It is easy to dismiss a company in a tirade of apathy, to question their motives, call out the monetisation model and even the honesty of their promotional demonstrations. I have something of a love/hate relationship with Ubisoft because while I love so many games that emerge from their doors, they have also let me down on many occasions. The level of deception we saw with that original Watchdog's Trailer was shocking and for years I didn't trust anything that Ubisoft said. In recent times, however, I have seen a positive change when we see some of the decisions Ubisoft make. There were whispers of a Watchdogs 3 to be unveiled this year but the lack of a confirmation gives me hope they're are taking their time like they decided to do with the Assassins Creed series. Speaking of which...
Assassins Creed Odyssey
I am a massive Assassins Creed fan but even I knew that the game needed an injection of fresh ideas. So when Ubisoft took the series back to the drawing board and emerged with Origins; I was over the moon. I have played every game in the series to 100% completion and loved them, even with so many little quirks. However, Origins was a new breed of Assassins Creed that made the player feel more connected to the world and what a beautiful world it was. So on the back of this rebirth of the Assassins Creed series we have a new game set in Ancient Greece no less. In Odyssey, we can choose to play as one of two characters: Alexios or Kassandra. There seem to be more RPG elements this time around and meaningful dialogue options. There are even romance choices to make but we will have to see how all that shakes out. This game looks like the best looking Assassins Creed so far with mind-blowing visuals and even more exciting: ship combat makes a return!
Release Date: October 5th 2018
Beyond Good and Evil 2
So it’s time to own up, I never played the original game so I am coming into this prequel a little under-prepared. However, that doesn’t stop me from seeing what an ambitious world the team at Ubisoft are trying to create. Last year we saw some very impressive tech demos showing how the world would scale to astonishing levels. This year we saw a gorgeous CGI trailer that revealed the main character from the original title. On top of this, we had Joseph Gordon-Levitt on stage telling us how he and his company will be helping the fans of the game collaborate into making media for the open world; including music and art. We still need to see a lot more of this title before getting too excited but with a development team this enthusiastic I’m expecting big things to come.
Release Date: 2019
The PC Gaming Show
This is the fourth year the PC Gamer Show has been present at E3 and overall I think it’s been a success. Each year we have seen a steady stream of (mostly indie) games being revealed and this year was no exception. It always grates a little that over the road Microsoft is telling the masses that the latest Assassins Creed etc, play best on Xbox: I beg to differ. Of course, PC gaming is only as powerful as they rig you power up. However, it’s a well-known fact that most gaming PCs can tear strips off any console in terms of load times, eye-popping effects and overall horsepower. The main problem is also PC gaming main strength, that there isn’t one central company signing the checks. Which means no dancing pandas, no live orchestras and unfortunately the biggest games are left for Sony and Microsoft to bid over. If you are reading this you know it, many more people know it these days but as an advocate of PC Gaming I would love everyone to know it: that games play best on PC. Ok rant over, let’s take a look at the games that did catch my eye. This year the show was hosted by Sean Plott (a regular now) and the most excellent Frankie.
Just Cause 4
I was happily exploding my way through Just Cause 3 last year when my PC crashed. On booting back up my entire save had been deleted, which was a bit of a setback. I didn’t play Just Cause 3 on launch but one of the major criticisms left at its feet was the performance, especially on PC. It’s a shame because this game is spectacular when everything works and the advanced destruction physics topple in front of you. So here we go again with Just Cause 4, a new fictional island to destroy and some new improvements to make this process more fun. The biggest new stick seems to be the weather effects, more so how these physics-based weather systems affect the environment. Tornadoes, lightning storms, sandstorms.. this really does have some huge potential. A new handling system on all the vehicles will be a welcome addition in as before they were a little bit ‘shoe box with wheels’.
Release Date: December 4th 2018
Developer: Avalanche Studios
I actually saw this game last year, thought how amazing the engine looked and then forgot the name. After a long search, I gave up and forgot all about it. So I was thrilled to see this little gem pop up at the PC Gaming Show this year, I instantly recognised the graphics and wrote the name down immediately. This is an action ‘roguelite’ in which every pixel is simulated. Noita, Nola Games, looks so intriguing because it seems anything can happen at any time. Just watching all the various elements react with each other across the screen in mesmerising. I am really interested in getting my hands on this one.
Release Date: Early access soon
Developer: Nola Games
Two Point Hospital
You can always see how good a stage host is when you see how they handle the unexpected. When two developers came trotting out in doctors outfits to talk about their game, it seemed the stethoscope had knobbled one of the mics. Without missing a heartbeat Sean Plott had the developer talking to his tie mic and the show went on. If, like me, you have always wanted a decent sequel to the old classic Theme Hospital this one might be for you. Sporting cartoony graphics the animation is actually gorgeous with some real visual humour going on. Of course, I’ll need to get my hands on it to see if its got a good bedside manner. For now, this one is on my list.
Release date: none
Developer: Two Point
With the gaming world starting to buckle under the weight of all the battle royale games being developed, it’s great to see one that actually stands out. Publisher TinyBuild (who have brought us some awesome games) revealed this 2D battle royale effort. It is based on the webcomic Cyanide & Happiness which I will be honest, I know nothing about. Regardless this looks like an absolute blast and I’ll be covering it nearer release.
Release date: 2018
Developer: Galvanic Games
I still remember my first kill in the original Hitman, the realistic rag-doll physics being put to work as I attempted to stuff my kill down an open manhole. I remember my sheer joy when I stood back and watched gravity take charge and the still warm corpse of the Triad Guard I’d just razor wired slide out of view. Yeah, you might say I’ve always been a bit fan of the Hitman games. The road to now has been a tough one mind, sure we’ve had some amazing game like Blood Money and some missteps like Absolution. In 2016 IO Interactive started afresh with Hitman, in many people eyes, these episodic playgrounds were exactly what we had been asking for. It seemed unfair that after such a fantastic effort the future of this series was in doubt until IO Interactive bought the IP from Square Enix. So it’s with a sigh of relief that we are now due to get the next Hitman game and this time it will be a full release. Watch this space.
Release date: 11th November
Developer: IO Interactive