Bethesda is undoubtedly one of the best developers around having built-up years of good-will with their audiences through varied genre titles. Most notable are their expansive open-world RPG settings with easy-to-grasp action mechanics that appeal to mainstream and hardcore gamers alike. So, now you might wonder “How well did Bethesda perform during their E3 2017 press conference?” Well, the headline “might” have given that one away, but please allow me to give you the answer to that question.
As expected, we had announcements for both “Doom” and “Fallout VR”. While “Fallout 4” will be fully VR, “Doom” will apparently not be, the new content coming out under the title Doom VFR. Doom was one of the standout games of 2016 – a cherry-blood gorefest of vivid lighting and fast combat set to Mick Gordon’s awesome soundtrack sending millions into stage five autism. VFR looks gorgeous, although questions remain on the length of the experience.
Fallout 4 will be a must-have for VR enthusiasts with the hundreds of hours of game content entirely compatible. When it works well, virtual reality is quite incredible; the sense of proportion and distance to game objects should help trick gamers into believing they really are exploring the wasteland of the Commonwealth. Fallout VR will also look to make use of the Vive’s motion controllers to point and shoot or to interact with settlement building.
A slick trailer for a new addition to the seminal stealth-action series Dishonored was shown off. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider will be from the perspective of Billie Lurk (Rosario Dawson) facing off against the enigmatic and powerful foe. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see gameplay.
Another standout of the conference was the reveal of “The Evil Within 2“, with an incredibly dramatic rendition of the song “Ordinary World” played out with surreal, dream-like horror imagery like bodies hung suspended in the air and crows drowning in white ink – wtf is going on?! And eventually, thankfully, gameplay which was fast, brutal and full of terror. Though I haven’t had a chance to play the original game, TEW2 was one of the best showcases of the night. I’ll have to make time for the first game before I get my hands on the second.
Game of the night, in my opinion, goes to Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. The live-action introduction and subsequent in-game cutscenes show the American dream of the golden oldies mixed with science fiction, Nazis, and black humor. It’s Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle on acid. The Nazis have taken over the USA and the gamer joins the revolution to overthrow them, with the help of a robo-dog that breaths fire, and PLENTY of guns and bullets. The gameplay looks exquisite with a great variety of particle and lighting effects exhibiting the range of firepower available.
Keys for the Quake Champions closed Beta are available now from quake.com (the Lockbox arena is currently playable in the Quake Champions Beta). The conference put a lot of emphasis on the e-sports potential of the game and the announcement of the Quake World Championship with $1, 000, 000 on the line.
There were a number of Elder Scrolls related announcements, though I suspect any announcement from God-King Todd Howard about Elder Scrolls VI may still be years away. Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind was announced, a new expansion that includes the fan-favorite province complete with giant mushrooms and Dunmar. Skyrim will be coming to Nintendo Switch, which will make use of motion controls to strike your sword, raise your shield, or pull a bow. Gamers will even be able to play as Link! It’s incredible to think that Skyrim is a 6-year-old game and is still being introduced to new gamers.
While Bethesda games have long had a thriving modding community, their policies are somewhat controversial. The announcement of Creation Club comes with a price tag in the form of credits. Gamers would pay for each individual mod for either Skyrim or Fallout 4. Modding on consoles is welcome, but I don’t think the gaming community will take kindly to what are essentially micro transactions. Creation Club will arrive this summer.
It was impressive that everything announced is due for release this year. It’s just disappointing that we don’t get to see anything of the much-talked about Starfield. With No Man’s Sky being such a great disappointment and the Mass Effect series dead in the water, I really feel that a top-quality space exploration/RPG game is the missing puzzle piece in an otherwise golden era of video games. There weren’t any real surprises this year. So, “maybe” we will get to see some “real” surprises next year. Still, Bethesda has their fingers in a lot of pies. The best of the show – Fallout 4 VR, The Evil Within 2, Wolfenstein II, will have to tide us over.
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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