This years E3 got off to a start without a hitch. Surprisingly there was much less advertising as there have been in previous years. Being the year after the launch of the nextgen systems there was a much greater focus on games and it really seemed to be much more about the 3rd party Publishers than the three big fish this year. This year for me was different being my second time at the show I had a much greater idea what to expect. Coming of the Battlefield 4 showdown I got to meet and hang out with many more members of the gaming community than before. Casters like Goldenboy, Daskro, Battlefield Podcast as well as other youtubers like Levelcap and Corridor digital. Even had the pleasure of meeting Sourcefed! It was also a pleasant surprise to find that Nerdist news now had a booth this year tucked away by Twitch. I also had the awesome chance to follow the Operation Supply drop boys around as they continue their quest to make sure Soldiers get the best gaming support overseas.
One especially awesome point in the show is when my buddy Scott Levy (MOHW/ARMYOFTWO/BF4/BFH) Joined me to tour the show floor. At several points we got to meet the other cast members of the new Battlefield Hardline game, Eugene Byrd, Kelly Hu, and Nicholas Gonzalez. Another cast member from the Bones TV Ryan Cartwright also joined in. And so our jou ney began across the massive show floor and sea of bloggers and writers.
By switching the theme to Cops and Robbers the formula of modern Battlefield gameplay has been adapting bringing the fight from the desert to the urban jungle of downtown LA. Tension is the map currently available in the open beta and was playable on the show floor. All attachments and weapons were available at the show but are slimmed down for the Beta. After playing it on the PS4 and PC so far I’ve been enjoying the new fresh experience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ex1GlZS-t7c Battlefield has a formula of controlled chaos that works and Hardline doesn’t change it but rather adapt it to its new setting. The verticality of the map provided some interesting ways to flank enemies. Evolution returns when a gigantic construction crane smashes several buildings in the area creating new routes. Things like suppression have changed to where deviation is not altered but just your point of aim is thrown off. Cool new gadgets like the taser allow for you to incapacitate an enemy and detain them for intel or kill them outright with a continuous shock. Being able to pull ammo and health from allies is a huge push forward for the franchise as it allows you to be more self sufficient in a firefight. Infantry combat is much closer and both play tests max out at 32 players. Its also quite fun to kill an enemy and take all the money hes dropped. Plays out in that sort of MMO way by making every kill that much more rewarding in Blood Money. Heist follows more of a structured objective and gives the game a mobile rush kind of feel.
The game overall is a lot of fun but in ways may feel like its just tiding us over until Battlefront lands. But who can complain getting to play out the greatest street firefight from the movie Heat on such scale. Overall if you have your doubts give the beta a shot you will be pleasantly surprised and it feels great to play something that isn’t a modern shooter.
Even there wasn’t a playable demo open to the public what we did see was much more impressive than what Call of Duty has offered. The style in which events play out in that action movie fashion have definitely carried on. Its impressive to see how Sledgehammer games is finally bringing the franchise into the next generation. Graphically some portions of both the video and demo seem to look more like something you would expect from Killzone. The new Engine in some ways seems to look just as good as if not better than frostbite. At the same time some shots seem to look a tad bit dated. Either way gameplay wise it still looks like the Call of Duty you would expect. The introduction of the Exosuit gives hope to some interesting new ways to play the game. In a way though It might feel like a inbetween version of Call of duty and Titanfall when it comes to how mobile your character is in the game.
Sledgehammer definitely deserves props in the R&D department for keeping the technology of the future gritty and believable. There were several actors roaming the show floor in the 1:1 scale exosuits and it was surprising how much mobility they had. Nothing that would make you a great gunfighter but enough that I could see the potential it would have in ground warfare. While walking by the Activison booth we got to meet one of the actors from the game Russel Richardson. Overall This may be a year for Call of Duty to redeem itself and I must say having a ingame characters Pupils dilate is pretty nuts.
Ubisoft brought it BIG this year and arguably was the Publisher of the show. The Division is a huge undertaking from Ubisoft and after its unveiling last year the game still looks awesome and getting to see it up close was even better. The Live demo I got to see plays in the same area of the trailer currently available but only the time of day has changed. Combat was shown in greater depth as well as how the upgrades can tweak and enhance your character for any fight. A 5th player can now roam above as a UAV and give support to the other 4 players via a tablet. Gameplay between the two was seamless and its clear that more developers are going to be finding nifty ways to integrate tablet play into these larger triple A titles. Overall the engine looks great up close. Though for a full year of development it would have been expected to see more and perhaps get hands on the title.
After Titanfalls debut it has kept up a constant stream of content the latest game modes Marked for Death and Wingman. During this play through Eugene from Battlefield Hardline joined me in some very intense gameplay. Being marked feels similar to how being a HVT in Battlefield works except every soul on the other team is bloodthirsty for you. Its pretty rewarding taking down the individual marked for death and in ways is similar to Regicide or Oddball.
There is a very clear indicator when 2 new targets are selected and before you know it you’re running for your life from the enemy horde. Wingman will bring 2v2 to Titanfall for the first time and may have the potential for some serious competitive play. An awesome treat after the gameplay was how everyone received Burn packs with a chance to win some very good Titanfall Swag. If you wandered outside you would be treated with the 1:1 titan at the Nvidia tent.
So this is perhaps one of my most Anticipated titles. Being one of their most expensive titles ever at a hefty $500 Million Destiny hopes to claim long term domination in the console area by doing what Halo did for the Xbox back in 2001. Bungie has created a beautiful looking game. A world that many will fall in love with.
There was a short video showcasing the singleplayer campaign but ultimately the day was about PVP. Here we get hands on the Alpha build of the game. The gamemode is similar to Domination or conquest. Bungie brings what they know about Halo and applies it to the close quarters combat destiny provides.
This year Ubisoft had a card up there sleeve in the form of a new Rainbow Six. A new direction and a new take at Asymmetric gameplay. The demo revealed to the world showcased a hostage scenario in the suburbs. Pitting a squad of terrorists against a squad of Rainbow Operators the defend the Hostage game mode never looked so fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wlvYh0h63k First Terrorists can set up defenses in an almost Horde or zombie mode style fashion. Anything to slow down the advance of the Rainbow Operators. During that initial phase Rainbow players can gather intel via small cameras that could infiltrate the house. Though everyone can have a camera it seems to kill some of the surprise about where the tangos are. It was later stated that players who play the Rouge squad often get pretty good at zapping those pesky unmanned cameras. Next the Rainbow Operators get to choose an infil (Infiltration) point. Weather by ground on different sides of the house or by Air assaulting onto the top of the structure giving them access to the windows. In classic Rainbow fashion the well coordinated breach eliminates any of the enemies in the room. This is where things get interesting. Ubisoft has really brought realistic destructible cover to the table making walls not so safe to hide behind. This plays to modern CQB tactics as speed is key to taking down rooms fast and violently. Sit too long and nothing is going to stop someone from pegging you with a spray of AK-47 fire through the wall. The Ballistic shield makes a return and plays a pretty key role in keeping members of the Operators alive during their encounter. The demo then becomes a cat and mouse game to get out of the house with the hostage alive. Certain aspects of breaching rooms are displayed very well here including breaching from above. It seems Ubisoft has finally taken a page out of Battlefield’s playbook and is now applying such sandbox destruction to their levels. Overall the demo ends with a cliffhanger but gives you the idea just how paced and adrenaline packed it could be to play the scenario from front to back. some lucky folks got hands on the Alpha at E3 but otherwise the rest of the world has to stick with the gameplay demo showed off at the beginning of the show. I really like where they are headed and for an Alpha it sure looks good.
One of the biggest and most fun Multiplayer games this year comes from the crew that built LEFT 4 DEAD. Taking that concept we now have 4 hunters in a battle to take down one massive monster. The monster has several tiers of Evolution and with each one grows far stronger and harder to kill. The goal of the hunters is to take it down as fast as possible. Set up in almost a team fortress style the team has 4 different types ranging from the massive damage per second type to the support and medic roles. Much like an MMORPG the battles will rage and when players go down there is a chance to heal them and get back in the fight. There Player that wields the creature has quite the set of powers to play with. This is probably one of those games that would be a hit at a Party or online when you and your buddies want to get together and just play between yourselves. Following the footsteps of L4D Evolve looks great and played smooth the entire time. The developer really stole the show with this one. The big 20+ foot tall monster in the main South Hall didn’t hurt either.
Overall this was an amazing E3 only made better by the great people of the community. There were so many great games to cover this year but that’s the wonderful thing about the internet these days. Now with live streams and the insane amount of broadcast coverage one really doesn’t need to leave home to get it all from the big show. But the awe that is the big show will always be something not to be missed. The connections and friends you make will always be the best part of the show. And who doesn’t want to Play games with the people who make them?
Here are some of the pictures that really stuck out from the big album. There were tons of great games this year some I didn’t quite get a chance to cover. But they had some killer both displays this year!