E3 2021 Impression

E3 2021 has completed (a little over a week ago granted, oh well). This year, due the pandemic, E3 went pure digital and free for all. So how did that all translate out in the end? Meh. It was okay overall. Don’t get me wrong though, there were definitely some showcases that brought their ‘A’ game (“cough” Xbox/Bethesda and Nintendo “cough”), but it was okay overall.

So, what exactly stood out to me? Take a look at my Post E3 2021 Guide to see what stood out to me the most each day. No big surprise that most of what I listed were either part of the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase or Nintendo Direct. Out of all the publishers/showcases, they had the best showcases in my opinion.

The Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase had the most announcements with some 30+ games. A nice mixture of first party, third party, and indie titles. However, I think their strongest statement wasn’t the games themselves, it was the fact that almost every titled they showed was tagged with “Day One Xbox Game Pass“. If you have an Xbox or PC, and have an Xbox Game Pass subscription, you are set for the rest of the year with all these titles. I have to hand it to Microsoft, they know what they are doing with this service. Easily the best subscription service I’ve ever signed up for. Also, they had the best trailer of all E3 with the announcement of The Outer Worlds 2.

Nintendo Direct, honestly don’t think there is much else to say. Full confession, I’m a huge Nintendo fan, so I’m thinking they would have been hard pressed not to disappoint me. However, not only did they not disappoint, they threw in some unexpected surprises with Metroid Dread, WarioWare: Get It Together, and Advanced Wars 1+2 Re-boot Camp. The even showed off some new gameplay of the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel that revealed Link is going back to the sky in this one. Skyward Sword helped introduce new mechanics into Breath of the Wild, and looks like it will now contribute to the story, potentially. I was hoping for a new Switch announcement, but I can wait. They showed me more than enough for one Direct.

As for the other publishers, I did enjoy the Ubisoft, Gearbox, Indie, Freedom Games showcases. While not a diehard Ubisoft fan, I’m really happy their are making Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. I’m also intrigued by Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. Gearbox I wanted to see more gameplay from Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, but I have to hand it to them on overall production. Both the Indie and Freedom Games showcases I liked just from the perspective of seeing what new Indie games are coming out.

As for those that had the weaker showcases, that would be Capcom, Square Enix, and Bandia Namco. Don’t get me wrong with Capcom though. What they had I’m excited for, but it wasn’t anything new they haven’t already showcases previously. Just wanted to see more or an unexpected surprise. Square Enix had some interesting titles they showcased that have my attention, but not enough to really sell me. Then there was the Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin trailer. I have no idea what they were thinking outside, Chaos! Must kill Chaos! Don’t know why they have to kill Chaos. They just need to kill Chaos! Chaos! Also, over the top brutal combat that has no place in a Final Fantasy title. Onto Bandia Namco, or should I say the Dark Pictures: House of Ashes showcase. For those that like the Dark Pictures series, you are covered, which I’m not, and that was it. Nothing else. Not even a new trailer for Tales of Arise.

All in all, it was okay. Would I watch free E3 coverage again. I would. Would I pay to watch it? Probably not. Either way, I’m excited for what all is coming down the pipeline for my Game Pass for PC subscription and the new iconic titles announced for the Nintendo Switch. This is going to be a good year for gaming.

The Outpost’s Post E3 2021 Guide

E3 2021 came and went last week. Meant to post something sooner, but here is my quick post guide to E3 2021. Each day’s header is a link to E3’s official coverage for that day. While I was planning on trying to list everything, being only one person with a fulltime job and doing this on the side, I decided to just highlight what stood out to me the most. All links to YouTube videos either on E3’s own channel or the specific publisher’s own channel.

Day 1, 6/12 – Ubisoft Forward / Gearbox

Day 2, 6/13 – Xbox & Bethesda / Square Enix / PC Gaming

Day 3, 6/14 – Indie Showcase / Freedom Games / Capcom

Day 4 – Nintendo Direct and Nintendo Treehouse

April Resident Evil Showcase

In case you missed it, Capcom held another Resident Evil Showcase a couple days ago on 4/15 to reveal more details on Resident Evil Village and a few other Resident Evil announcements. In case you missed it, here it is just before it kicks off.

The biggest draw for me was Resident Evil Village, the 8th installment of the main series and direct sequel to Resident Evil 7, reprising the role of Ethan Winters. No big surprise, they released a brand new trailer to tease out even more of the story, including what looks to be an even more direct role for Chris Redfield in the village. If you just want to see the new trailer, here it is in it’s 4k glory.

Not sure if there is anything more for them to say to get me hooked. I’ve already got the game pre-ordered on Steam and I’m taking day off. In case you aren’t aware yet, Resident Evil Village released on May 7th.

So why the big showcase? They had a few new announcements to make. Capcom confirmed that Mercenary mode will be returning. To be honest, I never really got into Mercenary mode in a RE game, but I have to admit that it looks fun. The added ability to buy and upgrade gear between rounds does look nice. If your current strategy isn’t working as planned, change it up, if you have the money.

Capcom also announced a new timed demo for Village. Interesting approach if you ask me, but I’m not going to complain about a new demo, especially on PC, finally. Starting May 1st at 8:00 PM EDT to May 2nd at 8:00 PM EDT, a 60 minute demo will be available to play where you can explore the castle and/or village in the new game. You can spend all your time in one area if you want, or split it between both. If you are PS4/PS5 player, you will get early access to additional timed demos, these ones being 30 minute demos of the castle and village on separate days. The village PS4/PS5 demo opens April 17th and the castle demo opens April 24th. Here is a link to Capcom’s official page with the details and when you can start downloading the demos, Gameplay Demo.

Capcom also announced that they will be releasing a VR version of Resident Evil 4 on the Oculus. If you have an Oculus and never got to play RE4 yet or are just a huge fan of RE4, this should be an interesting take on the game. They also released an official trailer for the Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness animated series releasing on Netflix this year. Looks good and I’m definitely planning on binging this when it releases.

All that is left for me now is to patiently wait for the timed demo and the release of Resident Evil Village.

The Year of Diablo!

While I understand it isn’t the major event BlizzCon has come to be, I’m rather happy that I was able to join in this years BlizzConline event. This year being Blizzards 30th anniversary and last years BlizzCon being cancelled, I figured they wanted to do something for their community that everyone could attend. I’m rather thankful for that as I’ve never been to a BlizzCon nor payed for the virtual event. So much nicer to see the announcements first hand. On that note, if you missed the event and would also like to watch it first hand, you still can! Much thanks to Blizzard for not locking this out. Just head to the BlizzCon Schedule page or their Blizzard’s YouTube channel, and you can watch everything.

Now onto what grabbed my attention the most, Diablo. In my honest opinion, this was Blizzards biggest focus. Yes, they talked about where they are going next with the latest World of Warcraft expansion and Classic; yes, they talked about what’s next for Hearthstone; and yes, they shared more details about Overwatch 2. However, Diablo alone had three different games covered, Diablo IV, Diablo II: Resurrected, and Diablo Immortal. There was so much Diablo to go around!

First things first, Blizzard announced the return of the Rogue class to Diablo IV. Not since the very first Diablo game, has there been a Rogue specific class. Diablo II had the Amazon and Assassin classed there were the closest; and Diablo III had the Demon Hunter. This is a return to form of the original Rogue class. If you haven’t already, check out the brutal announcement trailer below. Fair warning, while not as extreme as the original Diablo IV announcement trailer, it has it’s cringe worthy moments.

Very much looking forward to giving Rogue class a go in Diablo IV. They also touched on some new Diablo IV game mechanics such as clearing out overrun settlements to allow NPC’s to rebuild them. This one really has me excited as I’m always for dynamic content that expands as you progress. They even mentioned that some of these settlements will get new vendors and waypoints as they are being rebuilt. So cool. They also touched on how Diablo IV is going to have a much more open concepts then previous titles, helping to explain why Diablo IV is going to introduce mounts. Mounts in an ARPG. To top that off, you can even attack off of your mount into a cluster of enemies as shown by the Rogue leaping off her horse and launching a rain of arrows onto her enemies before touching the ground. If you want to hear more, I recommend checking out the Diablo IV: What’s Next panel.

Next up, Diablo II is getting resurrected in full remake that releases this year, Diablo II: Resurrected. Just to be clear, this isn’t just a remaster where they just try to clean up the existing art and sound, this is a full remake with the game being almost completely rebuilt. Blizzard has teamed up with Vicarious Visions (studio behind the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 remakes) to make this possible. While I say the game is being rebuilt, Vicarious Visions is doing everything they can to maintain the exact same look, feel, and gameplay fans of Diablo II have come to expect while giving it a more current gen look and introducing some quality of life improvements (they are adding a freaking shared stash, oh happy day!). If you want to get a better idea of how the remake is getting made, definitely recommend checking out the Diablo II: Resurrected Deep Dive panel. In the meantime, here is the announcement video.

Last but no least, we got to hear more about Blizzard’s newest mobile game, Diablo Immortal. Outside of this being a mobile game that helps bridge the gap between Diablo II and Diablo III, I’m not quite sure how to feel about this one. I’m not a huge mobile gamer, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this game had me slightly interested. To be honest, when watching the gameplay, I had to keep reminding myself it was a mobile game, so they are definitely going all out graphics wise. They are also fleshing out the story and lore for this one as well to make sure it feels like a Diablo game that fits into the series. Definitely not getting that shallow mobile game vibe. Unfortunately, no release date yet; but they have my attention with this one. If anything, I’ll definitely give it a try. If you want to hear more about it, recommend checking out the Diablo Immortal: Alpha and Beyond panel.

So, all in all, I definitely feel like this is the year of Diablo. Granted, only Diablo II: Resurrected has been officially announced to release this year. I still think there is a chance we get release dates for Diablo IV and Diablo Immortal before the year is over. Maybe Immortal will also be released later this year? If you are a Diablo fan, this years BlizzConline definitely delivered in my opinion. Having just recently beat Diablo III and gotten all this new Diablo news I’m ready for more Diablo. Guess I’ll just start up a few more characters in Diablo III and maybe even re-install classic Diablo II to help get ready for Resurrected. Diablo, we will meet again.

Xbox Games Showcase Impression

Decided to give it a few days post showcase to settle my thoughts on Microsoft’s Xbox Games Showcase. Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here is their recording shared on YouTube (skipping the first 30 minute countdown):

Overall, I think it was a decent list of games to showoff. Sure, none of them were Xbox Series X exclusives with Xbox One and PC listed for most (if not all); but I think this just ties into what Microsoft is trying to go for. Eventually Xbox One will stop seeing new games, but I’m thinking PC will be a constant considering Windows is the biggest PC platform out there. Just makes sense that Microsoft wants to keep both PC players and Xbox players together, blur the lines so there is less of a concern which you own. I’d honestly love for there to be more cross platform play so I don’t have to keep asking what platform someone got a multiplayer game on.

Granted, I was really hoping they would have announces the release date and price as that is what I cared about the most. I am excited for Halo Infinite, Fable, S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2, Everwild, and Avowed; but I’ll likely just get them on PC, least I have a more compelling reason to finally upgrade my Xbox 360 (skipped the Xbox One). As long as they don’t pull the backwards compatibility and if the price is right, I’d honestly consider getting it. Guess I’ll have to wait just a bit longer.

Now, to address the elephant in the room, Halo Infinite. I feel like I have to add a little blurb about it. Yes, I feel there were some graphic details that felt off. Looking at the entire environment as a whole and everything happening, the game looks good to me. I just can’t get over how smooth the character faces were, just doesn’t match everything else. Regardless, I’m excited. I’m okay with them making it more open world, regardless if it’s similar to Destiny (which I really haven’t played much, so I can’t compare). If that worked well for Destiny, why not. Games have to evolve some; but in that same vein, watching the combat, it felt/looked like Halo. On top of that, reading that the developers clarified the game is still in development and the graphics will get better, that makes me suspect that will address those graphic details most everyone is complaining about. As I mentioned, they seemed oddly off compared to everything else and that would explain it if they aren’t done yet polishing everything up. Definitely not enough to make me not want to play it that’s for sure.