Saturday, 15 June 2019

Post-E3 2019

This E3 has been one of few truly great reveals for me. I’m happy to have seen gameplay of some of my favourite things from the show floor, and there were some things that looked pretty great. EA’s livestreams gave us a look at Jedi: Fallen Order gameplay, and it looks like a modern day Force Unleashed in terms of combat options and visuals, and using Kashyyyk as the place to show off allowed them to show off a previously seen location in a new era.

All good then, as did the look at Battlefield V’s latest content and the new pack for The Sims 4, which offers a tropical location to visit along with the usual new careers and extras. Most of that Saturday was taken up with the Nintendo Championships for me, and… it almost lost me. The Splatoon 2 Championship was the best part, with some intense battles all the way through. Showing off Super Mario Maker 2 here proved enjoyable, and the challenges offered allowed variety. But the Smash Championship was where I almost quit.

For a tournament as serious as this, you need a definitive way of marking who is winning at all times, and with something as chaotic as Smash can get, it needs to be something easy. Stock battles were used for the rest of the Championship, but the bizarre idea not to use stock matches for the seeding round completely lost me and made it hard to follow, and left me with little clue what exactly had happened even after the results came in. Having some items on, I don’t mind, but the way the seeding round played out was just bad. Use Stamina Smash if you want something different, anything that allows an easy way to follow!

Microsoft’s briefing on the Sunday revealed not only LEGO Speed Champions as the next Forza Horizon 4 DLC [which is now out, I’ve been playing, and I love it], but also revealed the next proper LEGO game as Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. All nine films, completely rebuilt, with new features obviously coming. From previews released after the trailer dropped, we learnt about some of those features, like how the game is taking a Starlink approach to the galaxy, with planet-to-planet travel and multiple sectors to explore that are reached through hyperspace travel. Plenty of things are being reworked as well, such as combat and the camera. Very ambitious, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Ubisoft revealed Watch Dogs 3, and it was the only real highlight of that conference for me, but what a reveal it was. I’ve already talked about it in the conference’s coverage post, but it was an amazing reveal. It they can pull that off, then it will be one of the greatest games. Nintendo on the Tuesday was the best of the bunch for me, what with Animal Crossing finally seeing a reveal and gameplay on the Treehouse. And that gameplay revealed that while the location and a few mechanics might be different, it is still Animal Crossing at heart.

Plenty of other things were shown on the Treehouse streams across the three days, but Pokémon Sword and Shield started it off, and the games are looking great. Not the best they can be, but I’ll still enjoy exploring this new region and delighting in the wonders it offers. From the Pokémon Direct trailer, we already know that while the map offers a detailed look at the full region, it is still missing plenty of in-depth details about the locations themselves. And it is those details I am interested in seeing. The battles are looking to be at a decent speed this time, with the gameplay showing a few wild battles where the action begins quicker than Sun and Moon managed.

This E3 might not have had a massive amount of surprises, but what it did offer was fun to see. With new consoles set to be hitting next year, Sony should be returning with an action-packed show, and Microsoft can finally lift the lid on more of its projects set for the Scarlett. Nintendo is still seeing success with the Switch, but is it possible even Nintendo might have something new to show? We’ll certainly be finding out this time next June.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Nintendo E3 Direct 2019

Nintendo showed quite a bit, bookending the Direct [not counting the one more thing] with Smash DLC. First shown was the Dragon Quest Hero, with every mainline hero looking to be a skin for this one character. Then for the last thing they followed on from the King K. Rool reveal with another troll. This time Duck Hunt Dog pretending to be Banjo and Kazooie, before the duo come crashing down themselves.

While the Dragon Quest reveal was followed by a Dragon Quest XI Definitive trailer, we didn’t get anything for the Banjo and Kazooie one. There was plenty of other things to get stuck in to, though. Before we got into all that, Doug Bowser was introduced with a nice gag of the real Bowser showing up. Pokémon Sword and Shield got a recap of its Direct, but also announced that the Pokéball Plus would work with the games.

Where the quite a few new things announced, such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete, The Dark Crystal, Trials of Mana and Collection of Mana, Contra Rogue Corps and Contra Anniversary Collection, Empire of Sin, Panzer Dragoon, and No More Heroes 3. A sizzle reel near the end also revealed Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Super Lucky’s Tale, and Alien Isolation, along with a few other games that were shown off at other conferences such as Minecraft Dungeons.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is looking good. I haven’t played the first, and felt the second had some interesting stuff within it but felt it wasn’t for me. Even if I don’t play the series, the third is looking like a return to the style of the first, being set within a large hotel. It looks to be offering some good gameplay, and the Scarescraper returns from the second for some multiplayer action.

Daemon X Machina got a new trailer, as did Astral Chain. Resident Evil 5 and 6 were announced, and the Link’s Awakening remake is getting a dungeon creator. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 and Fire Emblem Three Houses also got trailers, along with Cadence of Hyrule. We also saw a Mario and Sonic at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games trailer, and it looks to be packed with content. I have a feeling they’re going all out with this one.

The last thing we saw in the Direct was a tease for a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, though I was hoping for Animal Crossing. That game did appear, and it looks pretty great. Titled New Horizons, we’re no longer a mayor of a town. In fact, we’re no longer even within a town. Instead, we’re on a deserted island, having been dropped off by Tom Nook, and we’re building everything from scratch.

It’s still the same as every other game in the series. We still have other villagers, we still have fishing and bug catching, the time in-game is still locked to the actual time and day set on the console itself. It’s very much playing like an Animal Crossing game, but rather than just buying things, we are now building them from materials we gain. As such, there’s a bit more in terms of true goals to aim for. It’s a shame about the delay, but when we eventually get to it, it will prove to be an effective timesink, and I cannot wait to be seeing more soon.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Ubisoft E3 Conference 2019

Ubisoft were… fine. It started off well enough with an Assassin’s Creed Symphony preview – a tour playing plenty of songs from the series. There were a few other things within, and they knew what they were doing by putting a new Watch Dogs first, but it was mostly Tom Clancy: The Conference.

We got Division 2 expansions with some free play days coming soon. A mobile game in Elite Squad. Ghost Recon Breakpoint announced. Rainbow Six: Quarantine bringing PvE co-op action. Rainbow Six: Siege content Clutch Royale. And for me it was all the weakest part. Trailers split up to allow some talking in-between or talking when showing things would be just as good. And they mentioned that the movie was coming to Netflix.

Speaking of video platforms, a new TV show got announced for Apple TV+. Called Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, it is a sitcom set in a development studio as the team get ready to launch the new expansion for their MMO game. The snippet of footage shown shows Ian Grimm showing off the trailer to his team – which is more focused on himself than the game itself. It’s looking fun, but the platform of choice limits its availability somewhat.

Adventure Time content comes to Brawlhalla, and Roller Champions is properly announced, with a demo available right now. For Honor gets new content in the form of Shadows of Kitokiri. We fail to escape the Just Dance crew appearing – though the dance number itself was fun to watch. And the PC is getting another subscription service in the form of Uplay+, which is also coming to Google’s Stadia platform in 2020. A new game was teased at the end called Gods and Monsters, that’s looking like a game I can get behind, being a fantasy open-world adventure.

And finally, that Watch Dogs game. Legion is set in London, using the current political climate of the UK as a base for chaos and war. Every person in the game can be recruited to be a part of the rebellion to restore order, all with their own voice and abilities. Permadeath means you will lose members of the rebellion you control, but from the looks of things that gets fully integrated into the story missions as you progress through them.

It is looking an absolutely ambitious undertaking for one game, with the London setting looking authentic. And when they say you can take control of everyone, they pretty much mean it. An old woman might look harmless, but the retired assassin we see in the gameplay footage certainly isn’t. I will be absolutely impressed with it if the game lives up to that gameplay and the promises given, because at the minute it is sounding too good to be true.