E3 2018 – The Takeaways

Before you say anything, I know E3 is still going on. It’s just that all the developers I actually care about have already had their conferences, and honestly I can’t swoon over any more games than I already have. There’s a lot of good stuff coming out over the next year or two, and this E3 was one of the best in years. If this is any indication of where video games are headed, then I’m going to have to start managing my time a little better.

Ubisoft

First off, I just want to point out how fucking beautiful Ubisoft’s new logo is. I know it’s been a while, but it really is just a breathtaking rebrand that makes me giggle about every time I see it. So simple, yet so stunning.

Alright. On to the video games.

The Division 2 looks pretty amazing. When I was first watching a gameplay trailer, I had almost forgotten that it was a co-op game. The movement and the teamwork were working so seamlessly that it felt like a single player shooter. Sure, it was over-choreographed and sounded about as natural as an auto-tune, but it was a cool way to showcase the game. It also looks pretty amazing, but I think now that we’re in 2018, that goes without saying for all games.

As a classicist, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey gave me shivers. Everything about it seems too good to be true, and it probably will  be, but we’ll see how it plays out. 431 BCE is an interesting time to put a video game considering the second Peloponnesian War, so I’m anticipating some really good fighting in this game.

As a friend of mine pointed out, though, the most recent AC installment claims to take place in 40 BCE, or the origin of the Assassin. What could be going on 400 years before? I honestly have no idea because I haven’t played an Assassin’s Creed game since I had II for my Xbox360. As long as they have their ‘history’ mode again where you can just go around and tour ancient monuments, I’ll be happy.

 

Sony

The Last of Us II. Need I say more?

When we look back on the history of video games, there will be a few titles and developers that will go down as gods, and Naughty Dog will be one of them. The Uncharted series and The Last of Us are masterpieces, and I can’t wait for the second installment.

Just god damn. 

Death Stranding is still looking like a Kojima game. Everyone keeps complaining that ‘we have no idea what this game is supposed to be about,’ or ‘what’s going on,’ but it’s a Kojima game guys. Even after you beat it it’s not going to make any sense. Just embrace the weirdness and the beauty of it.

 

Microsoft

I don’t have an Xbox, so I couldn’t really care less about the exclusives, but mannnnn does Metro: Exodus sure look like it’s shaping up to be a kick ass game.

I never played the originals, and I’m looking for a copy of the Redux so I can get my hands dirty in killing some post-nuclear-apocalypse monsters, but I don’t think I’d have any trouble making sense of the series jumping in on the third installment.

I do want to point out one little thing: in the trailer below, at :49 you see an abandoned warehouse/factory kind of thing? I’m not exactly sure what it is. Regardless, look closely at the water. What do you see?

That’s an oil slick on that shit. They actually took the time to put in an oil slick on top of the water. And it looks really good. If that’s any indicator of the level of detail they’re putting into this game, then count me in.

 

EA

EA… You’re an interesting bunch, aren’t you? You have one of the biggest gaming debacles in history, taking down DICE of all companies with you, and then you start talking about a game like Anthem. It looks like Transformers meets District 9 meets Horizon: Zero Dawn, plus a little dash of Mass Effect, and I’m really excited to see what else happens with it. A lot of the people who played the game at E3 said it was fun and interesting, good, but not great. We’ll see what happens in the next year.

It sure does look pretty, though.

Bethesda

And now we get to the big boys. It’s funny that this one-time small studio out of Maryland has now come to be a complete powerhouse in gaming. I mean, they used to be a studio of 20 guys making Fallout 3; now they have three studios, a bunch more subsidiaries, and literally every game they announced looks amazing.

Rage 2 won’t be something I’ll buy, but sure, it looks like fun.

Doom Eternal. I mean, it’s Doom – sweet. You get a sick ass double barreled shotgun – double-double sweet. And you get to fight demons in hell-on-earth – triple sweet.

All the stuff they have coming for Prey made me want to relive it all over again. I’d honestly kind of forgotten about it until the conference, but looking at some of this great DLC they have coming, along with all these awesome VR modes they’re creating made me nostalgic for that one time I turned into a space banana and hopped through a hole in the wall to get past some monsters. And their Mooncrash DLC seems like a kickass premise.

Wolfenstien, if I’m being honest, seemed kind of disappointing. From everything I read, the DLC for The New Order kind of sucked, and this new game, with its co-op centric-ness…let’s just say I’m skeptical. But! Killing nazis? Ehh??? I was glad to see ‘Fuck nazis’ getting so much applause on an E3 stage, by the way. It kind of sucks that we even have to be having this discussion, but c’est la vie.

The elephant in the room was Fallout 76. There was a lot of speculation in the week leading up to E3 on what exactly this new Fallout game would be. As it turns out, the speculation was true. 76 will be a multi-player Fallout game, where you and your friends get to defend (or destroy) the wasteland of West Virginia.

It looks beautiful. It sounds beautiful. And most importantly, it looks fun. There’s new enemies, new guns, new perks, and new crafting abilities. They also are touting the fact that the textures are 16x more detailed, which I’m glad to see after some of the mess that was Fallout 4. But it’s getting some criticism.

A lot of people are complaining that it just doesn’t seem like a Fallout game, but it’s not Fallout 5, guys. It’s something new. It’s a different take on this classic franchise. Although I’m not a big fan of online games or playing with other people, I’m still going to get it on day one and play the shit out of it, just to see what it’s like. If I don’t like it, okay, but at least they’re trying something new.

 

The Verdict

There was a lot of crap at E3 this year, just like there always is, but there were even more awesome looking titles. The next two years look bright for the future of video games: Fallout 76, Red Dead Redemption 2, The Last of Us 2, just to name a few.

I think I’ll be purchasing more games over the next two years than I have in the last 10, and after that I’ll never have to buy a new game again. But that’s the problem. Games are taking 30+ of hours to beat now, sometimes upwards of 100 to see everything that the developers created. Fallout 76 probably won’t even have an ending; it’ll just keep going. How are players supposed to have that feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment anymore if they never actually beat a game?

Who knows. I shouldn’t be complaining. I guess there just needs to be a happy medium, you know? A game should be linear, but not feel linear. It should gently coax you in the direction it wants you to go. And I think that’s why I’m looking forward to The Last of Us 2 more than any other game. I need a little bit of direction in my games, and nobody does that better than Naughty Dog.

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