I’m Rob, and Here’s What I’ve Been Playing – 10/09/17

I’m struggling to get motivated to write up individual games that I have finished in the last few weeks, so instead here’s a quick look at what I’ve been playing this week!

Memes
Gotta have memes. Does this count as memes?

Year Walk – iOS 

Year Walk
Year Walk (2013)

This was on sale for £1 a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been intending to try it for a while due to it’s interesting art style and supposedly creepy atmosphere. I’ve racked up a whole 20 minutes so far and would consider it a modernised point and click adventure. It makes good use of touch controls but I feel mechanics are under explained. I had no idea I could spin a dolls head around to make it dance to give me a clue. Standard point and click moon logic.

Year Walk
I don’t know what this is!

I’m going to persevere with this one though. I like the atmosphere, and the sound is excellent. I’m sure there’s a story too but it’s quite unclear right now. I can always pop open a guide to get an idea of what to do next if I’m stuck too. Not bad so far!

Destiny – Xbox One

Destiny
Destiny (2014)

Yep, the first one.  Not that new fangled fancy one with all the graphics and whatnot.  A friend of mine happened to have a spare disc of the base game and gave it to me which I’m very grateful for.  So far I’ve reached level 16 as a Warlock.  It was fairly easy to start with but some of the Strikes can get rather overwhelming with the sheer volume of enemies.

Destiny
A promo shot, yes. But a pretty one nonetheless.

I’m enjoying it all the same.  The combat is pretty satisfying for the most part and the ever increasing power of item drops is as addictive as ever.  The bosses are a bit bullet spongy for my liking, taking far longer to put down than I’d like, but I’m having fun with it for now!

Redout – Xbox One

Redout
Redout: Lightspeed Edition (2017)

Big thanks to B3 for providing me with the review code for this one (keep an eye out there for the review popping up).  I reviewed this last week and found it to be ludicrously fast.  It’s somewhat like Wipeout and other anti-gravity racers, but with the speed turned up to infinity.

Redout
This is the fastest racing game I’ve played bar none. Still a really fun time though!

In addition to the speed, it’s also insanely hard.  I reached Class 3 (of 4) before finding it a little too hard to finish races anywhere above last due to my feeble old man reactions not being up to snuff.  Thankfully the quick restart times meant I could plug away at it for a while without sitting around on a loading screen.  It’s incredibly polished but some might consider it to be (cliché alert!) the Dark Souls of anti-grav racers.

Spaceballs
Yep. There was no way I was missing an opportunity to include this.

Elder Sign – PC

Elder Sign: omens
Elder Sign: Omens (2011)

It may surprise you to learn that I like board games rather a lot.  The difficulty is sometimes getting a group together to play, but also the setup and tear down times (Marvel Legendary is great fun but now takes about 20 minutes to set up thanks to all the expansions).  For this reason, I like that digital versions of great board games are available.  Elder Sign: Omens is based on the board game of the (almost) same name and involves dice rolls being assigned to events to earn the titular elder signs with the goal of preventing ancient gods of Lovecraft’s stories from devouring the world!

Elder Sign: Omens
A lot of the game is spent here, deciding on your current characters move before chucking those dice!

As a digital version, it sticks to the board game rather well, with plenty of different challenges and characters to choose from.  BUT.  Where is the multiplayer?!  Yes, I suppose you could play it locally by hot seating, but there is no online whatsoever.  Considering you could play and finish a game of this in around 20 minutes, an online co-op mode would fit right in.  Throw in a chat box and you have a pretty complete system.  I have no idea why this would be omitted.  Still, it’s fun to play here and there as it is.

So how about you?  What are you playing?  Anything good?  Something terrible?  Let me know below, and happy gaming!

 

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Games with Gold for September 2017

This months Games with Gold have just cropped up! Whilst they are (mostly) pretty good, I’m disappointed to already own most of them. If only I’d waited!

Forza Motorsport 5 – A pretty good game even by today’s standards, but very limited in terms of cars compared to more recent outings. Would rather a more recent racer be included.

Oxenfree – I loved this game when it came out. Still do now! It’s a narrative driven walking simulator of sorts. There are consequences for your conversation choices leading to a number of different endings. It’s about 4 hours long (which is great for me) and the characters are what make the experience worthwhile.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane – This is the one I haven’t played. Jet ski racing I suppose! Might be good, might be awful.

Battlefield 3 – I’m sure I don’t need to go into this. Lots of military shooty bang bangs. The campaign was reasonably fun and the multiplayer still holds up fairly well. I imagine this release will see an increase in he online player base.

What do you reckon to this month’s offerings?

Slime Rancher – What am I actually meant to do?

Ever dreamed of owning a farm and collecting slime? No, me neither.

I think I might be missing the point of Slime Rancher.  I find myself dropped onto a planet with a vacuum and a fenced off area.  I’m told to vacuum up slimes and put them into the pen, feed them, and collect their poop for money.  Yes.  Poop money.  To what end I don’t know.  I can explore the world and collect more slimes to put in more pens to collect more poop.  Perhaps there are exciting things to find in the world, but after a couple of hours of hoovering up crap (figuratively and literally) I have no interest in finding out.

Slime Rancher
Get used to seeing this path. you’ll be using it an awful lot.
Starting at your ranch, you venture out to find slimes and other items to hoover up and take back to turn into money.  Money can be used to build or improve pens, build other structures, upgrade your equipment, and unlock new areas of the world.  Various logs can be found detail the adventures of the rancher who came before you, but those I found were fairly uninteresting.

Slime Rancher
The slimes are (mostly) pretty cut and there are a good variety of different ones. Their behaviours are mostly quite similar though.
Some slimes are aggressive unless you feed them the food they like (which can be found lying around or grown at the ranch), but most are benign and can be walked around with no problem.  During my explorations I came across some treasure boxes that I couldn’t open, and doors that required “slime keys”.  What are slime keys and how are they acquired?  No idea, it was never explained.  I eventually found out after going back and forth to a giant slime over and over again, but that was more luck and persistence than any signposting.  I don’t have a problem with discovery in gameplay, but I believe some direction is necessary in most games.  In many games I don’t mind looking up information online to find out more about optimum builds and finding secret items (the Souls games are a great example of this) but I simply didn’t care enough to want to find out more.  I didn’t know why I should care about what I was doing, so I didn’t bother.

Slime Rancher
Eventually I figured out how to get a slime key and was presented with a slightly different environment which was terribly exciting.
Mechanically the game works well enough, with your vacuum sucking up items of value (although sucking up the item you want can be a pain as it pulls in anything in front of it) and spitting them out where you want them.  The problem here is that your vacuum can only hold 4 different items (at first, I don’t know if this changes later on) meaning you’re constantly backtracking to the ranch to offload your stuff.  The game descended into me running forward a bit, collecting things then heading back, then going a little further and returning.  Continue ad nauseum.  The jetpack upgrade makes traversal through some areas quick if you don’t want to faff about but it doesn’t remove the issue.  There’s a day and night cycle too, with nights being more dangerous meaning hanging around the ranch (or sleeping until morning) becomes necessary.

Slime Rancher
There’s a day-night cycle. Certain slimes are more likely to come out at night.
I can’t fault the graphics or sound a great deal at least.  Visually it looks lovely.  All the slimes I found were adorable, with all of them being distinct.  The world looked lovely with plenty of variety in environments (shame I couldn’t find a reason to want to explore them).  The sounds are nice too and very in keeping with the game as a whole.

Slime Rancher
What’s behind this slime door? A better question is can I be bothered to faff about getting a key to find out?
I get the feeling that this just isn’t the sort of game for me.  If it weren’t for the fact that this was a free Games with Gold game on Xbox then I probably wouldn’t have touched it.  If you’re someone who is very much into the “make your own fun” sort of games then this could provide a bit of entertainment, but it didn’t for me.

Slime Rancher
I looks like it’s begging to be explored, but all I found was more of the same in a different environment.
Slime Rancher was developed and published by Monomi Park.  I played the game on Xbox One and wouldn’t recommend it.  Time is as valuable as money for me these days, and this sucked up a couple of hours that I won’t be getting back.  If you’re in the market for a cute farming style game then this might provide some fun, but I was bored after a couple of hours.

Resident Evil 7 – It’s Res Jim, but not as we know it!

Zombies and stuff.

No spoilers here!  Read with confidence!

But it’s not Resident Evil!  It’s in first person!  It’s not about zombies!  Where’s Umbrella?  etc.  I know, I’m a couple of months late to the party, but I’m glad I finally turned up because this is the most Resident Evil Resident Evil since Resident Evil.  Yes, that was a real sentence that I wrote.  This is the latest game in the venerated series, and whilst its perspective may be different when compared to most of the games in the series, this is without a doubt a Resident Evil game.  The atmosphere, environment and puzzles call back to the classic and tries to shake off the bad taste left by the more recent entries (I’m looking at you 6!)  You’re running around a mansion and it’s grounds, fighting monsters whilst conserving ammo and searching for keys to bizarre locks.  That’s pretty Resident Evil if you ask me.

Resident Evil 7
The initial walk to the home is similar in style to the opening of a lot of first person horror games. Very pretty to look at but with an edge of foreboding.

You are Ethan, a man who’s wife, Mia, disappeared 3 years ago.  Ethan receives a video message from Mia hinting at her whereabouts and he sets off to find her in a mysterious old manor house on a plantation in the middle of nowhere.  If you’ve played the demos released during the (well put together) marketing campaign, you’ll recognise some of the early locations you travel through before you gain access to the house proper.  Before long you find yourself stalked by the seemingly psychotic members of the family that live there and the “molded” – black slime monsters that grow from the walls and ceiling and seek to pull your limbs off.

Resident Evil 7
At times like these it’s always good to see a friendly face.

You means of defence are severely limited at first, with a knife and handgun being pretty much all you have for a while, along with some healing items that have some interesting properties.  Other weapons can be collected along the way, expanding your defensive options and giving the occasional nod to previous games in the series (particularly the first entry).  Most of the combat is against the molded and tends to be rather slow paced and methodical as you try to keep them a safe distance whilst you chip away, minimising you use of ammunition (or maybe running away from them altogether).  In this regard, the game is very much like the first Resident Evil, with resource conservation and avoiding conflict being essential early on.  The family also stalk the corridors, ready to pursue and attack you if spotted.  They can be fended off for a time, but only if you’re willing to spend your resources to do so; better to avoid them or make a heart-pounding escape through the corridors in most cases.

Resident Evil 7
The now iconic dinner scene that has been all over the promotional material. I would expect VR to be especially effective here.

Boss encounters are great exclamation marks to the growing tension in each area with each one becoming more grotesque.  Compared to being swarmed by regular enemies though, they tend not to be all that challenging.  The only exception was the first proper boss (the second one you confront), and that’s more due to the control scheme not being all that suited to the combat style you end up forced into.  Most bosses requite plenty of ammo and a good few healing items (at least they did for me) and good inventory organisation helps in ensuring you have what you need at any point in time.  Whilst not entirely challenging, they are entertaining and varied with the exception of the final battle which was big in scale but small on interaction.  It was a little disappointing when compared to some of the other encounters.

Resident Evil 7
The shotgun is a bit of a pain to get early in the game, but it a god send if you do.

The only other thing I found really irritating was something that also annoyed me about The Evil Within: traps.  Whilst only in the game occasionally and not as obnoxious, I find tripwire based traps and exploding item boxes an annoyance rather than an increase in challenge.  They make sense being there in the context of the character who places them, but that doesn’t make them any more fun to trip over.  I understand that this is meant to be a slow game (the controls make that obvious fairly early on), but the exploding item boxes are especially aggravating.

Resident Evil 7
I spent about 80% of the game with blood smears on the screen as I never wanted to use my healing items.

I have not sampled the VR mode of this (hey, I’m not made of money) so I can’t really comment on its implementation.  It’s fairly clear when playing where the VR is meant to have its greatest impact though.  There are a number of times involving characters and items being right in front of your character and I imagine it would be quite effective when wearing a headset.  Playing on a TV is fine though, and those moments don’t stand out unless you’re looking for them.  The visuals on the whole are excellent throughout and I noticed very little that wasn’t extremely well polished.

Resident Evil 7
More VR fodder.

Most importantly though, Resident Evil 7 is fun to play.  It’s not terrifying by any stretch, but the atmosphere works very well and creates an unsettling feeling throughout.  It doesn’t rely on jump-scares but gives a feeling of unease through vulnerability and a lack of preparedness for what may come walking around the next corner.  I loved that sense of threat , and found the level of challenge spot on when playing on normal.  I’m not going near any higher difficulty though.

Resident Evil 7
There’s DEFINITELY nothing bad behind that door.

Resident Evil 7 was developed and published by Capcom (using an excellent in house engine I should add).  I played the games on Xbox One and would recommend it to anyone who likes the classic games in the series or someone looking for a solid, well made horror game.  Now here’s hoping Capcom can capitalise and rescue the series long term!

Party Hard – Andrew WK not included

Neighbours’ party keeping you awake at night? Better go murder them I guess.

Picture the scene.  It’s 3AM, you have work in the morning and you’re shattered from staying up all night playing video games (this is essentially every day for me).  You can’t sleep though because of those damn neighbours having a raging party next door!  So what do you do?  Well I’m sure you’d do what every well adjusted adult would do: grab a hockey mask and a knife and go murder them all.  Then decide that everyone that ever has a party needs to be murdered.  And that, dear reader, is how serial killers are born.

Party Hard
Enjoy your meal. Yeeees, enjoy it. Especially the poison.

Party Hard is a puzzle game in which you need to murder everyone at a party without getting arrested or killed.  This seems like an odd theme for a game (because it is) that would surely annoy the Jack Thompsons of the world.  Each stage takes up a single screen and is filled with revelers who need to die in whatever way you see fit.  You could knife them, throw them on a fire, run them over or chuck them off a tower block.  Y’know, normal every day stuff.  The murdering isn’t the draw here though.  Killing the other characters is really the puzzle solving mechanic.  You need to carry out that mechanic without getting caught by the cops or killed yourself.

Party Hard
Finishing the game unlocks remixed levels like this one that looks more than a little Blade Runner.

If anyone spots you doing something you shouldn’t, they’ll call the police to arrest you, so remaining hidden and luring party goers away is often a good move.  You can do this in a variety of ways, such as setting off a steam vent or dancing so badly everyone leaves the room.  Once you have a victim alone, you see them off however you see fit and hide the body if possible.  If a body is spotted, the police will once again get called, but they may not suspect you meaning you could get away with it if you’re lucky.  Some people are a little braver and may attack you (or sometimes just because they don’t like you – more on that in a bit) leaving you unconscious for a few moments and vulnerable to being chased down.

Party Hard Zombie
Having a (party) hard time? Why not invite a zombie horde to take out some of the crowd.

It is possible to escape the police thankfully, either by keeping away from them for long enough or setting off a trap and killing them.  Killing the police can cause the FBI to arrive who remain for a long time trying to find out who you are and catching up to you immediately.  Generally it’s smart to avoid having the police turn up at all by making use of environmental kills and keeping bodies out of site by hiding them in sewers or (seemingly infinitely large) bins.  This core gameplay loop is fairly simple (most stages take between 5 and 15 minutes) but in practice can be more difficult and occasionally frustrating.

Party Hard
You can unlock different characters, like this chainsaw nutter.

The thing is, the game doesn’t work quite as well as it needs to from time to time.  Sometimes someone will accuse you of being a murderer without having seen you doing anything, resulting in your arrest and a level restart (no checkpoints here, folks).  Occasionally a bouncer will decide that they don’t like the look of you and will beat you up which, unlike a normal assailant, will force a restart.  Another murderer might show up and kill you, or a zombie horde will arrive, or a limo full of additional party animals will turn up to add to your required number of kills.  All these random elements keep the stages fresh, but they can be incredibly frustrating if you end up having to restart over and over.  And that’s if the game doesn’t decide to throw a bug in the mix that causes a character to not die or you to become stuck in the scenery.

Party Hard
For some reason no one seems concerned when I start throwing sleeping party-goers off the roof.

But in spite of this, I found myself having fun.  Going in, I didn’t expect to enjoy this much (I’m not big on puzzle games) but I found it strangely compelling despite the flaws.  The combination of Hotline Miami‘s control and presentation with Hitman‘s murder and social stealth worked surprisingly well to my mind whilst the short level length made me willing to restart after failure.  Whilst you do need patience at times to get people on their own, once you have an idea of how a level works you can piece it all together and come out on top.

Party Hard
Not even the party bus is safe!

There is a story (how I started this write up is pretty much how the game starts) that develops through between level cutscenes and has quite a satisfying conclusion that sets up (I assume) for the sequel which is on the way.  The music is also pretty good, which makes sense considering the theme of the game, although it can get a little tiresome on your 8th attempt at a stage.  Graphically, it has that retro pixel look that so many games in the past few years have gone for.  It looks fine and can have a lot of characters on screen at once, but your character model can get a little lost in the crowd sometimes, especially if you use a shortcut.  This can be an irritation if you’re trying to get away from the police.

Party Hard
Can you spot where I am? It can be difficult at times when there are large crowds running around.

Party Hard was developed by Pinokl Games and published by tinyBuild games.  I played the game on XBox One and would recommend you give it a look as there isn’t really anything else quite like it out there.  It’s a genuinely unique puzzle game that, although flawed, has a lot going for it.  If you’re able to overlook those flaws and have the patience for it, you’ll probably have a good time.  Just make sure you keep the volume down on your TV.  You probably don’t want to wake the neighbours…

The Surge – You got robots in my Dark Souls!

Robo-Souls? Dark-Bots?

Have I mentioned that I like Dark Souls?  I’m pretty sure I’ve said I like Dark Souls on at least 804 separate occasions on this blog.  Which is impressive considering I haven’t posted that many times.  That’s one of the reasons why I eagerly picked up Deck 13’s Lords of the Fallen when it was released in late 2014.  And whilst it certainly had a lot of similarities (read: had no identity of its own), it was unpolished and bland.  Since then they’ve…well they’ve not done much.  Anyone heard of TransOcean 2: Rivals?  But they have attempted to return to the Souls-like sub-genre with The Surge, and I’ll be damned if they haven’t made a pretty damn good go of it this time.

The Surge really is sci-fi Souls with a couple of little twists.  The combat system is similar with a couple of additions, scrap is used for leveling up and is handled in a similar way to souls, and equipment is improved by gathering the necessary resources and enhancing it at your bonfire equivalent.  Whilst it may not be terribly original in mechanics, it does just enough to differentiate itself from its source material.

The Surge
Unlike Dark Souls, you can find audiologs (because you gotta have those collectibles) that fill in some of the lore.

You play as Warren, arriving at his first day of his new job at Creo, a (totally not evil) company with plans to save the Earth’s atmosphere, where he will be fitted with a powered exo-skeleton (think power loaders from Aliens if you like).  The intro played with my character expectations nicely, although Warren’s apparent reason for wanting an exo-suit isn’t referenced again until the end of the game.  Anyway, Warren gets fitted for his suit (in a somewhat harrowing scene) but his neural interface that connects him to Creo fails and he is cast out on the (literal) scrap heap to fend for himself.  It seems that the neural interface has screwed up a lot of people in their exo-suits, sending them utterly insane and causing them to attack anyone who isn’t connected.  And so Warren is sent to find his way to the centre of Creo to find out what’s going on and to try to stop it.

The Surge
Most of the enemies shamble towards you before striking, but some will charge you down with surprising speed.

Even the plot plays out in a Dark Souls fashion, with snippets of information passed on by NPCs (many of whom have little side quests) that don’t give too much away.  The movement and combat mechanics are also very similar, with dodges, blocking attacks and running consuming stamina that regenerates over a short time.  Combat is very slow and deliberate, with committing to an attack at the right moment being crucial lest you suffer an enormous amount of damage from a single strike.  Weapons come in an array of shapes and sizes to suit your taste, from quick two handed weapons to slow, powerful hammers.  My personal favourite ended up being the staves (bit thanks to Drakulus for suggesting them to me!) for their ability to stagger enemies and knock them off their feet.  Armour also comes in lighter and heavier varieties that will alter your damage and stamina consumption in various ways.

The Surge
Whatever’s behind this door is bound to be friendly.

So far, so Souls.  But the selling point here is how you acquire new weapons and armour.  During combat you can target specific limbs of the enemy, and each hit fills an energy bar.  Once a certain amount of damage is done and you have enough energy, you can perform a finisher that will sever the selected limb and unlock the armour attached to it for your own use.  This is also how you gain resources to upgrade those armour pieces.  It’s an interesting approach that forces you to not hit too hard lest you kill the enemy and lose the equipment you wanted.  The energy bar also allows you to use certain buffs as well as your drone to attack opponents from range.  It’s an additional meter to manage, but its addition is an interesting one, as it drains very quickly when you aren’t attacking thus promoting an aggressive style of play more akin to Bloodborne.  A thumbs up from me on this addition.

The Surge
The finishing moves that sever limbs look impressive and are pretty quick so tend not to get old quickly.

Scrap, your souls equivalent, is collected by killing enemies and lost upon your death.  Like in Souls, you can reclaim them by finding your body, only this time you have a time limit to reach it.  Killing enemies on the way extends this time limit, but I rarely found myself running out of time.  These are used to create and upgrade equipment as well as level up your power core.  Rather than level up specific stats, this allows you to plug in more powerful augments to define your character.  The augments you can install are limited by your total level/power, meaning you can’t just jam in all the most powerful ones.  You may only be able to afford a few low level ones or one high level one and this creates an interesting balancing act.  You probably want some healing items to take with you, but that means you may not have enough power to install an upgrade for your stamina.  Each augment will increase in effectiveness (up to a limit) based on your over all core power so you can still get a decent buff from weaker options.  I really like this feature.  Not only does it force you to make some difficult choices, but it also allows you to completely respec whenever you return to the Medbay (your bonfire equivalent) as you can slot augments in and out as you see fit.

The Surge
These ones killed me so many times. I found the standard enemies more challenging than the bosses at times.

The environments suit the game well, but after the opening area (a gorgeous, open scrapyard area) it becomes little more than industrial areas with a slightly different colour scheme.  There are a couple of nice changes towards the end, but on the whole the game was rather stuck with what it could offer.  It does allow for some rather tense moments journeying through tight, dimly-lit corridors in which an enemy with a flame thrower could ruin your day at any moment.  These corridors often act as shortcuts that lead back to the Medbay when needed most which is a good thing considering how large some of the areas are.

The Surge
Get used to these sort of environments. Sci-Fi games can suffer from this, as there are only so many ways to do “industrial” locations.

Enemies aren’t hugely varied, with many of them being people in suits of lighter or heavier armour, wielding one weapon or another.  The occasional ranged drone or annoying pouncing walker will show up, but for the most part you’ll be fighting the same few enemies until the final area.  The showpieces are the bosses of course, of which there are 4 (5 if you count an upgraded form of one of the ordinary enemies).  Whilst these certainly look interesting, they aren’t all that challenging.  In fact, I managed to defeat 3 of the 5 (including the final boss) on my first attempt which was a little disappointing.  I get the feeling that The Surge wanted the journey to the boss to be the big challenge, as I died during my exploration of areas far more.  Sometimes these deaths felt a little cheap as I would dodge back and end up passing through barriers and falling to my death.  These little moments indicate that this is a little less than polished in places which is a pity.

The Surge
Some of the bosses have impressive scale, but they really aren’t all that challenging compared to the series it tried to imitate.

However!  I enjoyed The Surge rather a lot.  It may be a little bland in places and lacks the polish of its source material, but it really did scratch that Dark Souls itch for me.  The change from light and heavy attacks to horizontal and vertical strikes forces you to learn the best move to use to damage each body parts and the overall combat feels weighty.  Whilst this isn’t one I’m going to be rushing back to straight away, it certainly is an adventure I enjoyed for its 20 or so hours.

The Surge was developed by Deck13 and published by Focus Home Interactive.  I played the game on Xbox One and would recommend it lovers of Dark Souls and their ilk.  Whilst unpolished, it provides good, tense fun throughout its campaign.  Well played Deck13!

E3 2017 Wrap Up – Games and such

I don’t think I’ll ever go to E3 in person, and that’s just fine by me.

I’ve never been to E3, and I doubt I ever will. That’s mostly because it looks like there are far, far too many people in a big, hot hall. I’m more than content to read about and watch the games in comfort, and not have to go near crowds of humans who may be infected with a dormant form of the zombie plague.

So here are a few thoughts on the bits and pieces from during the event.  I’m sticking to the games and tech mainly, and avoiding the god-awful, cringe worthy presentations.  Stop with the faux YouTuber nonsense!  Anyway, enjoy!

EA

EA Logo

Sports, innit!  Madden has a story mode now, just like most of EA’s other sports franchises.  FIFA will also have a continuation of its story mode, The Journey, which my wife will be fairly happy about.  There’s more content for Battlefield 1 coming, which I don’t really car about much.  Seems to be a lot of night time maps, so if you like that sort of thing then brilliant I suppose.  Need For Speed is back.  PAYBACK in fact.  It’ll have a story mode once again which is the one thing it has over Forza/Horizon.  It looks pretty but I’ve never really been interested in racers for their plots.  If the racing is good then I may take a look, but it seems to be full of scripted sequences which may break the flow of the racing.  I’ll keep an eye one it but I’m not holding my breath.

There’s Battlefront 2 on it’s way as well.  It looks pretty, and there’s a single player campaign now too.  Basically this looks like what the previous game should have been, but then we knew that already.  Then there’s A Way Out, which is the one thing here that actually grabbed me.  A co-op (only) prison escape action adventure.  THAT HAS LOCAL CO-OP!  That last bit alone is enough to interest me, but it looks gorgeous, is from a developer with a good history, and it seems to stand out somewhat from many games.

Verdict: Lots of “Meh” with a little bit of “Oh, now that’s interesting”.

Microsoft

Microsoft logo

Microsoft needed games, and I suppose they had some.  They also needed to show off the Scorpio (or Xbox One X as it’s now called) well, and I’m not so sure about that.  I suppose the new system is powerful, and the Forza 7 trailer certainly looked good running on it, but it’s not really a system seller, and that’s what was really missing.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Forza a lot, but I won’t be buying a new (expensive) machine especially for it.  The original Xbox backwards compatibility was a great thing to show people though!

Anyway, games aplenty here!  A new Metro game, named Exodus (which may be exclusive, I’m not too sure) has me interested.  Dark, scary, and very serious.  It’s a series I like and I’m glad it’s back.  Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, the battle royale style game, is a bit of a Twitch darling right now, and is heading to the console.  The Darwin Project seems to be in a similar vein but more light-hearted.  I’m not too fussed about either.  Skipping a few (seriously, there were a lot),  Dragonball Fighter Z looks fun, The Last Night and The Artful Escape have interesting art styles, Sea of Thieves is something I don’t care about, Cuphead still looks cool but really should get around to coming out and Crackdown 3 still exists.  There were a ton of other indie games, before getting to see Ashen, which seems to be trying to fill the void left by Dark SoulsOri is getting a sequel which is nice, and Shadow of War looks great too.  Then we got to see Anthem, which seems to be EA wanting to take on Destiny, which is pretty brave.  It does look good though!

Verdict:  Xbox One X is a thing now, too many games but very few system sellers.  Microsoft seem to be aiming at current users rather than new ones.

Bethesda

bethesda logo

This was about as safe as they get.  Bethesda took few risks, with VR versions of DOOM and Fallout 4, which will probably be pretty cool, and more Elder Scrolls.  We had Skyrim on Switch (again, and not looking brilliant if you ask me), and extra stuff for Elder Scrolls: Legends, their card game.  DLC for Dishonored 2 (honour has a ‘u’ in it!) is fine for fans of the series I’m sure, and a sequel to The Evil Within (which I didn’t like much) had a pretty great trailer.  Then we got the only bit I was really interested in, Wolfenstein 2, which looks pretty great.  The New Order was excellent so I’m hoping for more of that quality.

Verdict: Safe.  Very few risks here which is a little disappointing.

PC

XCOM 2 content!  Everything else can go home as far as I’m concerned, this wins.  It looks like a sizable expansion too, in the vein of Enemy Within.  Very excited!

I suppose I should mention other things too.  BattleTech seems to be coming along nicely, which is nice considering I backed it on Kickstarter.  Mount & Blade 2 and Total War: Warhammer 2 look fine too.  There were a few VR games too, but I’ll leave those to better qualified people to discuss.  Lawbreakers was mentioned too, offering some serious looking competition in the hero shooter genre.  Wargroove looks quite interesting, seeming to bring back the strategy of the classic Advance Wars.  I’m interested in this one.

Verdict: Go home everyone.  There’s more XCOM 2.  Life complete.

Ubisoft

Ubisoft New Logo

This one surprised me more.  I expected a lot of stuff we already knew, but there were a few unexpectedly interesting games.  So, forgetting about Assassin’s Creed: Origins having a trailer (that looks to be playing it safe with the series), Far Cry 5 still looking interesting, and the bizarre Mario/Rabbids crossover game, there were some cool announcements.  The Crew 2 exists (not interested), South Park has a release date (let’s hope it sticks this time), and Steep has some DLC (did that sell well enough).  Then there was Skull & Bones which is a pirate game!  Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag was great so I’m expecting a top pirate themed adventure here.  I know piracy is often frowned upon in gaming (ZING!), but I’m pretty excited by this.  Transference could be brilliant, terrible, or mad as a bag of cats.  It’s some something to do with VR I think?  There’s Elijah Wood in it which is…good?  Maybe?  It was bizarre enough to get my attention.

We had a game called Starlink, which seems to combine No Man’s Sky style space exploration, with the toys-to-life mechanics seen in Lego Dimensions and co, and an actual story.  I like space shooters so I’ll keep an eye on this one.  Then the one that people have been clamouring for for years: Beyond Good & Evil 2.  It’s been so long since the original that I’m not sure if I’m interested anymore.  Also, it’s a prequel so that trailer from years ago will still go unresolved.  Still, the trailer looks pretty cool so here’s hoping the franchise can finally be resurrected successfully.

Verdict:  Better than I expected!

Sony

Sony Logo

A problem I had here, was just seeing more trailers for games that had had trailers last year.  Spider-Man, God of War 4, Detroit, Days Gone, and so forth had been shown before.  I think this is a problem with E3 generally, showing games way too early leaving me to burn out on them before they get close to release.  Anyway, enough of that.  Gran Turismo is back, which is great although it will need to do well to compete with Forza for my racing attention!  Crash Bandicoot wasn’t really a surprise, but it’s nice to see.  Knack 2 is a thing that exists.  Hidden Agenda looks interesting, from the people behind Until Dawn.  It seems to a similar choice based progression but with multiple players using their phones to progress and interact with the game.  I like the look of this!  Superhot VR is a nice thing to have on the console, but I was very happy to see Undertale on a console.  Such a tremendous game deserves to be played by as many people as possible.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy had a trailer appearance and looks good (I’m not that into the series though).  A console based Monster Hunter game is a great thing to see.  It feels right at home on a big screen.  I’ll probably pick this one up.  Speaking of ones to buy, Shadow of the Colossus is getting a PS4 remaster (or remake?) which means I may finally get to play this classic that I missed out on.  Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite got a story trailer (and a good one at that), but I’d like to see some gameplay in it.  Call of Duty WWII had a trailer too and very much looks like a Call of Duty game.  I think everyone knows what to expect here.  We got some Destiny 2 as well, which is fine if you’re interested in the series.  I don’t think it’s going to sway me though.

Verdict: A lot of what we’d already seen, but some pretty good stuff all the same.

Nintendo

Nintendo Logo

I haven’t been big on Nintendo for while now.  I feel for every innovation they push, they make 2 boneheaded moves that ignore modern innovations.  Still, the Switch seems to have done well for them!  Most of their stuff gets shown in the Nintendo Direct stuff they do, but they had some nice presentations here.  Xenoblade Chrinicles 2 looks fantastic, pity I haven’t played the series at all.  A new Kirby game is nice, but I suspect a lot of people were very excited to see Metroid Prime 4.  Whilst it’s only a logo for now, it’s a great series to try to bring back.  I think I’d have rather they try to create a new Metroid series, but Prime was an excellent trilogy so I understand their thinking.  Yoshi.  Yay.  Fire Emblem Warriors.  Also yay.

Rocket League is coming to the Switch which is nice.  It has cross play too which makes a lot of sense in this era.  Throwing in Nintendo items is a smart move.  Then, there’s Mario Odyssey.  Damn that trailer is good.  Suitable song, fun looking gameplay (I want to possess a koopa!) and frankly stunning visuals.  This and Breath of the Wild are pushing me towards buying a Switch.

Verdict: Nintendo forever relying on their established franchises.  Still, what they have looks pretty good.

So what did you like most from the show?  Would you rather go there in person?  Let me know!