EA, Bethesda, and Ubisoft
Continuing the E3 extravaganza of games, I’ve reviewed each of the AAA 3rd party conferences and picked what I call my “Game of the Conference”. This chosen game exemplifies what I found most exciting, whether it be from in-depth gameplay shown or even a simple reveal trailer. As long as the game in question spoke louder to me than any other game shown, it received the honor as “Game of the Conference”. Sit back, grab your favorite amiibo, and let’s dive into the rest of the E3 2016 press conferences.
Electronic Arts (EA)
Developer: Respawn Entertainment Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: October 28, 2016
Going into EA’s conference, I fully anticipated being blown away by a Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay demo and receiving confirmation on a Q1 2017 release date. How naive of me. Now, I’m not even sure if I can assume Fall 2017 at the rate they’re showing us the game. Regardless of the letdown EA’s conference was, I couldn’t believe that I was left with a lasting impression of Titanfall 2. With the over-saturation of Sci-Fi and modern military shooters over the last years, I was jumping for joy when I heard Battlefield would be returning to historic warfare, placing its new entry during World War I. I had full intentions of buying Battlefield One as my “fall shooter” this year, not expecting Titanfall or Call of Duty could sway me otherwise. Having no love for the original due to its dependence on multiplayer, the inclusion of a single player campaign had my attention and, upon watching the trailer above, definitively intrigued me with the human/robot relationship premise. Now, the series is on my radar and I have to admit its multiplayer looks incredibly fun. The fluidity of the fast pace action and new grapple hook mechanic in combination with the chaos brought upon the battlefield through the titans couldn’t have impressed me more. Throw all that into a meaty single player campaign with an interesting narrative and you have a recipe for a great game. I’m proud to say Titanfall 2 won “Game of the Conference” for EA and now I have to figure out how I’m going to have time to play both Titanfall 2 and Battlefield One this October.
Developer: Arkane Studios (Texas) Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: 2017
Having no affinity for 2006’s Prey developed by Human Head Studios, I dismissed the rumors circulating about a revival of the series. Having entered the 360/PS3 generation in 2008 after picking up a slick 20GB White Xbox 360 with a copy of Frontlines: Fuel of War (I don’t recommend it), I missed out on playing Prey and never felt the need to visit it. Flash forward to 2016 and Bethesda’s Prey was arguably the most interesting game Bethesda showed during their E3 press conference. Note: Dishonored 2 could have been “Game of the Conference” but their presentation was so boring and needlessly long. The game is said to be a re-imagining of series, shifting genres from cartoony action to psychological with horror elements, similar to a “Bioshock” in my opinion. Prey is explained to feature “open-level” gameplay similar to Arkane’s Dishonored or more recently Id’s reboot of Doom (a level design type I’m coming to realize might be my favorite). Any game that takes pages from Bioshock, Doom, ect. is already going to find itself on my most anticipated list. Factor in the “Groundhog Day”-like premise presented in the trailer, with the main protagonist’s eye turning blood-shot red to indicate he’s stuck within the loop, and you have the foundation for an all-around exciting game. We’ve seen very little of the game with this reveal trailer, in fact, I’m fairly positive no “real” gameplay was shown at all, just a cinematic representation. With that in mind, it’s entirely possible I’m wrong in what I’m expecting the game to be but, at worst, its reveal still managed to peak my interest and get me speculating. I’m looking forward to seeing more of what Arkane has to offer with this new version of Prey in the coming year.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Developer: Ubisoft San Francisco Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: December 6, 2016
As with every entry in this list, we’ve arrived at another series I’ve yet to play but still managed to win my “Game of the Conference”. After the development hell South Park: The Stick of Truth found itself in as original publisher THQ went under, it was a surprise to everyone when Ubisoft announced the game would receive a sequel. I think we we’re all safe to assume South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone would want out of the video game industry after they expressed their frustration with making The Stick of Truth a reality. Now, not only are we getting a sequel but Trey and Matt have even expressed to Entertainment Weekly that video games may be South Park‘s future (click here for the original article), a turn of events I’m definitely good with.
Based on what we saw from Ubisoft’s E3 presentation of South Park: The Fractured But Whole, the game looks to be even better than its predecessor. Featuring the classic South Park humor and spot-on visual style, The Fractured But Whole expands upon the simple turn-based RPG gameplay of the original by introducing a grid system to battles. The combat looks to be akin to a smaller scale Fire Emblem board, a refreshing addition that will improved the longevity of its gameplay along with the other new quality-of-life additions. The story takes place following day after the events of The Stick of Truth as your character discovered the kids of South Park have moved on to a new game, reverting you back to a regular douche bag. Their new game is a rip on the modern super hero movies from Marvel and DC Comics, taking its main premise straight out of Captain America: Civil War. The Fractured But Whole is another authentic South Park game that we we’re sure we’d never get and its refreshing to see its original creators taking an active part of its development to create this true addition to the franchise. So, if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time I finally went back and played South Park: The Stick of Truth in anticipation for this exciting sequel.