Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Personal Gems: NFS Underground 2

I'm starting this new series called "Personal Gems" to showcase games that I will always hold near and dear to my heart. Games that I will always enjoy no matter what anybody else says about them. So, first up, Need For Speed: Underground 2!


Need For Speed Underground 2 was released back in 2004 and is still the racing game I have spent the most time playing. I played it multiple times to completion on the PlayStation 2 and I still play it on PC from time to time. Out of all the Need For Speed Games ever released, I think this one had the most charm. I can't quite put my finger on it but there's just something about this game that makes it feel timeless - to me at least. 


The city of Bayview, in my opinion, is beautifully designed. It isn't just a boring arrangement of random buildings and straight roads. Each section of the city has it's own look according to the type of district it represents. The city center, market place, docks, train tracks, hills and every other district looks and feels different. The motorway also circles the perimeter of the main city which provides a great stretch of road for high speed runs. It really is a pleasure driving through Bayview.


The game has included the usual race types such as circuit, sprint, drift and drag races along side Street X and the Underground Racing League (U.R.L). Street X is a very hectic type of race carried out on short circuits with a lot of sharp turns. The URL consists of multiple races around the airport circuit which awards points to the winners in each race. The overall winner is then decided based on the total points received after all the races have been completed. All the races in this game have been very well designed and I have enjoyed my time racing in each and every one of them multiple times.


I saved the best for last! The cars and modifications. While there weren't any exotics or supercars, the selection was quite good including hatchbacks, tuners and even SUVs. The thing I love most about this game is the absolutely ridiculous modification options available for every car. In most other games you could paint the car, change the bodykit and rims, put a spoiler on it and maybe tint the windows. This game allowed for a bit more than that. In this game, you could put spinners on, attach underglow neon, put LCD monitors and amplifiers in the boot,  change the colour of the engine accents and even install a hydraulic suspension system! It's ridiculous, it's extreme and it's fun.


I know there have been many new installments to the Need For Speed franchise since Underground 2 and I've played them all, but this one still remains my favourite. I really hope that there will be an Underground 3 someday and that it'll be made by people who love Underground 2 as much as I do. Until then, I can always revisit Bayview in my Skyline R34.


Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

What I actually Do When Playing The Witcher 3


Ahh.. The Witcher 3. A game with a deeply intriguing story concerning well developed and likable characters in which you play as Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher with astounding swordsmanship and sorcery. Think of the adventure, the perilous journey, the thrills, the triumph of defeating great creatures and collecting Gwent cards! There's just so much to do in this amazing game!


I've been doing none of that. Instead, my time has been spent travelling around the world on horseback, looking for beautiful locations at which I would take pretty pictures of Geralt staring into the distance. At night I'd even try to incorporate the moonlight and the shadows to make Geralt look more mysterious and gloomy. Never before has the "Share" button on my controller gotten so much use. 

I'm sure I'll carry on with the story at some point but for now I'm perfectly happy just exploring the world in search of more picturesque locations for Geralt to stare at. 


Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Also proud member of PlayStation Collectors Group - PSCG.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Top 3 Things That Annoy Game Collectors


Game collecting is immensely fun and I admit I really enjoy collecting games despite all the annoyances I face while doing it. That said, there are so many things that annoys us collectors but I'll just go over my personal top 3!

Stickers

I'll always prefer to buy a game with no stickers on it even if it's a bit more expensive. It's maddeningly annoying when a you see stickers on games. Some stickers are easy enough to remove especially is they're on a plastic surface like most modern game cases but there are some stickers that fuse with the plastic and just won't bugger off no matter what you do to it. It's even worse if they've stuck it on a game's box because the box could tear when you're trying to remove it. You can't use any dissolving liquid on it either because that might cause even more damage. *sigh*

Condition

I always try to find games that are quite pristine and I'm sure most collectors do the same but this isn't very easy. Often it's just a minor scratch or two on the box and maybe some colour fading. However, sometimes I find games with scratched discs, cracked cases, missing manuals, torn boxes or covers and even some scribbling all over it and I just think to myself, "was the previous owner a blithering idiot?" because I can't think of any other reason why your game would be in such a horrendously bad condition!

Prices

I'm sure every collector has had to face this at one point or another. Unrealistic asking prices by people who think they know how much a game is "actually" worth. You try to tell them it's not worth that much but they're always very adamant, aren't they? This is especially common for older games. Just because something is a bit older and a bit less common, doesn't mean it's worth as much as a fortnight's holiday in the south of France! 


There are quite a number of other things that annoy me but none as significantly as those 3. However, I still genuinely enjoy game collecting and I have no plans of stopping. There are some annoyances in anything we choose to pursue so at the end of the day we'll just need to deal with it. If you're reading this and you also enjoy collecting games, good luck game hunting mate!


Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Is Umbrella Corps Really That Bad??

YES, IT IS.


The online 3v3 multiplayer is extremely shallow with just 2 modes, "One Life Match" and "Multi Mission", both lasting only 3 minutes each. Aside from a well paced unlock system and decent character customization, the game's balancing, weapons, controls and overall design are absurdly bad.

The single player experience is basically a crucible called "The Experiment" which contains 24 repetitive missions with the exact same objective, to collect infected DNA samples, on a limited number of poorly designed maps. There's no real story concerning the Umbrella Corporation aside from a few poorly written diary entries. Besides that there aren't any cutscenes or boss battles throughout the entire span of the 24 missions and at the very end, the game rewards you by showing you the game's trailer. 

In conclusion, Umbrella Corps is a terribly underdeveloped game unworthy of the Resident Evil name. If you're a fan of the Resident Evil franchise or just a fan of competitive first-person shooters in general, you won't be a fan of this. 


Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Unexpected Goodness: Spiderman 2 (PS2)


It might just have been my proclivity for movie tie in games during the PlayStation 2 era that led me to discovering this game but I really feel like Spiderman 2 was one of the most addictive games ever. We never expect movie tie in games to be actually enjoyable, do we? Well, this one was!

The game features a slightly altered story line from the movie with some minor additions that do keep the game quite interesting. While playing through the story is enjoyable in it's own right, the main source of fun in this game is simply mucking about as Spiderman in the huge city of New York. Web swinging in this game feels utterly glorious! Spiderman moves beautifully as he swings at high speed in between buildings and even does a few flips in mid air before shooting the next line of webbing. 

The fighting mechanics are also very enjoyable. It's quite a feeling being able to fight street thugs as Spiderman with his webs, Spidey senses and elaborate acrobatics.  It's also a nice touch that they added a few funny remarks by Tobey Maguire himself which you can hear while fighting. Overall, Spiderman's movements and animations in the game are smooth and fluid which makes controlling the iconic character a real pleasure. 

If you've never tried Spiderman 2 and you still have a PlayStation 2, just take a chance and try it. I have spent countless hours just swinging around, climbing to the top of the tallest buildings in New York, jumping off those buildings and then swinging around some more. It's just one of those fun and charming games which I think will still be enjoyable 20 years from now.


Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Friday, 24 June 2016

Why I Love Collecting For PlayStation 3


Firstly, the PlayStation 3 wasn't my first console so nostalgia isn't really a big factor in why I love collecting for it so much. Right now the PlayStation 3 isn't a retro system yet nor is it the most advanced gaming console. It's just somewhere in the middle. So, why do I enjoy collecting for it so much?

Good Games & Hidden Gems

There have been over 1000 games released for the PlayStation 3 and there are still some on the way. Besides the slew of well known great titles, there are an insane amount of hidden gems on this console as well! Games like Nier, Dragon's Crown, Brutal Legend, Puppeteer and Folklore aren't very well known for some reason but are properly great games that can be experienced on the PlayStation 3. 

On BluRay

As a collector, I always buy used games because buying brand new games would be far too expensive. It's really easy to find used PlayStation 3 games in good condition due to the heightened durability of BluRay discs compared to DVDs. It's really seldom that I find a game with even a minor scratch on the disc. Furthermore, due to the memory available on a BluRay, every game is on only one disc and that's always a good thing.

Easily Obtained

At the time being, PlayStation 3 games are very easy to find and are quite cheap to buy. I could easily get 5 used PlayStation 3 games for far less than the price of a brand new PlayStation 4 game. Used PlayStation 3 games are also often complete in box , meaning that the game disc is sold in it's case with the cover and the manual. It might not be a big deal to some but I really like games having manuals. Newer games don't even have a physical manual anymore!


So, that's why I love collecting games for the PlayStation 3. It's a fun system to collect for and I look forward to obtaining even more PlayStation 3 games to add to my glorious pile!


Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Why You Should Let Gamers Be Gamers


There are so many reasons why you should just let gamers be gamers. Aside from the fact that everybody should be allowed to do whatever they enjoy without judgement from people who don't enjoy the same thing, games aren't causing us any harm. They're fun! Games have also made quite a significant positive impact on me in multiple ways.

Kept Me Out of trouble

I can only speak for myself when I say that games have kept me out of trouble throughout the years. While quite a number of my peers have gotten into drugs and late night partying and whatnot, I've always been happy to just stay at home and play Gran Turismo in my room. My love of games has prevented me from doing some properly stupid things and I'm very thankful for that.

Helps Relieve Stress

I've had days when I've arrived home really stressed out with all that's happened throughout the day and I'd be in a terrible mood. Usually, about an hour or so of gaming would cure that. In games, we can do extremely ludicrous things without any real repercussions which means we're able to let loose all of our pent up rage on the game's NPCs. I can assure you that this is quite therapeutic.

Helps Keep A Sharp Mind

Playing video games can actually help keep the player's mind sharp. This might seem like an odd concept to non-gamers but playing games does take quite a bit of skill. You can't just laze around and hope to overcome the obstacles the game has put in front of you. You have to be able to think quickly and react! You have to be observant and resourceful! Gamers are a smart bunch, you know.


There's absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying video games. I can understand that not everybody enjoys games just like not everybody enjoys going out and playing football or getting drunk or going bungee jumping. Gamers aren't causing any harm so please let us game. Let Gamers be gamers.


Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

5 Things Game Collectors Do When Not Actually Gaming


I'm sure that this won't apply to everyone but it does to me. As a gamer and a collector, I find myself doing these things quite often when I'm not actually playing with my games.

1.  Looking For More Games

I might just be out shopping for household items or some biscuits or whatever and I would always feel a need to stop by a game store just to see if there are any used games I might fancy. Sometimes, even when I'm just sitting around at home, a game just pops into my head and I would have the urge to immediately find out how much it would cost. I would go online and check all the usual sites and undoubtedly start looking at various other titles I would like to someday add to my collection.  

2. Admiring The collection

I don't know if anybody else feels the same way but sometimes when I walk past my shelf of games, I just tend to admire it for a few minutes. I look at it as a whole and look at some of my more treasured titles and just stand there with a silly smile on my face. Honestly, I hope nobody ever sees me doing that.

3. Watching Videos Of Other Collections

I used to do this almost every day! I would watch videos of people showing off their collections on YouTube and think about getting some of the titles they have and possibly even amassing a similarly colossal collection. It's just quite enjoyable to watch these people talk about the games they have in their collection. Watching them makes me think that maybe I'm not that crazy after all. 

4. Rearranging The Collection

I still do this quite often, for some reason. I feel like I need to properly organize my collection according to some sort of order. The problem is, I can never decide on what that order should be. Sometimes I want it to be alphabetical, sometimes by franchise and maybe sometimes by the different looking logos on the spine. It's maddening at times but it's also a lot of fun looking through all the games and deciding where they go.

5. Talking To Other Collectors

There are a lot of really great people in the game collecting community which is why conversing among collectors is something I personally do quite often. Game collectors in general are very pleasant and friendly towards fellow collectors and gamers. It's nice to share views and opinions on various titles you may or may not have in your collection as well as show off some of the more uncommon titles you've acquired. 


So, those are some of the things I do when I'm not actually gaming. A bit silly, maybe, but I couldn't care less. It's good fun! 


Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

My Top 10 Favourite PS2 Games!


The PlayStation 2 has one of, if not the largest library of any console ever made. There were so many great and enjoyable games released on this system. I know my list may not include your favourites but this is my personal list. A list of games that I still hold near and dear to my heart!

10. Black


This was my favourite first-person shooter on the PlayStation 2. Visually, it looked absolutely amazing! I remember thinking that it was the most realistic looking game I had ever played up to that point. Besides that, it didn't have the nonsense regeneration system like other games. If you wanted your health back, you needed a med pack. The maps were large and well designed. The weapons looked great and felt powerful. I don't know if it's just me being silly but I felt like Black had a sort of charm that other titles in it's genre lacked.

9. Gran Turismo 4


I was blown away by how many cars were available in this game. I was used to playing arcade racers having a car lot of about 30 - 40 cars, then this came along. I spent dozens of hours trying out almost every car in the game on almost every available circuit. Since then, I've done the exact same thing with Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo 6. I look forward to doing it all again in Gran Turismo Sport later this year!

8. Bully


Bully was a very unique title. It allowed us to be the rule-breaking, bully-beating tough guy we always wanted to be. While there were some annoying missions like escorting a kid to the restroom before he wets himself, most missions were extremely enjoyable, especially after you get to explore areas outside Bullworth Academy.

7. Kingdom Hearts 2


While Kingdom Hearts was great, Kingdom Hearts 2 was absolutely magnificent! I shed more than one tear playing this game. I loved the characters, I loved the story and I loved the combat most of the time. There's not much to really say about Kingdom Hearts 2. If you've ever played it, I'm sure you would know what a great experience it is.

6. Guitar Hero 3


This is still my favourite music game to date. The track list is unrivaled by any other title in the franchise or any other similar franchise for that matter. The controls also felt more responsive than the previous installments. The visuals were amazing, elaborate and bizarre at times. The inclusion of Slash and Tom Morello in the game was an extra treat for me. Another thing I really liked was that this game could be played using a regular controller instead of the guitar controller which was made compulsory in later installments.

5. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas


There have been many great Grand Theft Auto titles, more than one on PlayStation 2, but this is the one I love the most. This game was just a colossal virtual playground which allowed me to let loose all my anger and frustration after a long tiring day. I can't even remember how many hours I've spent just mucking about in San Andreas but I do remember that it was extremely fun.

4. NFS Underground 2


While many may not agree, this is personally my favourite street racing game on the PS2. I know it's not the best looking racing game on PS2, it doesn't have the most spectacular story and there aren't any cops to crash into but I just absolutely loved my time with it. I think that this game has the most important thing a game can have, charm. It also has an insanely memorable soundtrack!

3. Final Fantasy X


This is one of the best games I have ever experienced. Everything in this game is near perfect. I played it on PS2, I'm currently playing it on PS3 and I'm sure I'll play it again on PS4. I'm glad Square Enix is letting us have this game for every new console generation because it is worthy of that treatment.

2. Marvel Ultimate Alliance


"Oh look, it's a game about superheroes trying to save the world from the forces of evil." It's stupidly enjoyable is what it is. I played this game to completion probably four or five times. It was simple and it was fun. If anybody hasn't played this game, please track down a copy of it and enjoy. This game deserves to be played. It is "Marvel"-lous!

1. Final Fantasy XII


This is my favourite game on any console ever and nothing anybody says will change that fact. I adore it. Honestly, I could be blathering on about this game for weeks. It's one of the more underrated Final Fantasy titles for some reason but please don't push it aside. It's a game that takes you on a beautiful journey with great characters and a deep intriguing plot that leads to a satisfying end. Square Enix has also announced it's plans to bring Final Fantasy XII to  the PS4 next year. Obviously I will be picking that up and I invite you to as well.


Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Monday, 20 June 2016

"Why Do you like Collecting Games So Much??"


I've been intrigued by games since I was a kid when my cousin let me play a game called "Metal Slug" on PS1. "Metal Slug? That's an odd name", I thought before I started playing it for 6 hours straight. Since then, I've been able to build my own collection of games. I go hunting for games quite often nowadays. I'm always peering into game stores, looking for a bargain on used games or possibly even rare titles. Some have asked me "Why do you like collecting games so much?".

It's quite simple really..

To Play Them! 

The main purpose of a videogame is obviously to be played and enjoyed. First-person shooters, racing games, fighting games, action games, RPGs and whatever else, they're all just simply extremely fun. I doubt non-gamers will ever understand what it feels like to be properly immersed in a game. We gamers utterly enjoy it!

Stockpiling!  

While I do make a point to do my research and try to always buy good quality titles to add to my collection, I'll admit that I don't actually play every single game that I buy right after I buy them. However, now that I have the game in my collection, I'm able to play it whenever I feel like doing so! Just knowing that I can play that game whenever I want feels really good for some reason. Besides, let's be honest, they look really good all put together on the shelf.

Nostalgia!

It just feels amazing to be able to experience those games you played as a kid again years later. It just puts a smile on your face, doesn't it? I played Metal Slug again quite recently and it's still as much fun as I remember. Oh, and let's not forget that Crash Bandicoot is coming to PlayStation 4! 


It isn't that hard to understand why we collect games. It's pretty much the same story with collecting anything. You collect it because you love it, you see value in it and no matter what anybody says, there's nothing wrong with that. 


Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Sunday, 19 June 2016

My Top 5 E3 2016 Moments


There were so many great moments littered throughout this years Electronic Entertainment Expo. Those moments that just caused me to grin uncontrollably as I tried to contain the absolute excitement of watching parts of what used to only be possible in my dreams being played out in reality. 

5. Final Fantasy XV Stage Demo


During Microsoft's press conference, Hajime Tabata and Mat Kishimoto made an appearance on stage to show off a new gameplay demo called "Trial of The Titan". This is the first time we we're able to see actual gameplay of Noctis taking on Titan. The sheer scale of it just blew me away. Even though the demo wasn't played very well, it still caught my eye and manged to "summon" a gigantic smile on my face. I admit, I'm quite envious of the people who actually got to play that demo at the Square Enix booth. 

4. Spiderman


I've always loved to play Spiderman games. Not necessarily for their story but just to muck about in as Spiderman himself. Since the PlayStation 2 days, Spiderman games have allowed us to swing around the enormous city of New York and beat up baddies using some webbing and elaborate flips and kicks to their faces. So when Sony revealed the new Spiderman game trailer and announced it was currently being developed by Insomniac, I utterly lost it. 

3. Hideo Kojima


This one really made me happy for some reason. Hideo Kojima made an appearance during Sony's press conference to reveal a trailer for the game he's currently developing with his studio, Kojima Productions. He walked on stage as a bridge of light formed underneath him courtesy of Sony's elaborate visual setup. He then faced the cheering crowd with a smile on his face, thanks them for the applause and proceeded to say those two words that made me go absolutely silly with excitement, "I'm back".

2. God of war


It has been a while since we've had a new God of War title to look forward to. We haven't heard from Kratos since his last adventure on the PlayStation 3. Then, at E3 2016, Sony decided to start off the best press conference of the year with a 10 minute gameplay demo of a new God of War game! Do you know what if feels like to have a stupidly wide smile emblazoned across your face for 10 whole minutes? ...It felt good actually.

1. Crash Bandicoot


Sony revealed that they are working with Activision to bring back Crash, Crash 2 and Crash: Warped fully remastered from the ground up, for the PlayStation 4! The crowd went bonkers and so did I. Sony had teased Crash in some of their recent games such as Uncharted 4 but nobody was sure if they would actually be bringing the beloved marsupial back. This was an amazing surprise, one that got me ecstatic to the point of near insanity, Thank you, Sony.


I've just noticed that 4 out of the 5 moments happened during Sony's press conference. No wonder people are regarding that as one of the best E3 press conferences ever. Other than that, I was also very excited when Bethesda announced Skyrim remastered as well as Nintendo revealing the "Battle Royal" feature available in the new Pkemon titles. It truly is a good time to be a gamer. 

Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog




Saturday, 18 June 2016

E3 2016: Final Fantasy XV Announcements Recap!

Square Enix didn't just have one press conference like the others, they spread out their announcements throughout the span of E3. Square Enix had made some pretty significant announcement and reveals even before E3 started. I guess their plan all along was to focus all their attention on Final Fantasy XV during E3. So let's take a look at Square Enix's announcements regarding Final Fantasy XV

DAY 0

Titan Demo

Square Enix made an appearance during the Microsoft press conference to show off a live gameplay demo of Final Fantasy XV. The demo was made playable at the Square Enix booth. However, they have made it clear that this specific build is only for the E3 demo and the experience in the actual game will differ slightly. 

Final Fantasy XV Gameplay , Microsoft E3 2016 (by.Kotaku)

New Trailer + PS VR

Later during the day, we saw a new trailer at the Sony press conference. This trailer features music by Afrojack and shows off some previously unseen gameplay footage. The trailer also reveals PlayStation VR integration for Final Fantasy XV. With the use of the PS VR headset, players will be able to play as Prompto and fight along side Noctis, Ignis and Gladio. However, it hasn't been made clear whether this will be available during the entire game or just a specific section. 

Final Fantasy XV - E3 2016 Trailer | PS4, PS VR (by.PlayStation)

Active Time Report (Day 0)

We also got to see Square Enix's active time report which featured an extended version of the Afrojack FFXV Trailer. They also showed a new Kingsglaive trailer and confirmed that Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV will be shown in select cinemas across the US on August 19th 2016.


Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report - E3 2016 - Day 0 Edition

Other than that, Square Enix also announced that episode 2 of the Final Fantasy XV: Brotherhood anime will be available the next day. So it's available right now! Go watch that.

DAY 1

North American Box Art

They started the day by showing off some FFXV gameplay footage and then revaled the box art for the North American version of the game.



Final Fantasy XV: A King's Tale.

Square Enix actually announced a new game which will tie into the Final Fantasy XV universe. A king's Tale is a 2D beat em up that will act as a prequel to the main game. The game will feature a much younger King Regis. This game will be free for anybody who has pre-ordered Final Fantasy XV from Gamestop. 

A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV

Special Presentation

Hajime Tabata revealed quite a lot of new information regarding Final Fantasy XV during his special presentation. We got to see an example of how Titan would attack when summoned, which was absolutely amazing. Other than that, Hajime Tabata also showed off another feature within the game called "Wait Mode". Wait Mode can be used during combat in order to stop time and make proper decisions should the battle become a bit too difficult to manage.

FINAL FANTASY XV Live Stage Presentation (by.Final Fantasy XV)

Hajime Tabata Interview

Later in the day, we also saw an interview of Hajime Tabata by GameSpot where he discussed his approach on designing the game. Hajima Tabata also talks about his feelings as the game nears it's release date, with the help of the best translator I've ever seen.

Final Fantasy XV: Hajima Tabata on Design Approach - E3 2016 Stage Show (by.GameSpot)

DAY 2

Kingsglaive Discussion

Square Enix showed a presentation where Kingsglaive's place in the Final Fantasy XV universe was discussed. Hajime Tabata said that while the game will follow Noctis and his friends on their journey, Kingsglaive will follow King Regis, Noctis' father and Nyx who leads the Kingsglaive. They went on to say that while the game and the movie are independent and deeply-satisfying on their own, as you experience both stories, you will understand the strong bond between father and son.

FFXV UNIVERSE: KINGSGLAIVE FINAL FANTASY XV (by.Final Fantasy XV)

More New Footage

Square Enix also revealed some new footage showing off a beautiful, previously unseen location, the city of Altissia as well as Noctis' car/airship, the Regalia Type-F.

Altissia, City Upon The Water (by.Square Enix JP)


FINAL FANTASY XV - REGALIA TYPE-F (by.Final Fantasy XV)

DAY 3

15 Questions

During the Square Enix Presents livestream on day 3, Hajima Tabata was tasked with answering 15 questions from fans regarding Final Fantasy XV. There ended up actually being 16 questions in total. Some of the questions asked didn't really help acquire new information on the game but there were a few that did! I'll leave a link to the article containing all the questions and answers here :

Hajima Tabata - 15 Questions

There was some information that made me very happy. Firstly, Hajime Tabata mentioned that if you take the time to level up enough, you can be able to defeat enemies in one hit. This might not appeal to everyone but I personally like being able to reach a borderline-overpowered state. However, for those who would rather not do this, there will be an item in the game to restrict earning EXP. This will allow players to complete the entire game at whatever level they want. Secondly, he also mentioned the possible duration of the game. He said that ultimately there will be around 200 hours of content for the player to enjoy. Since my approach to RPGs has always been much slower compared to the average player, I'm looking forward to spending the million hours or so mucking about within that beautiful magical world. Hajima Tabata also mentioned that they are planning to release DLC for the game in the form of extra story content, alternate costumes and more. I'm happy to get DLC for great games such as this. Gladly, it doesn't look like they will be taking out chunks of the game for the purpose of "Day-1 DLC" like some other developers.

After all the information we've received throughout the course of E3, I am even more excited to start playing Final Fantasy XV. I want to delve deeper into the FFXV universe. I can't wait to learn more about their journey together as well as their individual stories in the game, movie, anime, and every other tie in that Square Enix has provided for this truly impressive game.

Final Fantasy XV will be released on September 30th 2016.

Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Friday, 17 June 2016

NieR: Automata Boss Battle


NieR: Automata is an upcoming title being developed by Platinum Games and published by square Enix. That's quite the combination. We recently got to see new footage showing off one of the boss fights that will be  in the game. I must say that "Impressive" would be an understatement.

NieR: Automata E3 2016 Boss Battle (by.Square Enix NA)

I'll admit, I wasn't very hyped up for NieR: Automata before I saw this new boss battle gameplay footage. The soundtrack alone sends chills down my spine. Just watching this got my pulse elevated! I'm just itching to play it now! I am so sorry for not paying enough attention to you, NieR: Automata. I'm now humbly awaiting your release.

NieR: Automata will be coming to PlayStation 4 in early 2017.

Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog


Thursday, 16 June 2016

God of War PS4: Sequel or Reboot?

I'm sure that by now you've all heard of the new God of War title that's currently in development for the PlayStation 4. It was a rumour that many including myself we're discussing before Sony's press conference. The rumours have now been confirmed! God of War will be coming to the PlayStation 4. If you haven't seen Sony's gameplay demo, here you go. Enjoy!

God of War - E3 2016 Gameplay  Trailer | PS4 (by.PlayStation)

After the trailer was revealed, the main question being thrown around was "Is this a sequel or a reboot?". Some weren't even sure if the main character who looks like Kratos is actually Kratos or a completely different character altogether. 

Good of War - E3 2016 LiveCast | PS4 (by.PlayStation)

Yes, he looks a bit different with the beard but let me assure you that it is actually Kratos. Also, in this gameplay trailer, Kratos still has his ash skin along with all of the scars that he had acquired throughout the course of the previous games. Obviously, If it were to be a reboot, Kratos wouldn't retain so much detail from the previous titles. It has been revealed he new game will take place after the events of God of War 3, however it isn't clear exactly how long after. I think it's safe to assume that it's at least as long as it took to grow that magnificent beard!

It has also been made clear that the young boy in the trailer is Kratos' son. Although there was some mention of the boy's mother, there have been no details revealed regarding her identity. Kratos is also a bit older and gentler now. He isn't the constantly raging beast he once was. Cory Barlog also revealed that the game is set in a time before the viking age, when the gods still walked the earth.

I'm very excited to learn more about this game. I've played God of War games since the PlayStation 2 days. They were always a lot of fun. However, this is the first time I've felt so attracted and so intrigued by a God of War title. I can't wait to actually play it!

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : beyond_just_games

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

E3 2016, Day 3: Nintendo Announcements Recap!


Nintendo's press conference was nowhere near as extravagant as the others'. While other companies made use of an enormous stage (..or two), Nintendo decided to have a subdued, laid-back press conference they called the "Treehouse" event. Nintendo had already informed fans prior to the event that they would not be discussing their upcoming console, the NX. Throughout the press conference, they did discuss 2 of their upcoming titles at length, Pokemon Sun & Moon and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Pokemon Sun & Moon

Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon - Demonstration - Nintendo E3 2016 (by.Nintendo)

Nintendo started off the event with a Zelda trailer but then quickly started talking about the two new Pokemon games for the Nintendo 3DS. They showed off gameplay of Pokemon Sun and Moon highlighting the various new improvements and additions to the  franchise. However, they did spend a bit too much time explaining things that players familiar with the franchise would already have known. 

Battle Royal

The main announcement made was regarding the Battle Royal feature. On top of the previously available multiplayer functions such as battling and trading, Pokemon Sun and Moon will also have an additional feature which will allow players to partake in a 4-way free-for-all Pokemon battle. Each player brings up to 3 Pokemon into the battle and the winner is decided by comparing the number of Pokemon each player has defeated along with how many usable Pokemon still remain in their party. 

Personally, from what we've seen so far, the upcoming Pokemon titles look like a dream come true! I don't own a 3DS yet but I might own one by the time Nintendo release Pokemon Sun and Moon.

Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon will be released for the Nintendo 3DS on November 18th 2016.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Official 
Game Trailer - Nintendo E3 2016 (by.Nintendo)

The latest installment in the long line of Zelda titles is finally shown in detail and at length. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild take the franchise in a completely new direction compared to previous installments. This game will feature a vast open world which players can easily get lost in. Nintendo also showed off an insane amount of gameplay during the press conference.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Introduction 
- Nintendo E3 2016 (by.Nintendo)


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Exploration Gameplay 
- Nintendo E3 2016 (by.Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - amiibo Gameplay 
- Nintendo E3 2016 (by.Nintendo)

Even more gameplay footage can be viewed on Nintendo's YouTube channel now. Long time fans of The Legend of Zelda franchise were not disappointed with the incredible amount of gameplay shown during the press conference. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is still in development. There was no release date announced for this title.

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : beyond_just_games

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

E3 2016, Day 2: Sony Announcements Recap!


Sony might have just won E3 with their insanely amazing press conference. If I had to describe that press conference in one word, it would be "EPIC". Sony even decided to have a live orchestra playing at the event. We were expecting a lot from Sony this year. We wanted to see a lot more games for the PlayStation 4. We were also hoping that Sony wouldn't be too focused on PS VR. Well, Sony decided to give us everything we asked for and so much more. 

Games

God of War

The very first thing Sony showed during the press conference, the very first reveal, was a new God of War title. However, the new game isn't in line with it's predecessors. This game has a different feel and a different Kratos.

God of War - E3 2016 Gameplay Trailer | PS4 (by.PlayStation)

God of War is still in development and does not have a confirmed release date.

The Last Guardian

The game which has kept us all waiting for so long. We were all intrigued by it the first time Sony showed us the trailer years ago and now we won't have to wait much longer.

The Last Guardian - E3 2016 Trailer | PS4 (by.PlayStation)

The Last Guardian will be released exclusively for PlayStation on October 25th 2016.

Horizon Zero Dawn

This game was previously announced to be released in 2016, however, the game has since been delayed. Sony revealed a bit more about this game at E3 2016. They showed new gameplay highlighting some the games features such as crafting and mounted combat.

Horizon Zero Dawn - E3 2016 Gameplay Video | Only On PS4 (by.PlayStation)

Horizon Zero Dawn will be released as a PlayStation exclusive on February 28th 2017.

Detroit Become Human

This game was announced a while back at Paris Games Week 2015 but we never learned much about it until Sony's press conference at E3 this year. The game will allow players to make decisions in order to overcome a given situation. Based on the players choices, there are various outcomes which could even lead to either life or death.

Detroit Become Human - E3 2016 Trailer | PS4 (by.PlayStation)

Detroit Become Human is still in development and does not have a confirmed release date.

PlayStation VR 

PS VR has officially been launched and a release date has been announced. PSVR will retail for $399 and will hit the shelves on October 13th 2016.

Sony Also revealed 3 new titles for the PSVR and confirmed that they will have at least 50 titles available for the PS VR within the year.

- Farpoint
Farpoint - E3 2016 Announce Trailer | PS VR (by.PlayStation)

No release date has been announced.

- Star Wars Battlefront X-wing VR Mission
Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission Reveal Trailer - E3 2016 (by.IGN)

No release date has been anounced.

- Batman Arkham VR
Batman Arkham VR - E3 2016 Reveal Trailer | PS VR (by.PlayStation)

Batman Arkham VR will be released in October 2016.

Resident Evil 7 

The latest installment in the Resident Evil franchise isn't exactly what you would expect. It's still a horror game, yes, but this time it's in first person. Obviously this is going to be quite a treat for those playing on PS VR.

Resident Evil 7 biohazard - E3 2016 TAPE-1 "Desolation" Trailer | PS4 (by.PlayStation)

Resident Evil 7 will be released on January 24th 2017.

Final Fantasy XV VR Experience

Sony also showed off a new clip of Final Fantasy XV whereby the player would be able to utilize the PS VR headset to play the game as Prompto. I'm guessing Prompto, with his handgun, is the only character that would make sense for the PS VR style of play.

Final Fantasy XV - E3 2016 Trailer | PS4 PS VR

Final Fantasy XV will be released on September 30th 2016.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

COD: Infinite Warfare also received a new gameplay trailer showing off how the game would deal with space battles. The new environment coupled with absence of gravity does add a new dimension to the franchises combat.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - "Ship Assault" Gameplay Trailer | PS4 (by.PlayStation)

As we all know, Modern Warfare Remastered is available to anyone who purchases the Legacy Edition of Infinite Warfare. We also received some news revealing that Modern Warfare Remastered campaign will be available 30 days early on the PlayStation 4.

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare will be released on November 4th 2016.

Crash Bandicoot Remastered

We asked for it and Sony listened! Crash Bandicoot is coming to PlayStation 4. Sony will be releasing remastered versions of the original Crash Bandicoot game along with Crash Bandicoot 2 and Crash Bandicoot: Warped. Crash Bandicoot will also be a playable character in Skylanders Imaginators.
Skylanders Imaginators - E3 2016 Crash Bandicoot Reveal (by.PlayStation)

While there was no mention of a release date for the Crash Bandicoot remasters, we will be able to play as Crash in Skylanders Imaginators when it is released in October 2016.

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (demo on PSN now)

We've already known about this game for a while now and it will be released quite soon. Still, Sony decided to show off a new trailer. No complaints from me. There is also a playable demo available now.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens - E3 2016 Trailer | PS4, PS3 (by.PlayStation)

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released on June 28th 2016.

Hideo Kojima's New Project - "Death Stranding"

The audience, me inlcuded, became quite excited when Hideo Kojima walked on stage. He proceeded to say "I'm back!" which instantly put a smile on my face.  He then went on to introduce us to his new project titled "Death Stranding" which, in typical Kojima fashion, is quite weird and stars Norman Reedus!

Kojima Productions' Death Stranding Reveal Trailer - E3 2016 (by.IGN)

Death Stranding is still in production and there has been no mention of a release date.

Spiderman by Insomniac

Your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman will be getting a new game developed by Insomniac. I've been wanting a good new Spiderman game for a while now. Hopefully, Insomniac will be able to provide that.
Spider-Man - E3 2016 Trailer | PS4 (by.PlayStation)

Spiderman is still in development and there has been no release date mentioned.

Days Gone

Days Gone's trailer doesn't reveal much at all but Sony also closed the show with a gameplay demo of the game which revealed that it would be a third-person zombie apocalypse game. Quite a crowded genre nowadays but this game looks a bit different. The sheer amount of zombies on screen and the way the zombies behave make this a very different experience.

Days Gone - E3 2016 Announce Trailer | PS4 (by.PlayStation)

Days Gone is still in development and there has been no release date mentioned.

That just about sums it up. Sony knows how to make an impact and that's exactly what they did. We can now look forward to owning the fabled The Last Guardian later this year besides the slew of other great titles Sony has announced. As so many have said after Sony's press conference, "It's a good time to have a PS4".

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : beyond_just_games




E3 2016, Day 2: Ubisoft Announcements Recap!


Ubisoft had quite a long press conference. They really took the time to show off gameplay and discuss certain aspects of their new titles being announced at this years E3.

Games

Just Dance 2017

Just Dance 2017 | E3 Official Reveal Trailer (by.Ubisoft)

Just Dance 2017 will be released for Wii, Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC in October 2016. It will also be available for the Nintendo NX.

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands Gameplay Walkthrough: 
El Pozolero Takedown Mission - E3 2016 (by.Ubisoft)

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on March 7th 2017.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole (december 6)

South Park: The Fractured but Whole E3 2016 Trailer (by.Ubisoft)

South Park: The Fractured but Whole will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on December 6th 2016.

The Division DLCs

- Underground

Tom Clancy's The Division Trailer: Underground DLC  Gameplay 
- Expansion 1 - E3 2016 [US] (by.Ubisoft US)

Underground will be available for Xbox One and PC on June 28th 2016. PlayStation 4 will be receiving the expansion on August 2nd 2016.

- Survival


Tom Clancy's The Division - Survival E3 Trailer (by.Ubisoft)

There is no release date announced for this expansion.

V.R.

- Eagle Flight


Eagle Flight VR: MUltiplayer Gameplay - E3 2016 (by.Ubisoft)

Eagle Flight will be released in Autumn 2016.

- Star Trek: Bridge Crew


Star Trek: Bridge Crew VR - Reveal Trailer - E3 2016 (by.Ubisoft)

Star Trek: Bridge Crew will be released in Autumn 2016.

For Honor

For Honor - Viking Gameplay Walkthrough Trailer - E3 2016 (by.Ubisoft)

For Honor will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on February 14th 2017.

Grow Up

GROW UP - Announcement Trailer E3 2016 (by.Ubisoft)

Grow Up will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in August 2016.

Trials of the Blood Dragon

TRIALS of the BLOOD DRAGON - Launch Trailer E3 2016 (by.Ubisoft)

Trials of the Blood Dragon was made available after Ubisoft's press conference. It is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC NOW.

Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 - Gameplay Walkthrough - E3 2016 (by.Ubisoft)

Watch Dogs 2 will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 15th 2016.

Steep

STEEP - Announcement Trailer E3 2016 (by.Ubisoft)

Steep will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in December 2016.

Movie : Assassin's Creed

Amidst all the games, Ubisoft also included an interview with a producer working on the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie. They also showed off a new trailer of the soon to be released videogame adaptation.

Assassin's Creed | Exclusive E3 Behind The Scenes (by.Ubisoft)

The Assassin's Creed movie will be in cinemas sometime in 2016.

A decent press conference by Ubisoft. They obviously know their audience and are catering to them. While I'm not one to encourage pre-order bonuses and day 1 DLC, those things get some people very excited. One more thing, don't downgrade your graphics, Ubisoft. Please deliver your product as promised.

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : beyond_just_games





Monday, 13 June 2016

E3 2016, Day 2: Microsoft Announcements Recap!


Microsoft had a simple but effective press conference. They knew what they wanted to show, and they showed it. As soon as the conference started, they didn't waste any time with their announcements.

Xbox One S

The very first announcement of the day. Microsoft will be releasing a new slimmer version of their current generation console. The new console will be called the Xbox One S and will retail for $299. The new console will also come with a new "fully customizable" controller which means players will be able to decide on the exact colour combinations and pick from the various button designs as well as being able to print their name or gamer tag on the controller in order to make it a fully personalized item.



Microsoft will also be releasing a few updates for their current gen console to add new features including background music, language and region independence, Clubs and a competitive tournament platform, Arena.

Project Scorpio

Xbox - Project Scor

Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft's Xbox division, revealed that the rumoured project Scorpio is in development. Project Scorpio will reportedly be a new, more powerful version of the Xbox One console which will have improved hardware specifications and will be able to support 4K gaming and VR. Owners of the current version of the Xbox One needn't worry about lacking games when the new console is released because every game which will be released for the Scorpio will also be supported on the Xbox One and Xbox One S. The new console will be released during the holiday season, 2017.

Xbox Play Anywhere 

Throughout the entire press conference, Microsoft emphasized the cross-play between Xbox and Windows 10 PC. Essentially every game you purchase for one system, it will be playable on the other and players on the different platforms will be able to play the games together online. Moving forward, titles which have previously been Xbox exclusives will now be Xbox One & Windows 10 PC exclusives, meaning you would be able to experience them on either platform.

Games 

Microsoft had a slew of games to show this year, some with confirmed release dates, most with cross-play and cross-save functions for the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. This is going to be quite a long list!

Gears Of War 4

Gears of War E3 2016 Co-op Gmaeplay Demo (by.Xbox)

Gears of War 4 will be released as an Xbox One & Windows 10 PC exclusive on October 11th 2016

Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct General RAAM Announce

Genral Raam has been added in as a playable character in Killer Instict.

Forza Horizon 3

Forza Horizon 3 E3 Trailer World Debut and Onstage Demo (by.Xbox)

Forza Horizon 3 will be released as an Xbox One & Windows 10 PC exclusive on September 27th 2016.

ReCore

ReCore E3 Gameplay Trailer

ReCore will be released as an Xbox One & Windows 10 PC exclusive on September 13th 2016.

Mafia III

Mafia III - E3 2016 Trailer (by.Xbox)

Mafia III will be released on October 7th 2016.

Minecraft Realms

Minecraft E3 2016 (by.Xbox)

Minecraft Realms will feature cross-platform interaction between Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, Android, iOS and VR.

Inside

Inside (by.Xbox)

From the creators of Limbo, Inside will be released as an Xbox One and Windows 10 PC exclusive on June 29th 2016.

We Happy Few

We Happy Few (by.Xbox)

We Happy Few will be coming to Xbox Game Preview on July 26th 2016.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game E3 2016 Xbox Briefing

Closed Beta coming September 2016.

Tekken 7

TEKKEN 7 E3 2016 TRAILER (by.Xbox)

Although there is no confirmed released date for Tekken 7, it is said to be coming early 2017.

Dead Rising 4

Dead Rising 4 E3 Announce Trailer (by.Xbox)

Dead Rising 4 is said to be released during the holiday season, 2016.

Scalebound

Scalebound Xbox E3 Briefing 2016 (by.Xbox)

Scalebound is an Xbox One & Windows 10 PC exclusive coming in 2017.

Sea Of Thieves

Sea of Thieves Trailer & Gameplay - Xbox E3 2016 (by.Xbox)

No release date has been announced for this title.

State Of Decay

Announcing State of Decay 2 -Xbox E3 2016 (by.Xbox)

State of decay has no set release date but is said to be coming in 2017.

Halo Wars 2 

Halo Wars 2 Official E3 Trailer (by.Xbox)

This game gets a Beta this week!
Halo Wars 2 will be released as an Xbox One & Windows 10 PC exclusive on February 21st 2017.



- Danial Aziz
Instagram : beyond_just_games