Tuesday, 13 June 2017

E3 2017 tidbits

The annual paen to shiny graphics and explosions, E3, is underway in Los Angeles at the moment. It's the year's biggest video game expo, a time for companies to make big announcements and grandiose promises that occasionally pan out but mostly don't. There is oddly little to get that excited about this year, but a few things stood out.

Metro: Exodus

The Metro video game series (comprising Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light) has been one of the most satisfying first-person shooter series of the last decade, going for Russian bleakness and evoking a sparse atmosphere of building tension and horror rather than going for bombast and lots of explosions. Metro: Exodus will apparently expand away from the Moscow metro (the setting for most of the first two games) and feature larger, less linear levels. Although highly promising (the red star steam engine looks cool), the concern remains that the first two games executed a single story brilliantly and ended at just the right moment. Here's hoping this third game enhances, rather than degrades, that legacy.

Total Warhammer 2

Or that would be the game's real title in a world that made sense, rather than the brain-numbingly silly Total War: Warhammer 2 (I'd take Total Waaagh!: Warhammer 2 at this point). Still, this sequel to the Creative Assembly/Games Workshop collaboration takes the war across the western ocean to Lustria, Ulthuan, Naggaroth and the Southlands. High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen and a "secret" race (who are totally not the Skaven) will join the roster. The sequel will have a stand-alone campaign but will also bolt onto the original Total Warhammer to unleash a massive, world-spanning conflict.

XCOM2: War of the Chosen

This is a comprehensive expansion for the splendid XCOM 2 which will add ruined, post-apocalyptic cities, complete with zombie-like mutants, as well as adding rival rebel factions you will be competing (and maybe fighting) against, but can also ally with against the alien threat. The game will also add new special alien bounty hunters who have been sent to take out your forces. Riffing off the Nemesis System from Shadows of Mordor, they will gain experience and level up as the game continues, becoming constant thorns in your side until you can finally take them out.


A brand-new BioWare IP - their first in a decade - was always going to be a headline-grabbing moment. Unfortunately, the reception to Anthem didn't quite go the way BioWare were expecting. This is an action shooter which borrows - quite significantly - from the anime series Attack on Titan in its worldbuilding and setup, from Titanfall for its mechs (albeit much smaller than in that game) and from Destiny for its focus on co-op gameplay. Those hoping for a big, deep BioWare RPG like of old, or even another action/RPG hybrid like the Mass Effect series, were bitterly disappointed. Possibly prematurely, as the game actually looks pretty good.

Perhaps more notable were the games that didn't appear. Bethesda's science fiction mega-epic Starfield didn't make an appearance, despite heavy rumours, suggesting it's still a way off. Likewise CDPR held fire on Cyberpunk 2077, lending weight to the rumours it's now looking more like a 2019 release. Other games that looked reasonably interesting included Far Cry 5 and Bastard's Wound, an expansion for the excellent RPG Tyranny.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty great year if you're a Nintendo fan, though. Metroid Prime 4!!! Switch pokemon, the new Mario looks awesome, etc...