Connect with us

Editorial

Top 5 Single Player Games Ignored at E3 2016, But Shouldn’t Have Been

Published

 on

Not every game from E3 can bask in the glory of a press conference demo, or benefit from a marketing budget as big as the game itself. Often a great game will slip through the cracks, and even games from the biggest companies can get ignored by the gaming press.

Some of the best gems of E3 2016 were covered very little, even by us here at OnlySP, whether because of time constraints or visibility. Here are five interesting single player games that you might not even have known were at the show.

gravity_rush2_announce

1. GRAVITY RUSH 2

Originally for the Vita, the first Gravity Rush was quite the stunner — even more so in its remastered form. It is curious, then, that Sony were too busy promoting other games to give this PS4 sequel its due at their E3 presentation. You might have believed that the game just disappeared.

Thankfully, Gravity Rush 2 didn’t disappear, and it actually was at E3, with a new trailer and a demo on the show floor. Like the first, it’s a beautiful, bright, open-world game (think Infamous or Sunset Overdrive, filtered through a collection of Franco-Belgian comics). Players take control of Kat, who has been given power over her own gravity, allowing for flight, among other super-heroic powers.

Gravity Rush 2 has been developed from the beginning as a PS4 game but builds on what made the original so much fun. It’s especially good news that Kohei Tanaka, composer of the first game’s excellent score, will continue bringing Kat’s story to life.

It’s a crime that more people haven’t seen or heard of Gravity Rush 2  — if Sony had shown this instead of a second Days Gone video, maybe the game wouldn’t have been lost in the shuffle.

Gravity Rush 2 was recently confirmed for a release on December 2nd this year.

recore_wallpaper_1920x10801

2. ReCore

Unlike Gravity Rush 2, this next game can’t claim that not enough people saw it.

ReCore actually was shown on Microsoft’s stage — twice — and this year with actual gameplay footage, too. This might make ReCore the highest-profile game that was still mostly ignored at E3.

It might be because ReCore is both a new IP and not really in Microsoft’s usual wheelhouse: developers Armature Studio and producer Keiji Inafune (the former comprising some of the creative force behind the Metroid Prime trilogy, and the latter a core designer on Mega Man) have created a retro, 3D-platformer adventure with plenty of inspiration from those two franchises.

Perhaps it wasn’t even the type of game, but that Keiji Inafune’s own Mighty No. 9 was in the spotlight — some would say for the wrong reasons — eclipsing his other projects during the month of June. Either way, ReCore is a game I hope succeeds, as it represents a genre that so many worry has faded away. With the news that the game will launch at the lower-than-usual $40 price point, ReCore might even become Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s Ratchet & Clank – if it isn’t forgotten about by the time it comes out.

thesurge-01

3. THE SURGE

There is a great change in a video game genre when it goes from the language of copying (“Doom-clone”, “GTA-clone”) to its own identity (first person shooters, open world games). We’re nearing that point with Dark Souls, and the developers behind The Surge are probably hoping they can be a bellwether for that change.

From Deck13, who brought us Lords of the Fallen, The Surge is an action-RPG with many of the conceptual trappings of a Souls-like. A great calamity has occurred, leaving the player to fight through many challenging enemies that were once humans? Check. Difficult, methodical combat? Check. A futuristic society with high-powered mech-suits …?

Well, they didn’t say everything was Dark Souls. Although the reception to Lords of the Fallen was mixed, it was a game with plenty to recommend it, and this time the application of the Souls formula to a setting that isn’t high fantasy should bring some added buzz.

So where is the buzz, then? At this year’s E3, the game’s publisher Focus Interactive put the game forward at the PC Gamer conference, despite it being a multi-platform title. Although the PC conference was a marked improvement over 2015’s, there just aren’t as many people watching it as the Sony and Microsoft presentations.

Hopefully, as The Surge comes closer to its release, it can get the same signal boost that Souls fans have given games like Salt and Sanctuary, Nioh and Eitr.

abzu_image8

4. ABZU

Similarly to Gravity Rush 2, Abzu made a stunning debut on Sony’s E3 stage in 2014 and was then never given a press conference demo, despite being from the art director of Journey and his new team, Giant Squid.

Abzu also takes place in a stylised world, but the game itself is very different from Journey; being focused on delivering a kind of “swimming fantasy” inspired by real-life scuba diving.

Like several others on this list, the fact that it isn’t an action game means that producing an exciting trailer is difficult. Still, Heavy Rain, Journey and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture weren’t big in action either but were able to reach a wide audience with a decent marketing push. Don’t let this one sink below the surface, Sony.

aragami_screenshot_09

5. ARAGAMI

Formerly known as Twin Souls, OnlySP has covered Aragami in the past, including an exclusive interview with Lince Works’ co-founder David Léon. This small-team, big-ambition stealth game is all about making actual sneaking the focus of stealth again.

With an art style reminiscent of PlayStation 2 classics Okami and Sly Cooper, and mechanics inspired by Metal Gear Solid and the original Thief, it’s no surprise that Aragami was less popular at E3 — like ReCore, it’s in a genre that has been waning in popularity since the 2000s.

But if you happened to enjoy the first two PlayStations, and always hoped that 3D games would return to their roots, Aragami looks to be an exciting blast from the past with modern production values. And all this from a small indie team. Yes, Aragami didn’t deserve to be ignored at E3, and hopefully it won’t be ignored when it releases later this year.

Other Ignored Games

These are only the beginning of the fantastic variety of smaller games at E3. Even then, games from the most recognisable publishers and developers can get less attention than they deserve.

Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained and Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee were both at the show, but you might not have known that from their low amount of coverage. In addition to their other franchises, Square Enix brought two enormous RPG remakes, Dragon Quest VII for the 3DS and Final Fantasy XII, but both flew mostly under the radar.

Do you have any games you were excited about, but were mostly ignored at E3? Join the discussion in the comments below.

The opinions in this editorial are the author’s (a.k.a. mine only) and do not represent OnlySP as an organization.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting us on Patreon!

Mitchell is a writer from Currawang, Australia, where his metaphorical sword-pen cleaves fiction from reality daily. When he's not writing, he plays video games and watches movies. While thinking about writing.

Editorial

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

Published

 on

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.

Continue Reading