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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Thoughts on E3 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

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I don't write all that much about video games on here, although they pop up briefly from time to time. However, with E3 just over and done with and two new consoles being released later this year I thought it might be fun to talk about some of the cool new games heading our way!

Of course there were a bunch of sequals being shown and I'm quite looking forward to several of them, but right now I think it would be more interesting to have a look at the new IPs being developed for the Xbox One and PS4. I'll make one exception, as you'll see later. The three games I most like the look of are Titanfall, Destiny and The Division. They are all shooters but come with a varying degree of multiplayer, co-op and roleplaying as well. Because I love big mechs, let's have a look at Titanfall first.


Titanfall



This game was made by the guys who made the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare after they got fired from Infinity Ward by Activision (although I think that might be an oversimplification), and it certainly shows. The setting is completely new, modern warfare has been replaced by future warfare, but the look and feel of the action feels familiar in a good way.

It's sci-fi and besides the usual stuff like high tech weaponry and equipment (jet packs!) there are also the titans from the title: roughly eight meter tall mechs of the VOTOMS/Heavy Gear variety. That is to say, they are quite nimble and bring all kinds of mecha sized weaponry to the battlefield. Awesome! The game also features AI "popcorn" enemies to fill out the ranks of both sides fighting which I actually think sounds pretty cool. At the moment it's exclusively for the Xbox One, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it turn up on the PS4 during 2014 or so.

Take a look on the gameplay trailer below and tell me you don't want a piece of that! The dual layer of pilot (infantry) combat combined with mecha combat looks great! There's a good article on Titanfall over at Polygon.com.




Destiny


Alright, if Titanfall was pure shooter (although there is a singleplayer campaign in there) we're entering rpg territory with Destiny. It's the new game from Bungie, you know, the guys who've been stuck doing Halo for... forever! It must feel so good being able to do something else.

Anyway, as far as I can tell Destiny basically takes the basic idea of Borderlands and runs with it. Four(?) player co-operative gameplay in the form of a first-person shooter in a sprawling post-apocalyptic world. Of course everything has been taken to the next level and although I love Borderlands I can't wait to play a similar game from a company who really knows how to do a shooter!

The gameplay looks good although there's nothing really revolutionary in the makeup of it. You explore the world, kill enemies and gather loot and XP to further customize your character. What is new though are the MMO-esque components. The world is constantly changing and new quests and events will be held post launch. During some of these (or always? I don't know) several groups of players (fireteams) can team up to fight an overwhelming force. Overall it looks pretty damn nifty, and the world Bungie have created is beautiful!

It's being released for all the platforms, including PS3 and Xbox 360 as far as I can tell, although I can swear I read somewhere about Destiny being Sony's baby. Not rightly sure. Check out this gameplay:




The Division 


The Division snuck right by me and I didn't discover it until after E3 was over, but I think this might be the big surprise winner of the show. What we have here is another co-op roleplaying experience, but instead of going to the far fantastic future we see in Destiny this is simply the near future after a global pandemic has caused the collapse of the civilized world. You work for the (remnants of) the US government trying to get back into control. Looking at the gameplay below it kind of feels like what you'd get by crossing Borderlands with Rainbow Six, set in the world of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

Ubisoft have done a great job in capturing a dilapidated New York with refuse and debris everywhere and some scared civilians scurrying away as gunshots are heard in the distance. Again you play as a small team who take on missions as well as go on sidequests or simply explore the city. A pretty neat feature is the way you can join from a smartphone or tablet and help out as a drone. Toward the end of the video we also get to see a tiny bit of player vs player combat so there's that opportunity as well.

As far as gameplay is concerned it's third person and seems reminiscent of other Tom Clancy games like GRAW but with a bit more "grit" to it. I think The Division might be a nice alternative after the crazy hijinks of Titanfall and Destiny. A bit more down to Earth. A small detail I quite enjoyed is how they talk in the clip below - they are talking as three friends playing a game, but for an outsider listening it might as well (almost) be what their characters are saying. Of course, no-one really talks like this, but it's close enough. I like games where what you say actually reflect the actions you take in the game. EVE Online is another great example of this and, I think, Netrunner (the card game) might be as well. I like that, makes it feel more real in a sense.

Also it's being made right here in Sweden. Woo! If the above teaser trailer left you feeling meh, check out this gameplay trailer. It's looking great!





So those are the three new IPs that really made me sit up and pay attention. Of course there were a bunch of other new stuff as well, looking more or less interesting. Some things that looked cool but that I need to see more of to decide were The Order: 1886 (steampunk action-horror), Quantum Break (time travel/manipulation), Mad Max (MAD MAX!!!), Star Wars Battlefront (awesome teaser!) and Beyond: Two Souls (action game from the makers of Heavy Rain).



Of course, the best announcement during the entire show was this...


Yepp, after many years of rumours and teases we finally have confirmation of a new Mirror's Edge! Wooo! The first was was a solely unique gaming experience that punished the casual player but greatly rewarded the ones who persevered and got it to 'click'. An amazing gaming experience!

The new one seems to be a reboot of sorts, where you get to play through Faith's origin story. It has also been touted as more of an open world action adventure. Sounds intersting. Not entirely sure what to think of Faith's new appearance though, as I quite like her old self.

So yeah... some good stuff to look forward to!

4 kommentarer :

  1. Nice Article and my summary (as quoted in Penny Arcade)...'Microsoft made the decision about which next gen game machine to buy REALLY simple......and no it's not an XBox One'

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  2. I kind of missed the whole E3 as I was camping the weekend. And I haven't followed the feeds that intensively lately. Titanfall looks really good. Nice blend of mech and regular combat. Those jetpacks look pretty funky. Kind of feels like what Lost Planet should have been.

    If one thing Bungie knows, it's world building. And it really shows with Destiny. They've certainly managed to capture my interest with their trailers and concept art. It's clear they've a roadmap for the next generation and future Destiny titles are hinted even in gameplay trailer. It certainly looks like a winner.

    Kind of surprised Ubisoft's Watchdogs didn't make to your list, even if it was revealed before the this years E3. It certainly one game I'm waiting for the next generation. The Division looked actually really fine, even if the trailer had pretty bad voice acting :) But the concept was interesting. Though I haven't played anything of the Tom Clancy franchise since the original Ghost Recon.

    The best part of Mirror's Edge for me was always the excellent soundtrack by Solar Fields. Newer played the actual game beyond the demo. Put I always got the feel Mirror's Edge was really underrated as a game. Maybe I should get it from the bargain bin, would probably get it really cheap.

    @Mike - Yep, Microsoft ended the next-gen console war even before it started by PR-nuking themselves. Which, in retrospect, was actually a good move on their part because they've made it clear where their future customer base stands. And I'm not standing with that crowd.

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  3. @Mike - Mike... are you quoting Penny Arcade quoting you? Hehe!

    Even though I liked some of the core ideas of the digital distribution model on the X1 I was fairly set on getting a PS4. But now that Microsoft have recanted and removed several of their restrictions I'm again undecided. One thing I was sad to see go was the family game sharing featured that was first announced. Now it instead looks like you won't be able to share or give away/sell a downloaded game.

    Got to say kudos to MS for actually changing their policies. Not convinced, but a big step in the right direction.

    @NetDiver - Watchdogs is definitely on my watch list, it simply didn't spark my "oh, shiny" feeling like the games above. It will be interesting to follow the months ramping up to the release of the new boxes and the new game content we'll see.

    Titanfall really looks like something I'd enjoy as far as PvP goes, whereas The Division and Destiny would be great for playing with my less game-savvy friends (ie they wouldn't last 30 seconds in a PvP environment).

    Definitely pick up Mirror's Edge! YOu can get it dirt cheap this day and it's worth it for the novel experience alone - even if you end up not actually liking the gameplay. I love it though. And the visual design and aesthetics is such a breath of fresh air, even today five years later.

    As for the X1 debacle, it seems they're trying to patch it up at least. I must say I'm intrigued by the possibilites of the Kinect and Titanfall does look cool.... decision, decisions...

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  4. I suspect that Microsoft will re-introduce the family functionality and the download trade-in option at a future date.
    At the moment it just sounds like MS are throwing their toys out of the pram going 'okay so you told us what you wanted and you can have it, but look at the cool stuff we are going to take away from you...nyanyanyanya'. :)

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