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E3 Day 2 Recap – Psychonauts 2, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, 2 different Wolfensteins, And Watch Dogs: Legion

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Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.

I started over in Nintendo, and sadly due to the late night last night, I didn’t get a chance to start with Pokemon, one more chance for that, but instead, we get Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. Honestly, I was unsure what to expect here, though I liked both Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (I actually really liked their take on Civil War).

It’s great to see this series again, and I’m shocked Koei Tecmo is making it. In the version I played there were 12 characters, I just chose a couple. I got to choose three of the four, ending up with Venom, Wolverine, and Deadpool. I couldn’t find a better choice, but really how could I? They said there’d be 30 characters in the final game, and that’s fine, but I think I have 3 of my favorites right here.

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Now the name The Black Order is a reference to the Children of Thanos, I’m not going to fully geek out here, but it’s a good story if a bit on the nose with the movies already out.

Each character felt unique and different. Deadpool used his katanas, Wolverine his claws, and Venom brawled. They even had their own abilities and ultimate abilities. Their double jump was cool, I was having a blast with Deadpool teleporting when double jumping and Venom web-swinging. It’s just feel good to me. The graphics felt a little small when the camera pulled back, but this is the same fun that Marvel Ultimate Alliance always promised and it seems to deliver.

I know Avengers is going to take a lot of attention right now, I have an appointment to see it tomorrow, but Marvel Ultimate Alliance does feel good and made my inner comic nerd happy. Even just seeing Jessica Jones (Who I think is unplayable) and Iron Fist (who I’m unsure) was great, but this is now on my list even if it’s Switch only.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Yesterday we saw Doom, let’s see how the other classic ID shooter is doing. This time MachineGames studio pairs up with Arkane. Yes, this game is out next month.

I’ve actually played this game twice today. I first played the Switch game to see how it looked, and then played on PC later at Bethesda’s booth. According to the team member, it was a full port to the Switch and I’ll be honest, it looked good on the big screens we were playing on. There were a couple of moments that I wondered what trickery was used, and maybe a few moments when a careful eye noticed a small thing that didn’t look right, but if you want a mobile Wolfenstein: Youngblood, the Switch port works well.

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At the same time, The PC version was intense. Yeah, this is probably high end hardware and all, but it looked great, though I had more challenges with the PC version I have a feeling it was later in the game, and my partner and I weren’t trained in how to take down the fuel wearing heavies that took three to four attempts to understand. Shoot the back.

I like the look of Youngblood, even if it reminds me I still need to cover Wolfenstein 2. There’s good gameplay, and it’s all about the co-op. If the AI is playing with you, the AI will go do its own thing rather than hover over your shoulder, and in fact, the maps are really solid, showing a bunch of parallel paths.

The only thing is there are RPG elements. I don’t think we’re talking microtransactions but I also have to be honest, RPG elements (leveling) work in some games, but suddenly bullets doing more damage is a weird thing. It doesn’t ruin the game, but I think I audibly sighed when I saw that my character leveled up. Though there are tons of collectibles, and a lot of cool stuff to find, so that’s good at least.

In fact, a guy started playing next to me and somehow dropped in with me, I didn’t even realize until the AI tried to open a two person door. There are other interesting features, a shared life system and more, and honestly, it’s another really solid shooter from both Arkane and MachineGames studios.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint

I played this with a group of 3 players and a Ubisoft representative. We were three newbies, and one of our players wanted to go loud. Within ten minutes we found out how bad of a mistake that was. Going loud meant the enemy pretty much was able to charge us, surround us with the units, and even use their mobile vehicle that easily killed us.

The fact is, it wasn’t a failure of ability, but tactics, we didn’t take defensive positions or stick together, instead we charged in and got beat.

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But from there we restarted our game, and found the second attempt to be better, we were able to use our stealth a bit better, killing as we moved, and I think even the layout of the level changed. The ability to use Drones to detect enemies is becoming a trend in games, but Ghost Recon definitely started this trend over a decade ago and it works really well here.

The slow semi-stealth of the second playthrough worked better, we were able to use our abilities to help each other. I threw up a smoke screen, as a dangerous vehicle seemed to come up fast, and pin down on teamwork. Teamwork helped and honestly, the experience was much improved. I even got some great shots off, saving my pinned down teammates, and Ghost Recon, just like almost every Tom Clancy game works far better when working with a group.

We didn’t see much of the story or learn too much about the characters, and while the characters were different, the differences weren’t really pronounced in this playthrough and were preassigned. I was the stealth class, but when my team was going loud I don’t know how useful that is.

Though, I did get a chance to use a takedown and the melee kill was really solidly executed, though it was in the middle of a firefight, so maybe being that close was more of a failure. I enjoyed my time with this one, which started as a total mess, became efficient the second time through.

Evil Genius 2

Fans of the original Evil Genius from 14 years ago should be excited, for everyone else, well allow me to introduce you to Evil Genius. Just as a note this was a hands-off demo as are the next two games.

If you’ve ever seen a Bond villain and thought you could do better, you have your chance. Evil Genius 2 is called a lair builder, essentially taking the role of one of four evil geniuses and putting your dastardly doomsday plans into motion. Apparently, each genius will have their missions, as well as a choice of a number of island bases, so there are different choices.

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It seems like a focus on the game can be placed on the “Cover Operation” such as why are rich men and women coming to your island with huge sums of money. You can have many, the one shown off here was a luxury hotel and a solid gold casino. I love the look and idea of this and it sounds like you could heavily focus on this cover operation, even building towards that direction with valets and similar minions who work in it.

In addition, a big part of building your base besides the henchmen, and minions, are a series of traps and it sounds like they’re aware that large zany traps are fan favorites, but it’s definitely something they are working on. In the current build, I saw a Fan, lasers, and finished off with a shark tank. Sadly, the sharks didn’t have lasers on their fricken head, and thus had a cold meal.

There’s a lot of exciting ideas in the game, the team mentioned having an Investigator infiltrate a base just to pick out targets, and send other agents in. There’s a whole world wide domination map that wasn’t seen but discussed in some lengths, and honestly, this looks like another great base builder. It’s not out until next year but is planned for Steam, and it’s a great update for a decade old series.

A little side story, the Evil Genius 2 meeting was held behind closed doors, so they have it all decked out like an evil villain’s lair. They had their little spiel, showed a trailer, and a slideshow talking about features, and then they were going to show gameplay.

The guy at the keyboard slaps the space bar to start up the game, and immediately the entire room went dark. Everything was shut off, and there was a little gap in the ceiling, the entire area was dark. Within three minutes, we found out the entire convention center lost power for a moment. Just the fact that the game was called “Evil Genius” and the timing of the first space bar press as the Convention Center lost power is one of those special moments that you couldn’t recreate even if you tried.

Psychonauts 2

As stated this was a hands-off demo. Raz is now a full agent of the Psychonauts, and the game starts interestingly. Psychonauts 2 is a return to form of the original Psychonauts. The Demo starts as a semi-depressing moment, Raz is just another office drone and is mired in drudgery. Just as you feel bad, the entire game quickly turns into an amazing brain heist, where Raz and his team tries to figure out who Dr. Loboto’s boss is. It was all a very funny setup for the level, and it worked. In fact, much of the comedy here felt good.

This is apparently a continuation of the VR title, but oddly enough I … well, never heard of that one, or at least have forgotten about it. I also wonder how many others haven’t played it due to the scarcity of VR.

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With that said though, the video I saw didn’t seem to need too much explanation, the focus on the game is on the weird and wonderful dream world, and…. Psychonauts 2 delivers on it. There’s some good humor, some simple stealth, which is worrisome but didn’t take too long here, and there were some really impressive optical illusions.

There was a point where a corridor kept elongating as Raz ran down it, and as well as weird gravity where characters walked on walls, and ceilings. It perfectly returned my mind to the amazing dreamscapes of the previous game. Figments are also back and this feels like it will be a solid hit. The humor is good, the gameplay looked great, and while there was a little bit of a strong flavor of “Remember Psychonauts One” as they taught moves, I got the feeling that this was still in the tutorial area.

There also is a great mashup while you play the level. The cold sterile office world mixes and matches with Dr. Loboto’s dentistry ideas, and suddenly you’re in strange mouth areas and having to manipulate teeth. I would recommend keeping an eye on this one.

Watch Dogs: Legions

We come to the game I had the most concerns about in the E3 press conference. Honestly, I think Watch Dogs: Legions is really overpromising. But I also left this hands-off demo, a little hyped. I might be believing in this game, and that’s going to be interesting.

So the first thing talked about is that while each character has unique traits, they also have profiles. You can find out who they’re related to, ex-wives, spouses and more. It sounds fluffy, but according to the devs, every character on that list is a real person. It’s an interesting thought, but it’s fully in line with how Watch Dogs: Legion is set up Everyone in the Watch Dogs: Legions is a real person, along with having thoughts about Dedsec.

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The player can grow that relationship and eventually be given one last favor for the characters. If completed that character will join the resistance. According to the devs, there will be infinitely many of these missions, I’m sure some will repeat, but the idea that these are not considered the story missions is intriguing, and the mission here was simple but worked well.

They are talking about 60 missions in the game split over 5 progression tracks that can be worked on individually. It’s an interesting idea, especially as they promise 20 different voice tracks with modulation that gives you even more possible voices, and each of the 20 voice tracks should have their own dialogue in many scenes.

The thing is as a former developer, what Watch Dogs: Legion is promising sounds crazy, the amount of design work and more, makes me think this is a very heavy overpromise.

But I also can’t help but be ready to admit that I was wrong if they actually execute on their promises. There’s a lot of time before launch, but as much as my experience tells me how technically challenging this could be, I have to admit, I’m rooting for this team.

One note, in the demo, and in the press conference, the character gets a chance to “Surrender” to avoid being killed or make one last desperate stand. So characters won’t just be killed every time.

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot

To end day 2 I talked my way into one last demo. I ended up playing Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, and I can’t stress how happy I am. It’s a VR title, similar to yesterday’s Sniper Elite VR, but different. For this demo, I was using a Vive, which I found quite natural.

Cyberpilot has you playing as a driver of a giant mech, who…. slaughters nazis, murdering them with a giant chaingun and rocket launcher. The player can sit in a simple chair, and look around using the right hand, which also controls what the chain gun points at. The left-hand controls the rocket launcher, and it feels good. Players can stomp around in the mech using a touchpad on the Vive controller which worked well.

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VR is always interesting, and what Cyberpilot does is add in little touches. Besides just pointing the weapons, both hands have alternate functions. The left hand can slap a button to put up a shield around the player. I don’t know if there’s a recharge timer but it admittedly was a lot of fun to reach to the left and slap the big red “oh crap” button. The right hand had an odd mechanic to point the controller at a healing port to deploy bots to recharge the health of the mech. I say odd, but it worked, it’s just strange the first time you use it.

The 10 minutes I played was extremely fast, but it also was a lot of fun, I am sure I had a huge smile on my face, the experience was fantastic, and honestly, I am considering how I might be able to upgrade my rig and considering if I should cover VR titles, this is an extremely compelling choice. It’s out next month alongside Youngblood.

And that’s my Day Two, I saw a lot, and I know I haven’t talked about Cyberpunk, Final Fantasy VII, Avengers, Borderlands 3, and….. Well, the good news is that’s because I already have plans. My final day is going to be packed with some of the biggest games of E3, so get ready.

Until then, I’m Kinglink and thank you for watching.

Click here for more from King Link

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