12 Jun 2015

E3 2015 Prep – Video Games

This is the year for the eight generation of consoles.

Last year we had a great lineup of great games;
Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Dying Light (which is still on my play list), South Park Stick of Truth, and Middle-earth: Shadows of Mordor are great examples of a good introduction to th eighth generation of console games.

The surprise from last year’s slew of games comes from EA with Battlefield: Hardline. The main story was the best single player campaign in the franchise and the multiplayer was really good. I’m looking forward to seeing what Battlefield 5 or Battlefield 2143 (the sequel to my favorite of the series Battlefield: 2142) when it comes around.

Foreplay is over – time to nut up. This year the eighth generation needs to step up and show the goods or our consoles are gone stay lukewarm and unsatisfied. After the break I’m listing my favorite games that will be the topic of the press conferences starting Monday. 

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – Ubisoft

The last Assassin’s Creed game, Assassin’s Creed: Unit, did not do well. It kind of showed up looked neat but when it went to work you realised that the game needed to more time in the oven. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is the game that will hopefully pull the franchise off the edge of the building – because we will all watch as the Assassin’s Creed franchise make that final fall, leap of faith as they say in the game, and make a slight uncomfortable noise as we walk away from the remains that are spread all over the sidewalk.

Why – I’ve been asking for Industrial revolution London. I wanted the co-op to get out or get better, they picked option 1. Fine. They are allowing players to swap on the fly between the Frye twins Jacob and Evie. Female protagonist, equal billing – sign me up. They added in a bat-rope, which has been popular since Tenchu. This game is still sporting a quality caveat in all the videos we’ve seen; hopefully we see more of a polished product at E3.

Fallout 4 – Bethesda

In 2008, Fallout 3 brought a brutal and beloved franchise to life in the first person view while keeping the bits and pieces that made the PC games great. VATS, Vaults, and Pip-Boys for everyone! It included many a folk from the one-hit wonder team of Troika (who made Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines and included people who were main folks for Fallout and Fallout 2). In 2010, we got Fallout: New Vegas [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallout:_New_Vegas]. Published through Bethesda but developed under Obsidian; who made KotOR 2: The Sith Lords, Alpha Protocol (a great but buggy game), and would later complete the great RPG South Park: The Stick of Truth. New Vegas was also awesome but buggy as all get out. I had to stop playing it because it was making hate it when all I wanted to do was love it.

Why - Now we have Fallout 4. We see Dog Meat and the Vault Dweller has spoken! You had me at “War. War never changes.” The last two games have been huge time sinks and left me feeling satisfied in a way that most games try to match. Boston is the new setting and the Vault Dweller is from Vault 111. Few games took up as much time of my life as Fallout 3. The list is very short and I’m looking forward to another experience that can provide which only Fallout can give you.  I want to see gameplay, VATS, skills, Pip-Boy menus, weapons, items… I want to play this game now and E3 should sate my hunger long enough for Bethesda to put it out. Looking might near finish I may add as well.

XCOM 2 – 2K Games

XCOM is one of the best games from the seventh generation. Papa Bear, Brother Bear and many of the friends and family have put away so many hours into that soft warm embrace of the holo-sphere in the command room. For we wept openly on how good this game was, be the tears of frustrations as the team is wasted in a game with Iron Man, or in Joy as your Mech Troop punts that Xeno bastard threw a wall. The fires of plasma weapons due tend to dry said tears. I`ve played way too many couch co-op games of XCOM to ignore this announcement.

Why – With the in-game trailer it seems the aesthetic is kept but updated and polished. The blocky, big shouldered XCOM troopers move into a civilian area and start wiping out aliens. This brings up a few things. This is the future and the world has a seemingly positive relationship with alien races. Fighting in civilian areas, outside of the law makes it seem like XCOM is more like an insurgent force, begging a few questions. Are the missions covert, keeping the fights more quiet with the possibility of civilian casualties? Can you turn contributing nations from enemy to friendly and vice versa instead of simply loosing support when you don’t meet the needs of said nation? Last but not least the flying base – do you move the base? Will you have more than one? What about SAT coverage? Will base building be more a modular system instead of the ant-farm we fell in love with in our last outing? So many yummy question hopefully will be answered at E3.

MGS V: Phantom Pain – Konami

I am a Big Boss fan boy. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is my favorite game of the franchise. Portable Ops was a great PSP game and I wish I had played Peace Walker simply for the story. Because I dislike Sony and the way they do business since PS2, I missed out on Metal Gear Solid 4: Sons of Liberty where the story of Snake was concluded. Going back to the time in between Metal Gear and Portable Ops is risky. That fat middle in the time line is getting more and more crowded. I hope the folks at Konami don`t pop this bubble.

Why - Having a new voice actor, having Kiefer Sutherland replace David Hayter is a bit of a shock. He needs to prove to me and the folks who’ve fallen in love with Hayter’s Snake that Jack Bauer… ummm sorry Kiefer is ready to do the job. Secondly there are two open world maps that have been seen plus a customizable base, and they all look good. The idea of a buddy system, which includes an eye patch wearing wolf that hunts down and scouts hidden enemies, is pretty neat. I want to know more and see more – I also want to play it. I’m glad Sony no longer has the solid hold it used to have with the Metal Gear Solid franchise and I want see the changes that is wrought from this game. So many questions and only the game can answer them – or a neat trailer can leave a few more crumbs to fill my belly.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – EA

EA has been voted (twice) as the worst company in the USA. That's pretty harsh considering the competition. One of the things EA did was try and bend to the outcry for new IP's when the market was littered with sequels. Dead Space was the winner in the games that EA launched, it became what it was supposed to not be and generated two more sequels. Dead Space 2, lost some of the edge by giving the protagonist a voice but it had some great level design and awesome scenes in a pretty tight plot. It sucked because you were no longer an engineer trying to survive and instead you had become the monster hunter. Dead Space 3 turned you into a fucking Space Marine and it had co-op shooter play. Mirror's Edge was the winner who kept its soul. The gameplay was awesome... when it worked. It flowed well and seem seamless... when the player got it right. Yet the gamers applauded the attempt and asked for another - even though EA maybe wasn't quite yet willing to pay for a second try.

Why - EA has heard enough and decided to show us a game last year. Now we're hoping to get a bit more. I'm hoping that with the success and lessons from games like Dying Light, the traversing that made Mirror's Edge unique is kept but made more approachable. I'm looking forward to a deeper combat mechanic with greater level design allowing players to really explore and try out the free running mechanics.

The Rumour Mill 

There are rumors of a new Hitman by Square Enix and a second Dishonored by Bethesda, both would be very welcome announcements.

So there are a few I'm looking at but here is the rest of the list:

Halo 5: Guardians – Microsoft
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege – Ubisoft
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Square Enix
Lego Marvel’s Avengers – WB
Batman: Arkham Knight – WB
Star Wars Battlefront – EA
Rise of the Tomb Raider – Square Enix