Lgndary Thoughts - This Year's E3 Keynotes Ranked

E3 is over, and the dust has settled. This year we saw a total of 7 publishers/developers host a keynote, and I am here to rank them. Starting with the worst, and working up to the best, here is what I think:

Square Enix - Square Enix comes in last, not because their conference was bad, but because it didn't really feel like a press conference. It was only 30 minutes long, and offered nothing more than slightly interesting reveals. Babylon looks interesting, sure, especially since it is developed by Platinum Games. But I don’t put too much stock into CG reveals that show no gameplay. 

Kingdom Hearts III was present and looked great, of course, but this is a game that has already had a lot of gameplay showcased before. New trailers of it were also present at other keynotes, which further diminished the impact it had during Square’s. If they had saved the release date reveal for their keynote, it could have made a difference. But that too was announced a couple of days before.

Sony - Sony just barely avoided being bottom of the pile this year. I was immediately suspicious when Shawn Layden announced that they were doing things a little differently this year, because that is almost always code for “we don’t have much to show so we have to mask that somehow”. Unfortunately for everyone, the masking only made things worse. 

If having to sit through two separate out of place musical performances, as well as a weird intermission where everyone had to switch buildings was the only problem with Sony’s keynote, I think they would have been okay. But even when their conference started to build up it disappointed. The footage of their games we saw looked great, assuming non of it was scripted (looking at you, The Last of Us II). But the show still lacked any big surprises, or a deep dive of any of their titles. Resulting in a very disappointing E3 for them.

Ubisoft - Ubisoft’s conference wasn't anything too spectacular, but it certainly wasn't a disappointment. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Beyond Good and Evil 2, and the Star Fox and Donkey Kong announcements made for a pretty solid lineup. Just like the other keynotes, a big surprise reveal could have taken it over the top, but I am satisfied with what they presented. 

EA - EA’s was fairly similar to Ubisoft’s in that they were both standard press conferences that featured exciting content but lacked a huge surprise. I actually had trouble placing these two, but in the end I gave the edge to EA for a couple of reasons. The first was a great gameplay showing of Anthem. I feel it is always important to not only show gameplay, but to show it how players will actually experience it. That means having a UI and controls readily apparent.

The other reason was the announcement and launch of Unravel 2. I’ll talk more about this later, but I always appreciate when publishers actually launch games at E3. It gives gamers more than just things to look forward to, and I feel not enough publishers do that these days.

Bethesda - Bethesda also had a pretty good show. It was full of odd announcements that felt a little out of place a gaming’s biggest event of the year, but they didn't detract from Bethesda’s reveals in the end. The bulk of the show went to the recently announced Fallout: 76, a game that I was ready to write off the second multiplayer was mentioned. But I actually walked away impressed with the vision for 76. I am still a skeptic, but I plan on watching the game closely before release.

Having said that, if Fallout 76 was the final reveal for Bethesda, I would have been let down. But the Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI announcements saved the show. I do hate that we got nothing more than a logo for each of them, but knowing that Starfield exists is enough for me.

Nintendo - Nintendo comes in second this year because, despite not having too many announcements, they did provide an exciting E3 by giving more to gamers now. An Octopath demo, Hollow Knight, and the Splatoon 2 expansion were all surprise launches that made Nintendo’s showcase about more than just the future. 

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate also gave Nintendo a significant lead this year. Not only does the game look incredible, they also provided those watching with a ton of real gameplay. They even hosted a tournament that allowed professional Smash players the chance to play the game and voice their impressions to those not lucky enough to attend. 

Microsoft - I’m putting Microsoft on top this year because they were one of the few that had what I would consider a real press conference. They announced some interesting exclusives for Xbox, talked about more than just games, and even got to reveal exciting 3rd party titles like Sekiro and Cyberpunk. At the end of the day, the gaming experience is still going to be best with Playstation, as the best games Microsoft announced will also be on PS4. But as far as keynotes go, Microsoft has risen above all others for the first time in years. 

Lgndary Thoughts - E3 2018 Hopes and Dreams

E3 is right around the corner, and more and more announcements continue to come out every day. Even still, I’m sure that the best stuff will be saved for the actual event. With that in mind, here are the games I am most excited to see next week! Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

Anthem - Anthem is one of my most anticipated titles and, something that I have mentioned before, is also a great concern of mine. Bioware is not in a good place right now after Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Anthem’s success is likely to determine their future. But more than that, I really just want a good game. I loved the first Destiny and the new concepts it brought, but Bungie dropped the ball with the sequel, and I think it is time someone give them a run for their money. 

To do that, Anthem has to be perfect. Personally speaking, I would like to see strong shooting mechanics, unique classes, a large amount of content to experience (including lots of gear to obtain), and a good story with detailed lore. But just as importantly, they have to get microtransactions right. I’m sure they are planning to pursue more than just a base $60 from players, especially considering their plans to (I hope) support the game with a ton of content post-launch. This is something that I accept, but only if they don’t push too hard and get too greedy. Pay-to-win is obviously unacceptable, but past that we will just have to cross our fingers and see what they come up with.

Starfield - For those that don’t know, Starfield is a game that Bethesda is heavily rumored to be working on. They trademarked the name years ago, so it is likely that they are, at the very least working on something called Starfield. But rumors point to it being their next big RPG akin to Fallout and Skyrim, only in space. And that is exactly what I want it to be. A big, ambitious evolution of a Bethesda RPG that plays, and looks incredible.

In regards to visuals, my expectations have been rising for Starfield after a recent Bethesda announcement. A few months ago, a Bethesda Rep said that they are working on 2 games. The first of which would, while having some small improvements in visuals, would be made with their old engine. And that a second game was using something new. They even said employees working on the first game couldn’t wait to finish and move over to the second title to work with all the new tools the new engine offers. I had assumed that the first game was Starfield, but after last week’s Fallout 76 announcement (which obviously uses their old engine), I’m starting to get hopeful that Starfield is going to look significantly better than Fallout 4.

Cyberpunk 2077 - I’m also hoping that CD Projekt Red’s highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 will be fully revealed next week. The game was announced years ago before The Witcher 3 even launched, and it would be nice if we could finally see some gameplay. I actually find it funny that so many people, including myself, are so incredibly hyped for a game that we know almost nothing about. The gameplay, setting, and even story continue to remain a mystery. I’m not sure that this will be the E3 to change that, but I certainly hope it is. 

These are a few of my biggest hopes for E3 2018. But no matter what happens, I think we are all in for an exciting week. What are you hoping to see? Don’t forget to leave a comment below!

Side note - I will be covering E3 this year with traditional posts, so be sure to check back here starting Saturday for E3 goodness!

Lgndary Thoughts - April's PS Plus Games

Happy Friday everyone! Due to personal reasons, I wasn't originally going to be able to write a Thought this week. But I felt bad, and decided to whip this one up real quick. So it will be a little short and sweet this week. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

As April is right around the corner, a new batch of PS Plus games have just recently been revealed. For those that missed the announcement, here is the full lineup!

  • Mad Max, PS4
  • Trackmania Turbo, PS4
  • In Space we Brawl, PS3 (Cross Buy with PS4)
  • Toy Home, PS3
  • 99 Vidas, PS Vita (Cross Buy with PS3 and PS4)
  • Q*Bert Rebooted, PS Vita (Cross Buy with PS3 and PS4)

For me personally, I'm a little disappointed with April's PS Plus games. Even still, I'm sure many people will be happy with what is available.

While I have no interest in Mad Max, I still feel it is a perfect PS Plus game. For starters, it continues the trend of having at least one AAA title, and I believe it is a game that didn't do great when it came to sales. I've always felt that the best PS Plus games are the ones that were overlooked when they originally launched.

Trackmania also fits that description, minus the AAA part of course. I imagine there are a lot of people out there just like me that didn't really pay attention to it originally, but that are going to be giving it a chance now. I don't know much about it, but it looks interesting enough, and I'm sure it will generate a few new fans at the very least.

All in all, April's lineup certainly isn't as exciting as last month's Bloodborne and Ratchet and Clank. But we can't expect every month to bring us that level of quality. Mad Max and Trackmania, while being a step down, should provide plenty of hours of enjoyment.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and don't forget to let me know what you think of next month's PS Plus games in the comments below!

Lgndary Thoughts - What Are You Playing?

For starters, I would like to apologize for the odd posting hours this week. My dog has been sick and had to go to the vet a few times this week. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified, but things are looking so much better now. After one last appointment next week, she’ll be in the clear. I appreciate everyone’s patience on this. 

Moving on! This week will be more relaxed as I have just realized it has been quite awhile since we last discussed what everyone was playing. Time to fix that! Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

As always, I will start with Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve actually been taking a break from playing seriously for a bit. I was in a raid group for awhile, but the leader turned out to be ill-equipped to manage it. Things got stressful, so I just decided to leave. But I’m taking advantage of my new found time to play some other games!

One game in my backlist that I have finally decided to finish is Pokemon Ultra Moon. I am a huge Pokemon fan, but I would be lying if I said Ultra Moon was disappointing as a whole. It is really difficult going back to the 3DS after playing the Switch so much. I was also disappointed to find that, at least so far, the game has seen almost no changes from the original Moon. But I still feel obligated to finish it. At the end of the day, it is still Pokemon.

I also jumped back into Bloodborne for a bit. It felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest the entire time, as I guess I’ve lost a little bit of my courage in the break I took. But I pushed through and even took out a boss! I wish I could say I beat it on my first try, but unfortunately, I briefly forgot the number one rule in a Souls game: never get cocky when the boss’ HP is low. The boss had just a sliver of health left, so I jumped in without thinking and got myself killed. It is a hard lesson to learn, especially when it has to be learned multiple times. 

As you can see, I’ve been spending most of my game time working through games in my backlog. But what about you? Let me know what you’ve been playing over the past few weeks, or what you are looking forward to playing in the near future. Thanks everyone, have a good weekend!

Lgndary Thoughts - The End of Major PS4 Updates?

A major firmware update launched for Playstation 4 about a week ago bringing the system up to version 5.5. But while the update was considered a major one, the feature list begs to differ. What does that mean for software updates going forward? Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

I’ve talked before about how the Xbox One does software updates much better, especially when it comes to how often they are released (average once a month). And I am often told the same thing in response: “The Xbox One is much more like a PC, which makes it a lot easier for Microsoft to push updates faster”. I don’t really buy that the architecture of the PS4 is holding Sony back in any serious way when it comes to speed, but that isn’t something that I am going to focus on today. Because Sony no longer just has a problem with the rate of updates, they have a problem with the quality of them as well.

Despite being a major update for the PS4, version 5.5 only served to introduce modest, mostly boring improvements. If I had to pick the most significant change that 5.5 brought, I would probably have to choose the ability to use images as a custom background (something that should have been available at launch). 

To compare, here is a look at a few features that were added to the Xbox One over the past few months:

  • Game hub information available in the guide
  • Ability to target specific achievements to unlock
  • Ability to save console settings to the cloud
  • Ability to gift games to friends

All of these additions are far more useful and interesting than anything that Sony has brought to the PS4 in awhile. And that is the issue, It wasn’t just 5.5 that was dull. PS4 updates have been lacking for a long time now, with most of them only offering behind the scenes improvements, over user level additions.

I can’t help but feel that Sony is simply done updating their console. To some, this may not be a big deal. I’m sure the PS5 is right around the corner after all. But there are still so many quality of life features that the PS4 could use, and I believe it is a mistake to be done with it where it is now. 

Lgndary Thoughts - March's PS Plus Lineup

A new month, a new batch of PS Plus games. I’m sure many of you already know, but the March lineup announcement for PS Plus was actually very exciting, and for more than one reason. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

For those that missed it, here are the PS Plus games for this month:

  • Bloodborne, PS4
  • Ratchet & Clank, PS4
  • Legend of Kay, PS3
  • Mighty No. 9, PS3 (Cross Buy with PS4)
  • Claire: Extended Cut, PS Vita (Cross Buy with PS4)
  • Bombing Busters, PS Vita (Cross Buy with PS4)

What a month! The trend of AAA games being included continues, but this month goes even further than usual and includes 2 of them. I already own Bloodborne (but am looking forward to having it digitally), so I won’t benefit too much personally, but I am certainly excited for so many others that will finally be giving this game a shot. It is easily one of my favorite Playstation 4 games of all time, and an excellent intro into the “Soulsborne” genre. 

Ratchet & Clank is where my real excitement lies this month, as I have yet to play it. I know, I know. I’m a little late to the party. In the end, however, I am glad that I waited.

But like I said, Sony had more to announce this month regarding PS Plus than just the usual lineup. Effective starting a year from now, the PS Vita and PS3 will no longer receive monthly games from PS Plus. I expect many fans of those systems will be upset, but I believe this is actually great news, and something that I have wanted them to do for awhile. As I have said in a previous Thought, the PS3 and the PS Vita, as sad as it may be, are dead systems. Dropping them would allow for a greater focus on the console that is still alive and kicking today. 

Of course, that won’t matter if Sony simply drops support, and nothing else. Will the absence of PS3/ PS Vita games from the PS Plus lineup mean that more resources can go to the PS4? Will we get more than 2 games a month? Will those games be higher quality? Will more features be introduced? To be honest, I would be shocked if Sony did anything differently at all.

I hate to say it, but Sony is not the kind of company that thinks they owe anything to anybody for any reason. Nintendo gave launch day 3DS owners free games to compensate for the price reduction, but Sony has never thought like that. I can almost guarantee that Sony will say something along the lines of “The service we offer PS4 owners is worth the cost of PS Plus as is. No changes are necessary just because PS3/PSVita support has been dropped”

I’d like to think I’ll be wrong, and there certainly is a chance that I am, but I don’t plan on getting my hopes up. Luckily, the PS4 offerings with PS Plus have been great, so we won’t have to get too upset as long as we continue to get games as good as Bloodborne and Ratchet & Clank.

Lgndary Thoughts - The Future of Monster Hunter

Happy Friday everyone! For starters, I’d like to apologize about the lack of a Thought last week. Like I had said, I had to go out of state to visit my sister. But unfortunately, the GPS decided to stop working partway through and we had to finish the drive the old fashion way. It took a lot longer than it should have and was not fun. 

Moving on! Today, I would like to talk about a recent title that came out to tremendous success, and where the developer should take it next. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

As you may have guessed, I am talking about Monster Hunter: World. It launched just a few weeks ago, and ended up selling about 5 million copies within 3 days of release. Making it Capcom’s fastest selling title ever. With that level of success, I cant image they aren’t already thinking about where Monster Hunter should go next, so how about we do the same?

Recently, I was reading some discussion about Monster Hunter: World, and how it compared to Destiny 2. Both of which are multiplayer titles, and both of which are very popular. There were some people comparing each title, and what made them different. One difference that was pointed out was the fact that World had an ending, where Destiny did not. Eventually, players will beat every monster in the game, get every piece of armor in the game, and be down with it. 

To some, this is a good thing. A lot of games these days don’t really end and it can become overwhelming. But I personally think that Monster Hunter would be perfect for the “shared-world” genre going forward. MH: World already suffers from not being seamless enough when it comes to multiplayer, and players all being able to mingle in a hub world where invites can be sent, and guilds made would make things a lot easier. 

It would also be nice to have a fairly constant stream of content coming in. New monsters, new weapons, and new gear would all be givens. And maybe they could even add a new area for an expansion type DLC pack. 

I know there are going to be a lot of people that aren’t going to go for this. The biggest drawback of which is that Capcom would have to make their money back somehow. That would potentially mean micotransactions, paid DLC packs, etc. Which is certainly something to be concerned about. I wrote a few weeks ago about how development prices continue to go up, while the price of games stays the same. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a perfect answer as to how developers can counter that, and continue to deliver content on a regular basis. I’d like to think that Capcom can go the Splatoon route, and do it all for free, but that may be asking for too much. 

At the end of the day, however, Monster Hunter has finally breached into the mainstream and has become the tremendous success that it always deserved to be. Whatever Capcom does with the series in the future, I have faith that it will continue to grow the series like never before.

Lgndary Thoughts - How To Save A Game

Happy Friday everyone! This week I am yet again going to be talking about Street Fighter (I know, I know, I’m sorry). I had planned to write about another topic, but it wasn’t ready in time, so I had to substitute this one in. It is a Thought that I had planned to write for awhile now anyways, so I hope nobody minds. 

The last time I wrote about Street Fighter V, I talked about how the game lets people purchase characters by just playing the game. And how some players were insisting on Capcom giving them more despite the fact that every other fighting game required money for DLC. But today, I am going to talk about how Capcom saved the game from a bare-bones mess, into what it is today. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

Street Fighter V originally launched 2 years ago. Capcom held several beta tests that allowed players to try out the game, and many were very happy with what they saw. The visuals were great, the gameplay was excellent, and the fighters looked awesome. There were some technical issues that needed to be worked out, but most people thought the game was really shaping up to be a great improvement over Street Fighter IV. On top of the excellent gameplay, Capcom had also announced a  shift in their policy regarding updates and DLC. Unlike SFIV, players would have the option of buying characters simply by playing. In addition to that, Capcom also promised players that they would never have to pay for a Street Fighter IV to Super Street Fighter IV style update again. Needless to say, fans of the series were pumped. 

That is, until the game launched. 

Upon its release, buyers of Street Fighter V couldn’t help but notice the glaring lack of what had been standard features of past iterations. Most notably was an arcade mode. A VS CPU mode was also missing, amongst some other, smaller things. So to put in plainly, while the core of the game was great, it was incomplete. 

Naturally, sales of Street Fighter V did not meet expectations, and was being outsold by other fighting games in tremendously less time. Even when Capcom added a cinematic story mode, and made many other improvements, the game could not shake the perception of being bad or a waste of money. It started to feel like no matter what Capcom did to the game, the perception of what it used to be would continue to hold it back. It wouldn’t be enough to add an arcade mode, or VS CPU mode, or anything else. They needed something bigger. 

Enter Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. A brand new version of the game that redesigned the menus, added new play styles for characters, added not just 1, but 5 arcade modes, just to name a few of the new features. And to top it all off, this entire version of the game was 100% free to all existing owners of Street Fighter V. 

With one release, Capcom generated a ton of hype around their game, fixed almost all of the problems the original release had, kept those that already bought the game happy by giving them free content, and destroying any perception that the game was unfinished. It took them 2 years to do it, but Street Fighter V is finally the game it should have been all along, and more. When faced with criticism, Capcom didn’t walk away from the game, or try to defend it, they actually worked hard to listen to the fans, and delivered. That is how you save a game, and other developers in similar situations would be wise to take notice. 

Lgndary Thoughts - February's PS Plus Lineup

Happy Friday everyone! The month of February has just started and with it comes a new batch of Playstation Plus games. Unlike last month, however, I am not going to forget to write about the new games. So welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

For those that missed it, here is February’s lineup:

  • Knack, PS4
  • Rime, PS4
  • Spelunker HD, PS3
  • Mugen Souls Z, PS3
  • Exiles End, PS Vita
  • Grand Kingdom, PS Vita (Also available on PS4)

Starting with Rime. Personally, I’m pretty excited that Rime is included in this month’s lineup. I have been interested in the game since it was first announced, and couldn’t wait to play it. That is, until it launched. Initially, I didn’t pick it up when it first released because I was waiting on the Switch version. But when that released I heard it didn’t run so well on the Switch, and that a lot of problems weren’t even exclusive to the system. Despite the issues that apparently were present in some form on every console, I still wanted to try the game. Enter PS Plus! Now I get to play the game without having to buy it separately. That way, if I don’t enjoy it for any reason, performance issues or otherwise, I wont be too upset. Something I think PS Plus games are perfect for. 

Moving on to Knack. I actually have Knack, and have had it since the PS4 launched. But I am still very happy that it is apart of PS Plus this month. I have talked about this game on the site in the past, but I don’t mind saying it again. Knack is not a bad game. Knack is actually a pretty good game, and one that I enjoyed a lot. The reason it has such a bad rap is back when the PS4 was about to launch, the press was given a very limited amount of time with each launch title, and could only play them for a few minutes before having to go off and write a review. And when you play Knack on easy mode, for 20 minutes, it is easy to think it is a bad game. That is why the reviews were bad, and everyone else kind of went with it. This is something that still bugs me to this day. 

But if you play it on a higher difficulty setting, and actually give it a chance, I think most people will enjoy the hell out of it just like I did. That is why I am stoked that so many people are going to have the chance to play it, and see for themselves that it isn’t as bad as so many people made it out to be. 

All in all, there isn’t anything this month that I am just sitting on the edge of my seat to play. But I am still very satisfied with the lineup. I get to play something that was on my radar, but didn’t want to risk money on, and a lot of people will get to play something that they heard was awful. 

But what do you think? Are you still happy with the direction PS Plus has been moving in? Or do you think Sony could do better? Let me know in the comments below!

Lgndary Thoughts - The Price of Free Content

When Street Fighter V launched 2 years ago, it brought some significant differences from other titles in the series, some bad, but others good. Today, I’d like to talk about one of the best changes that Capcom made to Street Fighter, and why greedy players may ruin it for the rest of us. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

As I am sure all of you know, almost every single fighting game released these days has additional characters added after launch in the form of paid DLC. A practice which I am all for, and believe to be fair. New playable characters cost money to make, so I am more than happy to pay money to play them. This is a standard practice, and I believe most people have no problem with it. But instead of simply towing the line, Capcom decided to mix things up a bit with Street Fighter V, and give players another option.

In an attempt to keep the player base active, Capcom made it possible for Street Fighter V players to buy additional DLC characters without spending real money. Instead, players can buy them with what they call fight money, which can be earned by winning matches or completing other in-game challenges. Yes, using real money is another option, but those that can’t afford to buy their favorite character can simply earn them for free. 

And yes, earning enough fight money for a character can be a grind. But the point is that it is an option that Capcom had no obligation to give. No other fighting game allows players to earn DLC characters by simply playing the game. The latest Super Smash Bros. didn't, Tekken 7 doesn’t, and even the newly released Dragon Ball FighterZ doesn’t. And no one complained about that either. Again, most people believe paying for extra DLC characters is a fair practice, because it is.  

But in the past few weeks I have seen some fans exhibit an attitude that I find to be incredibly greedy, and short-sighted. They feel that the work it takes to earn characters for free is too much, and that Capcom should give players more fight money for completing certain tasks. For them, it isn’t enough that Capcom offers players a way to get characters for free, they want it to be easy as well. They are forgetting that essentially every other fighting game in the world don’t even have a free option, let alone one where the characters are practically given away.

To be honest, I believe it is getting to the point where I think Capcom made a mistake in letting players earn characters for free. Not only are they giving up money that they would get from players actually paying for the DLC, but they get attacked by making it too much of a grind too? Meanwhile, other fighting games are coming out with DLC that requires a cash payment, and they are receiving nothing but praise? Capcom has got to be incredibly confused, because I know that I am. 

This is a perfect example of gamers being given an inch, and wanting a mile. I don’t like to use this word very often, but this is as clear cut a case of entitlement as I have ever seen. And I can only hope that players knock it off before Capcom realizes that they should never have given a free option in the first place, and exclusively took cash as payment for their DLC.