Friday, 15 June 2018

Post-E3 2018 [Events]

With E3 finished for another year, Microsoft won out. Nintendo had the bomb-shell of a new Super Smash Bros., but they failed to hold any interest after showing it off in the Direct for twenty-five minutes. And that wasn’t helped at all by the fact across the three days of Treehouse they showcased it for more than four hours total – not including the Smash Bros. Invitational which would add more than two hours to that total. I wouldn’t have minded as much if there was a showcase of different modes.

As for the other games at the Treehouse, the two showcases of Super Mario Party had me convinced that the series is going back to what made it fun while actually creating new experiences from that classic mould. Daemon X Machina is looking a fun action game, but it was the showcase of Starlink: Battle For Atlas that managed to raise excitement. The game looks great, as I’d already noted, but seeing the gameplay in action has me wanting to dive in myself. It was said that the worlds are always living, so visiting a world for the first time could have a large enemy presence that you’ve left to grow while exploring another world.

Microsoft won out, and I have to find a reason why that is than just Forza. The Horizon side series has won me over more than the Motorsport main series, and with the fourth expanding the world with the seasonal clock and a true race creator – plus a lot more – it’s easy to see why I would say Microsoft won just from this one alone. There was the Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer which was definitely a welcome surprise, but that comes under Square-Enix. I guess I could say that Microsoft are showing a willingness to move into the future, and that came through very clear.

Team Sonic Racing was featured, but I’m unsure about it. A racing game whose core mechanic is being in team. In every race, not only are you competing against all the other racers to get first, you also have to help your teammates to get into high positions. You can offer up items for teammates to take as well as offering them a speed boost while in front, but the system comes down to luck when racing with AI. Since you are bound by a team, it doesn’t matter if you come first if your teammates are stuck in last. In multiplayer racing that works out more as skill, but with a story mode confirmed to be here, I’m unsure exactly how I feel about it.

There’s not much to get interested in with just a name, and plenty of them were name-dropped throughout. There was Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order as one I’ve mentioned from EA’s conference, but Bethesda had The Elder Scrolls 6, and Starfield. Square-Enix did the same with Babylon’s Fall and The Quiet Man. Okay, it was technically a bit more than a name-drop for The Quiet Man as we had a small concept teaser, but it amounts to the same thing. And speaking of Square, they gave us a trailer for Dragon Quest XI, so I’m happy about that. It’ll have to be on the PC, as that and the PS4 are the only two platforms that seem to be in the marketing, but at least I know I can play it.

The conferences were fun to watch, and Sony seemed to have derailed at the start of theirs from what I’ve heard, but pulled it back for the second half. Nintendo seem to be holding back and waiting for the future, EA are being their usual selves, with Ubisoft pushing both the present and the future. There was enough this year for me to call it a good showing, and it would have been a great one if Nintendo had dialled back on that Smash gameplay. I get that they didn’t have all that much, but they could have reduced the Treehouse timetable instead of stretching themselves to the limit.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

E3 2018: Nintendo Direct [Events]

Nintendo gave little within their Direct, but really? Smash Bros. Ultimate is pretty all that was needed. There was a recap of Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu / Eevee, with a reveal that the Pokéball Plus holds a Mew inside when you first buy it. A new mech game was shown off called Daemon x Machina, and DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 called Torna – The Golden Country was shown.

As for everything not Smash, Fire Emblem for Switch has been dated with a Spring 2019 release. It looks to be a larger upgrade in terms of visuals to the 3DS games, and the battles seem larger as well. It has the name of Three Houses, which seems to tie into the concept of the game.

There was a sizzle reel showing a lot of games, including Crash N-Sane Trilogy, Minecraft, Captain Toad, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Sushi Striker, and Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion. Paladins also featured with the fact it is available right now. Fortnite had a trailer away from the sizzle reel, with that also coming today.

Octopath Traveller featured with a date for a new demo. Three indie games featured. Overcooked 2 with a date of 7-August. Killer Queen Black without a date. And Hollow Knight with a release of right now as well. Super Mario Party brings the series to Switch, bringing a host of minigames and new board types to the series.

And then we get to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. A love letter to the series, and possibly the final hurrah of the Sakurai-led games. It features every character from the series, including those who appeared as DLC in the last one. There have been changes to the mechanics of the game as per the norm, with a lot of returning stages as well. Inkling was shown off in gameplay, and Ridley from the Metroid series joins the fight. There has been a lot done with this game, and I can see why Nintendo are making this the focus for this E3. What was funny was featuring Gamecube controllers as a control method unless they bring the means to use them back. And, you know, this is a handheld as well as a console, so can we get wireless ‘cube controllers?

They might not have shown much, spending half of the forty minutes on Smash Bros., but they know what the fans were waiting for. They said they would only focus on 2018 games, and they did. The exception being Fire Emblem, but considering that is a big title announced more than a year ago that has had no information released on it since, it makes sense to feature it here. I could say I was expecting more, but there’s plenty of time for the things I want in 2019.

Monday, 11 June 2018

E3 2018: Ubisoft's Conference [Events]

Ubisoft delivered. There was enough here for me, and enough hype moments. As ever a live dance performance advertises Just Dance at the beginning. The Division 2 has raids and three DLC’s that are free for everyone. The VR game Transference was here, and For Honor was talked about for it’s new expansion and the fact they are allowing the PC version to go free until 18-June. Rainbow Six: Siege was also here but exclusively as eSport material. A documentary following eight players was shown off. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey had quite a bit of focus with some gameplay.

And with that, we can get to my hype. And oh, I cannot think what to mention first. I suppose I can get the racing games done. The Crew 2 gets an open beta a week before it releases, with it available to pre-load now. I’d already excited about this, but being able to explore the world again a week before release. A surprise of Trials Rising made itself known, and it’s coming to the Switch. While I haven’t played any of the games, I do follow what they are about, and this looks to be a good point to join in. It’s dated for February’19, and there’s a closed beta coming soon. It’s also coming for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, so no-one is left out for this release.

While I don’t have Mario and Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, I have been interested in getting it. Strategy is something I can have fun with, and having seen it in action last year at Nintendo’s Treehouse Live, I haven’t a clue why I didn’t jump in. But the hype increases with the announcement of the Donkey Kong Adventure expansion. The content itself was fine, but Ubisoft went and got Grant Kirkhope a group of musicians and allowed him to live score the trailer. That is what brought the hype, though seeing more comic antics in the trailer did help. I’d say now is definitely the time to jump in with this one. If I ever get time to with all these other releases.

Skull and Bones featured and looked very different from last year, proving to be more than just an arena fighter in pirate ships. Commanding a crew, you outfit your ship how you see fit ready to go out to the open waves and track down a bounty from AI controlled enemies. You can scout out and call on other players to help you, as successfully raiding the AI will bring more powerful foes to track you down. But those players who help you can also turn against you. It certainly brings the action to the pirate world, and I’m ready to see more.

Beyond Good and Evil 2. How stunning you look. How you built hype with that cinematic trailer. It’s certainly looking to be a good game, and it gets one better. Hit Record is a program allowing the community to help with the game, collaborating with the developers on a range of things within the game. There’s a lot within the website, and it’s worth a look just to get involved. For me, though, I’m just happy to see more of the game and get a better understanding of this world.

Speaking of worlds… Starlink: Battle For Atlas brings a lot of exploration. It brings a story of the usual explorative sort. It brings Star Fox into the battle. Did… Did I just say that? Oh, yes. The second crossover between Nintendo and Ubisoft is Fox McCloud in the Switch version of Starlink. The gameplay we saw looks smooth with the worlds looking great and diverse – even in space. The action also looks to be fun, but Fox joining the fight was the real surprise and highlight.

With the Ubisoft conference over, for me Nintendo now take the spotlight for both their Direct in the morning and the Treehouse Live content throughout the three remaining days. And while a Square-Enix conference did take place, I didn’t feel I had enough content to really make a separate post a necessity. A paragraph within the post-E3 section will be more than enough. There has been enough hype over the last two days, and with Sony taking to the stage later on, there’s bound to be more reveals before Nintendo take their turn.