Microsoft E3 Briefing

Microsoft E3 Briefing

Microsoft’s E3 press conference is today and they’re trying to unlock the most achievements! In the beginning Xbox head honcho, Phil Spencer promised us 50 games, 18 exclusives and 15 world premieres. We’re going to explore a few of these titles.

Let’s start with a moment of silence for the person who got fired from Walmart for leaking all those games! We thought it could’ve been a farce but it’s all been true so far.

Photo Source: News4C

 

CORTANA, WHERE ART THOU?
Halo Infinite popped up with a trailer. It’s been a few years for since Halo 5’s release. Fans could see the gameplay, lore were good but, is Cortana coming back?

ORI
Next up is Ori & the Will of the Wisp, this game isn’t unheard of; we knew it was coming. It is a Microsoft Studios exclusive. We can put this in the exclusive pile.

SEKIRO, THAT’S A NEW ONE
Now we’re getting into the world pemired games starting with Sekiro, Shadows Die Twice. The trailer didn’t give us too much information about gameplay. However, we do know the game timeframe is 1500s Sengoku Japan. This title could be an action/adventure/rpg. This game is made by FromSoftware which also produces DarkSouls. Maybe it’ll be a similar game or they could be branching off into new terriroties. I do know that the Sumo kinned wrestler looks like a version of Borracho from Mortal Kombat. During the trailer he spit up or threw up green stuff over his sword. That alone had me interested and grossed out.

FALLOUT + XBOX
A few good things happening with Xbox GamePass. The latest released version of Fallout with becoming to the subscription. Todd Howard was super happy to announce that as well as Fallout 76 coming to Xbox.

Mothman was debuted in the trailer. during the documentary about Bethesda Game Studios recently released on YouTube there was a dev wearing a mothian shirt. Fallout 76 takes place in West Virginia. In WV folklore, Mothman is a thing. So it’s been confirmed Mothman is in Fallout 76 as well as there are actually some green fields that haven’t been completed desolated by the bomb.

LIFE IS STRANGE


I believe this was in response to the Battle Royale craze and the potential games that would be catering to this fan base. But this really resonated with me while watching the Life is Strange trailer
Life is Strange is coming out with more stories, the newest on ie Captain Spirit.

Personal statement: I’m not sure if his mom is one of the ladies from the past Life is Strange series but honestly, I don’t care. I never really cared for that series. When I saw this little boy, I knew he was going to be the next main character and I instantly thought, *sigh* “I cannot play any more games with only white people in ‘em.”

I know how it sounds but, imagine how I feel. I honestly can’t expect them to put Black women, men or POC in the Life is Strange series. I’m thinking this way because that series is the kind of “white people problems” we talk about. Many Black and POC people go through these struggles but we don’t see them in that role as much as we see white women.

 

CRACKDOWN, OK BUT WHEN?

Of course Crackdown premiered, again. It’s a new trailer this time. It says play with Gamepass at launch..but whens launch? Apparently it launches February 2019. I feel like the same people waiting on Crackdown 3 are waiting for Kingdom Hearts 3.

Photo Credit: Me

We’re thinking it but he said it!

 

Kingdom Hearts
Oh, speaking of Kingdom Hearts it’s coming to Xbox on January 29 as well as other platforms. In KH3 Elsa is have a Killer Frost vs Caitlyn Snow internal struggle.

 

NIER TO LATE!
One game I wanted to get into but never got a chance, Nier Automata is coming to Xbox with all the DLC, arriving June 26, 2018

 

METRO EXODUS

Metro Exodus’ trailer is definitely entertaining. When it first started I thought, ‘Who is this white M’baku screaming from the top of the junkyard about taking back the land.’

 

BEYOND THE SEA…OF THIEVES
Sea of Thieves Cursed Sails is an Xbox exclusive but not super new. The Cursed Sails is coming in July and Forsaken Shores is coming in September.

 

FORZA HORIZON 4

Here’s a real world premiere! We had an inkling another Forza was coming and we got Forza Horizon 4! I thought one of the drivers a darker complexion but, i think not. I was excited for that. A few unexpected things from Horizon 4 is the open world setting, quick chat response and the literal seasonal changes. With each season there are new events, experiences and a new take on forza horizon world. It will be available Oct 2, 2018 on Gamepass.

Microsoft Merges with 5 Companies

The initiative is a new Microsoft studio lead by Darryl Gallagher, formal head of Crystal Dynamics.
Microsoft merges with Undead Labs, which made – Into the Worlds; Playground Games, which made Forza & is bringing their expertise of open world engines. Ninja Theory, which made Kung Fu Chaos and Hellblade and Compulsion Games, which made We Happy Few.

PUBG new trailer & modes

 

TALES OF VESPERIA


Tales of Vesperia made its world premiere with it’s Definitive Edition. The remastered version of this RPG is accompanied by robust combat system, banging soundtrack and is coming this winter.

Division 2

had its turn in the spotlight. We had a chance to see a glimpse of actual gameplay.

Then the Head of Xbox Engineer team came out and announced a few more games for GamePass. We already know about Fallout 4 but there is also, The Division, Elder Scrolls and all Xbox Enhanced games are available today.

There were so many Indie Games there we didn’t get to see but here’s a list:
After Party, Fringe Wars, Below, Waking, Rajh, Super Meatboy, Sable & Dead cells

Session, another Xbox exclusive. It looks like a skating game. Maybe we need something to fill the Tony Hawk Pro Skater void.

DMC World Premiere

Capcom and Hideki Kamiya did it again, DEVIL MAY CRY 5! I was excited to see a black man in the trailer, even though, ya know… protagonist, Nero, is white. Hideaki T said, I waited 4 years for this, DMC is back!
It’s been 10 years since last DMC.
Capcom scanned fully costume models w/ tech by Xbox to make characters super realistic. I think that’s interesting because the girl with Nero looks like Sasheer Zamata & Amy Winehouse mixed together. Kamiya said this is the best game he ever made.

Aww snaps! Cuphead has new playable characters such as Ms. Chalice. There’s also a new Chief but I’m not sure if he’s a boss or character coming in 2019.

DYING LIGHT 2
Dying Light 2 – survive the night.and the day – modern dark ages
Techland – Chris Avallone
new tech advancement – your choice can affect everything in the game, how it looks, how it plays. A little bit more than a choose your own adventure as the eco system reacts to your choices. One example given is completing a mission for faction gives the city more access to water but then maybe it becomes a dictatorship from that same faction

BATTLETOADS!
You know that character they putin Killer Instinct, Rash,… they’re getting a new game. Battletoads is a 3 player couch co-op. I think its funny it’s 4k and the drawing is great but it’s like putting Minecraft in 4k, why?

A game for pops….not your dad but a Gears of War game with pop figures. Oh, good, it’s just announcing new Pop Figures. GOW has a mobile game, Gears Tactics. Gears 5 takes place 12 years before the first Gears.
Gears 5
Working on cross platform game streaming play from consoles, to PC to mobile

CD Projekt Red – CyberPunk

I think it’s so weird they’re not showcasing the One X for their demo play throughs!
I hope with all these new studios we can get some POC & WOC characters.

A Way Out….of your friendship?

A Way Out….of your friendship?

When’s the last time you tested the foundation of your friendship with a friend? If it’s been a while and someone’s looking a little shifty, you might want to play A Way Out with them.

As someone who loved co-op games growing up, A Way Out was a welcome modern touch on a nostalgic feature.  There is no single player mode to this game, you and your partner in crime are Vincent Moretti and Leo Coruso; American prisoners convicted in the 1970s that have to work together to escape from prison and stay on the run from authorities whilst simultaneously attempting revenge on a mutual enemy.

The game is directed by film maker Josef Fares, who has turned his hand to game design, his first title being Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons which received critical acclaim.  Knowing this, it’s no wonder the story is so well crafted. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say the prison break happens fairly quickly, which was great because the story continues and we were seriously worried we would end up in another The Order: 1886 situation, feeling unfulfilled by the game.  The story and characters unfold throughout the duration of the game, via cut scenes and gameplay, keeping us heavily engaged and turning what could have been a very gimmicky experience into well made movie that you can play.

Image source: https://bit.ly/2I213OH

Playing as Leo and Vincent means that you and your “friend” will approach situations differently.  Leo is a hot head, punch-first-ask-questions-later kind of guy; whilst Vincent is more calculated but less intuitive. We immediately adopted their characters, talking about:

“That’s why you got mollywhopped by the guard last time ’cause you too damn violent!”

and

“I said drive slow! DRIVE SLOW! I thought you were the discrete one?!”

The gameplay is definitely entertaining, the developers (Hazelight Studios) set out to create a co-op game that is “unique and different” and it’s safe to say they surpassed that goal.  The cooperative element is a well placed thread throughout the game; when moving heavy objects, distracting guards, infiltrating villas in Central America, car chases and when making major decisions that impact the story. Hazelight Studios achieved a good balance to ensure co-op was established as the nature of the game and not just a novelty to make the game “different”.

Image source: https://bit.ly/2ruH9BI

The game manages to stay true to its style, with exciting interweaving chase scenes in various locations as well as incorporating a few unexpected changes such as a 2D platformer fight scene just to mix it up a little bit.  In addition to that, there are mini games and activities throughout the game to offer a change of pace and tone, you know, to add some levity to the fact that your friendship is being tested.

Taking some time out from being an escaped convict. Image source: https://bit.ly/2wwuC5Y

The representation of Black people/POC in the game? I mean, it’s okay…the first POC in game are two non-white Middle Eastern and/or Arab men who get shot. There’s Black man with a speaking role who is a 2nd-in-command lackey that either disappears or dies; I can’t remember.  You do have a Black Woman (YAY!), the sassy (…damn) cautious arms dealer; a friend of Leo Coruso.   Then when you travel to Mexico, again the Mexican mobs pose as disposable lackies.  So it’s not devoid of representation but in my opinion, the POC are essentially extras in the movie.

See? Sassy. I told you. Image source: https://bit.ly/2FXQwhN

*cue W’Kabi voice* “It’s just more of the same”

However if I’m honest, it doesn’t bother me or take away from the game too much in this instance. It’s just another game to add to the everlasting list of games with middle aged White men as the protagonists; another day in the gaming world. There is also a line from Leo about Africa being undesirable to travel to and that it has “lions and sh*t”, which I side-eyed but really it reflects Leo’s character and how much of a non-entity would be to me in real life.

I will say the game is not very challenging; you get involved in more high-octane action towards the end of the game but even then it’s not very complex.  I do think a little more challenging content would have kicked the game up a notch, however the story, the interweaving and entertaining gameplay, and easter eggs had us engaged, bickering and cooperating at the edge of our seats more than once.

Image source: https://bit.ly/2ruH9BI

Hazelight has reminded me to not sleep on co-op games, and I look forward to seeing more games from the studio. All in all I would definitely recommend you to grab your PC/Xbox/PS4 and a friend to play A Way Out.  Another great thing is you only require one copy of the game; another thing to fight with your friend over… Good luck!

Books made by Black Girl Magic

Books made by Black Girl Magic

Can we just talk about the Black Girl Magic that is thriving in our literature culture right now? Maybe we can hit the video game industry next.

Though we have a long way to go, the industry is slowly changing. Just this year why have a beautiful bundle of books with not only amazing character representation but author representation as well. I’m talking about the beautiful brown authors of 2018.

I first want to talk about Debut authors Dana L Davis and Tomi Adeyemi.

Dana L. Davis, which you may recognize the name, is an actress and voice actress. She’s stared in 10 Things I Hate About You as Chasity Church and Heroes as Monica Dawson. She voices Kelly in Star Vs. the Forces of Evil which plays on Disney XD. I’ve seen a lot of Ms. Davis’ work, but I was reintroduced to her as an author through Youtube, her book is contemporary and though it’s not my first genre of choice, I felt similar to her in feelings of growing up black and after hearing her read a passage from her story, I was intrigued to find out more.  The summary of her debut novel is as such.

Dana Davis. Image source: https://goo.gl/knyHW8

“I’ve got seven days to come clean to my new dad. Seven days to tell the truth…

For sixteen-year-old Tiffany Sly, life hasn’t been safe or normal for a while. Losing her mom to cancer has her a little bit traumatized and now she has to leave her hometown of Chicago to live with the biological dad she’s never known.

Anthony Stone is a rich man with four other daughters—and rules for every second of the day. Tiffany tries to make the best of things, but she doesn’t fit into her new luxurious, but super-strict, home—or get along with her standoffish sister London. The only thing that makes her new life even remotely bearable is the strange boy across the street. Marcus McKinney has had his own experiences with death, and the unexpected friendship that blossoms between them is the only thing that makes her feel grounded.

But Tiffany has a secret. Another man claims he’s Tiffany’s real dad—and she only has seven days before he shows up to demand a paternity test and the truth comes out. With her life about to fall apart all over again, Tiffany finds herself discovering unexpected truths about her father, her mother and herself, and realizing that maybe family is in the bonds you make—and that life means sometimes taking risks”

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now is available now.

Image source: https://goo.gl/KdvQrr

Then there’s Tomi Adeyemi, and her debut novel Children of Blood and Bone which is not only an NY Times bestseller, but it’s becoming a movie as well. Ms. Adeyemi is a Nigerian American woman and her book is a West African fantasy YA. Fantasy is my number one genre and I’m looking forward to reading her book.

Tomi Adeyemi.
Image source: https://twitter.com/tomi_adeyemi

“Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy”

Children of Blood and Bone is available now.

Image source:
https://goo.gl/1VNWKQ

The next two authors aren’t necessarily debuting authors, but the books they released this year are making a big splash and they are Dhonielle Clayton and Justina Ireland.

Dhonielle Clayton had published other books “Meet Cute, The Radical Element, Tiny Pretty Things, and Shiny Broken Pieces” all with other authors. She is the COO of the non-profit “We Need Diverse Book” I don’t need to explain what that is, but I’m so here for it. The book she released this year is called The Belles it is a Dark Fantasy YA that explores what it means to be the belle of the ball…sorry, bad pun.

Dhonielle Clayton.
Image source: https://twitter.com/brownbookworm

“Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the Favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the Favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the Queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.”

The Belles is available for purchase now.

Image source: https://goo.gl/DA9DKi

And lastly and most certainly not the least, Justina Ireland, who is just my favorite person twitter right now. She’s released several books, before the one I just picked up, “Vengeance Bound, Feral Youth, Promise of Shadows, and Three Sides of a Heart” And now this year we have a Historical Zombie YA. Two things that I don’t really care for, but Ms. Ireland sucked me in anyway.

Justina Ireland.
Image source: https://goo.gl/Qt6eCV

“Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland’s stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.”

Dread Nation is available now.

Image source:
https://goo.gl/SoqdqW

So many great books, so little time, but I know I’m excited about each and every one of them. Here are the links to all those wonderful ladies below, I hope you go and check them out.

Dana L Davis: http://www.danaldavis.com/

Tomi Adeyemi: http://www.tomiadeyemi.com/

Dhonielle Clayton: https://www.dhonielleclayton.com/

Justina Ireland: http://justinaireland.com/home/

Home Sweet Home – Stardew Valley Review – PS4

Home Sweet Home – Stardew Valley Review – PS4

Home Sweet Home

The sun rises over the valley; birds chirp, your cat gently paws at your face, and you slowly open your eyes. You left behind your soul-crushing desk job in the hopes of finding something more meaningful in farming, but your back hates you right now. Your farm is a mess, you’re dead broke, and all you have is a few basic tools and some cheap seeds. There are some very busy days ahead of you, but at least you can do things at your own pace. Thus begins the adventure of the indie farming simulation and role-playing game Stardew Valley.

Primarily inspired by the Harvest Moon series, Stardew Valley allows you to create your own character and vicariously live through them as a farmer in Pelican Town. You can choose from 24 different skin tones, 32 hair styles, 112 shirts, 20 accessories, and 2 pets. So the choices regarding how your character looks are fantastic. Then comes the fun part. Your first task is simple; you have to clean up the farm you inherited from your grandfather and make it your own. Starting your farm takes some time and attention to detail. Where do you want to start? How many seeds do you want to plant? Where to place them? How long do they take to grow? Can you grow them faster? Why am I finding Joja Cola’s in the bottom of my lake? All of these questions are answered as you progress and begin to see what your work yields.

Your farm is a mess, you’re dead broke, and all you have is a few basic tools and some cheap seeds.

As you improve your farm, you’ll be able to grow better crops that will fetch better prices. More money means you can decorate your sweet little home to your hearts desire. Your local store will sell you new items and allow you to change the floor or wall patterns. Or you can visit the evil, corporate Joja Mart and get what you need there. Eventually you’ll be able to expand your tiny farmhouse into a sprawling estate. If you get big enough, you’ll be able to care for animals, grow crops all year long, and create artisinal goods such as jam, honey, beer and wine.

It won’t take you long to realize things move faster when you invest in better tools, but you’ll have to do more than farm to get what you need. Mining, fishing, foraging, cooking, and crafting are also important elements in the game that can help your farm flourish. There are quests designed to help you along each path, but in true role playing form, you pick the path and how you’d like to explore. Either way, time management will become your friend, as you only have a limited amount of time and energy to get things done each day. After all, you’re just one farmer.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to do it all alone.

Speaking of time, there are four seasons in Stardew Valley: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Each season lasts up to 28 days and brings with it a wealth of new seeds, trees, fish, foraging items and so forth. You’ll watch your farm go from a lush, full field to a barren winter wasteland as time moves forward. Then you’ll start a new year with a bigger house, upgraded tools, and a better understanding of what you need to accomplish before the end of the season. Don’t worry, you won’t have to do it all alone.

Image source: https://goo.gl/SrsAU9

If you feel lonely, the good people of Pelican Town are more than happy to keep you company. Some more so than others. You can interact with and befriend npc’s by completing quests. There are town events each month to help create a sense of fellowship with your neighbors. Everyone has a birthday and there’s usually a place in town that they frequent. So you’ll have plenty of opportunities to win the heart of your beloved at the Dance of the Moonlight Jellies or the Flower Dance. If you so wish, you can even romance and marry a single character. Having children is an option as well. Or if you want, you can live life as a hermit who barely speaks to anyone other than grunting to make a few purchases at Pierre’s.

Image source: https://goo.gl/K3qEwF

Pretty soon, you’ll be able to play the game online with your friends. That’s right, there will be a multiplayer expansion. According to a blog post on stardewvalley.net, Stardew Valley’s developer, Chucklefish, expected that the expansion will be rolled out by the end of 2017. We’re still waiting for that as of April 2018, but I have hope. As for a multiplayer experience for the PS4, we don’t have a date, but the update will be headed our way eventually. As if you needed another reason to pick up this game.

At its core, Stardew Valley is a happy, comforting game that will help you unwind. The music is fantastic, there’s barely any pressure, and you’ll find a lot of humor in places you least expect it. If you’re the type of player that needs objectives and quests to accomplish, there is plenty of those to keep you entertained. However, there is no need to complete most things. In fact, I would even say that there is no right or wrong way to play, unless you’re not playing at all. Then you’re totally missing out!

So why not take a trip to Pelican Town? Your new life is waiting for you there.

Sul Sul Cell Phone! Sims Mobile: A Review

Sul Sul Cell Phone! Sims Mobile: A Review

 

What is it?

Sims Mobile is an EA mobile game based on a combination of Sims 4 and Sims FreePlay. It dropped on March 6th, 2018 –and the reviews are a mixed bag for sure. So I figured I’d toss mine into the mix.

 

 

Customization

Like most things, I have given up on creating character that look like me in MOST games, especially mobile. This is a “freemium” game, so I wasn’t too surprised that nothing resembled my natural hair, but I still found enough to work with to make a cool character that I enjoy. Plus as I move up, I get to see preview of the quality content awaiting me (I love a braided bun). Again, it’s a mobile game.

 

Image credit: theverge.com

Now, the house customization? FIRE. They have way more options than I thought they would for a mobile game. Again, “freemium”, so if you want content quickly you’ll have to spend coin – but it seems worth it. Same thing by way of clothing. The packs seem a little pricy, but if you can earn enough Sim Cash…you’re golden.

Image credit: macrumors.com

Now, the house customization? FIRE. They have way more options than I thought they would for a mobile game. Again, “freemium”, so if you want content quickly you’ll have to spend coin – but it seems worth it. Same thing by way of clothing. The packs seem a little pricy, but if you can earn enough Sim Cash…you’re golden.

Tasks

In Sims Mobile, your Sim has the opportunity to do a variety of tasks to level up. You’ll be able to complete work shifts, go on dates, attend parties, and all kinds of other predetermined stories. Now, I one thing I LOVE about this game is I can put my phone down or play as another character and my Sims will complete tasks on their own. This is truly an on-the-go game, and I am an on-the-go-girl. So if you’re looking for something to keep you engaged fully, I won’t hype this up to being it. But if you need you Sims fix on campus or at work, this is a pretty great option. You can help your Sim complete tasks faster, but it’s a lot of clicking and waiting, etc.

Interaction

I haven’t really participated much in connecting socially (I know, I know), but other people seem to really enjoy it. You have the option of giving strangers in the game stickers (cool, hot, etc.), and you get to dictate the types of relationship you build with them. I’m boring so my Sim is currently dating her housemate (also of my design —is this God complex?). My code is included in the pic if you want to add me though 🙂

Overall

Look, overall it’s a fun on-the-go game, and the old saying of “you get what you pay for!” rings true. It’s not a quick reward with this one, but I still find it pretty engaging. Recommendation: Shut the office door and live it up on your lunch break, or during the down time in between class, etc.