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E3 2016 Video and Vlogs!

Posted on June 25, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Rae and I were CRAZY busy at E3! Despite that hustle, Rae and I manged to get a few minutes on camera each day to share with you. If missed it because you aren’t  subscribed to our YouTube channel. Which you should totally fix! But I’m going to drop them all here in on MEGA E3 VIDEO POST!

So first lets do the VLOGS, then make sure you keep scrolling because there is a special secret video at the end!

E3 Day 0

E3 Day 1

E3 Day 2

E3 Day 3

If thats not enough E3 Content for ya! Check out this bonus video of an interivew Rae did with one of the lead developers of Elite Dangerous!


Keep watching, keep reading, and keep being awesome, we do it all for you <3



Elite Dangerous With Top Tier Gear Is A Whole New Galaxy of Fun

Posted on June 24, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

At E3 developers at Frontier and representatives from Thrustmaster invited me to check out the  manufacturer’s upcoming hardware refresh for their high-end HOTAS line with a convention exclusive demo version of Elite Dangerous. As I’ve written before, Elite Dangerous is one of my favorite VR experiences and it was the first VR title I tried – Elite proved to me that the magic of VR is possible, even with limited vision. So, to get the chance to use some of Thrustermaster’s upcoming toys while piloting an interstellar space ship was a no-brainer, I jumped at the opportunity.

In terms of the in-game demonstration, the version of Elite built for the show introduced players to a lot of the key concepts that are required to be successful while exploring the Milky Way. My demo began with an experience that is very familiar with me – looking around the cockpit of my ship and waiting for whatever space station I was situated at to release my ship so that I could fly out and begin exploration. As the computerized voice in my ear belted out “ship released” my fingers instinctively pressed the button on my right joystick to retract my landing gear as my left hand pushed the throttled to push the ship out of the docking bay. Once the ship was out of the bay I got to fly around in total freedom for a few moments before a waypoint suddenly lit up on my HUD.


Once my ship was aligned to the new jump point my craft entered hyper-drive, blue and purple particles whizzing past my head as I looked up into the top-side window in my cockpit. As my ship began to decelerate from the faster than light travel I noticed that I had entered orbit around a sun in an unexplored system I was not at all familiar with. As I grabbed my right joystick to move my ship out of the gravitational pull of the sun I noticed something – the look of Thrustmaster’s upcoming joysticks and the button placements are almost exactly 1:1. Representatives from both companies would later confirm to me that this was intentional and that the particular HOTAS setup I was using was designed with Elite in mind.

There wasn’t much time to stare at the magnificent sight that was the sun I was escaping from as enemy units showed up on my ship’s HUID. Pressing the button on my right joysticks I raised my hardpoints and pulled the thruster forward as far it would go. My first few laser blasts missed, the on-board computer needed a few more moments to lock-on. Just as my reticule was about to lock on my foe did a quick dive upwards, but I was ready. I cut power to my engines, aimed my nose up with the right joystick and pushed the thruster full blast again, getting back on my foe’s tail. Once my sights were aligned I got off four shots that destroyed my target just as the demo automatically whisked my ship away.

Rae using the HOTAS for Elite dangerous

Rae using the HOTAS for Elite dangerous

It is hard to convey just how well the presence of the Elite Dangerous E3 demo worked. I was playing on a Oculus Rift CV1 in a very specific set-up that was designed specifically for Elite. To say it was immersive is an understatement, it is probably the closest I’ll ever get to flying in a real spaceship anytime soon – or short of winning the lottery and building the mammoth gaming rig / hardware configuration that Thrustmaster and Frontier brought to their booth.

The HOTAS actual hardware used at during the demonstration was an upgraded version of Thrustmaster’s Warthog line – representatives told me that the controllers on display were actually prototypes, one of only a couple the company had at the moment, and that the final versions will hit retail sometime close to December. Current versions of the Warthog retail for around $349.99 and consist of two discrete parts – the joystick and throttle components. The company also makes lower cost options such as the T.Flight – which do not include as many physical buttons but can still get the job done – which retails for $79.99.


My experience with Elite Dangerous at E3 just confirms that it is one of the most immersive spaceship experiences available on any platform. Elite Dangerous and its first expansion Horizons is available on both Windows PC and Xbox One. Look for more coverage of Elite, including a video interview with the developers next week.


Turtle Beach announces Elite Pro headset at E3 2016

Posted on June 24, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

I don’t usually consider the thing that sits on my head while I am gaming a premium piece of hardware. Usually it’s just whatever headphones I use for editing video or audio. Turtle beach wants to change that with their newest set of headphones, the Elite Pro headset. The Elite Pro sells for $200USD and Turtle Beach have pulled out all the stops making this one.

Here you can see the adjustment for how tight the headset sits on your head

Here you can see the adjustment for how tight the headset sits on your head

E3 2016 with Turtle Beach

The first thing turtle beach said to us was that this headset has been designed with “competitive gaming” in mind. I was a skeptical, but when Turtle Beach sat me down and started to tell me about the features this headset had, I started to believe that claim.

E3 is a crazy haze of booths, competing with noise, colors, and size for the attention of the people who enter the Los Angeles Convention Centers two main halls.  Turtle Beach knowing this had a full stage for E-Sports set up and was blasting a loud speaker, full tilt, e-sports of one sort or another. Their booth was full of colors and lights, and loud announcers; this struck me as odd because the new headset is anything but flashy.

Leather and fabric

You can just see the fabric peeking out of the leather ear cups in this shot

Ancient history

If you have been a gamer since the PS2 and Xbox era you probably remember when Turtle Beach was the absolute last word in gaming headsets. Their wireless sets dominated the market for years, with their precision sound allowing hard core gamers to hear their enemies before they ever saw them. Sadly as the years rolled on Turtle Beach began to focus on more options, and their ultra high end sets started to suffer a bit as they played to the dominant market force of low cost. As brands like Astro and Razer rose, Turtle Beach found themselves in an increasingly crowded market with too many products and no focus.

Enter the Elite Pro

The Elite Pro Tournament headset is their answer to that problem. Created they say from the ground up for ESports team OPTIC, and clearly marketed at the very top end of all gaming headsets, Turtle Beach is hoping that the Elite Pro can see them return to the top.

The first thing I noticed about the Elite Pro was that it wasn’t wireless. For me at least this is a good thing, if you want maximum performance, you don’t use a wireless headset. The second thing I noticed was the muted colors, many gaming headset are very concerned with the idea of having you be seen wearing the headset, Turtle beach have gone instead with a muted black color scheme with a few orange accents.

In this shot you can also see the $200 TAC

In this shot you can also see the $200 TAC

yah but what does it do?

Features wise the headset has a pair of 50mm drivers, that Turtle Beach says use “NanoClear” technology, when I asked what that was, I was told it was proprietary, so I have no idea what that is at all. These speakers nest in a huge set of foam ear pads which are very round and have plenty of cushioning.  One really neat feature with the ear padding is a sort of pull that allows you to create a channel in the padding for glasses. The cups use combined leather and fabric the leather provides a beautiful finish while the fabric prevents major ear sweating during long gaming sessions.

Beyond the comfortable ear cups, the headset does a few other things with comfort in mind. Turtle Beach says they have designed this headset with long gaming sessions in mind, and so have put in some features to help that. The set uses a well-padded floating headband to try and prevent any painful contact points on the head itself. As well as an adjustment on the headset band itself for tightness. This one seems like it’s a bit excessive but if the shoe fits.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to try any of these comfort features so I can’t tell you if they really make a different feel, and the only set that was available for a demo unit wasn’t hooked in to anything so perhaps more importantly I can’t tell you what it sounded like to have them on. What I can tell you is that the marketing people really sold the set as being gaming first.

Gaming Performance

Turtle Beach promises that this is first a gaming headset, and so they haven’t spent a ton of time working on the sound response. Instead they have focuses on making sure that you can hear your opponents coming and that your team mates can hear you when your talking to them.

To that second point, Turtle Beach have said that they have deigned an all new microphone with the same quality as a boom mic so your teammates never miss your call out of one enemy at B site. There is an inline mic mute and volume control. The headset will work with any 3.5mm jack, but Turtle Beach recommends plugging it in its 200USD Elite pro Tactical Audio Controller (TAC) for best results. Again I was totally unable to try the microphone so I can’t speak to its ability to block outside sound (a major feature of tournament grade microphones) or its fidelity.


This is the full list of accessories for the Pro line


Turtle beach are also making two accessories to go with the Elite Pro Headset. First you have the $200 TAC, and then the Elite Pro noise canceling microphone ($30). The TAC’s purpose is the same as the old Astro mixamps, to control the levels of various things.

To use the TAC you’ll need to plug in the headphones, the microphone, and the controller you are using. On the back you’ll find an Aux in port, a stream out port, a selector switch to tell the amp which device you are on, Ethernet in and out, and optical in and out. There can be no doubt that the TAC has a lot of cables when it is all plugged in, but what you get in exchange is a huge degree of control over in game sound. The Ethernet ports are not for internet, but instead daisy chaining multiple mix amps together.

On the front you have a large volume knob, and 4 sliders. Each slider has a center click to tell you when you are at 50%. The 4 controllable sliders are for game volume, background noise cancellation, outbound mic boost, and mic monitor level. Since this is a powered amp your going to be able to do a lot more than you would with a just the headset. The TAC comes with 4 preloaded presets, but if you are spending 200 USD on an audio set up, you should probably be setting your own levels.

The second accessory is the $30 noise canceling microphone. This microphone has a bit of magic in it, with a front mounted mic that pics up noise around you, and then uses the mixamp to filter it out that noise.  Once again I have only the word of the rep giving the presentation to go by on this one, but hopefully independent testing will arrive in the future to verify this claim. According to the current reviews that are out there the consensus seems to be that there was very little difference between the default Elite Pro headset and the extra offered microphone.


There are a lot of ports on the back of the TAC

The final word

Overall this headset looks promising, unfortunately I am unable to bring you and real “testing” of the set as Turtle Beach have not provided a review model, but I can say this. This is a very well-constructed pretty headset. The Elite pro is designed with  comfortable long gaming sessions in mind. It is a project that comes from a need in the space for a dedicated tournament grade headset. If you are in the market for a new high end headset, this should for sure be on your short list. Hopefully when Turtle Beach has the available inventory for reviewers, I can get one set for you our audience to do a full run down with.


Warhammer Inquisitor Martyr – E3 hands on preview

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Warhammer Inquisitor Martyr was one of the games I most wanted to see at E3. I am a massive fan of Warhammer 40K and this game has a custom physics engine on board, to make everything look awesome, and be able to be destroyed. I was unsure of how cover would work in an ARPG styled game, but it turned out I didnt really need it at all. Check out the trailer below for a good idea of how the game plays.

I found Neocore Games booth way in the back of South hall, as I approached and saw just a few computer and a TV screen, I wondered if i was in the wrong place. Luckily for me I was not, the large display TV clearly showed that the title of the game and a nice set of B roll footage playing in the background. After a presentation about the world, the physics engine, and the eventual scope of the game. I was allowed to sit down and play for about 30 minutes, I had access to one level, and one of the games three planned classes, but even with these limited options, I had a hell of a lot of fun.

Right away I noticed that this was a very pretty game, Neocore games have cooked up their very own new graphics engine for this game and it shows. Lighting is very important in the 40K universe, it is literally a GRIM DARK, universe. Martyr does a great job with this aesthetic. Everything is dark, but also looks like it’s in the future. Much of the galaxy of 40K is 10,000 years or more old, made up of lost technology, and often in ruins. This is very clear in the tile sets that the developer have chosen. Most of environments I saw looked ancient, to the point of being ready to crumble.  I was only able to play on one tileset and indoor metal based one, but earlier trailers have shown other more open or outside tile sets will be in-game.

This is the kind of crap inquistors have to deal with

This is the kind of crap inquisitors have to deal with

The custom designed engine takes good advantage of that terrain. It is all fully destructible, and this is one the things that the developer is very invested in this destructible cover system, as you can see from this video.  The environment also provides another layer, offering cover for you or your foes to hide behind. These covers can then be destroyed. The system works all right, but felt a bit out-of-place in an ARPG.

Sitting down and playing it, the cover system honestly doesn’t feel like its needed. I say this with trepidation in my heart because developing a major system just for a game like this is really a great thing, but an ARPG is by its design action based. I don’t want to hide behind cover, I want to jump in to a pile of enemies and kill them all. You can do that, but since enemies also have good AI, they will use the cover to evade you, and you will spend more time chasing if you don’t play the way the developers want. That being said the Warhamer universe is as good as any for an ARPG to be set in. With weapons like chain swords, and psykers who can throw powerful attacks there is no shortage of material for an ARPG .  Even with just the small slice of the game I was shown I could see some of that and the developers spent a lot of time stressing that we have only seen a small amount of it so far.

At the E3 demo we were also treated to video and explanation of a new class. The assassin class looked rough around the edges, since it seemed to have only a snipe, and a few stealth abilities, but nothing to really do much damage. I hope this class was still in development and will look a bit more polished when the game is finished. It does have promise, but since the game is a single player experience im unsure why anyone would chose not to play the heavily armored tank of a champion that is the crusader class.  The Crusader is the games tank and is who we have seen in other gameplay videos, and who I was able to play in the demo. There will be a third class (I am hoping for a magic user) which has yet to be revealed as well. Each class will have different weapons, and each weapon will have different attack “modes” meaning that your sword will be able to do things that aren’t just swing pointy end at enemy. I saw a bit of this when I played, being able to use my sword as a finisher after shooting a bunch with my bolter.

This is you, you are a bad ass, you kill xenos.

This is you, you are a bad ass, you kill xenos.

At its core this is an ARPG, you will take on the role of one super powered Inquisitor from the Space Marines faction of the 40K universe, you will then hack, shoot, and explode your way through purifying the aliens, mutants, and heretics of the 40K world. Neocore are going to give players a whole sector to play around in, and have promised that players decisions will make major changes to the sector. Two types of campaign will exist in game. In the first mode your character will fight alone in massive sector, but special events will tie the various missions together. When you finish the story, which is promised to be a classic 40K story with a mystery as old as the inquisition itself at its core, you will then have access to the open world of the sector and be able to play endless levels with procedural generated maps and objectives. In this open world sandbox is where Neocore have promised that your actions will effect the larger sector.

I was only able to play one mission, with the objective of killing a boss at the end. It was pretty much the most basic ARPG style game play you could imagine. I had a series of abilities, triggered with the numbers on the keyboard, I could shoot my gun with right click and move with left click. The class I was playing had two weapons choices. The first was a sword and bolt pistol, this combination is fairly balanced, and gave me the ability to both shoot at things far away, and chop things that got close to with my sword. While using my sword I had access to some neat finishing moves that could be triggered when an enemy’s health was low. I could for example behead an enemy soldier, or stab him through the chest. My secondary weapon was a Lascannon, which shot a single target with a high damage slow-moving projectile. The Lascannon also had a AOE ability that I found myself abusing quite a bit, it launched a slow projectile that landed and cause a large amount of damage. This was my only AOE that I was able to find. As far as I could tell the only other place I could get AOE damage from was grenade. While this wasn’t as much as a problem as it would be in say Diablo, Inquisitor Martyr did still throw groups of enemies at me, so I would have been quite happy for another AoE ability. I mean I have a sword, let me swing it in a wide arc or spin it or something!

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room

this is about as crowded as one room will ever get, enemy density is very light. Also notice the ever present ARPG red health globe.

So as I got started on the mission that I was allowed to play, I was dropped in to a grim room, with a lot of gothic flare, if I had to guess I would say I was one of the massive space ship hulks that feature in the 40K universe. I was allowed to wander down a few hallways, which the developers told me were procedurally generated, and fought a few enemies. I seemed to be fighting the chaos faction, and at saw at least 5 enemy types even in this early prototype of the game. The destructible cover works, you can destroy almost everything people hide behind, but I mostly spent my time kiting enemies out of cover to kill them, so I found the cover mechanic at best annoying. Now is the part where I have to say that this is not a typical ARPG, as fast as something like Diablo is with huge swarms of enemies coming to you and you hitting them and using abilities on them, this is the opposite. The game moves slowly, you feel like a giant terminator, walking slowly along shooting and faster enemies who you are forced to either try to kill before they get to you. I did not feel like I was close to dying anywhere, but it was a demo designed for press, so it may have been toned down.

Overall I enjoyed the game, I think it really captures what I feels like to be a super powerful terminator alone and arrayed against the whole galaxy of Xeonos. I could have done without the cover mechanic I never used, and I think the difficulty needs some tweaking for sure, and since the demo build I played had no loot in it, I really didn’t get that ARPG feel that comes with say Diablo or other games like it. The developers did say that they were working on loot, diversity of enemies, and whole slew of more weapons from the 40K universe. This is a game to keep on your radar as it gets closer and closer to done. As of today the game has no release date, and the developers are still calling it an alpha product, so I would expect that there is a ton of work to still be done on the game, but when it is done, I think it will be a worthy entry in to the 40K video game cannon.

I leave you with this one final trailer by the developers about mass destruction, and my thoughts on the game. In order for this to work as an ARPG loot needs to come in to the game. The developers were adamant that they were working on it but wanted the loot to “make sense” before it went in to game. The rest felt quite good, and I plan to play and review this game when it comes out sometime in 2017.


E3 2016: Tekken 7 Xbox One Preview

Posted on June 19, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

As a fan of Bandai Namco’s Tekken series since the launch of the 3rd game back on the original PlayStation, I’ve followed the series through four numbered installments, several spin-offs, numerous guest characters and three console transitions. Somehow, against all odds, Namco has been able to maintain the series’ identity of wacky interconnected storylines, multiple unlockable endings, deep strategic fighting and of course the Mishima Zaibotsu.

Bandai Namco announced that Tekken 7 would be coming to home consoles on Microsoft’s Xbox One console along with another hidden surprise – the inclusion of Street Fighter‘s often secret combatant, Akuma!  Behind closed doors at Namco’s small private booth at E3 the home console version of Tekken 7 was playable on the Xbox One and I got the chance to watch several matches.


Akuma as well as one of the PC/Console exclusive stages – Abandoned Temple – were on display in the build that the developers were showing off at E3. If you’ve played Akuma in other Street Fighter titles then some of his familiar strategies also apply to Tekken 7. Akuma’s tatsumaki forward whirlwind kick is featured as one of his standard moves in T7. He also has access to a focus meter, which works similar to the one found in Street Fighter IV, and builds over time allowing him to land a slowed down but devastating blow to his opponent. In the version of Tekken 7 on display the Focus Attack meter replaced the traditional Rage Meter when Akuma was selected. Another popular strategy that Akuma players relied on at E3 was one particular move combination that had him perform an upwards low kick before transitioning into a downward punch at the ark of a jump.


The Xbox One version of Tekken 7 is expected to include all of the additional content that is going to be found in the Tekken 7: Fated Retribution update which is due out in Japanese arcades next month.  This arcade upgrade includes 28 characters (including bosses) – returning favorites like Jin, King and Steve Fox join newcomers like the Saudi Arabian born Shaheen and the Otaku-like cat girl Lucky Chloe.  In terms of stages Fated Retribution (and presumably the console port) will include 10 stages at launch including  Artic Snowfall, Devil’s Pit, Forgotten Realm, Mishima Dojo as well as the PC/Console exclusive Abandoned Temple and Mashima Building.


Tekken 7 is expected to be released for Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs sometime in the first quarter of 2017.


First time VR experience from a total newb featuring War Thunder VR and the HTC Vive

Posted on June 19, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

So while attending E3 this year I had the chance to check out the amazing War Thunder from from Gaijen entertainment in vivid amazing VR, with the help of and HTC Vive and the amazing  Warthog Hotas from Thrustmaster. I had never experienced VR before, having missed the whole wave of VR. Both because of price, and because of generally not liking to adopt things before they get to their full and ripe potential. (remember Windows Vista? I was day on on that you would stop early adopting too).

So this was really a cold entry in to the VR sphere for me. I sat down and put headset fully expecting to be immersed in to an amazing world of flying airplanes and scenery and other random crap that flew up to me and made me want to throw myself back like in all those cool first time VR videos.  I did not have that type of reaction at all, but I still appreciated it. Two things really prevented it from being that amazing moment for one, the first of which was partly my fault. I didnt have my glasses on when we started, making a lot of the games menus blurry and unreadable. The second issue was that I was not wearing a headset. Lack of sound really takes away from the experience of being in VR.


That good looking man is not me, however this is exactly how the set up looked right down the razer keyboard.

Its worth mentioning that I know my way around a HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick) from years of playing MS flight sims and a genuine interest in aviation. Which meant that going in I was already probably better prepared for this than most would have been. I found my hands quite easily rested on the stick and throttle combination that the Warthog offered, and I quickly found all of the major flight surface controls even with the headset on. Initial problems were solved easily (it feels odd to know more about flying than the developer of the game). I was able to set all of the flight control surfaces to neutral on the HOTAS and get flying with any major difficulties.

After starting a few missions and getting a good feel for the game, I really felt like VR was a huge boon for the game. Instead of looking left and right by hitting the 4 way hat on the top of joystick which is the most common way of doing so in most sims, I was able to just look up. This was pretty amazing, and I found fairly few issues with the game itself in VR beyond some of the text not being readable to start off with.  The blurriness issue was fixed when another member of the games dev team told me to put my glasses back on. Finally able to see the text in menus I felt a lot better about being able to actually see the instruments that are needed for flying (you know like the altimeter?) and got my self out there in the sky to do some flying.

Flying felt pretty good, the controls quite responsive, and although there is no one to one mapping with the Warthog, the screen did sort of reflect the changes in the sticks location. Since they aren’t mapped 1 to 1 like some other flight games are I did have some issues with the disconnect between my mind and body, and at one point the game did crash leaving me in darkness, and I opted to not have the headset on for sound since I was working in tandem with Rae and needed to hear her directions for filming and what not.


low res textures really take away from the VR aspect of the game

War Thunder is a huge game, with a ton of planes that recently passed 100 use able vehicles, so I only got to see a tiny tiny slice of it, but the missions that I did get to see looked fantastic, and I only had a few small problems with the Vive itself. I was often able to see the swirls of the lenses in the vive, which sort of threw me out of feeling like I was there in the plane, and at a few spot the whole thing crashed leaving me in a disconcerting darkness. Other than that the headset fit my rather large head quite well, and I had no issues with fit or comfort.

Over all I was fairly impressed with my first time in VR. Head tracking is almost flawless, and since this was a full production Vive unit it also came with the two small sensors which are placed on walls around the pc in use to give you mostly flawless head tracking and the ability to stand up and sit down or move around as you want to. This ability to move is not very useful when you are in a small single seat airplane, so again I really felt like maybe this wasn’t the best first VR experience for me. This had very little to do with War Thunder and very much to do with the fact that it just isnt the best use of VR out there. Even so it was still great fun, and if you are a flying simulator enthusiast I recommend taking a look at this set up.


E3 a Convention in photos

Posted on June 18, 2016 by Fionna Schweit


Nintendo’s Breath of the Wild Live Experience Proves Critics Were Wrong

Posted on June 18, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Critics of Nintendo’s E3 2016 strategy wondered just how the company could have a strong showing with just one game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild playable at their booth. Now that the dust has settled it is quite clear that the big N made the right call in putting all of the cucco eggs in one basket and trusting in the Hero of Time.

Not only did Nintendo bring one of the most refreshing and innovative Zelda titles to date to one of gaming’s biggest conventions (our impressions will be going live later this week) but they also brought a ‘live experience’ that existed opposite the traditional rows upon rows of demo stations that E3 is known for.

Nintendo's E3 Treehouse Livestream Was Just Outside the Live Experience Booth

Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse Livestream Was Just Outside the Live Experience Booth

This real world playground of Zelda: Breath of the Wild delights mimics several key elements new to the game.  Upon entering visitors are greeted by a large statue of Link aiming his arrow towards one of the game’s new tentacled enemies. This particular statue became a popular photo spot for media, fans, developers and other attendees. During my time inside the Breath of the Wild E3 experiencece it was hard to get a shot of the statue without someone beside the it posing for a selfie with Link.


This Statue Was So Possible It Was Almost Impossible To Get A Shot Where Someone WASN’T Taking a Selfie With Link.

Opposite the large monster / Link statue was a replica of one of the game’s new feature – a goblin stronghold. In the game Link can take these over by completing challenges, thus unlocking new abilities or hidden treasures. Breath of the Wild‘s live experience was watched over by one of these goblin creatures atop the stronghold. Adjacent to the stronghold was a large cooking pot, which contained multiple items that bob-up and down thanks to mechanical motors. This simulates a similar animation that plays when Link uses the new cooking crafting system introduced in Breath of the Wild.

A Goblin Keeps A Loook Out In Nintendo's Live Experience

A Goblin Keeps A Loook Out In Nintendo’s Live Experience

One of the far corners of the live experience mimics the iconic look of Temple of Time but this particular version of the Temple of Time is different than any we’ve seen before. Giant columns rise up  from the ground with vines growing all around them. Large doors complete the new aesthetic, filling in the space between the pillars.

The Temple of Time

The Temple of Time

As a Nintendo PR Rep took me on a tour of this elaborate live experience for the new Legend of Zelda she informed me that all of the objects in the booth are too scale, exactly as Link would see them in his world. That not only means that visitors to the live experience would see recreations of objects & monsters that populate Hyrule in Breath of the Wild but more importantly see them exactly as Link will in the game, right down to the proportions. To top it all off Nintendo had fans blowing a gentle wind through the trees and carrying the smell of forest throughout the booth.

A Chest With Glowing Eyes!

A Chest With Glowing Eyes!

Nintendo promised to transport attendees to Hyrule with their presentation at this year’s E3 and they succeeded like never before. If you thought that ultra cool Twilight Princess booth from 2006 was amazing and immersive – you can’t possibly imagine the feeling of seeing objects through Link’s eyes, feeling the wind on your skin and smelling the faint scent of the trees with every breath.  You can bring a single game to E3 and impress the socks off of everyone and Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild live experience booth has set the standard for an immersive convention experience.


A Wide Shot of Nintendo’s Breath of the Wild E3 2016 Experience

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be released in 2017 for Nintendo Wii U and the unannounced Nintendo NX.


Mafia III is looking very strong | E3 Preview

Posted on June 17, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

E3 is about half hands on demos, and half theater’s showing hands off demos, so I wasn’t surprised that this year 2K brought their much anticipated Mafia III game to the convention, with a huge booth, complete with a french quarter and a live band and free beer. Unfortunately (at least for us) they did not bring a playable Mafia III demo. Instead they showed about 30 minutes of game play in a private theater, which all thought it wasn’t live was directly captured from in game.

The footage started off with a quick explanation of what was going on in the Mafia III world, we are going to play Lincolin Clay, a man on a mission to avenge his mob which was betrayed and killed by the local Italian mob. Now hes now alone in this quest got three lieutenants to help him out and he’s going on the war path.Your three capo who will help you to rebuild are: Cassandra, who is the  leader of  a local Hatian gang, Thomas Burke -A man the Italian mob betrayed who now hates them with a passion and wants to get revenge., and  Vito Scaletta – a former mob boss now turned against his former colleagues. These three underboss or capo will help you take back your city from the Italian mob who betrayed you. These capo will be responsible for managing your districts which you can take over saints row style, and will give you more money or influence or bonuses based on who manages them.  With these three capo you will set out to rebuild the criminal empire that was taken from you.

mafia 3

Tommy guns are confirmed in game! Lets sweet some streets!

Mafia III is set in a representation of NewOrleans in 1968 amidst a time period when the south was none too kind to people of Mr. Clays persuasion. The city is a central character in the game and 2K showed us a few of the districts, and said that in the final game theree will be 10. The mission in the demo video took place in the famous french quarter then ended out in the Bayou, so clearly missions will span the districts.  Hayden Blackman, who is the creative head for the game, talked about how the city is one of the games main characters, and emphasized how each of the districts has its own look and feel. The demo showed off a short driving segment so travel seems to mostly be car based between the maps massive districts. 

The demo showed quite a few neat game mechanics, I was most reminded of Saint’s Row 3, since there are districts you can conquer. The mission that was demoed showed you taking down one of the districts bosses by first doing a series of small tasks to starve the district boss of his money, each act of killing, or shaking down, or seizing drugs, made a little counter in the left corner increment down untill you took away all of the bosses income, and he had to come out of hiding in a special sort of event.  Specifically for this demo we were taking back the famous French Quarter from its current controller Lou, who is the brother of the head of the Italian mob in the area. We did a series of tasks that eroded Lou’s control of the French Quarter which then triggered an event at which we were to kill Lou himself.


Meele combat seemed to be secondary to guns, but it was there in the trailer.

The event took place on a river boat, and was a good show of different mechanics, the person doing the demo used all manner of weapons, in combination with stealth to take down a huge force of enemies and get to the target.  I watched as the demo cycled through stealth kills, brutal weapon finishers, and standard shooting kills all in the name of getting to the underboss who you were supposed to be killing. Health seemed to be of the regenerating type as after we took damage, we just ducked up to cover to wait it out.  Prior to each of the shown mission segments we were given a bit of background, and the game world really feels fleshed out and complete even just based on the limited slices that we saw of it.  Story I think will be the main driver of this game, even though it is advertised as open world, it seems to not have the eternal open world problem of not being able to fit the story in to the world very well.

After we killed uncle Lou, control of the French Quarter was given over to our organization, and we got a small look in to how managing the cities districts will work . We sat down with our three under bosses and each told us why they should be in charge of the newly obtained district. In the demo that was shown we had a rocky relationship with Burt who we had I guess left out of previous deals, and again we chose not to let him manage this district. This was the last straw for B, and our demo closed out with Lincoln having to go to Burts home base and kill him, demonstrating that there is a chance that your three under-bosses could become two or even one if you really fuck up.

Over all despite this just being a theater demo my interest was peaked, the game looked great, no question about that, since I wasn’t able to play it I can’t tell you how it handled but the shooting looked smooth enough, cover seemed to be needed, and it seemed like wood and other “soft” objects could be penetrated by bullets.  Mafia 3 releases October 7th



E3: Hands-On With Sniper Elite 4

Posted on June 16, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

I had the chance to hook up with Rebellion and to try out their newest entry in to the long running Sniper Elite series. Sniper Elite 4 will be releasing  Feb 14th 2017, but Brokenjoysticks was part of a select few who were able to try the game in its alpha state today. The demo was about 30 minutes long and featured a wide open Italian country side setting, with a primary mission being to blow up a viaduct by placing a satchel charge and then shooting it to blow it up.


see the beautiful Italian country side through the scope of your rifle.

Loading in to the game the first thing I noticed was we were not in Germany anymore. For anyone else that has played Sniper Elite game, the usual setting is a blown out western front city, with bomb craters and grey mats all over the place. Italy by contrast is vibrant and green. The developer who was assisting us on the demo mentioned that the was in Italy in 1943 and although it was not an “open world” but it is an open philosophy for the game. The maps are quite large described as being at least 100 square meters, with no real boundaries and plenty of secondary objectives to explore.

Since we only had 30 minutes I mostly concentrated on the main objective of the game which was to blow up that bridge. Players familiar with the series will be happy to hear that combat is still very sniper rifle centric, targets are marked with binoculars, and depending on the type of target an icon will appear over their heads and allow you track them as they move across the map.  Since I have already played the Sniper Elite line, the first thing I did was drop prone and use my binoculars to scan the area around me for enemies. I found quite a few and in particular one sniper. Just like pervious sniper elite games, these snipers have a rage that’s so long it actually goes out of your radar range (increased in this game to 70m) so its very important to mark and hit these guys as early as you can to avoid any problems that might come from them spotting you later on.


Xray Kills now work with melee as well as longer shots

I was playing on a PS4 controller which is much different than my normal Xbox one controller so I took some time to get used to the controls, most of the things from the previous series are here, you have to carefully monitor heart rate, which allows you to use slow time and focus so that you can easily hit your targets. Equipment is still very important, with health packs, grenades, stones for distractions and a variety of traps making an appearance.

I was playing with the intention of being stealthy, but just like previous titles, occasionally I just had to whip out my Thompson and mow down a few enemies. The developers promised that there were over 100 enemies on the large map we were playing on, I only managed to kill 30, but in a 25 minute demo I think that’s pretty good. I also was the only one of our testing group (and only the 5th of E3!, to complete the level in the allowed 30 minute time slot.) Stealth is still very important, and its still very important to crouch and use cover.

From the moment I started the game, I painted my objective, and the enemies near it, and they stayed as icons on the screen guiding me over to my eventual victory. As with all of the other Sniper Elite games, bullet drop is in the game, and I assume that just like other games you will be able to select a mode with out the ever present in this demo red diamond that tells you where the bullet will hit. In Sniper Elite 3 you were able to play a mode with out the assist, and I am eager to see if this game also features it.  Also returning is searching bodies, I was surprised to find that one of the bodies had on it a duty roster. This roster highlighted several enemies I hadn’t spotted through the binoculars, making my journey a bit easier.


There is an emphasis on being able to do a sort of parkour in this game, you can mantle, climb, and move about quite easily.

Many items are returning favorites, traps and the like are back in game. Flare gun, trip mines, S Mine, Stick Grenade, TNT, and the Silenced Pistol all make returns. Players of course can also strip off any items or weapons the find on bodies around the map.  

Though it was still subject to change there was also a progression system in place as I played that gave me ribbons and little appointments  when i did something that took more effort or work than a simple kill shot. Cover is classed in to separate systems, with wood being able to be penetrated and rock and other harder surfaces impermeable.

enemy AI seems to have been improved considerably, at one point I was forced to play a sort of ring around the rosie with an enemy who was dodging me around the back of a train, I ended up laying a mine down to kill him, and just running off to the next objective.

The standard alert system is back an arrow will appear when there is danger, yellow for when its getting close, and red for when you are noticed. I was noticed twice during the demo, and both times found it fairly easy to slip away from the people whom had noticed me with just a few minutes of clever hiding and shooting.


Italy is a beautiful shooting gallery.

Fan favorite X-Ray shots return, with a serious vengeance, now everything from melee kills to the sickest sniper shots will trigger the signature mode which shows exploding bone, organs and flesh. I really enjoyed the feeling of nailing that one single shot that got me away from being noticed, or using a well placed burst from the Thompson to take down an enemy.

I Was able to finish the provided demo level, and according to the developer who was assisting with the demo that was better than most. My time was bout 25 minutes, but I did manage not to die at all. Though i did not do it, the game offers a variety of weapons to try, I stuck with the old reliable Springfield, knowing what it was capable of and how it could do damage. But, if you want to be experimental, you can always pick up weapons off of dead bodies and try then out instead of your trusty Springfield and Thompson.

Overall I really enjoyed the demo, I am by no means a skilled player of games such as this, but I found myself able to adapt fairly easily, I really liked the X-Ray feature, as well as what appeared to be very much  improved AI in the enemies. I can not wait for the arrival of this game on Valentines day of this year.



Monster Hunter Generations demo coming June 30th

Posted on June 15, 2016 by Jason Nason

Today Capcom announced a few new tidbits for the upcoming action RPG Monster Hunter Generations. First and foremost a demo will be making its way to 3DS systems prior to the July 15th launch date.

Two weeks earlier a downloadable demo of Monster Hunter Generations, which features three monsters of varying difficulty levels for both new and experienced players, will be released. The demo will come with options for local and online multiplayer (1-4 players).

Players are encouraged to join up with others and start with the newly introduced Great Maccao, then attempt to face the beguiling new owl-like monster Malfestio, all before truly testing their mettle against the fan-favorite Nargacuga. The demo will be available for all gamers to download on the Nintendo eShop on June 30th.

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Several Star Ocean V: Integrity and Faithlessness Videos Land During E3

Posted on June 15, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Square Enix has released several new trailers, b-roll footage and screenshots prior to the release of Star Ocean V: Integrity and Faithlessness on PS3 and PlayStation 4. With these new videos you can get to know Relia, one of the characters in the game as well as meet the actors behind the voice talent that bring the characters to life.

Star Ocean V: Integrity and Faithlessness is the fifth entry in the long running RPG franchise that has been around since the days of the original PlayStation back into the 90s. Utilizing a real time battle system players are able to take control of 1 of 7 characters in combat seamlessly with a new system that allows Square to have the game seamlessly transition between gameplay and cinematic cut-scenes. Story wise the main protagonist comes from an ‘under developed’ planet with another species that has highly advanced technology.

The game will be out on June 28th in North America and was released on March 31st in Japan.


E3 Day 1 In Photos

Posted on June 15, 2016 by Fionna Schweit


Astro annoucnes new flagship A-50 wireless headset

Posted on June 15, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Today I had the chance to see the all new Astro A-50 wireless headset. Astro just announced this headset, which is compatible with the Xbox, PS4, and PC. Many Astro fans no doubt long for the days when the A40 was the top of the world of headsets. Astro hopes to return to these glory days with the new A50 wireless gaming headset.

I got a a chance to see the product which will be out in August of this year before it was available to the general public at Astros booth at E3. Some of the cooler features that I was told about were that the wireless base station will pair with the xbox or Play Station with out you doing anything, just plug and play. You can swap from PC to what ever console you want with the flip of a switch, so you’ll never end up re-pairing your new wireless headset.


Astro has stuck with their classic look, with strong lines and those two metal tubes on each side. A lot of aircraft grade aluminum has been put in to this build to keep the strength of the metal, and not make the headset too heavy. Most of the pieces that are made of plastic are replaceable, and Astro will again be selling a “mod kit” that allows you change out the ear cups and a few other things, but for quite a premium cost.

Along with the new headset there is a new base station, with a lot more visual feedback than previous units. You can see when you have the Dolby sound on, you can see how much battery is left, and if you are using PC or Console inputs. Astro is claiming 15 hours of battery life, and says it will take about 5 hours to charge the on board battery. To save battery life the headset features an accelerometer which if you set the headset down will turn the headset off. The headset rests in the base station with gold contacts and magnetic attachment points while it charges. Astro says the expect the headset to last between 3 and 4 years of average work.




Astro have move the vast majority of the controls for the headset to the the headset it self. The ear cups now have controls for volume, source, mute, and other things instead of using a mixamp like older style ones do. The downside of this is that you no longer get to remove the ear plates, so no more custom printed ear plates for the A-50 line.

Astro has moved all of the EQ settings and sound processing off of your machine and in to the base station, and they claim that their software does not use any CPU cycles to encode the 7.1 simulated audio. It is important to note that the 7.1 audio us simulated only, and not provided by 7 drivers, but instead by 2 much larger 40mm drivers. which they claim can handle up to 48khz 16bit audio streams wirelessly.

I hope to see a lot more on this headset as it gets closer to market, and to get the chance to review it, hopefully for 299$ it will live up to the legacy of Astros last generation of great Wireless headsets.


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