E3 2017: BETHESDA Hits The Ground Running

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E3 of recent years has been a little hit and miss for me, ranging from over-promising and under-performing to just failing to generate the excitement with the reveal. However, as Bethesda is one of the developers that definitely holds my heart tenderly in its great big scary claws, I’m pretty excited to see what they shell out for us at E3.

Now, I’m no rube, but in the interest of full disclosure, the last Bethesda game I think I’ve personally played, in recent months, was probably Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind or Oblivion; I like to stick with the classics. (Am I particularly proud of this fact? Not really. Don’t judge me. I have simulation sickness, come at me. But if you do, do it very steadily and in a linear fashion so I don’t get disoriented…)

I am, as usual, looking forward to anything else they are willing to add to Fallout, if for no other reason than my obsessive love for my friends’ love for that property. If I had a wishlist? RPG! Horror games! Virtual Reality beautiful enough that I regret giving my ex-boyfriend my VR gear! Most of all, though, I want to be as wowed as I was for Bethesda’s 2015 reveals.

10 seconds. Deep breath. Be cool, Jen.

Let’s go to Bethesdaland.

More than anything else on that wishlist up there, I am excited to see them open with virtual reality. This was, of course, pretty predictable – speculation has been rampant the past few days about the possibilities of VR. Especially of note to me was the chance of Doom – “ripping, tearing, and otherwise eviscerating demons from Hell” – getting that fully, horrifyingly immersive update. If you’re going to freak me out, freak me out right, Bethesda.

Note: This video is going to be graphic, because Doom do what Doom want.

 

Doom VFR absolutely looks like it will deliver anything you can imagine – pizza, babies, expectations, Christmas miracles. The footage is frenetic, exciting, definitely something I want to get a chance to check out. I don’t even like first-person shooters – that’s right, I said it, here’s my gamer card – but I can 100% get behind the likely fever dreams and nightmare fuel that game will offer.

And of course, how can we not mention Fallout 4 VR? Bethesda’s quirky future-past-now blend is going to be even more endearing with the virtual reality element. I love the aesthetic the Fallout franchise captures, but in comparison to the footage that Doom VFR offers, Fallout 4 VR already feels like it won’t stack up. This isn’t to say that I probably won’t fall into the trap of giving it a go, and the requisite headache that follows every foray into VR, but initial glimpses don’t suggest a different enough gameplay experience from what I already enjoy in Fallout 4.

Note: This one is also going to be a little graphic. You might see a pattern appearing in these warnings.

 

It wouldn’t be Bethesda without some tittering about fantasy. Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind goes on early record as the exact kind of thing that I’ve been aching for since learning that Myst left so much to be desired. And to return to Morrowind, the first Elder Scrolls game that ever led me to the first light of dawn on a college finals night, is a dream. Following that was the also-enticing news that Skyrim will be getting amiibo support with Nintendo Switch, though personally I would argue that playing Skyrim on a Switch is massively underselling the potential of the game. Still, the Zelda items alone would make it a considerable temptation, if I only owned a Switch.

On the topic of Skyrim, I am incredibly impressed by the creation club concept – the small voice inside me remembers how excited I always was to find a mod for The Sims 2 that rendered appropriately in-game. Seeing actual collaboration between the gaming community and the creative team at Bethesda, thereby ensuring seamless integration into the games, is absolutely heartening. Skyrim – and Fallout 4, which will also be party to the Creation Club – threaten to replace dinosaur chicken nuggets in my top ten list with this news.

From this point forward, I’m so sorry, I just can’t get myself as excited. It’s like the dénouement had to come in the first half – that’s just bad storytelling. However, as the rest of the world doesn’t have to run on my preferences, allow me to share what else we’ve learned.

Despite my personal dislike of the games, the Dishonored preview wraps up two things I love most – assassinations and pirate shanties. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider seemed to get some audience reaction, as did the announcement of the upcoming Dishonored 2 DLC experience.

Stepping momentarily back into the Good Old Days, we were given a promise that the upcoming Quake Champions “elevates E-sports”. Competitive gameplay can be pretty exciting to watch, for someone who can’t play themselves (that’s me), and Quake Champions is really making me hope that I’ve got some time to follow. With a $1 million prize to the ultimate champion, QuakeCon this August may be one to remark upon. Crack your knuckles, gamers, and get to working on those skills at Quake.com.

The Evil Within 2 looks like it’s going to be all the horror that I want and more – maybe too much more. Part of the problem I had with 2014’s The Evil Within was the constant need to stop, take a deep breath, and say “Okay, what?” before focusing back in. As a trailer, it drew me in well and the imagery was well-chosen, but I fear that the narrative problems I had with the original game may not have been well addressed in the sequel.

And finally, it’s time to address the elephant in the room.

Note: The graphic, bloody, foul-mouthed elephant. This is another warning.

 

Oh, Bethesda. Oh, Wolfenstein.

As far as alternate realities go, I honestly thought that I had seen just about all the Nazi counterfactuals that could ever have been counterfactualized. Yet here comes Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to prove me wrong. Am I particularly jazzed about another FPS when that’s the one kind of game I have the most difficulty getting into? I honestly am not. But this is WOLFENSTEIN. TWO. How could you not be curious, antsy, all kinds of pleased? I don’t want to give it a go, but in some strange way, I feel like I need to give it a go.

Perhaps the best news of all is that, rather than giving a look ahead for the foreseeable future, Bethesda has shown us games that will all be released in 2017 – in fact, many have been offered release dates in their presentations.

But there’s some small part of me that feels like a traitor to the cause, here. Not exactly a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but at the very least a fair-sized rock in sheep’s clothing. I’m not sure if it was the immediate gratification of my greatest desire right out the gates, or the late hour, but I feel like there should have been more of a reaction. Instead I’m just, well…whelmed. Nonetheless, I’ll be keeping my ear to the ground for reactions from my friends at E3!

 

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