This past weekend was the Electronic Entertainment Expo where all the top game developers and publishers all make the trek out to the Los Angeles Convention Center to showcase their upcoming products. This is one of the top events worldwide that gamers anticipate every year because it provides clear and concrete information as to upcoming titles. Normally the three big companies (Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo) deliver their presentations in “competition” with one another and the fans go nuts for what they announce. This year, Sony did not attend the expo. This left Nintendo and Microsoft with a unique opportunity to showcase their products without the competition of the Playstation. Nintendo killed it, but Microsoft definitely misfired. They did announce the next Halo game and provided a cinematic trailer for it, but they fumbled on any other Microsoft exclusive content. Despite the fumble, there were a lot of games showcased that are going to have to be purchased in the coming calendar year.
I’m going to highlight my top 5 game purchases for the next year and why they are a must have.
Talk to anybody who knows me and they will tell you my favourite gaming franchise of all time is Halo. So much so, that even though I had a Playstation and a Playstation 2, I got myself an Xbox specifically to play Halo and have stuck with Microsoft ever since. I’ve enjoyed every game of this franchise since Halo: Combat Evolved was released with the original Xbox back in 2001. The story of the Master Chief and his battle to protect Humanity from not only the Covenant, but the Flood and now the Prometheans is something that just strikes a chord with me. He’s a super soldier in experimental armour that kicks ass and takes names. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the direction that they took the franchise with Halo 5: Guardians, but I got the chance to play as Buck, so that was okay for me. Every year on the release of a new Halo game, I take a day or two off of either school or work so that I can play it right away and consume the story without taking it in pieces. I’ve played through each and every single game on every difficulty and multiple times at that. I am very familiar with the world of Halo, though not as familiar as some Youtube channels like Halo Canon or HiddenExperia, but I do alright. I’ve been silently waiting for the reveal of the new game ever since I completed the last one nearly 4 years ago.
When I heard that the team at 343 developed their own brand new game engine (The Slipspace Engine) just to run the game the way they wanted, I was very intrigued. Then I saw the environmental trailer they released to showcase the engine and I was hooked. I had to have it. Though the game is not slated for release until Holiday of 2020 (normally October or November area), it also launches as the flagship title for the new Xbox Scarlett console, which I will also be purchasing.
CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE
I will admit, I’ve become very distant with the Call of Duty franchise. The last GOOD games, in my opinion, were Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3, I never really care for Black Ops at all. I did really enjoy the Infinite Warfare title, but the multiplayer was a little to… loud? They had way more crap crammed into it than was necessary and it was FULL of microtransactions and loot boxes… This time Activision/Blizzard and Infinity Ward took it back to their most successful franchise and re-imagined it for the modern world. They are reintroducing classic characters like Captain Price and “Soap” MacTavish with a new campaign with contains some obvious nods to their previous title. I was right in the thick of the Modern Warfare craze in high school/college. Nothing compared to coming home after a day of school and booting up the Xbox to play with your friends until late into the night, only taking a small break for supper.
As I said before the game is a re-imagining of their classic story with the removal of the controversial “No Russian” mission. Due to the amount of criticism and the implications the level had on certain individuals in their attacks on schools and an actual airport, it makes sense as to why the level was removed.
I for one loved the entire over arching campaign of the Modern Warfare games. So I am very excited for this new and fresh take that also serves as a soft reboot of the sub brand. The game releases on October 25, 2019 which is just in time for me to get myself a little birthday present!
GHOST RECON: BREAKPOINT
God, I love Ghost Recon. One of the first games I ever bought for myself was Ghost Recon: Island Thunder way back when it was a platinum hit on the original Xbox. I bought Wildlands when it was on sale, and spent a solid month ripping through the drug lord’s backyard and disrupting their operation. It was a great open world game that provided the ability to approach any mission however you wanted. Unlike Island Thunder which had a level design to railroad you to the object but still allowed you to approach any way you wanted, Wildlands was 100% sandbox. Go anywhere and do anything, that’s the definition of a sandbox game. Most games nowadays are emulating the open world motif and it’s paying off for them. Pretty much every single RPG game is a sandbox style with the most popular being the Final Fantasy series, The Elder Scrolls, and the Witcher. The team at Ubisoft took this and made a tactical squad based third person shooter with the same mechanics and it worked great! This time they’ve upped the anti and added a whole bunch of futuristic looking tech to the equation.
Breakpoint takes place in a completely fictional island called Aurora that is located in the South Pacific. The game is a sort of sequel to Wildlands as it takes place four years after the events in that game. When the owner of the island shuts it off from the outside world after being implicated in an assassination attempt, the Ghosts are sent in to discover the truth. When they get to the island they’re not prepared for what awaits them as one of their own has gone rogue and is leading a PMC to “safe guard the future of warfare”.
This game looks to employ every type of environment that is available, it has cold and snowy mountains, lush rain forests, beaches, deserts, and futuristic warehouses. Not only is this game right up my alley, I’m a huge fan of militaristic shooters, but it also contains, as you can see from the thumbnail of the trailer, Jon Bernthal as the Rogue Ghost! I don’t know about you, but going up against the Punisher himself is something that I’ve always wanted to try! The game hits all major platforms on October 4, 2019.
This game was #5 on my most anticipated games of 2019 list that I published on in January of this year. Coming from the studio that brought us the amazing Witcher series, comes this adaptation of the 1988 tabletop game Cyberpunk 2020. As I said before this game is being developed and produced by CD Projekt Red and is their next big franchise to build their game portfolio. The game has been rumoured and in development for quite a few years and for the past two E3 expos, we’ve been given tidbits of information on it. This year they showed us a beautiful cinematic trailer that contained not only some badass action, but Keanu Reeves himself! If the delay was just so they could get every wisp of Keanu’s hair and his beard scruff perfect… well I’m okay with that.
The game is set in a futuristic city called Night City in the Free State of California. This city is controlled by corporations and is not subject to the laws of the state or of the country as a whole. The infrastructure of the city relies heavily on robotics and cybernetics for the function of basic services which allows for modifications of it’s citizens. Due to the range and type of modifications being performed, a private police/military force called the “Psycho Squad” polices the city. Homelessness is a severe issue in the city but the poor are still able to modify their bodies with cybernetics allowing for extreme violence in the streets. Because of this increase of violence, all citizens of the city are permitted to carry their own firearms in public.
If this game is anything like the Witcher then they already have my love and my money. Having only recently finished the main story of the Witcher, I’m itching for more of the work that CD Projekt Red is known for. While it was originally slated for release this year, the game has been pushed back to April 16, 2020.
STAR WARS: JEDI FALLEN ORDER
Oh how EA really needs a win… After all the shit they tried to pull with Battlefront and Battlefront II, Disney pulled their Star Wars contract and restarted Lucasfilms Games (Lucas Arts). Thankfully this one is being developed by Respawn games, famous for Titanfall and Apex Legends, so it looks to be in good hands. EA lost the faith of the fans long ago and after the botched release of Battlefront II, they lost the faith of Disney too. This game was already nearly fully developed for release when Disney re-opened Lucasfilms Games, otherwise it probably would’ve been scrapped.
The game is centered around Cal Kestis a young Jedi padawan who survived Order 66. It takes place a few years following the Revenge of the Sith and the extermination of the Jedi order. Cal has been hiding in plain sight and working on a salvage crew that is dismantling star destroyers for their raw materials. One night, he and a co-worker are working on a Venator Star Destroyer above a Sarlaac pit (the giant sand vagina thing that ate Boba Fett in Return of the Jedi) when one of their lines snap and Cal’s co-worker falls over the side. Not wanting his friend to die, Cal uses the force to halt his friend’s fall and save his life, but a passing Imperial probe droid witnessed the entire ordeal. Cal is then forced to go on the run from the Empire and the Second Sister of the Inquisitors. The Inquisitors were a squad of former Jedi and other force sensitive beings who defected to the Empire and agreed to hunt down any surviving Jedi. They were personally trained by Darth Vader in lightsaber combat and Jedi tactics.
This one has been on my radar for quite some time and while I really want to believe it will be a great game with no downsides, my experience with EA and their Star Wars media has left me very skeptical. Several of my friends (Ben, Gage and Chris) are all ready to pro-order it as soon as it becomes available because of how much they love Star Wars. I keep telling them to wait and see what the user reviews say about it before buying it, but at the same time, you get to cut down legions of Storm Troopers with a lightsaber; so even if it’s bad, it can’t be that bad! The game is slated to release on November 15, 2019 across all platforms.
These five games represent my top choices from the entire E3 expo and my wallet is not very happy. Each one of these is probably going to cost $79.99 + HST which comes out to $90.40 each! To buy all of them is going to cost me $451.94… thank God they don’t all come out at once! Let me know what your top choices are. See you next week!