The big e3 2017 report


Well once again the biggest date on the gaming calendar, the e3 gaming convention in Los Angeles … has come and gone, and so what have the big names had to offer us feverish gamers?  Let’s find out…

E3-2016

Sony

God of War KratosI didn’t watch the whole briefing, but have learnt they showcased several games, some of which interest me some that don’t at all (Gran Turismo Sport … yawn, I became bored of that series a while back).  I am however looking forward to God of War and the new Spider-Man game looks impressive.  Days Gone, one of the most anticipated games of last years e3 had another showing and again wowed.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see they’re going to be releasing a Shadow of the Colossus remake.  Detroit: Become Human looked interesting but I’m not sure exactly what it is still.

However there was a strong focus on VR (which I can’t say interests me at all) like they were desperate to flog this expensive and gimmicky peripheral, and some of the newest most interesting looking games were for VR which was disappointing.  They also had a large presence of third party titles like Call of Duty WWII and Destiny 2, both of which looked decent.   There seemed a serious lack of firm release dates for all these titles overall which wasn’t good.  Overall some good stuff but not a lot to really blow me away this year.

Microsoft

The Xbox guys had some new hardware to showcase, making their briefing more exciting than Sony’s from the off and the uber-powerful Xbox One X certainly looked cool.  I’m an Xbox fan first and foremost these days and I was anticipating the reveal of the previously hyped Xbox Scorpio and like the new name.  Microsoft predictably showcased Forza 7 running on it and also showed off a new game in the acclaimed Metro series as well as my personal highlight of e3; Bioware’s stunning looking Anthem.  Sea of Thieves was looking better than previous but I’m still on the fence over whether I’d enjoy it all that much myself.

Xbox One X

They also showed off a ton of indy games but not many big name exclusives to get all that excited about.  No Halo, no Gears for example which although not surprising could have really added to the whole new hardware reveal and made it all that more sexy.  It was a bit of a case of quantity over quality but games like Ori and the Will of the Wisps still looked great.  Like Sony before it though it’s hard to really be all that confident in the games from an XB1 and PS4 owner’s point of view actually looking anywhere near as good as we’ve been shown due to the new PS4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles, meaning us existing console owners potentially being left short handed in time to come, which I’d say is inevitable.

Nintendo

Super Mario OdysseyNintendo’s segment was initially short and to the point, showcasing only a handful of titles but with some exciting announcements.  The biggest surprise here was Metroid Prime 4, an game I’ve personally been hoping for, and despite no actual footage, it’s got me feeling happy I own a Nintendo Switch.  To further cement this feeling we had reveals of new Kirby and Yoshi platformers which both looked great as well as further details on Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and especially Super Mario Odyssey.  The Tree House segment that ran over three days and was broadcast live on YouTube also showed longer gameplay of some of the aforementioned titles like Yoshi and Mario Odyssey and well, I was left drooling.

There was something immediately alluring about Nintendo’s games … they all looked a ton of fun, and well, fun is something that has gradually been getting replaced in the games industry for a while now, in place of realism – which it has to be said can make a game feel more like work than leisure.  Third-party support still seems Nintendo’s Achilles heel, and well there was Fifa and Rocket League announced which I suppose is a start.

There were absences of expected or hoped for titles to be mentioned for all three companies’ machines with no Animal Crossing or Virtual Console talk from Nintendo, no Halo, Gears or much in the way of big name exclusives from Microsoft and well, where was PS4 exclusives Hellblade or the Final Fantasy VII remake this year?  Overall each company had something to offer and as someone with all three consoles, there was certainly something to play on each machine for the foreseeable future, which can’t be a bad thing.

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For the love of Mass Effect


 

Mass Effect 2 is the best game I have played in quite a long time.  It’s deep narrative, wealth of absorbing and always fun missions, cast of interesting and well-realised characters, and gameplay mechanics that blend straight forward arcade action with the complexities of RPGs, makes for one of the most fully rounded games I think I have ever got my hands on.  Following on from my initial, positive ‘impressions‘ a little while back, I have since played through the campaign and completed all side missions including downloadable content.  I must also salute the game’s art style, which although using Unreal Engine 3, felt much classier and stylish than you see in the likes of Bullet Storm or Gears Of War. 

To those unacquainted with the Mass Effect series, they are basically Star Trek the video game in all but name.  You start out creating your own character, then become the captain of a starship, and are sent on missions around a huge galaxy filled with planets where you can recruit new members of your crew, solve conflicts and take on evil races, such as the Geth and particularly this time around, the Borg-like Collectors.  The game’s RPG elements allow for branching conversation paths that lead to different outcomes depending on your answers to certain questions, which basically means a second or third play through could lead you into previously unseen situations.  I particularly liked how, whilst the game was challenging in parts, it was never too hard that I stopped enjoying myself, and with brilliant implementation of a cover system and generous checkpoints, this was always a pleasure and never a chore.  Now taking into consideration that I’ve never been able to complete an RPG before, shows that this game (with 37 hours clocked in by the time it ended) offered something games like Final Fantasy XIII or Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion clearly lacked.

If by some major oversite you haven’t played this game yet, I urge you to pick up a copy straight away – you won’t be disappointed.

Mass Effect 2 – impressions


What I played of Mass Effect 1, I enjoyed.  But something about it did not grab me like other cames can.  It was a little too slow, clinical and  old-fashioned, even though the concept was an intriguing one.  You see, the Mass Effect games are basically Star Trek in all but name.  You take control of the captain of a starship (replace Kirk for Sheppard, and the Enterprise for the Normandy) and travel the galaxy completing missions, hiring new crew members, and over  the course of the game building up your abilities and upgrading weapons, whilst following a deep and complex narrative. 

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