With no E3 show this year, given the knock-on impact of the pandemic, Geoff Keighley, of The Game Awards fame, has coordinated the major platforms (except Nintendo, because they do whatever they fancy) for Summer Games Fest, to show off their latest gaming wares.
By now you’ll have heard about The Last of Us Part 1 remake, had the first reveal of Starfield gameplay at the Xbox Bethesda Showcase over the weekend, and even found out about new content for Resident Evil Village, but were there any unexpected surprises?
The team has come up with a few, and we also have special guest, and Twitch and Twitter queen, Ellie Hayden pitching in as well. What were your highlights? Let us know in the comments.
High on Life | Chris Brand
There were a number of titles that took me by surprise, none more so than High on Life, a first-person shooter from relative newcomers Squanch Games. Justin Roiland (CEO of Squanch Games and co-creator of Rick and Morty) has splashed his unmistakable style, and voice, all over, with a blend of off-the-wall humour and visuals that are as beautiful as they are disturbing.
In a world that's (hopefully) very unlike our own, human beings are sold as the latest drug craze and it's up to you to take down the alien cartel responsible for this trafficking. If the idea of people-packed "Hyperbongs" isn't weird enough, you'll be taking on the alien menace with an arsenal of living, and talking, weapons.
It's the kind of thing that could wear thin very quickly if it's not done right – I'm sure we all have phrases burned into our brains from mindless NPCs constantly repeating the same few lines over and over again – but I'm hoping there's enough variety in the dialogue, with a host of different personalities to wield and a runtime that doesn't overstay its welcome.
I love immersing myself in a substantial RPG, and Starfield is certainly looking the part, but sometimes I just like good old-fashioned fun. High on Life reminds me of Oddworld in that respect, the general tone is similar as it walks that fine line between serious and silly.
Aliens: Dark Descent | Liam Andrews
I do like to get excited by the prospect of a new Aliens game, even if they haven’t always delivered on the hype. I played a bit of the most recent one, Fireteam Elite, and did enjoy it, for the most part, but even with it on Game Pass finding a match was difficult and it soon dropped off my radar.
Although there wasn’t much in the way of gameplay, I liked the look of Aliens: Dark Descent. I wouldn’t say I’m into RTS games, but the idea of trying to navigate a whole squad of Colonial Marines through levels littered with xenomorphs sounds quite fun.
There’s little revealed in the trailer, so we don’t whether it’ll be a case of moving a small team of four or five marines through a linear level, or if it’ll be more like a traditional RTS setup where you’ll be establishing bases, harvesting resources, and building larger armies and attacking/defending multiple objectives at once.
Either way, I think an Aliens RTS has potential, and I’m looking forward to seeing more. At the very least, it was a nice surprise to see a new take on the franchise and the CG trailer was impressive.
Persona 3, 4 and 5 | Ellie Hayden
We’ve seen some pretty big and exciting reveals this week – and I’m sure the boys have already mentioned that juicy Starfield gameplay – but the unexpected highlight for me has to be the re-release of a selection of old games.
I’m very excited to see Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal will be coming to Game Pass. It’s been wonderful to see JRPGs really moving into the mainstream over the last few years and this feels like a substantial step forward in terms of bringing the best of that genre into the spotlight.
The Persona series includes some of the most well-designed, well-produced and innovative RPGs I’ve ever played. In fact, the storytelling and character design in all three games is sublime; the soundtracks and voice acting are top-quality; and the combat is deep, strategic, and customisable – I really can’t gush enough about them.
It’ll be fantastic to see a whole host of new people play these games for the first time, and Game Pass should encourage more Western gamers who might have missed them to give the series a try.
Seeing more enthusiastic gamers getting into a franchise I love, one of my favourites of all time in fact, is really exciting. I can’t wait to see how many gamers almost ruin their degree playing P3P, just like I did.