: Ben's Week In Review: October 25

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Ben's Week In Review: October 25

The big games are basically here, so I hope you've got some free time on your hands this holiday season!

It's the silence surrounding the Vita that's so depressing

I'm well aware that PlayStation Vita fans hate to always hear about how the console is "dead" or at least "dying." I think it's an excellent gaming device myself but I'm not afraid to notice the handwriting on the wall.

And you have to understand, I'm coming at this from more of an insider viewpoint. I see all the press releases and a lot of the investor notes; I hear various things on any given day that probably aren't being made public. And I can tell you this: The reason so many journalists have written about the Vita's premature demise is because Sony basically never talks about it. Not ever. It's omitted from any mention of updated PlayStation brand sales (only numbers for the PS4 are revealed), Sony executives rarely bring it up in interviews unless they're prompted to do so, and the Vita is awfully inconspicuous at most trade events. You may recall Sony's E3 presentation; the handheld was barely mentioned. And the only time Sony talks about the Vita now is to admit that it's not really doing well.

They say there are no first-party games in development and they concede that the environment right now is very "unhealthy." But beyond that, not a peep. There are no press releases with any mention of any Vita games, unless it's from a third-party publisher and even those are rare. This just isn't normal, people. Even when the PSP wasn't doing so hot, Sony was never afraid to talk about it, primarily because they had plans to continue supporting it. Right now, there's zero evidence on the back end in the gaming industry that Vita will continue to receive Sony's support. And it's really too bad, but that's the way things are.

Obviously, Black Ops III is going to fuel console sales

It's almost as if they only made a last-gen version of Call of Duty: Black Ops III to convince people to upgrade.

So, not only is the PS3/360 version lacking a campaign, but it will also only manage 30 fps. For a first-person shooter in this day and age, that's borderline unacceptable and I think both Activision and the hardware manufacturers know it. Very often, we look to exclusives to give hardware sales a boost - and I'm sure Halo 5: Guardians and Rise of the Tomb Raider will help Xbox One - but in certain cases, huge multiplatform titles can have a significant impact as well. If there is a marked difference between the last-gen and next-gen versions of a new installment in a massive franchise, it will indeed compel some hold-outs to finally upgrade. And it's a further reminder that most big new games aren't even coming out for PS3 and 360, anymore; Fallout 4, Star Wars: Battlefront, Need for Speed, Assassin's Creed Syndicate are only available on the new systems, for example.

Of course, because CoD is so huge, and also because it often caters some casual gamers who haven't bothered to buy a new game console yet, Activision still benefits from those last-gen versions. Even though it stands to reason that some of the 165 million purchasers of PS3 and 360 don't still have the old system(s), there are surely enough left to make the last-gen Black Ops III iterations worthwhile for the publisher. They wouldn't do it if they stood to lose. That being said, it's such a big technical gap that it almost acts like a red flag: "Hey! You haven't upgraded yet? Why?!"

Personal gaming update

I'm playing Assassin's Creed Syndicate but it's going to be a while before I deliver a review. Big games are like that. I'm basically at the end of the Hearts of Stone expansion for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt; just have a few more question marks to clean up. It really is a fantastic add-on and I can't wait to get my hands on Blood and Wine next year. I played as much as I could of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection but as amazing as those games are, I have played them all before. It's nice to revisit some of the best interactive productions ever made, though, and it definitely deserves a spot in my collection. I'm thinking the Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition might as well.

I don't have a heck of a lot of time this week (I'll be in NYC on Tuesday so no updates that morning) but obviously, the Syndicate review will be done ASAP. Then it's the NFS reboot, Black Ops III, Fallout 4 and Battlefront all in a row between now and November 17. Grand.

10/24/2015 Ben Dutka

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (11 posts)

Saturday, October 24, 2015 @ 9:52:57 PM

The Vita has lost lots of support but I don't think it'll go anywhere for good anytime soon. There won't be a big fire-sale event like the SEGA Saturn or DC that blows them out for good and we say goodbye.

But who cares? Sony already dealt the biggest blow to my respect for them. They straight up gave up on the backers of the system who were there for the first two years. No effort to at least make a couple bigger productions for us. Just nothing. I don't give a crap if it causes them to lose some money. They need to let their core know they're willing to clean up their mess for at least a few years. Just look at Nintendo's Wii U for taking care of a problem the right way.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015 @ 12:40:02 AM

aside from Vita unpleasantness, that slick Darksiders 2 trailer Ben put up made me go back and dust off my game (which includes all the DLC) and play it some more, because I felt it deserved a double take. I'm about 8 hours in, playing it on my PC, which runs it at 1080p and 60FPS btw.

Other than that I've still been plugging along at the game engine. Been doing massive changes to it's architecture, following the direction of this big tutorial. I've implemented forward-based rendering regarding the shaders. I've been learning lots.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 10/25/2015 12:42:34 AM

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Sunday, October 25, 2015 @ 2:30:58 AM

I am pleased with the way Nintendo treated their loyal fans. The Wii U didn't take off but they pumped out great games as promised to show their fans that yes, they weren't going to let us down.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015 @ 1:44:54 AM

Until Dawn is taking up my time at the moment. Played through it several times trying to make sure everyone survives the night but always seem to lose one or two at the end.

Some of the death scenes are pretty brutal. One in particular was worse than anything seen in a Mortal Kombat game imo.

Fantastic game, looking forward to the sequel.

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SirLoin of Beef
Monday, October 26, 2015 @ 12:32:22 PM

I have the game but haven't started it. Have read good things though so I'm hoping to start on it soon.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015 @ 2:34:10 AM

MGS5 update. Still having fun, don't see myself stopping anytime soon. My dedication to this game isn't really any different than it was to MGS4 when it came out. The only difference is MGS4 has a definitive beginning and end. So I ran though it like 9 times in a row. MGS5 really is a game that ends when the player wants it to end.

Almost done building my second FOB and I just started building a nuke. Haha. Done with all development projects except 4 and have a few trophies to go until platinum.

Last edited by Jawknee on 10/25/2015 2:38:01 AM

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Solid Fantasy
Sunday, October 25, 2015 @ 7:05:55 AM

MGSV is extremely entertaining, but you're right. The linear story action of Guns of the Patriots towers over the storytelling approach of Phantom Pain. A few years down the road we might see MGSV the same way we see Sons of Liberty. It was Kojima's ultra unique 4th wall break down style, but even then MGS2 at least had a climatic build to it.

I have yet to watch the bonus blue ray documentary which apparently fleshes out some loose ends.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015 @ 11:50:05 AM

Yea don't expect much. People exaggerated the importance of the unfinished content. It really just drags on a plot point that was already resolved. At best it seemed like it would have been a fun mission but as for closing plot holes, not much was there.

And yea, I think MGS4 is told more like a film with game elements which was still great. I love that game. But MGS5 is like 90% game which is also just fine with me. :)

Last edited by Jawknee on 10/25/2015 11:52:18 AM

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Solid Fantasy
Sunday, October 25, 2015 @ 8:45:53 AM

If you own a Vita it's mostly sad to see the potential not being fully utilized. There were some pretty impressive games early on in it's history. Kill Zone: Mercenary, Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, Soul Sacrifice was decent, Wipeout, TearAway, Liberation,and I opt for BorderLands 2 on the vita over the PS3 most of the time.
But as good as all these gems were, they were still early gen games. If the development world got competitive and creative who knows what amazing games we could have had by now.

Another question to ask about the Vita / handheld situation is: What's next? If Sony is out will anyone else dish out a hand held strictly for gaming with feasible hardware specs? Smartphones don't count. An Nvidia Sheild first gen (non tablet) form that doesn't require a blazing fast wifi signal and gaming PC left on all the time would be nice, but I haven't heard much.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015 @ 2:17:28 PM

PGU: I'm up to level 3 in Syndicate, which is pretty good so far, but I'm still only halfway through Hearts of Stone.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015 @ 8:29:52 PM

Haha, is COD: Blops III going to be $60 bucks for last gen consoles.

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