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Editorial

OnlySP’s Best of E3 2018 Nominees

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E3 Nominees

E3 2018 was ripe with stunning games. From new announcements to event stalwarts, the show, as ever, catered to a broad audience. Whittling the immense number of games down to a handful of Best of E3 nominees was no mean feat, but a few titles stood out from the crowd.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Announced at E3 2017 and re-revealed during Microsoft’s conference this year, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is an easy stand-out. In an event overstuffed with action and bombast, Moon Studios’s sophomore effort was a breath of fresh air, taking the whimsical atmosphere, smooth gameplay, and evocative audio of the team’s previous project and raising them to a new level of excellence. The game is scheduled for release on PC and Xbox One sometime in 2019.

Mega Man 11

After almost ten years without a new fully-fledged game, the Blue Bomber is coming back later this year. Mega Man 11 couples old-school action-platformer gameplay with a cel-shaded aesthetic that brings the classic character into the modern age. With retro in vogue and The Mighty No. 9 flopping, the time could hardly be more right for the return of one of gaming’s true icons. Mega Man 11 launches on PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One on October 2, 2018.

Resident Evil 2

Although the Resident Evil 2 remake was announced in 2015, details have heretofore been scarce. However, the new showing of the title was stunning. The 1998 classic has been rebuilt from the ground-up in the RE Engine (which also powered Resident Evil VII and the upcoming Devil May Cry 5), allowing for market-leading graphics and overhauled modernised gameplay. The project will be available beginning January 25, 2019.

Cyberpunk 2077

A list of the best games from E3 2018 could hardly dream to be complete with Cyberpunk 2077. The project has been accumulating hype since it 2012 announcement, and CD Projekt RED’s first demo successfully met six years of anticipation. With an incredibly detailed world, stunning graphics, and the promise of slick gameplay, the title is shaping up to outclass even the stunning The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Cyberpunk 2077 is currently without a release window.

Rage 2

Avalanche Studios is bringing its madcap approach to open-world design to id Software’s unmatched first-person shooter expertise for this sequel, and the pairing is one for the ages. Gamers may be confused at Bethesda Softworks’s decision to bring back one of its least-loved IPs, but anyone looking for an FPS unhampered by seriousness is likely to find a gem in Rage 2. The title is slated for launch on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in the first half of 2019.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

Adapted from the Mutant series of role-playing board games, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden couples XCOM-influence combat gameplay with a novel setting and real-time exploration. Although not an original IP, the game is shaping up as one of the most novel—and engaging—projects scheduled for release in 2018. Though currently without a set date, the title will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Valkyria Chronicles 4

Sega’s stunning watercolour strategy series is set to return later this year, and it is looking brilliant. For the first time in the saga, the action moves away from Gallia, placing players in control of a squad from the Atlantic Federation. With a new soldier class, an entirely new set of characters, and bigger battlefields than ever before, Valkyria Chronicles 4 promises to expand on all the things that made the original games so widely loved when it launches later this year on PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One.

While you’re here, why not let us know what got you excited from the show?

Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at https://open.abc.net.au/people/21767

Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in July 2019

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Three Single Player Games (July 2019) - Sea of Solitude, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Wolfenstein Youngblood

July, the middle of winter down here in Australia. Even in the bizarre New South Wales climate, the biting cold makes for a great excuse to stay inside and play games. 

Weirdly for single players, quite a few prestige games this month include additional co-op modes. With acclaimed designers behind them, such games will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of accommodating multiple players, as too many games have done in the past.

Sea of Solitude

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

At first blush, Sea of Solitude looks like yet another story of a young adult struggling with questions of identity and mental health while exploring a beautiful but harsh fantasy world.

Actually, that’s what it is. ‘Quirky, life affirming indie adventure’ is a whole cottage industry these days, but the fact that such games are now more prevalent should never dismay.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a masterpiece of refined design and storytelling, and Sea of Solitude appears be something similar—this time dealing with a fantastical vision of depression that turns ordinary people into literal monsters.

Players take charge of Kay, who has sought out the eponymous Sea—or rather, a flooded city based on Berlin—in the hope that there is a cure for monstrosity. However, despite its name, she is not the only person in the Sea. Avoiding the other monsters of the Sea seems to be a major part of the gameplay. These tense encounters are likely to provide rhythm and variety to the adventure and keep it from being a just walking simulator. (Not that being a walking simulator is inherently a problem.)

Although published by EA Originals, one would do well to remember that EA the company does not actually profit off the Originals that they publish. With a focused story and themes that still are not often explored in bigger games, Sea of Solitude should be of great interest to single player fans in a month otherwise dominated by multiplayer titles.

 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Almost certainly the biggest single player release of the month, and tied with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as another massive Switch exclusive, Fire Emblem: Three Houses might be exactly what single players need right now.

Lately the Fire Emblem franchise has exploded in both its popular profile and sales success, buoyed by a hunger for both deep anime RPGs and polished tactics games. Three Houses seems to have doubled down on exciting trends and features in both genres: particularly a Persona/Harry Potter inspired magic school setting and an even deeper tactical battle system that ditches the rock-paper-scissors for more nuanced character progression options. As with many Japanese RPGs, the story is also a major focus and hinges upon a time-jump.

The early part casts the player as a teacher at the Officer’s Academy, situated in the center of the game world and attended by students from the three most powerful nations. Five years later, the second and likely larger part concerns the drama between the player’s teacher and their former students, whose nations are now locked in a massive three-way conflict.

As is to be expected for a series finally coming back to consoles after a long time on the 3DS, Three Houses is a massive technical leap over its predecessors. The game boasts better realised battlefields, more detailed armies, and a slick animated style that appears much more consistent compared with the three or four different art styles on the 3DS.

With such improvements, as well as the overall pedigree of the Fire Emblem brand, Three Houses should have no trouble satisfying single player fans looking for a meaty middle-of-the-year RPG.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The recent Wolfenstein revival series is such a remarkable achievement in traditional shooter design and great, if goofy, sci-fi worldbuilding that the co-op focus of this latest instalment is somewhat disappointing.

Yes, as with F.E.A.R. 3 and Dead Space 3, following a well-received second chapter the Wolfenstein series now pivots to a co-operative focused chapter. Though the game is not a mandatory multiplayer experience, combat encounters and puzzles have been redesigned to accommodate the two player mode, giving single players an AI-controlled partner and bullet sponge enemies.

However, all hope is not lost for Wolfenstein: why else would it be the third game on the list? The narrative has been pushed forward in time, as B.J.’s twin daughters are now in their adolescence, now giving players a glimpse at the 1980s of Wolfenstein‘s skewed universe. Additionally, the level design itself is more freeform thanks to development assistance from Arkane, the developers of the Dishonored series.

Will Wolfenstein: Youngblood successfully deliver more of the series’s goofy charm and crazy alternate reality? Almost certainly. On the other hand, will the game be as fun to play alone as in multiplayer? That remains to be seen. Last month’s E3 demo that raised such concerns was naturally only a snapshot of a game in development, so MachineGames and Arkane have had plenty of time to resolve these potential downsides to a co-op focused game.

Those are our three big single player games to look out for this month. Other interesting titles coming soon include Stranger Things 3 on July 4 and Attack on Titan 2 on July 5, both games hitting Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

On July 12 we will see the sequel to an almost-fantastic Minecraft-like RPG spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch and PlayStation 4, as well as the Switch port of “anime Monster Hunter”, God Eater 3

The week after, July 19 brings us Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and at an undetermined time during the month Klei Entertainment’s anticipated survival-sim Oxygen Not Included will finally leave early access on PC.

Have we missed anything that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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