We knew it was too good to be true. Change is coming for Xbox and PC Game Pass subscribers, as the service is due its first big price increase next month – jumping up from £10.99 to £12.99 in the UK – and leading some gamers to wonder, is it all worth it?
To soften the blow, Microsoft has just announced a new, Core tier, which replaces Xbox Live Gold and grants access to multiplayer experiences, as well as a list of 25 Game Pass titles to get stuck into, all for $9.99 a month, which we can probably expect for around £6.99.
The service has nearly 500 games available across Xbox, PC and Cloud, including most first party titles, so what is there to complain about in terms of value for money? We put the service to the test and see if it’s still the best deal in gaming. You can share your own musings on our Discord.
Game Over: It’s not worth it | James Parry
While I’m not personally about to cancel Game Pass anytime soon – though I really thought twice when it came around for annual renewal last month and found that there was basically no way to pay for anything less than Ultimate if you want to use it on Xbox – I’m not sure this new offer is giving you the same level of value for money, making it increasingly hard to recommend as a service.
Subscription services make money, and everyone knows it. Getting people to forget they need to cancel is how they keep your money, and sending emails talking about how prices are “updating” rather than “increasing” and don’t remind you just how much you are paying today make it all sound a bit too reasonable.
It’s not a huge increase, and if you are paying annually it might save you a bit of course, but if you are paying monthly that’s now about £156 a year instead of £132, so even with increasing prices of games, you might expect another mid-sized game (like the underrated Hi-Fi Rush) or reasonable expansion to one of Xbox’s on-going experiences, like Sea of Thieves – which happens to have a Legend of Monkey Island-themed update on the way.
Whether Xbox can keep up the momentum of “newness” though, seems unlikely given the form they’ve been having recently. Even with an eye-watering 23 studios under their belt, and potentially more to come if the Activision Blizzard merger goes through, you’d think they could manage a first party game every couple of months, but in fact it’s more like one every six months, as gamers demand more complexity and fidelity from their games and development times increase to follow suit.
Xbox really needs Starfield to knock it into another galaxy, as they have little else to write home about on the slate for the rest of this year, though 2024 has plenty up its sleeve as some of the bigger studio acquisitions start to bear fruit.
There’s still hope for this price hike to prove it’s worth its salt, but for now an increase just before Starfield means they are definitely expecting a subscriber boost. Time will tell whether they stick around.
Whenever we ponder our favourite games of the year so far it's always amazing not only how fast the year has gone, but how many great titles there are to choose from, and 2023 is no exception.
We've seen some best-in-class remakes, the return of fan-favourite franchises, as well as more sequels than you can shake a controller at. What’s been your highlight so far?
If, like Liam, you haven’t played a lot of new games, it’s perfectly acceptable to choose a classic you’re just discovering, or rediscovering. Read on for our picks and share your own on our Discord.
Much like Liam, the list of new titles I've played in 2023 is shorter than I would've thought. After extensively searching and checking the release dates of everything I have even the vaguest memory of downloading, I finally settled on the very first game that jumped out at me, days prior.
Loop Hero is one of the indie-est indies I've stumbled across, merging different elements to create something that should be a mess, but makes perfect sense as a package. It's a roguelike auto-battler in which the hero wanders a (potentially) endless, randomly-generated loop, defeating enemies and acquiring loot, gearing up for the eventual boss fight.
Though player agency is absent during combat, you are in control of how the loop evolves, as you build the world around it. Cards gained from battles can be placed on, or around, the loop, granting passive stat boosts or buffs and, usually, spawning a different enemy type. After you've filled a set number of empty tiles, the boss spawns in at the end of the current loop.
As expeditions can be over fairly quickly if you allow the hero to traverse the loop without too much intervention, it can be a relaxed, easy-going, adventure. Or, you can choose to micro-manage every part of your hero's loadout and design the world with precision, to provide as many benefits as possible whilst minimising risk. I found myself walking the latter path more often, as the narrative slowly pulled me in with its genuinely enthralling, sci-fi, nonsense.
I'm yet to see how the entire story unfolds, but the bitesize nature of Loop Hero means I'll probably return here and there, maybe in between not playing some of the bigger releases this year.
Taking it right back to the beginning of the year, I was all ready to dive into Forespoken and love it, but unfortunately the demo left me cold – meaning an early contender for GOTHY was immediately out.
Redfall too was a disappointment, though far from the complete technical and narrative that was reported (and expect a review of it in the not-so-distant future), which left me zero for two – or perhaps a half – for the year, but surely there’d be a game coming along which could really knock my socks off eventually, right?
I’m hoping that game will be Pikmin 4, due this month, but in the meantime there was one last contender for the first half – Planet of Lana.
I played a bit of the game back at EGX 2022 and the end result was a beautiful example of a handful of simple mechanics executed extremely well and is generally a really well thought out experience.
Special mention should go to Hi-Fi Rush which came out of nowhere and contrary to Liam's experience, really impressed on all fronts, from the vivid and exciting art style to the execution of its music-inspired mechanics. It’s one you should absolutely not pass up.
You might think The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is conspicuous by its absence, and in fact if I had played more of the game it may well be here, but so far I’m still collecting my thoughts for the review, that you’ll have to wait a bit longer for.
In true Nintendo fashion, the Japanese gaming giant waited for all the other games makers to play their cards before doing their own thing, which just so happens to be the now industry standard Nintendo Direct format.
We got news of a new Super Mario game, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and even a solo Princess Peach game on the horizon, as well as snippets about the DLC expansion for Pokémon Scarlett and Pokémon Violet.
What were your highlights? Let us know on our Discord, but in the meantime here are a few of the things which stuck out for the team.
Pikmin 4, Super Mario RPG and Sonic Mania | James Parry
I've said before that I'm excited for the Pikmin 4 next month and, not to bury the lead, what we saw at the direct was all so much fun.
The ability to go out at night and take the risk of being attacked by extra nasty baddies is a fun and interesting wrinkle to the formula.
The game looks beautiful, the bright colours popping and your cheerful Pikmin friends pottering about in the oversized, giant scale words you get to explore are full of exciting things to discover and mechanics which look simple but are tricky to master.
Elsewhere there was Super Mario RPG, a game that totally passed me by way back when and could be an easy in to the turn-based RPG genre that I'm woefully under-experienced in.
On top of that, we had news of another Sonic game, Sonic Superstars, was revealed. This time it's a new 2.5D experience, letting you charge through the levels as all of the big four, and bringing the series' visual style a little more up to date with a more modern approach, compared the recent, and very popular, Sonic Mania.
It'll be interesting to see if the new expansion for Pokémon will be enough to push it to the top of my "got-to-get-back-to-that" pile. So far it doesn't look as fun as previous add-ons.
Well, we’ve made it to the other side of the fun of games being released into the wild at long last, apart from Annapurna’s own showcase at the end of the month, and my my, do we have a lot to talk about!
Whichever platform you prefer and whatever genre floats your boat, it feels as though there’s something for you from the various showcases and publishers. Plus, it was great to see celebrations from all the developers, including writers and community managers, who got to reveal what they’ve been working on, in some cases since before the pandemic hit.
So, what’s your highlight been? Is there a game you can’t wait to play? Let us know in our Discord.
Star Wars Outlaws, Microsoft Flight Simulator and Starfield | Liam Andrews
I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s showcases, as they have given me plenty to look forward to, especially the Ubisoft event, with Star Wars Outlaws going right to the top of my most anticipated pile.
I remember this game being announced a while back, and because it was being developed by Ubisoft Massive, the studio behind the two The Division titles, I just assumed it would be a game like those (enjoyable looter shooters) rather than a solo offering. It looks great, and I’m really glad the game has some form of space combat as well as ground-based missions. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora also looked good and is one I’ll be keeping an eye on.
From the Xbox showcase, I was very happy to see missions and objectives being added to Microsoft Flight Simulator, which will hopefully add some much-needed structure and purpose to gameplay (I got a bit bored just cruising around aimlessly). The rescue missions really reminded me of the old search and rescue games I used to enjoy on PC in the 90s, and I’m looking forward to trying them.
Lastly, Starfield was definitely the star of the whole Summer Games Fest. I was not expecting such a deep dive into what the game had to offer and was almost tempted to stop watching for fear of spoiling things for myself. It looks like the sort of generation defining game that could be around for as long as Skyrim, and I for one cannot wait to play it.
Clockwork Revolution, Dungeons of Hinterberg and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 | James Parry
Like Liam, I was impressed with Star Wars Outlaws - though it’s hard to shake comparisons to the Jedi series in terms of its format. Hopefully the galaxy is big enough for both of these franchises to find their place.
Elsewhere I did chuckle as The Crew has decided to have a play in the Forza Horizon ballpark with The Crew Motorfest, more of interest to me was The Division: Resurgence, until I realised it was a mobile title, which left me with updates to two established franchises in the form of Sea of Thieves: The Legend of Monkey Island and Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, both attempting to derail my carefully constructed timetable for gaming this year.
In terms of new news, there were fresh franchises from some of Xbox’s studio acquisitions including South of Midnight and Clockwork Revolution, the latter of which has a BioShock aesthetic which is reassuringly familiar, but with a time-travel element which could make it particularly fun to explore.
Dungeons of Hinterberg is also looking pretty snazzy, and great to still see smaller games getting some attention amongst the big boys in this competitive industry. The game has some great Devil May Cry vibes to it but with a light, almost cel-shaded style, which I’m excited to explore after the fun of the under-appreciated Hi-Fi Rush.
We did already know about Fable, but we’d only seen a logo so far, so it was nice to see a bit of footage, even if only a few slithers of it could really be considered gameplay. The team has emphasised they want to hold onto the British humour from the origins of the series, so here’s hoping they can pull it off.
Finally, tucked away in the darkness in the Xbox Showcase was the follow-up to Hellblade, a series I’m not familiar with but the cerebral, singleplayer adventure which Senua’s Sacrifice: Hellblade 2 promises is intriguing.
As we enter the hole where E3 used to be we can expect a series of announcements from console makers and publishers and first out of the gate was PlayStation with their annual Showcase event last week.
We all expected Spider-Man 2 news (more on that in a bit), but what else did Sony bring to the show to delight, dazzle and demonstrate the exciting experiences they have in store for us.
We've picked a few of our own, but what was your highlight? Let us know on Discord.
Alan Wake 2, The Talos Principle 2 and Immortals of Aveum | James Parry
First things first, Foamstars, from Square-Enix, is the most shameless rip-off of a game – in this case, Splatoon – that I had seen for a long, long time. I wouldn’t mind so much if it had anything new to bring to the table, that’s how genres are made after all, but it seems pretty clear this is just a shameless cash grab.
Spider-Man 2 was the blockbuster everyone expected to appear at the Showcase, and the talented team at Insomniac didn’t waste any time in blowing our spider-socks off. I particularly enjoyed how the Venom suit was completely unexplained, putting us in the same shoes as Miles and Ganky.
You already know about Spider-Man though, so instead onto one of my most anticipated upcoming games Alan Wake 2. While I haven’t finished the remastered release, not only have I really enjoyed what I’ve played, but am always transfixed by anything Remedy decides to put out. Yes, even Quantum Break.
It must be the way Sam Lake approaches storytelling, but the idea of taking another journey into the Wake-averse with a new protagonist is particularly exciting, because not even Alan Wake likes Alan Wake as a character.
Elsewhere we were given a glimpse at heavy-hitters like Assassin’s Creed Mirage (looks fine, nothing particularly stood out) and Talos Principle 2 (looks like a narrative web I’ll get lost in). It’s a shame we still aren’t seeing more gameplay trailers for things even if they are only a few months out from release, but making games is hard so I get it.
One game which stood out, even when it sneaked out in the form of an EA press release a few months ago, was Immortals of Aveum. The main character has a similar vibe to Jayce from Arkane: League of Legends and the magic FPS vibe seems interesting, especially with some Gina Torres in there for good measure. Will be keeping an eye on that one.
Finally, there were a handful of indie titles which had the “this looks interesting, but it’s not for me”, including Sword of the Sea, The Plucky Squire and Neva. While they might not grab me to play, it’s great to see a variety of smaller titles find their way onto the platform and all show a consistent level of quality. It certainly bodes well for PlayStation’s continued market dominance in the near future.
Like the twisted version of Sméagol himself, the new game Lord of the Rings: Gollum, based on the franchise and character of the same name, has been hiding in the shadows up to its release this week.
While not all forays into Middle Earth have been gaming gold, we've enjoyed a fair share of great games based on the franchise, so what new experience could we create based on another standalone character?
Think you've got an idea worthy of the Horn of Gondor? Let us know on Discord.
Éomer | Liam Andrews
My initial instinct was to go with Boromir, just because his (spoiler alert!) death at the end of the first film was one of my favourite scenes in the whole trilogy and I think it would make for an epic finale in any game about him. If I was going for a Boromir game, I reckon it would be linear, and that horn he carries would be used to summon nearby allies to your aid in battles or temporarily boost your health and attacks.
However, I’m going to pick Éomer instead. A game starring the future King of Rohan would be an open world one, seeing as the Rohirrim are known for their love of horses and you need a big bit of land to ride them in, a bit like the one in Read Dead Redemption 2 (it’ll borrow some of those horse animations as well).
The game would see Éomer roaming around picking fights with orcs, having adventures and helping Rohan’s citizens, generally keeping the lands safe and being a good Marshall of the Mark. It would probably follow the events of the films, with a whole new map opening up (again, Red Dead Redemption style) when Éomer is banished and rides north and also feature some big set piece battles in the form of the charges at Helms Deep and Minas Tirith.
Sauron | James Parry
While The Rings of Power might not have done a great job at building a compelling world as backstory for the heroes we know and love, there's something to leading the rise of evil.
We know from just the films the gist of the story, sure, but the satisfaction of slowly taking over the various realms and pooling their resources could work as a sort of macro scale Fallout Shelter, combined with the option to get out and take on battles yourself, just as a lord gradually realising his power would do.
The combination of action and strategy gameplay could make for a really unique experience, and turning the Nemesis system from Shadow of Mordor/War on its head could enhance the push and pull of the growing war and give it a real personal edge.
The world is already so rich and exploring it could give you a chance to explore well-known locations in a way you wouldn't be able to any other way.
Plus, the series is arguably about the character, given the title, and it’s fair to say it doesn’t come off looking too great in that, so perhaps there’s a chance for some well-needed good PR for The Dark Lord.
With The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom hitting the Switch this week, excitement levels are high(rule) for gamers to rejoin Link on the next chapter of his journey.
While we don't know too much about TotK just yet – expect a review in a little while – but there are so many critically acclaimed Zelda games we are still yet to play, so here are a few.
Have you played them all? Which would you say is the best you haven't got to from what you've heard about it? Share your picks in the Discord.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild | Chris Brand
A little bit of business before I get started, most Zelda titles kind of passed me by (the last Nintendo console I owned was the N64 and I struggled with the weird, three-handed, controller because I was born with only two hands, like a stupid normal person), so I chose Breath of the Wild as the best Zelda game I've never played, despite knowing little about it. After re-reading James' review and watching a couple of speedruns, I can now confidently claim to be an expert.
I'd like to say that the story is absolute perfection, from beginning to end, with a huge twist that no-one could have predicted. However, given the nature of speedruns, I didn't have much of a chance to soak in the narrative. Also, the speedruns I watched were in French, probably due to unskippable dialogue or cutscenes being shorter in that language, which made things even harder to follow. All I can say with any degree of certainty is that Breath of the Wild is devoid of red pencils.
In terms of gameplay, it looks like just the sort of open-world epic I could really get stuck into. The games have evolved over the years but this is a refreshing change which breathes new life into an old franchise, much like Odyssey did for Assassin's Creed. Having played Immortals Fenyx Rising (Ubisoft Does Zelda), I almost feel like I've experienced BotW myself, though the Ubisoft version does seem like a Diet Zelda, which is surprising, given the amount of unnecessary bloat in most of their titles.
I'm often looking for a big single-player adventure to get lost in, so maybe someday I'll pick up a decades-old Switch and finally play what's been heralded as one of the greatest games of all time. Or maybe this will be a Pokémon situation.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask | James Parry
I missed Ocarina of Time when it was first released, but I was drawn into the N64 era in time to get the gold edition cartridge release, so – even though I failed to finish it – I did at least manage to play the game. I think I even got to the adult Link section...so long as there are absolutely no follow-up questions.
Majora’s Mask, which is set two months after OOT, was a different story. At the time I heard the game featured time travel, which involved you travelling through the game in a three-day cycle, about 54 minutes in real time, before using the Ocarina of Time itself to return to the first day. Undoubtedly cool, but it also immediately made it more intimidating and, after failing to get through the previous game, I ran from the terrifying hills of Termina.
On top of that, the game takes a step forward from its famous predecessor in other ways, such as masks, some of which transform Link into different creatures to let you access areas or complete puzzles.
The mechanics of OOT were already solid, and in the years since are still held up as amongst the greatest in not just the series, but open-world games in general, so perhaps Majora’s Mask has got the short end of the Deku stick by being the difficult second child in the 3D Zelda world.
What would your pick be? Shout in the comments or join the conversation on Discord.
With the punniest celebration day of the year nearly upon us, and with Jedi Survivor bringing newcomer's to a galaxy far, far away, it's time to talk Star Wars.
We have been graced with so many Star Wars games in the past…40 years, it's impossible to pick a favourite – though we've certainly mentioned plenty in Team Talk over the years.
So, instead, we're coming up with our own. Whether it's a sequel, a remake or something brand new, there are almost endless possibilities. What would you choose? Let us know in the Discord.
A Darth Maul origin story | Chris Brand
Despite being one of the more intriguing characters from the prequel trilogy, Darth Maul didn't get a lot of screentime in The Phantom Menace. Parts of his story have been told in other media since Episode I and he lived an eventful life, often coming face-to-face with Obi-Wan and other, less famous, Jedi. It would be a wasted opportunity if we didn't get to experience some of that first-hand, maybe in the style of The Force Unleashed, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor or even Knights of the Old Republic.
We got to visit Maul's birthplace, Dathomir, in Fallen Order. Oozing with atmosphere (and possibly other things), it was as creepy as the Nightbrothers and Nightsisters who dwelled there, though it would likely have a very different feel if these were our brothers and sisters and this was our disgusting tentacle-tree thing. It could serve as a base or central hub, somewhere to train Maul and his allies, and recuperate after getting cut in half by Obi-Wan, again (I'm assuming it happens a lot).
Star Wars games are great for exploring, with a lot of variety between locations. There's also plenty of iconic vehicles that can be used for getting around fast, something that, as far as I'm aware, has never really been utilised outside of the Lego Star Wars series.
If Darth Maul can't have his own game, Obi-Wan Kenobi would be my next choice. He must have lived an interesting life if his encounters with Maul aren't even worth mentioning to Luke Skywalker. I stole a hot baked potato at college and I bring it up every chance I get, Obi-Wan must be chopping dudes in half before breakfast.
An open world game on Coruscant | Liam Andrews
I can’t remember if there’s ever been a game set properly on Coruscant, but I think it would be very cool to have one take place entirely on the city planet, especially one with a Grand Theft Auto-style open world with plenty to explore.
Of course, it would be impossible to cram an entire planet’s worth of structures into a game map, but again GTA could be an inspiration. GTA games were always good at stitching together three or four unique areas into one big map, which created a feeling of a much larger world that was still easy to explore on foot or by vehicle.
However, with Coruscant being a city world and lacking in open countryside, the different areas linked together in the game could instead be unique districts, such as lower-level street areas, high rise skyscrapers, ship docks, the Senate, Jedi Temples and so on.
For gameplay, I wouldn’t mind having multiple protagonists, again like GTA V. There is a Star Wars book by Karen Traviss that’s set on Coruscant (called Triple Zero) in which a team of clone troopers go undercover to take down a separatist organisation via espionage, ambushes and shootouts, which would probably translate quite well to the heist mission structure found in GTA V's campaign.
It could also be fun to see a few rival factions working together to take down a larger threat, such as a Jedi, a Mandalorian and an Imperial/Separatist.
We’re all about supporting the little guy around here, as you’ll have spotted from a few of our reviews, so when Nintendo puts together its Indie World Showcase, it’s time to take a look at the best of all the indie games coming to the Switch.
What was your highlight? Let us know in our Discord.
Oxenfree II and Cult of the Lamb | Chris Brand
Despite reading positive reviews and seeing nothing but praise for Oxenfree, it took me some time to get around to playing it, as I don't often have the patience for slower-paced adventure games.
When I finally did dive in, purely to sate my curiosity, I was pleasantly surprised. The puzzling components are engaging without being too challenging, the story is compelling and the choices you make going through will determine how it all plays out.
Though Oxenfree offered multiple endings, it's not the sort of game I could replay. For me, the fun is in uncovering the mystery and enjoying the journey to get there. Once I've experienced it and that crucial element is missing, I can't go back.
A sequel that promises more of the same (with some new features, as is the fashion when it comes to sequels), however, is just the thing to get me excited. Or, at least, it would be, if not for the fact that Oxenfree II will be releasing on every platform but Xbox. It's cool though, I'm writing a TV show about a guy who invents super-bacon and I'm pitching it to everyone, aside from Netflix. Screw you guys.
The trailer for Cult of the Lamb DLC, Relics of the Old Faith, also caught my attention. As an added bonus, I may one day get to play it because Devolver Digital is an inclusive company that cares about people, unlike stupid Netflix which only cares about getting your hard-earned cash so they can buy fancy rugs. The kind of rugs that are too good to walk on, they're just for show and a complete waste of money.
As I've not yet played Cult of the Lamb (but, once again, heard nary a bad thing about it), everything is new to me and the free update not only adds more content but also improves the base game.
Mineko’s Night Market, Rift of the Necrodancer and Quilts and Cats of Calico | James Parry
While the true highlight was seeing two chaps standing by a duck pond (thanks Animal Well), and, like Chris, the Cult of the Lamb trailer definitely stood out, it was Rift of the Necrodancer which hit the sport for me straight away.
Any sort of rhythm game is automatically worth a look for me, and the art style is a bit of fun as well. It’ll be interesting to see if the core gameplay loop can evolve and sustain interest or if it feels a little…one note.
Perhaps it’s nostalgia for Animal Crossing New Horizons, or the fact that I’ve visited Japan recently, but the overall vibe, visual style and the prospect of minigames like cat racing in Mineko’s Night Market seems like a lot of fun. Though whether it’s a game for me remains to be seen.
Finally, there was Quilts and Cats of Calico, featuring a real cat – they know their audience. I’ve never played the original board game, but it certainly seems like there could be a market for this one, particularly those in withdrawal from Stray.
Cosy games are definitely a theme at the moment, both in the showcase and in general, and it will be interesting to see where the subgenre goes next. So far we’ve seen plenty with a great vibe to them but gameplay can feel a bit restrictive or minimal at times.
We've been out of the loop for a few weeks, but in our absence we were handed another nail in the coffin of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, as the show was cancelled once again this year.
The show was an online-only shindig last year and was caught up in the wave of event cancellations due to COVID the year before, but there has been big promises of springing back bigger and better than ever this year as recently as a few months ago.
In case this does end up being the end for E3, we thought it was time to shout out some of our favourite moments from years gone by and celebrate everything the show represented in the gaming landscape.
Xbox always leant into the drama of its announcements with a booming voiceover accompaniment of "World Premiere", and no year was more of a premiere than 2018, where Microsoft rallied after a few years of criticism from the Xbox One's launch, to bring 15 world premieres and 50 games in its showcase overall.
Finally, and many exciting moments through the years, my personal highlight has to be all of you banding together in our online chatroom to talk about the shows as they happened for several years.
The build up would involve awkward time difference calculations and pngs of various stage times, but you would all show up every time to really get into the spirit, like a sort of Eurovision Song Contest experience which saw each publisher trying to out-perform the other.
Truthfully, that is what I will miss the most, and while Gamescom and The Game Awards both offer glimmers of similar moments, the way news is shared by gaming companies now seems like it's changed forever. Pour one out.
Star Wars Battlefront II | Liam Andrews
I never used to pay much attention to E3 when I was younger, as I got all my information from gaming magazines in the early 2000s rather than watching events. I’m sure there was plenty of E3 coverage in them at the time, but I was only interested in the games themselves and wasn’t particularly fussed about where or how they were revealed.
It wasn’t until I joined PTC that I started consistently watching E3 presentations. While my preferred method is still to catch up on all the reveals after an E3 type event so I can focus on the stuff that interests me, I can definitely see the appeal of watching such things live, especially with a few friends.
Probably my most memorable picks from the E3 live events was the Star Wars Battlefront 2 reveal during EA Play (any show that opens with Star Wars’ Imperial March is off to a winner). I loved the 2015 Battlefront reboot, but the expensive season pass and lack of variety brought the experience down somewhat.
The 2017 reveal promised to fix all that, showing off multiple locations, weapons, vehicles, and characters from all Star Wars eras and also introduced the game’s new class system. Although the BF2 would go on to be panned at launch thanks to its loot box heavy progression system (which was thankfully fixed later on) the reveal itself was very impressive.
The Artful Escape | Chris Brand
My favourite E3 memory is from many moons ago. As the showcase takes place (or used to) around my birthday, I've always had cause to celebrate and my preferred method of celebrating back then was to get unbelievably hammered.
It all started off so well; I was watching E3, I was drinking, I was taking notes and I didn't have a care in the world. Until, that is, I awoke the next morning and attempted to make sense of the notes I'd jotted down whilst heavily birthday'd. Though the notes were littered with creative language and very short, I'd been descriptive enough for sober me to understand everything. Everything, apart from "Guitar Bastards." Not wanting to watch the events again in their entirety, I forgot all about Guitar Bastards and moved on with my life.
Years passed, before a little indie game called The Artful Escape hit Gamepass. From the screenshots, I immediately recognised it as Guitar Bastards but with a different, far less appealing, name. I downloaded it, to serve as a digital monument, reminding me that patience is often rewarded. And because it has guitars and I'm a nerd.
The Artful Escape is a colourful and charming adventure (and a fairly easy 100% completion) that I could have easily missed, just a quick trailer, nestled in amongst a handful of other long-forgotten titles, competing with the likes of Extreme Snow Bullshit (A.K.A Steep) and Moose-Pricks (I think that turned out to be The Deer God).