E3 Highlights

E3 has come and gone, and despite not having as many announcements or incredible moments as the previous years, it was a great show. And here I’ll talk about my favorite games that were part of the conferences.

A Way Out

Sometimes a new project comes with real innovation, and this is a perfect example of that. We always hear about innovation on games, but we rarely see it, and A Way Out brings it to not only storytelling but to gameplay as well. A couch co-op game in which you control two inmates willing to escape from prison.

The difference is that each player will control a different character at the same time with different perspectives, and ways to push the story forward. Creating scenarios that could be played in several ways, with each character having personalities that could make a situation easier or harder to deal with. It’s great to see EA bringing an experience with such an unusual approach to the market.

Anthem

Speaking of EA, here’s a demonstration of their range. From an indie game like A Way Out, to a colossus called Anthem, a huge AAA project from Bioware. Closing Microsoft’s conference, Anthem, a Destiny with an apparent bigger focus on story, impressed everybody with an incredible demo, showing what Bioware’s main team had been working on for years now.

The graphics looked simply breathtaking, to the point it was too beautiful to believe sometimes, we’ll hardly see it looking like that on consoles. What was very surprising was how easily the game could change from a jetpack, to ground combat, to water without hiccups or meaningful changes. They claim it will be released next year, let’s hope.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

A prequel to the franchise, Assassins Creed Origins looked to show how the franchise would shape up after taking a year off. And from what we could see, it looks like a soft reboot, telling the story behind the beginning of the brotherhood in ancient Egypt, a setting that allowed the team to make some interesting changes.

With a larger focus on the RPG aspect, Origins appears to be a lot more profound the previous titles of the franchise, something Unity tried to do before. Combat was revamped, taking notes from Dark Souls, with a slower pace, that requires players to think before attacking. The world looks beautiful, reactive, alive, the animations on the other side didn’t look like they were very improved. If they deliver on what they promised this could be not only an amazing AC game but an amazing game overall.

Far Cry 5

Beyond all the controversy surrounding it, Far Cry 5 has been getting a lot of attention for the changes that have been made. After Far Cry 4 and Primal’s underwhelming results, showing signs that the franchise seemed to exhaust its formula, Far Cry 5 feels like a real step forward, at least from what we’ve seen.

Instead of lush environments, Montana is the new setting, a change that can bring new gameplay experiences. The demo spotlighted the co-op experience, showing NPC options to assist you in your missions, as well as with other players. Like Assassin’s Creed Origins, the world around the player will react to your actions, assisting or fearing you. If the villain is great, and the new features work well, it can be a comeback.

Need for Speed Payback

The reboot was a good game that unfortunately didn’t really resonate with the fans of the franchise. The FMV cutscenes were criticized by many, personally, I found it strange and funny at times. When it came to gameplay, it was neither horrible nor incredible, the graphics were mesmerizing, on the border of becoming photorealistic. But the world felt lifeless, and the always online feature would punish those who wanted to play offline or that had an unreliable internet connection.

With all that baggage, I didn’t expect much from Payback, however, what we saw was a silly, fun, high-octane game with a heavy Fast and Furious atmosphere. And that can be a smart way to bring the franchise back, when it comes to simulators there are worthy competitors, Forza Horizon 3 was everything an arcade game needs to be. Feeling like a Burnout game with a story, charismatic characters, customization options and great gameplay can be what the franchise needed.

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Last year a trailer revealed an important exclusive for Sony, a Spider-Man game produced by Insomniac, and the hype train started. From that moment on, we heard nothing else about the project.

This year, an extended gameplay showed how the game runs, and in the end, it looks like an Arkham game with color. The combat resembles the Arkham series, but with flashier movements, a more acrobatic style. New York looks stunning, with traversal looking simple and loose. As we can expect from Spider-Man, there was a lot of bantering, jokes, a lighter tone. My only concern is with an excessive use of QTE’s, that if used wisely, only during action sequences can work very well, but if exaggerated can remind Resident Evil 6.

Sea of Thieves

At last, it looks like we finally know what Sea of Thieves is all about, after 2 years of demos that wouldn’t really show much. And despite being a little too long, the gameplay demo shown this year followed a crew on a mission, and it does look different, and fun.

Teamwork seems to be the best way to play it, as things can go bad quickly. Storms can affect the way the ship handles, special treasures can change gameplay, other crews can attack you. This might be the cause why the game won’t succeed, as it relies heavily on multiplayer, as we saw with Evolve, Battleborn. But Sea of Thieves looks like a much richer game than the examples above, with more things to do, a lot of features, and a unique style.

The Crew 2

This one was unexpected to me, when I saw that it was The Crew 2 I thought about checking my email or doing something else, I’m glad I didn’t do it. It appears to be another case of Ubisoft’s great improvement on the second title in a franchise. The first title was very underwhelming, wasting an immense potential. With The Crew 2, it looks like we’ll finally get what we were promised before.

Visually it is a lot superior to the first Crew, with New York looking amazing, the game also uses an effect that reminds Inception to change locations ocasionally. The fact that you can change from a car to a plane to a boat immediately is something we haven’t seen in a racing game, hopefully, it will be better implemented than it was in Steep. From an insipid title, we may get an alive one, much like the Watch Dogs to Watch Dogs 2 transition.

The Last Night

Sometimes a smaller game comes and steals the show, and The Last Night was one of those gems. An example that graphics aren’t everything, it has a special art style, pixel art, something I was tired of, in a futuristic cyberpunk world that looked like nothing else we saw this year. Whether it will be great we’re yet to see but it shows a lot of promise.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Crazier, more beautiful, with an improved story, an even bigger focus on the characters, that’s all that a sequel should have. And Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus looks like exactly that. The New Order was well-received but didn’t seem to explode as it should’ve, in part to some gameplay choices, in part to a very slow start in the campaign.

From what we’ve seen, MachineGames heard the criticisms and greatly improved on them. The story, that was very good in The New Order, appears to be even more interesting, bringing Nazis to America, making you fight them as part of the revolution. The characters are bizarre, the villain scary, if it is anything like the trailer it will be an amazing ride.

Those were my favorite games, did I forget one you liked? Comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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E3 Expectations: Ubisoft

The craziest, funniest conference, sometimes for some strange reasons, comes back in their usual Monday slot. Ubisoft has released a small video “hyping” what we could see in the conference, promising a lot of surprises and unexpected things. With franchises coming back and awkward moments, what can we expect from Ubisoft this year?

Silly Just Dance Moment

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All jokes aside, that’s why I love their conferences

Every year, sometimes in the beginning, it is a certainty that we’ll see a bizarre, to the point it gets funny, moment revealing that year’s Just Dance. Enthusiastic dancers with colorful clothes will dance to the sound of a pop song, and maybe the singer will be there to join them. In the end, we’ll get a release date, some novelty on how to play, and I guess it will lose the number, and embrace the Just Dance Unlimited subscription model for future iterations.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

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It’s not a secret anymore that the next Assassin’s Creed will be set in Egypt, and will be called Origins, mainly because of leaks from shirts. Expected to be a reboot, this is the game I’m most curious about, if this extra year was used for improvements on gameplay, mission structure, we can probably see a renaissance of the franchise.

There are no doubts that they can create beautiful, lively worlds, but without relatable characters and an interesting story, something the AC franchise has struggled a little, it wll be just another entry in the franchise. A clean slate enables them to rework the Abstergo story, enhance the missions, highlight the world, bringing the long requested Egyptian location as the background. It will probably be released this Fall, November maybe, and I think will appear with a trailer and an extensive demo.

Splinter Cell

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As part of my expectations from Microsoft, I mentioned that the series may come back as an exclusive title for the Xbox. 4 years have passed since Blacklist was released, to positive reception from the media, but lukewarm sales. Reports of Michael Ironside’s return as the voice of Sam Fisher have surfaced, and I think it’s been long enough for the franchise to return.

I believe they might try to reboot the franchise, calling the game only Splinter Cell, as a fresh start, with some gameplay changes willing to appeal to a larger market. My guess is that it will come back in less than one year. I don’t know if it has the strength to be released during the Fall season, so Q1 or Q2 2018 would be a nice time to release it.

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5

Following the reveal trailer that garnered some hate, we’ll probably see gameplay for the first time. Set in the US, it looks like an interesting change of setting, as some mechanics might require some changes since the landscape is very different. The controversy around it has the chance to propel the game to an even higher height, receiving attention from groups that might’ve not noticed it otherwise.

New mechanics, like flying planes, will be part of the game, there will be some player customization, and the trailer appeared to focus a lot on the characters, with the most relevant side characters receiving individual pieces. We can expect a bigger attention when it comes to the story side, and if it follows the pattern of past games, the villain will probably steal the show. This is a game that I didn’t really care, but the news coming from it got me cautiously optimistic, let’s see.

The Crew 2

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Despite having a great potential, and an impressive world map that recreated the US with a scale we haven’t seen before, The Crew never fulfilled expectations, being a little underwhelming. Heavy focus on microtransactions, a heavy DLC system, an uninteresting plot and a world that was huge but lifeless ended up leaving a bad taste in their consumer’s mouth.

But Ubisoft’s track record of greatly improving on their second games creates hope for The Crew 2, as we saw with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Watch Dogs 2. I’d guess it will have a new setting, a gameplay demo and for the release date, my bet is Q1 2018.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

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Everything about it leaked, the marketing strategy, amiibos, pretty much all that mattered. A turn-based RPG exclusive for the Nintendo Switch, with focus on exploration, bringing mascots from both companies with different abilities and weapons. According to the leaked material, it is expected to be released in August/September, and sounds like an awesome idea.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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Returning for yet another E3, South Park: The Fracture But Whole must bring back Trey Parker and Matt Stone to the stage with a new trailer and some more gameplay.

UbiArt comeback

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It’s been 3 years since Child of Light and Valiant Hearts: The Great War came out, to very positive critical and commercial reception, representing something different in the AAA publisher’s market. Games marked by beautiful visuals, stories that didn’t need words to be told, interesting gameplay. There are no rumors regarding a comeback, but that would be something that I would love to see return, after all, quality, introspective games are never enough.

IP That Appeared in Watch Dogs 2

A possible candidate for the final surprise of the conference, a new IP set on space may be unveiled after appearing in a trailer within a mission in Watch Dogs 2. According to reports in the media, sources claim that the game is in development, and it would be an interesting way to end the show, as they did last year revealing a new IP, Steep. Maybe they could repeat.

Other Possibilities and 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See:

  • A new IP inspired by Black Flag, focusing on pirate life, and since that came out 4 years ago, it’s been enough time to develop a new game.
  • A new Rayman game.
  • Prince of Persia reboot.
  • Beyond Good and Evil 2 trailer
  • Another new IP coming out of the left field, probably, the surprise in the end.

1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See: I know remasters can suck, but I’d love to have the Sam Fisher collection, all past games in one package with gameplay and graphics enhancements.

E3 Expectations: Microsoft

On a new day, Sunday afternoon, Xbox has their most important press conference of the past few years, in what it looks like a make or break one. Looking to reveal the highly anticipated Project Scorpio, address the lack of first-party titles and the assumption that there are no real meaningful games on the platform. And unlike last year, no leaks have surfaced regarding their revelations. So, what can we expect from the Xbox this year?

Project Scorpio

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First things first, the moment that can help define the brand for the next year, Project Scorpio, or the most powerful console ever made. We’ll probably see the final design of the console, that according to reports may have a similar one to the One S. We’ll find out the release date, I’d guess September, to be launched with Forza 7, and the tricky part, the price.

If it’s 499,00 it shows a company that’s thinking about differentiating it, displaying to the market that it is a premium product. However, it creates a space in which PlayStation could lower the price of the PS4 Pro to 349,00, in a situation impossible to compete, given the price difference. If I were them, I’d eat the loss, and would bring it at 399,00, being a powerful demonstration to the market that they are here not only to compete, but to win. But a Ferrari isn’t anything without gas, and a console isn’t anything without games.

Games

Talking about games, we expect to hear more about the exclusives promised by Phil Spencer. And here I’ll try to separate some possibilities and some guesses regarding First, Third-party and Indie titles that may appear in the conference.

First – party

343 Industries – Halo Spin-off or Perfect Dark Reboot

They have announced that they won’t show the new Halo, but instead they’ll show something else. Maybe it is a 10-year anniversary edition of Halo 3. But I prefer to think that it may be a spin-off title of the Halo series, something like Halo Reach, but in another genre, maybe a third-person shooter.

There’s been rumors regarding the possibility of 343 creating a new IP or a Perfect Dark for the Xbox One. Personally, I find it a great idea, it could become a way to use something from their back catalogue to become another staple for the brand. A female-lead FPS is very rare to find in the market, and 343 has proved to be able to produce quality titles, and they could change the setting so it won’t overlap with Halo. But in the end, I think they’ll just talk about Halo Wars 2 DLC.

Rare – Sea of Thieves and New Banjo, Possibly

Sea of Thieves looks like one of the most promising titles for the platform, after all, it could become a profitable game as a service, something that Phil Spencer has been talking a lot about in the media. The team-based structure with a strong multiplayer focus could reap benefits to the console, representing the resurrection of Rare as we used to know: an innovative and beloved company.

Tests have been happening and from what can be seen around the web, the reception has been very positive. It could become of a surprise, if it manages to keep players engaged for a long time, with a robust update strategy, producing new content, missions, places to explore. But most multiplayer centric titles have failed to do that, with the vast majority becoming ghost towns after a few months.

Few games like Destiny had legs for years, and who knows, Sea of Thieves could become a tentpole franchise for the brand, however it’s facing an uphill battle. Another project is currently being developed at Rare, and there’s been talks that it is Battletoads, but I can think of another studio more suited for it, that I’ll talk about a little later. Rumors of a return of Banjo have surfaced after a tweet from the creator of the franchise hinting at a possible reveal, but at least this year we might not hear much, only a teaser, as it wouldn’t make sense to overflow the audience with Rare projects, as it could confuse the audience.

Turn 10 – Forza Motorsport 7

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Another year comes and another Forza will be revealed, and unless a surprise happens, Forza Motorsport 7 will likely come out this year. In a very different situation than when 6 was unveiled, as the smaller brother of the Horizon spin-off, that received critical acclaim and sold extremely well, being regarded as one of the best games of last year, and one of the best racing games ever.

Mainly because while the spin-off series always brings innovations, rain, snow, interesting DLC’s as the Hot Wheels for Horizon 3, the Motorsport series seems to be always one step behind. I’d guess that the biggest innovation will be more racers online, 4K, and snow, and if that is all, they will continue as the inferior Forza game.

Reagent Games – Crackdown 3

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The one game that can become their main Fall game is Crackdown 3, and after years of silence around the game, it looks like they’ll come with guns blazing at E3. A franchise that received some love in the 360 generation, but never reached the stratosphere, Crackdown comes back with the original director, and a promise to use the power of the cloud, fast-paced, heroic action.

It will work as a gamble for them, and I’d say that it will be the game which they try to push as the face of Scorpio. A beautiful open-world, a gameplay based on destruction is perfect to show the power of the machine, and if successful, can be instrumental to the success of the platform. I wouldn’t be surprised if they came with a new name, either removing the 3 or with a subtitle, looking to release it with a clean slate.

The Coalition – Gears of War 4 DLC

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They will make an appearance, but unless they bring a new IP this will probably be about DLC for Gears of War 4, maybe a story one, looking to develop on the story told, maybe enhancing some side characters. But other than that, it doesn’t look like it will blow people away, but we can always hope.

Undead Labs – State of Decay 2

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Even though it comes from a second-party studio, State of Decay 2 is being treated like first-party, set to be much bigger and expansive than the first entry in the franchise. The studio has more employees now, a bigger investment from Microsoft, appearing to be a bet of the company as a Fall lineup title. With a more complex world, mechanics and moving towards a AAA level, expecting to repeat the success of the first one and improve on it.

Indies

My personal bet would be that the indie exclusives will be part of a sale highlighting them, like what Summer of Arcade would do. My bet would go on a lineup with Below, Tacoma, We Happy Few, Cuphead and a Battletoads reboot. Going a little further, I’d say that their indie highlight reel will be composed of games present in the sale.

Moon Studios – Ori 2 or Battletoads

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Here’s where Battletoads comes to me, and it may sound strange, but bear with me. Can you think of any other studio with better credentials to do it? Ori and the Blind Forest was a beautiful platformer, that had a Metroidvania structure, was just stunning, recognized for its quality and difficulty. I can’t think of better of better characteristics for any studio to work on it, it doesn’t even have to have a Metroidvania structure.

Let’s face it, the Battletoads franchise isn’t as important as people like to remember, it’s not a juggernaut. And releasing it as a 2D platformer with 3D elements is the safest and most reasonable way to do it. It would be a nice answer after Phil Spencer’s E3 shirt. And if that doesn’t happen, we can get a new Ori.

The Fullbright Company – Tacoma

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The second game of The Fullbright Company, Tacoma, has the hard task to follow Gone Home, a revered indie game that reached the mainstream through its remarkable storytelling. An exclusive for the Xbox One, it would fit beautifully in the summer.

Set in a space station, it shows some unique gameplay elements, and a heavy focus on storytelling. It was scheduled to be released in 2016, but was delayed in order to change some areas the developers weren’t happy with. We can expect the final release date this E3.

Compulsion Games – We Happy Few

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The biggest surprise of last year, We Happy Few might come back with a gameplay demo, or a trailer of the story mode. After being part of the preview program, we’ll probably find out the release date of this long-awaited indie game.

Capybara Games – Below

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Dark Souls with an isometric view, that’s how Below has been defined. From the studio behind Super Time Force, Below has had a troubled development, with several delays. To the point that the studio has announced that they would only talk about a date when they were certain. And I think this E3 will be their last chance to garner some attention to their title, without the fear of tiring the consumer, that has heard about it for years. Sometimes you just must release it and don’t think about it.

StudioMDHR – Cuphead

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Cuphead, an indie darling, that received a lot of attention not only from the media, but also by fans, mainly due to its unique visual style, is scheduled to return to the Microsoft stage. Although the hype has certainly decreased, as what happened to Below, due to a prolonged exposure, Cuphead should be released in the next few months.

Third – party

Splinter Cell (Exclusive?)

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This is a guess that for some reason looks very feasible, mainly due to a fairly recent history of the franchise. Splinter Cell: Conviction was a console exclusive for the 360, and I believe this story could be repeated here. Blacklist wasn’t an overwhelming success, with the franchise ever since being dormant, so if Microsoft decided to finance a sequel, that could become a real possibility. And it would fill a void in the company’s catalogue, something that Phil Spencer always talks about. Who knows a reboot might be coming.

Ninja Gaiden (Again, exclusive?)

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Another dormant franchise since 2014, the Ninja Gaiden series has a history the brand before, with 2004’s Ninja Gaiden being originally exclusive to the OG Xbox. After Nioh’s success, Microsoft must be paying close attention considering bringing a hack n’ slash to their audience.

An alleged leak of this year’s conference referred to a title from the franchise coming exclusively to the console. Spencer himself acknowledged on Twitter his awareness of the desire of the Xbox audience earlier this year. Although it’s all circumstantial, it wouldn’t really come as a surprise if it happened.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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With the marketing agreement, we’ll probably see an extended gameplay of the first game announced to the Scorpio. We should find out more about the story and the Nemesis system in the demo.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

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As reported by the reliable insider Shinobi, Microsoft closed a marketing agreement with a massive IP, and this looks like the most probable choice. It would be a great stage to show the comeback of the franchise, that skipped a year, in order to further polish the title, in what looks like a reboot.

Cyberpunk 2077

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CD Projekt Red claims that they are focusing on Gwent, but a teaser wouldn’t hurt anybody, only make them go crazy.

Borderlands 3

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Rumors say that it will have a significant appearance at Microsoft’s conference, and it does feel like the right time to do it.

Studio Gobo – Not Yet Known

The studio behind the Disney Infinity playset announced a partnership with Microsoft for an exclusive game, and some job openings gave us some hints regarding what the project could be about. A third-person AAA action game, that may be a free-to-play based on a famous IP. Could it be a Halo game, Gears, or based on a property from other medium? There are no real hints, but it is the most mysterious and exciting project we may see.

Some Predictions and 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See

  • One or two free games given, as what happened in the past few years.
  • Sunset Overdrive 2 announced, will be released February 2018.
  • Skate 4 on stage following reveal at EA’s conference.
  • OG Xbox backwards compatibility announced.
  • Marvel announces an exclusive game for the platform, my bets: Iron Man, Captain America or The Avengers.
  • Dino Crisis reboot or exclusive Capcom game.
  • Possible Obsidian AAA exclusive.
  • thatgamecompany’s new game announced.
  • Dino Crisis reboot exclusive for Xbox.

1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See: Phil Spencer with an IO shirt revealing they bought the studio and the Hitman Franchise.

Movies That Could Influence Splinter Cell

Spoilers follow.

After the unfortunate failure of the Assassin’s Creed movie, with a very negative critical reception and poor box office performance, expectations have reached a new low. And even though it wasn’t the movie responsible for the arrival of the golden age of great video game movies, another Ubisoft franchise has a meaningful chance to do that, Splinter Cell.

It may sound crazy to even believe that someday our luck will change, but Sam Fisher’s foray has a shot for a simple reason, it’s not that different from movies we’ve seen. A gruff, talented agent ain’t nothing revolutionary, but the series has enough elements to feel like a breath of fresh air, and most importantly it can learn from other movies.

Sicario and The Accountant are great examples, with scenes that show how a Splinter Cell movie could play out. In both, we see a character in need to invade a compound filled with enemies, something common in any game of the series. With quick shots, slick and brutal fights, interesting use of the environment, that focused on a stealthier approach, it can serve as a roadmap to how they should deal with action.

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And it can be greatly enhanced given Fisher’s highly technological pieces of equipment, as we saw in Batman v Superman. Like Batman, Sam can utilize his gadgets, such as a drone to have a higher ground, having an idea of what’s to come. His advanced suit as a way to protect from adversaries, weapons and his multi-vision goggles as a way to differentiate himself from known cinema characters, as his signature, using technology in a much more grounded style than a billionaire super-hero.

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The Bourne franchise can be a great inspiration for a series that not only is beloved but also innovative. A killing machine to the government, with the distinction that Fisher works closely with it, with some exceptions, whereas Bourne is a high valued target.

This relationship can be greatly developed, and the duality of it. Like for example, in Double Agent, where Fisher had to work within the boundaries of working as a government agent whilst being undercover in a terrorist organization, juggling their interests. In Conviction, that had its leading character going rogue to save his daughter, leading him to invade even the White House, and gruesome torture scenes, that could translate well to the movies, if used with the right motivation and care.

If they choose to go in a more Blacklist style of story, they can focus on his role as the leader of a government agency, and his relationship with Grim, as his right hand, and a possible love interest, Victor Coste, his mentor, and his daughter Sarah. The idea of protecting targets from possible attacks could be a touchy subject, but if treated properly can be appealing to a mass market.

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With a strong actor such as Tom Hardy attached, we have someone talented and with an edge that can bring the character to another level, and has repeatedly displayed his capacity to lead a film. In a property that has a rich history of quality titles and a story that is easily understandable, while in Assassin’s Creed and other movies based on games, there were complicated lore and some complex and/or convoluted ideas, we can see a more feasible chance of success. Like The Division project, another Ubisoft movie to come.

Things I Can’t Stand in Good Games

Usually, we tend to love games, and as in real life, overlook some flaws. And in spite of my affection for some games, they can really get under my skin sometimes, again, as in real life. Some may sound like nitpicking, with one being more of a pet peeve, and even though they are not massive problems, they end up ruining a little bit a great experience, like:

Annoying Secondary Systems

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Let’s begin with my favorite franchise of the last generation, and one of the few that I’ve ever replayed, Mass Effect. Each one of them has something that really got on my nerves. Mass Effect 1, for example, with its horrible auto-save system, that if you didn’t do it manually there was a risk you would need to restart a very long mission. The use of the Mako, and its pathetic handling through empty planets where you would fight a giant worm or sentry turrets.

Mass Effect 2, and a tedious mining system, that would require the player to spend hours upon hours scanning planets searching for minerals. That after an upgrade became faster but remained incredibly boring.

And the worst one for me, Mass Effect 3, and its asinine readiness system. That according to the number of war assets you had, the ending of the game would change. Forcing the player to play side missions that he might not be interested otherwise, and the worst part, in order to increase the percentage and get a better ending, it made you play the multiplayer, or use external apps. Something I never understood and that made give up on getting the best ending.

The Supernatural Twist

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This one is loved by some, hated by many, the classical Uncharted supernatural twist. A game in which you control an Indiana Jones-esque character, that seems grounded until 70% of each game. Uncharted is a truly remarkable series in part because of its storytelling, and I just can’t understand why it needs to copy movies or classic Pulp stories. It feels more like a gimmick in order to present stronger enemies and stretch it a little bit more, than a real, meaningful part of the plot.

1st Person Defenseless Attacks

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This is more of a pet peeve and a major reason why I don’t play horror games with a 1st person view. Far Cry 4 was an example, you are constantly attacked by all sorts of animals, and many of them feel unbeatable, like those damn badges, and those terrible eagles. And I can’t think of a worse feeling than an Alien impaling your character or an enemy in Outlast coming in your direction.

The Obligatory Side Mission

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Mass Effect 3 also does that, but the Assassin’s Creed series has annoyed me a couple of times. In Brotherhood, the necessity to upgrade your brotherhood and add assassins to it in order to play the final mission was pretty underwhelming to me. Black Flag and the ship was another occurrence, a requirement of always improving it to go through the final parts of the game led me to cheese it, and go around ships, finding places to avoid any combat.

Mandatory Internet Connection

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Some may argue that this may not be a good example, since 2015’s Need For Speed ain’t a great title, well, I had a lot of fun with it. But one thing that simply doesn’t make any sense is the need of a constant internet connection. If we are talking about a mainly multiplayer game, like Overwatch, Titanfall, it’s ok, but when it’s a game without any major multiplayer experience, there’s no necessity for this stipulation.

Shoehorned “Singleplayer”

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Overwatch showed that if you’re going to do a multiplayer-only game, embrace it. No game needs a single player mode, but if you’ll add it, do it right. The first Titanfall promised a campaign to players, and in the end, all we got was a shoehorned one, that didn’t really tell more about the lore, the story. It ended up being a few matches where in the beginning a character you had no idea who she was saying something about what happened there.

Unsupportive AI

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There are many titles that suffer from this irritating situation, the AI that was supposed to support you, ends up being in your way. I tried to play Resident Evil 5 alone, but Sheva kept stealing ammo, missing shots, being a complete mess. Finally, I decided to go co-op and finished the game with a friend, and it ended up being much better. But no game should have its gameplay worsened by poor AI.

Endless Grinding

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I loved playing The Division and Destiny, but after dozens of hours, I just grew tired of the endless grind. Both games have a very addictive reward system, and both improved a lot after updates and the release of expansions. But no matter how much you love the gameplay, the world, the constant demand of replaying main and side missions, tends to become tiresome when you realize there’s nothing else to do in the game.

 

 

 

 

Something New

Last month I moved from Brazil to Ireland expecting not only to improve my English, but also in search of something new and different, something fresh. And one thing I learned in this time, was how being open to new experiences can create some amazing moments you’d never thought you were going to live, but then you think, it’s a blog about games, what does all I’m talking about is related to this? Everything.

Watching a video of gamespot.com series The Point, one of the most intelligent shows about games that you can find on the internet, on the matter of what if we never play our favorite game, I realized how closed we can be to new games, movies, songs because we’re too afraid of leaving our comfort zones. And there’s nothing wrong with loving annual franchises, or playing some series that you love, I still play Assassin’s Creed, FIFA every year, but in the past few months I’ve been trying to do things I’ve never done in my life, like singing in a karaoke, going to places without planning anything, among other things.

And last weekend I went to Dublin Comic Con, that is insanely smaller than San Diego Comic Con, but incredibly fun, and had one of the most entertaining experiences that I had playing games in years, with a small project that’s on Steam Greenlight, called Floaty Ball, made by a tiny studio of Ireland, goodmanladsgames, amazing guys that I had the opportunity to talk for a little while about the game, and the idea is very simple, each player controls a bouncing ball looking to hit each other scoring points.

And the beauty of this game is the simplicity, having an extremely addictive and fun gameplay that can be played alone or with up to 4 players, that was able to entertain 2 friends that were with me, both aren’t gamers, 3 year-old kids, or anybody willing to have a good time, creating moments of laughter and joy in a way that many AAA games can’t create, something that I’ve been having difficulty to find recently in these kind of games, with some looking like chores instead of entertainment.

For a long time I only wanted to play AAA games with amazing graphics and that “pushed” the boundaries of the console, overlooking indies because of visuals that were “too simple” for me, or because of the thought that I didn’t spend money on a new-generation console to play games like this, and this weekend I remembered why I love games so much with a straightforward indie game, with simple graphics, an even simpler control scheme, a soundtrack that remembered me a Worms game, and the feeling of being a child playing Super Mario World on my SNES, all because I dared to try something new.

Here’s the link to both The Point video, and this amazing game called Floaty Ball, please support it.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=502932925

And what was the last game that brought you this feeling, comment.