My E3 2018 Notes

I had a lot of fun co-streaming all the E3 events on Twitch. It will definitely be something I start to do more of in the future. I saw a lot of new games I’d like to give a first try. I’ve taken notes on what I found most interesting at E3 2018. I think Bethesda had the best overall show, but Ubisoft was a close second. I’ve highlighted my favorite announcement in each category. Let me know what your favorites were in the comments!

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Singleplayer open world RPG. Play as a Padawan that escaped the initial purge/Order 66.
  • Battlefield V – Pretty standard lobby shooter. Large scale area control mode coming, but no details.
  • Battlefont II -New squad system, thank goodness. Starfighter mode where you dogfight with hero ships! A new large scale sandbox where you capture command posts & attack/take out capital ships?! Sounds awesome!
  • C&C Rivals – Decent looking RTS mobile game.
  • Play to Give – ? Never heard of this before? Money gets donated to charities based on player hours played.
  • Anthem – Feb 22, 2019 launch. Open world, 4 person co-op. You wear Iron Man looking suits called Javelins. You can change javelins so you are not locked into a specific class. Only monetization is cosmetic, no loot boxes.

  • Doom Eternal – Further details in August at Quakecon! Takes place on Earth. I’m hoping for open world and co-op!
  • Fallout 76 – Open world! All humans are players! West Virginia setting, the good old south! Can co-op with your friends on servers filled with dozens of players. Can transfer servers anytime. Launches November 14. Preorder now starting at $59.99 USD.
  • Elder Scrolls 6 announced. No details. Open world and co-op could make this my first venture into the Elder Scrolls universe.

  • The Division 2 – Better graphics than the original. Boss’s armor falls off gradually as you do damage? 8 person raids coming. The Division 2 is set in Washington DC. Launches March 15 2019.
  • The Crew 2 – Open beta June 21st, June 29 launch. Preorder now for $59.99 USD. Open world across the entire United States! I really liked driving in Ghost Recon, could be a match made in heaven.
  • Skull and Bones – Takes place in the Indian ocean. You can Co-op PvE to take down enemies, then turn on each other to fight for the reward!
  • Rainbow 6 Siege – 35 million players! Parabellum is a free update.
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Singleplayer, but looked very interesting. Battle scenes looked very realistic, and doesn’t look like a lot of stealth gameplay. Male or female character. Releases Oct 3, 2018.

 

  • Jurassic World Evolution – Take control on micro scale! Pilot the helicopter, drive the jeep, fire the darts! Sickness systems gives the game some complexity. I received a copy from the devs at Frontier Developments and will have it on stream!
  • GTFO – 4 person horror co-op shooter. Stealth gameplay is a big part, making melee weapons important too! Very intense looking whether you’re sneaking or fighting. Only 2 maps so far, that’s how careful they are about level design! Wow! Baddies have kind of a Silent Hill type horror look.
  • PuBG – Massive War Mode? No details but might be good.
  • Mavericks: Proving Grounds – New (lol) Battle Royale game, but! with 1000 players?! Massive chaos could be a good spin.
  • Hunt: Showdown – New weapons, and a new monster – THAT YOU FIGHT IN THE WATER?!
  • Maneater – Play as a shark! SharkPG?! Emphasis on roleplaying as a shark! Open world ARPG where you stalk Florida’s waterways.
  • Satisfactory – Welcome to the new Factory Survival genre! First person gameplay, similar to a survival game where you gather materials and build. You (and friends if you bring them) build industrial complexes instead of bases. Kind of an economy sim.
  • Resident Evil 2 – Remake of original RE2. No other info beyond a release date of Jan 25, 2019.
  • Just Cause IV – 3rd person, open world shooter. Multiplayer for the first time in the series! December 2018 launch! Sounds just like Wildlands!

Ghost Recon Wildlands Review

Is ghost recon wildlands good

An Open World Co-Op Shooter

This is a love story. Like one of those classic stories where you’d never expect the two lovers to come together. I first heard about Ghost Recon: Wildlands from a buddy at work sometime towards the end of last year.  After having played The Division, I wasn’t really up for another PvE-fest, so I just moved on mentally without a second thought. Fast forward to a month ago, I was convinced to download and try it with a small group of people. Much to my surprise, I had more fun than I expected. By the second beta test I was hooked. When I read PvP was going to be added, I was sold.

The Breakdown

Ghost Recon: Wildlands is the latest in the Ghost Recon series. I’ve never played a single Ghost Recon title, so this was my first. It’s your standard AAA title, retail priced at $59.99, and can be purchased about anywhere. The game itself is a non-linear, open world shooter. There is a quest line, but everything is off rails. And OH how you can go WAY off the rails! More about that in a minute. The world is HUGE, and the playstyle is completely up to you. If you want to go in commando, you can do it. If you want to go all sneaky stealth – you can do that too. This game has more  flexibility in play than any title I have ever played. You can change your guns, mods, and even your appearance on the fly. To top everything off, you can play from first person or third person views. There is a lot packed into this game, including online co-op with up to 4 friends. And when you don’t have any friends around, an AI squad deploys to help you out.

What Makes Wildlands Fun

This is going to be another review where the praise outweighs the complaints. The first thing worth mentioning are the small things. The level of detail in this game is incredible. Take the screenshot up top for example. My character is holding his hand up to block his eyes from the dust stirred up by the helicopter landing. Another example are the muffled voices from conversations taking place in the next room. The detail in this game is some next level stuff.

Next in line for praise is the driving. The entire vehicle system is the pinnacle of game design. This is how developers should build time sinks. Vehicles are fun to drive, but easy to wreck. There are two speeds – stop and full speed. Handling varies between cars, trucks, vans, buses, and luxury sports vehicles. Wrecking vehicles decreases performance, so it’s pretty common to swap out during travel. Depending on where you are, this could take some time. It’s a very cleverly disguised time sink, and I enjoy every minute of it. You don’t even realize that you’re being stalled, it just all feels like one fluid motion.

There are several recurring mission types, but one stands out for me. Convoy missions are my new favorite thing to do. High speeds, guns blazing, and cars exploding! They are fast paced and never the same. You can try and run the escorts off the road, or maybe you’ll run past a police checkpoint and pick up and become pursued yourself? You have so little control, and the chaos you can create is legendary. If everything goes right, you can be done in a matter or minutes. If it goes wrong, you can die from the fiery explosion of a gasoline tanker. It’s glorious!

I also want to give some praise to the AI commands specifically. While actively giving your AI squad commands, it is probably some of the best AI I’ve experienced in a game. I’ll dive a little into the passive AI behavior below, just suffice to say that you should always actively manage your AI squad during combat. The non-linear quest system I mentioned before is another standout feature of Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Your mission objectives are simple – rescue a prisoner, steal a boat, interrogate an enemy. Your methods to achieve those mission objectives are completely up to you. Finish the mission without firing a single shot. Spend an hour crawling in the grass doing recon first. You get to write the story script here.

Wildlands keeps track of a multitude of player stats. I love stats in games, but this game provides more useful stats than usual. For example, it keeps track of your average shot distance. This can be helpful in determining whether you’d want an SMG, assault rifle, or sniper rifle. While some people may know what they like, there are some like me who only have a vague idea. With stats like these, you can tailor your loadout to more optimally fit your playstyle. Finally, I want to talk about the visuals. Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a non-stop eye candy experience. I don’t know if it’s just the graphics, or maybe a combination of the setting, but every moment of the game looks like a work of art. From the landscapes down to the weapons, everything looks amazing.

What Makes It…Not

I did have some trouble the very first time I played the game. My quest NPC bugged out, and when I tried to start over with a new campaign, I couldn’t create a new character. Since then I haven’t experienced any technical problems like these. Probably the biggest complaint I have is about friends joining your game. When a new player joins your game session, there is an enormous lag spike. This can be especially problematic while driving (see above) or if you’re in the middle of a firefight. Continuing from above with the AI, letting your AI squad follow on you passively holds you back. They won’t take initiative to give you cover fire, and they are never nearby when you want to hurry into a vehicle. It’s like you’re on a mission, and they’re on vacation. Bottom line is, manage your AI when you’re in combat, and prepare for aggravation when you’re not. Probably the biggest annoyance in Wildlands is the down/death mechanic. When you get downed, you must wait for 60 seconds before you can die/respawn. If your teammates can’t get to you, or are 1000 meters away, you’re still forced to wait the entire 60 seconds. It doesn’t come up often, but when it does, it’s extremely irritating.

The Bottom Line

The game as-is has been a hit with me. The promised upcoming free PvP update to Ghost Recon: Wildlands, only makes it better. How PvP will be implemented has yet to be announced, but co-op gameplay is solid enough now to earn a recommendation from me. There is so much to do in Wildlands, and all of it is fun. Even going back to redo old missions is enjoyable thanks to the non-linear system. I’ve yet to find a single zone wall, and have actually been quite distracted from even trying. This is one of the best open world experiences available to-date. Just taking a look at the map, and seeing all the available provinces coming with future updates makes you feel quite small. And I like that.

 

The For Honor Alpha Weekend Experience

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For Honor Blew Me Away

I had seen the trailer for this game back when it was first announced. Seemed interesting, so I signed up to play in the Alpha. Then I got the Alpha weekend invite, and got a little more excited. Figured it’d be a fun thing to stream for a day. I ended up streaming it for the entire weekend, and played it even more off-stream. For Honor was a surprise, sleeper hit for me. It was different than the usual games I play. Part capture-the-flag, part MOBA, with a dash of fighting game.

For Honor Shows BIG Promise

There are some new mechanics, at least new to me, not found in other games. The Guard mechanic was probably the most controversial. It’s something new and fun, but at the same time the implementation was just awful. Essentially you use it to block enemy attacks. It was still really clunky and awkward to use, but adjusting the sensitivity sliders helped a lot. Collision detection was  implemented, so it gave the feeling of real physics. You could throw people off bridges, and even push teammates away from ladders.

Another new mechanic was the point system. Generally speaking, 1000 points was the goal. At that point your enemies couldn’t respawn. However capturing a base would grant your team 100 points, and your enemy would lose 100 points. With 3 bases, that’s a 300 point swing. It’s a great recovery mechanic. Our team came back from a 700 point deficit during one match. As far as individual scoring, it suited me well. I don’t know how it worked, but I always got a decent amount of points.

Best Graphics EVER

The visuals in this game were nothing short of incredible. The graphics were just breathtaking, and I never once had any performance issues with graphics cranked up to 11.  The settings were all really detailed, as well as dark and dirty. Nothing breaks the immersion of a 100 years war like clean castle walls and pristine wood fences. I even think the gore was done well. Some blood would fly when you were hit, and your character would get a nasty visual reminder as well. If your character healed, their tunic would still remain stained by blood! Customization was GREAT. It actually mattered too. You can see it quite well on the field of battle. It gets noticed, unlike customization in SWTOR’s Galactic Starfighter. There were lots of customization options, but you were just flying by so fast that nobody could see. There was a huge variety of colors, emblems, and styles available. It was staggering.

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Multiple Game Modes

There were 3 different game modes available. 1v1, 2v2, and Dominion (aka 4v4). I gravitated towards Dominion because I almost always had 3 or more in group. Generally I like larger scale combat, but for some reason 4v4 felt perfect. The maps weren’t massive, but designed in a way that made you feel like they were. Each capture point had a big area for fighting. There were also multiple levels of structures, so the up and down added to the battle space. I think the 4v4 was also good because the game gives you a really hopeless sense when getting beat on by four people. I can’t imagine what it would have felt like getting mowed down by more.

The Game Made You Feel EPIC

The little NPCs on your team would all step aside and let you pass if you moved through them. It gave you the true feeling of a hero, leading your forces on the battlefield. The executions were perfect. Literally, perfect. Performing the executions made you feel like you were in the final one-on-one fight of a huge battle. Being executed gave the perfect combined feeling of futility and frustration. While you were dead (because being executed added a few seconds to your spawn time) there was this overhead tactical view that you could see. It wasn’t quite what i’d call an observer mode, but you could see everything that was going on from a bird’s eye view. The perspective gave you the impression of a massive battle. The music was straight out of one of those epic medieval war movies. I’m really, really excited at the opportunity to play it again.