E3 2016: PC Gaming Show Recap

E3 2016: PC Gaming Show Recap

This year’s E3 followed in the footsteps of last year’s and boasted a PC gaming showcase with the intention of bringing new stuff for PC-oriented releases and shilling for AMD. Here’s a play-by-play recap of everything that happened, along with some of my gool ol’ opinion on them. Let’s get started!

  • First up, after condolences for the recent Orlando shooting, we got a highlight reel of the year so far: XCOM 2, Witcher III, DOOM, and many more. Nicely edited, and set the stage pretty well.
  • We get our host, and the show is revealed to be a talk show-esque affair which is a nice change of pace. Our first game was Dawn of War III, complete with Blood Angel cosplayer. Armour and all. We got pre-alpha footage of the game, which personally looked more akin to Dawn of War II than the first game but could still be a good time. The cosplayer looked uncomfortable standing there, though. Fidgeting and everything. I wanted to give him some coffee or something. We’re getting more information on Dawn of War III on June 24th.
  • The next game was Oxygen Not Included, the new title from Don’t Starve developers Klei Entertainment. It’s a Fallout Shelter-like base simulator, which is always a good way to blow a few hours. Don’t Starve was a great survival game, so fingers crossed that Klei know what they’re doing.
  • Up next was Ark: Survival Evolved, talking about how they’ve added new dinosaurs to the game and how much they love mods. I played Ark for a little while and grew bored, but people still playing can expect plenty of community content with the recently-released modding tools.
  • Here comes a VR game! He’s giant. He’s a cop. He’s Giant Cop, and he’s cleaning up the streets by flinging criminal scum everywhere. You play as a giant cop. Throwing people around. It looks like dumb fun, and I giggled a fair bit watching the trailer.
  • The next game was a PC favourite: Mount & Blade. More specifically, gameplay footage from the upcoming direct sequel Bannerlord. We’re shown a siege, and the graphics are a major step up. It’s been a while since I played a Mount & Blade game, so coming back should be a blast. It’s promised to be a “mish-mash on genres”, which sounds right for the series. Colour me keen.
  • The Surge was next, a new game from the Lords of the Fallen devs. The game looks like Lords of the Fallen (basically Dark Souls with extra stuff thrown in) but with a junker sci-fi aesthetic. Looks pretty good, but I’m not holding my breath. Lords of the Fallen was an unfortunately mediocre RPG, and hopefully they’ve learned with their mistakes.
  • Overwatch clones are abound these days, and we got a new one next: Lawbreakers. A mixture of Call of Duty and Tribes, this one’s helmed by the one and only Cliffy B. He looked…old. He was wearing a suit, he was balding, he let himself go…but he’s still the Cliffy B we know and (sometimes) love. He boasted that if “Overwatch is Street FighterLawbreakers is Mortal Kombat“. The game itself looks pretty sweet, but nothing I’m ditching Overwatch for. Nevertheless, early access is coming soon.
  • After some e-sports talk, we get some AMD. More specifically, showing off their new graphics cards. Three new cards are going on sale this month: RX 480, 470, and 460. All boast different priorities for different kinds of performance expectations. They’re set to be in the 100-300 USD mark, to cater to the growing budget PC market. Parts getting cheaper is never a bad thing, but no specs were thrown our way. Guess we’re waiting.
  • Next up was more VR. An Alienware VR backpack was shown. It’s a computer strapped onto your back so you’re no longer tethered to your PC or stuck in a confined space. This is the way forward for VR, and was very exciting indeed. We also got a Serious Sam VR demo, which looks like a lot of fun. Serious Sam games have always been bombastic affairs, and this looks no different.
  • CPUs were next, and some talk of AMD’s new line of processors: Zen core. We got footage of their labs, but no extra information. That’s okay, AMD processors aren’t that great anyway.
  • After the hardware talk, we got back to the games. Vampyr, from the devs behind Life Is Strange, looks like yet another action RPG trying to emulate Dark Souls. Yawn, next.
  • Ooh, Killing Floor 2! We got a summary of all the content available to the early access game, with the announcement of a new content pack that’s available now. In addition, we got a VR game in the series developed by Tripwire themselves. Killing Floor: Incursion looks to be a more horror-focused take on the series, with only one player and more intentional use of Zeds. Interestingly, it was announced for Oculus VR which leads me to believe that the next big hardware war is going to be fought in the world of virtual reality. As long as the games keep being fun, devs can do whatever they like.
  • Tyranny was next, an isometric RPG from Obsidian. Set in a world where the bad guys won and have quelled all resistance, it looks like Diablo II in just the right ways. I’m really excited to see more of it. We got some gameplay, and a lot of art and that kinda dev stuff.
  • Observer was next from developer Bloober Team, a survival horror game set in a cyberpunk future. It looks claustrophobic and dirty, which is just how I like my cyberpunk. It follows a simple premise: what if your fears were hacked against you?” I expect lots of UI trickery to really freak out the player. Good stuff. Goooooooooooood stuff.
  • An RTS/MOBA love child was shown next, in the form of Drop Zone. In it, each player controls three units with abilities that are toggled before the game. This kind of variety is what the RTS genre desperately needed a decade ago, but never too late to make amends. I think it looks like it could be a really good game, but time will tell.
  • Next up was a game everybody in the audience loved: Arma III. Developer Bohemia Interactive talked about the incoming expansion pack, Apex. It promises new content, a new enviroment, and plenty of gameplay updates. It launches on July 11th.
  • You like indie games, right? You like Portal? Well, here comes The Turing Test! It’s Portal but without the dry humour and more English accents.
  • Overland was next. Procedurally generated Oregon Trail-esque gameplay is the go, set in a post-apocalyptic America. The art style looks good, but may make some groan in disbelief that it’s “more of this minimalist shit”. Early access is available now.
  • Dual Universe is next, which is a blatant No Man’s Sky competitor. If you’re keen for that game, chances are you’ll like this one too. You can build your own ships in real-time and fly them around in a “seamless fully editable universe”.

  • A video celebrating the mouse and keyboard was shown next, which totally wasn’t paid for by Razer. Totally.
  • One of my more anticipated games, Halo Wars 2, was shown next. It looks like the same thing from the first game seven years ago, and all the problems that came with it. The console controls aren’t being ported to PC, which is a relief. Art style is very similar too, with no room for deviation. Unfortunately, I’ll be giving this one a pass.
  • Insurgency devs New World Interactive dropped their new game: Day of Infamy. It’s Insurgency but in the Second World War. Fuck yes.
  • Mirage: Arcane Warfare was next, the spiritual sequel to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. It’s the same game, but with magic. Should provide fans with a fun new experience. It looks much better visually, with a more simplistic art style that doesn’t feel like they did it purely to skimp on graphics. It comes out later this year, with a beta due “very soon”.
  • Mages of Mystralia was announced as well, with a story from the dude who did Forgotten Realms. We got a trailer, but not much else. You create your own spells, which is an interesting mechanic that has never gone anywhere in the past.
  • Warframe is getting a sportsball mode in the form of Lunaro. Now, you too can kick all the wickets and play the touchdowns. Come on and slam.
  • Finally, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was shown through the first level of a non-lethal playthrough. The game looks absolutely amazing, with some real choice involved in the game. The consequences are even realer, with the prospect of getting a different result from each mission that should build up to a grand crescendo. The UI is also heavily customisable, which is very welcome indeed. I love Deus Ex, and this game looks set to wow us all.

After some Warren Spector talk of how great PC gaming it (it totally is), the show wrapped up and I proceeded to switch on the Ubisoft conference. I should have just gone to bed.

Aza blames his stunted social skills and general uselessness on a lifetime of video games. Between his ears is a comprehensive Team Fortress 2 encyclopedia. His brain, on the other hand, remains at large.