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Microsoft held a press conference yesterday at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany that was, with a few exceptions, all about M rated games. Electronic Arts came through today by featuring a bunch of games that were actually worth talking about here on Engaged Family Gaming!

Star Wars Battlefront

The single biggest announcement that EA made was about Star Wars Battlefront. Players around the world have been excited about it, but there is a large portion of that population wanted to see space battles using X-Wings and TIE Fighters. EA finally announced that Star Wars Battlefront will include Fighter Squadron Mode.

Take a look at the trailer above for some details.

Unravel

We talked about Unravel at E3 a few months ago, but EA finally showed us a gameplay video. This game looks absolutely amazing. We cannot wait to play. Yarny continues to be one of our favorite characters recently because he is so adorable. This trailer didn’t change anything about that.

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is one of our most anticipated games for next year. The Gamescom trailer revealed a new game mode that takes place on the moon. It also showed off some significant details for three new plant fighters: Rose, Kernel Corn, and Citrod.

Rose appears to a magic using plant that can turn opponents into goats. This could provide some interesting crowd control options for players who like to control the battlefield.

Kernel Corn looks like he is another soldier type character, but it looks like he has some higher damage abilities like air strikes and rocket launchers. We’ll have to see how he is balanced when the game comes out.

Citrod is weird. I don’t have anything else to really say. It does appear, though, that this character has some serious mobility thanks to a rolling move.

 

Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more news out of Gamescom as the week continues!

 

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Publisher: Activision

ESRB Rating: E 10+

Console: Reviewed on Xbox One, also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Overall Review


King’s Quest is a storied franchise that seems to have been around as long as video games themselves. These adventure games play out like living story books that parents across the world have wanted to share with their kids. Sadly, a lot of the older games in the series are so unforgiving and difficult that younger players might not be able to finish them (or even enjoy them).

The reality of the current gaming environment is that we are experience a resurgence of the adventure game genre thanks to Telltale Games. They have done a great job of improving the formula, but their games are definitely not appropriate for kids. 

King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember is here to save the day. It features all of the good natured humor and wonderful storytelling of its ancestor while tempering the mind bending puzzles with modern game design and frequent checkpoints. In short, I cannot recommend this game more. 

One of the strongest features of the newest King’s Quest is the art style. It is a stunning game that features a hand-drawn, animated feel. I felt like I was inhabiting a classic storybook for my entire play through.

The game is being released as five episodes. Each of them features a story told by King Graham, the protagonist of most of the previous King’s Quest games, to his granddaughter. Player choice is important because your decisions while playing King Graham will be reflected in the young girls actions as she proceeds through the chapter. This is an interesting design decision and is a great way to help discuss and deliver moral lessons to your children if they play with you or watch you.

Family Gaming Assessment

There is some fantasy violence here, but no blood or gore. This is easily comparable, content-wise, to the various Disney-fied fantasy stories like the Sword in the Stone.

Playability Assessment

Adventure games are incredibly challenging. They require a bit of reading, but a lot of problem solving. The real challenge in the game is derived from traveling around the map acquiring and interacting with different objects. You often need to find just the right combination of items to complete tasks.

Conclusion

If you have any interest in adventure games, then this is a great buy. This is especially true is you want to play the game with your family as it is all but designed for people to essentially share control of King Graham.

 

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Everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock by now has at least HEARD of Minecraft. It has been a runaway hit since its release and it is available on just about everything.

One thing Minecraft hasn’t done very well with (likely on account of a lack of effort) has been the story. That won’t be changing in Minecraft proper, but Telltale Games appears to be fixing it on their own in a new episodic adventure game called Minecraft Story Mode.

Take a look at the trailer below. We’ll be sharing more details as the release comes closer this Fall.

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Transformer Devastation logo

I have never been more excited for a video game that has been given so little fanfare. I am a huge Transformers fan and always have been, but there have been precious few games that have really done the property justice. Transformers: Devastation looks like it has a chance of going beyond “doing the property justice.” It looks like it has a very real chance of letting fans (new and old) celebrate the insanity that comes from a war between two armies of transforming robots.

I could just spout off for a thousand words to talk about how this game might be great just because Transformers are awesome, but no one has time for that. Instead, I have cornered two very specific reasons why we should all be very excited for when this game comes out.

First, the game is being developed by Platinum Games. I am sure that doesn’t mean a great deal to a lot of my readers on its own, so here is some context. Platinum games is the developer behind DmC (the recent reboot of the legendary Devil May Cry series), Bayonetta, and The Wonderful 101. Of those three games only the latter of them is appropriate for children, but all of them share one thing in common. They all feature completely over the top action. Bayonetta specifically is almost funny considering how crazy the action is. That fits the Transformers brand to a T. There are giant robots who transform into trucks, VW Beetles, fighter jets, cassette players, and even dinosaurs that fight it out on Earth. I can’t imagine another developer who would be able to develop an action game that really highlights that in a fun way.

Second, the animation will bring tears to the eyes of fans of the original series. My love for the original series of Transformers (lovingly referred to by fans as Generation 1) is well documented on the web. Fans have tolerated the character models in the recent Transformers movies (barely), but many have longed to see the original designs brought forward. Transformers: Devastation is being drawn using the Generation 1 character models and in an animation style that makes it look like a Saturday morning cartoon come to life. Take a look at the screenshots below to see what I mean.

We don’t have a release date yet, but they have indicated that the game has been in development since early 2014 and is scheduled for release this fall. Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information as we get closer!

Transformers: Devastation screenshotTransformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!Transformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!Transformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!Transformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!Transformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!Transformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!Transformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!Transformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!Transformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!Transformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!Transformers: Devastation Has Us VERY Excited!
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E3 2015 is over and it showcased a LOT of games that parents will be able to enjoy with their kids. But, some of the best games shown were just not appropriate for kids.We call those “grown up games” in our house because they are still games, but they just aren’t quite right for the younger set.

Below are our favorite Grown Up Games from E3 2015.

Fallout 4

This is, for many people, the crown jewel of gaming from this year’s E3. Bethesda is known for creating immersive worlds that give players the freedom to do whatever they want and this will be their first dance with the new generation of hardware.

The game will take place in Boston 100 years after the world is destroyed by nuclear war. You play a man, or woman, who survived the destruction in some sort of cryo-stasis in an underground vault and emerge into a largely desolate world that is teeming with bandits, mutants, and robots.

The game world looks massive from the trailer Bethesda presented us with and I, for one, cannot wait to run around in it!

Dishonored 2

The original Dishonored caught most of the gaming world by surprise in 2012. It was a brilliant game that presented players with a world to explore and tasks to complete in whichever way they chose. Most notably, players were able to sneak through the game non-violently or run roughshod through the Victorian setting laying waste to all who stood in their way.

It was a lot of fun to play and the world building was amazing. The developers put a huge amount of work into every little detail to make sure that the games world was as impressive as the gameplay.

Even better? The sequel features a female protagonist that has a completely different arsenal of weapons and magic talents from Corvo (the main character in the original). Both of these characters are playable in the sequel as well.

Uncharted 4

The Uncharted series has been a wild since it first debuted on the PlayStation 3 early in its life cycle. The story, and the action, have escalated significantly over the years and have made it one of the most love franchises in games today.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is intended to be the last chapter in Nathan Drake’s story and if the gameplay demos they have shown so far are any indication we should be in for a wild ride!

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Guerilla Games is known for their work on the Killzone franchise. They debuted a new game at E3 this year that looks like a huge departure from their previous work.

Killzone has always been a bleak, industrial shooter. Horizon: Zero Dawn, however, is an action based roleplaying game that takes place in a beautiful, mostly-natural environment. The game takes place 1000 years after mankind falls and features humankind living in tribal, hunter/gatherer societies. Players control a young girl named Aloy who ventures out into this world.

We know almost nothing about the story, but the game looks great. I can’t wait to play it.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

OK. Here’s the thing. I had fallen out of love with the Assassin’s Creed series after Unity. It was a lackluster game that was plagues with some bugs that kept the game from resonating with me. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate looks MUCH more interesting and has pulled me right back in after I thought I was done.

This is also the first console edition of Assassin’s Creed to feature a female protagonist which is a pretty big deal considering the mess that was last year’s E3 and the lack of female characters in the largely multiplayer focused Assassin’s Creed: Unity.

DOOM

There really isn’t much to say here. DOOM is one of the biggest franchises in the history of shooters and it is coming back in all of its over-the-top violent glory. This is definitely a game for when the kiddoes are in bed, but it looks like it will be well worth the wait.

I remember talking with my wife about what I expected to see at the Bethesda press event and treating DOOM like an afterthought. I told her that I wasn’t really all that interested, but that I was excited to see what they were doing for the sake of the fans. That lasted about a minute into the trailer before I was excited to buy it and bring it home.

What about you? What game are you looking forward to playing that you just don’t think you can share with the kids?

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The day before the E3 show floor opens is always a big deal for the game industry. That is the day that most of the big publishers hold massive, multi-million dollar press events to show off their offerings for the next several years. It is such an important day that is has even been given a name: “Day Zero.”

Well. Day Zero for E3 2015 has come and gone and it was, by all accounts, one of the most amazing days of announcements in recent history. It was the video game equivalent of the best Christmas morning you could ever remember. Sony made three surprise announcements that brought many gamers, myself included, to tears.

The three surprise announcements all revolved around legendary games and game franchises that represented high water marks in game development and the lives of many of their players.

In short: This was a big deal.

The Last Guardian

First, Sony opened their press conference by re-unveiling The Last Guardian. This is a game that has been in development  for a very long time. So long, in fact, that it was first announced back in 2007. This is important because it is being developed by JapanStudio. This is the team responsible for ICO and Shadow of the Colossus; two of the most critically acclaimed games of all time. Players have been hungry for this game for YEARS and grew more concerned with each passing year with no new information.

Final Fantasy VII

Second, Sony stunned the crowd by announcing an HD remake of the classic Final Fantasy VII. Fans have been clamoring for an HD remake of Final Fantasy VII for years as the game was groundbreaking at release, but has not aged well. Square Enix has long stated that the cost of recreating such a massive game using HD rendered graphics would not be something that they could afford to do. I’m not sure what caused them to get over that particular problem, but here we are!

Shenmue 3

Lastly, they helped launch a Kickstarter for Shenmue 3. This title is relevant because Shenmue and (its sequel) Shenmue 2 were two of the first open world games. They included an deep and personal narrative that players really got invested in. I was never a huge fan personally, but the game’s fans are devoted enough to have kept the demand alive for a very long time. (In fact, the Kickstarter launched during Sony’s press conference and raised $2 million dollars within five hours. THAT is a devoted fan base.)

What do you think? Sound off in the comments!

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

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Sony blew the roof of the joint at their 2015 E3 press event when they announced the long anticipated title from JapanStudio: The Last Guardian.

They opened the show with a gameplay trailer featuring a young boy exploring strange ruins along with a strange griffon/canine creature while it collapsed around them. The animation was beautiful. The music was haunting. The moment was perfect. The result? Thunderous applause from the entire audience as men and women who had been waiting for more information about this game since it was originally announced back in 2007 finally got what they wanted.

What’s the big deal though right? What could make a video game so important that it would bring journalists (myself included) to tears?

Well… for me? I cry at everything. I openly wept when the Vision was on screen during Avengers 2. So, I’m not much of an example. But for everyone else? It likely comes down to history.

You see JapanStudio is the company responsible for ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. These two games are some of the more critically acclaimed games in history. Shadow of the Colossus is regarded by some as one of the best games of all time. Imagine if Tarrantino made Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction… and then waited a decade for his next film to come out. His fans would lose their MINDS! This is a very similar situation.

Colin Moriarty, one of the co-founders of KindaFunnyGames, made the observation once on one of his podcasts. He stated that, during the time that JapanStudio was working on The Last Guardian, Naughty Dog (another studio owned by Sony) has released a Jak and Daxter game, three (maybe even four) Uncharted games, and The Last of Us. That type of development cycle is unheard of. But, every time a news outlet would reach out to Sony they would state in no uncertain terms that the development had continued.

It looks like they were telling the truth all along, because it was shown and it looks great. The Last Guardian will be released for the PlayStation 4 sometime during 2016.

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

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Sony has announced that Square Enix will be developing an HD remake of the classic Final Fantasy VII and bringing it to the PlayStation 4 first as part of their 2015 E3 press event.

Square Enix is responsible for a lot of different franchises, but few of them are as iconic in the video game space as Final Fantasy. They spent the majority of the 90’s and early 00’s producing groundbreaking RPGs (Role Playing Games) that put the hardware they were published on to the limit. They set the standard for excellence in the genre.

Final Fantasy VII represented a high point for the franchise in 1997 because it marked the first time an RPG of that caliber was released using 3D polygonal characters as opposed to 16 bit sprite art. The story was also a highlight and is remembered by many fans as one of the best Final Fantasy games ever.

Players have been clamoring for a true HD remaster of the game with fully updated visuals for years, but Square Enix has never given it to them. They have always stated, and it is more than fair, that the cost of creating high quality HD visuals for a game as MASSIVE as Final Fantasy VII could not be recouped with sales. They simply didn’t think enough people would buy it.

Something has obviously changed because the game is in development now. We don’t know much at all about it though and they conspicuously left out any idea of a release date.

We are ridiculously excited about the game regardless and can’t wait to share the experience of play Final Fantasy VII with our kids without forcing them to watch jagged character models from a decade before they were born.

Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more updates as they are released!

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

 

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Microsoft just wrapped up their 2015 E3 press event and while there was a LOT of amazing news the biggest announcement for parents was the impending release of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2!

The first game in the series was a surprise hit for Electronic Arts based on the popular PC and mobile game Plants Vs Zombies. The followup appears to follow the same family friendly shooter formula, but this time it takes place in what appears to be a dystopian future and includes plants and zombies that we included as part of Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time.

The original title is currently available at no cost to EA Access members. The sequel is slated for release in Spring 2016.

Are you and your family as excited as we are?

 

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Sony-Playstation-logo

Sony will be closing out the day on Monday with their E3 press event just like they have for the last several years. They have a sales lead so far for the current console generation, but I wouldn’t call it a *comfortable* one.  They need their press event to be amazing in order to maintain their lead over the Microsoft Xbox One (especially now that their base model is $350).

Here are some of my thoughts and predictions:

Uncharted IV: A Thief’s End will take center stage.

The uncharted series is rated M, so it doesn’t merit much discussion here, but this is likely going to be the biggest release for the PlayStation 4 by the time it is released next year no matter what comes out between now and then. It is a MASSIVE franchise.

Anyone with teenagers will want to at least keep your eye on it as it will likely be something they want if they have a PlayStation 4.

The PSVita will be a non-presence.

The long and short of it is that The PSVita is thriving through the support of independent game developers and will continue to do so for a long time. Sony doesn’t have to spend a single marketing dollar on the PSVita in order to make that happen.

Virtual Reality will be part of their show.

Project Morpheus is Sony’s VR headset. It is currently slated for a 2016 release but we don’t have any real details aside from that. I expect that we will see the final product and some actual games to go along with it. If we are lucky we will see a price point and a smaller release window, but that is a real stretch.

Sony will, finally, unveil some of the projects that their first party studios are working on.

Sony owns a whole bunch of studios that are responsible for almost all of their PlayStation exclusives. Many of them are working on projects, and have been for years, but they have been silent on what exactly those projects are.

They are running headlong into a Holiday season where Microsoft will be releasing several HUGE games like HALO 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Forza Motorsports 6. The next big Sony release will not happen until months later when Uncharted launches. Sony has been hesitant to announce games too early in development, but it would probably be a good idea to share some information with the world to help build excitement.

Maybe. JUST MAYBE. We’ll finally see the Last Guardian.

At this point The Last Guardian is a legend. It was debuted at an E3 several years ago to thunderous applause. This was a follow-up from the team that made Shadows of the Colossus (argued by some as one of the better games in the history of the medium). The trailer showed a young boy travelling alongside a giant dragon/dog/bird-like creature. But we have seen nothing of the game since then aside from reassurance that it is still in development.

Many doubt this to be true, though, because that means it would have been in development for more than a decade. That is unprecedented.

With that said, if the game is coming, then maybe we’ll see it on the biggest stage of them all.

What about you? What are your Sony predictions? Sound off in the comments.

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