It’s been so great to have this celebration of gaming return this year. There’s been a lot of fun stuff revealed and some good memories created. Much like in 2018 when Forza Horizon 4 was revealed, the reveal of Horizon 5 – even though it was very much expected – will be one I remember throughout the years. Sure, it might not be as groundbreaking as Metroid Dread’s return – and I say that as someone who has no investment in the Metroid franchise, but it was still a grand announcement.
As ever, I watched as much as I could live, and for the first time tuned in to see Devolver’s wackiness unfold live. It seemed a bit toned down this year, focused more upon endlessly poking fun at just one thing, but it was still a fun if not memorable time. And it made me hungry with the amount of hot dogs they were parading around during it.
Ubisoft’s Forward event had just two games that I was interested in – not counting the DLC for Watch Dogs Legion. Riders Republic is looking as good as it ever did, with a lovely looking world to be exploring. Along with the mountain bikes, skis, and snowboards, there’s rocket-powered wingsuits – which I’m sure will be a lot of fun. There’s a lot going on with this that I’m sure to be enjoying.
Then there was Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope – the sequel to Kingdom Battle that’s expanding on what the first game provided by going into space. Pretty much a galaxy-hopping adventure. I had yet to play Kingdom Battle – until the trailer for the second game and E3 sale pushed me to check it out. I’m having fun with the strategy and humour of it, which I’m sure the second will provide a lot more of.
Holy smokes, Nintendo. You hit it out of the park with a variety of announcements within that Direct. A few returning franchises, such as a new WarioWare bringing its minigame mayhem to Switch, along with Metroid – which brings Dread back from the dead. That title was originally meant to release more than ten years ago, so to see it be revived is absolutely lovely. Even if it means little to me. But just because those two don’t, doesn’t mean nothing did.
Seems Nintendo is in a revival mood, which certainly felt like the tone of the entire Direct, as quite a few of the games featured were from series that haven’t seen much in the way of support on a Nintendo platform. Worms Rumble is finally coming to the Switch, having seen a release last year on PC and Playstation systems. I enjoyed my time on the open beta of the PC version, but I’m not sure I’ll be grabbing it on the Switch. Good for fans who do, though.
Cruis’n is another Nintendo franchise seeing a revival of sorts, by bringing Blast to the system. Having been released for arcades in 2017, a lot is being added for the series return to consoles. With 29 tracks in total – including the five from the arcade game, I’m ready to get into a Nintendo racer that isn’t Mario Kart. Over-the-top action – including racing on a unicorn – makes this a must have for me. A true arcade racer that’s not of the karting variety.
Microsoft had a real good showing at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase. There was plenty to see and not much in the way of anything that felt like padding. Starfield started things off, and I’m honestly interested to see how this one pans out. It’s a sci-fi styled game, so it holds a lot more pull for me than either Elder Scrolls or Fallout. It hopefully will offer the same sort of exploration as those series.
Bethesda started the show, and also ended it. After the greatest reveal from the showcase for me, Arkane’s new game Redfall got revealed. Another 2022 release, this one is pretty much Left 4 Dead but with vampires instead of zombies. I enjoyed the trailer for it, but I’m not entirely sure I can get invested with something that is exclusively co-op.
Something that was a pretty great surprise was a Disney crossover in Sea of Thieves. I mean, it was kind of inevitable something like it might have happened, but now it has. Pirates of the Caribbean brings Captain Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones into the world of Sea of Thieves for a new storyline that’s sure to be a lot of fun. I’ve yet to complete one of the tall tales of the game, which is what this new storyline will be told through, but they can be completed solo, so I’ll certainly be trying a few out in preparation for this.
The first event of this gaming celebration has now finished. Summer Game Fest’s Kick Off Live had some good stuff within it. A few surprises, but only a few things I could truly see myself being invested in. Along with the games were a few live performances, and these I did enjoy. Weezer’s new song has a great feel to it, and it’s released today, with Wave Break – the game the song will be featured in – releasing tomorrow.
What can I say about Wave Break? It looks fun. It’s pretty much Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, but with boats and guns. With its Miami Vice stylings and vibrant visuals, there’s a lot of maps to go wild on that are all varied in design. The game has a storyline that pits you against others in a crime-filled plot, competing against the AI – or friends in the multiplayer modes – to come out on top. I’m certainly going to be enjoying this tomorrow.
One of the songs from the game Sable was performed live by Japanese Breakfast – which sounded lovely. The game also looks lovely, with a visual style that has a very hand-drawn quality to it. I suppose comic book style would be better suited to describe it. This is the first I’ve seen of the game, and it seems like it’d be a good world to explore. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more on it, as it got me invested in seeing how it turns out.
I’ve enjoyed a bit of Battlefield before, even if I haven’t put a lot of focus onto with articles or videos. The one time I did was with the open beta of Battlefield Hardline, where I showed off some gameplay along with writing up some impressions of that beta. I didn’t then follow that up with a review, but I still enjoyed my time with it. Most of my time was spent with Battlefield 4.
I dropped off from getting into later games as the lure of new Star Wars Battlefronts was stronger, but at some point – even with modes such as Walker Assault and Capital Supremacy being as good as they were – I still wanted some good old-fashioned conquest action. Being stuck in the chaos of all out war with no other victory condition than beating down the other team through kills and domination of the field.
I could have just jumped into either Battlefield V or 1, but the new game was already being hyped up, with the team working on new updates for Battlefront 2 being transferred to the new game over a year ago, along with Criterion. Along with that, getting started in a new game is a tough ask, as I’d found with Battlefield 4 on Xbox (having previously been playing only on PC).
So we now have a new game on the horizon, being built for the next generation, that releases on 22nd October this year. It’s a big event of a release, and the trailer and initial information certainly shows such. Massive maps with 128 player warfare, vehicles galore, and dynamic worlds that bring ever-changing conditions to the battlefield.
June is here, meaning it’s time for E3 – which is happening as a digital event this year. It’s… kind of complicated, in a way, as it’s not just E3 this year. Summer Game Fest is also making itself known as a June event that intertwines with E3. In other words, June really does seem to be the celebration of gaming I’ve always thought of it as. The final words article needs a date set, so that will be the end of E3, either the 16th or 17th.
The usual suspects are here, with Microsoft having an Xbox and Bethesda showcase on the 13th, bringing 90 minutes full of announcements. Nintendo have confirmed their E3 Direct will be happening on the 15th, with three hours of Treehouse streams immediately after it ends. Ubisoft bring another of their Forward events on the 12th. While EA won’t be hosting their Play Live event until July, they’ll still be around – starting with the Battlefield reveal on the 9th. There are plenty of other conferences happening within those dates as well.
As for Summer Game Fest, the Kick Off Live event starts things off on the 10th. A Summer Game Fest event during the Netflix Geeked Week takes place on its last day of the 11th, talking video game films and series that are hitting the platform. Summer Game Fest will also be showing off a few of the E3 events, such as Microsoft and Ubisoft’s events. The Sonic Symphony Orchestra event announced during the recent Sonic Central will be the last event of June (unless more get announced throughout this month).
While technically the eleventh What I’m Waiting For, this is the tenth non-special volume of the series. There are three games I’m crossing off my Waiting For list, and three new ones being added to it, making this the largest What I’m Waiting For article since the series started. Hitting the double digits is kind of a big deal, after all. Although there is another reason for this.
With E3 looming near, it makes sense to clear a few of those games from the waiting for list before plenty more get added. See, with the E3 specials, there’s no crossing games off the list, so without doing this, it will be loaded. But you’re adding the same number of games that you’re crossing off, you might be thinking, but… you’ll see when we get there.
The first I’m crossing off the list is Watch Dogs: Legion, the fantastic rendition of London exploration game. Okay, okay, there’s more to it than that, but the map is the reason I was most looking forward to it. It’s fun to drive around the map, sneaking into places to find a few collectables, and using what you have at your disposal to cause mayhem. It might be limited compared to the previous game, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had in doing so.
The story, on the other hand… There’s fun to be had, I won’t lie about that. In doing story missions or even the recruitment missions, I’ve had fun. But there’s no connection to be felt with it. I’ve already talked in my first impressions about the discrepancy that comes in recruitment missions when bringing in family members, but the main story also has that lack of connection. Oh, it’s good, for sure, but it’s unlikely you’ll remember any of it after you’ve finished.
With the third game in the World of Assassination trilogy having released a few months back, there’s now twenty locations to explore and enjoy various contracts at. Along with new locations, those contracts also featured a few mission strands not seen before. Whether being unaware of who your targets were, or having to sneak into a top-secret facility, new challenges were present.
So now, a few months on, I’m thinking of ideas as I usually do. Even more locations to explore is what I’m thinking, but these are based within the UK. And both are to do with communities I have a connection with. One is a community most wouldn’t have an idea of, but the other is one I’m sure many have heard of. Disclaimer, though. I would not expect either of these to happen at all. It’s just a fun excuse to design some concepts.
GRcade is a forum that brings several former Future Publishing communities together to talk of games and stuff. You’ve possibly seen me talk of it before, mostly on Twitter where I link to various goings on of said community. Now, we like a good talk of various subjects and play various games. And it is through one of these games this contract starts.
During the summer, the idea was shared to meet up for a week, where at one point the members agreed to play a role-playing game in reality rather than through the forum. The meet up happened within Wales, on a road trip from the south to the north. To play the game, the group head to the rural village of Elan Valley, which felt the perfect place. Isolated and hilly makes perfect sense.
A few weeks back, one of the announcements I was hoping for finally revealed itself. Not the speedy hedgehog or blocky space adventure, but the sedately paced business management game. After skipping out on a release last year, the new game is coming this year, numbered as usual with the year after its release.
For a series I’ve only been playing since 2019, it’s massively captured my attention, keeping me invested like no other game I can think of (except GTA Online, of course). 17 on the Switch has seen the most attention, obviously, but with both 17 and 19 on the Xbox, I’m close to the hours I’ve put into the Switch version. Still a massive distance away from GTA Online, but I have been playing that longer.
Enough talk of playtime, though. The new game has been announced, and I want to talk of it. For the first time within the base game, we’re getting seasons. There’s a mod that allows such in both 17 and 19 which the team at Giants were inspired by. I’ve got no experience with that mod, but seeing the world change across time is something I’m ready to experience, and will do so with the new game.
I’ve talked quite a bit about this game, with various ideas of what I’d like to see. Through those, you’ve read of some of my ideas for how a few areas of these planets will appear. With twenty-three planets confirmed for a total of twenty-eight locations to visit, there’s a lot within this open world to explore.
But just how big will these places be? Not all of them can offer a lot, after all. Some planets only have a few known areas to them. To speak of the Endor system, for example, the Forest Moon can easily be packed with the ewok villages, the Imperial bases, and a lot of the forest with interesting discoveries to be made. With Kef Bir however, there’s the ruins of the Death Star and the grasslands.
But just because an area is small, doesn’t mean it can’t be filled with interesting things to be doing. I’ve already talked before about how races could be added across the galaxy as one of the various activities to take part in, and there are the orbaks on the moon that could be used for a race, and a starfighter race can also be there. Since the place is home to Jannah and her band of warriors, there’s a few people to talk to that can offer quests.
Considering they have boats, it’s also possible to allow travel between islands, and maybe TT can expand what we know of the moon – even getting such implemented as canon. After all, there’s the Angkuadi islands and the Shoduah continent that have been mentioned in canon, so maybe we could see those. Doesn’t matter if quests take you there or not, it’s all about exploring these locations in a way we haven’t really been able to do before.