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So I Went To E3 2013, Saw The New Consoles In The Flesh, and STILL Picked The Wii U.

A year ago it was pretty clear to me that the Xbox 720 (now the 'Xbox One') was going to be my choice going into the next generation. The Xbox just has the better first party series with Halo, Gears, Forza and various other MS only franchises, and it has all the third parties behind it, so I know I wouldn't really be missing out. I've been pretty loyal to Xbox for a long time and while there was a period where I gamed primarily on PS3, the reason for that was I couldn't afford Xbox Live anymore with the changes in my life (with having a kid and having even more bills to pay). I was generally OK with paying for Xbox Live for a long time but there are occassions when I wonder why I am paying a yearly subscription when I am playing multiplayer just for a few periods in a year, or only when a game has working multiplayer for a guy like me living out here in the Philippines where the Internet is just not very well structured locally.

Then, a lot of stuff just happened b…

The Philippines now has XBOX LIVE (based on Major Nelson posting)

I was informed recently that the Philippines is now an Xbox Live supported region. The odd thing is, it's based on a posting by Major Nelson all the way back in October 2013:

http://majornelson.com/2013/10/01/xbox-live-free-gold-weekend-this-weekend/

Starting this Friday (4, October)  through Sunday (6, October) we’ll be unlocking Xbox Live Gold for the below regions. If you are not a Gold Member yet, it’s a great opportunity to try Multiplayer on your favorite games. Regions include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam Your region not listed above? We’ve got your covered with the following dates: Oct. 11 – 14: Argentina, Brazil,…

Adam Sessler's Very Strange Comment For Forza Motorsport 5

...is the part where he seems really fascinated by the 'winning credits every time you race' game mechanic.

Seriously, Adam?

Next Gen Has Begun. And I Picked The Wii U.

When the launch stream for Xbone finally got started, I couldn't even make myself sit through it.

Every single month before launch, it's been bad news after bad news after bad news for my last favorite system.

- Forza 5 cars require ridiculous grind to get. Either that, or PAY for them with real money.
- Reports of consoles eating discs. Yes, eating them.
- Reports of downgrades in the graphics of Forza 5.
- Really bad scores for Dead Rising. And it's no longer a funny game.
- Same goes for Ryse Son of Rome.
- 720p for most Xbone games

The list of bad news goes on forever.

On the other corner, we have the PS4. Seemingly the belle of the ball (of NEOGAF, anyway---which is regarded by most as really pro-Sony), this one had no flaws, practically, and in terms of raw power, PS4 wins, hands down.

Where it does NOT win, at least right now, is with games. The only game I want to play on PS4 is Infamous: Second Son. I saw that game at E3 and it was easily the most spectacular game…

Grand Theft Auto V - The Best Game of this Generation and We Can't Play It Out In The Open

GTA V. I don't think I need to add more superlatives to how awesome this game is. This game takes open-world action to the next level, as well as characterization and storytelling. It's the best game of this gen, right up there with the mighty Skyrim in terms of scale, gameplay quality and innovation. GTAV probably nudges Skyrim a bit because it does characters better, with a lot of dialogue and cutscenes which really flesh out everyone in the cast. 
So yeah, this is the best game ever. Why the hell can't we play it in front of everyone and tell them how awesome it is?
While it is a true technical marvel, an achievement for this game generation, the sad truth is, it's just too obscene and explicit at times to be a good centerpiece of gaming for all audiences. There is just way too much swearing and obscenity in the dialogue that it does get uncomfortable to play. Not because I'm a prudish guy, mind you.....just try to play this with a straight face if you're a …

Focusing on Multiplayer : Why It's Bad For Future Games

At E3 2013 there was a lot of focus on online modes and multiplayer for most of the new games coming out on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. The biggest games of the show, Titanfall and Destiny, are largely multiplayer driven, with their core gameplay clearly linked to the ability of your console to go online and connect with other players. Major developers like Vince Zampella of Respawn Entertainment have gone on record to say that it isn't worth spending several years to make a single player experience that players can break down in mere hours. Online functionalities in games are expanding with these new consoles; developers are focusing on multiplayer because it keeps their games relevant, and it keeps from players selling their games back to stores like Gamestop, which is bad for developers (in terms of keeping their games continuously profitable).

I think that this focus on multiplayer is actually a bad thing. This approach isn't something that hasn't been done before.…

GRID 2 (PC Review) : The true mega-sequel to Daytona, Sega Rally, and Ridge Racer - all in one massive arcade masterpiece.

I really enjoyed the first GRID game on the console. What I liked about that old game is how expressive it was about automobile racing. Instead of going for complete realism, it went for exciting moments. It had AI that weaved and bobbed about like real players. It had active environments that made every race truly exciting.

That philosophy continues with GRID 2. On a decent PC this game is the most beautiful game you've ever seen. It does a lot of stuff that makes each racing sortie all the more interesting and fun, and it does it in very minute details that only make sense when you put them together in a complete package.

The handling model is simpler than sims like Forza or Gran Turismo, but it never goes to the extreme control style of the latest Need for Speed game (Need for Speed Most Wanted). Somehow they found the perfect balance here, allowing you to drift and glide through corners but still requiring you to follow good racing lines to win. You'll be doing a lot of dr…

Bought a Gaming Laptop from Los Angeles....Best. Purchase. Ever.

After the festivities of E3 I bought my wife a laptop. Originally we were debating if she should get a Macbook Pro or a super powerful gaming laptop; in the end....

The gaming laptop won.



More info: Asus G46VW

I've been spending a bit of time playing Grid 2 on this machine and I am unbelievably, madly in love with it. I want to take it away from my wife already. The PS3/Xbox 360 haven't been seeing any action thanks to this guy.

In the United States this laptop is seen as a mid-range gaming laptop. When you bring it over here to the good old third world, this thing is a monster. It plays Grid 2 on High settings at over 60 FPS (or more, if you turn off V-sync). The image quality is insane especially if you turn up the anti-aliasing. I'm just floored by what gaming PCs are capable of now...even more floored that more PCs like this aren't available here locally. In the US this thing is about 38k; it's really hard to find here in Manila and if you do find anything l…

XBOX ONE IS BACK IN THE GAME! Microsoft REVERSES all the policies that CUSTOMERS hated!

http://news.xbox.com/2013/06/update

In summary:

- "Always online" requirement removed
- Region locking DISABLED (all games will work on all consoles regardless of regions)
- Game sharing/trading will work again

Gamers made a lot of noise and it made a difference! That's unprecedented and has never happened before, and I never thought it would especially with Microsoft.

Posted this on NEOGAF and will repost it here again, in appreciation of Microsoft's gesture:

=============

http://neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=64887501&postcount=728

I know Microsoft reads on GAF so I might as well put this here.

Thank you Microsoft for listening to all the feedback. As a gamer in the Philippines and part of an Xbox community here, we were all 100% upset with all those policies, particularly the country locking "feature". I just woke up today and all of this sounds like a miracle. I am very pleased with this news and look forward to playing on the Xbox One. All the best…

E3 2013. DAY THREE.

Writing this on the bus, on the way back to the hotel. Expect bad writing and stream of consciousness-style, disorganized text. hey i'm not a journalist! So i dont have to care haha.

I planned on spending this day entirely in lines. You see, E3 has several types of demos:
- The playable demo. Basically it's a kiosk where you can just walk up and play.
- Guided demo. This is where the developer plays the game for you while you are seated with a bunch of other people. Since they can only fit a few people in the room where they do this, very long lines are quite common.
- Stage demo. This is where the developer takes the stage of a very big booth and just talks about their game.
- Press Conference demo. This is where all those wonderful GIFs on the internet were made from.

I have seen one to three, live. The fourth one, well, only on the internet. The press conferences are only for press. And for this attendance to E3 I was doing it as part of a business trip. Long story which I …

Microsoft: We don't sell Xbox Ones in Poland. Witcher Developer: What? How Am I Going To Play My Game Back Home?

Hilarious. Apparently Microsoft's ultra draconian DRM just hit one of their best developers. This is the goofiest mistake I've ever heard of.

CD Projekt, Welcome to THIRDWORLDGAMER. Apparently you're one of US! Haha!
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/124997-Xbox-One-Surprises-Witcher-Dev-Skips-Poland-At-Launch

Microsoft DOES NOT KNOW what to do with unsupported countries

After the previous news, I decided to message Microsoft myself.  First, to see if I will get the same reply.  Second, to let them know that they actually have customers in the Philippines!  Here's what I got...

So what does this mean?  XBOX Support DOES NOT KNOW if the XBOX One will run on a country that isn't supported by XBOX Live or is in their launch list.  The question is a valid question considering there are a lot of Filipinos who bring back consoles bought in the US.
So does it change anything?  Not really.  It's still a wait and see but things heavily stacked against the XBOne

E3 2013. DAY TWO.

I woke up today with a splitting headache. Took some paracetamol. I think yesterdays fanfare burned me out a bit. I can't stop talking about how far distances are here in LA. You look up a place on Google Maps, it looks so near....then when you're actually in the place where you want to go, holy crap---you have to walk what feels like a football field just to get to a restaurant.

And that's the other thing that bothered me about E3. You know how in Manila it seems like every McDonalds is within reach, and you'll always have access to inexpensive food? Not the case with E3. All the food in the convention center is expensive, and all the food outside of the area is the same deal. If you have to plan to go to E3, be ready to spend some money.

That's the thing. You're spending for the equivalent of walking all that way for a cheap deal and tiring yourself out. Do you really want to get tired when you have to walk the entirety of the LA Convention Center for a whole…

MICROSOFT XBOX ONE ABANDONS UNSUPPORTED COUNTRIES

Following the news of XBOX One 2014 release in Asia, some people have more or less confirmed that XBOX One WILL NOT WORK in unsupported regions.

Even if before you live in an unsupported country like the Philippines but buy original games and make an XBOX Live account for the US and SG --- THIS WILL NO LONGER WORK!

I REPEAT!!! Methods for playing the XBOX 360 will not work on the XBOX One.  Considering that XBONE has to be online at least once every 24 hours, the console is good as dead in gray markets.

NICE KNOWING YOU MICROSOFT.  I had fun with the XBOX 360 but time and time again, you remind us why you don't want our business.  Perhaps unsupported countries are not rich enough or refined enough for your tastes but the fact exist that there is a market out there that you are completely throwing under the bus.

Yes, our money is better spent elsewhere.  PS4 & WiiU  See you on the holiday 2013.



Image sources: http://pixelenemy.com/e3-2013-xbox-one-to-only-work-in-certain-countr…

Blog Article Hints Xbox One Itself May Be Region Locked (May Not Work if you live in an unsupported country)

Just helping Google spread the word on this problem (hopefully search engines / spiders catch this)

This article I posted earlier possibly implies that the Xbox One won't work if it is located in an unsupported country. 
The new device will only be available in select Asian markets – Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and India – pegged as high-growth markets for the region’s booming gaming industry.  This year, the Xbox became the top-selling console in Asia, according to Mr. Bowman, with revenues growing 20% year-on-year.
You know, they should probably go back to Geography class. Those four countries don't all represent Asia. Why don't they just label them as 'Outside United States' countries? Why say 'Asia' when they don't even include all the countries here as well?

The Xbox One Is Now Dead in Asia

Great job Microsoft. You've just effectively said you only care about the US market.

Well, if that's the case, I'll take my business elsewhere. I'm very very disappointed.

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/06/11/microsoft-plots-2014-launch-for-xbox-one-in-asia/?mg=blogs-wsj&url=http%253A%252F%252Fblogs.wsj.com%252Fdigits%252F2013%252F06%252F11%252Fmicrosoft-plots-2014-launch-for-xbox-one-in-asia


Is it time for Microsoft to hire better PR people for the XBOne?

Here the President of MS Interactive Entertainment says that if you don't have an internet connection, just stick with the XBOX 360.  Um...you're supposed to be launching the XBOX One and drumming up support for that.  Yes we know that the Internet changes everything.  Yes we know that internet adoption rates will continue to rise.  But my goodness...couldn't you have said it any better?


And that's not enough...



E3 2013. DAY ONE.

[Note: my internet here in the hotel is really slow since it's just free. That said, I won't be able to upload too many videos/pictures yet. Will update this very soon with those pics/vids]

I'm on the free shuttle bus leaving from E3 2013 right now. E3 is every bit as unbelievable as they say it is in myth and legend. This E3 is possibly the craziest, with two big console launches happening at the same time. Here's some of my quick impressions.

BATTLEFIELD 4

- They have this really cool mode called 'Conquest'. Well, in the demo they let me try, it involved two teams. One was China and the other one was the USA. China had occupied one building and the USA had to take over the building

- Graphics wise there's a lot more carnage going on while you're playing. This is the most apparent upgrade from the previous versions.
- Gameplay wise well, you know what to expect and it's exactly the same as most FPS games. This will probably gear towards the competi…

E3 2013 (Day 0): Can XBOne survive DRM?

The thunderous applause that greeted Sony when they announced that they will support used games marked just how disastrously wrong Microsoft’s consumer research and public relations have been.
Yes, Sony STUNNED the crowed.  This is this console generations MEGATON and GAME CHANGER.
Perhaps it may be safe to say that Microsoft has lost the next generation console war even before its system actually gets out of the door.  I’m not saying that no one will buy the XBOne (A crude but it’s a rather catchier name compared to XBOX One) anymore.  What ‘will’ happen is that Microsoft will no longer be the market leader nor will it reach the same installed base as the Sony PlayStation 4.

For potential consumers (who may be interested despite the DRM debacle) are this means:
Wait for a massive price drop (which is bound to happen the moment sales projections in the first quarter of sales do not meet the expectations of Microsoft)Only buy the games that are worth something --- (I guess we won’t be s…

E3 Preparations. Part I.

Cleaning out my digital cameras. I think I'm going to need all the space I can get.

Got my luggage all set and ready....still thinking if I should bring this laptop or just get a new one there....

Staring at Google Maps the other day, figuring out how I'm going to commute (!) in Los Angeles. It terrifies me a little.

Taking a cab will set me back 20$ a day or more, so the bus seems like the best option to get around.

Unlike here in Manila, where there's a mall every few kilometers or so, it seems places in the United States are so gigantic. I'm not sure how much walking can get me anywhere!

I also haven't figured out how I'll get online....there's free wifi i suppose. The hotel wifi is so expensive...


1 week to E3

In about a week I get to fly all the way to Los Angeles to witness the most epic battle of the video game corporations, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. I've made a lot of preparations so far. Going to another country is a lot of 'work' but I am glad that I'm just going there as practically a tourist. It's a bit exciting.

I don't recall an E3 where two big console makers actually will release something in a few months at nearly the same time. Yes, MS and Sony did do that somewhat back in '05 - '06 but the atmosphere with this E3 is really different. They're both under pressure to start the next-gen NOW. And as we've seen with the last generation, whoever releases first has a huge advantage. Sony delayed their PS3 release and that hurt them somewhat. They used exotic hardware specifications and that did not win them any favors with game developers. On the Microsoft side, they released too early and that gave their console a LOT of hardware prob…

2 Weeks to E3

In a few weeks time I'll be boarding a plane to Los Angeles to attend that mythical event known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Here I am sitting at my office desk like that massive event isn't even going to happen. I'm trying to keep that thought at the back of my mind...the sheer massive epic event that I'm about to undertake...wow, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I'd even go to something as spectacular as E3 itself.

E3 is mythical to every gamer. We read about it in magazines (before, when we still bought them!), we watch videos from E3 after the fact...but has it ever crossed your mind to actually go? I didn't cross my mind. At all. I do watch it on the websites and all the news sites and I really enjoy that time of year when the game companies start talking about their newest stuff. But the idea of actually going there....sounds crazy!

But here I am, two weeks away....man, I don't know what to think. Part of me is a bit freaked out abou…

Xbox One: Microsoft Makes "No Official Support" For Us, Their Official Stance

I didn't wait up for the Xbox One conference like I did for Sony's. MS picked the most god-awful time for a 'worldwide' broadcast, going at 10AM Los Angeles time which made it impossible for me to wait for it in the middle of the night (I got a real life job and a baby to take care of, and that takes much more precedence than sitting up all night waiting for a game show....)

When I did wake up the following day, I checked on NEOGAF and this was the number one topic:

"XBOX ONE does not allow used games"

So even before I got a glimpse of the new console, I got the bad news FIRST. And it wasn't too thrilling.

While maybe it's too early to tell what will really happen, what I understand is, you can never trade in your games, and if you do, whoever gets your game has to pay FULL PRICE to even play it.

Also, your game needs some kind of 24-hour online authentication to ensure it works. This is for single player games too.

I do wonder, did Microsoft's bo…

I'm Going To E3!

I started this blog just for fun, because blogging was cool when it was first introduced.

Never thought that a few years later I'd get the opportunity to go to E3! And it has to happen THIS YEAR, which is probably the craziest ever in gaming, with two major consoles launching at the same time! This year, which might be the last hurrah of game systems, what with the challenges from tablets and smartphones looming on the horizon.

This is the year that E3 will actually mean something. It could be the downfall of giants, or it could usher in the future of games.

It's insane.

I can't believe it, I'm going to E3!

Bioshock Infinite - Review

I really liked the first Bioshock game.
http://thirdworldgamer.blogspot.com/2007/10/bioshock-review.html

So when I heard they were making another one, I really looked forward to it. All the previews and screenshots revealed what could possibly be the next great adventure game.

What we got, instead, was a strange mix of Call of Duty, Gears of War, God of War, Lost and Fringe.

The game starts with a misty aura of wonder. It begins much like the first Bioshock, and if you played that game, the introduction to Bioshock Infinite will definitely give you some goosebumps. I guess it's the anticipation of some great adventure that's about to happen. The thing is, I waited 20 whole hours for an adventure, and only got it in the LAST 10 MINUTES.

When the first big fight in the game breaks out, it's a pretty jarring experience. You get introduced to this really interesting place, which is pretty much Rapture from Bioshock 1, but with civilians, and it's high above the clouds, too.…