By Mario Wario
My journey through gamer heaven continued with day 2 of E3, and by going through a warp pipe (called a door) to enter the LA Convention Center once again, it meant it was time to play some more video games. So, by the power of all 7 Chaos Emeralds, I was able to play the demos of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Spider-Man, The Division 2, Rage 2, The Edler Scrolls: Blades and Battlefield V, which was inside the Microsoft Theater.
On the sunny morning of June 13, 2018, I went back to the Activision booth (South Hall) to finally check out the Black Ops 4 demo that was showcasing the 5v5 multiplayer mode on PlayStation 4.
The demo is like your typical Call of Duty game (fast combat with solid shooting) with the basic CoD formula included: scorestreaks, perks, classes, etc. Yet two elements did spice things up a bit: for example, the Specialist system (a soldier’s ability), as well as the new healing mechanic since automatic health regeneration is now gone, so you must start it by hitting a button. As for the full game, it is scheduled for October 12, 2018, for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. (It should be noted that Blackout, Black Op 4’s battle royale mode, was not at E3, so I was mildly disappointed to know that it wasn’t there. The beta, meanwhile, doesn’t have a release date yet, so stay tuned for that bit of news.)
The Nintendo booth (inside the West Hall) was my next destination, due to one reason: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Once checked in for my 10pm session, I was able to play four rounds with the Pro Controller, and overall, the demo plays/looks exactly like the previous Smash game on the Wii U, so don’t expect too much changes in this latest entry. Yet the demo was still fun to play as I had a blast revisiting this world. Now there were two new stages available at the booth, for example, the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Great Plateau Tower, and Splatoon’s Moray Towers which had multi-leveled ramps.
I selected Sonic for Plateau Tower while Ryu was next for Moray Towers, yet I played Link twice as he has always been my favorite Smash character to use for many reasons. One being that he is a well-balanced character in everything he does, and in this demo, he’s still that. As for the other two, Sonic is fast with his movements and attacks while Ryu’s signature moves are awesome and easy to use. As for the rest of the roster, you had a couple of dozen available at the booth. I do believe the two new Smash characters—Ridley and Inkling—were present, but I didn’t try them out. I wanted to stay with the familiar characters, since I knew I would be going up against another person at the show.
Speaking of which, I played against one of the Gender Biased Review members. So, at E3 2018, it was Friends of Comic Con versus Gender Biased Reviews. Like the great American sportscaster Mel Allen used to say, “How about that?!” (And if you’re wondering, I won 3-1 but it wasn’t easy. The player I faced, she was good.) Finally, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be released on December 7, 2018, for the Switch.
After satisfying my Smash addiction, I decided stay inside the electric West Hall. This area had IGN, Gamespot, Overkill’s The Walking Dead booth, and Sega (plus many more) vying for your attention, yet a certain webhead was calling my name at the Sony booth. It was the Spider-Man game demo and, boy, it did not disappoint.
The demo had ‘amazing’ graphics as it captured Spider-Man, the rest of New York City so perfectly. As for controlling the webhead himself, the combat system and web-swinging mechanic all were easy to comprehend. For example, you hold down R2 to get the web-swinging magic going, and you let Spider-Man’s forward momentum guide you to the next building, etc. For the combat part, you simply press the right buttons to create a combo (similar to Batman: Arkham Knight), while Spidey’s ‘spider sense’ warns you of incoming danger. Oh, you can web up the bad guys, too, against any wall or car. I felt like I was Spider-Man in this demo.
There were side missions throughout the city, so I did a couple of them in my play through. One dealt with beating up henchmen, while another was about stopping a bomb inside a speeding truck, which was my favorite of the two due to how fun it was. You do, however, need to press a single button a couple of times to keep the chase going. Once that was done, I took Spidey to a warehouse to fight a few more henchmen and right there, the demo’s timer hit zero. My play through was over so…is September here yet? (You can get Spider-Man exclusively for the PS4 on September 7.)
Once I was done web-swinging on cloud nine, The Division 2 (inside the South Hall) was my next demo to try out. Playing very similar to the first game in the control arena, as well as teaming up with 3 other people, I had no problem going through this new ‘survival mode’. It was smooth sailing, but it did help that one of my teammates were from Ubisoft, so he became my ‘tour guide’ for the demo.
Washington D.C., which has been devastated thanks to mass looting, was the only map available at the show, yet seeing how devastated this area was, I’m guessing my tax dollars got wasted once again. (wink) The character I got was called the Demolitionist, but the demo had two more subclasses: Survivalist (crossbow) and Sharpshooter (sniper). My subclass uses a grenade launcher to save the day, so I had a blast using my ‘boomstick’ on command. To use it though, I had to pick up green ammo which was achieved by killing the AI.
As expected, loot was dropping like crazy, yet my ‘tour guide’ said to only focus on the gold drops which I did. If you are not used to The Division, gold drops have the better gear stats, than purple drops. As for the demo itself, it ended at the Air Force One crash site once we got passed the objective, the fun was over. In general, I did enjoy this play through as I had a blast using my weapons and teaming up with three other people. If you need a reminder, The Division 2 will be on the Xbox One, PS4, and PC early next year. The demo was on the Xbox One and I thought the visuals looked quite good, so I can hardly wait to see the final product next year.
Making my way up to the Bethesda booth, I had a 2:00pm appointment to play the E3 demo of Rage 2 and to eat some free ice cream as well! (Yummy!)
After stuffing my belly with some delicious vanilla ice cream, the 15 minute demo got going. It is a first-person shooter that’s set in a colorful Mad Max type world with the main character having the ability to do a dash, push or slam to wipe out the AI, or enter a rage mode which is like a ‘super mode’. As for the weapons, there was an assault rifle, shotgun (midway through the demo) and a tri-bladed boomerang that will hunt down a single target viciously. Of course, it was my favorite weapon to use because of that, yet I did find my myself using the shotgun as well, due to how effective it was in getting the job done. Overall, I liked what I saw, just too bad I have to wait until 2019 to get it for the Xbox One, PS4, or PC.
Staying with Bethesda, I played the RPG mobile game called The Edler Scrolls: Blades. After playing the demo, I found the touchscreen controls to be very responsive and easy to make sense of. For example, you use your left thumb to bring up your shield by hitting a shield symbol, while your right hand is for moving around and to attack. You attack by pressing down anywhere on the screen to charge up your sword, which leads to a back and forth type gameplay with the enemy AI. Once you kill a giant spider or that nasty goblin, the AI will drop gold coins and green emeralds for you to pick up.
The visuals, meanwhile, did look good on the iPhone X and you can play the game in portrait mode as well, which I thought was pretty cool to see. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised how much fun I had playing this demo, so I can’t wait to play more Blades soon. (This free-to-play game is scheduled for this year for iOS and Android devices.)
After having some sweet fun at the Bethesda booth, and seeing how busy the show floor was getting, I decided go to the Xbox Experience at the Microsoft Theater where you could demo Forza Horizon 4, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Division 2, plus many more inside this small building. The auditorium itself wasn’t accessible like seen in the Xbox press conference, it was the lobby and a level below it that were housing the demos. The Xbox store was also inside the Microsoft Theater, but I didn’t have time check it out.
My eyes were set on playing Battlefield V and its Grand Operations mode, which allows up to sixty-four players to survive an attack against one faction, for a certain amount of days. For example, if you lose a day, you chances in winning a round goes down. Now if both sides are in a stalemate, this will lead to an all out ‘day four’ match with only one life left and limited ammo to use.
I played as the Germans on a snowy mountain level with 3 other people, while the rest of the roster consisted of AI players. Basically, you go to certain areas to complete the in-game objectives, and if you get shot like crazy, your character will bleed out. You can, however, be revived if someone gets to you in time, and you can slow down death by holding down RT.
In the demo, 4 classes were available: medic, recon, support and assault. I used the recon class due to the size of the map, which was quite big so long range weapons were a must. As with every Battlefield game, you can switch between your primary and secondary weapons by hitting a single button. You can also control a tank if needed.
Overall, I thought Grand Operations was fine. Now 2 of my teammates didn’t talk nor stayed together when attacking a certain point, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t in love with this mode as much as I wanted to be. (The game is scheduled for October 19 for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC).
So, there you have it! June 13 was quite the busy day for me, yet Thursday was no different. It was time to finish E3 on a high note!
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