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Malaphax

E3 2017

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There is some additional "leaked" gameplay from a private alpha for battlefront 2.  They've revamped the heroes dramatically, they have lower health, with regen, and any special troops and heroes are bought with the score you earn in game.  It looks a bit wonky seeing 2-3 heroes per side and watching darth maul get shit on in about 3 seconds but we'll see how it pans out.  I still regret buying battlefront 1, but I do think they're aiming to push dramatically more content with the sequel because of how many people felt burned by that initial purchase. 
https://streamable.com/e9z0p

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I wanted to briefly mention I give bethesda some serious credit for keeping their announcements so close to release. They mentioned "everything we show here tonight will release this year" which I truly appreciate considering the average time it takes between e3 announcements and release is 14 months

On the downside it looks like bethesda is trying paid mods again. I'm expect this to go over about as well as a fart in an elevator.

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I'm not sure how I feel about metro exodus. The tight linear story and gameplay of the previous games is what I liked about it. Now they want to make it "open world?" I'm a little skeptical. I have to say though that video felt very STALKER lol... now we just need some instabilities and we are just about there....

The Last Night.... that was kind of....felt original 2D 3D mix.

Another AC game? I guess you play a bird in this one.

Anthem looks pretty. Division is a good looking game too but that didn't make it a good game. I'm pretty sure gliding/flying/jet packs generally do not hurt games. Oh god the "fake live voice chat" is so cringe. Will monitor very cautiously.

Kind of neat to see dishonered to still getting attention.

wolfenstein 2 what a silly trailer

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The last night had some really cool visuals and interesting transitions. I'm glad to see people using pixel graphics differently instead of just basic 2d sprites. 
AC didn't have a release last year and they're pushing hard for this one.  They've always had "eagle vision" but I have a feeling they just took the engine/code from the ghost recon wildlands drones and applied it to an eagle.  Ubisoft is really shitty about reusing assets and it's why they're able to push out so many games in such short time periods. 
Anthem reminds me of the division so much, but it's probably a mix of destiny as well.  I've heard this is EA/Bioware's take on destiny and an attempt at the money destiny made.  They do have the advantage of watching destiny 2 1.5 release first and possibly address some of the common complaints.  I also expect that much like the division it will look very pretty but run into serious issues with content and grinding.  Also I have a feeling they won't hit the 2018 release date. 
I couldn't tell if the dishonored content was a new game or DLC, they had rather extensive DLC for the first game which revolved around Daud so I think it would be appropriate if this new content was also DLC as well. 
Wolfenstein has a special place in my heart because it's super over the top but it has some genuinely amazing and terrifying content.  The enemies are portrayed as absolutely disgusting scum of the earth, but in a way that's almost believable.  Then you have a dude taking acid while a pregnant woman stabs people to death, so... yea. 

Playstation's conference generally delivers a ton of content so I expect that will be interesting.  I've watched a couple of the conferences live and so far they've been fairly tight, no CEO's going over slide decks just straight up game trailers.  I'm glad to see E3 is being handled well this year. 

I might comment about the xbox one x at some point in time, because I think it's an interesting hardware choice beyond a simple mid-cycle refresh.  Maybe I'll save that for sometime this week when I get bored at work.

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Xbox One X

Both playstation and xbox decided to follow several other industries and release their "mid-cycle refresh" for their consoles.  Obviously the focus was on 4k content and improved visual fidelity and framerates.  I assume they pulled some market metrics out of their ass and realized they could sell 2 consoles per generation to the (hard)core gamers.  Playstation 4 Pro is a more traditional mid-cycle refresh that doesn't even do proper 4k, it does a checkerboard rendering technique instead.  PS4Pro also feels like much more of an incremental step that makes it a relatively poor value proposition. 
Xbox One X on the other hand seems like a radical shift.  I'll reserve judgement on the native 4k performance until some qualified reviewers test it, but it sounds as though this could have been a completely new console release.  The massive upgrade over the xbox one seems like a completely different strategy to playstation's more conservative mid-cycle refresh.  You can compare the various console sku's below.  Notice that PS upped their CPU/GPU clocks but kept the same amount of memory, while the xbox one x bumped all their specs across the board. 

I sincerely wonder how this will affect developers.  My understanding is that both playstation and xbox require developers to release their games on both standard and 4k consoles, but with such a disparity in specs how long will it be before a developer says "we can't optimize for the xbox one without compromising fidelity/performance" and just releases on the more powerful console?  Or maybe they'll just release a port with poor performance and call it a day.  Either way I feel like this is going to be a messy way of handling console consumers. 

Sidenote: I forgot to mention, during the xbox conference, all the "exclusives" that were shown listed both xbox and windows 10 as platforms.  I'm glad to see Microsoft using their other platform instead of treating PC players as second class citizens.  That being said, I'm fairly certain most of these releases will be pushed directly to the windows store, which isn't great, but at least it's better than nothing. 

  Xbox One Xbox One S Xbox One X Playstation 4 PlayStation 4 Slim PlayStation 4 Pro Switch
CPU 1.75GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU 1.75GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU 2.3GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU 1.6GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU 1.6GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU 2.1GHz 8-core AMD custom “Jaguar” CPU 1020MHz Nvidia custom Tegra SOC
GPU Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 853MHz with 1.31 teraflops of performance Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 914MHz Integrated AMD graphics with 6 teraflops of performance Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 800MHz with 1.84 teraflops of performance Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 800MHz with 1.84 teraflops of performance Integrated AMD Polaris graphics with 4.2 teraflops of performance 768MHz (docked)/307.2MHz (undocked) Nvidia custom Tegra SOC
RAM 8GB DDR3 8GB DDR3 12GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5 4GB

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Metro Exodus details

Quote

“There’s large levels that offer a lot more freedom, they’re non-linear, but we will have a story wrapped into them,” Bloch explained. “So the story will carry through across the non-linear and linear levels.”

http://www.pcgamer.com/metro-exodus-isnt-an-open-world-game/

I'm not entirely sure what this entails, but I imagine there will be a few "open" playable areas.  I remember the second game had a few sections on the surface that felt more open, but were still very linear.  Maybe they'll just open up a bit more exploration on the surface and keep the underground and story focused parts on rails. 

There was also some news about Anthem.
The lead writer worked on KOTOR and Mass Effect 1 & 2.  I think people are extrapolating some form of quality about this.  I'm still wary about looter shooters and mmo-lite type games because of their inherent grindy nature.  I think they can work well depending on the amount of content they provide and the frequency of updates but I've only seen a few examples done well. 

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I know the xbox conference was all about 4k 60fps but as per usual that doesn't mean developers care about that. 

Destiny is planning on doing a minimum port for the xbonex, this may be due to playstation being the main platform for the game. They probably don't want the "better" version being on the opposition's console. 

Assassin's Creed 5 is planning on keeping parity between the PS4Pro and the XboneX.  Which includes using the dynamic scaling/checkerboard rendering used on the PS4Pro. 

Now this might be due to the fact that both of these games release at roughly the same time as the xbonex launch and they don't feel comfortable trying to push out optimizations and upgrades on a new console that they have no sales information on. 

I wonder if microsoft's gambit of releasing a significant upgrade to their current gen console will backfire if few developers take advantage of the additional horsepower.  I guess we'll see in the coming years. 

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2 hours ago, Malaphax said:

I wonder if microsoft's gambit of releasing a significant upgrade to their current gen console will backfire if few developers take advantage of the additional horsepower.  I guess we'll see in the coming years. 

Couldn't you say the same gamble is done with games for computers? Good games sell well even if they do not take advantage of the latest hardware. The "mainstream" console players have already made the statement (with their wallets) that they are happy with current graphics on current consoles. I just can't imagine that much of a backfire if any.

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This is Crytek's new survival horror game.  It has a few interesting mechanics.  Considering all the crap crytek has been through recently I wonder if this is one of their last attempts to release a game.

 

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bg&e2 video: A handful of games have done the "planetary scale" stuff now but that requires a lot of auto-generated content and have generally been sub-par so they are going to have to do a bit more to get me invested.

 

The whole trend of "open world" "survival" "builder" auto generated content thing is something I would not mind seeing take back seat for a while until there is more tech to back it up. All the best experiences I have had gaming have been in linear designs.

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I agree about the procedural generation.  I've seen plenty of developers chase after it and so far I haven't seen many successes.  I dislike survival games immensely.

I think the reason why linear designs work well is the quality control aspect. Shovel Knight has a set number of screens/levels you progress through but each one is hand crafted and tested. 
Darkest Dungeon on the other hand is totally procedural - sometimes you get laughably easy missions, other times they're nearly impossible.  (And sometimes you summon space Cthulhu and he kills half your party because you got greedy) The only reason why this works is because you get to prepare for each level and a death/party wipe does not mean game over. 

I understand why so many developers want to pursue procedural content - it cuts down their burden of content creation, it can prolong the life of a game and add replayability. 

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