As much as I’d like to get around to that Witcher 3: blood and Wine Review, thanks to E3 that’s a ways off. I’ll be going over all the conferences and really cool announcements/highlights from today in general. A quick note: First off, these are just what I think are the highlights of the show, and my opinion is pretty subjective. This isn’t coverage of everything just everything (in my opinion) that matters. Also be sure to watch the trailers if I sound confusing. I’m a little tired, so everything I say will be a little jumbled, and the videos themselves will hopefully clarify things.
The first event of today was EA’s press conference and wow if that wasn’t the biggest waste of a confectioner I’ve ever seen, I’d be hard pressed to remember what was. There were certainly interesting moments of the show, but it really boiled down to a great beginning and ending, with a huge amount of filler in between. Before I dive into specifics, there is a broad statement that should be made about EA’s conference: there was no point to having that conference in two different locations. At all. If anything it came off as exceptionally corny each time the two key speakers would go “Back to you Peter.” If anything it told me what to avoid. The London coverage was mostly, if not entirely, sports-based-games, which would be great if there were any good sports games to show.
There wasn’t. There was footage of Madden 2017 but nothing on what makes it different from the 2016 edition and a new FIFA game which is adding a story mode, which to be fair does sound like a great way to add value to a genre of games that has grown fairly stagnant (as one smart commenter pointed out, how is it that FIFA gets a story mode but Star Wars: Battlefront doesn’t?). On the topic of Star Wars, that had to be quite possibly the most disappointing part of the conference. Even though there’s this really cool announcement about 6 different developers working on different Star Wars games, there’s maybe five seconds of gameplay shown for one of them.
Anyway, there’s a lot more I could delve into, but in the interest of keeping this post at a decent length, let’s talk about what EA did right. First, there was the announcement that Titanfall 2 was coming to both Xbox One and PS4, with a single player campaign to boot.
It’s a unique concept about a rifleman and a Titan (the giant robot) forced to work together to escape from behind enemy lines, and as Respawn puts it, the game will, “explore the unique bond between man and machine.” It’s clear they intend to keep the fast-paced combat of the original game while encouraging close-quarters-combat, while the multiplayer seems set on being as fluid and quick as possible.
Not that that’s a bad thing by any means. As you can see from the trailer, it seems like Respawn understands games that focus on being fast-paced can’t be fast-paced just for the sake of it. If anything, there has to be something to hold the player’s attention. One thing I found particularly interesting is that the Titans play a very small role in the trailer, despite the fact that they’re supposed to be the main selling point. The boots on the ground seem to have a wider variety of utilities ranging from a grappling hook to a teleportation device, so we’ll see how all that plays out on release.
To close out EA’s conference, there was a fantastic Battlefield 1 trailer. Wait, let me correct that. There was 30 seconds of a fantastic trailer shown, then it was abruptly cut so we could hear a “key” speaker ramble on about how great the game was rather than let us actually see it, then there was a fantastic Battlefield 1 trailer, as seen below.
Between the biplane dogfights, a burning zeppelin crashing into a village, and some brutal hand-to-hand takedowns, it was actually an impressive way to end a press conference. To top it all off, there was even a massive one hour livestream of 64 players battling it out in the game, and between key celebrities like Zedd or Richard Sherman to well-known players such as StoneMountain64, it was quite the spectacle and an ingenious marketing move. Even Snoop Dogg looked entranced with the game.
IGN’s Coverage of Mafia III
But now let’s move into the winner of today, Mafia III. IGN spent about an hour covering the game with the developers and if the game is everything the developers are hyping it up to be, this will be the game of the year no questions asked. Here’s the E3 trailer:
Please ignore the creepy screencap and watch because it’s actually quite good. And here’s some actual gameplay and in-depth commentary that will explain the game much better than I could:
Finally, we have Bethesda’s conference, which was good but not great. They actually focused on gameplay, which was a very smart move, the problem was that there wasn’t a large amount that was interesting. There was the announcement of a Quake reboot which looks very good:
Now one thing that looks very impressive is that it looks like they’re keeping the spirit of the original Quake, ridiculous characters and all, which is not just a smart way to get more adults back into gaming, but also a really clever way to start a press conference. But unfortunately from there, it devolved into extended coverage on The Elder Scrolls Online (which is a game most have stopped playing by now) and an Elder Scrolls card game which looks equally mediocre. That being said, there was a remaster of Skyrim announced which will now allow console players to add mods to their game, which is a really cool feature. The funny thing is, the remaster itself doesn’t really look great.
I mean to be honest, it looks like they just hosed the game with the color orange and just added some slight texture updates. While it’s a great idea for people who have never played the game, there’s not a lot of incentive for returning players to jump in.
One thing that stood out quite a bit was Arkane Studio’s reboot of Prey, which looks to blend elements of psychological horror, first person shooter and sci-fi elements together to create a game that looks to be as enthralling as it is dark and disturbing.
But the final announcement was easily Arkane, and Bethesda’s best. Behold the horrific wonder that is Dishonored 2:
As any of my longtime followers know, Dishonored was the first game I ever reviewed and is in my top ten games of all time, partly because of the gothic atmosphere, partly because of how every single player will tackle a level in their own unique way, partly because killing even a handful of people can affect the ending, and partly because the game had a story that put you in control rather than the writers. And if the gameplay footage is any indication, all those elements are going to return and improve in Dishonored 2. Not only can you choose to play as Corvo Attano (the main character from the first game) or Emily Kaldwin (the princess you had to rescue in the first game) but each character has a different set of powers, different dialogue, and a different perspective on the world around them. Essentially, a different story and a different game. Add in the multitude of decisions either character will have to make throughout the story and it becomes clear Dishonored 2 has the chance to redefine video games the way the first one did. Here’s the entire demo; gameplay starts at 7:30:
Wow, that was a lot to get through. Applause to whoever read and watched this far. IF there’s anything that stands out to you or you disagree with my highlights sound off in the comments and thanks for reading through this mess of a post. Apologies, because tomorrow is going to have a lot more coverage but until then good night!