I've been dipping in and out of E3 because much of what was being announced doesn't interest me. For example I'm not American and didn't have a Nintendo as a kid so I couldn't give a bat-winged, flying monkey-fuck about Japanese games. I've also recently dumped the PS4 and Xbox One for being a little bit shit so much of what Sony and Microsoft have to say didn't interest me either. That being said E3 has actually been pretty good this year. These are the bits of E3 that have attracted my attention.
I'm a huge Fallout mark. I have been since I got the first Fallout game all those years ago. So the announcement of Fallout 4 and the November release date was the highlight of the show for me. This time the game is set in the Boston area 200 years after the war that drove people into the vaults. As well as the usual wasteland fun Fallout 4 promises a little bit of Bladerunner too.
On the graphic front the engine has got an update, the models and textures have been given a boost but remand in a Fallout style. Most of the graphical improvements seem to be lighting, load distance and environmental clutter related. This caused some to complain about the graphics being "crap", having learnt nothing from the recent Witcher 3 downgrade palaver.
Game play remains mostly the same, as you would expect from a sequel, however some interesting changes have been made. You have a dog you can give directions to. Hopefully it's brighter than the companions in Skyrim. The weapons modding system has been upgraded to a crazy degree, giving a staggering number of custom weapon/armour options. They've also added the ability to build your own base/settlement by using materials you gather from around the world.
Having pre-ordered the Pip-Boy collectors edition (Suck it, TB parrots!) I cautiously estimate I'll be putting a few 100 hours into Fallout 4 come November. Looks like I have enough time to be done with Witcher 3.
Sticking with Bethesda, they also revealed the Doom game. Looks like they've taken Doom back to it's roots as a straight up kill Demons FPS. No dicking around with a torch and tedious scripted "scares". Doom 3 sucked.
I'm not one for straight up FPS games, I got tired of them around Quake era. I've never been the best at games with twitch game play and as I approach the grand old age of 40 I'm sure my reaction's are not improving. Still I might give Doom a go, for nostalgia's sake if nothing else.
I enjoyed the original Dishonored but I didn't get as much from it as others did. I liked the stylised graphics and the plot/characters were great. I found the game lacked replay value and playing it "properly" was tedious as the stealth aspects of the game were flawed. I've included it here because I'm mildly intrigued to see where the franchise goes and I'd already covered the other two big Bethesda properties.
Male and Female protagonists this time. Sadly a "reactionary element"1 in gaming isn't happy as it should be female only and this is Bethesda trying to cash in on some good will. I kid you not.
Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
I have an interesting relationship with Assassin's Creed games. I mostly hate them as they are repetitive, dull and I wished they'd drop the silly memories of your ancestors conceit. However I really enjoyed Black Flag as it added several new dimensions to the game. Sadly Unity could not follow the earlier game and it was not only pants but was really buggy.
Syndicate does looks interesting. It's added a little Grand Theft Equine to the franchise with carriages and who's not down for some Mockney accents. The wrist mounted wire device and the 19th century London architecture give it a bit of a Steam Punk Batman feel.
This would be a late purchase for me, to make sure they have ironed out all the bugs that plagued Unity.
No Man's Sky
I'm not entirely sure what this game is beyond it involving flying a spaceship and planets. It it a more arcade-esque Elite? Is it Minecraft in space? Wing Commander with exploration? A mix? Still, as a backer of both "Elite: Dangerous" (so boring it's made me question whether I actually enjoyed the earlier games) and "Star Citizen" (gaining features and ships all the time but no closer to release) I am intrigued by this game. I wasn't sure about the graphics style at first but it has grown on me since last year.
I was disappointed that this was going to be a PS4 title but they did announce at E3 that it would be coming out on PC at the same time.
Just Cause 3
The "Just Cause" franchise has always sat in that spot between the absurd but grounded in realism "Grand Theft Auto" and the beyond insane "Saint's Row". They seem to have taken it up a notch with Just Cause 3. There is a lot of 80s action movie shenanigans in that trailer and 400 square miles seems like a lot of free roaming action.
The franchise has always been a 2nd tier game for me. I want to play it but I'm not massively excited to play it. I'll probably pick this up later in a Steam sale as it comes out to close to Fallout 4 to get played before Xmas.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
I was a big fan of the original "Deus Ex" games but "Human Revolution" left me wanting. Not that it was a bad game, I just felt it was very ordinary and it left behind a lot of the mythology. I enjoyed it but I really expected more. Unfortunately I've not seen anything yet that suggests the sequel isn't just more of the same.
And because no game at E3 is without it's faux controversy the "reactionary element"1 is losing it's shit about the phrase "mechanical apartheid". Two guys, one Black and one Asian, came up with phrase to describe the 2-tier society that has developed in the game. Apparently this is disgustingly racist. I'm anyone sees my Toucan let me know in the comments.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
New franchise in the making here. One with a female protagonist, which is sure to impress the "reactionary element"1 in gaming. Well, until they decide they don't like how the character is portrayed or some scene in the game is too "rapey" for them. Or her coat isn't warm enough. Actually there have been noises about that having white people living a hunter-gather existence is cultural appropriation so maybe the tide is already turning.
Anyway. (In my best Joe McHale voice)
Like all the best games it is set in a post-apocalyptic future where something bad happened to humanity, duh. The presence of mechanical animals (the makers of Zoids are totally going to sue) suggests that human's likely created a robot replacement for themselves, again. No doubt sexy rats had something to do with it.
The game is a 3rd person action game that looks similar to Assassins Creed and Tomb Raider. It looks graphical impressive and the game play looks fun. It seems to at least partially involve hunting Zoids for components and I'd image their are some pseudo RPG elements involved.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Rebooted Lara Croft is back and this time she is doing some tomb raiding. Which is nice. It seems to be much the same as the last game. Lara grunting and stumbling her way around a location while making you wonder exactly how much character control you actually have and how much is just glorified cut scene. No doubt the same 4 puzzles repeated over and over and Lara will shift from plausibly emotional to remorseless Terminator between scenes. Looks pretty though.
That makes it sound like I didn't enjoy the last game. I did but like many games recently I wasn't as amazed by it as many. It was just another 3rd person action game with pseudo-RPG elements.
And part of that "reactionary element"1 is happy because Lara is wearing a warm coat in the mountains for "the first time". Well accept the last 6 times she wore clothing appropriate to the situation but they are apparently ignoring that.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
A first person, historical RPG with no fantasy elements set in 15th century Europe. As they say "dungeons but no dragons". I backed this on Kickstarter and it is coming a long great. It is graphically impressive and it has a realistic take on medieval combat.
Warhorse Studios are putting together what looks to be an interesting game. Development time is going to be long as it's a small, independent studio but I should be worth the wait.
Microsoft - Hololens
I find Augmented Reality to be the biggest empty hype (Sorry Dom) since Virtual Reality. It looks good in theory but it never really works out practically. So Hololens doesn't really appeal to me. I'm already hearing noises about "quantum leaps in UI" and "a new era of human computer interaction". Silly, squeaky noises.
Hololens will allow you to play with Minecraft like a big table of Lego. I already have a big table of Lego. Also I don't like Minecraft so you can imagine that demo didn't drag me in by my nose. The whole things seems pointless unless other people can see it. Why bother when everything demoed can be done at twice the resolution on a monitor and much more easily controlled with a mouse.
Just put it down to me being old and inflexible if you like. Having participated in both an official Oculus Rift demo and tried to use one in an uncontrolled environment the difference is night and day. Will the Hololens gestures and voice commands always work? I've had no end of problems with both technologies, even very recent ones.
Maybe Microsoft solved all that. I doubt it but I'll have to wait and see.
I've recently done a fine rat-leaving-sinking-ship impersonation and ditched my Radeon R9 295x2 and got a Geforce GTX 980ti and nothing AMD have shown has convinced me I made a bad decision. They've essential taken their 200 series added some extra RAM, overclocked them and stuck a 300 series sticker on them. Yes, they have the Fury with it's superfast new memory (all 4GB of it) but we still don't know what it can do.
I was really amused that powerful and "revolutionary" tiny PC they demoed had an Intel i7 in it. Even AMD won't even use their own processors.
Still no news on their perennially broken crossfire implementation that means 4K gaming is only a sensible option 6 months after a game has been released. Nor does this solve the problem that Nvidia are getting their technology into all the big titles while AMD can only try and impress us with demo's of
Mantle DirectX 12.
That's all folks!
There are other E3 reveals/trailers I have skipped over because they don't interest me like...
- Dark Souls 3 - The how big is my gaming penis simulator.
- Gear of War 4 - They're up to 4?
- The Division - An EA title about consumerism bringing the world to it's knees. That's irony right?
- Mirror's Edge 2 - Insta-death the game revisited.
- Hitman - Bet it still lets you kill women.
- Star Wars: Battlefront - That old game you used to love? Now it's just re-skinned Battlefield 4.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda - Probably won't have a sucky ending.
...and a host of other things I don't even care enough to be judgmental about, even in bullet points.
Now With Added Controversy!
Following the mass shooting in the US (it must be Tuesday) both the "reactionary element"1 and an "old foe from the 90s"2 have joined forces to hate on video games. It's amazing how much in common these two banes of humanity have in common. Video games causing violence is a tired old argument that has been readily debunked3.