All posts by GuinnessShawn

Fallout 4 – Great Features

Fallout4Thumb150x150Bigger, Badder, More Immersive

The Fallout game series takes players on a journey through a setting decades after nuclear war. The RPG's style has become a favorite for many, capturing the feel of a world that peaked in the 50's only to fall into chaos. The premise has citizens sequestered in underground vaults to survive the coming nuclear attacks. Set in the distant future from those events, players experience the world above as an alien landscape they must traverse. The sprawling open world design allows the player to explore and discover all the good, bad and strange that they can handle. The upcoming release of Fallout 4 from developer Bethesda Game Studios is set to begin a new story delivering a fresh experience making it a great start for first-time players while at the same time satisfying long-term fans of the series. There are many exciting things to look forward to and here are just a few that we know of so far.

The game has been said to have more than 400 hours worth of gameplay and contains more than 111,000 lines of vocal dialog for players to experience. The developers have also decided to move in a new direction with regard to the player character. Traditional conventions in games with player controlled characters have leaned towards having that main character remain silent so that players can immerse themselves fully. Fallout 4 will feature fully voiced characters instead, to provide more emotional impact and connection with story events. With the sheer amount of dialog built in that should make for quite an experience. Like any RPG though, individual development of your character is important. The game will still feature a leveling system that allows players to build up strengths and abilities to survive and thrive in the world. The developers have promised improvements over the previous Fallout 3 system that should provide more variety and choices as to how you make your character grow.

One of the signature elements introduced in Fallout 3 was the V.A.T.S. system (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) where players in confrontations could quickly stop the action to target specific points of an enemy before shooting, allowing you to focus on weak points of a particularly fierce opponent. The system returns but with some tweaks. The developers felt that stopping the action made the system a little too easy so rather than being able to freeze things they will slow down instead. Additionally, a critical hit bar has been added which replenishes and when full can be triggered by the player for an extra wallop of damage to an opponent. This seems to support a more action-oriented emphasis for combat and pushing that turn-based format a little bit further into the background.

Locations for Fallout games have included Southern California, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, and even Anchorage Alaska. (Well...kind of. The Operation Anchorage add-on for Fallout 3 had players playing a simulation of the battle to liberate Anchorage Alaska) Fallout 4 takes things all the way back east to the birthplace of the American Revolution: Boston Massachussetts. Hailed by many as "America's Walking City", Boston is rich with history and has it's own distinct feel. Reimagining the city as a post-apocalyptic zone in the future should provide many interesting locales both new and familiar. Who would have thought the USS Constitution would be dry-docked and retro-fitted with what look like rocket boosters?

This last category takes an already content-rich game and takes making the game your own to a whole other level. Customization. Bethesda developers have gone ahead and added new tools to manipulate resources and build new things. The in-game crafting system allows players to dismantle just about anything in the game and use components to build other things such as weapon modifications or even entire buildings. The team does not expect to launch these modification tools until later, focusing on producing the best game possible first. This follows the same pattern as Skyrim with the release of the Creation Kit 3 months after launch. While this feature may not be utilized by the majority of players it does add even more activity and content to an already ambitious game.

With a new location and fresh new features Fallout 4 should be a grand adventure that delivers what fans have come to adore about it. We look forward to spending some time in the wasteland and kicking some mutant butt. Now dust off that Pip-Boy and strap it to your wrist. It's almost "Go Time"!

Fallout 4 releases Tuesday, November 10th on PS4, XBox One and PC.

Battlefront Gameplay Revealed

For a while now gamers have been wondering what Star Wars Battlefront will really be like.  Earlier this year we were treated with the teaser trailer with amazing visuals and the hope that we would see a Star Wars game that truly hit the mark.  Could gameplay actually look and feel as exciting?  The wait is over.  EA presented 5 minutes of in-game footage which looks absolutely stunning.  There's no doubt that uber-fans will spend countless hours scrutinizing every millisecond of video later trying to glean more but for most of us this is enough to let us know we have something special to look forward to this fall.  What we see is promising and definitely something to be excited about.  November has never seemed so far away...


While Battlefront does not have a single player campaign, a survival co-op mode was announced today. Two players can team up against increasingly difficult waves of enemies in a survival mode. Game footage looks good!

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller

EliteControl2675x372Microsoft steps it up in the gaming arena with the announcement of a new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.
For use with the Xbox One and PC, the controller comes packed with features normally found on the popular Scuff Controllers. Reprogrammable buttons, integrated paddle buttons on the underside of the controller, replaceable thumbsticks, replaceable d-pad. Users will be able to customize settings via an app via the Xbox One and save those settings to the controller.


This seems more like the advanced controller we wished would have come with the Xbox One at release. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller can be yours for the not-so-modest price of $150. While that may seem high, it is on par with similar third-party "professional" controllers. Microsoft has one huge advantage over the competition though since it can integrate the controller more fluidly with their operating system. We look forward to hearing more news in the future.

Uncharted HD Collection PS4

With the upcoming release of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End for PS4 a little way off (2016), developer Naughty Dog is providing an early taste of sorts.

It was officially revealed today on the Playstation Blog that all 3 of the Uncharted single-player campaign games have been remastered and are being released in one collection. If you've played the Uncharted games before then you know how remastering them in HD at 60fps will be a real treat. If you've never played Uncharted and have moved to PS4 then this will be a must-have for your system. For many, Uncharted was one of those defining game series for the PS3 console with each iteration getting subsequently more amazing. While the multiplayer component is absent for these games in this edition, the collection will include access to the Uncharted 4 multiplayer beta when it comes out.

According to Arne Meyer of Naughty Dog, the company has been working with Bluepoint Games to make this remastering possible.  It could be said that The remastering of this franchise could be as important to PS4 as Halo: The Master Chief Collection was/is to the Xbox One.  With such a beloved series it's only natural that fans might be worried that remastering Uncharted for PS4 might have its own problems.  Only time will tell but Bluepont Games is a company that has had a lot of expertise in creating remastered versions of other games.  The company uses their own proprietary game engine; The Bluepoint Engine (BPE).  BPE was developed to be a flexible game engine to work on different gaming platforms which makes it ideal for porting titles to other systems and remastering existing titles. BPE has been used quite successfully to drive several notable games in the past such as: TitanFall (Xbox 360 version), Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (PS3), ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection (PS3) and The God of War Collection HD (PS3). Making the transition to PS4 to take advantage of the powerful graphics and processing should be that much smoother because of their credentials.

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection releases on October 9, 2015 but the game can be pre-ordered starting today.


Black Ops III is coming…

It's coming...

Treyarch and Activision have been stealthily preparing for the official announcement of the next installment of the Black Ops series of Call of Duty. After quietly releasing an update recently to Black Ops II, Treyarch snuck in some curious snapchat codes sprinkled in around levels.


These codes allowed users to go to and visit a series of strange grainy videos that remind us eerily of what you might see in the first game's brainwashing scenes. While these bits of short videos gave us a taste of something more we were left wondering just what was going on.


Well, we don't have a lot more information, but we do have confirmation that Black Ops III is incoming. Treyarch released a teaser video turning up the excitement and the heat. It looks like the storyline from Black Ops will continue into the future as can be seen with the electronic/mechanical enhanced soldier in the release photo. (Oh God, PLEASE no more Exo Suits! )

We've been promised an official announcement (and possibly full reveal?) later this month on April 26th. Stay tuned for more.


The official game trailer is out and we have more information on the upcoming game.
Looks like November 6th will be the big release day for Black Ops 3.

So what can we expect? IGN sums up their preview of the game and lets us know a few more details. 4 player co-op campaign. New zombie story with character progression. No more Exo Suits! Yea! ... But apparently we have a revolutionary new movement system that lets you jump around... Oh boy. Find out more:

Black Ops 3: What You Need to Know About Multiplayer, Zombies, and Campaign

Battlefront Trailer Released

The Force is strong... this Fall.

EA has been keeping the development of Battlefront a tight secret for some time.  The re-boot of the series was taken on by DICE, the makers of Battlefield and has been an eagerly anticipated release. Based on those credentials alone we have the potential for a top-notch military shooter like Battlefield set in the Star Wars Universe. For fans of both, what's not to love?



Recently the official game trailer was released which could easily be mistaken for a blockbuster film.  It features stunning visuals and beautiful detail and all created with game engine footage.  We can only hope that gameplay lives up to the grand epic that EA/DICE have set the stage for.  Battlefront is set for release in November. We will be watching for more to come...

Video Games: The Movie

Blast from the past...and more

Ever feel like a movie was made just for you? I recently watched Video Games: The Movie and found it a blast. From their website, Video Games: The Movie describes itself as:

"Featuring in-depth interviews with the godfathers who started it all, the icons of game design, and the geek gurus who are leading us into the future, VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE is a celebration of gaming from Atari to Xbox, and an eye-opening look at what lies ahead."

Considering our passion for all things gaming here at GO40 I wanted to tell you about this gem recently added to Netflix. It takes on the ambitious task of trying to chronicle the history of games and gamers and how the medium has become such an influential and amazing format unto itself.  Video Gaming has had a complex, sometimes turbulent history, and so many points of interest. It's no wonder that this movie simply does the "double-decker bus tour" equivalent of coverage. Fortunately, that's all it needs to do for an enjoyable trip down memory lane. There are plenty of interviews from industry veterans (like Nolan Bushnell co-founder of Atari), and celebrity personalities, (Sean Astin and Wil Wheaton) to provide personal thoughts and insights as well as a ton of game clips ranging from Pong to Destiny. The movie doesn't do anything groundbreaking and only touches on certain aspects of console gaming history but it does pay tribute to this medium and culture that we know and love.

The format of the movie tries to touch on different points of gaming history, focusing on a different aspect for each segment by going back in a timeline and moving forward through the years. While it does break things up into more digestible portions it unfortunately leaves you with the feeling of "skipping around". There's just so much that can be said so if you were to cover video gaming in depth that the movie might take days to chronicle. Still, it doesn't try to be more than a quick tour (110 minutes) of gaming which coincides with our group's generational experience. Seeing some of the clips from games I haven't seen in years (and some I had forgotten about) made me wax nostalgic for those good times in front of the TV or in the Arcade. One example is a shot showing people in an arcade some playing and others crowding around each cabinet. Something struck me as I noticed someone completely immersed in a game in that "game stance". You know what I mean. One leg forward, slightly bent with the other directly behind. Upper body leaning forward and in to the game, pushing all your focus to the controls. It's those glimpses of gaming's past that strike a chord in you as you watch. In the opening of the film there is a segment showing short clips of games as they evolved. I found myself instantly naming each one as they briefly appeared and couldn't stop. Even the end credits feature a "game over" moments montage which was a nice touch.

If you're looking for something that goes in-depth and explores issues or controversies in the gaming industry then this movie may not fill the bill. If you want to hop on the tour bus and re-visit places you fondly remember and learn some interesting tidbits along the way then you can't go wrong with this one!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Developmental or Divergent?

Call_of_Duty_Advanced_Warfare_coverThis November brings the latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise; Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. We've seen the evolution of combat in our Call of Duty games from the Beaches of Normandy in WWII through Modern Warfare's Nuclear threat, to the near future with Black Ops II and Ghosts. The upcoming game as described on the official website gives us a glimpse even further ahead. "Advanced Warfare envisions the powerful battlegrounds of the future, where both technology and tactic have evolved to usher in a new era of combat for the franchise." So, has Sledgehammer games taken the franchise one step further with the developmental growth of Call of Duty or diverged from the format becoming something entirely new?

We've heard of "revolutionary new gameplay" and been let down before. Most recently, the release of Titanfall, which was said by some to be "Call of Duty with mechs", has successfully integrated new features in FPS combat. The game added parkour elements with jet boosted jumping to reach high places, advanced weaponry, invisibility cloaking, and of course...giant robot mechs. While Titanfall has met with success it has fallen way short of many people's expectations. So here we are again. Call of Duty with new features...boost jumping to get to high places, advanced weaponry, invisibility cloaking, and well...armor suits. Uh oh. I can't help but think; Are we set irrevocably on a course running up that ramp, ready to jump out over that pool of sharks this fall? Only time will tell.


One of the hallmarks of the Call of Duty games has been an enjoyable single player campaign full of action and plot twists. The addition of Kevin Spacey to the talent pool adds another point of interest that shows this is something big. This gives CoD: Advanced Warfare an advantage over Titanfall by not only adding more content to be experienced but also to help ground the players in this new world and acclimate them to the technology there before taking on Multiplayer.

So the futuristic features stretch the limits of what we've come to expect for FPS. How do we know this isn't just going to be another Titanfall? Thankfully we received more information at the Advanced Warfare Multiplayer World Premiere by Sledgehammer and Activision at Gamescom on August 11th. Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield (both Studio heads and co-founders of Sledgehammer) provided more insight into what we can expect with this new release.

Pick 13

The character creation system, which is the foundation for your loadout strategies is based on the familiar "Pick 10" system introduced in Black Ops but has been bumped up to "Pick 13". Players will pick their primary and secondary weapons, attachments, perks, EXO abilities (See below), scorestreaks, and any Wildcards.



The addition of the power assisted EXO (exoskeleton) is the most radical feature.  This new bit of kit allows you to add extra customization and allows you to "boost".  Boost allows for jumping vertically, sideways, backwards, sliding and a powerful melee attack that lets you drop on opponents from above and smash them.  The EXO suit is where you would choose between different features like the cloaking shield, tracking drones, and a power shield.  The EXO uses a battery system that powers certain items like the shield where use of that item will deplete energy.

The addition of the EXO to the game has fundamentally changed the way Call of Duty will feel.  This change is intentional and forces new tactics to be learned.  During the Gamescom reveal, both Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield repeatedly used the word "verticality" when describing movement, level design, and player control.   With such a heavy emphasis on the new toys, the feel of ground combat may have permanently changed.  (On a side note: Michael Condrey did also tell the press at Gamescom that they would include a multiplayer playlist with the EXO disabled to fit more traditional players expectations.)

Test Range

Once loaded up, a new feature: The Test Range will be available to players to pop in and test things out before going into a match.  Set up like a virtual firing range with targets, the player can warm up with a few rounds to get the feel of a weapon before bringing it in to battle.

Supply Drops

Like recent Call of Duty games, XP is the backbone of how players progress but Sledgehammer has developed an additional incentive system called "Supply Drops".  The idea is very much like the Battlefield 4 Battlepack system where players will receive a "grab bag" of 3 randomly selected items.  These items can be gear for soldier customization, single use perks (like burn cards in Titanfall), or even weapons.  The items are also ranked by a value system ranging from common to rare.  Supply Drops are awarded by time played in game and certain in-game challenges.  Sledgehammer's Michael Condrey summed it up saying: "Imagine rolling in with fully geared weapons and instantly you're the most bad-ass on the battlefield."


Customizable Scorestreaks

One new innovative change being introduced is the customizable scorestreak system.  In Advanced Warfare you select your scorestreaks in your loadout.  As you earn score points in game you make your scorestreaks available to deploy.  In past games this has been a set amount with a single effect.  With the new customizable scorestreaks you can choose to modify an item by adding capabilities...for a price.  For example: Let's say you select a gun turret which is 600 points (get 600 points in a match to call it up) and then you modify it by adding a rocket turret for 100 points.  Now when you score 700 points in a match you deploy your modified turret/rocket launcher mega scorestreak.  This ability to tweak the scorestreaks and new features to enhance them gives the player some creative options.  (Like adding another modification to detatch that rocket turret and go mobile.).


Co-op Scorestreaks

There are even scorestreaks that allow teammates to go "co-op" allowing players to join in with another player in controlling certain scorestreaks.  An example would be the "Warbird Gunner".  One player deploys the gunner streak and takes control of a mounted gun.  The other team player can look up, access the aircraft and instantly take position in the same aircraft providing target tagging or additional gunfire.

coop scorestreaks

So with these additional features and other improvements it does seem that the developers have tried to make a more enriched experience.  Fans of the games will continue to flock to the Call of Duty banner ready to do battle while newcomers will enjoy the wealth of options.  New features will help keep the game fresh, but only time will tell whether this latest iteration of the series is the next step in it's evolution or whether it has become something new and independent.

...Perhaps there will be mechs after all...


Halo: Master Chief Edition


When it comes to epic games it's hard to dispute that Halo is the one that defined console gaming. While many Halo games have been produced, (and Halo 5 is right around the corner), the story lines surrounding Spartan John-117, (yeah, that's our Master Chief), have been some of the most compelling and riveting of the series.

343 Industries and Bungie are releasing the Halo: The Master Chief Collection in mid-November on Xbox One. All 4 of the original Halo games featuring the Master Chief will be included in the set and have been given graphical upgrades. The original Halo 2 which was only available on Xbox has been re-mastered with the same detail as the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary edition. If you haven't played these games in a while, there will be no better time to enjoy them then on your Xbox One.

Halo helped define FPS multiplayer gameplay and playing through these editions should be a treat. It's worth noting that this edition contains all of the multiplayer maps ever released for all editions. That's more than 100 maps to play right out of the box. Not a bad deal indeed.

Some extras will also be included such as access to Halo Nightfall, (the new digital video series being produced by Ridley Scott), as well as access to the Halo 5:Guardians beta.