Everyone gets something different out of each Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3). Whether you watch for the hype of a new gaming release or to find clips for a cringe compilation, you likely find each E3 as memorable as I do.
So, after looking at all the conferences, releases, first impressions and such from this year's E3, what PC games is the LowSpecGamer looking forward to the most? Here's a quick overview of what I'm excited to see heading to a laptop soon.
Credit: CD Projekt Red
This new franchise by the creators of Mass Effect has an uphill PR battle to fight on two fronts. One one hand, the launch of Andromeda, the last game in the Mass Effect series, had well-documented issues that left a bad impression on many longtime fans. Then there is the publisher EA, whose loot-box-based monetization of Star Wars Battlefront II created such a large controversy that there's still a looming possibility of government regulation of the gaming industry. Still, I remain cautiously optimistic about Anthem and very eager to try it out. Game maker BioWare focused an important part of its E3 presentation on reiterating that this will be a narrative-focused game with all the engaging elements we have come to love from them, recognizing that Andromeda did not quite hit the mark. Given that all the gameplay we have seen so far focused on the cooperative multiplayer (and historically multiplayer-focused games do not tend to do well with narrative), Bioware's statement is somewhat reassuring. Anthem's Producer Casey Hudson said that Bioware will balance narrative elements and co-op action by allowing the story and characters to develop in the hubs and towns and limiting player interaction to the dangerous wilderness outside. Nailing this aspect is going to be a very hard balancing act, but I look forward to the attempt. Also, probably representing a response to the Battlefront II controversy, the game was confirmed to not have any loot boxes. All microtransactions are direct — you know what you buy — and purely cosmetic. I cannot believe we have reached a point where I am celebrating microtransactions, but here we are. On the tech side, the game will run on EA's Frostbite engine, which I have mixed feelings about. While the recent Frostbite game bug is on all modern Intel HD GPUs I have tried, performance on low-end, dedicated GPUs like the GT 1030/MX 150 is always much higher than I expect. Hopefully, Anthem follows that trend. I would love to see such a bombastic game working on a low-end GPU. Credit: Electronic Arts
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
If I order my Steam games by hours played, both Dark Souls Remaster and Dark Souls III are very high up there. To say the level design, environmental storytelling and general feel of Dark Souls sent ripples through the game industry would be an understatement (with some people arguing that Souls-like should be considered its own genre). Game maker FromSoftware's next title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, is not Dark Souls, but in moments, the trailer feels like "Dark Souls in Japan." FromSoftware has already proven its mettle in making tight action-adventure games, and I am very much interested in the changes it will make from outside the Dark Souls brand. The game already looks like it will be faster and more nimble than older Souls games. How will that affect enemy and level design? Now, if only we could get some way, ANY way, to play Bloodborne on PC, my life would be complete. Credit: FromSoftware
Dying Light 2
In my quest to find new games to experiment with for my channel, I have played many, many titles outside my usual comfort zone. The original Dying Light is one of the games that has stuck with me the most from that group. I expected another zombie survival game and ended up falling in love with something that balanced risk and reward in an interesting way. The game has a great melee-based combat system and a fantastic parkour system that the game is carefully designed to incentivize in your daily survival. It quickly became the only zombie survival game I like. The announcement of the Dying Light 2 focused on a faction system that will dynamically shape the world of the game. I am very curious to see how this will enhance the existing survival experience. Credit: Techland
Doom 2016 is on my list of top 10 favorite games of all time; it's my favorite single-player shooter ever. On the gameplay side, Doom 2016 threw away all the conventional wisdom of militaristic, cover-based shooters for a retro-inspired, extremely fast, no-reload, multiweapon system that incentivised getting close and personal with enemies on an endless gameplay loop. On the tech side, the game runs on the newest version of id Tech engine and was one of the first big games to support Vulkan, which led to amazing performance gains on a game that was already optimized (to the point that it works well on modern Intel GPUs). I originally intended to have Rage 2 here, because what has been shown has ID's DNA all over it, but once the Doom Eternal teaser dropped, everything else went out the window. While no gameplay or details were revealed, I had such a good time with the original that I am eager to see any further reveals on this sequel. Credit: Bethesda
Before Doom 2016 made its mark, Wolfenstein: The New Order was my favorite single-player shooter. MachineGames' unique style of cheesy alternate history and dual-gun action has already delivered a fantastic sequel, in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. I am interested in seeing where Wolfenstein Youngblood goes as the first multiplayer entry in the current iteration of the series. Will this entry enhance the existing gameplay or diminish it? On a technical level, the past two Wolfenstein games also used versions of the id Tech engine, so we can expect this game to follow suit. The New Colossus wasn't quite as streamlined as Doom 2016, requiring Vulkan by default and struggling fairly badly on anything under 4 GB of VRAM, although some measures could be taken to make it better. Will Youngblood be better or worse in this regard? Only time will tell! Credit: Bethesda
Assassin's Creed Odyssey
The Assassin's Creed franchise has had such a curious run over the years. I fell in love with the concept of the early games (particularly Assassin's Creed II), but after the series was annualized, pacing, bugs and performance issues became commonplace. Ubisoft eventually recognized this, vowing to take more time on the next entry. The result was the rather fantastic Assassin's Creed Origins, which returned the series to its historic roots and delivered acceptable performance on PC (for the most part — my test first generation i5 750 test CPU has some trouble with it, while it can do every other game fine). The game also delivered some fantastic extra features, like the Discovery Tour mode and the Animus control panel, which almost allows you to mod the game while you play. Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a mixed bag in this regard. On one hand, it comes out one year from Origins, which makes me wonder if it will get the development time it needs. On the other hand, ancient Greece is the perfect setting for this series: familiar enough for it to have fun historical figures to interact with (Socrates!) but old enough to leave room for historical fantasy. I am certainly looking forward to finding out later this year if this will be a hit or a miss. Credit: Ubisoft
The new game by the developers of The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt Red) finally made its official debut after years of teasing, and it looks good. Really, really good. It is fair to say that CD Projekt Red has an accumulated a great reputation (and a lot of goodwill) from The Witcher 3. That game offered a master-class-level RPG with no DRM, no microtransactions and a fantastic DLC that properly expanded the game. All of that ran on a modern engine filled with user-tweakable variables to allow for plenty of user customization. Cyberpunk 2077 seem to continue this legacy. Given my love for animated movies such as Akira and Ghost in the Shell, I cannot wait for the opportunity to properly immerse myself in this world and explore it fully. I am also certain that the game will allow for a lot of interesting experimentation on the PC space for all hardware levels. CD Projekt Red has been clear regarding the lack of a release date for the game. This title will be released when it is ready, and frankly, I wish the Assassin's Creed team would take note. When Cyberpunk 2077 releases, even if it is three years from now, I will definitely try it from day one. Credit: CD Projekt Red
So, who wins E3?
Picking an arbitrary winner from a marketing event is extraordinarily silly. Still, Devolver Digital once again managed to deliver the most memorable presentation. Last year, Developer Digital surprised everyone by releasing, on the official E3 stream, a presentation that parodied all the weird and alarming elements of both E3 and the entire industry at the time. I seriously thought that, with the element of surprise gone, a new Devolver presentation would not be that special. But Devolver beat all expectation by ramping up the irony and parody to 11. The presentation was not afraid of mentioning how all the publisher CEOs we see on stage have likely never played any of their games or how consumers continue to fall into nostalgia and buy overpriced retro boxes. I laughed and cried, both in joy and shame (as I own both of Nintendo's mini-classic consoles), until the Developer Digital presentation reached a bizarre climax with the announcement of Lootboxcoin, This fake cryptocurrency with no value was sold on Devolver Digital's website as an extraordinarily overpriced plastic toy whose price changed every hour. That the product proceeded to sell out almost instantly made me question reality itself. Also, Developer Digital actually showed games on the presentation, including the acrobatic 2D shooter My Friend Pedro. If I can pull half as many of the crazy stunts from the trailer in the actual game while listening to classical music, then I will probably like that game a lot. I will certainly try it out as soon as it arrives. Credit: Devolver Digital
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