Jump to content

Naomi N. Lugo
In an anarchic fashion that we've come to know and love, Devolver Digital executed their 2018 press conference on June 10. At first we were greeted by a new host, Cinco Miller, the supposed CEO of Devolver Digital. Soon, the standard chaos unraveled, and we were met with a familiar, enraged face. Nina Struthers, as known from the previous year's conference, took over the stage and then proceeded to tear apart the common tropes of the video games industry. 
 
Struthers returned, and she definitely read/heard everyone's "unsolicited" feedback on the last press conference. Devolver then kept up the pace with their 2017 show, keeping components from the old while delivering a biting criticism with the new. All the while, they delivered the games that Devolver worked on for the new season.
 
 
The first game on the roster evolves the survival genre by adding mechanics to hopefully mirror real-world ailments like metabolism and gear wetness. It totes itself as a "supermax open world survival," with the goal of "long-term survival. The game is currently in pre-alpha and releases to Steam Early Access August 2018. There also was a brief teaser of zombie content at the end of the trailer.
 
Afterwards, Struthers unveiled the Lootbox Coin, a semi-fake currency with an oh-so-real price tag that fluctuated every hour. "You can't buy anything with it. In fact, it's insane for you to really buy it unless you want to prove your loyalty to Fork Parker, Nina Struthers, and the Devolver Digital executive board," says the Devolver website description. Sadly the coin isn't available at the publishing of this article.
 
 
Next up, a ballet bullet-hell game called My Friend Pedro. The description of the game only gives a partial view of what to expect from this game. "My Friend Pedro is a violent ballet about friendship, imagination, and one man’s struggle to obliterate anyone in his path at the behest of a sentient banana," says the Steam page for the game. Watching the trailer though will give a sense of how this game will flow.
 
During the conference, the trailer played with classical music accenting the dance-like movements of the playable character. Gameplay involved strategy as well as interesting uses of the environment like ricocheting bullets off of a frying pan and aiming while riding a skateboard. The game is set to release to the Switch and PC sometime in 2019.
 
Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to make a dig at the influx of mini-consoles, Struthers announced the launch of the Devolver Digital Entertainment System Classic, however it turned out to be a repainted Sega Dreamcast dashing our hopes and dreams.
 
 
The third and final game of the conference took the audience back to 2004 with the remake of the From Software title Metal Wolf Chaos XD. Metal Wolf Chaos XD matches the chaotic nature that inhabits Devolver Digital perfectly. There are giant mech robots, big guns and explosions with the teaser trailer setting it in the White House. The remake entails upgraded visuals, widescreen format and the classic voiceover. The game is coming to Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4 later this year. 
 
Keeping up with the cinematics of it all, the Devolver 2018 Press Conference ended with a bang and an homage to '80s action movies. We won't spoil the ending here. To check out the full conference, check a look over at this link. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Marcus Stewart
If sheer quantity decided the victor of E3, Microsoft would easily walk away with the win. Just as they did last year, the Xbox brand packed a ton of information into an over 90-minute presentation in front of their largest-ever live audience. To quote a stat from Xbox head Phil Spencer, Microsoft showed off 50 titles; 18 of them were console exclusives, and 15 that were world premiers. Microsoft addressed their first-party issue by announcing studio acquisitions, beefed up Xbox Game Pass, and even teased new hardware. Gamers walked away with a lot to digest, so let's make things easier by breaking down each announcement.  
 
I can think of few titles better suited to kick off a Microsoft show than a Halo reveal. In this case, we got a teaser trailer for Halo Infinite. We didn’t see much beyond scenic landscapes, some warthog riding, and a glimpse of Master Chief himself. 343 Studios later clarified that the video represents a tech demo for the Slipspace Engine and is not indicative of the actual game. Even still, Halo Infinite captured the imagination of the fans in attendance and started the presentation on a high note.
 
We got our first look at gameplay for Ori and the Will of the Wisps. It looks just as beautiful, and challenging, as the original and arrives sometime in 2019. That same year will also see the release of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The next title by FromSoftware was previously teased during last year’s Game Awards. It eschews medieval influences in favor of ninjas and a feudal Japan setting. Don't worry fans; it still looks pretty tough. It arrives in 2019 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. 
 

 
Bethesda Game Director Todd Howard took the stage to give the world another look at Fallout 76. This prequel to the Fallout series takes place in West Virginia 20 years after the nuclear war. Howard stated the game boasts a world 4-times larger than Fallout 4’s Commonwealth. The player controls a member of Vault 76, one of the first vaults to open and begin rebuilding the country. The trailer gave glimpses of various locations while Todd briefly spoke about the game’s general focus of survival and restoration. 
 
Life is Strange developer Dontnod’s lightened the mood a bit with a trailer for The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. This charming title centers on a lonely boy who uses his imagination to escape a less whimsical reality. More importantly, it serves as a precursor to the still mysterious Life is Strange 2. In a cool move, Captain Spirit launches June 25 as a free download. 
 

 
Crackdown 3  suffered yet another delay prior to the show (this time to 2019), but a new trailer reminded everyone of what the wait will be for. The Terry Crews-narrated trailer showed off the over-to-top firefights and platforming, with some Hot Wheels-esque driving thrown in.
 
Another crazy game in Nier: Automata, Platinum Game's breakout hit from last year, will arrive on Xbox on June 26. Packaged as the Become As Gods Edition, it includes all previously released DLC. 
 
Metro Exodus served up a new helping of gameplay. We got quick peeks at weapon customization, night vision segments, and terrifying creatures such as huge lake monster. Metro: Exodus continues to impress and arrives February 22. 
 


A new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III confirmed the game's arrival to Xbox, a first for the series. We got our first look at the world of Frozen, which stood as the video’s centerpiece. Tangled, Toy Story, and Hercules also got some spotlight. Aqua fans had their hearts broken when she appeared seemingly possessed by Xehanort at the trailer’s conclusion. Overall, this was a nice look at the game (one of several during the week) that had fans frantically counting down to the game’s January 29 release. 
 
Sea of Thieves left much to be desired, but Rare announced plans to fix that problem with two expansions. The first, Cursed Sails, launches in July. The other, Forsaken Shores, arrives in September. Outside of a short cinematic, no information was given regarding the actual content of these updates.
 
DICE followed up their EA showing with a very brief cinematic for one of Battlefield V’s Nordlys campaign story. It centers on a Norwegian resistance fighter battling against German occupation while also trying to save her family. No gameplay was shown and the video lasted maybe less than a minute.
 

 
Forza Horizon 4 raced on stage. The next entry boasts dynamic seasons that developer Playground Games promises will dramatically alter races. Winter, for example, freezes over bodies of water, opening up new areas for players to reach. Additionally, the Xbox One X version features a 60 fps mode. Forza Horizon 4 comes to Xbox One and Windows 10 on October 2 and hits Xbox Game Pass the same day.
 
On the subject of bolstering the Xbox library, Phil Spencer announced the formation of new first-party studio The Initiative. He doubled down on that news by announcing the acquisition of third-party studios Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, and Compulsion Games. Since Microsoft paid Compulsion some lip service, we got new story trailer for We Happy Few. It showed off more of the wacky premise, showing how far the project has come. It has an August 10 release date.
 
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds has new maps arriving in the coming as soon as this summer. Additionally, a new destination called War Mode is on the way. JRPG fans were happy to learn that 2008's Tales of Vesperia is getting remastered for Xbox One. This Definitive Edition includes previously Japanese-only content and characters and arrives this winter
 

 
A gameplay demonstration for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 took viewers through a squad-based mission in the games Washington D.C. setting. The squad engages in a firefight against in and around a destroyed Air Force One. The Division 2 launches March 15 and you can sign up for the beta now. 
 
Ashley Speicher, head of Xbox Engineering, took the stage to talk about Xbox Game Pass. First, a new FastStart feature that launches select games twice as fast will be included in the June Xbox update. Additionally, Fallout 4, The Division, and The Elder Scrolls Online became available on Game Pass that day. Halo: The Master Chief Collection will join the library later this year. Future releases, such as Forza Horizon 4, Crackdown 3, and others, will be playable on Game Pass the same day that they launch.  
 

 
Next we got the required ID@Xbox rapid-fire showcase showed off upcoming indie titles. The highlight reel included Outer Wilds, Afterparty, Warhammer II: Vermintide, Super Meat Boy Forever, Sable, Generation Zero, Dead Cells, and Ashen.
 
A new Shadow of the Tomb Raider trailer showed off more locations, including a Day of the Dead festival. We got a look at possibly the main villain, watched Lara stare down vicious jaguars, and watched her narrowly survive as a massive flood swept through a village. Following that was a short trailer for Session, a Kickstarted skateboard game that drew some comparisons to Skate, as well as a teaser for the Xbox port of mmorpg Black Desert.
 

 
The stylish reveal of Devil May Cry 5 offered a huge surprise. As a direct sequel to Devil May Cry 4 (and thus ignoring Ninja Theory's DmC), Nero returns as the leading man alongside a new female sidekick. Gameplay showed off Nero's new robotic arm and a what appeared to be a time-stopping power. Oh, and Dante rode in for a quick cameo at the end. Director Hideaki Itsuno proudly declared DMC 5 as the best game he's ever made and has a spring 2019 launch window. 
 
Another surprise came in the form of a DLC expansion for Cuphead. Titled The Delicious Last Course, it releases next year and includes a third playable character, Ms. Chalice, along with a new island populated with bosses. Meanwhile, Tunic, the adorable Zelda-style game starring a cute fox, emerged from hibernation and looks as pretty and fun as ever. 
 
Phil Spencer returned to state that everything shown going forward would be never-before-seen world premiers. That kicked off with the reveal of Jump Force. This crossover fighter cherry picks characters from Shonen Jump anime like Dragon Ball and Naruto and pits them against each other. Look for it in 2019.
 

 
Dying Light 2 premiered sporting a new emphasis on dynamic choice-making. The demonstration showed the player negotiating with a faction hoarding a crucial water supply. Depending on whether or not you follow them, the consequences physically alters the city and affects the population's morale and general way of life. Dying Light 2 features improved parkour mechanics and night gameplay, though not shown, remains a terrifying factor. 
 
Remember Battletoads? Rare hopes that you do because a new game is in development for launch in 2019. We didn't see anything of it, but we do know it'll support 3-player couch co-op and have a hand-drawn 2.5D presentation. 
 
Just Cause 4 made its official debut after being leaked twice before the show. A story trailer set up Rico's battle against the Black Hand private army. Fans also got to see the new weather effects, including a tornado (which Rico promptly jumped into). Just Cause 4 launches December 4.
 

 
The Gears of War franchise has not one but three new titles on the way. First was Gears Pop!, which features Funko Pop versions of the Gears cast. For strategy fans, Gears Tactics blends turned-based strategy with the series cover-based gameplay. Finally, a cinematic trailer for Gears 5 (yes, just Gears) established Gears of War 4's Kait Diaz as the new protagonist. The trailer appeared to center on her ancestral connection to the Locust, with J.D. and Marcus Fenix serving as support roles. 
 
Phil Spencer returned to the stage one last time to tease future projects such as Microsoft AI and a game-streaming service. He even confirmed that the next Xbox console was already deep in development. Just as he was bringing the show to a close, the briefing's feed was abruptly hijacked by one more game waiting to make itself known. 
 

 
CD Projekt RED's long-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 made its big debut after spending years in hiding.The trailer showed off the sci-fi beauty of Night City as well as its seedy underbelly. The almost Grand Theft Auto-esque style trailer checked off the many of the cyberpunk genre's calling cards: humans with crazy machine parts, flying cars, and building-sized holograms. Everything looked gorgeous to the point of looking next-gen, though the game has been confirmed for this console generation. We still didn't get a release window but this incredible first look made arguably the biggest splash of any title shown throughout the show. 
 
So how do you think Microsoft's briefing shaped up? Let us know in the comments. You can also watch it yourself down below. 
 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
The gameplay reveal of The Last of Us Part II was one of the highlights of Sony's entire lineup during E3. It eased into the return to an incredibly savage world with a lovely, human scene set during a wedding being held in a post-apocalyptic world. Ellie, the young girl from the first game who has since become an adult, shares a dance and some words with an unnamed woman with whom she appears to have a romantic history. After exchanging some smile-inducing banter, the two share a kiss. 
 
From there, the reveal transitioned to the actual gameplay with Ellie coming up against a group of survivors. She witnesses them execute a man, brutally ripping out his intestines. They then begin combing the area, and we see how the stealth mechanics work. Players are able to sneak through tall grasses and bushes to elude search parties. On top of that, the apocalypse seems to be lousy with abandoned cars. Players will be able to slide under vehicles to hide from enemies.
 
Players who are able to land killing blows with arrows or melee weapons while avoiding detection are rewarded with continued non-detection. One slip-up immediately ratchets up the drama by turning things into an all-out struggle for survival. We see Ellie battling with multiple enemies at once, each one well realized and different - they don't seem like cookie cutter character models. One of the new additions to combat seems to be the ability to disarm adversaries mid-combat and immediately pick up their gear, smoothly transitioning between weapons in a fight with fluid motion. Crafting seems to have been streamlined, as at one point Ellie crafts an explosive arrow on the fly to take out an enemy and serve as a distraction. Oh, and players can still take enemies hostage to use as human shields.  
 
One thing that seems obvious from the combat on display: Players will have to move when things get hairy. Limited ammo and melee weapon durability force players to move to different areas to scavenge supplies to continue the fight. Getting backed into a corner could lead to death if you don't have enough gear to stand your ground.
 
Little details really make the violence that much more visceral and real. While sneaking next to a car, Ellie instinctively puts her hand out to steady her crouch and a small sound effect of putting slight pressure on a car hood plays. Injuries that Ellie takes will persist over time. At one point in the fighting, she took an arrow to the chest. The shaft stuck out painfully as she continued to fight, blood slowly staining her shirt, until she was able to take cover behind a counter a minute later and pull out the arrow. Ellie and enemies react naturally to receiving injuries, grabbing the sites of stab wounds and holding wounds as time goes by and they keep moving.  
 
Overall, The Last of Us Part II seems to be shaping up to be Naughty Dog's finest and most detailed work to date. 
 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Zak Wojnar
Nintendo showed off a handful of new projects during their annual E3 Nintendo Direct, though many were upset at the absence of expected franchises like Animal Crossing, Metroid Prime, and the rumored Star Fox racing game from Retro Studios. Basically, Nintendo in 2018 is all about one game, and it's a real big one: Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.
 
As the title suggests, this fifth entry in the series aims to be the ultimate Smash experience for the ages, bringing together literally every single character from the entire history of the franchise, from N64 fighters like Mario and Kirby to guest combatants we never thought would be returning to the Smash stage, like Solid Snake, Mega Man, and Cloud Strife, and even a few characters we reckoned Nintendo had completely forgotten about, like Pichu and Ice Climbers.
 
In addition to these returning champions, there are also new characters joining the fray, though series creator Masahiro Sakurai suggested there would be fewer new fighters this time around. In addition to the previously-confirmed Inklings from Splatoon, confirmed newcomers include Princess Daisy and Samus' arch-nemesis, Ridley. One character who won't be making their playable debut is Waluigi, who is relegated to Assist Trophy status, much to the chagrin of his inexplicable internet fandom.
 
As for stages, Nintendo is hinting that "most" battle arenas will be represented, and they will feature both "Omega" variations (returning from the Wii U and 3DS iterations) and "Battlefield" versions, which include floating platforms, a long-requested addition for vertically-oriented characters; we all remember the whole "Little Mac is OP" controversy from the launch of the Wii U version!
 
 
Other Stuff
Oh, right. Not that they really needed to, but Nintendo did, in fact, show off other games aside from Super Smash Brothers. In fact, the whole first half of the show was dedicated to upcoming non-Smash titles, and the Direct opened with a first look at the visually unique mech combat game, Daemon x Machina. The bold color choices and minimalist use of textures reminds us of Killer 7's distinct art style, and the title is being produced by Kenichiro Tsukuda, one of the masterminds behind the cult mech combat simulator, Armored Core.
 
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is getting new story content in the form of Torna: The Golden Country, a DLC set before the events of the main game. Dragon Ball Fighter Z will make the leap from PS4 and Xbox to the Switch sometime in 2018, but it wasn't the most significant Switch port announced during the video. That honor goes to Fortnite: Battle Royale, the internet sensation which has been sweeping the globe for months. Offering cross-play with the Xbox version (but not PS4), Fortnite for Switch suffers from a handful of visual downgrades, like a drop from 60 to 30 fps and a significantly lower resolution, but the same great gameplay as the other versions.
 
 
Aside from Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, the three biggest first-party titles for Switch were Super Mario Party, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and the dual games, Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. Super Mario Party is the first proper Mario Party title since 2015's Mario Party 10, and – calm down, everyone – Waluigi will be a playable character, but Birdo will not. #JusticeForBirdo. Fire Emblem: Three Houses looks like the true successor to Fire Emblem: Awakening, offering a provocative, cinematic art style and other visual enhancements which represent a true next-generation leap for the series. Meanwhile, the two Pokémon titles look like brand new takes on the classic Red and Blue region, only with some new twists inspired by the enormously popular Pokémon Go!
 
Finally, Nintendo announced a trio of indie titles coming to Switch, including the cult hit, Hollow Knight (with previously-released DLC bundled in, natch), the pixel-art side-scrolling arcade combat game Killer Queen Black, and the highly-anticipated Overcooked 2. Due out on August 7, Overcooked 2 looks to be offering more of the same frantic multiplayer cooking action, but with an extra coat of visual polish and the new addition of online multiplayer, a feature which was absent from all versions of the original title.
 
--
 
Depending on how much one adores Super Smash Brothers, this year's E3 Nintendo Direct was either a smashing success (no pun intended) or a dismal disappointment. If the prospect of Every. Fighter. Ever. is enough to make you buy a Switch, then that's fantastic! If you were hoping for news on Metroid Prime 4, Animal Crossing, or potential new DLC Kingdoms for Super Mario Odyssey, then the presentation probably left you feeling cold.
 
How do you think Nintendo did with its E3 2018 showing? Let us know in the comments! You can watch the full briefing for yourself below.
 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Ubisoft had a great year at E3 2018. Most of their announcements were interesting, conveying coveted information about highly anticipated titles like Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey. It might not have revealed anything completely unknown, but the info it had on upcoming projects was extensive and interesting. 
 
The Ubisoft press conference opened with a marching band and dance routine heralding the return of Just Dance 2019. The dancing title will be released later this year on pretty much every console that people might conceivably still use outside of retro enthusiast crowds. That explains why the title will be released for not only the Wii U, but also the original Wii, which is pretty freaking incredible. 
 
Beyond Good & Evil 2 made a huge splash at last year's press conference where it finally demonstrated its existence to the world. This year we got to see more pre-rendered cutscenes that doled out information about the pirate crew with whom players will presumably be bouncing around the galaxy. It also revealed that Jade, the hero of Beyond Good & Evil, will serve as the antagonist for this sequel-prequel. How that will work remains unknown, but intriguing. 
 
 
The Beyond Good & Evil 2 presentation didn't stop at cutscenes, though. We were finally show snippets of gameplay demonstrating vehicles and aerial/space combat along with jetpacks and melee combat. And, yes, it looked fantastic. Keen observers might have noted that certain segments of the environment looked suspiciously barren. It turns out this was because Ubisoft has teamed up with Hit Record, a crowd sourced work platform that aims to bring artists together to do collaborative freelance work. The idea for Beyond Good & Evil 2 being that artists could contribute their work to the game, get paid, and have it become part of the in-game universe. This led to something of a backlash from fans and industry pros alike calling out the use of speculative labor (spec work). 
 
Ubisoft also took the time to announce new DLC for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Titled Donkey Kong Adventure, players will be able to journey through a tactical adventure with Donkey Kong joining the crew to face off against his ferocious Rabbid counterpart. The music will be composed by Grant Kirkhope with all of the appropriate Donkey Kong flair fans have come to love and expect. It releases later this month on June 26.
 
 
The popular biking/stunt game Trials will be returning early next year with Trials Rising. Ubisoft worked together with over 20 longtime fans of the original to shape its content. One community member even oversaw the creation of all the tutorial content for Trials Rising. Rising will bring players around the world for wacky stunts and impossible courses. It releases sometime in February 2019. 
 
The Division 2 hopes to surpass its predecessor by offering long term support for players who have finished the main campaign. Those who finish the story set in Washington DC will be able to specialize into one of three classes and pick a signature weapon. Over time, these roles will evolve to have special abilities that synergize with the abilities of other players. This will lead players who have mastered everything else into the new eight player raids. 
 
 
In Rainbow Six Siege news, Ubisoft announced that the game would be receiving the documentary treatment. A film crew followed eight members of the Rainbow Six Siege community, including professional Rainbow Six Siege players, as they partake in the game's rich competitive scene. ESports are becoming more and more mainstream, so it's always interesting to see what documentary film crews do with the subject matter. Another Mindset is no exception. The film will release at the Six Major Paris that runs August 13-19. 
 
Skull and Bones still looks incredibly polished, but weird. Even though we saw more of it this year than ever before, I can't tell if it's something that stands on its own or if it will live and die by its online community. The gameplay on display this year depicted pirates teaming up to take on a giant warship in the Indian Ocean following the sinking of a merchant vessel. The game emphasizes the accumulation of wealth, but it's a bit cagey on what players can use that wealth on in-game aside from ship upgrades and aesthetic flourishes. Is there more to the game than piracy for piracy's sake? Only time will tell. 
 

 
One of the more fascinating reveals Ubisoft had in store for E3 2018 definitely belongs to SpectreVision's VR horror/thriller title Transference. SpectreVision's founder and creative director Elijah Wood (yes, that Elijah Wood) took the stage last year to announce the game existed. This year, he took the stage to elaborate more about what exactly Transference will be.
 
From the explanation, it seems that Transference tells the story of the Hayes family, a father, mother, and son, who have all had their minds joined and their memories simulated. However, something has gone wrong and the memories are corrupted - players will have to jump between the perspectives of each family member to figure out exactly what happened and discover what entity stalks them through the memories. It looks rad as heck, combining live-action and digital environments very effectively. Oh, and it launches later this fall! 
 
Starlink: Battle for Atlas has come a long way since we last saw it. The cartoonish space odyssey seemed to take many people by surprise with gameplay that appears tight, responsive, and more diverse than shooting all the things. Players will be able to construct their spaceships in the real world and bring them into the game world, which is still an amazing feature that doesn't seem to have reached its full potential just yet. 
 
In a surprise twist, Starlink will have a Nintendo Switch exclusive: Fox McCloud. Those who pick up Starlink on the Switch will be able to zoom around space in one of the classic Arwings from Star Fox. It's implied that Fox McCloud will be a character within the Starlink universe, too, though to what extent he will affect the game's narrative remains to be seen. 
 
 
Finally, Ubisoft spilled the beans on the upcoming Assassin's Creed. It turns out that it's no longer too expensive to create female character models as Assassin's Creed Odyssey allows players to decide whether they'd like to play through the game as Alexios or Kassandra. Whichever players decide to make their avatar, they will take on the role of a mercenary fighting in the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. Using a shattered fragment of a legendary spear, players will navigate the events of ancient Greece, rub shoulders with some of the titans of modern history textbooks, and probably do some assassin stuff. Although, it should be noted that the trailer and gameplay on display distinctly lacked a lot of the sneaky, assassin-y stuff for which the series has been known. Overall, it seems like an interesting and fun direction to take the long running series.
 
What did you think of Ubisoft's E3 showing this year? Let us know in the comments! As always, feel free to watch the entire Ubisoft press conference below.
 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Assassin's Creed Odyssey made a huge splash at E3 2018. It seems to be a natural extension of its predecessor with its creative director even straight up describing it as an RPG, which feels like a big step for the series. It also makes the comparison to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt make that much more sense. Which... yeah, there's a pretty strong Witcher 3 influence at play in Odyssey (and I don't mean that in a bad way at all).
 
Players take on the role of a lowly mercenary as either Alexios or Kassandra, a descendant of Spartan King Leonidas. Despite being abandoned as a child, Alexios/Kassandra inherit the broken spear of Leonidas which seems to possess some kind of power all its own. This artifact allows players to pull off arrow barrages, sneaky stealth takedowns, and table-turning melee moves. And this power to beat up dudes is conveniently bestowed upon the main character when Greece found itself embroiled in the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, a perfect time period for assassin shenanigans. 
 

In short, Assassin's Creed Odyssey looks cool, fun, and good. And it's great that we won't have to wait too long to see if it lives up to its initial impression. Assassin's Creed Odyssey will release on October 5 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Jack Gardner
Elijah Wood's company SpectreVision reminded everyone at E3 that their strange VR project Transference still exists and will be releasing later this year. While we didn't know much about it when it debuted in 2017, this year's showing revealed quite a bit about the game Wood described as a darkly twisted psychological thriller. 
 
Transference will tell the story of the unfortunate Hayes family whose minds have been linked by an experiment conducted by the father, Raymond Hayes. Players will flit between the three consciousnesses to see the perspective of each family member, but it rapidly becomes apparent that the data, their memories, are corrupted - and there's something else stalking through their minds. The darkly unsettling narrative hopes to achieve a disturbing atmosphere at least in part with its blended use of live-action and digital scenes. 
 
 
That's still not a ton of information to go on, but we will certainly learn more when Transference launches this fall for VR devices (PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) and the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sans VR.

Jack Gardner
With the words, "Piracy Is Dead, Long Live Piracy," Justin Farren, the creative director of Skull and Bones, put pirating back into the limelight at E3. The world has changed and piracy in the west has been all but shut down. The east, however, still presents intrepid pirate captains with opportunities. Skull and Bones puts players at the helm of a pirate ship sailing the Indian Ocean, turning it into one wide open hunting ground. Will you be the one who climbs the ranks of the infamous and bloodthirsty to be remembered as one of the most successful pirates of all-time? 
 
The central premise of Skull and Bones seems hard to pin down, aside from all of the pirating of course. Players sail the seas in search of treasure and adventure. By various means, players can uncover clues or tips that hint at locations of interest where treasure might be or the route of a vessel worth plundering.
 
Be warned, however. The seas are also home to other players who are also on the hunt for gold and glory. This, I believe, is the central tension around which Skull and Bones has built its gameplay. When players will encounter one another on the high seas - will they ally to take on bigger missions or will they start a fight to the death for one another's booty?
 
Seeing some gameplay helped to give the game a bit more substance. Players will be able to disguise their ships and essentially enter stealth mode by flying the colors of friendly vessels. This will give the advantage of surprise to wily captains or be necessary to sneak by imposing, land-based fortifications. Each ship can be outfitted with a variety of equipment for aesthetic or functional purposes. Some examples include anti-boarding armor, a variety of cannons, and even a ship-based battering ram. 
 
Attacking weak trading ships will alert nearby warships that will attempt to corner players and sink them to reclaim stolen property. The largest of these will require the assistance of several players to fight off successfully. Different ships have different special abilities, which will make cooperation all the more important if players wish to survive.... it will also make backstabbing after cooperation has ended more appealing to the more mischievous out there.  
 

Skull and Bones will release sometime in 2019.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Marcus Stewart
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed marked the first time Sonic rivalved Mario in any capacity since the Sega vs Nintendo war of the early 90’s. The 2012 racer seamlessly blended ground, air, and sea racing with fun results, providing a worthy alternative to Mario Kart’s juggernaut. Over five years have passed, and the blue blur wants another shot at dethroning Mario Kart. Enter Team Sonic Racing. Sega’s newest racer manages to stand out by offering something completely different from its rival. 
 
You probably guessed from the title that teamwork is the name of the game this time around, and I’m not talking about multiple riders sharing a vehicle ala Mario Kart: Double Dash. Teams of three separate racers work together on the track to take out the competition and grab the gold trophy. Making sure teammates also finish strong is just as important as focusing on reaching the coveted 1st place. For example, winning the race with Sonic doesn’t mean much if his friends, Knuckles and Tails, finish at 6th and 9th place, respectively. That’s because the cumulative scores of each team member determine the overall group ranking. You may be asking: “How can individual racers cooperate?” I wondered the same thing, and I’m pleasantly surprised with Sumo Digital’s answer. 
 

 
Teamwork maneuvers include transferring power-ups between teammates. Pick up a speed boost, but you’re already in the lead? Give it to a buddy lagging behind. On the flip side, getting that crucial item from a friend when you’re pulling up the rear feels like a godsend. Besides being fun, this system dramatically alters the kart racing mentality. I found myself making moves I normally wouldn’t, such as going out of my way to grab items to help my allies instead of booking for the finish line. Additionally, driving behind teammates and following their paths triggers a slingshot maneuver that rockets you forward. Drifting close to a buddy grants them a similar speed boost.
 
The demo of Team Sonic Racing, for as solid as its mechanics were, certainly had its limitations. Driving felt mostly fine, but gameplay overall had a noticeable lack of polish..The single, basic track available also wasn’t anything to write home about. In fact, I’m having a hard time recalling anything remotely interesting about it. Hopefully the full game features more inventive courses that take full advantage of the teamwork mechanic.
 
 
The demo only featured two playable teams: Sonic/Tails/Knuckles and Shadow/Rouge/E-123 Omega. The roster ditches the Sega crossover aspect in favor of a pure Sonic line-up. Although Sonic has plenty of critters to fill a roster with, I’ll miss the zaniness of racing alongside Shenmue’s Ryo and real-life racer Danica Patrick. This also means putting up with the inane banter of Sonic’s crew, like Shadow’s cheesy attempt at a catchphrase, “Make way for the ultimate lifeform!”. 
 
Team Sonic Racing seems like a neat idea that I hope gets backed by equally interesting courses and a stacked roster. Sonic and pals have an uphill drive ahead of them trying to supplant the superb Mario Kart 8. At the very least, Team Sonic Racing can do what previous entries have always succeeded at: offering an enjoyable spin on the kart racing formula. Look for Team Sonic Racing when it comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC later this year. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
In The Division 2, life has moved on. Civilians and military forces have begun rebuilding and consolidation power. With that reconstruction comes new life and the spark of hope, as well as new systems of oppression. The sequel to the 2016 online scavenge-craft-n-shoot hopes to offer players a more nuanced narrative about overcoming authoritarianism in a post-apocalyptic future version of Washington DC.
 
The trailer takes viewers through a seemingly thriving community being rebuilt in the middle of Washington DC. The community grows food, pursues music and art, and everyone seems to be contributing to the greater good. However, only a block away scavengers kill a man in the streets while innocents hide in the nearby ruins of society. Nearby, we are shown a large, makeshift graveyard that slowly melts into an execution square hung 'round with tattered American flags. Someone in a position of authority lectures struggling prisoners about breaking the rules before the camera turns away and a gunshot sounds. Amid all of this, a little girl runs through the settlement, seemingly playing. She throws a paper airplane that's glimpsed throughout the trailer. Its flight finally comes to its end at the feet of characters bearing the emblems of The Division. On the paper is written one word: "Help."
 
Though the single player experience was strongly implied to be more robust than in the first game, Ubisoft was careful to make sure everyone knows that they plan to support The Division 2 for years to come. Specifically, finishing the main campaign will unlock the ability to specialize into one of three classes and pick a unique weapon. These roles will come with new abilities that will unlock as players progress through the endgame. 
 
And, oh boy, does Ubisoft plan on paving the road to endgame content. Following The Division 2's release next year, Ubisoft will release three separate content packs to all players for free that will add all manner of new things to the game. On top of that, players who reach the endgame will be able to participate in raids that team up to eight players together to tackle challenging encounters unlike anything else in the game up until that point. 
 
 
The Division 2 releases March 15, 2019 for PlayStaiton 4, Xbox One, and PC. Players who want a head start on the action can register for the beta on The Division website.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
E3 2018 was a wild ride, to be sure. Last year, we brought you audio and video recaps of each day we spent at the show. This year, we tried to do that, but ran into some technical hurdles that made video impractical and audio tricky. We still recorded our impressions of the show each day, but we couldn't upload them to share with all of you... until now! 
 
Our first episode features Jack Gardner, Naomi Lugo, Marcus Stewart, and Zak Wojnar discussing the initial E3 press conferences and their surprises (or lack thereof). We'll have a few more of these and one final breakdown of the entire show releasing throughout the week. 
 

 
Outro music: Super Castlevania IV 'Tema de Simón' by Mighty Bear 7, Austin DiPietro, Martin Schiller, Stu Kennedy, and Theodore Hogan (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03734)
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
It has been long requested and finally done: The Life Is Strange episode is here! Naomi and Jack dive into all things Life Is Strange, from the theories to the story and how meaningful it can be, warts and all. Dontnod, the creators of Remember Me and the recently released Vampyr, really did well with their sophomore effort - did they do well enough to make a game that transcends greatness to be considered one of the best games of all-time? Play it, listen to the show, and judge for yourself. 
 
Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative.
 

 
Outro music: Undertale 'Glitterbomb' by LongBoxofChocolate and Philippe Delage (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03734)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it!
 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

×