When E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) is over; we’re not. Gamescom may take place in Cologne, Germany, but GHG is all over the event like AJ Lee on a tatted-up, straight edge guy from Chicago. Though second in overall popularity, Gamescom IS second to only the Asia Game Show in terms of total attendance– so you just know game publishers and devs were doing their best to bring their A-games.
I’d even argue that even more important announcements were made this month than in June. The coming together of Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro, and The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus — for Silent Hill, bitches! — was indeed one of the many big splashes that took place last week. And, Gamescom is even lengthier than San Diego Comic-Con: 5 Days.
Take note, E3.
FAR CRY 4 (PlayStation 4/3, Xbox One/360, PC) – If this video game was subtitled “Terms of Endangerment”, I would not be surprised. Set in the Himalayas, perils abound as your character makes their way through some tough terrain, eventually landing in Shangri-La where the drug induced voodoo begins. Based on the many flying sequences featured in the trailer, I’m assuming the hang glider will be around again along with what looks like a “Lil’ Nelly” type helicopter or perhaps a jet pack. Then there’s the wildlife. Always a big part of the series, Far Cry 4 shows us tigers, snow leopards, rhinos, honey badgers and even ride-able elephants. Did someone say rampage? Also, look out for yetis.
Available November 18th from Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal.
UNTIL DAWN (PlayStation 4) – Nothing like announcing a game, then giving us TWENTY-FOUR DAMN MINUTES of it! The first impression for Supermassive’s new survival horror was all that and then some. Until Dawn follows a group of 8 teenagers as they spend the night in a log cabin on the anniversary of the death of one of their friends, unaware that they are being hunted by a crazed serial killer. I’ve always been a fan of all things scary — with the exception of the “Macho Moody” Monsignor — and I love the B-movie slasher film idea for a video game. Why did it take so long for someone to fully realize this? Seems like a gimme with survival horror (i.e. Resident Evil, The Evil Within) being as popular as they are. The game runs on a modified version of the Killzone: Shadow Fall engine and includes a “Butterfly Effect” mechanic: Yup– literally 100s of gameplay endings. Dawn also seems to follow that old tried-and-true slasher film formula. Prepare to scream, fellow parishioners.
No set date just yet from Sony/Supermassive.
ASSASSIN’S CREED UNITY (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – Assassin’s Creed has come along way over the years, and Ubisoft has not done much to let us down with the franchise. From E3 to Comic-Con to the newest footage from Gamescom, Unity looks to be the finest hour for the development team. The amazing open world of France shall only further immerse players, as we now have several more choices over how we play and strategize. Perhaps most impressive is the new stealth ability, which allows us to finally hone enough QUIET skill to become an Assassin worthy of the Guild. The newly integrated parkour climbing and walking integration makes the game so fluid that you’ll finally visualize off que wall runs or corner grabs when chasing down a thug. The 4-player co-op gameplay makes for awesome times ahead, breaking up the monotony of AC’s traditional multiplayer. In a French Revo-world so divided, are you ready for Unity?
Available October 28th from Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal.
BLOODBORNE (PS4) – The latest From Software Game Formerly Known As Project Beast is quickly becoming the best reason to pick up a PlayStation 4 next year. Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s next game is as imaginative and as oppressive as his previous games. A transforming weapons system -– wherein a smaller butcher blade can extend into a longer but slower sword — evolves the combat from his previous titles. There is still a clear comparison one could make between Bloodborne and the Souls series, which still makes this a must-own PS4 exclusive.
No set date just yet from Sony/From Software.
LEGO BATMAN 3: BEYOND GOTHAM (P4/3, X1/360, PC, Wii U) – Even with my love of all things Batman and DC, the LEGO Batman series never really caught my attention. I like my Batsy how I like my coffee: Dark, bitter, and arguably not for kids (unless you take out the whiskey). So, Gamescom decided to roll out some more Bat-caffeine…even if its just a mere sample of Cyborg, Flash, and We-ran-out-of-costume-ideas-Batman dicking-around in the Batcave for 6-minutes, trying on different outfits like it’s Brucie’s Dreamhouse. And (spoiler-alert!) Cyborg turns into the washing machine, shooting out lasers just like the Maytag Ma’ and Pa’ used to own. From what I’ve seen, the pull for this game is the vast amount of recognizable DC characters, each with their own fully developed character flavor, and showing off just how expansive the Lego DCU has become. It looks like a lot of fun, and if your favorite DC character is less obscure than Stargirl, chances are you’ll finally get to play as them. (One day, Kyle Rayner… one day…)
No set date just yet from WB/Traveller’s Tales.
CIVILIZATION: BEYOND EARTH (PC) – Games like Civilization are not everyone’s cup of tea. His Holiness, Monsignor Moody’s, reaction to the latest installment in the Civ franchise was: “Like watching grass grow — but OK.” I’m not a gamer, but I loved Civ 4. I could spend hours into the early morning playing “just one more round.” Civ 5, I thought too a game at peak complexity and drilled down too far. Maybe my time playing into the night had passed. I ignored it and moved on. Nostalgia brought me back here, and I was prepared to hate it. I have to say, I don’t think that this would be like watching grass grow. There’s new challenges and there’s new complexity, but it doesn’t seem to drill down and become myopic. This might be the first game I buy in a decade.
Available October 24th from 2K/Firaxis.
DESTINY (X1/360, PS4/3) – As a PC gamer who hasn’t been able to play any Bungie since the first two crappy Halo ports, it’s hard not to get excited by any type of coverage on Destiny — even if a PC version is still only rumored. Stil, this Gamescom trailer teases with the type of epic, sci-fi action I just can’t get enough of– whether its the footage of flying around the world on those hoverbikes, or massive encounters like the brief glimpse of that assault on a ship battle with that huge wave of baddies. My left hand is already on the W,A,S,D keys. That being said, this is really just the video game equivalent of those thirty-second TV spots for movies. We’ve already heard from the countless people who play the beta and Activision knows we’re going to buy the game; this trailer is just letting us know when.
Available September 9th from Activision/Bungie.
DEAD ISLAND 2 (X1, PS4, PC) – Who doesn’t love some carefree zombie-bashing? Allow your favorite “Traveling Nerd” to scoop you in: I was a huge fan of the first Dead “Not so Lonely” Island. And, it was not for pure gameplay brilliance or faultless graphics; but rather for the sheer creative island zom-mauling (sorry, Bishop!). DI had that touch of originality in an undead world. Though I stomached through a pseudo sequel that was more of a DLC package, this Marvel Apostle Zombie can tell right off the bat that this fresh development team, Yager (Spec Ops: The Line), is refreshing the “undead island” slaughterfest with the not-so-islandic sunny coast of Cal. After a very meak E3 conference, the charge led by Max and his boy wonder — Rick the furry cat — appears far more promising after this footage. You can now go multiplayer campaign through the hills of Hollywood, the San Fran Pier, and the beachy LA wesside. If nothing else, this Californian nerd is just biting at the bit for one sun-baked Grand Theft MacGyver electric-shotgun blasting adventure!
No set date just yet from Deep Silver/Yager.
THE ORDER: 1886 (PlayStation 4) – Here’s the thing I like about The Order: 1886: It’s cool. Plain and simple, hearing Nikola Tesla monologue about a “secret order of knights who answer only to history” is just fucking cool. No denying that. I mean, this trailer gave me everything I wanted: Tesla, the beginning of the industrial revolution, monsters (werewolves?), and just enough mystery to keep me wanting — no, begging — for more. The trailer promises a strong mix of COD style gunplay and dark, twisted pseudo-science. In addition to an ominous score and dooming message. With its Underworld feel, I also have a soft spot for games that play around with history in their own twisted way (see: Assassin’s Creed) and I feel like not enough is done in this vain. The Order looks like it’s gonna satisfy this “history” need that permeates my gaming appetite, and the footage from Gamescom did nothing but amplify that anticipation.
Available February 20th from Sony/Ready At Dawn.
THE SIMS 4 (PC) – I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Really?” Yes!! I’ve been in love with The Sims franchise since it launched in 2000. Sure, it’s basically an adult dollhouse; but with each launch a world of possibilities opens up. For the fourth, the creators not only made sure to pour on the realm of emotion, but also gave builders the ability to mold your Sim with a quick move of the mouse and a flick of the wrist. This makes me feel like a wizard! I’ve already downloaded the Create-A-Sim demo and tried these sweet features myself. Creating and moving houses is also much easier; no need to completely demolish what you did and start over. I’m now locked, armed and ready to create weirder sims and plop them into a house and watch the show. September cannot get here fast enough.
Available September 2nd from Electronic Arts.
NHL 15 (X1/360, PS4/3) – I didn’t think I could get anymore excited for this game than I already was. Thanks, Gamescom. NHL 15’s graphics look unbelievable, with next-gen player detail better than ever. Hell– even if you’re not a hockey fan, I’m willing to bet this trailer will get you interested. The shooting, fighting, trash talk, and fan display all have you pumped up for one of the greatest sports games in EA franchise history. My highlight? Of course, being a Beantown homer, watching Marchand tossle with another player into the penalty box is a highlight. Better yet, the finish of this footage stomps the famed “Zombie Nation”…just in time for coverboy Patrice Bergeron to take a penalty shot. Of course, he buries the wrister to win the game. After watching this trailer, I feel like us EA NHL “die-hahds” have finally won, too.
Available September 9th from EA Sports/EA Canada.
QUANTUM BREAK (Xbox One) – Fooled ya, didn’t I? Yeah, it was a basic toss-up between this time-shattering Microsoft exclusive and the next Skyrim, Dragon Age: Inquisition, but since I already picked that deliciousness back in our PrE3 piece, why not go with Jack Joyce? This game is sorta what would happen if Max Payne was caught in The Matrix— except a whole lot more physically dangerous, as too many Star Trek and X-Men movie plotholes cause Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Cruise to Live, Die, Loop all in the most fucked-up time-crash ever once fathomed. So, as witnessed in the kick-ass gameplay demo, our not-so-quiet detective does his best Mick Jagger (OH YES IT IS!) to steer those Monarch foes half-past-noon to 1pm to half-past-noon again. Full of explosions, almost-explosion time stutters, and plenty of gameplay, Break‘s technical quandary — with plenty of leeway — is a next-gen advancement that this Monsignor bo-lieves fans will embrace. #bulletimeonacidkid
No set date just yet from Microsoft/Remedy for the game and its live-action accompaniment.
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT (PS4, X1, PC) – Now this footage looks downright amazing. From the Downwarren — and now downDEATHen villagers — to The Lady of the Woods, the combination of chilling atmosphere (that blends just enough shadow and light to the massively realistic countryside), well-timed battle tunes (willowing violin strings, umtempo drums, and soaring village vocals), and eerie swamp witches and were-monsters Geralt must slay makes this my most anticipated game of 2015. Dark magic was certainly in the air in Cologne.
Available February 24th from WB/CD Projekt RED.
THE EVIL WITHIN (X1/360, PS4/3, PC) – Ever since Fallout 3, I’ve been ready, willing and able to support anything Bethesda releases. The Evil Within has not only impressed me, but the trailer alone has filled my pants with fearful feces. In other words, it’s so scary, I shat my pants. Despite the release of several survival horror games over the years, it has been quite sometime since I’ve seen or played a game that felt legitimately frightening. I cannot wait to play this game in the dark and be frozen with fear until the sun comes up. The graphics, the realism, the enemies. All of them contribute to the horrific environment that sucks you into the creepy, suspenseful, and murderous world. I got so lost in watching the gameplay — that even ran an hour-and-twenty! — that I forgot, at times, that I was watching a video game and not a blockbuster horror film. Expect this to be Deacon E’s favorite game of 2014.
Available October 14th from Konami/Tango.
HALO 5: GUARDIANS (Xbox One) – Even the most casual of gamers owes a lot to the Halo franchise, if for no other reason than it probably took you shit-talking skills to the next level. For long time fans, Halo 5: Guardians will be a spartan flavored cocktail of both new and old. Bungie isn’t involved, which may have caused some doubt, but this footage is encouraging. Sure, every Halo campaign has provided a night or two of fun between friends but let’s be honest: It’s always been about the multiplayer. From the footage we can discern that if you’re a fan of the classic Halo multiplayer, you’re in luck. This is plain and simple 4-on-4 carnage in seemingly well-designed maps with the proper customization available. Old school Halo style with updated graphics and a few bells and whistles = exactly what we want.
Beta available November 11th with Microsoft/343’s Halo: Master Chief Collection.
CALL OF DUTY: ADVANCED WARFARE (X1/360, P3/4, PC) – Sticking to originality, I’m going with the game I picked earlier for GHG’s PrE3. So, yeah, there’s no secret that your Dutchess adores this franchise; and with every new leak and teaser, this hungry war dog was left salivating. A few things of note: The return of the custom score streak, which allows this soldier to load up– rather than being forced to use something pre-set. Teammmates can now join you for this mode. Another something new to COD is the Exoskeleton, which — from watching this multiplayer demo — allows players to run faster, jump higher and have cloaking ability! Even if it DOES remind a certain someone of some game without HALF the title, I can’t wait to test this out. And although it’s hard to tell at this point, let’s just assume these upgrades will play out along the lines of juggernaut. To finish, it appears the game’s art and concepts have improved and the maps will have far more to explore and explode.
Available November 4th from Activision/Sledgehammer.
SUNSET OVERDRIVE (Xbox One) – From the studio that brought you the Resistance and Ratchet & Clank series comes Sunset Overdrive; a brightly-colored madcap third person shooter that looks like the bastard child of Jetset Radio and Saints Row 3, with mutant enemies straight out of House of the Dead. Overdosed on Red Bull, of course. Armed with a blaster gun, your character blasts, leaps, and rollerblades his way through the end of the world as we know it; carving and rail-sliding around the level like an old Tony Hawk clone while shooting his ray gun at the plethora of swarming enemies. Keeping on the move seems to the name of the game, separating it from the more militaristic shooters. This is all a guess. Sunset Overdrive looks crazy, and I really have no idea what I just watched. Should be fun.
Available October 28th from Microsoft/Insomniac.
MIDDLE-EARTH: SHADOW OF MORDOR (X1/360, PS4/3, PC) – I’ve had my eye on this game for a minute now for a few reasons. Huge Tolkien fan, but mainly the Nemesis system– a supposed game mechanic that molds each individual enemy according to your encounters with them. This means a low level orc you may have fought with early in your adventure can resurface later on, having adapted to your battles in the past. The system sounds incredible, but we’ll see for sure if its as intricate as they’re touting. The footage shown at Gamescom looks gorgeous and the atmosphere is beautiful. It really conveys a sense of depth and scope that this Dynast hope is executed beautifully in the full game. And with Troy Baker lending his voice and motion capture skills to the main character, Tailon, it’d be crazy for me NOT to pick this game up.
Available September 30th from Warnber Bros./Monolith.
METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN (PS4/3, X1/360, PC) – A lighter side of this year’s Gamescom showcased what very different and new things can be done with the formerly one-dimensional cardboard box Snake has used to hide in for decades. If the player feels like confusing the enemy, a cardboard cutout of one of the opposing soldiers can be placed on the box, thus possibly making your enemies shrug it off as an ally (cheeky, classic Metal Gear). If you feel the need to arouse your foes, a pin up model can be placed on the box as well, causing enemies to stop and stare longingly at the buxom beauty. Another new addition is being able to shoot from inside the box aswell as exploding out and laying a serious smackdown on anyone foolish enough to approach you. Looks amazing, and can’t wait to see more from Kojima and MGS 5.
No set date just yet from Konami/Kojima.
SILENT HILL (X1, PS4, TBD) – Known for the game just above, Kojima has partnered with master storyteller Guillermo del Toro to bring us not “P.T.” — a clever ruse of a name a.k.a. the abbreviation of “playable teaser — but a new Silent Hill game! If you’ve played that friggen’ demo, you know these two aren’t screwing around. The playthrough (which could take hours if you’re too scared to explore) runs the gamut of scare tactics. We’ve got pop-out creatures, progressively darker corridors, fetid bathrooms, unintelligible moans; but the fact that everything feels so effortlessly scary is what sets Silent Hills apart from others in the genre. You’ll become very familiar with the looping hallway, with discoverable intricacies hidden throughout, hoping whatever you find will unlock the door to the next part of the loop. If you ever wanted to see me actually afraid to pick up a controller, now’s the time. I have far too much respect for the power couple that Kojima and del Toro could be and will brave god damn son of a bitch Pyramid Head just for them. Fun fact: beat the shit out of the demo and you’re treated to the cutscene that tells you the title, and… Oh yeah. The protagonist! Whose likeness happens to be that of The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus. Sign me the hell up to get some Silence up in these Hills.
No set date just yet from Konami/Kojima.