Tuesday, June 12, 2018

E3 2018 Highlights: Ubisoft, Sony, Square Enix, Limited Run, and PC Gaming

The second day of E3 was stacked really heavily with conferences! As excited as I was for E3 this year, this was a lot to take in within a single day! I did my best to round up the highlights, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.

Most of Ubisoft's showing this year were status updates on the games they showed last year that have yet to be released. Much of what they had on offer this year wasn't my thing (gritty realistic shooters), but there were still some things to get excited about.
  • Beyond Good and Evil 2 - We got to see more cinematic scenes of this game after last year's brief glimpse. There was also a momentary look at very early gameplay footage. In the preview footage, it was revealed the Jade, the protagonist of the first game, makes a return, possibly as a villian this time around. Ubisoft said that the game is only being shown behind closed doors this year, so Beyond Good and Evil 2 is probably still several years from release. (trailer)
  • Mario + Rabbids Donkey Kong Adventure - The upcoming expansion for Mario + Rabbids was presented with a live musical performance featuring Grant Kirkhop, the game's composer. The gameplay footage showed Donkey Kong and Cranky Rabbid as new playable characters as well as a beach-themed world to explore. I'm looking forward to this one! (trailer)
  • Starlink Battle for Atlas - This was already looking like a pretty solid spaceship dogfighting game, but then came a big surprise: a cross-over with Starfox! Shigeru Miyamoto then took the stage with Yves Guillemot to introduce this new facet of the game. The Starfox content will only be available in the Switch version of the game. I'm a little concerned about this game's "toys-to-life" features but I'm cautiously optimistic about it for now. (trailer)
  • Assassin's Creed Odyssey - I was surprised to see another Assassin's Creed game so soon! This one is set in ancient Greece and lets players choose between a male and female protagonist. Ubisoft heavily emphasized that this game is first and foremost an RPG, which seems like a continuation of the groundwork laid by Assassin's Creed Origin. This was also probably the most graphically stunning game that I've seen so far this E3. (trailer)
Sony had a very bizarre presentation that featured live music, multiple venues, and technical issues. It kind of felt like a mess. However, there was also plenty of game footage shown, though I must admit that much of it was not really my thing.
  • The Last of Us 2 - This trailer probably would have landing differently with me if I had played the previous game and knew the characters. The graphics were sharp and the action was intense and visceral. During the preview, I found the abrupt transitions between romance scenes and gory imagery to be rather off putting. (extended trailer)
  • Ghosts of Tsushima - A samurai action/adventure game with some really impressive enviroments. If any of the games from this conference are going to end up convincing me to buy a PS4, it will probably be this one. (gameplay video)
  • Control - There wasn't much said about this game, but it looks like an action horror game with some surreal visuals. Could be interesting. (trailer)
  • Resident Evil 2 Remake - The PS1 survival horror game is getting a complete modern remake! (trailer)
  • Death Stranding - In the past we've only seen cutscenes from Kojima's trippy new project. There was now some gameplay footage mixed in but it mostly just showed the character walking through the environment. I'm thinking this game is still a long way off from release. (trailer)
  • Spider-Man - We got to see more gameplay footage and get a better feel for the scope of the game world. This looks like it'll be a really fun superhero game. (trailer)

Square Enix 
Square Enix took a page from Nintendo's playbook and streamed a pre-recordeed presentation rather than doing a live stage show. This stream was a mostly no-frills 30-minute showing of trailers for upcoming games. There wasn't anything particularly exciting or surprising here.
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider - It looked like more Tomb Raider. I loved the 2013 game but still haven't gotten around to its sequel. In general, this new one looked good but was nothing groundbreaking. (trailer)
  • Dragon Quest 11 -The PS4/PC version was shown and it showcased a colorful cast of characters. Since I've already got a lot of RPGs on the agenda for this year, I may end up waiting for the Switch version to come out later. (trailer)
  • Octopath Traveler - There wasn't any new information about this Switch-exclusive RPG, but it's my most anticipated game of the year, so it gets a mention. We may see more of it later during Nintendo's show. (trailer)
  • Just Cause 4 - The new Just Cause looked like even more chaotic open-world action and distruction than prior entries. I liked Just Cause 2 a lot since it managed to make open world traversal fun, rather than feel like digital commuting. I might jump back into the series with this one. (trailer)
  • The Quiet Man - A story driven action game that transition between live action cutscenes and CG gameplay. This was only a teaser, so very little information was provided. I haven't seen a game use live action footage like this in a really long time. (trailer)
Limited Run
Limited Run streamed a faux-stage event that made amusing use of deliberately bad CG. Since they're a company that primarily focuses on distributing physical versions of previously-released indie games, there wasn't a lot of news in this even unless you're a cartridge collector (which I am not). However, there were two announcements that jumped out at me:
  •  The House in Fata Morgana - In addition to physical game distribution, Limited Run announced that they are now in the localization business. Fata Morgana is a gothic mystery visual novel that was previously released on PC. While the PC version has an existing English translation from MangaGamer, Limited Run is localizing the PS4 and PS Vita versions which include additonal content. I'm curious to see how Limit Run's localization efforts will turn out. (trailer)
  • Cosmic Star Heroine - This Chrono Trigger-like JPG was released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One last year and its developer has been trying to get it released on Switch ever since. It looks like Limited Run was able to pull that off. I've been interested in this game for a while but have been waiting for a Switch version, so this was very good news! (I couldn't find a Switch-specific trailer but the game will look similar to the PS4 version)
PC Gaming 
I wasn't able to sit down and give the PC Gaming show my full attention, so I only caught bits and pieces of it on my phone. The PC Gaming show tends to feature an eclectic mix of AAA and indie games and this year was no exception. Here are a couple standouts from the parts of the show I was able to catch:
  •  Neo Cab - A cyberpunk noir game about a driver for an Uber-like company. I'm expecting a lot of social commentary in this one. (trailer)
  • Archangel Hellfire - I'm always down for giant robots blowing each other up, and this game looks like it will deliver exactly that. This is a multiplayer expansion to the arcade mech shooter Archangel that was released last year. I didn't realize this during the presentation, but apparently virtual reality equipment is required to play this game. (trailer)
  • Man Eater - A open-world action RPG in which you play as a shark and swim around eating people!? I'm intrigued. (trailer)
  • Yakuza - Sega announced that the Yakuza series is coming to PC starting with Zero and Kiwami! I've been wanting to try one of these games for a while, so I was very happy to hear this. Several other Sega games are coming to PC as well. (trailer)
  • Sable - A really beautiful adventure game with a striking hand-drawn art style. At first I thought I was looking at pre-rendered footage. (trailer)
  • Rapture Rejects - A battle royale game by the creators of the Cyanide and Happiness web comic. It looks like the exact sort of crude humor one would expect from the comic. (trailer)
  • Hitman 2 - The sequel to the 2016 Hitman game. This time 47 travels to Miami to take out targets with all sorts of weapons and tools, including a frying pan and a fish! (trailer)
This day of E3 was so tightly packed with games it's hard to get my head around it all! See below for the screenshots I took while watching the conferences.

Also, if you're interested in pre-ordering any of the games that were shown and also supporting this blog, please use this Amazon affiliate link:  Amazon Video Games

Mario + Rabbids Donkey Kong Adventure
Miyamoto and Guillemot on stage for Starlink
Assassin's Creed Odyssey with new female playable character
Last of Us 2
Ghosts of Tsushima
Resident Evil 2 remake
Death Stranding gameplay
Dragon Quest 11
Cosmic Star Heroine
Man Eater
Rapture Rejects
Hitman 2

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of Yakuza, have you heard of the anime spinoff game of it that was released in Japan?