Another year, another E3. As usual, the show provided an overwhelming bounty of debuts along with new batches of gameplay reveals. Want some sparknotes? Here are some of the games that have found their way onto my radar.
1. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
At Microsoft’s Xbox One conference, we were introduced to an ambitious feat that tickled the heart strings of Microsoft’s earliest console fans. Halo 4 developers 343 Industries have worked with partners Certain Affinity and Saber Interactive to take all of the content from Halo 1-4 and re-create it with a brand new sheen of Xbox One-level presentation.
So they made the games really, really pretty. INCLUDING all of the multiplayer maps you played with your friends, enemies, friends that became enemies, and whatever other weird people brought into your games through Xbox LIVE.
Hang ‘em high? Yessir!
Ascension? Why, of course!
Yep, all of these maps will be playable in addition to all of the great campaign content. And don’t worry, friends! The developers have explained that they’ve simply added a delicious layer of new graphical fidelity to this compilation–meaning the game will play exactly as you remember it playing. So, no excuses when you get struck down bya plasma sword in multiplayer.
This game will reinvigorate those nostalgic feelings we all have from late night multiplayer marathons with friends…and reignite whatever trauma came from experiencing the savage nature of man during the online multiplayer Halo 2-4 introduced. This collection will take the sterling memories of those games and polish them, bringing the idealized vision fans have in their heads to life while also allowing kids these days to play a “real game”.
2. The Division
Oh yeah, we were talking about multiplayer, right? Well check out this shit. Our first look at The Division premiered at E3 2013, causing fans to become paralyzed with shock upon witnessing the incredibly detailed post-breakdown New York City, the innovative team-based gameplay, the impressive car door-closing mechanics, and the drool-worthy HUD. But mostly the door closing.
And The Division is back again with not only a great snippet of additional gameplay with another highly optimistic take on online teamwork. Aside from the incredible graphics, the new gameplay presented us with something more impressive than all of those wonderful, wonderful polygons: an RPG co-op experience that makes every player seem equally important and equally awesome.
From what we’ve seen, every character brings their own talent, tech, and skills to whatever challenges the group comes across while traversing the wintry, slushy streets of the city. Not only that, but the clips we’ve been shown seem to emphasize that teamwork and strategic gameplay is what this game will demand in order to avoid the dangerous opposing factions you might run into on the streets. In other words, your buddy Steve is going to have to put down the Cheetos and cover you while you go shut that car door. To top off the satisfying peek into these gameplay dynamics, Ubisoft provided fans with what might be the best trailer of this E3.
Man, I can’t wait to frolic around a disease-ridden, murderer-riddled New York City.
In a video game.
3. Rainbow Six: Siege
Has my multiplayer-playing past come back to haunt me? Rainbow Six, a staple of many gamers’ catalogs went dark after 2008’s Rainbow Six Vegas: 2. Aside from rumors of the kind-of-announced Rainbow Six: Patriots, little was known about a sequel, leaving fans fearful that they’d never taste the sweet, sweet stress of “Terrorist Hunt” ever again…until Ubisoft debuted the surprise gameplay reveal of the multiplayer experience of squad vs. squad gameplay.
From nearly every beat in the gameplay, we’re shown something familiar mixed in with something new that will add interesting new aspects to the gameplay. It seems as though Ubisoft is really trying to take the tactical nature of the Rainbow Six games to set this FPS apart from the competition, because the video presents a deathmatch very unlike what most gamers are used to seeing in their first-person shooters. This deathmatch turned out to be a hostage rescue situation, with one team playing the Rainbow Six special forces and another team playing the terrorists/hostage takers. The terrorists have to secure their hostage by barricading doors, windows, entry points, and the special forces team has to…well…navigate around all of that and extract the hostage.
Viewing this gameplay really left me thinking that time has done this beautiful beast well–presenting overwhelmingly destructive environments with pre-determined and dynamic (read: you can blow them up) entry points. Ubisoft seems to have left the high-risk gameplay base of the Rainbow Six games untouched while adding even more elements of risk and strategy for an experience that will surely promote involuntary spurts of urine.
4. Alien: Isolation
History has proven that Alien games suck. For some reason, they just always suck.
Just. So bad.
Which is why I’m investing my feelings and hope in the newest attempt at remedying this curse with Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation. Most recently, we’ve seen the Alien name sullied in the video game world courtesy of Aliens: Colonial Marines–a first person shooter that came out of the gates half-baked and full of bugs, crappy textures, and super-dumb AI. Creative Assembly seems to be doing something new here by bringing their game back to the Alien franchise’s roots…roots full of phallic and disturbing imagery.
Now, we’re getting a first person…horror game. The game puts you in the shoes of Amanda Ripley– Ellen Ripley’s daughter, who finds herself trapped on a derelict spaceship with one really pissed-off Xenomorph. As a result, you’ll spend the game navigating the retro-futuristic environment while doing your utmost to stay the fuck out of the Alien’s sight.
Alien: Isolation presents itself as a game where you’re never safe–and even if your character manages to grab a gun, you’re still grossly under-powered and woefully out-of-your-league. So, what do the developers’ recommend players’ do in order to make it through this immersive, terrifying experience?
By the way, this game just received full support for Oculus Rift…just in case you have ever wanted to receive PTSD from a video game.
5. No Man’s Sky
Have you guys heard of a game called Minecraft? Yes, the game did come before the children’s fashion line. If you somehow haven’t gotten to play the most successful indie game of all time, let me break it down for you. You explore a vast and sometimes terrifying randomly generated world. The game revolves around obtaining the world’s available resources in order to create weapons, shelter, and other cool things while simultaneously exploring and avoiding whatever hazardous obstacles and beasts the game throws your way. It’s a simple formula that ended up being highly addictive.
So now, take that game’s resource-gathering and exploration aspects and rocket it…INTO SPAAAACE!
No Man’s Sky presents itself as “A science-fiction game set in an infinite procedurally generated universe.”. Essentially giving players the opportunity to hop in a space ship and fly from world to world to world, discovering different animals, environments, and details on every planet they come across.
And oh yeah, the game is beautiful.