It's that time of the year again. The Super bowl of gaming! E3! Where gamers go wild over the new trailers, gameplay and just the mere mention of their favourite game *cough* Star wars Battlefront*cough*. Apologies, I had something stuck in my throat - "THAT'S WHAT SHE SA-"
"Get outta here you peasant!" Anyway, like I was saying. This year's E3 certainly upgraded from last years which the only exciting thing was the announcement of the 8th gen consoles and the accompanied "games."
Compared to last year it looks like this year's E3 is gonna be one people are going to remember for a long time.
Hitman is back, and like a high number of games at this year’s E3, is getting the quasi-reboot treatment by showing no sign of any sequelised sub-title, instead returning simply to the moniker “Hitman” for this next outing, due for digital release on December 8th.
The glossy, beautifully-edited trailer certainly set the mood and tone perfectly, and though only a few brief snippets of definitive gameplay were shown, the trailer certainly invited hope that this could be one of the series’ most innovative titles so far. The game attempts to build on the contract creation and multiplayer aspects introduced in Absolution, and will see new content periodically released to players, with a number of contracts being timed and final, meaning that failure results in them disappearing forever.
Whether this will truly result in more content overall remains to be seen, and the early digital release is a little disappointing for fans of physical, but from what’s been shown off so far, this looks like IO Interactive at least trying to expand the franchise in an interesting way. Plus, all that DLC is completely free, which is a major, major plus.
No, not ‘Gears of War 4′, now it’s simply known as ‘Gears 4′ – assumedly to get around the numbering confusion that came with ‘is it/is it not’ a main installment; spin-off Gears of War: Judgment.
Little was shown of the newest addition to the franchise – partly down to the lighting in the demo being so dark – but mainly because what followed a more slow-burn exploration of a haunted house was a brief firefight and a swift cut to black. We didn’t get eyes on any new gameplay features, although the footage did reveal at least one of the new soldiers you’d be playing as; J.D.
So far the marketing has been very coy with the new face of Gears – especially seeing as we don’t know where in the timeline this takes place.
Could Marcus, Dom or Cole make an appearance? Probably not in a playable role, as this newest sequel appears to be building on the relationship between J.D. and the female soldier present – but either way it’s great to have one of Microsoft’s most lucrative and beloved franchises back in earnest.
There’s not been a contender for “Worst game to ask about in a store” since WWF’s Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth – but here we are with another South Park, seeing the cast turn their parodic views to the realm of superheroes rather than continue The Stick of Truth’s fantasy fare.
Ubisoft even brought out Trey Parker and Matt Stone during their conference to talk a little on why they’ve gone back on their former comments of “Never making another game again” (the first title suffered many delays and near-cancellations). However, they noted it’s precisely because of the stilted development of Stick of Truth that they didn’t really get acquainted with video game development until just before release – meaning this upcoming sequel should be a far more confident and tighter experience.
Another thing to note is a change of developer. It’s going to be handled in-house by Ubisoft: San Francisco as oppose to Obsidian Entertainment; the latter being responsible for a handful of bugs in the otherwise stellar installment from last year – although considering Ubi’s track record of late, this could be just as bad.
Move over Mortal Kombat, the original gore-lathered franchise is back – and its
brought all the leg-snaps and head-bursts you’ve been missing.
It was always going to take one hell of a game to contend with Fallout 4 on Bethesda’s stage, but thankfully in doubling down on the sheer brutality and ease-of-access that comes with the standard run n’ gun Doom formula, the end result was a very viscerally pleasing one.
The main thing that’ll hit home with older gamers is a return to the arena shooters of the late 90s/early noughties, something we’re in desperate need of following the amount of military-themed entries in the genre for what feels like forever now. Speaking of Mortal Kombat, this newer Doom has some fatality-esque finishers of its own – self-triggering canned animations you can bust out when you’ve weakened or staggered an enemy.
They result in you doing everything from smashing a demon’s face in with your bare hands, to ripping their skulls clean in half – leaving only a lone tongue waggling around. The game’s crying out for a beta to get full public access and to really see how the trademark speed of the series’ gameplay has made the leap to newer hardware – but for now you’ll have to wait and see.
By now, with the sheer amount of franchises and genres Ubisoft have put out over the years, you have to imagine their various studios share internal assets, frameworks for game design etc. with each other. It’s most likely why every game – including racer The Crew – featured the ‘activate the tower to reveal the map’ mechanic from Assassin’s Creed – and with For Honor, you can see them building on the third-person melee combat AC hasn’t had down since Brotherhood.
Touted as a multiplayer-focused experience (they’re all the rage) you’ll take up the mantle of a knight plundering forward with a group of friends, tackling encampments and fortresses in multiple time periods. So far the demo shown was a mix of third-person group combat very reminiscent of Dynasty Warriors, whilst showing that if you broke away from the pack, smaller duels also had plenty of weight behind them thanks to a pretty unique control scheme.
The smaller duels are very similar to Epic’s Infinity Blade series on iOS in terms of camera angle and controls, but as Ryse: Son of Rome always seemed like a cool idea forever scuppered by an over-reliance on quick-time events and spectacle over substance – For Honor could be exactly what’s needed.
In many ways, 2015’s E3 felt like a revival-fest, resurrecting long-dead giants like The Last Guardian (something that received a pretty mediocre demo, all things’s considered) whilst ticking the occasional box for ‘brand new IP’.
One such franchise that’s been in the wind for far too long is Need for Speed; especially considering a truly great instalment hasn’t seen the light of day in years.
Luckily for fans of the more arcade-feeling racer, former Burnout developers Criterion are behind the project once again, and it looks as though they’re taking their penchant for blisteringly-fast game engines, throwing in an open world a la Burnout Paradise and handing the keys to the ignition over to you.
It’s certainly not the first time NFS has done the whole open-world thing, but considering how empty 2012’s Most Wanted felt, it’ll be interesting to see if some next-generation horsepower can inject some much-needed life into the series.
The answer to “So just what do you do?” in No Man’s Sky has finally been answered… “Everything”.
Okay so you can’t play as a cat and ride a horse into battle whilst firing a golden Desert Eagle (seriously, that was a thing), but creative lead Sean Murray emerged on Sony’s stage to show off some gorgeously-coloured space combat, interplanetary discoveries that see you bombing about between entire solar systems – and most importantly, nailing down the core purpose behind the lot; to get to the centre of the galaxy.
From hijacking trade routes, exploring every direction you possibly can, base building and dogfighting with other players, you’ll be forever cataloguing your findings and funding better FTL warp drives with which to deep-dive closer to the aforementioned goal.
What will you find there? Just how much fun will you have discovering your own corner of the galaxy replete with wildlife no one’s seen, and will it hold your attention for more than a few hours? All signs point to “Hell yes!” as even the game’s creator was amazed at what creatures their randomly-generating world-tech was spitting out. It truly is a remarkable achievement for game design, and one that’ll be pretty mind-blowing to comprehend once we get hands on a final version.
If “Space, the final frontier”, the hum of a lightsaber or the word ‘Biotic‘ makes you go all warm n’ fuzzy inside – this one’s for you.
In a move that could spell disaster for the latest Deus Ex if the team don’t pull it off with enough weight, purpose and necessity, Mankind Divided is electing to draw on real-world racial tensions and historical comparisons (complete with an in-lore label of a ‘Mechanical Apartheid’) in their depiction of the fallout from Human Revolution.
Basically, the disastrous ending of the first game totally happened despite the multiple choices you were given, as people woke up to find the augmented limbs they’d come to rely on weren’t as reliable as once thought – leading to a very violent divide between the ‘augs’ and the rest of mankind. You’re still playing as Adam Jensen as it looks like the main quest will be getting caught up in saving the rest of ‘your people’, all the while being on the lookout for a returning villain from the first game.
E3 saw the first bout of gameplay footage and within were some of the newest augments themselves; ranging from a four-person electric shocker to a full suit of armour you can equip in a bind. As Human Revolution rolled out its upgrades across the whole game, it’ll be up to MD to prove the iconic experimentation within the levels themselves gives you enough purpose and enjoyment to deploy them all.
Battlefront may have had a teaser before the conference, but with all the rumours of it being ‘multiplayer only’ and fears of micro-transactions riddling the experience, it was great to finally get eyes on the final product – especially when it everything is so incredibly spot on as this.
From the TIE fighters dogfighting with X-Wings in the skies to ground forces working on on-the-fly tactics to bring down hulking AT-ATs (or piloting them if you’re working with the Empire) – to even background details like a Star Destroyer slowly falling out the sky to show the tide of battle – Battlefront looks like the love letter to the original trilogy fans have wanted for years.
Bend the canon and throw in a showdown between Luke and Vader right in the middle of the ensuing chaos – with far more refined animation than anything that’s been in the franchise beforehand – and this is on-point to be a perfect companion piece to the new movie in December.
A sleeper hit for 2012 – but one that landed and made one hell of an impression on all who played it – Arkane’s steampunk assassin-style take on the stealth genre was one of the finest in years.
By mixing up a core set of supernatural abilities – ranging from slowing/stopping time to taking other corporeal forms, warping across the level and more – it made traversing the environments and discovering the various ways to take out your targets a delight. Not since Hitman had we seen a sequence of sandbox-style levels begging to be replayed over and over, and with Dishonored 2 you’re going to be able to choose between playing as the first game’s Corvo (now a good 10-15 years later) and a grown-up Emily, the young girl that was at the heart of the original.
Gameplay is yet to be shown to the public as Bethesda only brought a CG trailer with them to the conference – however, considering how remarkably solid every part of the first title was, they’d have to actively try for it to be anything less than amazing.
In one of the best slow-reveals of all the conferences, EA’s zoom out from a console showing a space captain choosing their destination – before highlighting the N7 logo on their chest – had fans immediately losing their minds at the very idea of another Mass Effect.
Sadly there wasn’t a whole lot to be seen aside from some very Star Wars Episode VII-style quick-cuts, primarily designed to get you excited whilst keeping fans guessing as to how gameplay, squad member-selection and general sense of purpose are going to go. If the leak from April is true then we’re in for a game focussed on mining resources and slowly taking the fight to the enemy Khet – a forerunner race named The Remnant providing a similar role as the Protheans from the original trilogy.
Regardless of anything, it’s another Mass Effect – with a spin-off sounding name – on the way, and that’s cause to be very excited indeed providing Bioware put all their stock in making sure no essential parts of the experience are locked behind paid DLC.
Any who played Rayman: Legends will remember how above all the proficient platforming mechanics and loveable characters – Ubisoft’s art team put together one hell of a gorgeous-looking 2D experience, simply bursting with charisma and energy.
Cuphead looks to be another game that just immediately clouts you over the head with graphical wallop too, but the key difference is for the first time in any game, developer Studio MDHR are recreating (perfectly) the 1930’s style of cartoons you associate with very early Disney and the general Golden Age of animation.
It looks unbelievable in motion, a potentially strange comparison being South Park: The Stick of Truth’s original screens that no one believed was actually Obsidian’s game engine. As a 2D side-scroller replete with screen-filling boss-battles and a ton of power-ups to fire in all directions, Cuphead is one of many surprisingly pleasant indie gems quickly gaining a lot of traction.
Another one for the arcade racer pool to help bolster the ranks against the likes of Forza and Project CARS, Trackmania is finally making the leap from PC onto consoles, bringing with it all manner of crazy courses and time trial-mastering gameplay.
The hook so far has been customisability – in everything from being able to host your own server, back it with your own music collection and go hell for leather on the craziest concoctions of racing code you can think of.
All that cultivated one hell of a fanbase along the way, and although it’s very unlikely this is going to be possible on consoles, the focus on ridiculousness is front and centre – a stage demo showing even the developers themselves can struggle to overcome their new mode that randomly generates a track if you don’t want to build one from scratch.
Overall this looks to be a more robust version of Trials’ trial and error-fuelled ethos, albeit with stupidly fast cars and enough community-built tracks to provide a lifetime’s worth of sequels. Perfect.
Did you watch Gravity’s first-person scenes and instantly think “Well that looks like it’d make a fun game”?
Well, developers Three One Zero have you covered – this brilliant little tech demo-turned full product literally looking like the playable version of Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece of thrills and oxygen-starved spills.
Although this didn’t get any screen time during the bigger conferences, it’s been touted across the board from pretty much every major outlet as one to keep an eye on from the show floor – also being the first major game to show off the new VR tech we’re so desperately waiting to be impressed by.
Check out the footage above, and just imagine experiencing that moment where you venture out into space for the first time – it’s going to be pretty incredible.
If you thought Dark Souls II was missing the indescribable spark that permeated every pixel of the first offering – it’s most likely because you noticed original lead designer Hidetaka Miyazaki had resigned himself to less of a direct role, forever watching from the sidelines as he crafted every inch of Bloodborne.
Now that’s out the way he’s back in full force with DS III, as well as noting it’ll be the last ‘Souls game to feature his input. Gameplay-wise those who’ve played on the show floor note it’s essentially more of the same – but when you’ve happened across the formula for near-perfect action and RPG mechanics, you rarely need to tweak anything more.
Instead there are a number of new chargeable power attacks you can unleash on your foes, and Miyazaki has noted as far as the locations themselves go it’ll be an all-new interconnected series of environments that takes place in the “same world as DS 1 and 2″ – whatever all that means to such an interpretable lore anyway.
2013’s Gone Home was a remarkable step-up for narrative in game design, electing to not hold your hand for a second – whilst masterfully knowing exactly how to unfold its incredibly unique and impactful narrative at every turn. Sound vague? It should, as part of the fun is uncovering it yourself; just go in knowing you’re a girl returning home following a gap year, only to discover your family home is empty with everyone missing, a mysterious note left behind from your sister – the rest unfolding from there.
All of that is to say such a game has afforded designer Steve Gaynor and his team at Fullbright Studios increased freedom in designing a more expansive game this time round, and although the plot looks to be another “Explore this mysterious environment” approach (this time set in a space station) you just know the script and overall tonality will be something else entirely.
Small progressive touches like having a communicative A.I. companion to fall back on this time round will allow for various ways the story can pull the rug out from under you – and with plenty of time to perfect everything before 2016, this will surely be another hit from a truly gifted studio.
Combine the third-person Ghost Recons of yore, Far Cry/Metal Gear Solid V’s unbelievably detailed and humungous level designs and a Hitman-like multi-approach to every scenario and you have Wildlands; the game that easily stole the show at Ubisoft’s conference.
Tom Clancy’s games have always nailed their militaristic approach to world design and the art assets therein – so it’s a big breath of fresh air to see the “crack team of specialists” approach applied to such an intricately-designed open world. There are copious amounts of gameplay footage available for this, and it really looks like Ubi are doubling down on the choices that present themselves in the genre – opening up the world to allow for interdependent relationships across the various gangs you’ll take down.
Vehicles will play a large part in everything too, the trailer showing the team escaping a compound in a jeep as another soldier carves through the wilderness on the back of a bike – all things that when you throw in the inevitable chaos of multiplayer and up the ante behind who’s getting killed versus the repercussions thereafter, should make for one hell of a return for the franchise.
We knew it was coming, we knew it was going to be something special – but did anyone expect it to be this good?
You could tell as soon Bethesda strolled in to open the week-long event, the reason they’d been so quiet on the project was simply so they could unveil something that was absolutely phenomenal at every turn.
They appeared to address complaints of all sizes right off the bat, injecting some much-needed colour to the barren landscape of the franchise, overhauling the animation system and game engine completely, putting a voice to the protagonist for the sake of a better narrative, introducing a crafting system and even giving you a canine companion from the beginning to explore everything alongside.
From there on out it was like Xmas for Fallout fans, as seeing the new engine in motion, blasting some enemies in V.A.T.S and getting a taste for the explorative nature of the game really hits home. When Bethesda note this is the biggest undertaking their team have had so far, it means so much more considering their phenomenal pedigree.
Oh, and it’s out in November.
Original ideas are few and far between in a gaming landscape dominated by remakes, definitive editions and endless sequels of once-brilliant titles (looking at you, Nintendo!) – but that only served to show off Guerilla Games’ latest project all the more – especially considering it was one of only a tiny amount of titles that showed genuine gameplay.
Formerly a studio resigned to pumping out Killzone after Killzone (and getting nowhere with any of them) they’ve finally been able to get back to the drawing board, creating this jaw-dropping ‘Last of Us-meets-Monster Hunter’ hybrid.
Playing as Aloy – a hunter scavenging for supplies in a post-apocalyptic wasteland – the big twist in the tale is a rogue A.I. program has bred systems across the land, replacing what looks like all natural wildlife with ferocious mechanical beasts of all shapes and sizes. Think herds of robotic deer-like creatures, large overbearing mini-bosses you’ll have to restrain with ropes before gutting their circuits for parts – and a general tone of humanity on the back-foot as a Skynet-sized force owns this new land.
Everything about this looked spectacular – especially the unique “reliance on technology” twist – and although 2016 is a long way away, you’ll be hearing from this a lot throughout the year.
Can a game from almost 20 years ago be classified as a ‘reveal’?
Oh go on then, it’s not like it’s one of the best games of all time, embodying an entire generation’s worth of childhood memories in one fell swoop and easily being Square’s greatest achievement so far or anything.
Yes, after years and years (and years) of fans requesting it – only for Square to note that if they remade something from their past, it doesn’t look like they have faith in their future – the greatest Final Fantasy of them all is getting a full remaster, complete with gorgeous-looking graphics, reworked character designs and everything else in between.
The great part about all this was during the live unveiling, nobody saw it coming. The version of Midgar shown was absolutely gorgeous, a steampunk-style multi-layered world complete with tiny easter eggs for fans like the train from the original’s intro sequence and the park where you get to bond with Aerith quickly being cut away from.
However, the bit where it really plays your heartstrings like a glorious fiddle comes when the narrator mentions “They are coming back.” before a couple of very memorable notes come floating in and it hits…that’s Cloud. You’ll know the section – and if you’re in your early to mid-twenties yeah… we all felt that.
So, what do you think? Personally I feel like all these games are running on 15 billion GTX Titans and will be downgraded by the time they get into our hands. But hey, I'm no historian. And as always, Stay Infinite!