Top Ten Games of 2013

2013 was a great year to gaming!

One Last Farewell to the Ouya

Cya, wouldn't wanna OUYA!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The 3DS can now officially play pirated games

Nintendo has been fighting a long hard war with pirates. It's DS and Wii consoles were huge victims to it and with the 3DS and Wii U the company wanted to make sure that history wouldn't repeat itself, and for a while it seemed that way. Well, now it looks like pirates have finally won their first battle.

The Presentation Gateway 3DS is the first (and probably not the last) officially working flash cart for the 3DS. According to the site it can support any 3DS game on any system, but if you ask me it seems more of a hassle as you'll need to swap sd cards. What's more interesting, however, is how users are reacting to this. One YouTube user mentioned:
Hell yes. I'll keep buying US 3DS games but this is just perfect for pirating Capcom games and playing Jap imports.
New Love + here I goooo
And that my friend is one of the many reason why we have piracy in the first place. Needless to say Nintendo will find a way to stop this via firmware updates but the truth is nothing can stop piracy. It's inevitable. The only thing that can slow it down is to give users something better. Maybe an update that removes region lock? Then again I'm not Nintendo, just a customer who wants a bit freedom with the product I bought. 

It seems David Hayter will be voicing Snake in MGS5 afterall

When Metal Gear Solid 5 was officially announced a lot of people were both amazed and furious. Amazed because it's what they effing wanted to hear but angry because David Hayter wouldn't be reprising his legendary role. Well good news, people. It seems David will most likely be returning to voice Snake.

This Tweet pretty much says it all. But if you're still not convinced, Konami have partnered with Gamespot to reveal the "true voice of Solid Snake" on June 6th.
I'm honestly not surprised by this at all. While Kojima is a developer known for being unique he does often cave in for fan service. Remember when we all thought MGS 3 would be the last Metal Gear, yea...

Huge credit goes to Games Thirst for connecting the dots. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Xbox One is American and doesn’t care about us (18+)

The Xbox One reveal presentation was a disaster to say the least. Go anywhere on the internet and you will see floating memes and puns that ridicule Microsoft’s shiny new chrome box. While I do like to indulge in a bit of humor I can’t help but feel that these jokes will eventually fall on our heads—especially for us Arab gamers. To give you an idea, and relieve a bit of stress, here are some of my thoughts on why I believe the Xbox One is an American console that just doesn't give a fuck about Arab gamers.

TV channels that only work in America

When it comes to the Xbox One, what are the most questions we ask ourselves? I assume they would be how does it work? How will it make my game experience better? How will it top the PS4? And for the love of God, will it require me to be always connected to the internet? Instead of answering these questions Microsoft showed us the lamest thing the Xbox One can do: watch TV.  Like, seriously, what the fuck?

Star Trek and Bing; together at last
It wouldn’t have been a problem if this was a short segment of the presentation but dedicating an entire chunk towards it is just an insult to my intelligence. Why should I give a shit about watching CBC or HBO? Those channels don’t even work where I live. It’s also common knowledge that gamers don’t even watch television and when they do it’s mostly when they’re eating or playing on their handhelds. And even they did, most televisions now come with built in apps. The very same apps that allow me to do all the same shit Microsoft showed me on their next gen system.

Online activation + region locked apps=waste of time and money

While it isn’t exactly a new idea, online activation has been around for a while on PC. Every time you buy a game it needs to register with a certain client or service such as Steam or Origin—typically once. The thing is this sort of concept doesn’t apply well when it comes to consoles. Consoles by definition are meant to be more practical and easier to use than a PC and shouldn’t be specifically tied to one spot. They can be carried anywhere and be used anywhere as long as there’s electricity and a TV. Now comes a new dilemma: online activation for consoles, oh boy. Let me tell you a couple reasons why this fails. First of all is the obvious one, a lot of Arab countries don’t have access to high speed broad band internet. While we have advanced over the years, internet is still nowhere near as reliable as electricity—which I think also applies on an international level. Making things more confusing is the fact you will need to connect your Xbox One to the internet at least once a day. Why? Maybe because Microsoft doesn’t trust us and needs to send in its private investigator to our living rooms? This can be very annoying as a lot of us tend enjoy taking our consoles to desert camps, houses, or areas where there is no internet. Used games will also be sold in an ambiguous manner which sucks considering a lot of us buy used game via internet forums or Instagram.

FUCK OFF! (Image source)
Apps will also most likely be region cocked similar to the 360. I’m talking about regular apps such as Gametrailers and which work perfectly fine on my web browser. And the biggest slap to the face? We pay for it. All our money spent on being a “Gold Member” and most of us only use the bare minimum to play online which surprisingly isn’t locked out—what a joke. Seeing as how Xbox One now has its own entertainment Twitter, you can expect more bullshit that we pay for and can’t use.  At the very least I hope the Halo TV series will be accessible to us.

Sports, cars, and the US army

I honestly wonder why Microsoft even bothered broadcasting its conference internationally. From beginning to end it just kept jumping from topic to topic that, in all honestly, mostly appeals to the American audience.

I don't care, I really don't 
Minutes wasted on just having them talk about exciting new deals and partnerships with the NFL that will blow us away, ESPN channels and apps that, again, don’t work where we live. And yes, even Call of Duty which is loved and praised around the world felt like an added American hoorah touch the conference needed. Look, Microsoft. I don’t have an issue with all this. America can have all of its TV, cars, sports, and guns—just don’t pretend the world actually gives a shit.

Kinect can go suck on my balls 

When the first Kinect was revealed I was honestly blown away.  Tetsuya Mizuguchi, creator of Rez, demonstrated the tech using Child of Eden and ended up being one of the coolest on stage demos I have ever seen. What about the new Kinect?

In other words shit, pure shit coupled with shit and grinded and thrown as tiny shitty bits all over the fake cheering crowd. Microsoft, you come and show me this new tech and instead of demonstrating it with a game, or a tech demo, we see you use it as a substitute to a TV remote? LAWL! And don’t get me started on the whole “Kinect must be connected to work so it can spy on me every time I play” bullshit. I mean have they have even considered how terribly messy tournaments could get? Trying to place a Kinect somewhere that doesn't have space or that that you’d need to recalibrate the Kinect every time you move it (that’s what mine currently does). It’s an added hassle that just kills the overall experience.

It looks ugly

Okay, this may not be specifically related to the topic but aside from the controller that system and Kinect look damn ugly. It looks like, yes a VCR or a 80’s version of a futuristic gaming console. I mean really, just look at it. It feels like it belongs as a background prop in Robocop or Blade Runner. I remember when the 360 came out it looked bold, edgy, and spoke out to a new generation. One just seems bland and deserves some spot in the living room where nobody can see it.

If you don’t like it, don’t buy it 

I wouldn’t buy it except Microsoft promised there would be exclusives, 15 in if its first year to be exact. And if it’s one thing Microsoft is surely is cunning at is getting the first dibs, such as Mass Effect 1. It’s also the only chance it has at one upping the PS4 (which at this point looks much better). Of course it remains to be seen what these exclusives will be but if these end mostly being sports games then no thank you. At that point I will get it for the sake of reviewing it.

All in One is a failed concept for a game console

The biggest issue with the Xbox One is it's concept of trying to be everything: TV, Movies, Games, Motion Controls, but the problem is it won’t be able to succeed properly with that attitude. Let’s look at smart phones for example, in theory it’s an all one device that lets users play games, surf the net, watch movies, and make calls. First and foremost though it’s a communication device so that means calling and messaging services are top notch but surfing the net and playing games have their limitations. Comparing it to a 3DS, a device where communication and surfing the net are lousy but more than makes up for it with the games. That’s because it’s built for games first and it shows with its amazing library. This goes back to the American ideology of being the best at everything, but in doing so it’s potentially harming its core audience: gamers. I will never look at a Playstation, Xbox, or Wii and think hmm “I need this to enhance my TV experience” No, I need this to play games—the best kind of games.

The 360 lost its steam when it began focusing on TV. (image source)
The way I see it now the Xbox One is a machine that takes away more than it gives. Its limitations are making me think as a customer if it’s worth the investment instead of making me want to run out and pre-order it ASAP. If Microsoft doesn’t realize this problem then I fear it would fail at attracting not only me but the majority of Arab gamers as well.

I honestly loved the 360, it was a machine that truly was ahead of the competition that introduced DLC in a dynamic way, kick started the digital gaming trend, and help push to create a variety of titles. If Microsoft can look back and see what made the 360 so special and focus on the games then the Xbox One may have what it takes to gain an audience here. Right now Microsoft needs to go home, rethink its strategy and give us one hell of an E3 performance, this time with games and not celebrities.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Official Battlefield Facebook reveals PS4 and Xbox One box art

With every new console comes new box art design!  I don't know why but I always get giddy and excited when it comes flashy new box art. Up until now Microsoft and Sony have remained tight lip on how their games would look like on the shelf. But now, thanks to Battlefield's Official Facebook, we may finally have an idea.

There you have it. It seems both will carry over the same box art size but with color alterations. You can also head over to the official post here and get notified about Battlefield 4 pre-orders for the Xbox One and PS4. 

Xbox One Reveal Breakdown

Microsoft have finally revealed their new Xbox called Xbox One. It will be an all in one entertainment device that not only focuses on gaming but television, movies, and web entertainment. The concept is that it will blend all of these things together and allow users to switch them on the fly. The system is expected arrive sometime this year.

The System

Xbox One is a major one up over the 360's ancient tech. It will  feature an 8 core CPU, 8 GB System Memory, 500 (depending on the model), Blu ray drive, wifi, two HDMI ports (one in and out), and USB 3.0.

One thing's for sure is we won't be having two versions. The Xbox One will be an all in one unit and will still run on optical media. The memory is powerful enough to allow suspended play and play while installing. It will not, however, be backwards compatible. The big question we must all be wondering though is will it require an always on connection? No. Geoff keighley has confirmed that the Xbox One will not require an  always on connection when playing single player games, however Kotaku found out that it still needs to be online at least once a day. Strange. Kotaku has also confirmed that it will be able to play used games as well in some shape or form.

The next major component to the Xbox One is the Kinect. It will include a full HD camera, TOF technology,  and a new microphone that will be more accurate than the 360's version. For instance, you'll be able to switch on the Xbox One using your voice and command it to go to your game or watch movies. Notifications can also be interacted with using your voice. 

Another improved element of Kinect 2 is it's ability register precise hand movements and gestures such as twisting your wrists. One instance showed zooming in and out of an application using their arms. All Xbox One units sold will include a Kinect and will not be able to work without one. 

Of course it wouldn't be a gaming machine without a controller. The Xbox One will feature a brand new redesign of the 360 controller which brings back the black from the original Xbox but with a touch of chrome. Aside from that it will include impulse triggers, a built in rechargeable battery unity, a new D pad, and will work via Wi-Fi.

Xbox One's will on three operating systems: one is Xbox, the other is Windows, and the third is the one that bridges both together.

Xbox Live will also be upgraded to 300,000 servers meaning less lag and more optimization when it comes to streaming games over the cloud. No word if it will feature a new currency system or a change in it's Gold package.

[click to enlarge]

Achievements will also receive an upgrade. They will now work dynamically will not be confined to a single game.

The Games

While there weren't a lot of games shown, Microsoft mentioned it will have 15 exclusives, 8 of which are original IP's, that are planned to be released in it's first year. 

Forza Motorsport 5 will make it's return to the Xbox One. It will be released as a launch title. 

EA Sports have shown of their upcoming sports games running on their new next gen engine, Ignite. They will all be released this year. One thing to note is Fifa 14's Ultimate Team will now be exclusive to the Xbox One.

Remedy, the creators of the original Max Payne and Alan Wake have returned to reveal a new exciting IP called Quantum Break. Not much is known only that the gameplay will be based around time manipulation.

Last game to be revealed was Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Ghosts who seem to be finally giving the game a push in the visual department. It's gameplay will receive tweaks most notably the ability to control dogs...wearing bullet proof vests.


Steven Spielberg has signed a deal to make a live action Halo series appear on Xbox One

Well that's gist of it. I'm planning on making a piece sharing my opinions and my prediction on how this console could impact the Arab world. For now I leave you with this image of  a bad ass soldier dog. Woof out!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Riding Tigers, Colorful blood and more appear in these new Killer is Dead screenshots

A new batch of Killer is Dead screens have surfaced showcasing all the things I love about Suda 51 games. What are they? Well to name a few: over stylized violence, gameplay that's both absurd and ridiculously fun, and a convoluted story that makes sense? Okay, enough of that. Let's check out some virtual violence and don't forget to click on the images to enlarge them

The picks below highlight the different ways you can dispose your enemy: Assassination, Massacre, Punishment, and Enforcement. Depending on how you kill will reward the player with different items and improve several abilities.

Head over to 4Gamers to see more pics of Killer is Dead and you can expect this beauty to arrive end of Summer. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

New PS4 teaser gives us a glimpse at some sexy hardware

The Playstation 4 reveal in Feb was pretty interesting as it was the only console reveal that didn't show the actual console. Well, if you still can't wait for E3 then here is a small glimpse to keep you going.

Ohh black edges! Okay, it's pretty obvious that Sony did this to crash the Xbox reveal party happening tomorrow. It also means next gen wars are going to be a thing that we will have to put up with from both business and fans. Oh, joy! 

Resident Evil 7 may be revealed at E3

VG247 have discovered a leaked boxart of Resident Evil 7 floating around the net. According to this rumor the game will be revealed at E3 2013 and that's about it.

It's hard to imagine a sequel would be whipped up that quickly then again Resident Evil 6 wasn't exactly the series highlight so maybe they want to make it up? I reached out to Capcom to clarify if this is real or not. 

Resident Evil Revelations (Wii U) Review

The Resident Evil franchise has certainly hit a bit of a bump with Resident Evil 6. Numerous fans complained the game had too much action and lacked the survival horror element. With Resident Evil Revelations, Capcom hopes to fix that by showing that there’s still some horror left in this walking corpse.

Remembering Evil

Resident Evil Revelations takes place before Resident Evil 5, Jill is sent to investigate a mysterious abandoned ship called the Queen Zenobia. On board she hopes to find her lost partner Chris Redfield and discover the secret plans of a bio-terrorist organization named Veltro. Expect lots of plot twists and a story that fills some gaps in the Resident Evil timeline. While the story is good the execution is a bit poor as the game stumbles on bad writing and cheesy dialogue. It’s not unbearable although characters like Grinder and Jackass can be incredibly lame, it just certainly lacks quality and makes the overall story feel ridiculous. The pacing is also hindered as the game will occasionally jump from one character to the other and at different time periods. One moment your on board a creepy ship next thing you know you’re on a snowy mountain. It’s convoluting at times and just sort overall kills the buildup.

Bigger screen

Revelations is an HD upgrade from the 3DS version. While the difference is obvious it’s by no means a AAA looking HD title. Low res textures and low polygons show clear signs that this was ported from a 3DS game. That’s not to say the it doesn’t have atmosphere. The lighting and creepy hallways all create a horror experience that stays true to the Resident Evil formula. Just don’t expect it look as good as Resident Evil 5.
The gameplay has also been tweaked. Gone are the annoying QTE’s which plagued Resident Evil 6 and instead were given something a lot simpler. The FPS view in the 3DS version has been replaced with 3rd person camera view similar to Resident Evil 6. Puzzles also make their grand return but are still nowhere near as challenging as the original classics. One thing that did bother me though was the dodging. While the explanation appeared simple it just doesn’t seem to register with me all the time. This wouldn’t be a problem but some bosses require you to dodge which can cause some frustrating moments. In typical Resident Evil fashion, ammo is limited so every bullet counts but on the upside you can use a Scanner to find hidden herbs and ammo. Weapons can also be upgraded to help customize your guns and give them features such as extra ammo capacity, increase damage, and accuracy.

Beating the campaign will unlock a new game+ feature allowing you to start a new game with all your current experience and weapons. One feature that will make you want to come back is Raid Mode. Its survival multiplayer CO-OP mode is all biased on leveling up and winning points. These points can be used to purchase weapons, upgrades, and customizations which will make your character stronger to face new maps. Sadly I wasn’t able to test the online mode and the lack of split screen is sad. But regardless the challenging maps and enemies make Raid Mode still fun to play even you’re alone.

Little screen

If you’re opting for the Wii U version you’ll be happy to know that it includes some nice additions. Using the gamepad’s touch screen will display a map, quick swap weapons, and occasionally use it to solve some puzzles.  The highlight though has to be the Miiverse integration. Every time you die you’ll have the option to post a death message which other players can see, it can also be used to post messages on monsters in Raid Mode. Of course you can also use the gamepad’s screen to play the entire game on it, but if you’re a more traditional player you can still play the game fine using a Wii U pro controller. It does not, however, support motion controls.

The sound in Revelations has also been improved from the 3DS version. Guns sound better, monsters sound creepier, and a soundtrack that will make you feel you’re playing a Resident Evil game. I also I highly recommend playing it in surround sound as I’ve occasionally jumped a couple of times when a monster attacked me from behind.

Not a revolution

While it may not be groundbreaking, Resident Evil Revelation does justice in showing us what makes this franchise so great.  The horrific monster, dark hallways, and creepy diaries are things I haven’t experienced in a while. Though if you’re a 3DS owner then you’ve probably experienced them already. Resident Evil Revelations HD doesn’t add new chapters and aside from a few new monsters and DLC characters there’s really no incentive to buy this HD upgrade. However, if you’ve yet to experience Resident Evil Revelation then it’s high time you set sail and rekindle with your past on board the Queen Zenobia.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Project IllumiRoom 3D projecter could become Xbox Infinity's wild card

The next generation is upon us and though a lot of it will be prettier graphics we tend to forget that innovation is invited to the party as well. It might come in gameplay form (regen health, dynamic Uncharted like set pieces) or peripherals such as Kinect. Now I know what you all must be thinking: Kinect was an epic fail that shouldn't have been made in the first place.  Despite that fact we know that Kinect 2 is coming and it's going to be playing an important role in the next Xbox. How important? Well, maybe the video below could help shed some light.

Yes, what you saw was quite real and is under Microsoft's roof. Does this mean we're looking at Kinect 2? Not quite. While the uploader claims that this is Xbox 720 he's jumping the gun as Microsoft themselves claimed too early for testing. However that's not say it won't be added later. It does need a Kinect to work and would definitely make the Xbox stand out.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Racing: A Google Chrome Experiment Video demonstration

It's pretty obvious that Google is now  interested in entering the gaming scene, though not in the way one might expect. We've seen one of their previous entries, Google Maze, work via Chrome browser and now it  seems their newest entry, Racer, is following the same direction.

Racer allows you to cross play with any mobile platform as long as their running Chrome browser. The idea is once the game is set up you will be able to align mobile devices (up to 5 players) together to form one massive track. The video I created below illustrates this feature.

The best part is you can play this game right now on your mobile device. Keep in mind that it only works on mobile devices that can support chrome browser.

You know it's kinda funny. I feel that Google may be on track on fixing one of the biggest issues we have in the gaming industry: console wars. No longer will we have to debate on whats stronger or whose got the better exclusives. As long as your device can run said application your welcome to the party regardless of your hardware preference. I like that idea but certainly needs to have more...experiments. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Batman Arkham Origins Teaser Trailer Revealed

Warner Bros. has shown of a new a teaser trailer of it's prequel title, Arkham City. The CG footage below shows Batman battling Deathstroke on some snowy ship. Based on this we can see the game's setting will most likely be Gotham City but how much of it is unknown.

Batman: Arkham Origins features an expanded Gotham City and introduces an original prequel storyline occurring several years before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. Taking place before the rise of Gotham City's most dangerous villains and assassins, the game showcases a young, raw, unrefined Batman as he faces a defining moment in his early career as a crime fighter that sets his path to becoming the Dark Knight. As the story unfolds, witness identities being formed and key relationships being forged.

Look forward to the full reveal trailer on May 20th. Please let there be gameplay footage! 

You can now buy Super Metroid for about a price of a soft drink

Super Metroid has finally descended onto the Wii U's eShop channel for a price of 30 cents. In these parts, that's almost as much as a can of soda and less than a shawerma sandwich. The special offer is to coincide with the 30 year anniversary of the original NES console--hence 30 cents.

If you have a Wii U and haven't played Super Metroid then you're honestly missing out on one of the greatest games ever made. It practically invented the 2D side scrolling exploration mechanic with environments that really felt alive. Honestly, I would go as far as call it the precursor to Half-Life where cutscenes took a back seat and let the players learn about the story through the exploration. And if you already played.own Super Metroid then you can consider the 30 cents upgrade worth it for off screen TV play.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Favorite Moments in Gaming - Silent Hill Intro

Today I’ll be introducing a new show which I’ve honestly thinking about for a while. 'Favorite Moments in Gaming' will be dedicated to analyzing memorable scenes in gaming and explain why they were so powerful and legendary. 

My first episode will talk about Silent Hill's infamous intro which scared the living life out of me. Don't forget to give me your feedback as I'd love to hear them. 

GT6 PS3 Pics Leak online

French gaming site, Gamekyo, has managed to grab some leaked images for the upcoming soon-to-be-announced game, GT6.

So there you go. Not a surprise really, but kinda disappointed this ain't coming on the PS4. I suppose this game will be the PS3's swan song.