Fancy taking a break from all the Xbox One/PS4 arguing and DRM talk? We’ve got you covered! PC man Rory Mullan takes a look at the best PC had to offer at E3 2013…
Following the fantabulous Human Revolution, Eidos Montreal have taken on the immense responsibility of handling ANOTHER stealth great: Thief. From a spectacular steam punk (the environment is as dark and moody as ever; the trailers are atmospheric in themselves) universe to the dedication to satisfying purists, I’m already reasonably convinced that this will be the stealth game of 2014 (if not the game of 2014).
Every body knows the Thief is the ultimate stealth franchise. The choice-driven gameplay, stealthy takedowns, the elaborate pickpocketing and piquant arrow blasting helps the player submerge into a trance of (wanted) tension and delicate planning. Even the surface you step on effects how much sound you make! Don’t step on that loose gravel if there is some nice, soft grass!
Eidos Montreal is clearly trying to find a suitable equilibrium that still engages old school hardcore players, but still invites troves of new players. While some games do go over board with negating what originally made the game so outstanding, Thief’s proportion of hardcore and inviting might have just hit a sweet spot. Things like Focus Mode (a system similar to Detective Vision in Batman) can guide new players along and dark haze visual effect can be turned off completely for the purists. The game is still going to feature that iconic gem that lights up when you are in bright light areas to let you know who can see you. Cool huh?
The demos at E3 clearly put emphasis on Focus Mode. Like in Batman, it is a system that gives you a clear view of your surroundings by picking up small things that might of otherwise been missed (like loot or a lever). And is mentioned this (thankfully) isn’t necessary, but it could be essential if you get lost in the levels!
Jesus. About time we get see what Respawn had been working on. When Infinity Ward self-destructed over some boring judicial issues and staff galore defected to EA, we got the studio Respawn. Rumours had been circulating for a long while, but at E3 we got some serious TitanFall time. After an embarrassing leak on a Game Informer cover (you thought you saw Alyx Vance when you first saw the cover, didn’t you?), the game was finally, officially, announced.
Announced at MicroSoft’s conference, Vince Zampella emerged to talk about his game. He spoke about how it would use cloud computing and elaborated on the multiplayer only nature of the title. Most significantly, he revealed that it would be on PC.
We were granted a rather galvanic look at the title. Seeing giant mechs and futuristic robo troopers flying around the environments showed just what the engine (and broadly: the studio) is capable of. The biggest hook of TitanFall is the choice of Titan mechs or remaining as a foot unit. Step into your own mechanical Titan case and savour war and use powerful weapons but remain exposed, or run around on ground level darting through buildings in high paced action.
PC Game of the Show: Rome II: Total War
My PC gaming experience has always been about strategy in addition to the odd fora into the episodic hit of Half-Life or Deus Ex. Like the great polar bear that eats aquatic vertebrae, with the occasional hit of human flesh. Although polar bears are darling little precious pies, they are beside the point: no real-time strategy games in the world make me more literally orgasmic (I just weirded everyone out then, didn’t I?) then Creative Assembly’s.
At E3, we indulged in the Battle of the Nile live demonstration. Audiences were wowed when this visual spectacle revealed itself to actually contain deep strategy and tactics. As Total War veterans will know, one of the leading principles of battle is setting up tactical defences and positioning your troops in the most advantageous spots. Maybe you put you archers on a hill for extra range, or hide some spear-men in a woodland to cut down advancing horseman.
In preceding Total War games (specifically: Empire) the most convoluted defence you could set up was pikes in the ground to create horseman kebabs or trenches for your little men to hide in. Shown in the presentation was the Egyptian defenders assembling hay bails to set on fire and roll downcast at the assaulting Romans and using boiling oils to pour on an astronomical onslaught of troops when they climb up monolithic walls.
As you might be aware, the Nile is a river. The demonstration showed Roman and Egyptian ships clogging up the river ramming and discharging projectiles at each other as they ferry soldiery around the Delta River. This is the prototypical instance in a Total War game that warships actually join intense infantry battles within a battle, and are under the complete dictation of the leader of the infantry charge or defence. Consistently shown was the amazing physics of the game. As a war elephant charges into lowly detachments of infantry crushing their little bodies and the chariots of war crash into archers and throwing them about: the world looks authentic and the spectacular engine shows off the best of what the studio can offer. After seeing all this, all I can say is this: September can’t come soon enough.
I still can’t quite figure out why DICE insists on showing single player footage, but this is looking Awesome with a capital A. I would go as far to say as of E3 2013, Battlefield 4 is the most technically impressive game ever created. I really shouldn’t be astounded – as DICE have a tradition of technical wizardry, to the point that they probably would have been lit on fire if video games existed in the 14th century – but wow. Just wow. In the Angry Sea (did Poseidon step on Lego?) demo even the water puts many high-budget animated films to shame. Astounding.
‘But shit ain’t ’bout graphics,’ says farmer from Texas. Farmer is right. Shit ’bout gameplay. Outside of the graphics the campaign demo looked jolly characterless and generic. Even though you can acknowledge just how technically dandy it was, this appeared like it was doing nothing to really stand out.
But then again, DICE do marvellous multiplayer (marmalade). As the appeal of Call of Duty’s vulgar gamble that people often describe as the multiplayer component increasingly to erode, Battlefield 4 looks like it could be a saviour for those moving out of their Call of Duty affinities. It was emphasised that Commander mode would be prevalent at EA’s press conference, and that it would include the ability to snarl dictation and use artillery, it all looks geared up on bringing more profound strategy to the contestants of war.
Nearly Game of the Show: Star Wars: Battlefront
Simply: Ohhhhh Yeeeaaaaah! Less Simply: EA have actually done something good for once (Trololol): Bringing back one of the most adored franchises in the glorious history of videogames! On Battlefield 4’s tech and being developed by DICE Los Angeles, it’s time to get excited people!
Just think about it: Battlefield 4’s crumbling cities as tanks are ripped into tiny pieces of debris by ordinance fire. Think about it with Star Wars’ narrative substance, technology and characters in this rigorous format: a squad of Storm Troopers fight through a distant rebel base. Laser blasts fly everywhere in the beauteous, stalwart Frostbite engine, the lighting enthralls the player as they dodge out-of-the-way. The base is torn down by TIE bombers – forcing detritus into the air and throwing it across the battlefield – and Darth Vader joins the struggle and starts chopping men in half with his red blade of devastation. If you aren’t sold by that premise, take a prolonged arduous effort to play Battlefield and watch Star Wars because you plausibly never have.
This would have been the game of the show if EA brought any substance to it. All we got was a 30 second trailer of a snow speeder crashing into some ice. The game is (in all probability, unless there is some astronomical New World Order conspiracy to be unravelled!) in infancy, but a full blow out would have been awe-animating sensational.
Protagonist (that is scarcely not an ABSOLUTE scoundrel) Aiden actually met a mortal that could be his friend. Now he doesn’t have to go to the pub with a computer. This friend is called T-Bone (great name UbiSoft…*rolls eyes*) and he also goes about hacking illicitly. When a gameplay demo unmistakably was evident at E3, we got to see the two in action together. Aiden snagged a car discretely and met up with cyberpunk T-Bone, but shit went down when the fuzz revealed themselves.
Aiden hacked into the CCTV system and guided T-Bone out of harm’s way, allowing him to elude capture by the totalitarian constabulary known as the United States Police Department. A quick shoot out, and then they were on the loose into the metropolis of Chicago. They moved into an area of the windy city called The Wards. It was visually different, and then we got a glimpse of the tech trees that Aiden can investigate and learn when ever they want. This is looking seriously impressive: will Watch_Dogs be the Grand Theft Auto of the next-gen? We’ll find out later this year.
– Rory Mullan. He’s on Twitter @thenomadprophet