Entertainment Sci/Tech

E3 Highlights for PS4, PS3, & PC

There were a lot of exciting things announced concerning PlayStation & PC at this year’s E3. If you’re interested in what Nintendo showcased, check out our article on Nintendo’s highlights from E3 2013!

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4

The PS4 will be releasing during the holiday season of 2013! It is priced at $399, or a hundred dollars cheaper than the Xbox One. It will let you play used games and share games without a fee, and will not force you to log on every 24 hours. Sorry Microsoft, but we think you just lost. Unfortunately, PS4 will not be backwards compatible with PS3, 2, or 1 games, but there will be a streaming service available for old games similar to Wii U’s virtual console. Xbox One will be doing similar.

The PS4 will launch with a new DualShock controller which will have an LCD panel and a merged start & select button. The PlayStation Eye has been greatly improved, is now called the PlayStation Camera, and features two stereoscopic cameras like the Kinect. A headset that you can plug in to your wireless controller will come bundled with the system. The system itself has impressive hardware, and a high speed blu-ray player.

Final Fantasy XV (Formerly Known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII)

Square Enix had quite the lineup at this year’s E3. One of their biggest reveals was that Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which was rumored to have been cancelled, is still in development, and its title has been changed to make it the fifteenth Final Fantasy. It’s different than prior Final Fantasy games in that it takes elements from first person shooters and action games. Instead of a traditional RPG format, it is more of an action-RPG. It will be available on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Storytelling will be done both through pre-rendered video cutscenes and interactive cutscene events that will not interrupt gameplay, similar to what has been seen in some FPS games. Developers have estimated the ratio of interactive cutscenes to pre-rendered is roughly 7:3. Also, the game is incredibly gorgeous.

The plot involves a technologically advanced city being invaded for its crystal by a medieval-esque army. There’s definitely some interesting social commentary there; that the other societies were fighting among each other and have destroyed all of their own crystals, focusing all of their development on weapons. Whereas the featured society has focused its development on culture, society, and non-weapon technology. Makes me think of how Japan is now two high-speed rail generations ahead of the US, and has underground robotic bike storage units for their crowded cities. Very interesting.

Players will still need to use and manage a party, but the interface is much less prominent, and you are only able to control one character at a time, being able to switch between them. It seems the turn-based combat is gone in favor of a more action-centered combat system. The main character can equip any weapon, but other party members will be only one fixed role. The combat system exemplifies the action-RPG direction the game is taking. There is magic and summons and weapon fighting, so don’t worry about that. The above video is the trailer, and the video below is gameplay footage. Check them out!

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy 14 flopped when it released the first time. They rushed an unfinished mess to the market, which was mega disappointing for so many fans. Thankfully, their new re-release of 14, Final Fantasy XIV: A Real Reborn, looks like it will be stunning. It will be releasing on August 27th, 2013 to Windows and PS3, and will have a PS4 release in 2014. Whether or not it launches on Xbox 360/Xbox One depends entirely on whether or not it can generate a strong community this time around.

Controller gameplay will be fully integrated (definitely not tacked-on, it’s very impressive), and the UI looks to be greatly improved. Don’t worry if you’re a fan of mouse & keyboard, that part is very well designed, too. They are also thinking about including a mouse & keyboard option for PlayStation players. You will not need to know anything about the first iteration of the game’s story, as it is a new game and anything relevant will be revealed. There are also various places on the internet that will show you cutscenes from 1.0 if you’re interested in more of the back-story.

The game is turning out to include an incredible amount of fan service, with developers trying to include summons/eidolons/espers/GFs/whatever from every Final Fantasy game to date somewhere in the game, and in the above trailer, you can make out fan favorite limit breaks like Final Heaven, Meteor, and Omnislash. Cloud Strife’s Buster sword seems to make an appearance as well. Which brings up the inclusion of limit breaks—there will be three different levels of limit breaks, and you will need to work with your party to pull them off. Players can also perform their own combos that will do things like stun the target, and there will be various bonuses to certain positioning. For example, attacking with certain attacks from behind or the side will generate certain bonuses or will boost damage of the attack.

There is a content finder which will allow you to do dungeons and other group events. Player vs. Player content will be included, both 1-on-1 and group battles. Player housing will be in the game as well, with neighborhoods in the game having land available for purchase that you can build houses on. Houses will have different sizes and layouts, and they’ve solved Ultimate Online‘s problem of having limited real estate by including some instancing if players select the same plot of land.

The game will have you select one of 5 main races, each with two different styles or clans, and each one having male and female options (yes, you can be a cat boy or a girl galka!). The character customization is incredibly detailed, even allowing heterochromia (different colored eyes) and hair highlight colors.

FFXIV:ARR will see a return of the class system based on weapon-use, and will also include specialized jobs based on class meant for party play. An example of a class is a gladiator, while the associated job is the paladin. Players will be able to level all jobs and classes on one character (jobs level as the class levels and vice versa), and you will be able to equip some of the abilities you have unlocked while playing other jobs/classes. Jobs will have access to specialized abilities. The summoner and scholar jobs have been recently announced, and the return of favorites like shiva, ifrit, garuda, and titan is insured. Scholar will have a pet and will be an area of effect healing over time class, with some pet-based damaging abilities. It will be the first job introduced to branch off of a class with a job already existing (both Summoner and Scholar branch off of the Arcanist class).

The developers seem to be including plenty for both the hardcore player and casual gamer. There will be large-scale raid content included at launch, and some open-world boss fights. There will be events in certain areas that let everyone join in on defending towns against monster invasions, rescue NPC’s after they’ve been kidnapped, and more. There are over 300 of these Full Active Time Events (F.A.T.E.s). A level-sync feature will also be included, so you can play with your lower level friends while still gaining experience, but not rolling over enemies with ease as if you were your max level job. It will also enable you to participate in the lower level FATE’s while having them retain their challenge. The world has been greatly expanded and each area has been given a unique feel, very similar to how the FFXI zones were so distinguishable from one another. All of the hands-on demos have been great, with players even getting to group up at E3 and take on Ifrit in a story battle (they wiped twice).

Of special note, the phase 4 beta will be open to anyone who creates a free Square Enix Members account, and the progress made during this phase will carry over to the live game (barring any major bugs or glitches). Pre-ordering the game will also get you early-access for a week-long head start. Players who played the original might also want to think about upgrading to the digital collector’s edition for $20, as you will get an exclusive Coeurl mount, a tiny behemoth pet, armor for your chocobo, and a special helmet for your character.

Hopefully gamers are willing to give FFXIV:ARR a chance, as this game is entirely remade and is now its own game, and a great one at that. Check out the video below to see the first glimpse of the class and jobs: Arcanist, Scholar, and Summoner!

Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III

A new Kingdom Hearts is coming to the PlayStation 4! It will also be releasing on the Xbox One, the first time it won’t be a Sony exclusive. Sora returns as the game’s protagonist, and he will be accompanied by King Mickey, Donald Duck, Riku, and Goofy. There aren’t many details right now, other than that it’s coming in the future.

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 is coming October 29, 2013 to North America. It will release to the PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and will later come to Xbox One & PS4. The graphics are pretty insane, and the multiplayer looks like a blast. A new element to the series will be the incorporation of tablets and such to setup things like air strikes in Commander mode.

The multiplayer will feature 3 playable factions; China, Russia, and the United States. It looks like the four classes: support, recon, engineer, and assault, will be the same. No news of any new additions or changes. Check out the trailer below.

Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online

Unfortunately, Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls Online has been pushed back to Spring 2014, but it will be coming to next-gen consoles. It will be available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac.

The game will take place in the same areas as previous games and will be set a millennium before Skyrim and about 800 years before Morrowind & Oblivion. There will be three factions with a flexible class system that hasn’t really been revealed, other than that it is less strict than in other games and sets the overall, general direction of your character development rather than absolutely defining it. The classes revealed so far are Templar, Dragon Knight, Sorcerer, and Nightblade (a stealthy magic-wielding class), with Warden and one unknown class rumored to be added. ESO will include large scale player vs. player 200-person wars in addition to open world dungeons and various instanced content.

The servers will be separate, with PC players having their own servers, PS4 players having their own, and Xbox one players having their own. The server system will be a “mega server” that will work similarly to World of Warcraft’s cross-realm zones, only there won’t be a specific server you create your character on, or a server list upon login. It will dynamically scale the various areas to make sure they are both populated and not overcrowded. Reportedly, the character naming system will have up to at least two names. Not much else is known.

It seems like rather than incorporating some of the repetitive MMO elements like kill x wolves or collect x items, developers will try to bring a more RPG-focused, story driven gaming experience. You will be able to naturally discover quests rather than having yellow exclamation marks above NPCs’ heads. One example is a wolf trying to get you to follow it in one of the early towns. ESO will also have the option of being played in either first-person or third-person mode, and they are really trying hard to get the first-person vantage point to be not the detriment it normally is, as it was a defining feature for many of the previous games.

It seems the combat will be in real time, and it has been reported that the more mundane combat against single enemies will be more interesting and challenging than in other MMO’s, as many observers have been commenting on the complexity of combat at lower levels. It will also include a lot of options for solo players, in addition to the group content expected of MMO’s. It’s looking like it will be an unusual MMO, and it needs to be. The MMO market is full of more of the same rather than new innovation. Hopefully Elder Scrolls Online can bring the much needed breath of fresh air to the genre.

Mirror’s Edge 2

The second game in the series from the developers of Battlefield, it will indeed be an open-world action-adventure game. Basically nothing is known about it other than that it will be gorgeous and have an interesting story. And it will release when it’s ready.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The next game in the Witcher series is coming to PS4, PC, and Xbox One in 2014. It will be an open-world action-RPG and will conclude the series protagonist, Geralt’s, story. The world is described as being 35 times larger than the world in Witcher 2, 20% larger than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and will feature over a hundred hours of gameplay! In addition, there won’t be any loading screens to separate the regions from one another, and it will be large enough that you will need to travel via horseback and boat to navigate the world. The world won’t just be a vast empty place, either. There will be plenty of nooks to explore, and none of this will detract from the story, which players will be able to influence the outcome and unfolding of significantly.

Dragon Age 3: Inquisition

Dragon Age 3: Inquisition

Bioware has announced that their latest game in the Dragon Age RPG series will launch around Q3 of 2014 to the PS3, PS4, PC, Xbox 360, & Xbox One, and will feature their new Frostbite 3 engine. It is a sequel to Origins & Dragon Age II, and will introduce a new protagonist.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

So, the theme of E3 this year seems to be that open-worlds are the new craze. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be the first game in the series to feature an open-world environment and it will continue the story from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. It will be an action-adventure stealth game, with the stealth system being expanded upon. It will be run on the FOX engine that developers demonstrated at an earlier time.

Another first-time edition to the game is that voice acting will actually take place in English initially with Hollywood actors, and the Japanese version will be dubbed over the English voices, rather than the other way around. Base-building will return from Peace Walker, and players will be able to access their base from their actual smartphones. The story-line will be much less linear than previous titles; players will be able to complete story missions in any order, with the story still being able to be understood and unified by the end of the game.

Various modes of transportation will be available in the game, such as riding on horseback, flying in a plane or helicopter, or riding a motorcycle. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will release in 2014 to the PS3 and Xbox 360, and will have improved quality when it releases for PS4 and Xbox One. The trailer below is the extended director’s cut—it’s just under 10 minutes long, and is intended for mature audiences as it includes violent scenes. Trigger warning for torture.

Be sure to check out our article on Nintendo’s E3 highlights from 2013!