Microsoft kicked off this year’s E3, and with the near constant delaying of the very best games we have been waiting for (some for nearly a year) I was starting to lose a bit of hope and felt somewhat despondent towards this years E3. I guess I was kind of half right.
This year saw Microsoft open with a promise of the entire presentation being devoted to games. Unlike last years which saw them focus on the features more and some gaming involvement. Probably due to the masses of people fervently complaining that it was too ‘feature based’ and I think it did them credit this time around.
The first game presented was Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare which I think was a poor choice. I understand that it is still the best selling FPS game on the market but it feels too old hat, too over done and most importantly, worn out. The lack of creativity has led them to create yet another game which is in the “future”, filled with pseudo weapons and concept machinery to make warfare ‘exciting’. Crash landings, fires erupting everywhere and weapons that look like something ripped from an Alien movie, it’s all very exciting but it’s still the same Call Of Duty we know and tolerate. With jump packs, VTOL’s, self targeting grandes and a drone swarm even Neo would struggle to take down, it seems like prequel to Titanfall but much, much slower. Graphically; impressive. Story wise; ehhhh.
A rather short amount of time is spent showing off Forza Horizon 2 which features many of the things which made Forza 5 great with a few added features such as full 1080p graphics, more, newer cars and a better multi-player system. It didn’t seem overly flashy, not too much but just enough to entice you to want to see what it’s all about. Seems CoD is still the Xbox flagship this year round.
And now we move on, to a game that I’ve been looking forward to quite a bit. Evolve. Imagine playing a survival horror style game where the enemy is the entire environment, the animals, the plants, the terrain and then somewhere, deep in the blackest forest, there lurks a monstrous creation as big as a house that just can’t wait to devour you and everything you have ever loved. Yeah, it’s that awesome. Brought to us by the team that created the immensely entertaining Left 4 Dead series comes Evolve. A fast-paced team based shooter which sees a 4 man team fight against the environment, creatures and a freaking huge monster. You can pick from 4 standard classes; Assault, Tracker, Medic or Support. Or, if you’re feeling a little malevolent, you can choose to play as the beast itself.
With the promise of exclusive Beta access and early DLC for Xbox One users, at this point, I’m already sold and cannot wait for the game. I could stop watching E3 now and be happy, but sadly, the show must go on.
Up next we have the next (I’m pretty sure it’s like the 8th) installment of the Assassin’s Creed saga. I have long since stopped buying and playing these games because they seemed to just basically be the same game over and over again with slightly different characters in slightly different locations. This time around I find myself pondering the same questions, “Why hasn’t the movement changed?” “Why does the camera angle suddenly feel the need to show you the brick wall right behind you at the worst possible time?” this does not bode well. The ability to actually go inside buildings is a nice touch, the change of scenery is fairly okay too and the fact you can play with up to 3 friends on Xbox Live is pretty nifty. It adds a new element to it, but I feel the many parts of the game will require you to play with other people. What if I don’t want to play with others? What if I have no friends? What then Ubisoft, what then?
It essentially becomes Robin Hood does parkour in Paris where you employ the ol’ block ‘n’ parry to defeat everything that has ever lived. Someone might enjoy this but I have a feeling it won’t be for me.
This brings me to the lighter side of gaming (after a strangely short trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition) in the form of Sunset Overdrive. Opening with a stricken soldier, out gunned, out manned and out of luck. That is, until, a guy dressed as a punk kicks a door down, zip wires (using a crowbar I might add) down cables, shoots a few guys in the face and then explodes two others with what appears to be an overcharged firework. Mutated energy drink fiends (I’m not kidding, look it up) are running rampant, most of the population has been deformed or has turned to robbery and murder, it is your job to sort out the thugs from the honest folk of Sunset City and dispatch all of the nasty zombified, caffeinated, bewildered mutants that were once your friends and coworkers.
Oh, did I forget to mention that you get to zipline everywhere, use trampolines, ride a rollercoaster with your shoes (some form of Wheelies I imagine) and basically fire what appear to be nacho cheese filled missiles at anything that moves? Well, I probably should have opened with that.
We’re next brought back to a much-loved, albeit sometimes begrudgingly, gaming legacy. Fable. With the next installment, Fable Legends, we meet a seemingly familiar ragtag group of characters setting out on an epic quest. Those familiar with previous games should feel right at home because they’re well crafted, excellently voiced characters with a healthy dose of sarcasm and wit.
So far, it seems like a fairly standard Fable game with a 4 player co-op feature and a bit more friendly than before. However, in this installment, as a player, you can choose to play as the eponymous hero, or the malevolent villain. Controlling spells, traps, ghouls and goblins. You attempt to thwart the would-be heroes at every turn with real-time view of the battles and the ability to operate each monster once they have been activated.
You can also sign up for the multiplayer beta right here.
Project Spark is the next feature in the Xbox One presentation boasting an impressive 1,000,000 player/creators building an already exciting world and with the promise of near infinite possibilities I have been sold. They even mentioned zombie-space-mechs. Let that sink in. Zombie. Space. Mechs. If they can let me create a world inhabited by tiny rabbits with rocket launchers for arms piloting zombie space mechs fighting against a horde of flying space sharks in their own mechs, I am going to spend my entire life there. And what a life it would be.
The instantly recognisable chorus swells, the background of a starry galaxy, it’s time for Halo.
We have all been waiting with bated breath since last years E3 for more news on Halo 5: Guardians. The Xbox flagship game returns and furthers the already vastly populated universe that we have come to know and love.
With a new game being released in 2015, 343 Studios have taken it upon themselves to re-release every Halo game with a revamped Halo 2 including a renewed multiplayer with old favourite maps that have been graphically updated, and including extra features such as duel-wield. This collection includes over 100 maps for multiplayer, over 4000 possible gamerscore and an early access to the Halo 5: Guardians beta available this December. Not only that but with the collection you get to view the production of Halo: Nightfall digital series.
The beta already looks promising from the promise of new abilities, full 1080p and all at 60 FPS. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4 all in one supreme gaming experience. Giving you the ability to play through the entire story of Master Chief from beginning to end from one easy to use menu.
Following a short presentation on ID@Xbox we are brought to a beautifully rendered sequence with a young woman in an office talking to what appears to be a psychiatrist, discussing her past, how she should move on. All the while glimpses of herself being chased through a wood by a bear, hurling herself off of a cliff, falling down a jagged mountainside. It can only be one game.
Rise Of The Tomb Raider. The first (new) game was an enormous success. Revamping an old, adored franchise for the modern era they managed to capture something raw and unrelenting in the story, the action and the gameplay. It was all magnificent. In fact, you can read what I thought about it here along with the Xbox One review.
Sadly nothing else is said about the game besides this short, cinematic trailer but judging from past performance I think we can expect another stunning, incredible game.
The much-anticipated, heavily delayed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is next to take the stand with some gameplay. Beautiful, intelligent and impossibly vast, we are landed in a completely new world populated by colossal monsters. We are told that we can traverse any viewable location, even the farthest reaches of the mountains in the distance.
Our hero, Geralt, uses his Witcher powers, unique weapons and vastly improved senses. The short gameplay shows how side quests can intersect main quests and vice versa, the massive world allows for any number of scenarios to occur within any given time making for an exciting and often unpredictable game. You can checkout the full details here.
After recent news that Tom Clancy’s The Division was being delayed (like so many games) they came to E3 this year with the intent to show an extended view of the game so far and it did impress.
Visually, stunning. Vastly populated and technologically astounding. As you can see here, I have been excited for this game for a year now. Incredibly excited, to the point I think I might pass out when it’s eventually released. The impressive Snowdrop engine has allowed for the creation of an environment the likes of which has never been seen before. This game could turn out to be the game of the year, if not game of the decade. It’s as if they created an even better Fallout 3, gave it smart AI, massively improved the graphics, upgraded weapons system and allowed you to play with friends. So kind of nothing like Fallout 3 really. But it will be amazing!
After what I can only describe as the most ridiculous, epic trailer I have ever seen, Crackdown blasts onto the stage. Very little is said about it sadly but if that trailer is anything yo go by, I am going to need this in my life. They blow up a building just so they can drive a fuel truck covered with explosives at another building so they can shoot it from a mile away to blow it up to launch a massive chunk of the previous building at another building in order to kill one man. It’s like they know me.
Well that concludes this years E3 rundown and I apologise if I missed anything, annoyed anyone or simply didn’t go into enough detail. You can find all the links to websites and release dates below. How about leaving a comment to let me know what game or games you are most looking forward to, I’m pretty sure there are about 6 that I can’t decide between.
Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare – 4th November 2014
Forza Horizon 2 – 30th September 2014
Evole – 21st October 2014
Assassin’s Creed: Unity – 28th October 2014
Sunset Overdrive – 28th October 2014
Fable Legends – Beta release in Autumn
Halo: Master Chief Collection – 11th November 2014
Rise Of The Tomb Raider – Holiday 2014
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – 24th February 2015
Tom Clancy’s The Division – TBA