I’m intrigued by Beyond Good & Evil 2 but I’m wary of the hype

Of all the E3 game reveal trailers that I watched, the one for Beyond Good & Evil 2 probably impressed me the most.

The trailer of the Ubisoft game showed a dramatic tonal shift from the original Beyond Good & Evil – despite being a sequel to the original game and featured an opening focusing on a smart-mouthed monkey and an equally aggressive pig. It was a bombastic affair, more adult themed than many E3 trailers – and I liked it. If that’s the tone for the final game, then I’m in.

Days after seeing that trailer, though, I was slightly deflated: It seems the trailer was based on the developers thoughts on what the game’s tone could take. The game is ages away from being completed and has hardly been started. In fact, the game was first announced nine years ago so it’s been in the pipeline for some time!

There was no gameplay footage at E3 but Ubisoft did hold behind-closed-doors sessions with Michel Ancel showing off what was essentially a tech demo, showing some of the mechanics they hope to include in the game. Central to the demo was the monkey character that featured in the reveal trailer. He had a rocket pack on and was piloted around the huge main ship, said to be 400m long. The monkey had come from a smaller ship, which was around 20m long,  that had come from the open maw of the bigger vessel. There was a lot of talk about what the developer wanted to achieve or see but little concrete evidence that it’ll actually happen.

We saw the ship physics as the smaller ship zoomed around the landscape, switching to hyperspeed then launching into orbit, an impressive particle engine showing off the friction as the craft broke the planet’s atmosphere. We had promises of things to do on planets and amazing atmospheric things with planets. It all sounded fantastic but it was a very, very small slice of a game that will probably be two years away, and with no guarantees that any of that will make the final game.

Ancel showed the scale of what they want to achieve by landing the monkey on the top of a 600m-high deity statue that towered over the city below then – in developer mode – pulled back to show just how large the world was. It gave an idea on the scope and scale Ancel wants to achieve with BGE2, and that’s admirable, but I’m wary until more game play has been shown that actually show the meat of what the game will be. I’ve heard too many games in the past promise so much then fail to deliver on many of the planned features (ie Sean Murray and No Man’s Sky, many games from Peter Molyneux).

Sure, be excited about Beyond Good & Evil 2 but be cautious at the same time: We’ve been burnt before by games over-promising and under delivering, right?

 

 

E3: The big guns come out to play

Day two of the E3 press conferences before the show proper and Microsoft and PlayStation held their press events. I woke up at 4.25am to watch the Microsoft one and I liked some of the announcements, especially the Project Scorpio console (although I’m tossing up now whether to save for a Project Scorpio console or save for one of the soon-to-be released AMD RX480 graphics cards (and probably a new motherboard to put it in).

Microsoft’s biggest cheers definitely came for the two consoles that had been rumoured but no-one really knew much about. There’s the Xbox One S, which is 40 per cent smaller than the launch Xbox One, has an internal power supply and it supports 4K Ultra HD, there’s the new console called at the moment Project Scorpio which promises “6 Teraflops”of GPU power. There’s a new Elite controller and you can customise your own one-of a kind Xbox One wireless controller but as far as Microsoft’s games went: I thought they were OK but not outstanding. I do like the cross play feature where someone with a game on Xbox One can play someone who is playing the same game on a Windows 10 laptop/PC.

Microsoft had Halo Wars 2 (I loved the first game), Dead Rising 4, Gears of War 4, Rare’s Seas of Thieves (which looks great), Forza Horizon 3 (which is set in Australia!), Recore,  Final Fantasy XV, Minecraft Realms (it was good to see famed developer John Carmack wearing a Samsung GearVR headset for this demo) and The Division Underground. All solid games but nothing really earth-shattering, in my view. That said, indie title We Happy Few looks genuinely interesting as did PlayDead’s Inside (the same developers that created Limbo).

Update: Thinking about things overnight, Xbox has scored a major win in hardware side of things by announcing Project Scorpio.  Yes, it’s 18 months or so until the console will be released (I suspect it’ll be revealed middle of next year sometime) but I’d say announcing Scorpio will really put the heat on Sony and it’s PlayStation Neo console which, I think, is due for release late this year. Microsoft are really gunning to win the console wars and build the “most powerful console ever” and looking at its speaks, it is indeed a powerful machine. It’ll be interesting to see whether Microsoft’s announcement yesterday has PlayStation worried about its Neo.

As far as games go (and let’s face it, that’s why people buy consoles/play PCs), though, for me, Sony won the battle, if there is such a thing. I love both consoles but personally, I felt that PlayStation’s games seemed a little fresher, a little more exciting.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a much older (but a bit of a dick towards his son) Kratos in the God of War reboot, The Last Guardian which seems to have been in development for decades finally got a release date, Horizon Zero Dawn looks incredible, Hideo Kojima’s new game Death Stranding which featured a naked Norman Reedus (from Walking Dead fame) wondering why he’s on a beach,  there was a very Last of Us-esque game called Days Gone which features zombies in an apocalyptic setting, Detroit Become Human (the next game from David Cage) and then there was the PS VR stuff which, frankly, made my eyes pop. I was even enthralled with the Call of Duty VR stuff that I didn’t know was actually Call of Duty until near the end (oh, and I’d easily buy a copy of Infinite Warfare just for the remastered version of Modern Warfare which has, without a doubt, the best COD mission ever in All Ghillied Up). Oh, and there’s a Batman Arkham VR game [breathe, breathe]

PlayStation has a new PS4 coming out called the Neo but nothing was show at its press event. I wonder whether PlayStation will reveal more at the Tokyo Games Show?

Looks, there’s something for fans of both consoles but for me, if I had to pick a console which had the strongest line up of games coming out, I’d put my money on PlayStation. I also liked how most of PlayStation’s press event was game footage and trailers rather than people standing on stage talking.

This is not an exhaustive list of every game announced but just those that caught my attention. Anyway, enough words. Here’s some moving pictures. Enjoy.

 

God of War (PS4):

Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4):

Infinite Warfare (ship assault):

Days Gone (PS4):

Halo Wars 2 (Xbox One):

We Happy Few (Xbox One):

Gears of War 4 (Xbox One):

 

Thoughts on what PlayStation and Xbox showed today?

E3 Day Zero: The day before

E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) in Los Angeles has sort of started, with EA and Bethesda holding press conferences today, a day before the big hardware players hold theirs tomorrow.

PlayStation sent through a link for tomorrow’s presser, which starts about 1pm NZ time. You can watch it here (I’d really like it if you did). I’m hoping I can get up for for Microsoft conference but it’s at 4.30am so we’ll see how things go!

I didn’t watch the EA press event (but did watch the Mass Effect Andromeda trailer tonight: I’m impressed and will keep an eye on things) one but did watch some of the Bethesda one (including the cringeworthy opening sequence until the event proper started), and was impressed by what I saw of Dishonoured 2, a game that I’m keeping an eye on.

Here are some trailers of what happened today:

Dishonoured 2:

A reboot of Prey:

EA’s Mass Effect Andromeda:

Titanfall 2:

What are you hyped for from this year’s E3?

Just Cause 3 game play walkthrough

Watch the latest Just Cause 3 game play trailer from E3 and you’ll see exploding bridges, exploding petrol stations, wing suits, main hero Rico Rodriguez driving through sunflower and lavender fields, a parachute that goes back into its backpack when you’ve used it, a fighter plane being used to blow up a refinery, a grapple hook, a statue that pulls itself to bits thanks to Rodriguez’s tether system.

There’s so much carnage that my eyeballs hurt just watching it. It’s an assault on the eyeballs, that’s what it is.

Just Cause 3 is out on “high-end” PCs, PS4 and Xbox One on December 1. I guess a high-end PC means my Geforce 660Ti isn’t good enough? Console it is, then.

 

 

Here’s 15 minutes of the Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End E3 game play demo. You’re welcome

I have to say that I’ve always been a fan of developer Naughty Dog and what it’s able to do with Sony’s PlayStation hardware, especially in the later years with the Uncharted series.

I was impressed with the Uncharted 4 trailer shown at Sony’s E3 press conference but after watching this extended 15 minute game play trailer, which you can watch here, too, all I can say is that the folks at Naughty Dog must be possessed of some sort of wizardry that lets them do amazingly wonderful things with the PS hardware.

Uncharted 4 looks like the staple game play that fans of the series have come to love but the attention to detail (that mud, that flame) is impressive.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is out in 2016 sometime – so you have a bit of time to start saving. Thoughts?

See the E3 hype following Sony & Microsoft pre-show conferences

Microsoft and Sony held their pre-E3 press events today. Both had games, games and games. Sony also had a TV device. Microsoft hardly mentioned Kinect at all (I think it’s needed for the Dance Central game).

Instead of prattling on, I’ve just posted some videos. Personally, I’m still super keen on Batman Arkham Knight, the time-lapse trailer for Ubisoft’s The Division, the fact that classic point-and-click adventure game Grim Fandango is heating  to PS Vita and PlayStation 4 and Sunset Overdrive: It looks the bee’s knees. Oh, and Crackdown: I loved the original Crackdown and despite being another bad guy being taken down, it could be interesting.

Watch and enjoy. Happy E3!

Batman Arkham Knight (and the Batmobile blowing shit up):  

The Division:  

Sunset Overdrive

Grim Fandango (featuring DoubleFine developer Tim Schafer pretending to be a small child):

Crackdown:

Far Cry 4: 

 

I’ll post more videos when I can be bothered.

Were you swept away by the hype? Did you get up outrageously early to watch the Microsoft livestream? Thoughts? You know what to do …

 

On the wireless: Game Junkie talks E3 with Radio Wammo

… and the E3 onslaught continues, this time with my weekly radio segment with Glenn “Wammo” Williams on Kiwi FM. Here we discuss mainly the Xbox press conference from this morning, but some non-Xbox related E3 stuff near the end.

Oh, it may look at some point that I’ve actually lost interest in the sound of my own voice, and I drop my head, but I actually think what happened there was I was typing in a user name and password into a website account – and forgot that I was using the video option with Wammo. Yep, that’s exactly what happened.

Enjoy (I promise this is the last update for the night. Maybe. Although Private Practice is on TV in half an hour and I need something to keep me busy while that’s on …)