E3. The largest gaming convention in the world. Who cares that it focuses on the American market when there’s just so much good stuff on offer. Here’s Stuff‘s pick of what to watch out for from the deluge of announcements that spewed out of Los Angeles last week – A solid ten reasons to get yourself a new games console in the next few months.
Star Wars Battlefront
If you’re a Star Wars fan and you’re not almost immediately converted to being a gamer upon watching the multiplayer footage for Star Wars Battlefront that was revealed at E3 this year, then you’re going to have to check your pulse. You’re probably dead. Historically Battlefront has been known for its multiplayer and the only worry we had about this reboot was that DICE might have made a pig’s ear of it. This fight on Hoth, complete with a tow-cable takedown of an Imperial Walker, puts paid to that notion. It looks spectacular in its own right and you may even have trouble believing that you’re not seeing footage of the upcoming Star Wars films – it’s just about that good. Late November? That release window suddenly seems a long way away.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
An all-new IP and this one looks like a brilliant one. Horizon: Zero Dawn was revealed at this year’s E3 and will see players living a nomadic existence and hunting gigantic mechanical dinosaurs. And mechanical smaller beasties, to be fair. That’s the price you pay for an unspecified apocalypse though, where humanity all but dies out and the world is taken over by said robotic critters. It’s a twist on the man vs. machine story, where mankind is largely undergunned compared to the threats that are out there and, as the gameplay snippet above shows, it looks simply gorgeous. We’d happily take part in the end of the world if it looked this darned pretty.
Knights vs. vikings vs. samurai? With multiplayer? Sold. But you’re probably not that easily swayed so here’s a little more about what we saw from For Honor, the third-person multiplayer title from Ubisoft that was revealed at E3. Players will join a faction and vie for control over the battlefield in a variety of game modes. From what we’ve seen, it’s going to be an extremely tactical, bloody and entertaining outing that will leave at least a few heads in the dust. It seems as though knights will be the defence-oriented class, samurai are all assault, leaving the vikings as a balanced unit. Who will you choose?
A new IP? From EA? Surely not. But yes. High on our list for an E3 highlight is Unravel, a platformer that comes across as a serious take on Rayman meets LittleBigPlanet. We’re not wholly sure what to make of a game that makes you play as a walking ball of yarn (who just looks so darned sad) but the gorgeous visuals and the puzzle-based gameplay – using protagonist Yarny’s own body – make us want to fall into the world and just spend some time there. It seems rather soothing there, even though it’s likely to be a mostly-sad story.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The footage from E3 of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided doesn’t really give you an idea of what this series is all about. Sure, there’s a lot of action if you want to play that way but there’s a lot more sneaking about, talking to people and negotiating your own way past objectives. Usually through an air-vent. Your approach defines later play so going guns blazing could make things harder for you. Coming on the heels of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Mankind Divided is going to be another darkly futuristic game that asks what it means to be human. And we can always do with more of those. Be on the lookout for new abilities for protagonist Adam Jensen.
Fallout 3 was life-changing. More like life-stealing, if you ask us, but it also changed the way that people saw open-world RPGs, with a lot of detail going into sections that you might easily overlook. So Fallout 4 has some big shoes to fill and the game’s going to do it. How? Well, aside from whatever players are up to in Boston, there’s the new ability to design and maintain communities (from the ground up, no less), with defences, merchants and more. Then there’s weapon and item crafting, which has had a huge spike for FO4, and the bonus is that… all that clutter? It’s all useful this time around. Time to start hoarding EVERYTHING. If you want to see what is coming up for Fallout 4 for yourself, skip ahead to 4:30 in the video above.
Here’s one where we haven’t seen much in the way of actual gameplay (unless the video above is gameplay, in which case – WOW) but if relatively new series Dishonored sticks to and expands on what what done the first time around, the sequel will be just fine. Players this time around will get to romp around as Corvo Attano or as Emily Kaldwin, the little girl players needed to rescue in the first game. And how you approach your objectives, how many people die and which choices you make… that’ll impact just how things are going to turn out in the end. And since there are two distinct protagonists this time around, that means we get to finish this one at least twice before feeling sad that there is no more to do. Expect it to launch next year.
The FIFA series happens every year. Big whoop, right? Wrong, this year EA have pulled out all the stops to make FIFA 2016 bigger and better than those that have come before. They kind of have to do this, in order to keep shifting units, but that’s besides the point. They’ve made player movements more detailed than before, rebalanced the game in every area of the pitch and thrown in the collection of minor tweaks that won’t be visible on the surface but which will result in a better game. And they’ve also gone and added women’s teams for the first time in the series. Looks like they realised that they’ve been ignoring about 50% of the world’s population for a while. And this isn’t a throwaway either, they’ve lavished the same attention to detail in motion and facial capture as they do on their male players.
Rise of The Tomb Raider
The 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider was a surprising take on the adventures of Miss Croft. Part-RPG, part shooter, and all awesome, it was always going to be a tough act to follow. But Rise of the Tomb Raider, an Xbox One exclusive (but for how long), is ready to take on the challenge. The gameplay footage unveiled at Microsoft’s E3 conference shows that the same storytelling style is going to be a fixture and that there are bigger and badder hazards ahead. What you only glimpse in the closing moments of the video are the returning items – the hunting, crafting, animals and other threats that surround Lara Croft’s trip to Siberia to locate a hidden city. November 2015 is going to be a fine time for Tomb Raider fans.
The Uncharted series has always been about extremely cinematic adventure and the first official outing on the PlayStation 4 promises to set the bar for the console again. Sony and developer Naughty Dog have shown off some of what players can expect when Uncharted 4 rocks up to send an older Nathan Drake off in search of pirate treasure. There’s a lot we can tell about the game from the gameplay footage (above), from the way characters interact with crowds to the way that most of the environment seems to be destructible. Watch bullets chip way at wood, plastic and brick, see how the game world seems more open-ended (expect it to still be linear though) in the driving sections, anticipate how easy it seems to go from ranged to melee combat, and marvel at how Uncharted 4 has made improvements across the board. This could be a reason to own a PS4 on its own.