Monday 15 June 2015

Bethesda @ E3 2015

Ah E3, that time of year when I get around 3 hours of sleep over a 48 hour period. I've missed this time of year, guys are girls! I really do look forward to E3 and compared to the last two years, I've been dying for E3 2015. It's been a great year for gaming so far, but there are so many incredible games on the horizon that this E3 could be one of the best. Of course, with us being awesome and all of that, expect daily coverage of all the press conferences right here on CeX.

Kicking off E3 is Bethesda, and with this being their first ever E3 stand-alone press conference, expectations were rather high. With a pre and post-event show hosted by former X-Play presenters Morgan Webb and Adam Sessler, things were already off to a great start even before the first game was announced. Once the conference kicked off though, Bethesda decided to get the ball rolling with a game fans have been dying to get a glimpse of for the past decade...


Everyone knew it was coming of course, but the reaction from the audience when the Doom logo appeared on the screen was insane. No longer called Doom 4, this is the first Doom that won't have the legendary John Carmack working on it, since his abrupt departure from Id. Suffering a rather turbulent development cycle, it has been a long road to this special E3 reveal. Running on the Id Tech 6 engine, the gameplay demo opens on Mars. Overrun with hellish demons, the demo starts off pretty slowly, and before the shit hit the fan it does a great job of building atmosphere and showing off the new take on Doom.

The new take of Doom draws heavily on the original Doom's ethos; shooting badass weapons at motherf*cking hordes of demons. It's  a simple but perfect concept. However, during the demo at first those hordes of demons were more like trickles, as it all started off deceptively slow. Taking us through the gameplay, Bethesda showed off a couple of the classic Doom weapons, with the Doom shotgun and the chainsaw getting most of the crowds cheers. Unlike Doom 3 and more like the original games, demons here are incredible fast and unrelenting this time around. But rather than this making gameplay clumsy and confusing, as the hordes of foes grew on-screen in number, the games fast pace and massive array of weaponry dealt with them easily. You can now also get up close and personal with demons too and perform various melee executions for instant kills. Although perhaps it was due to its overuse in the demo but, much like the new time slowing weapon wheel, I wasn't too sure that it felt very Doom-like.

Bethesda then showed off Snapmap, a new service that allows gamers- regardless of platform- to create levels for Doom with ease. Using a very simple but innovative looking user interface, Bethesda are trying to bring Doom back to its roots here, as back in the 90's Doom was (and still is) a fan favourite in terms of sharing user created levels. This was topped off by more footage of the upcoming Doom game, which this time took us to hell. This is when the gunplay to the game really shined, as when some gun wielding and flying enemies appeared, it started to feel more like the Doom we all know and love. Looking incredibly frantic and insanely over-the-top, the hordes of enemies didn't let up for a good 10 minutes. Wave after wave of them populated the screen, and this, on top of the quick look at multiplayer we saw, made for our first great E3 reveal. While I do have my reservations about certain aspects of it, Doom is shaping up to be a worthy successor to the much loved franchise.

Dishonored 2

The first Dishonored was incredible. I bloody loved it. You see, one genre I think has fallen into obscurity is the stealth genre. Sure, there are some games out there that say they're stealth titles, but I'm talking about stuff like the original Thief games, games that let you do a completely unseen and non-lethal play-through. Nowadays in gaming we're far too used to whipping out the big guns and mowing our enemies down, so when I played Dishonored, a game I played through in a complete true stealth approach, I ended up adoring every minute of it. Thankfully Dishonored sold pretty well, so while a sequel was always expected, it was great to see it finally announced.

Sadly no gameplay was shown, but the CGI trailer opens up revealing Corvo Attano's (the protagonist of the first game) mask in water. The trailer then cuts to a coastal city, and with the sight of people being lined up against a wall and executed, it's safe to say that in Dishonored 2 you'll be facing up against some kind of a mad tyrant. However, the real kicker here was the identity of the assassin that is seen in the trailer. It's not only a female assassin, but it's Emily Kaldwin; the heir to the throne that Corvo rescued in the first Dishonored game. Clearly following in Corvo's footsteps and sporting short hair, a dashing outfit and a scarf mask, Dishonored 2 will take place 15 years after the original. Despite no appearance from Corvo himself, it has been confirmed that both Corvo and Emily are playable. It's only a CGI trailer, sure, but confirmation that Dishonored 2 is officially happening is superb news for all my fellow true stealth fans out there.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends

With The Elder Scrolls Online doing pretty good business, and the fact that the last few main entries in the series have been massive blockbusters, it's no surprise that Bethesda are trying to further expand the world of Tamriel. However, while previous spin-offs pretty much fell in line with the main series in terms of gameplay, this latest upcoming entry in the series is the complete opposite.

With the popularity of Blizzard's Hearthstone and other similar card based titles, Bethesda has decided to step into ring. The Elder Scrolls: Legends is a free-to-play strategic card game, and though the trailer contains no real gameplay, it looks like you'll get pick a character from all of the 10 races of Tamriel. Kicking off with a starter pack, expect to pump some money into Legends in order to build up your desired deck. It remains to be seen if Legends turns out to be a Heartstone competitor, but with a massive Elder Scrolls fanbase already built up over the past 20 years, I expect Legends might take off into something huge.

Fallout Shelter

Here's one no one expected. Much like Bethesda is trying to tap into the market that Hearthstone caters to, it seems they're also trying to get into the mobile market now. Though it's an idea that they've had on their minds since the release of the iPhone, it has finally come to fruition. Bethesda were proud to announce Fallout Shelter, a free-to-play Fallout simulation game, and a game that is out now on iOS.

Fallout Shelter puts you in control of a Vault; the underground shelters the people of Earth hid in during the nuclear war depicted in the Fallout universe. As the person in charge of your very own Vault, you'll need to give your people stuff to do, food to eat, stuff to drink and even kit them out with weapons and armour, and ultimately send some out of the Vault and off into the wasteland. If they survive they'll bring you back supplies and scrap metal, but if they don't... well, it means you're one person short in your Vault. Fear not though, as going by what Bethesda's Todd Howard was saying on stage, your Vault dwellers can fall in love and even have babies, thus expanding your Vault's chances of surviving.  It looks like a fun little game, but if it's Fallout news you're looking for, the next reveal is what you're looking for.

Fallout 4

OK, so much like Doom we knew this was coming. Bethesda revealed the trailer a few days ago, but at their press conference Bethesda blew Fallout 4 wide open. There was so much revealed about it. First off, the game will take place before the nuclear war that essentially created the classic world of Fallout. Using a new engine by Bethesda, Fallout 4's demo started with the player creating their character. Your character can either be male or female (they're a couple), and depending on how you design your players face, the couples baby will be generated from your facial choices. From there Todd Howard was keen to hide some info regarding the plot, but we do know that you'll witness the nukes dropping, you'll enter a Vault, you'll be that Vaults sole survivor and you'll wake up from a 200 year stasis sleep to find a completely ravaged world. From there you'll venture out of Vault 111, and off into the open-world of Boston.

Bethesda showed off a lot of stuff in their Fallout 4 coverage. At it's heart the game looks like it remains the same, with it focusing on its open-world, the adventures you'll have in it, the people you'll come across (and possibly kill!) during your travels. The visuals have gotten an upgrade too, but beyond the typical visual enhancements that go hand-in-hand with a next generation of hardware, Fallout 4 is looking a tad more colourful that previous Fallout games. Granted it's still the wasteland we all know and love, but now colours are far more prevalent throughout the land, and this ultimately gives the game a far more appealing and unique look.

However, beyond the truly stunning and colourful visuals we're going to be treated to in Bethesda's upcoming wasteland romp, there's a new level a customization that runs through the game that is truly outstanding. In Fallout 4 you're able to create your own house and, from the looks of it, compound. From using scrap to piece together walls and rooms, to adding your very own furniture into your post-apocalyptic abode, the whole process looks very Minecraft-y. Even more, you can also rig up various contraptions to keep bandits and wasteland thugs out, which relies on you wiring these machines up to electrical sources and switches. Beyond that you can now also customize your weapons, and from the 50 baseline weapons on offer here, there is a total of 700 possible customization outcomes. From addling a circular saw to your baseball bat to a beam focuser to your laser rifle, all of these new customization elements look like they'll revolutionize the Fallout series. The big kicker from the Fallout 4 coverage was the fact that the game is coming much sooner than anyone thought, as it's slated for a November 10th release of this year. My reaction? “Holy shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!”.

Bethesda's first foray into a live event at E3 was hugely successful, and after a slew of great announcements it'll be interesting to see if anyone tops them. From Doom, Dishonored 2, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Fallout Shelter to, of course, Fallout 4, Bethesda just knocked it out of the bloody park. Next up... Microsoft.

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