells you gain from defeating bosses. I love, love, LOVE the simplicity of hotkeys and selecting spells when in real-time combat. I’m not sure if this game was the innovator of using right trigger and a button to cast a spell but dang did it make the combat much more smooth. A little tip although I would assume that a lot of you already know this: KEEP DONALD ON YOUR TEAM AT ALL TIMES!!! Donald is the equivalent of a sorceress in any Japanese roleplaying game and comes in VERY clutch with healing. Overall, this game had me super excited and even on the edge of my seat whenever I saw a mob spawn in front of my party.

So here are the few major negatives about this game…

Camera angles, camera angles, camera angles. Oh my gosh, the number of times I raged because I couldn’t see my enemy in close quarters. Even with locking onto them, sometimes I just couldn’t gauge their positioning, which ended up in them getting the killing blow. Before I only blame this fault on this game, this is a fault of this kind of game. I had a very similar experience with the game YS VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. This made me come to the conclusion that a lot of JRPG third person hack and slash games have issues similar to this. Nonetheless, I think we can all agree that we have wiped plenty of times thanks to this.

I know that there are some people that enjoy not having a sense of direction in games, and I totally understand where they are coming from. That being said, they could have done a little better with giving you a general direction of where to go or what to do next. There were a lot of times that I spent roaming around aimlessly (Especially in Atlantis, which by the way was easily one of the least enjoyable levels in the game), and wasting time reading and watching walkthroughs. I love a challenge when it comes to finding something, but this was a reoccuring theme in this game that left me frustrated from time to time.

Finally…oh my word. I have to ask…how in God’s name did we play games this hard at 12 years old. There is almost no game of the modern era (with the exception of the Dark Souls/Bloodborne Franchise) that could match the difficulty of some of these bosses towards the end. Given, it could have been because I was under leveled, but I almost threw my controller facing Maleficent in Dragon form. In terms of facing any boss after the dragon….I pretty much lost my mind. Riku was downright unfair, but I beat him…I’m not salty. I just have to say that there are challenging games, and then there is late game original Kingdom Hearts. The one thing I will say is the dopamine hit I received when I finally beat Ansem was unparalleled compared to any other game that I’ve beaten. For anyone that has stuck around up to this point,

I’m sure the much awaited question would be “What’s the Verdict, Phil?”

The verdict is that as a fairly frequent player of Japanese styled roleplaying games like this, I still thoroughly enjoyed this game even with some of the shortcomings that it had. If you are able to look past some of the camera angles and adapt to the minor flaws that this game has, you will be drawn into the main story, side stories, and endless combat that’s ahead. It’s great that all of the voice actors are from the actual Disney movies as it helps truly bring this game to life. Even though it is from the year 2002, this game is definitely worth playing in 2019. Before you pick up a copy of Kingdom Hearts III, pop the original into your PS2, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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