Gaming Spotlight: The Best of E3 2017
Welcome back to Gaming Spotlight where the TFS Staff takes a look at the world of video games with a cinematic eye. This week, Marcus Irving showcases the highlights of E3 2017.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the largest gaming event of the year, was held last week. Loads of interesting new games were announced and we got new looks at some great looking previously announced titles, so for this week's Gaming Spotlight we decided to highlight some of the most promising titles displayed at the Expo, ones pushing the medium forward and providing interesting experiences for the story oriented player.
The bespoke co-op experience is unfortunately fairly rare. Most games simply provide a carbon copy of the main character for you and your buddies to run and gun together. A Way Out puts two players in control of Vincent and Leo, convicts looking to bust out of jail and go on the run. Game director Josef Fares previously worked on Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons, a heartbreaking personal journey in a fantasy setting with an innovative control scheme that essentially made the single-player game into a co-op experience. A Way Out is actually a co-op title, one that is only playable in split-screen even though both characters can separate for long periods of time to complete their own goals.
Cuphead wears its inspirations on its sleeve in the best possible way. The meticulous and beautiful hand-drawn animation is done in the style of the classic cartoons of the 1930s, so meticulous in fact that the game has been in development since 2010. It's a labor of love from new studio Studio MDHR, comprised of brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. The game plays as a series of run & gun boss battles. Whether it's any fun remains to be seen, but it's going to be a guaranteed eyeful.
Quantic Dream and their eccentric head David Cage were early pioneers in cinematic game stories. While often riddled with problems (poor voice acting, stilted dialogue, plots that go wildly off the rails), their games (Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls) are always exciting and feature some of the most impressive tech around, allowing your choices to completely influence the way that the story plays out. Detroit follows multiple androids that each play different roles in an android uprising. Similar themes and settings suggest that fans of Blade Runner should keep an eye on this one.
Resident Evil 4 director Shinji Mikami made a triumphant return to survival horror with The Evil Within. The game was a blistering, scary as hell journey - an eclectic amalgamation of horror tropes new and old; the abandoned hospital, zombies, chainsaw wielding mad men, long black haired ghost creatures. All came together to create a truly special horror experience. Mikami is no longer directing the title, but the trippy reveal trailer promises the same strong spirit as Sebastian Castellanos attempts to save his daughter.
While few details are known about the plot to Hidden Agenda, it sounds like it's going to end up taking a back seat to the player experience anyway. Supermassive's last game, Until Dawn, was an innovator; a genuinely scary horror game that made seemingly simple choices meaningful to get under the player's skin. Hidden Agenda looks to recapture that magic with an exciting twist. You and up to four friends play the game with your smartphones in front of the PS4, voting on which choices to make. The game does not reveal who made what choices, and certain players can receive instructions that the other players aren't privy to. The simple concept is sure to lead to some paranoia-laden sessions.
Life is Strange was an episodic adventure game with an exciting time travel gimmick that allowed you to make the most of the choice based gameplay. Although the sci-fi story beats sometimes felt like they went off the rails, it was Chloe and Max's friendship that made the journey so special. The prequel spinoff story featuring sixteen-year-old Chloe is not under development from Dontnod, who remain hard at work with a proper sequel.
The next few years are shaping up to be pretty great for everybody's favorite web-slinger. Not only does he have a full-fledged Marvel Studios film coming next month, he also has a brand new open world action game coming from the developers of Sunset Overdrive and the Ratchet & Clank series. Spider-Man is no stranger to starring in video games, with a pedigree far higher than any superhero this side of Batman. The PS4 exclusive is unrelated to the film and the rest of the MCU and is slated to release in 2018.
While 2016 may have seen the end of Nathan Drake's epic adventure, that doesn't mean that there aren't stories left to be told in the Uncharted universe. Chloe Frazer has only been a small side character seen in passing in the last two outings, but the Australian treasure hunter finally takes center stage teaming up with Uncharted 4 villain Nadine Ross. Developer Naughty Dog previously put out a brilliant expansion to The Last of Us that told a compelling self-contained story, and I have confidence they will do it again with Lost Legacy.
Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of the biggest surprises of 2014. It not only revived a pioneering series that had been inactive for years, it also contained one of the most elegantly handled, exciting game stories and characters to be found. The New Colossus looks to be following directly in its predecessor's footsteps, taking the high-octane nazi killing action from Germany to an occupied 1960s America. Bethesda seems to be taking the previous entry's alternate history setting to its own canon, with the trailer showing off many fan-favorite characters, including those that didn't survive the last adventure.