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My E3 Round-Up

So that big event called E3 rolled in recently, destroying both my sleep pattern and expectations alike. I will openly admit that I honestly didn’t even care much this year, there was no hype or real expectation. This year just didn’t catch me as one to look forward to for whatever reason. Turns out this year was actually pretty good.

I’m not going to cover everything in detail, that’s easily been done to death everywhere else already, but in no particular order here’s my thoughts on E3 this year. If nothing else this is probably a good idea of my future articles coming to the site.

Resident Evil 7

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I didn’t think good old Resi would be announced at all this year. Our own Priest of Gamers said he expected just that and I brushed it off with something resembling doubt and future regret. Not only was I surprised however, but genuinely interested in the new Resident Evil 7 as they threw up the First Hour demo for PlayStation Plus members the same day. After playing it, all I can say is…yeah, I’m keen. I almost refuse to hope for too much at this point, but if the demo is indication of the next game in any way, I’m interested in seeing where Capcom takes it.

I hear so many complaints about this “Not being a real Resident Evil” and “This isn’t what the real fans want”, and honestly, so what? What do fans even want at this point? I will say openly that I do enjoy the franchise well enough for what it is, and I can certainly appreciate elements of what makes the games the dumb cheesy horror / actions titles they’ve become. Yet I’ve only played a handful of titles, mainly from Resident Evil 4 and up, and the series has been on a steady decline for years at this point. So many people are crucifying Capcom for trying something new with the franchise, but how on earth can they not at this point?

I don’t know how well this game will tie into what it was, or if it will be even remotely good, but at least I’m interested to find out this time.

Crash Bandicoot Remakes

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Crash is seriously back? For real? I thought the idea of this happening would forever remain in joke territory as we look back with nostalgia on titles that will never come back. Kind of like…Legacy of Kainsigh.

Skylanders aside, for I don’t really care either way, I think it was a smart idea to come back with remasters of the first three titles in the franchise. I vaguely remember those titles being amazing back in the day, and with these being remade from the ground up as I understand it, that should hopefully bring back the magic while ironing out the kinks.

I’m pretty sure it was outright said that part of this move was to see exactly how people reacted, and more importantly, if they still cared. I’ll admit that if you asked me weeks ago if I wanted Crash back, I don’t think I’d care either way, but a full remake of the first three games with a push of reviving the beloved bandicoot of old? I’ll buy into that, even if it will make me feel old as all hell.

Spiderman

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Ah Spiderman games, they walk on such a knives edge don’t they. I like Spiderman quite a lot, and I like Spiderman games quite a lot, in theory. The problem is they have so much potential to seriously be amazing games but often fall short into “eh, it’s alright”.

I did not see this coming at all, but I’m really happy it did, especially since Insomniac Games are behind it this time. With a history of games like Ratchet and Clank, and more important perhaps for Spidy, Sunset Overdrive, I do have high hopes for this. They also have the freedom to craft anything they want with the completely standalone universe, but one that has clearly been inspired by all the existing content out there. I really want this to be a good game, just please be a good game.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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Well let’s not beat around the bush, Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild looks amazing. There are so many fresh ideas for a Zelda title in this game that it’s almost its own beast. From its open world and survival mechanicals including stealth, temperature control and cooking, to old magical technology hybrids taking the central theme in a world that looks like the aftermath of some great almost post-apocalyptic event. Breath of the Wild has clearly taken many queues from existing open world titles and crafted something truly epic looking with a clear Zelda brand on top.

It doesn’t hurt that you can travel this massive open world completely to your own whims, so we’re told. With a huge landscape to traverse, unknown numbers of dungeons, hundreds of shrines to explore and the makings a really interest turn of events for Hyrule’s new story. Simply put, it looks damn good.

I’ve said in the past that I’m actually looking for an excuse to buy an NX from Nintendo, it’s been so very long since I’ve owned a proper Nintendo console, handhelds not included, and I want the NX to be that reason to return to them. Zelda alone makes me pretty hopeful for some of the changes coming to the Nintendo brand, be it giving some franchises a breath of fresh air, or simply rumours on whatever wacky idea they’ll implement. At this point though? Hell I might need one just for Zelda.

Final Fantasy XV

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I don’t have too much to add about Final Fantasy XV from E3 itself, but I haven’t talked about it myself before. I openly welcome the change from turn based combat to the more real time action mechanics the new title brings. I also really like the way the world seems to be turning out with vast open expanses, miles of open road for team bro’s to road trip on, and what seems like a well fleshed out world that explores a massive space throughout this high-tech, yet also magically grounded, kingdom.

I don’t know too much about story, I don’t want to at this point yet, but it does seem like a very character focused tale into kingdoms and take overs, betrayals and clashing leviathans of the worlds. The whole party is supposed to have a strong focus on the bonds between this group of guys, being a deliberate look into the friendships of men and how they act together in a group when it is just “the guys” around for an adventure. That’s something rarely explored in that fashion, and yes there are plenty of men in gaming, even teams of them, but few actually do that deliberate setup for the narrative. All in all, this looks different enough to try new things without actually being too far removed from a Final Fantasy title, and I really hope it’s good.

Also that VR thing looks kind of shiet.

Persona 5

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Oh Persona 5…I wished Atlus cared about us as much as we care about you. Persona 5 is the next title in the cult classic Persona franchise, and it looks like a damn good one too. It carries with it all the trappings of the next amazing title in a great series as you live the double life of a High School student in modern day Tokyo, until you don your persona summoning mask by night as the Phantom Thieves. The former elements are to be expect form Persona’s rather unique emphasis on living out the life of a teenager as you attend school, work jobs and socialise with friends. Yet living the life of the Phantom Thieves in what seems almost the role of anti-heroes is certainly a new approach.

New changes and additions to the existing mechanics fans know and love look to be more than welcome as well. As dungeons all seem to be varied and unique heists for the thieves to infiltrate, while combat has clearly had a revamp with slick interfaces and UI’s all around. There’s also a call back to their Shin Megumi Tensei roots as you can now “Hold Up!” enemies in combat and convince them to join your party as a new persona for combat.

I’m really looking forward to Persona 5 coming out, almost as much a bloody release date. Outside of Japan we only know that America will get it months after Japan does, the rest of us are still in the dark. Combine this with the only footage from E3 being literally camera footage of a projection is…rather annoying. I can’t wait for Persona, but Atlus is really stinking it up lately.

Prey

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Prey is not a series I’m familiar with, but I do know there was a Prey 2 once promised to release that fell into development limbo before being canned. Instead of going back and resurrecting that title, there is now a shiny new reboot simply called “Prey” coming out with a twist on the old tale.

Caught looking somewhere between Half-Life and Dead Space, Prey promises some kind of Sci-fi space adventure with time travel, some kind of dimensional monstrosities, and probably a heavy sci-fi story ending that won’t make any sense in the long run. I’m ready for the major story point to be “messing with time is bad”, but guesses aside, Prey does look pretty good. I’m down for some Groundhog Day Gordon Freeman action with Necromorphs.

Dishonoured 2

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Dishonoured is a title that I…enjoy, I guess. Honestly the original title never quite stuck into me as much of other fans of the franchise. Don’t get me wrong, I do like parts of the game for sure, and much of what’s on offer is honestly good with an interesting lore behind the world and possibilities for some quite great. The moment to moment gameplay however just kind of…I don’t know, bored me after a while. I don’t mind games in that style of gameplay but Dishonoured fell short of really sticking with me. As I watched the impressive changes to the new game of Dishonoured 2, I couldn’t help but think the parts that wore on me look the same as before.

This title places place many years after the first, as you now choose between Corvo, the original character, and Emily, the original damsel in distress. Emily has been given the most focus so far with new powers and interesting changes to what Corvo could do in the past, mainly teleport like there was no tomorrow. The dark magic mixed with an open city of intrigue and various interesting elements like alternate dimensional areas looks quite good, I just don’t feel completely convinced.

I don’t know, I want to like the series, and there are elements I do enjoy. Yet something just didn’t fully click to my own disappointment. I may pick up the game and give it a whirl for it looks honestly good, but I afraid it’ll just miss hitting some mark I’m missing from it.

Forza Horizon 3

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I really don’t have a lot to say about Forza Horizon 3. I don’t care for racing games, especially realistic ones. You know what I do care about? A game that actually for once made a bloody decent looking Australia. Not some Mad Max stereotype or just some crap in the outback either, proper towns and cities with roads so correct that just the road signs made me do a double take. I don’t care about Forza, but by god do I wish some games did a decent job with my country.

Yooka-Laylee

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Remember Banjo-Kazooie from Rare? I certainly do, it was and still is one of my favourite platformers to date. That’s not just nostalgia talking either, I played the games recently and still love them. Well if you’re anything like me than you probably know that the same guys left their now decaying Rare overlords to form Playtonic Games! Playtonic went to Kickstarter awhile back to launch their new title, a revival of same magic they used to make Banjo-Kazooie in the form of a new title called Yooka-Laylee.

This is mostly old news now, but at E3 the team was around to talk more about the upcoming chameleon and bat adventure as they showed off their Toy Box Demo. The demo itself was promised to the Kickstarter’s who helped fund the game as you can play around with the new mechanics and feature before release in an open, if basic, environment. Much of the focus in the demo seems to be basic physics puzzles and game mechanics working inside the environment, but at least it’s some to play around in to tide over the hungry fans.

Playtonic pushed the release back to Q1 of 2017 but if it’s anywhere near as good as the hype behind it believes, it will be well worth the wait.

Sea of Thieves

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Speaking of Rare, they’ve actually sat down and created something truly good looking for the first time in…years now? Rare used to be one of those companies that owned the early N64 market, nailing all their projects with enough skill to leave a lasting effect on the industry. Until Microsoft bought them and made them spew out Kinect titles for years.

It seems like they managed to remember their origins just enough to make something people actually care about again though, in the form of a new pirate game! If you’ve ever played Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Sea of Thieves it’s basically the sea and piracy mechanics of that game expanded to fill an online multiplayer open world. Honestly it looks pretty good, if you have a group of friends you can play with reliably at least, it does looks really fun. While the exact scope of the mechanics and gameplay aren’t fully out there, I will certainly be keeping an eye out on its development.

If anything it’s one of the few games that seem to have fun with the mechanics of ships on the high seas with sea battles, proper crew roles, world exploration and ship based PVP with other pirate groups. Plus, you can sink people and leave them to their fate, like how people kill their Sim’s on a larger scale.

Days Gone

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Like most of the world, I was pretty much convinced this was a new Last of Us, to point where I was still wondering if they were trying to pull a Kojima on us after the name showed up. I for one don’t really want the series continued, for fear of simply ruining how the story tied up. As an alternative though, I will take a very similar looking game with that guy from Force Unleashed as a biker in post (totally not) zombie apocalypse. Days Gone take place in a very similar kind of set up to The Last of Us from what we’ve seen, but with a great focus on a more open world, more specialised enemy types and interactions, plus a bike.

The bike is basically your Epona from Zelda, but without the sentience, and is an essential part of both survival and travel as you spend most of the game in the wilds trying to survive the worst of the worst, humanity. Well that and infected people who act like zombies, but the developers are trying really hard to push the “not actually zombies” angle. Good luck with that guys. Either way Days Gone looks pretty damn interesting so far, and If nothing else you could always pretend it’s another story from The Last of Us universe.

We Happy Few

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I’ve seen very early footage on We Happy Few in the past and thought it was kind of interesting…but not worth much beyond that. While the new trailer from E3 doesn’t really show the play by play gameplay we can expect, damn it’s come far. A mix of Bioshock and some Orwellian happiness nightmare on drugs, literally, We Happy Few certainly promises an interest story worth investing in.

The basic premise being you’re in this tightly maintained, controlled bubble of happiness security, in a post-war England town. Everyone inside is forced, against their will if necessary, to stay happy and complacent with the help of a drug call “Joy”. Anyone who doesn’t want their brains forced into a daze of happiness is called a Downer, and are swiftly…removed…to keep the population happy and secure. Happiness sounds all well and good, until you realise you’re so happy and drugged up that you can see the world without any of the harsh truths that is reality. Like you know, beating up and eating a dead decaying rat because you think it’s a piñata.

It’s too early to comment past the new trailer but I’m certainly down for it. Bring on the Joy.

Death Stranding

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Kojima’s back and he brought Norman Reedus with him! We really don’t know much about his new game beside the title and that Reedus is the main character. I mean…we assume, unless he goes full Metal Gear Solid 2 on us. The trailer does contain that Kojima level of weirdness though with Reedus waking up attached to a baby via umbilical cord, as he lies on a beach surrounded by hundreds of dead sea life. One ghost baby later and we’re left to watch as five flying humanoid figures disappear across a blackened ocean.

All we’ve really gleamed from the man himself is the meaning behind the title. A live stranding is basically the act of sea creatures such as whales beaching themselves, and this is a massive Death Stranding if you will. It also has a double meaning about strands being the threads connecting life and death for all things as we’re bound by these ropes. I can assume we’re in for a lot metaphysical pondering about what death actually is, and exactly what death itself means to life. So yeah, Kojima level weird stuff.

Either way I’m interested in it, Kojima is finally free to make games to his own desire, and has a fresh IP for the first time in…decades? Someone people seem to think giving Kojima that much freedom will drive the man mad, as he spends the rest of his entire life crafting one single narrative. Who knows, maybe he will. I’d still play It though.

Conclusion

That’s it for now on my E3 reactions, I’ve covered the majority of the games that stood out to me, or I’ve simply been waiting to see more of. There are certainly more out there worth note, but I’d rather bring them to you in full given the fullness of time instead of taking guesses on everything I’m looking forward to. Keep an eye out for more on these and more.

Don’t forget to drop by The Priest of Gamers to read some more of my E3 commentary, and take a look at his too, since we stayed up together on those long sleepless nights to watch the news as it broke. Nothing was harder to sit though than that Ubisoft conference….

Until next time!

(Bonus image)

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