E3: Bethesda Showcase Impressions


BethesdaLast night was the official start of E3 with the first of an ever-growing series of gaming showcases from publishers and platform makers. Bethesda, who had never held its own E3 press conference before, started things off with a bang. Sure we already had the surprise of Fallout 4 spoiled by a pre-E3 trailer, but it didn’t matter because through the E3 showcase, Bethesda was committed to giving us an hour and a half demonstration of why it remains one of the most favoured gaming publishers in the industry.

doom_e3_2015_2_CyberdemonDoom

Okay, let’s go in order of the games announced and as such, let’s start off with Doom. The horror vibe from Doom 3 is gone, replaced with a much more arcade style of game play. Movement is very fast, including clambering and double jumps. Circle strafing is back as this game is honouring id’s legacy of shooter chaos. There are also very brutal melee animations. After the success of what Machine Games has done with Wolfenstein, I can only hope that id is able to return Doom to its prior glory within the shooter genre.

In terms of looks, the footage on display is gorgeous and smooth. I need to see this played off screen because the animation is almost too fluid. Reminds me of the first person section of the Doom movie. The multiplayer footage did not look as nice at the single player gameplay.  It still looked fine, but the animation was significantly chunkier.

Finally, for those who are interested, the map editor looks very robust. It looks like a really intricate set of tools made easy. Think Bungie’s forge system in Halo.

battlecryBattlecry

The second game shown was Battlecry. This is a strange looking game. It is a team-based multiplayer brawler that sadly just doesn’t look very good in a world where we have games like Overwatch, Gigantic, and Battleborn.  Seeing the fluidity and grace in movement in those games makes Battlecry feel like its lost in the past. If Bethesda is hoping to make Battlecry a key franchise in their portfolio, they are going to have to do significantly more work on this game to get it up to what should be an industry standard.

Dishonored2Dishonored 2

Leaked just prior to the conference, Dishonored 2 will have two playable characters: Corvo from the original game, and Emily Kaldwin, the princess who you rescued in the first game. While it can be assumed Corvo will have many of the same powers, the CG trailer suggested that Emily’s abilities will be wholly distinct. This should be really good for replayability as Arkane studios has a talent for making full and option heavy worlds. To play with two distinctly different play styles will be an added boon to take on the campaign once more.

As stated, this was only a CG look at the game as it is not set to be released any time soon. They say Spring 2016, but I will believe that when I see it.

Dishonored Definitive Edition

If the Spring 2016 date seems too far off, fear not, as your need for Victorian era stealthing can be satiated with another Definitive Edition Re-Release. Available this fall, the Definitive Edition will have enhanced graphics and all of the games DLC.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends

Choosing to dip their toes into the strategy card game genre, Legends will be a PC/Mobile game akin to Blizzard’s Hearthstone. It could be fun, but I am still waiting for a separate Gwent game from CD Projekt Red. The Elder Scrolls: Legends will be Free to play.

falloutshelterFallout Shelter

Another short, yet punchy announcement was Fallout Shelter, a vault management game. Free 2 Play as well, Fallout Shelter will allow you to build your own shelter and stock it with the necessities required to keep your residents safe and happy. This game reminds me of Sim Tower in a way, or more recently X-Com Enemy Unknown’s base management. And great news, the game is available to everyone as of last night .

fallout-4-screenshotFallout 4

Finally, let’s talk about the game that we all knew was coming, but still eagerly anticipated: Fallout 4. The game will start in the world before the bombs fell where you will choose whether you are playing male of female, while also designing your character. Characters will have spoken dialogue for the first time. Also new is a vibrant colour pallet. Environments are strikingly beautiful and detailed. while the character model still looks a little plastic-like. What I am happy about is that the shooting mechanics look far more honed than in Fallout 3. Also, the animations on the Pip-boy are amazing (Not to mention the fact that you get to play Donkey Kong and Missile Command reskinned as Fallout Universe versions in all their monochrome glory).

The world is incredibly dynamic. There are contextual dog commands and the VATS system returns (The animations look very Fallout 3, including the same somewhat awkward ragdoll physics). The dynamic engine also allows for a lot of crafting items. Residences, defences, and more. This goes even further with gun crafting, with hundreds of possible combinations. Seeing a small laser turn into a mighty cannon with basic parts taken from around the world is quite the sight to behold.

And then there was the shocker/not really a surprise. As many had predicted, Fallout 4 will release this fall: November 10 of this year.

I will be recapping (hopefully) all of the press conferences so stay tuned in the days to come.

Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar

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