18. 07. 10
posted by: Andy Seiter

News from the Spider-Verse

I have some sad news from the comic book world to pass along.  The story broke on Friday that legendary comic artist/writer Steve Ditko had passed away at the ripe old age of 90 years old.  Ditko famously worked at Marvel Comics starting in the so-called “Silver Age of Comics” and during that time helped to create staples of the Marvel lineup such as Dr. Strange and, most notably, Spider-Man.  Since Ditko’s passing was announced, people across the Internet and the comic book world have shared reactions and memorials, including current movie Spider-Man Tom Holland and former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics and current CCO of Marvel Entertainment Joe Quesada.  While I’ll leave the memorials to those who knew him and his material far better than me, I will say that Spider-Man has been one of my favorite characters since childhood, and is a big part of why I’m such a big fan of comic books and all Marvel media.  So thanks to Steve Ditko for creating such a big influence on my life. With that said, there is a wealth of Spider-Man news circling the Internet, and with Comic Con coming up in a couple of weeks, so let’s dig into the new Spidey material on the horizon.

 

Spider-Man: Far from Home set photos and rumors

The follow-up to the hit Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t set to debut in theaters until next July, but that hasn’t stopped rumors from swirling across the, wait for it, web about plotlines and characters that could appear.  Of course, spoiler alert for Avengers: Infinity War, the biggest plot point will play out in the next Avengers movie, since Spidey technically died in Infinity War.  It’s not surprising that Peter Parker will return, since we’ve known about this movie for a while now, but rumor has it that Far from Home will take place just a few weeks after Avengers 4, and with principal filming taking place in the UK, speculation is that this film will be the Marvel Cinematic Universe debut for Captain Britain.  Some photos from the set have been released showing actor Tom Holland...smiling...so not too much info can really be gleaned from that.  A Twitter user also posted a short video of a scene being filmed with Spidey in street clothes looking distressed.  Thinking about the fallout of Avengers 4​?  Could be anything really, but it’s exciting to see production underway nonetheless.  Basically every Marvel character has been rumored to be involved, but most exciting are Spider-Man supporting characters like Gwen Stacy and Venom (who has his own movie coming up).  Personally I’m most hoping for an appearance from Black Cat, aka Felicia Hardy, for no reason other than I’ve been crushing on her since 1996. More details for Spider-Man: Far from Home are sure to be released as production moves along.

 

Into the Spider-Verse:  Introducing a new Spider-Man and then some

Although viewers will have to wait until summer 2019 for the next installment of Spidey in the MCU, the next film to hit the big screen will be Sony Animation Studios’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which will be released this holiday season.  Featuring an alternate universe version of Spider-Man named Miles Morales, Into the Spider-Verse will explore the different universes that exist in Marvel comics.  Alternate universes are a staple of Marvel comics but haven’t been explored in a major MCU release yet, and this film looks like it will be a fun entry into that rabbit hole.  A version of Peter Parker is already confirmed to play a big role via the official trailer, as well as an alternate super-powered version of Gwen Stacy (aka Spider-Gwen.  I know right?). There are few things I love more than universe-hopping in Marvel comics, making Into the Spider-Verse a much see for me.  

 

Spider-Man PS4 update

Finally, what would a Spider-Man news roundup be without an update on Insomniac Games’ upcoming PS4 title?  This week Marvel Games announced Spider-Man would be featured during an event at Comic Con, along with a few other Marvel titles in the works.  Expect to see new gameplay and potentially some new villians that will be in the game. What Comic Con attendees won’t see are any other Marvel heroes.  The game’s creative director confirmed on Twitter that no other heroes will appear in the game, even though there will almost certainly be at least mention of one or two of Marvel’s finest.  Hopefully there will be plenty of content from the game coming up in the lead up to it’s September release (although no demo will be made available) to keep gamers satisfied until they can get there hands on it. 

Marvel is showing no signs of slowing down with their most popular superhero, so there will certainly be plenty more to come for Spidey.  Which title are you most excited to see or play? Let us know on Twitter @tbpynh and swing back by the Best Segment You’ve Ever Nerd for more nerd news and reports.

18. 06. 28
posted by: Andy Seiter

It’s been nearly five weeks since the reveal trailer for Battlefield V was released, and two weeks since a select few gamers (unfortunately not this one) were able to get a hands-on look at EA’s EA Play event in Los Angeles last weekend in the lead up to E3.  Despite only a limited number of notable players having access, the community at large is lucky enough to see and hear all about DICE and EA’s newest baby, thanks a plethora of YouTube videos that have been released from the event.  Say what you want about EA, they do know how to get the hype for their games going, and having the most popular streamers and YouTubers show off their content is the way to do it.  And, in some more good news for BFV fans, the closed alpha build of the game is being released today, June 28th, so we will soon get a bunch of new content coming very, very soon.  We already knew the basics, including the WWII setting and an increased player customization feature, but what do we know about Battlefield V now that the best in the business have had a chance to play?

A whole new level of immersion

If the Battlefield series is known for anything, it’s a degree of realism that is unmatched by any other mainstream FPS out there.  Partly due to the team-based gameplay mechanics, what really makes Battlefield stand out is the visuals that the Frostbite graphics engine brings to the game.  BFV promises to build on the successes of Battlefield 1, the most visually-stunning FPS to date despite being over 18 months old.  Improvements include of course more polished graphics, but also better ragdoll physics, with much heavier feeling bodies flying around the battlefield.  Another addition is realistic environmental response to the player.  As you move through tall grass or vegetation, the leaves will move as your player model does, allowing the potential for you to be spotted even if in brush cover.  How player models move will also depend on the environment, kicking their legs up to move through mud or water, holding a weapon high to keep it dry, and DICE has even added new prone positions including lying on your back and continuing to fire.  Environmental and building destruction, a key feature of all Battlefield titles, is taken to the next level in BFV, reacting realistically to the location an explosion or vehicle plows through.  All these changes will not only add to the immersion of the experience, but also the visual clutter and chaos around the map, meaning a keen eye will make all the difference for the player.

Gameplay changes:  the basics

The realism enhancements don’t stop at what the player sees, but also to how the game is played at the individual level.  Gone are the days of random bullet spread meaning unreliable accuracy for fast firing weapons.  This will be dramatically reduced in favor of a more reliable but harder to control recoil pattern for most weapons.  In other words, where you aim, you’ll shoot, given you can actually control it.  This was a big complaint from the community that it’s great to see DICE address in this installment. Another complaint DICE tackled was the amount of “bad” spawns players complained about due to the overhead spawn in screen, also known as the “I just spawned on my squadmate who was staring down the barrel of a shotgun” instant spawn death.  I’ll be honest, I’ve been close to throwing the controller because of a few really poor spawns.  Well, this will now be up to the player to decide, as from the squad spawn screen you will have an over the shoulder look at the teammate you’re about to deploy on. Another Battlefield mainstay, this one less frustrating, is the spotting system, which has also been reworked.  In the past, when a player was spotted, their icon was visible to enemy team and followed them around the map, in addition to being visible on the minimap.  In BFV, this “follow” spot will still exist in a limited capacity, thanks to the spotting flare gadget, but the main spotting mechanic for the player will be replaced by a static spot.  Meaning that, if you see a player duck behind cover and hit the spot button, the only information that your team will get is a spot on that area where they were last seen.  More of a, “there’s a guy in that general vicinity” than a big blinking “here he is” neon flashing sign following the player around.  I’ll admit this one makes me nervous since I more or less exploit the spotting mechanic in BF1.  Looks like a change of strategy is in the cards for this guy…

A theme of the main changes so far is the reliance and necessity of working with your squad.  Players can no longer play solo without joining a squad, and they will definitely need one.  While everyone is going to be pretty trigger happy with the new WWII weapons (favorites like the STG-44, MP40, and Thompson machine gun are back!), they’ll need to keep near a support player since the ammo carry capacity is reduced.  The ability to passively heal is gone too, meaning a medic will have to drop you a med pouch if you don’t want to be running around on 15% the whole match.  Squad revives have been reworked, and you won’t need a medic necessarily if you’re downed, any player can revive a teammate.  Squadmates can even drag downed players behind cover to get a revive without being fired on.  Medics will still revive much quicker than other classes, meaning they are preferential, but if the whole team is playing sniper (believe me, it happens), you won’t have to skip straight to the spawn screen every time you’re downed.  Other class rebalances are in place as well, so expect new interactions both with your squad and the enemy.

New game modes

The Battlefield franchise was built on one game mode:  Conquest.  The control point capture game mode will return, as well as many of the more popular modes from previous titles.  There are some new game modes being introduced as well.  Combined Arms offers players a chance to work together in a four-player squad to cooperatively take on campaign style missions handed out by a mission generator.  It promises to be a mash-up of the multiplayer and single player experiences in BF.  The crown jewel of new game modes is Grand Operations, an expansion of the 64-player Operations mode from BF1.  In Grand Operations, your team fights through multiple maps and game modes over a few in-game days (day and night cycling through each section of the game).  Check out some videos of this mode, it really is a sight to see.  Deploying from planes that can be shot down, fighting for and controlling objective points, and the massive multi-day scale make this mode look like a home run, and a great expansion from the Operations mode of BF1.

More to come?

As you can tell from the previous thousand words, Battlefield V is once again pushing the envelope for the modern multiplayer FPS.  And to think, we have so much more coming with the closed alpha release!  What’s most exciting is that we have until October 19th (or October 16th for early access players) for more tweaks, changes, and new features to be announced.  Keep it tuned to the Best Segment You’ve Ever Nerd (Best Blog You’ve Ever Nerd?) for more news, gameplay breakdowns, and everything else Battlefield V.  To see the newest gameplay for yourself, well, you won’t get it from me since I’m just a no-name guy with a blog.  But you can be sure as soon as I can get my hands on it, I’ll have a comprehensive review. 

18. 05. 30
posted by: Andy Seiter

Big news to talk about from this week for gamers.  On Wednesday, EA and Dice released the long-anticipated first trailer for the newest entry in the Battlefield series of first-person shooters.  Battlefield has been a very popular franchise across all platforms for years, and is the biggest challenger to Call of Duty as the face of the genre, particularly in terms of the multiplayer experience.  Over the years, Battlefield has released games which take place over many different eras of history, starting with World War II, Vietnam-era, as well as modern settings.  The most recent release, Battlefield 1, takes place in a less common era for FPS games, World War I.  With Battlefield 1, the developer, Dice found a way to take a period of warfare known for stalemates and battles of attrition and make a fast-paced and exciting experience.  BF1 is a game I’ve spent a ton of time with, it’s great for squadding up with your friends and working as a team to take down the enemy.  In the trailer for their next release, Dice revealed they are going back to the well-worn territory of World War II (coincidentally, the setting of the most recent Call of Duty game).  Before I get into it, you can check out the trailer here.

Right off the bat, what stands out to me in this trailer is the character models.  Battlefield has traditionally been a class-based shooter, with each class having their own unique loadouts and look.  Meaning, at a glance, you can tell if an enemy is a sniper, medic, or heavy gunner.  In this trailer, the look of each character is, let’s say, unconventional.  What this tells me is that Battlefield is going to have the option to customize the look of your soldier in ways that haven’t been possible in previous releases.  Customization is something that the BF community has been asking about for a while now, and it’s good to see Dice respond to that demand with this first release trailer.  My guess is that they will use the model that Fortnite and other popular multiplayer games are using, and will allow players to buy specific character and weapon skins, although I’d think they’ll have some available as unlocks based on in-game achievements as well.

Maybe due to the wild player models, but the next thing that stands out to me is how arcadey this game looks.  Battlefield generally has leaned more towards a realistic experience as opposed to, say, Call of Duty.  The class-based system and focus on team play gives it the feel of a true military experience, being in battle with your buddies, supporting each other with communication, ammo, or healing.  It also treats bullets as actual projectiles, meaning that instead of simply clicking on a bad guy and watching them die, you have to judge the distance, lead your shots, and even account for bullet drop due to gravity.  The Battlefield V (official title) trailer makes this game look insane.  Players sprinting around, hitting point-blank snipes, hip-firing down planes, and having uncomfortable one-on-one moments with enemies paint a different picture than we’re used to.  BF1, for example, starts you off in a tutorial mission that tells you that you are just one man among many fighting in the war.  BFV looks like you are the army, your squad against the world.

What does translate from older games to BFV is the absolute carnage happening throughout the trailer.  Explosions everywhere, being overrun by enemy vehicles, having a plane land on your head, the list goes on.  Every Battlefield player has a “Battlefield” moment you won’t find in any other game that they will always remember fondly (it’s a toss up for me; either the time I had a 5-minute standoff just running in a circle around a tank while it spun around trying to get a shot on me, or the time I was killed by a motorcycle an enemy had jumped out of, but its momentum carried it across the map to me and ran me over).  Battlefield really gets the chaos of the, well, battlefield, and as long as the new game continues to capture that, even with some new wrinkles we haven’t seen in previous titles, it will deliver the type of game that BF players expect.

I’m excited for this next chapter in the Battlefield franchise from Dice, and while this is just a first look, I’ll be posting more news as we get closer to BFV’s October release.

18. 06. 20
posted by: Andy Seiter

This week in Los Angeles, gamers from across the globe converged for the most magical time of the year in the gaming world.  E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the most important gaming event of the year, was the talk of the nerd world and gave developers like Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, and Bethesda a chance to show off their upcoming titles.  Most of the talk was around continuing franchises.  Microsoft announced the return of their biggest franchise with a trailer for Halo: Infinite, Nintendo showed off the latest in their crossover hit Super Smash Brothers series, EA built on the trailer release of Battlefield V, and Bethesda gave us just a hint at the next installment of the Elder Scrolls series.  As exciting as all of those announcements were, as a lifelong Playstation fan, I tuned in live to the Sony conference to see what my favorite game company had in store.

As E3 has become a more mainstream event, the displays have become more and more theatrical, and Sony’s this year was no exception.  Starting off with a small crowd at a secondary stage, the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America Shawn Layden gave a short intro before handing off to...a banjo soloist.  A confusing start, but the banjo player led in nicely to the centerpiece of Sony’s announcement, The Last of Us Part II.  The first title in the series was a post-apocalyptic zombie-survival game, and a landmark title from studio Naughty Dog that released near the end of the PS3’s run, and enjoyed a remastered release on the PS4.  All told, 17 million copies of The Last of Us have been sold to date, and fans have been holding their breath for the next chapter.  The trailer debuted at this event did not disappoint.  Starting off with a group of survivors at some sort of community reception/dance (hence the banjo intro), one of the main protagonists from the first game, Ellie, is given a nice character introduction before quickly giving way to a gameplay demo.  And man, was this pretty.   The visuals were an instant highlight, with Ellie navigating an abandoned city-scape stealthily dispatching human enemies from a faction we don’t know much about just yet.  She’s soon spotted and chased down by a group of enemies, and we got to see a display of absolutely brutal combat, mixing in gunplay, Ellie showing off her bow skills, and some deadly hand-to-hand encounters.  You can check out the trailer for yourself here, but believe me, if you were a fan of the first game, or of any of Naughty Dog’s recent titles, you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting for a release date to be announced.

After that presentation for The Last of Us Part II, we were sent over to the main stage for the rest of the show.  Running quickly through the rest of the lineup, we had a samurai game which looked gorgeous called Ghost of Tsushima, which also had a live musical lead-in.  Next was a futuristic shooter called Control, clearly taking some inspiration from the movie Inception.  Then Sony gave viewers trailers for a Resident Evil 2 reboot, a game from TV writer Justin Roiland called Trover Saves the Universe, Kingdom Hearts 3, the Disney-Final Fantasy crossover, a new look at Death Stranding from the creator of the Metal Gear Solid series, and then a look at Nioh 2, which, to be honest, I lost interest in.

That takes us up to the last game from the Sony event, and the one I’m maybe the most excited about, Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man.  Insomniac has released a couple of trailers and demos to this point, but had a brand new one for E3.  The trailer showed us a mix of gameplay and cinematics, this time with Spidey chasing the villian Electro through a supermax prison, encountering some other familiar enemies along the way.  Spider-Man continues to look brilliant, and will feature an open-world map of Manhattan for Spidey to explore.  This concept was first introduced in Spider-Man 2 for the PS2 way back in 2004, which I consider to be one of my favorite games of all time.  Back to the E3 trailer, though, we saw Spidey doing all of the Spidey things we’ve come to expect.  Webbing up bad guys, swinging at an insane pace through the map, and of course, spouting sarcastic remarks all the while.  After the trailer, which also gave us some new looks for villians Electro, Rhino, and the Vulture, two of the developers talked and played through an actual in-game mission to demonstrate the movement and combat a bit more.  The mission had the player swinging through the city to find and destroy a series of bombs before a timer ran out, and also showcased the combat, with Spidey taking on a huge group of enemies on a rooftop, quickly jumping around between bad guys toting guns and rocket launchers, and basically turning all of them into big balls of webbing.  To me this game is drawing quite a bit from the Batman Arkham series, and even though that sounds like they’re just copying a popular game’s style, the Batman games were hugely successful for both the story and gameplay, so really not a bad way to go in my opinion.  With Spider-Man’s movement and combat abilities, I look for this game to build off of that success and make its own mark.  I’m very excited about the game, and can’t wait for the release in September.

Spider-Man wrapped up Sony’s presentation, and overall, I’m very happy with the what Sony showed us this year.  While all of the games looked promising for the most part, I’m most excited of course for The Last of Us Part II and Spider-Man.  As these games get closer to release, I’ll have more updates and, of course, gameplay reviews once they’re released.  Stay tuned to the blog and the podcast for more gaming news and notes.

Check out the full show from Sony here and let us know what games you’re looking forward to the most.

18. 05. 22
posted by: Andy Seiter

So for whatever reason, Luke and Adam have decided that there should be even more content coming from everyone’s favorite segment, the Best Segment You’ve Ever Nerd.  Hey, look at that, there’s no flushing sound effect in the blog!

This blog is going to serve two purposes for me.  First, it’s an opportunity to post additional content building on one of the previous podcast episodes (like I’ll be doing this week).  Second, I’ll be able to talk about some things that either wouldn’t fit in the limited time we have on the pod, things that the other guys may not have any interest in, or just topics I want to talk about that I forgot to mention on the episode.  My goal is to put up a weekly post, and if I say that here, that means I have to do it, right?  Otherwise our legions of fans will call me out, and I’ll look like a total tool.

This week, as promised, I have some links to the videos we talked about on this week’s segment.  For those who might have missed it, we discussed Boston Dynamics and their viral video robots.  The company recently announced that they want to make one of their robots, the SpotMini, commercially available by 2019.  Let’s take a look at what the SpotMini might be able to do, and why you might want to buy it:

SpotMini opening a door:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUyU3lKzoio

Opening a door, this time with a wrinkle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFuA50H9uek

Showing off other possibilities:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf7IEVTDjng

The SpotMini looks awesome.  I’d buy the thing for the dishwashing capabilities alone.  Plus, it looks like it’s just a few generations removed from being a full-on Metal Gear.  But, with an estimated starting price tag of between $5,000-$20,000, and a production run that will be painfully limited, it might be a while before the general public can really get their hands on one.  It is still a big step towards having genuinely useful robots in the home, and in all honesty doesn’t seem like the type of robot to murder you in your sleep (I’m looking at you, Roomba).

If you are looking for a robot that will be taking its vengeance upon mankind, check out Boston Dynamics’ Atlas model.  The Atlas looks like it will not only kick your ass, but will also beat your 5k time for good measure.  Good luck sleeping tonight.

That does it for this week.  Stay tuned, there is a lot going on this summer in the nerd world.  We have more superhero movies, E3, nerdy sports stories, and plenty more to come on the Best Segment You’ve Ever Nerd’s blog!