I guess it took the E3 Conference to break me out of the fog I’ve been in for the past few weeks. I think my almost permanent sleep deprivation is starting to catch up to me. When I’m not operating on four hours of sleep thanks to working two jobs, I’m trying to get extra sleep, so I it’s actually been a few weeks since my 360 has even been on. But now that another E3 has come & gone, I, like everyone else, have a list of games that I’m really looking forward to in the coming months.
Playstation 4 v. XBox One
Let’s get the first big thing out of way. Probably the thing most of us were looking forward to this time around wasn’t the games so much as the consoles. Everyone was waiting to see how the PS4 & XB1 would look in comparison to each other. A lot of people were either hoping that Microsoft would pull out all the stops after the widespread rage that overtook the internet like a tsunami from their earlier press conference or that Sony would pick up the slack & smoke the new XB1.
I won’t go into a big, long debate about the issue. I personally wasn’t surprised that Microsoft did nothing to fix the issues gamers had with the system. The system is already designed & built; it’s not going to change now. I actually feel really bad for whoever Microsoft’s PR company is. They’ve been working so hard to sell that the new (unwanted) features actually benefit gamers, then Microsoft executives turn around & put their foot in their mouths by dismissing customer concerns & saying things like people without persistent internet can just buy a 360. If this were an anime, I can imagine the giant sweat drop over the PR company’s head.
As for myself, if it isn’t obvious, I’ll be going for the PS4 this cycle. I loved my XBox & my 360, & while I have no real love for Sony, I don’t like the direction Microsoft is heading. If it’s successful, I think it’ll set a dangerous precedent restricting consumer rights. I don’t pay $60+ for the publishers to tell me how I can use their product. That’s like Chevrolet telling me I can only drive my Cobalt X amount of miles per day, only during certain times & that I have to take it to certain dealerships to sell it. That’s not going to happen. Once I give you my money, the product is mine, so shove off.
As one game commentator pointed out, it’s a sad state of affairs when we’re applauding a company for not screwing us over. I don’t view Sony as a savior, but at the very least they seem to understand what gamers will tolerate. I’m interested to see how this cycle goes. On the one hand, I’m sure publishers prefer the XB1 because it gives them control over their games & the restrictions ultimately mean more money for them. On the other hand, based on other gamers’ reactions, most people are planning to go with the PS4, which means they won’t be buying the XB1 versions of games. So exclusive or multi-platform publishers will be losing money, which may mean they migrate to the PS4.
As you may guess, none of the games I’ll be listing here are XB1 exclusives. With that out of the way, on with the games (in no particular order)!
The Evil Within
The Evil Within was actually announced a little while ago, but even though it only came with a teaser trailer containing zero in-game footage, it generated a lot of excitement. That may be because it’s being directed by Shinji Mikami, famed producer of the early Resident Evil games, who stated he wants to return to a real survival horror experience. Most horror games today are more action-oriented, likely in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience. True survival horror is hard to come across in mainstream games. But Mr. Mikami wants to fix that by adding elements to The Evil Within to make a more tense experience. Resources are scarce, you’re often outnumbered, & avoiding conflict is usually the best course.
You play as Detective Sebastian, who responds with a group of police officers to an abandoned asylum, the site of a mass murder. Sebastian is knocked unconscious after witnessing his fellow officers being murdered & (at least from the demo footage) wakes up in a human butcher shop in the asylum. With an emphasis on exploration & resource management, The Evil Within is also supposed to have dynamic AI, meaning each encounter will play out differently. It also appears that you can do local damage to enemies, such as shooting them in the legs to take them down before deciding to finish the off or run. But be warned, because the AI actually sounds to be intelligent & some enemies may be faking to lure in close.
No set release date has been given aside from 2014, but since it’ll be released on all current & next-gen systems except Nintendo’s, expect it early next year.
Saints Row 4
I was already excited for Saints Row 4 before E3, but more information was revealed about the game that I thought it worth mentioning. Picking up some time after SR3, apparently with you choosing to save your crew & let Killbane go as Shaundi is still alive, the Leader has become President of the US. An evil alien race called the Zin invade & stick the Leader in some virtual reality world. I assume the ultimate goal is to break free & send the aliens packing.
Because it’s a virtual world, Volition has used this freedom from reality to go wild… um, wilder. Super powers play a huge part of the game. Some of the ones showcased are super speed, running up buildings, gliding & power stomps. You collect “clusters” scattered throughout the game world to upgrade these powers. Another cool feature is that each power has its own power meter, so you can switch powers while waiting for another to cool-down. Also, apparently taking a swipe at recent RPG games, you can romance a member of your crew. Knowing Volition’s history, I expect this to be very tongue-in-cheek & racy. I’m curious about how this will work & can only guess that there will be dialogue options or special missions.
SR4 will be out on current-gen systems August 20.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
(Sorry, no in-game images yet)
We’ve known about BioWare working on Dragon Age 3 (now Inquisition) for a while & more information is slowly trickling in. You take up the role as The Inquisitor. No one’s sure what that means yet, but it sounds like you’ll get to pick an origin again. The game is thought to be set primarily in Orlais. The major problem of the game is a tear in the Fade, which given what I know about the game’s lore likely means lots of demons & spirits escaping to torment humanity. But this is just the icing on the cake, as the world is already in chaos thanks to the war between the Mages & Templars & a civil war in Orlais. Morrigan will be back, as she’s featured heavily in the teaser, as well as Varric. According to BioWare, depending on your previous games, The Warden & Hawke may also appear at some point but aren’t the star of the game.
Combat this time around sounds like it may be a mix between the two previous titles, requiring less button mashing & more strategy. Customization will also be expanded on, including your teammates’ equipment, which is something a lot people complained about in DA2. The world will also be semi-open world. BioWare apparently has taken notes from Skyrim & while they admit it’s not that open, there will be more freedom than before.
The game is expected out in the fall of 2014. I’m unsure if it will be next-gen only, however. The Wikipedia page says it will be on current-gen as well, but given the release date that sounds unlikely. However, because you can transfer your previous games’ save files over & I’m not sure if you can do that across consoles, it may be true. If anyone can give me a definitive answer I’d be grateful.
The Order: 1886
Not much is known yet about this PS4 exclusive, not even the release date. All we really know is the setting, which is enough to get me interested. Set in an alternate version of London after the Industrial Revolution, the trailer gives a heavy steampunk theme, which I love. I love steampunk & wish more games used it. “The Order” in the title is apparently a group of people who fight against some inhuman threat. The trailer shows them as humanoid but clearly not zombies (they jump around too fast). Also, the trailer shows four soldiers working together, so I’m curious if it will be co-op heavy. According to an interview, all of the graphics & cutscenes are real-time & from the in-game engine so as not to break up the immersion.
Given that the game has been in production since 2010, I’m hoping to see this game out next year.
Final Fantasy XV
You may be surprised to see this title given how I didn’t like FF13. But I’m hoping this one will redeem the series in my eyes. It looks promising enough. You play as Noctis, the crown prince of the city-state Lucis. Noctis’ family has guarded a crystal for generations, & although I’m not sure of the exact role of the crystals they’re clearly important seeing as how every nation in the game is at war for them. The primary driving force of the game is when Lucis is invaded by a rival nation for the crystal & Noctis tries to get it back. The game setting is what really drew my attention. It’s set in a more realistic world. Although set in modern times, Lucis is more advanced than surrounding nations because it focused on developing its culture where the other ones focused on weaponry. Lucis reminds me of a European city, like Venice but with more fantastical elements.
The combat is FFXV looks very fast. It’s in real-time & in the open world rather than taking place in a separate sphere like previous games. Noctis’ fighting style can be customized, but the other character who eventually join your party have a set style. As with previous ones, your party can have three members at a time. I’m interested to see how easy it is to switch between abilities with the combat as fast as it looks in the footage.
There’s no release date as of yet, but it will be on both the PS4 & XB1.
Murdered: Soul Suspect
A current-gen title set for release in early 2014, Murdered: Soul Suspect was based on the random thought of what Die Hard would’ve been like if John McClane had died but kept going as a ghost. Set in Salem, you play as Detective Ronan O’Connor who is shocked when he watches himself being brutally gunned down during a burglary. Now stuck in “Dusk,” a limbo world filled with both spirits & demons, he must continue his search to track down his murderer. Being a ghost has its advantages, as Ronan can posses people to get inside their minds. He can also interact with some of the spirits in Dusk, which may or may not be helpful. But he also has to contend with demons who want to rip his soul apart. Ronan can do the same… but only if he sneaks up on them.
Airtight Games hint that Ronan has a checkered past & is not well-liked by other officers except his brother. The gameplay looks to be similar to L.A. Noir. You hunt for clues & interrogate witnesses. However, there’s only one solution to every puzzle & it doesn’t sound like the culprit changes from game to game, so it may lack replay value.
Still I’m looking forward to when it comes out next year on all major current-gen systems.
This previously unheard-of-game is billed as “a procedurally generated psychological thriller.” You take the role of “a faceless female” who wakes up in an abandoned (aren’t they always) hospital with only your mobile to light the way. Of course you have no memory of who you are or how you got there, & the hospital is infested with ghosts. The selling point of Daylight is that every level is procedurally generated, meaning no two playthroughs will be the same. You’ll encounter different enemies that you’ll have to run away from (this isn’t Fatal Frame & your mobile isn’t a Camera Obscura) & gather different clues about what’s going on. According to Zombie Studios, you won’t be able to piece the story together completely in one playthrough.
This game could be a hidden gem if you like these sorts of games given how much thought the developers have put into it. For instance, in an interview they stated they chose a cellphone instead of a flashlight because it was more realistic. After all, most people will have a phone with them rather than a flashlight.
Daylight will be available for direct download on the PS4 & PC early 2014.
These are all of the games that I’m really excited about. Tomorrow I’ll make a post for “Honorable Mentions,” games that I thought were interesting or had interesting news but that aren’t on my radar right now.