Maybe I was still high off all the plastic and hype at E3 the week before or maybe it was my Bat-ticipation but even the humdrum releases last week couldn’t get me down. Forward 7 days and looking at this week was pretty depressing. I will admit it’s a personal thing as JPRG’s and Japanese fighting games have never been my thing. If they are your's then I have some good news for you below!!
BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox One
Already released in Japan back at the end of April this year, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend will see North American shores this week.
J-Stars Victory VS+
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Vita,
Another Japanese fighting game already released in Japan (over a year ago) and the EU (last week) that has an arrival date this week in North America
Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Platforms: Vita, 3DS
So I know I am sounding like a broken record but at least Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 is a JPRG and not solely a fighting game. However like the two above, Japan and the EU have already played it. Japan for almost 7 months and the EU for a about a week.
After a long week at E3 it's back to business as usual for the 2old2play writing staff.
Can you guess what I am excited for? Can you guess the pun above? I received the pic below from my wife, I think it works well for this week as well.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rocksteady's final Batman game, and even the last minute news that quality issues with the Batmobile would cause those collector editions of Batman:Arkham Knight to be cancelled didn’t dim the spirits of the fans nors the lines at E3 last week.
Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Updated for this generation of consoles and with Vergil, Trish and lady playable and new opening and finishing moves. Is it just me or is this remake for new console trend starting to wear thin?
Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 3 - Catch a Ride
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4
Release Date: June 24th, 2015
Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One
As the name suggests, it is the third episode in Telltale games entertaining Tales from the Borderlands series. If you are fan of Borderlands and haven’t played at least the first episode then shame on you! Shame. On. You! You’re missing out.
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
On the PS3 since November 2012, PS4 owners can now get their free to play open world first person shooter fix too!
As for the pun above -> Nana Nana Nana Nana Batman <-
Your second-string E3 team worked hard to cover everything that we thought you guys would want to see and hear about. We played a lot of games, we sat through a lot of press conferences, we asked a lot of questions, and we took a lot of pictures.
I arrive at LAX right at 8am on Sunday morning. I stash my luggage at the hotel, catch a little desayuno y cafe, and head over to the Los Angeles Convention Center to pick up my E3 press creds and wristband for the Sony press briefing. Tim isn’t due to arrive until about 3pm. I wander over to the Microsoft Theater, formerly the Nokia Theater, to catch the Nintendo World Championships. If watching Nintendo fanboys play ancient video games from 1988 is your thing, then you would have loved it. This was absolutely not my thing and I died a little inside just witnessing this sad spectacle. I left the theater, snapped three amazing pictures with my brand new smartphone, then promptly broke my phone. It’s going to be a long week.
Tim shows up with the rental car and gets all of his wristbands and name tags. We wander across the street where he demolishes a plate of chicken n waffles. The Lucky Strike has a rather interesting menu.
The convention is only sparsely populated, as the actual show hasn’t started yet and there’s a lot of setting up going on.
We head back to our hotel room to catch the Bethesda press conference. If that briefing was any indication of things to come this was going to be an epic week!
The Microsoft briefing was held at the Galen Center, on the USC Campus. This was an early morning kind of deal, but Tim and I were properly caffeinated.
The Sony press conference was held much later in the day at a sports coliseum. This one had food and beverages, so we filled up for free and headed inside. Security confiscates Tim’s contraband beverage.
I got up early and banged out the Ubisoft article, since Tim had written both the Microsoft and Sony articles the previous day. We didn’t have any particular place to be until noon, so we hit Hollywood for some souvenirs for the kids and some touristy shit.
ChunkySoup eats a burger.
Sarcasmo teabags Han Solo.
Staking out the ghost-infested Hotel Roosevelt.
In front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
Tim shoots Dirty Harry.
The King’s Caddy in LA LA Land.
Time to get back to the job at hand. We don’t have any appointments so we spread out and take in as much of the action on the floor that we can.
Jones waits his turn to play the Forza 6 demo.
A little car porn.
Rise of the Tomb Raider drew some big crowds.
Oh, you sexy bitch!
The Activision booth had a playable COD: BLOPS 3 multiplayer demo.
ChunkySoup made some new friends.
Tim tried several times to get on TV with Major Nelson.
This collector’s edition has the Vault Boy seal of approval.
After the show, we head to Santa Monica to get our toes wet and eat some seafood on the pier.
No swimming trunks needed: that water is cold as shit!
We could go no farther.
Jones vs. the Revenant
Making friends at the Bethesda booth.
Mr. Handy tells a joke.
Tim spent a lot of time in the Video Game Museum Exhibit.
Beards and boobs.
Welcome To The Party, Pal!
I had a feeling that Tim was going to shoot the House of Intuition.
Adios, Los Angeles...it was real.
Today is the last day of E3, but Tim and I had a few appointments and games to check out before we can say adios to California. This was the last chance to get the low- down on on the games that we really wanted to see, so we lost ourselves in the crowds one last time.
My first stop of the day was to the Square Enix booth, and there were a lot of familiar faces there to greet me. Agent 47 was there, with a game simply called Hitman. Developer Io promises a “pure Hitman experience” in this digital download. The game is set in a dynamic world that will constantly evolve and grow. The Contracts mode from Hitman Absolution is returning, and some high-level global assassinations will be implemented into the game. I am a bit concerned with the digital aspect of this game; fans of the series will have to take a serious looks at larger external drives if this trend continues and there is no rental trial option for those of us who no longer piss money away on broken games. I’ll buy the game when, and if, I know that it works and delivers the experience I’m paying for. This one drops December 8th.
Rico is back with his special dictator-toppling brand of freedom fighting. The game is set in a fully explorable 400 square miles. The grappling hook returns, along with the wingsuit and parachute. Everything in this game is destructible, the vehicles can be modded, and weapons and gears can be delivered to the player via the Rebel Drop System. Just Cause 3 will be available starting December 1st.
David Jensen is back for a new cyborg adventure. Players will have several new gadgets and ammo types to play with than they did in the last game. There was a shocking shatter bullet thing, EMP bullets, remote hacking, thermal vision, etc. Strangely, the Square Enix team felt it necessary to highlight the fact that the game had more female combatants. I can’t remember the last time I played a game and wished that there were more women to shoot. Deus Ex will put more women in your crosshairs in early 2016.
A small dev team has been working on a new Forgotten Realms adventure for Wizards of the Coast, and it looks kick ass. This PC title not only allows gamers to play through as a party in the traditional D&D way, but dungeons can be customized by a Dungeon Master. DMs have control of rooms, decorations and furniture, monster types and abilities, traps and ambushes, weather and time of day: the creative possibilities are very impressive. I played through a dungeon as a part of a group. Movement was the destination click type prominent in RTS games since Command and Conquer. A bottom screen menu allowed access to potions and special abilities as we made our way through a dungeon that was built, before our eyes, just minutes before we started the game. This is a custom dungeon builder with D&D pedigree. Why hasn’t this been done before?
Tablet and phone gaming giant Innogames has ended the closed beta on Elvenar. This German company cut their teeth on Tribal Wars before bringing the wildly successful Forge of Empires to phones and tablets. Elvenar features the same type of city building and resource management as Forge of Empires, but with an improved battle system. Tribal Wars 2 is another Innogames strategic browser RTS game, but failure to defend your territory ends your game: RTS permadeath! Innogames promises a new RTS in the future, as well as a mobile RPG.
ChunkySoup is tired. I had a plan. A wonderful plan.The lines for Mirror’s Edge, Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Arkham Knight, Sony’s VR and others have been so incredibly long that I figured the last day they should be shorter. That is where I have failed. They weren’t as everyone else HAD THE SAME PLAN! Lines as long or even longer for most seems to be the way things went today. So I started hitting other games.
When Lego Dimensions was announced I just about lost my crap! After the 20 minute demo movie I was shown I found my crap but it’s across the field and not listening as I call it back. Every Lego Dimensions character can play is every Lego Dimensions universe. As the playsets change, such as the Scooby Doo set, the character animation also changed. Not only were the Scooby Doo characters drawn with black comic book style outlines but when Gandalf, Batman and Wyldstyle show up they are too. You can have up to a combination of 7 characters and vehicles on the playset at one time. Having that ability is like unlocking all the characters in Free Play mode in the Lego games. On top of that someone managed to put Portal into Dimensions complete with Glados, Wheatley, Chell complete with a Lego portal gun and maybe even some cake! The best part is the sarcasm and voice over work is spot on and it had me giggling as the movie progressed.
Another unique mechanic in Lego Dimensions is that you can move the characters around on the base to help heal them or to complete a mission. You will also need to transform the buildable vehicles into 1 of 3 standard configurations possible to progress. The video and digital instruction booklet are nice but I can’t reconcile the fact that constantly moving the figures and remaking the vehicle takes me out of the game even for a brief moment. Back to my possible ADHD above I guess.
I know Jones covered Guitar Hero Live, but that was the first time he has picked up a plastic axe. I went in as a long time fan that hasn’t played in what feels like a long time. I knew the button layout on the new guitar was different but I didn’t realize how much it would affect my playing. Gone are the five colors and now you just have two rows of three buttons. Black above, white below and hold both down for both. I played on normal and right away had issues. My previous training had my fingers gravitate towards the middle of the neck and I kept hitting either the wrong color or both colors until I gave my head a shake. Consciously making the effort felt like learning it all over again and that’s not a bad thing as by the end of the song I was having a good time with a music game once again!
Jones and I got to see Wizards of the Coast new game: Sword Coast Legends. Hoping to launch in September, this is truly video game Dungeons and Dragons by the people who brought us Dungeons and Dragons. You can play as a DM or as a player. I watched the DM side while Jones played as a fighter. Check out his article for that. As the DM you can procedurally generated dungeons much like worlds in Minecraft. Then you can place all manners of traps, enemies, décor (including freshly or long time dead things), vendors, mini bosses, big bosses, secret rooms, etc. As the players play you have the ability to watch, guide, be benevolent or not. Do the players need help? You can level down some of the enemies or even help hurt the enemies that are attacking. Are the players running through to easily? Throw more monsters at them! The DM picks up currency as well as the players and can spend it on putting in new traps or enemies in the player’s way.
You can create dungeons offline as well and share them with the community to play through or host a party either public or private. All in all it was a polished presentation by Wizards of the Coast who arguably are the inspiration behind our industry.
Somehow the convention floor felt busier today than yesterday but that may have had a lot to do with our schedules. We were hopping all over the place fighting crowds seemingly always swimming in the opposite direction. That being said we got to see and hear and sometimes play a lot of mostly good stuff!
Not the ringing endorsement I am guessing you were hoping for but stick with me here.
The first appointment I had was Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Now I know I have been ragging on it a bit this week but I went in with an open mind. There are people developing these games and pouring their lives into something a lot of us enjoy. I don’t want to hate on it and not acknowledge their hard work. But….I have played COD since it was on the OG XBOX and last November was the first time since that I have not braved the cold to get the latest iteration at a midnight launch. For me the franchise has become stale with the yearly releases and I have lost my love for the multiplayer. That being said, here is the good – online and local 4-player co-op is back! I love that! “Does it have co-op?” is the one question I ask every single developer, when it makes sense, so I was happy to hear that co-op is back.
Things were looking up but then the game started and pretty quickly it was too much muchness for my tastes. The core frantic gameplay was there and happily the story on rails design was somewhat lifted but there was way too much going on to even take breath let alone figure what the hell you would have to actually do!
Maybe it’s the combination of over the top futuristic setting based in real world with Black Ops 3 odd cybernetic story but, as a whole, the game seemed like a bit of a mess to me. Now I need to qualify that last statement somewhat, as the messiness could be attributed to the pre-recorded 4-player co-op session that Activision showed us and the constant flipping between players every 30 seconds or so. Could be but I am probably the only one that actually played the COD games for the story. My guess is everyone here ONLY plays multiplayer so check Jones review for that.
I jumped from over the top action into the world of wallet sucking digital to real life toys. In this instance that is also known as the Skylanders franchise. Skylanders: Superchargers is the latest edition coming out this fall and you Amiibo fans are in for a treat. The Supercharge aspect happens when you place the right Skylander with the right vehicle. Then “kowplowie!” they both get supercharged and deal mass destruction. The vehicles are of the same quality as the figures and come with articulating parts. There are 3 types of vehicles (Land, Sea, Air) that all behave in a way that make sense in their environment.
Three major takeaways from this appointment: 1) You can use any current portal you may have all the way back to Gen 1. 2) All the current Skylanders will work with the vehicles including the Giants. 3) With a twist of the base your new Amiibos turn into Skylanders and can be played in the game! (WiiU version only) Yes you read that right. You can play as Donkey Kong in Skyland, or Bowser, or Mario, etc. They have Skylander outfits when they come in and get supercharged as well (Donkey Kong got Diddy Kong as a co-pilot). One last item to note: Not only are you able to download the game digitally and play the starter characters digitally as well, but you can finish the game with just that character. Thank Jeebus!
From wallet sucking to wallet draining Jones and I headed into Destiny: The Taken King. I am not the biggest Destiny fan as it felt like, and still feels like someone tried to stick an MMO in my Halo. However, I still play it and have fun but I can tell you right now that if you love all that is Destiny, The Taken King is going to blow your fricking mind! New gear, new levels, new planets, new ships that act like planets plus the new supers are crazy! Warlocks have this lasting lightning strike that can just mow down enemies for a short time. The Hunter has void bow that once it hits its target it knocks them back and then anchors them down for a few moments. The Titan has a flame hammer that is basically Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer) but flaming. A flaming hammer of the gods for crap sake! All of that is bad ass which is good because the new enemies, the Taken, are going to be hard as hell to fight. Think ghostly supercharged versions of all 4 current enemies as that can and will happen when Oryx takes them over…hence the name “Taken” I guess.
After the Demo we played a new multiplayer mode called Rift which was a version of capture the flag. My team of 6 kicked ASS so hard (despite having me on their team) as we quintupled the other teams score and were told to leave. Ok ok…the round was over and we only got to play one round so we had to leave but other teams had barely even started so it was kind of like being kicked out…sorta. Anyway the $40 price tag on The Taken King is the kicker though. How much are we going to get for that? It needs to be more than the current DLC offerings and at least close to the full game for me to consider it. Who am I kidding…I’ll probably buy it anyway. I am pretty sure Jones was on the other team so I got revenge for the Battlecry match in the morning.
My next appointment was the Reese’s Peanut butter cup of appointments for me. Two great things that taste great together. Disney and Star Wars! Those franchises separately have been known to loosen my wallet but put them together and money starts flying out uncontrollably. Good news is there are plenty of SKU’s that will allow you to choose which pack is best for cash flow. With base or without, digital or physical, Star Wars or Inside Out. However what seems like a great idea on the surface starts to add up quickly when you realize that in order to get the full Disney Infinity 3.0 experience you have to buy at least two packs and two separate ToyBox modes. There are ToyBox modes packed in but Speedway (think Mario Kart) and ToyBox Takeover are paid DLC. The characters, unfortunately, have to stay in the own universe, Star Wars stays in Star Wars, Marvel with Marvel and Disney in Disney. Almost forgot! No more blind packs for the power pods! Overall there seems to be a lot more “game” in 3.0 versus the other iterations especially the first one. Also the new ToyBox modes have more stuff to do so they won’t be boring as hell for parents as they watch their kids build crap that makes no sense.
Last on my list for today was the current PC only Wasteland 2 by inXile and published by Deep Silver. Released on PC last September and coming out late summer this year on PS4 and Xbox One, Wasteland 2 is a turn based strategy game set in a post-apocalyptic future in the Arizona desert. It was still a work in progress as a port but it played very well and I could see myself playing this game if they add a small tutorial, a minimap and a basic set of in game instructions. Thomas, who was assisting me, acknowledged the fact a few things were still missing so here’s hoping!
Lastly I tried to get on the Xbox Daily show again today. If you missed me I was the one who didn’t win the signed Xbox One console. I’ll try again tomorrow.
The LA Convention Center opened at 10am this morning, and since our first appointments didn’t start until 11, we had an hour to goof off. Tim’s phone was still functioning so I had him take pictures of me in front of the Revenant from Doom, Mr. Handy, and Vault Boy. Since we were already in the Bethesda booth area, we took a shot at one of the very few playable games that the Mighty Beth had on the floor at E3.
I’m pretty sure that Bethesda had showcased Battllecry at QuakeCon, but today I could play it with a console controller. The multiplayer demo was a domination scenario where teams would secure and protect three points on the map. Character classes range from the Brawler and Enforcer melee types, Archer and Gadgeteer ranged types, and a sneaky stealth type.The animation style is cartoony, but the combat was tight and fast. I played the sword-wielding Enforcer, and was the bedrock that held up the rest of the team. Tim’s eagerness to disassociate himself from the loud Texan played against him this round as his team was mercilessly pounded in a devastating loss.
I made my way to the Activision booth for a little face time with the new Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer demo. I was surprised that there were a few new character types. I played as a lightly armored stealth type with a suppressed assault rifle and rocket launcher secondary. Her armor included a hood and she reminded me a lot of the Hunter from Destiny. The first match was a team vs team deathmatch in an urban environment. The second was a hardpoint match where teams had to secure and protect a single area on the map, but that point did not remain in one place. This was in a shitty office building in a slum area. The last match was Domination in an area that reminded me of a park. There was a cave, a small waterfall, and a few buildings that look like they were made of straw or grass...maybe it was in Africa or something: I don’t know. I do know that I was able to swim underwater and perch on a rock in that waterfall and shoot the shit out of anyone trying to hold the area below me. Like the Destiny demo, the game was played on PS controllers so it was a little weird but not unplayable. It looks like another solid COD game to me.
I have never played a music game before in my life, despite being a lifelong fan of metal. My introduction to Guitar Hero happened today on a stage in front of hundreds of convention goers: not the quiet private demo I was hoping for. Guitar Hero Live has done away with the cartoonish band from previous entries and instead utilizes real band people and live audiences who react to your performance: cheering when the player performs well and booing the shit out of stage failures. My handler was aware of the fact that I have never played a Guitar Hero game before, and set me up with an easy Fallout Boy song to perform. Despite my unfamiliarity with the material, I caught on very quickly. Vets needn’t worry: the new guitar peripheral allows for more complex playing and player can grow into the more complicated songs as their skills grow. I can see the appeal in the series after only one song.
I made my way through my adoring fans to catch my Deep Silver appointment with Mighty No. 9. This is a Kickstarter funded continuation of the Mega-Man series, but without the Mega-Man name. The Blue Bomber is still up to his old tricks and has a wild array of weaponry to use on his robotic foes. If the previous games are any indication, these weapons were salvaged from vanquished foes. Mighty No. 9 is a side scrolling shooter/platformer. Despite having a handler present for a portion of the demo, I found some of the controls to be a little counterintuitive and I felt that some of the weapons took longer to access than they should have, but maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be: it’s been awhile since my last Mega-Man game.
We saved the best for last, and the folks at Wargaming were certainly the most interesting meeting of the day. We were introduced to their newest project: Master of Orion. This was an older turn-based space exploration series that Wargaming has acquired and is rebooting. The game is still turn-based and players can choose from twelve different space races to represent. Scoring is handled very similar to Civ Rev. Winning conditions can be financial, technological, or you could just kick the shit out of everyone in a domination situation. Wargaming, as usual, is focusing on PC first, but did not dismiss the possibility of console versions to come later.
World of Tanks is getting an XB1 version mid July, but the beta will hit a couple of weeks before the full launch (weekend of July 11th), with beta participants getting a rare tank in their arsenal as a thank you. World of Tanks will be a true cross-platformer, and XB1 players will be able to play their friends still playing on the 360. Naturally the XB1 version is superior in graphics, physics, and environmental destructibility. This game, as with the 360 version, will be free to play.
World of Warships is getting ready to depart its closed beta and launch on the PC as a full game, and it looks cool as shit. One of the game vids showed torpedoes being shot from a ship over the deck and into the water. Flags can be acquired from completing objectives and consumed as boosts for a limited time: the rarer the flag, the bigger the boost. The dev team gave us a live demo of the game, and hunting down battleships and carriers has to be one of the coolest game concepts ever: eat your heart out Black Flag. This one, like World of Tanks, is set in WWII, so expect a lot of naval warfare with Japanese ships of the day. Keep your eyes peeled for Kamikazes! If you are up for it, there is an open beta planned for the end of June.
Today was the first real day of E3 and I was blown away again and again. First things first is scale. Here is the Microsoft’s Xbox Booth staring down Sony’s PlayStation booth.
I know its hard to imagine but those are the short sides of their spaces. The Xbox booth was packed! PACKED! I loved the energy in that booth and show big named games like Tomb Raider, Halo 5, Forza 6 and The Division were right there in the mix with Gigantic, Fable Legends, Smite and a bunch of ID@Xbox games like CupHead and others that I swear I will play and write down tomorrow!
I had a chance to talk to one of the Devs of Gigantic. Gigantic plays as 3rd person MOBA that has each team’s guardian in their base. As the team dominates their guardian gets stronger. If the team strengthens their guardian before the other then it drives across the map and drops the other team’s guardian. That leaves that guardian vulnerable for attack. 5 on 5 player online with the guardian being controlled by the AI.
Fable Legends was playable as well which is nice as I have been playing the Beta off and on for a while and it felt a lot more polished than when I last played it. I was also happy to hear that the game will include a campaign which is not available in the Beta as of yet. You will be able to play through the campaign as the hero and again as the villain with a minor exception. You always play the first level as the hero and the second as the villain. After that the choice is yours.
I also spent some time with the new elite controller. This thing is bad ass! You have probably heard this is going to retrial for $150. My first reaction was WTF?! After playing Forza 6 with it and seeing how this performs I changed my WTF to Take My Money! See those bits down there is the pic below? You get the controller, the case and all those bits which snap on magnetically for easy switching.
The back is rubberized but textured so it gives you good grip without getting all sweaty. The green buttons below are easily accessible to quickly switch from full trigger to hair trigger. Those paddles? They feel so, so right. I haven’t had a chance to play a game with them yet but when I do I have two fingers on each hand that have done nothing game wise for the last ten years or so and want to get in on the act.
Sony on the other hand was more spread out which made it easier to walk around but it felt like Sony had five areas of real interest and then everything else was “meh” in their eyes. People gravitated to these four areas which were Star Wars Battlefront, Uncharted 4/ Horizon / The Last Guardian/ Destiny, Black Ops3 and Project Mopheus. The rest in the middle was sparsely populated.
I got to play a little bit of Ratchet and Clank and some of Terraway and I could have played a number of other independent games as there was not a lot of demand but I had one thing in mind – Star Wars: Battlefront. I played a survival campaign with a fellow by the name of Seth from Mosaic (I noticed quite a few MS folks in Sonys camp and vice versa which was cool). We killed it the first 5 of the 6 waves but fell apart in the last wave. Maybe we got cocky, maybe I let us down who really knows. What I do know is that it’s awesome! I am a Star Wars fan through and through and was pissed about jet packs on the rebels and Stormtroopers and don’t get me started on Jedi Luke fighting Darth Vader WHICH NEVER HAPPENED ON HOTH! But even I thought it was cool to watch.
The Morpheous VR Section was split in two which made the Destiny line confusing but what really blew me away is the lack of line at COD:BO3 compared to Morpheous, Destiny and Star Wars: Battlefront and the biggest draw was the triple threat (“1 line 3 Games” the sign screamed!) of Uncharted 4 / Horizon / The Last Guardian. I want to hit that up this week sometime.
There is like 20 guys lined up for Black Ops 3 but the lineups went around the booths for the others. I have a feeling people are starting to get tired of yearly release-itis.
I also got to play with some classic games I haven’t played in years. Check these beauties out!
There was an Atari Jaguar there as well that I lusted after as a kid but the guy playing it was all over it and I couldn’t get a chance with it. It was kind of awkward watching him with that controller and all the grunts he kept making.
Tim and I had a chance to check out the actual exhibits and demos on the game floor today, and it was one of the most epic days of my adult life. The lines were long as shit, everything is overpriced, I broke my phone, misplaced my head writer, and I am currently sunburned beyond recognition, but we were on the floor all day with controllers in our hands and both of us have news from the pits.
Yeah, you knew I was going to wait in line for this one. Although I didn’t get a chance to interrogate Dan Greenawalt, I did play through the demo...twice. The playable demo had three races. Race one was racing a new Ford GT through the streets of Rio De Janeiro. This was not the same track from the original Forza Motorsport, at least not as I remember it.
Race number two was a night race at Sebring in a Lamborghini Huracan. Driving at night makes a huge difference in the game as I could not recognize the track until I was entering the long straight before the blocks.
Race number three was a race in the rain at Brands Hatch in an Audi TT. Turn 10 has done a surprising job with the rain dynamic as puddles will cause the car to hydroplane and the Audi, despite being a nimble AWD sports car, had to fight for traction the entire race. Weather and night racing is truly a game-changer for Forza, and the new tracks are a very welcome addition.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
The new Tomb Raider was not playable at E3, but I was treated to a twenty-minute demo of the game. The demo picks up where the Ubisoft briefing demo left off. Jonah and Lara have been separated by an avalanche and Lara has to focus on surviving the night. She finds a campsite, gathers wood for a fire, and makes a crude bow and arrow. Naturally, Lara isn’t the only one interested in the lost city: a malevolent army of mercs in the employ of a group called Trinity has set up shop in the area and immediately start hunting Lara. Lady Croft crafted some special arrows with a poisonous area effect and takes the fight to the bad guys. She also crafted a molotov on the fly and firebombed a group of baddies...right before a giant bear kicked her ass. Apparently, tombs in the new game have guardians and giant bear is number one on the list.
The Crystal Dynamics rep walking us through the demo promised a play area at least three times larger than Shipwreck Island from the reboot. If the rest of the game is as good as the twenty minutes I saw, the new Tomb Raider is going to be a kick ass game.
While Doom and Fallout 4 were not present on the Bethesda floor, Fallout Shelter was playable. I’m not usually a phone game guy, but this seems like a pretty big game on a small device. A few minutes with the game just isn’t enough time to take it in, but it left me wanting more. The game is free and available now, so go ahead and download it.
The indie Cuphead was featured on the Xbox floor and looks awesome. The old Popeye style of animation made me smile every time I walked by and they had a solid line the entire day. Players were battling a giant carrot, an aggressive potato, and a pair of fighting fish. It has to be seen to be believed. I’m really looking forward to playing this one in the near future.
Tim and I will be at E3 all week, and we’ll keep the info rolling in.
Publishing titan EA held their E3 press conference showcasing lots of their tried and true franchises as well as some newcomers. They kicked things off with a space trailer which went a full minute vague on details allowing fans to speculate on what it might be. Then spoiler alert, the character turns around with an N7 logo and the crowd goes wild for Mass Effect Andromeda slated for holiday 2015
Following the trailer, CEO Andrew Wilson addressed the crowd highlighting that “play is their passion” and how much they want to listen and incorporate fan feedback. He noted they’d be showing a few original IPs but that this would be a “Year of Star Wars” which teed up the next segment.
Star Wars The Old Republic Knights of the Fallen Empire promises “Bioware style storytelling” according to EA. They also announced it will be free DLC to current subscribers launching 10/27.
Next up was Unravel where they brought the lead dev from Sweden in to talk about his inspiration for the game while camping with his family. Cute story and unlike most of the EA suits on stage (or rather ill fitting button down shirts) he actually seemed like a human being thrilled to be where he was. The game looks cute although not sure why yarn is so in lately between this game, Yoshi’s Wooly World, and a Little Big Planet return…
From literal heart strings they moved the conference along directly into the danger zone as that tune queued up the latest Plants vs. Zombies title Garden Warfare 2. I love the characters and art style of these games but haven’t actually played more than a demo of any of them. Perhaps the new class of sniper Zombie Pirate Captain Deadbeard will sway me. Or the fact that the evil tree was Giga Torchwood and brought thoughts of Dr. Who. For some reason (even though they had people on stage actually playing the game and it looked fairly polished) this one isn’t launching till spring 2016.
Next up was the sports ball portion of EA’s portfolio. And they decided to fire up the crowd with hockey (guessing they wanted to let people take a bio break?). They showcased NHL2016 but didn’t actually mention anything that sounded like a new feature to me.
While people were still peeing, they also mentioned the next golf game will be the first to showcase their new Frostbite game engine. Also a reminder that ultimate teams online is bonus content that integrates with all of their sports games.
Once everyone was back from the bathroom it was time for NBA Live 16 where they showcased “gameface tech” that allowed you to take a photo of your face on your phone with an app and then add that into the character creator in the game and customize yourself. I’m not really sure if I really want to play video games completely as myself but definitely neat tech!
Next transition: If sports aren’t your thing, how about mobile games?! More in the “year of Star Wars” vein was the announcement of Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes. I am pretty sure they tried to use the Jedi Mind trick noting this is the Star Wars game you have been waiting for. I was wondering if they meant “as opposed to all those other Star Wars games we already made, those suck…”
Also on mobile were some integrations with the FIFA console game and a new Despicable Me title Minions Paradise
Speaking of FIFA we’re back from mobile to sports with surprise guest soccer superstar Pele on stage. EA announced a bunch of new features including actually having female teams as an option for the first time in FIFA2016.
Away from sports and more on women they announced a sequel to Mirror’s Edge called Catalyst. This one seems to pit a female protagonist against a super villain that looks a heck of a lot like the EA CEO as twitter and reddit quickly pointed out.
And back to sports. Are you ready for some football!? Its time for all things Madden from mobile to console and how they’ll seamlessly integrate. Sounded like a lot more integration between picking your fantasy teams and bring some of that experience to consoles.
Closing out the EA portfolio was more Star Wars with Battlefront demoing actual gameplay captured on a PS4. They showcased a section modelled after the battle on Hoth which went through ground and air combat. Also final spoiler alert: it ends with Luke & Darth and lightsabers!
You can watch the full conference for yourself here if you are so inclined. Let us know what you’re most looking forward to from their lineup in the comments.
Ubisoft put the lovely and charismatic Aisha Tyler front and center stage once again to host their press briefing, and Ubi has quite a bit to talk about this year. Most of the games featured at the briefing have either playable demos or exclusive trailers at the live booth at the convention. Tyler did acknowledge Ubi had a rough 2014, but assured the audience that Ubi is listening, and more importantly responding, to player feedback.
Ubi kicked off the briefing with the sequel to The Stick of Truth, called South Park: The Fractured But Whole.
Matt and Trey talked a bit about the game and their partnership with Ubisoft San Francisco. Here’s hoping that they will put the new game on a current fucking console this time.
A new IP, For Honor, was shown next, although my notes clearly show the game name as Beardly The Barbarian. The 4v4 multiplayer allowed for teams of barbarians, knights, or samurai to kill each other on a field of honor and death.
Next was a trailer for new The Crew DLC, called Wild Run. Looks like a bunch of off road shit to me with some bikes thrown in. Nice try, Ubi, but no thanks.
Ubi then featured a game with a cat riding a flaming unicorn. I was surprised to learn that this is a Trials Fusion expansion called Awesome Level Max.
Ubisoft then started their annual declaration of love to all things Tom Clancy with some info on Tom Clancy’s The Division. This one has all the right catch phrases attached to it (open world, online, action RPG), so if it isn’t a glitchy disaster right out the door it should make Ubi some money. The live 4-player demo took place in an area of the game called the dark zone, which allows different teams to cooperate or compete for loot.
Anno 2205 looks like Sim City in space.
Just Dance 2016. I drew a picture of a stick man eating a snow cone during this demo. They had a guy singing on stage, but he didn’t know any metal songs. I’ll upload the snow cone stick man if I get the chance. Link below if you’re into that kind of thing.
The Tom Clancy lovefest continues. Rainbow Six Siege has Angela Bassett in it, and she joined Aisha on stage for some mutual admiration after the trailer. Looks pretty intense and there’s a playable demo on the Ubi floor this year.
Trackmania Turbo looks like an open wheeled racer with infinite track options and a lot of vertical surfaces. Live gameplay demo showed off the random track generator.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate places twin assassins, Jacob and Evie Frye, in London during the industrial revolution. The trailers are very impressive, but so were the trailers for Unity.
The briefing ends with another Tom Clancy game called Ghost Recon: Wildlands. This one has the team taking out drug cartels with many different approaches: long range, assault, or stealth...this may sound familiar to anyone who played the last Splinter Cell game. Roll clip!
I’m looking forward to getting a controller in my hands at the Ubi booth.