Wednesday, 11 June 2014

E3 2014

It's that time of year again when all the gaming goodies that the industry have been working on behind closed doors get their first public airing. Yes it's E3 time and the internet is fit to burst with all the shiny new things being unveiled. I've not had a chance to watch any of the keynotes yet but I've had a good look at a few of the trailers and gameplay videos coming out of the Expo. Ubisoft seem to have stolen the show with what looks to be a triumvirate of blinders: Tom Clancy's The Divide; Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege; and Tom Clancy's Assassins Creed: Unity. No wait, that last one isn't a Tom Clancy one. Yes, the man who still wishes the cold war was in full swing so he could write another thousand page action blockbuster about it is also having a very good show despite not even being there, (probably, like I said, I haven't seen the keynotes yet. Although, seeing as he died last year probably not).

Another big theme I'm noticing in a lot of the games being announced is co-op play. All of the three games I've mentioned so far have gameplay footage released of co-op action. Strictly speaking Rainbow Six is PvP, but it's intrinsically team based and seems to require a lot of co-operation between team mates so I'm including it. Then there's Far Cry 4 which has a much more limited form of co-op in that it seems you can call on a friend to help liberate an enemy fortress, but not help with any missions. There's also Evolve, the 4-guys-versus-1-huge-beastie game, which seems to be ALL about the co-op. Fable Legends is a multi-player/co-op spin off of the classic series from Lionhead studios and Crackdown is back with all of the crazy co-operative shenanigans that that entails. I like the idea of the level of co-op on offer in Assassins Creed and The Division, I just hope they don't neglect the single player element of these games as a sad-sack no-mates like me would be very disappointed!

A couple of other titles that caught my eye were Battlefield: Hardline and No Man's Sky. The former is another iteration of the Battlefield game which, despite feeling a little burned by Battlefield 4 last year, I am very tempted by simply for it's rather splendid take on cops and robbers! It's a great idea, replacing the two warring military factions with two warring law enforcement and criminal factions. Hopefully they'll have learned from the buggy mess that was BF4 and we'll get a much smoother launch with a game that actually works. No Man's Sky is a shot right out of left field. A weird kind of exploration/survival game set in an infinite, procedurally generated universe. How this is going to work in practice is anyone's guess but it looks stunning and I find the concept fascinating. Fascinating enough to possibly tempt me into getting a PS4 to play it on. Oh no, wait, it's coming out on PC too. That'll save me a few quid then.

The game that really stole the show for me though was Tom Clancy's The Division. It looks fantastic, the setting is brilliant, (love me a bit of post societal collapse survivalist stuff), it has loads of cool gadgets, (look how the map works! That's brilliant!), but there's also something else. It plays like a third person shooter, much like Watch Dogs in fact, but listen to the chatter of the players in these (obviously scripted) clips; "adds", "elites", "group heal", "group buff"... it's a bloody MMO!

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