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This Generation Is Not Dead Yet

Here we are.  This console generation is breathing its last.  We are poised for Microsoft's announcement and then all of the "Big Three" will have their next generation players in the arena.  The console wars will renew with gusto.  Additionally, the strong spate of late generation games is mostly released.  In early 2013 we were inundated with high profile releases such as Crysis 3, Dead Space 3, Tomb Raider,  Injustice: Gods Among Us, and BioShock Infinite.  What is left?

This summer will be spent combing over the sparse details of the new consoles and anticipating the fall.  For those of us financially barred from the new consoles we will weigh our option to buy new releases for our older generation consoles but the newer and better experience is on the new consoles.  What are seemingly the final games exclusive (for now) to this generation?

Here are my most anticipated upcoming releases for the last hurrah of my Xbox 360.  Disclaimer, I do not own a Playstation 3 but I recognize the long anticipated exclusive upcoming releases of The Last Of Us and BEYOND: Two Souls.  Both are games that I very much so want to play but I cannot (just do not tell my Xbox 360, we are still best buds and I do not want my console to feel bad).  Additionally, I am simply not a Grand Theft Auto fan.  The series is not my game of choice and September 2013's  GTA V is not a game that I have any intention of playing, just to let you know now.   All that being said, in order of release date are: 

Remember Me: June 4, 2013

An orange glow, my kind of lighting.  

This new IP popped up seemingly out of nowhere.  The game is full of new ideas and concepts plus features a female protagonist who is prominently displayed (clothed) on the box art.  As well as my favorite color, orange, featured in much of the concept art.

The question remains whether or not the title is worth the full day one purchase price.  With, as of now, no or little preorder incentives there is no reason not to await the reviews for a more thorough critique of the game.  The game as a social commentary on a totalitarian government, a favorite type of government in gaming, while kicking butt and erasing memories is an intriguing premise.  The ability to alter environmental objects so as to change memories as a further commentary on what is real if we remember and react to our memory as the true experience is quite the nuanced video game story.  I am curious and I want to know more but at what price?

Dark: June 11, 2013

Relax your arms dude, you are a vampire.  Seriously, you will get a cramp standing like that all of the time.  

Stealth gameplay is in a revival with Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dishonored leading the pack.  Gun play or combat can be minimized in favor of devastating, and nonlethal, takedowns and shadow slinking rather than the corridor shot 'um up.  Initially I was quite excited for Dark as a stealth game with a silly vampire story.  Actually, little to no information is known about the narrative itself but upon seeing "vampires" I assume silly.  I was ready to hop into the "dark" underworld of vampires and their need to stealthily take out security guards.  The recent footage is not promising, especially for a day one purchase.  The protagonist moves and appears in the concept art as if he is doing his best Hulk impression.  The powers and abilities seem fun but without a narrative reason to be excited the gameplay is not showing a reason either.  The environments shown are different floors in the same office building with the same clueless security guard losing their life to the creature of the night.  I may not be making a great case for this game but I continue to follow the game hoping to see the earlier promise.  Vampires and stealth should be a game already well made.  Late generation and pre-E3 next generation reveals is a good time to setup a new and exciting IP that leads to anticipation of a sequel in the next generation.  Regardless of any announcements, the summer sits between us and the fall of 2013.  Game time does not wait for the next season to arrive and maybe this title will make the here and now a good time for gaming.         

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified: August 20, 2013

This looks like the kind of place capable of saving the world.  Maybe we can earn in game trophies to display in order brighten up the place.  

Admittedly, any of the buzz around this title is due to Firaxis Games' XCOM: Enemy Unknown.  Reviving the turn based strategy game as a console release Firaxis Games renewed an origin man versus alien franchise.  Sadly, I have not played the game but not because I do not want to.  With limited game time I have avoided a genre that typically requires multiple decisions for each turn and being bogged down in menus eats up my game time.  Most likely, I will await the title's port to iOS hoping that the port will run well on my iPad 2 to sit next to Bastion as a game to chip away at when travelling.  The turn based genre transfers well to the touchscreen without your hand obscuring frantic gameplay.

Very little information is available for The Bureau but the potential for a shooter/strategy game is a genre I want to see successful.  As gamers we can choose how much frantic action versus stopping time for planning that we want for our game.  In the original Mass Effect the ability to pause the action, scan the viewed area for everyone's positions, as well as assign commands such as powers and other actions was one of my favorite aspects of the gameplay.  Over the trilogy the game moved more towards the ability to maintain seamless action.  The Bureau as a strategic shooter with the traditional XCOM command center as the hub for protecting the world from aliens as well as the ability to take down an alien one on one is a game I want to play.  We have little idea what the final game will be but the game is poised to grab those last gaming dollars available with its late summer 2013 release before a fall that comes only once every 8-10 years is upon us.

The Wolf Among Us: Summer 2013

The Big Bad Wolf smokes?!  That detail was not in my children's book. 

Telltale Game's The Walking Dead was sheer fun and revolutionary.  We have all seen a point and click narrative before but the game showed the financial viability of episodic content.  For $5 an episode I could easily buy each episode on release day, enjoy my bite sized game experience to its conclusion, and hop online to participate in the discussions with no fear of spoilers.  Yet, Telltale Game's formula is far from perfect.  Delays that felt like eternities stretched between each episode and their previous work, Back To The Future: The Game and Jurassic Park: The Game (sense a naming trend?), were considered mostly for fans of the franchises.  This suggests that The Wolf Among Us is their turning point into a portfolio of titles that are compelling games on their own without only franchise fans or a weak game compilation that has one successful centerpiece.  Prior to Telltale Game's The Walking Dead I did not watch the show or read the comic.  I downloaded the first episode based on the word of mouth buzz and my girlfriend's affinity for the television show.    

Fairy tale characters live among us and cannot afford housing with central air conditioning.  

The Wolf Among Us is another comic book franchise, Fables which is a modern day twist on fairy tales (a particularly popular story nowadays with two television shows, Grimm and Once Upon A Time, employing the same tactic). I enjoy comics but I have not read a single book of Fables.  Comics add up and with 3 books monthly my wallet yells stop.  However, comics as a narrative rich storytelling medium and 2D panel graphics translates well into Telltale's cell shaded art style and heavy reliance on the story rather than gameplay in a video game.  The opportunity to play a rich narrative experience with tangled webs of interaction with multiple NPCs and a talking pig as a moral compass from Three Little Pigs has me excited.  Once A Upon A Time may have an evil queen with an erratic fashion sense which alone makes the show worth watching but no talking pigs. 

Regardless of how the gaming audience receives this game if Telltale Games continues its formula of a game heavy on narrative and light on, well, gameplay, the low cost of entry allows me to experience the tale myself.  Here is hoping to a summer of anticipating the release day for the next episode.    

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows: Summer 2013

The turtles are back!  Why did their noses disappear?  Give the TMNT their noses back Activision!

It is no secret that my superheroes of choice are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Nowadays, these heroes in a half shell are experiencing a fantastic revival.  The Nickelodeon cartoon is sweet, the comic book is a great combination of nostalgia and new (I sniffled when Splinter bestowed the brothers with their bandanas), the upcoming video game is a licensed game meant to continue the trend.  Naturally, the term "licensed game" is a dangerous foreshadowing of a terrible game.  Yet, I want to trust the franchise that made descriptions of pizza an art form, my personal favorite is "flying saucers of delight." 

Up close is even worse character model details.  The head is a watermelon and the hands are...swelling?

As a downloadable arcade/store title information is particularly scare other than a few screenshots, a trailer, and a vague summer 2013 release date.  With this information let us dissect an important detail for Activision.  The TMNT are turtles that mutated in humanoid turtles that were then trained in martial arts.  However, the TMNT are not humans with green skin, the turtles have a functioning shell (for popping their heads down as a fighting tactic) and a total of 12 fingers and toes (not 20).  Activisions' still screenshots thus far are, well, at best incredibly creepy.  The turtles' bulbous turtle-like features are much more becoming as the brothers remain turtles, not humans with a terrible case of jaundice.  Here is hoping for a game worthy of the franchise.  If so I see a summer of playing games and eating pizza.     

Defiance: April 2, 2013

This scene looks remarkably like Fallout 3.  But greener, definitely more color in this post apocalypse.  

Yes, the game was already released on April 2, 2013 but as the beginning of a new trend of console released MMOs the final game is to be determined.  The first major patch with free and paid download options is coming soon along with new content.  The console MMO genre is newly born and on shaky ground.  Will Defiance be released on next gen as well?  If so, how long will the current consoles' servers remain on after the next gen consoles are released?  How will Defiance compare to this Bungie's Destiny and Diablo 3 on the Playstation 3/4 slated for release fall 2013?  Will Defiance retain players after the show completes its first season?  In the show will the Castithans please stop taking those creepy baths?  So many questions that only time will answer and meanwhile I want in.  This week I am ordering a few more cables to see if I can set up Xbox Live Chat with my hearing aids.

Worn around my neck and synched to my hearing aids this device should act just like Turtle Beach headphones and is much more expensive.

If anyone is following along in this saga, I have behind the ear (BTE) Phonak Nadia hearing aids (essentially the expensive version).  Additionally, I have Phonak's iCom which is a Bluetooth connection with my aids.  The iCom is worn on a loop around my neck and is synched to my laptop, smart phone, etc... The iCom has a built in microphone so when my cell phone rings I can answer/hang up, adjust the volume, and speak using only my iCom without ever touching my smart phone.  The Xbox 360 emits in-game sound through its corded connection with my television and Live Chat is through the headset jack in the controller.  The controller does not emit sound via a Bluetooth signal and neither does my television so both must be connected to my iCom manually with an audio cable.  Plus the controller's headset jack is smaller than a standard audio jack.  Looking for a male to female converter in the right size required actually going to a Radio Shack.  Hopefully, if I can get both sound streams to my iCom the iCom's microphone will also work with Live Chat.  Here is hoping this experiment works! 

This console generation has been a wild ride even for those of us who jumped on late.  My backlog is stacked high but that does not diminish my desire to experience the latest games.  The younger and hipper generation may be ready for the spotlight but the older generation is not rolling over dead but is reminding the new kids the high standards set by those old folks. 

Many thanks for stopping by and reading.  I appreciate your time and may the next week involve time for your favorite games.  

Agree? Disagree? What games of this generation are you awaiting?

What games are you anticipating most for next generation?

Do you think that Activision's TMNT look is creepy in a bad way?

 

 

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