CA! Radio E3 2017: Bethesda

CA! Radio’s E3 coverage continues with our recap and impressions of the short and sweet Bethesda conference, which covered a lot of ground across every platform in a short amount of time.

Unlike the other 5 pressers, every game shown is either a brand new release (in the case of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind) or coming our way in 2017.

Episode 1 of 6 (Electronic Arts) can be found here.

Each of the six major conferences will appear as individual episodes and follow a similar format. We put a LOT of time into making this happen — more so for Chuck, as he had to record and edit these things — so thank you all for listening!


CA! Radio E3 2017: Bethesda (06/14/2017) ♪Continuing our Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017 coverage we watch the Bethesda conference, discuss the games and review their lineup.♪ Download

via CA! Radio E3 2017: Bethesda — Counter Attack Games!

Was The Evil Within 2 Just Leaked by a Reddit Ad?

We all knew The Evil Within 2 was coming, but the game’s confirmation appears to have been leaked ahead of tomorrow’s Bethesda conference by a premature Reddit ad.

Though it’s since been pulled, numerous Reddit users have confirmed spotting the ad on their end and (of course) quickly grabbed screenshots for proof.

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Oops?

Full credit to Reddit user Dusk Golem and Wario64 on Twitter.

NX is Officially the Nintendo Switch. Thoughts?

It appears all of the rumors for the NX were true, as the hybrid home console-slash-portable handheld was officially unveiled today as the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo’s upcoming play-anywhere device seems all set to release in March 2017. Continue reading “NX is Officially the Nintendo Switch. Thoughts?”

E3 2016: Bethesda Revives, Reveals, and Updates

Last year Bethesda had quite possibly the best presentation in all of E3 2015, and that was pretty impressive considering it was their first conference ever. This year’s presentation may not live up to last year’s standards — revealing Fallout 4 and a new Doom will do that to a publisher — but there’s a lot to look forward to for fans of their games.

Side-note: I thought it was a nice touch that each of the presenters sported a little rainbow ribbon, paying tribute to the tragedy that occurred in Orlando, Florida without bringing it up verbally. Good on you, Bethesda.

I do wish they’d have shown more gameplay instead of cinematic trailers. No one at this conference seemed comfortable talking in front of a live crowd either, aside from Tim Willits from id Software.

My predictions:

  • Skyrim remastered with mod support, instead of Morrowind
  • Wolfenstein 2 revealed
  • The Evil Within 2 revealed
  • Dishonored 2 is the marquee game and we finally see gameplay
  • Doom DLC and multi-player revamp discussed
  • Fallout Shelter coming to PC and consoles (Vita please!)
  • A very boring TESO presentation
  • TESO core game will be free-to-play

Quake is back.

Bethesda opened up with the reveal of Quake Champions, a competitive online multi-player game exclusive to PC. The cinematic trailer did little to wow me, showing off different hero types and their (assumed) exclusive abilities to dash, warp, and shield themselves. My guess is that it’s their take on Overwatch.

I loved Quake and Quake 2 growing up, so the thought of playing a new Quake with the same quality as this year’s Doom release hyped me up pretty fast. Then that whole “competitive online multi-player game exclusive to PC” bit popped my party balloon. I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but give me campaign or give me death. Looks like I get death.

Bethesda will reveal more info on Quake Champions later this August at Quakecon. Judging by the smattering of applause from the audience, there wasn’t much interest in L.A. You have to take in to consideration that most of the crowd was press on their phones and laptops taking notes.

Elder Scrolls Legends is shown. Again.

Elder Scrolls Legends is Bethesda’s free-to-play mobile card battle game that takes place in the Elder Scrolls universe. The opening cinematic was mostly storyboards and still shots with a voiced narrative briefly explaining the goings on.

I’m not sure if it’s the IGN stream I was watching or the actual stream itself, but the trailer cut out 20 seconds in and went dark for about 10 seconds before resuming. Just E3 being E3.

The 2nd trailer of the show, and the 2nd to be nothing more than a cinematic. They did briefly show a little gameplay, which looked a bit like Hearthstone (another Blizzard game). Not my thing at all.

Elder Scrolls Legends is currently in beta, and you can sign up at Bethesda.net.

Fallout 4 getting three new DLC packs.

A video of Todd Howard is shown, thanking fans for the colossal amount of support the series has received since last year’s E3. I always like when developers and publishers thank their fans. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Fallout 4 just received new story DLC in Far Harbor (and a recent price fuck-up, courtesy of Xbox), but Bethesda isn’t done yet. The open-world RPG is getting three new DLC packs over the next 2 months.

Contraptions Workshop expands on the polarizing base building mechanic of Fallout 4, adding things like elevators, armor and weapon racks, track kits that don’t seem to do much of anything, conveyor belts, and sorting machines. The DLC will be available next week.

Vault-tec Workshop also expands upon the base building mechanic, but allows players to build their own vault. The only other thing mentioned in the DLC trailer was that you can experiment on dwellers, but it just showed them taking a spin class or something. Vault-tec Workshop will be available next month in July.

The third DLC pack opens up a new amusement park zone called Nuka World, but there were no details given aside from its August release window. The park appears to have a roller coaster, something resembling Seattle’s space needle, and a snow-capped mountain.

I really didn’t care for the base building mechanic, and without any details on Nuka World, none of this makes me want to revisit Fallout 4 anytime soon.

Fallout Shelter coming to PC, getting significant update.

Fallout Shelter has apparently been played by over 50 million people worldwide, according to Todd Howard. That’s a lot of micro-transactions.

The mobile vault building game will receive a pretty significant update. Players can undertake quests, by selecting a quest card and sending out a team of dwellers to complete it — meaning they just won’t be available for a given time frame. This is eerily similar to World of Warcraft’s Garrison system, which would make this the third Blizzard game that’s inspired Bethesda. I’m noticing a trend here.

The update will allow you to build vaults in different locations, like under a Red Rocket or the Super Duper Mart, and toss in new enemies and characters to spice things up. It’ll also revamp the combat system, allowing players to target specific enemies instead of watching their dwellers run around aimlessly during raids. Combat in Fallout Shelter right now is random and boring, so this is a welcome change.

As I mentioned in the header there, Fallout Shelter is, indeed, coming to PC next month in July. Sadly there’s no mention of a console port, which is a shame since this would be awesome on Vita.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is a thing and has mod support on consoles.

Todd Howard closed out his segment by confirming the existence of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. He segued in to the trailer, saying something along the lines of “you asked, and yes, we’re working on it.” When I heard the music, I was really hoping for the next Elder Scrolls reveal, not Skyrim Remastered.

Considering the same team makes Fallout and Elder Scrolls, that was highly unlikely.

I really, really don’t care about Skyrim Remastered, which is essentially the PC version that’s been available for 5 years, but with mod support on Xbox One and PS4.

The trailer does a great job comparing screenshots from last-gen and current-gen consoles, so it definitely looks like Skyrim running on a good PC with some new textures, but this whole thing seems totally unnecessary. If you’re excited, that’s cool, and I’m glad you’re getting something you want.

The crowd seemed pretty jazzed by it. I just kept wishing it was Morrowind HD instead.

Prey 2 is now Prey, and a totally different game.

Prey 2 was revealed a couple of years ago, looking like a third-person Mass Effect style shooter. When that developer went belly up though, the fate of Prey 2 was up in the air. Arkane Studios, developer of Dishonored, has given the reigns to their Texas branch, and oh boy does Prey look different.

Oh, right, I should clarify. Prey 2 is now just Prey, which is a smart move, and it’s now a first-person psychological thriller that’s part narrative shooter and part Groundhog Day without Bill Murray.

The trailer shows the lead character, Morgan, waking up to relive the same day over and over again — getting dressed, making coffee, checking out his fucked up eye that appears to be more bloodshot with each awakening. Turns out you’re being experimented on, and your space station has just been overtaken by an alien life form. Fantastic.

This was a pretty great cinematic trailer, and not at all what I expected Prey 2 to become. I’m genuinely excited, but I’m keeping my expectations in check until I see some actual gameplay. There were a few quick moments of gunshots and the cinematic was in-game footage (not CGI), but it didn’t give me much to work with.

Still, this was my show stealer for Bethesda. More Prey will be shown at Quakecon in August.

Doom’s free and paid DLC revealed.

Marty Stratton from id Software begins the presentation by thanking the fans for making Doom’s launch such a success. Warm, fuzzy, etc.

Doom’s Snapmap feature is getting free updates, including construction modules, props, objects, hell visual themes, and the ability to create single-player adventures with improved logic and the inclusion of the game’s weapon wheel.

Next month Doom will receive two new multi-player modes: a CTF mode called Exodus, and a domination mode called Sector.

Later in the summer Doom will get three new free-for-all modes, including classic deathmatch. Again, these modes are all free. Good on you again, Bethesda.

In July we’ll see Doom’s first premium DLC pack, Unto the Evil, which is, of course, not free. Unto the Evil includes three new multi-player maps (Offering, Cataclysm, and Ritual), a new playable demon in The Harvester, a new gun, armor sets, taunts, and “more.”

Pete Hines then reveals that for the next week anyone can download Doom for free and play through the campaign’s first level. Not a very expansive demo for being a limited time offer, but hey, free is free.

I’m glad Bethesda is continuing to support Doom, but I wish they’d show the same love to those of us who enjoyed the campaign. Story DLC would be nice.

The Elder Scrolls Online gets a leveling overhaul and a new Dark Brotherhood expansion.

Matt Firor, the MMO’s director, immediately thanks the fans (yay!) for making TESO one of the best selling games of 2015, and mentions the game has had over 7 million players worldwide. I’m willing to bet that’s 7 million accounts created, not an actual representation of their current playerbase.

For what it’s worth, I own the game on Xbox One and I’ve never seen anyone on my friend list play it outside of its launch month — even when it goes on sale. I also own a PS4 and have yet to see one of my friends logged in to TESO. 7 million is just a large number for them to throw around, but I’m glad there are people out there enjoying it. It just wasn’t a good MMO in my opinion.

Judging by the five people cheering in the audience, I’m not sure the audience was in to it either.

After a sizzle reel trailer comedically touting 578 million mudcrabs were killed by the community, Firor reveals that TESO will expand with its release in Japan on June 23rd.

We’re then given our first look at the upcoming Dark Brotherhood expansion. Unfortunately it’s mostly an in-game cinematic, but I’ve always loved the Brotherhood’s quest lines. I wish they would have gone a little more in-depth, honestly. This did very little to make me want to reinstall TESO.

The Elder Scrolls Online will get a bit of a revamp this fall under the One Tamriel initiative, addressing my main complaint — it’s just too damn difficult to group with friends who aren’t on the same quests.

One Tamriel removes the MMO’s faction restriction and will automatically scale your level to the level of the zone you’re exploring and questing in. I assume you’ll still level up as normal to obtain skill points, but being able to group with your friends regardless of their level, explore whatever zone tickles your fancy, and not sweat the whole faction lock-out thing is pretty sweet.

Matt Firor claims this is the “first time this has ever been done in a multi-platform MMO,” but apparently no one at Bethesda has played Final Fantasy XIV. You can group up with anyone of any level in FFXIV and everyone will be scaled accordingly during dungeons and optional world events. This isn’t something new, but it’s certainly a welcome change.

Blink 182 will be performing live.

And no one gave a shit.

Doom and Fallout 4 get the VR treatment.

Doom’s virtual tour of hell was available for attendees to experience, as well as Fallout 4. Fallout 4 will be available on the HTC Vive VR platform some time in 2017, under the new Bethesda VR initiative.

Dishonored 2 coming 11.11.16.

Dishonored 2 was confirmed during Bethesda’s E3 presentation last year, though we only saw a cinematic trailer. This year we’re given a new cinematic trailer, as well as two new gameplay segments showing off the game’s mobility, locomotion, Victorian-era visuals (described as “a painting in motion”), the new city of Karnaca, and a host of Emily’s new powers.

Players can also choose to play as Corvo or Emily, both of which are fully voice acted and have their own skill trees and abilities.

The environments in Dishonored 2 look fine, even great at times, but the character models are off-putting, stiff, and have weird movement animations. The gameplay demo ran pretty poorly, with plenty of frame dips and stuttering, rough combat animations, and the same weird animations on behalf of the NPCs.

I’m honestly surprised it’s ready for release in November when the demo ran so poorly, but there’s no telling how old the footage was. Dishonored never really clicked with me, and while this definitely looks like a new and improved adventure, it seems unpolished and doesn’t really have my interest.

Pre-ordering Dishonored 2 digitally on any platform will grant you a free copy of Dishonored Definitive Edition. There’s also a collector’s edition that includes Corvo’s mask and Emily’s ring, which they suggested pre-ordering (because of course). No one clapped.

They also closed the Dishonored 2 segment with a new trailer using in-game footage and a pretty great cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman.

So how was it?

Overall, Bethesda certainly had a lot more substance than EA did earlier in the day. A lot of their available games are receiving updates or releasing on additional platforms/territories, and I always like to see a developer or publisher support their game after launch.

That being said, Prey was the only interesting announcement for me. I had heard rumors that the revamped Prey 2 would be shown, but I had no idea the change would be this drastic. I don’t want to get too excited over a cinematic, though.

Dishonored has its fanbase, and I hope for them that Dishonored 2 lives up to their expectations. The demo was rough, as I said, but we have five months until it hits store shelves. Kudos to Bethesda and Arkane though for showing off a ton of gameplay.

I was mainly interested in a new Wolfenstein and The Evil Within, and surprisingly neither were mentioned in any way. This wasn’t a boring conference by any means, but it didn’t build much excitement for any of their projects outside of Prey. However, I sincerely hope that everything their fans are happy about is everything they want and more.

REVIEW: Fallout 4

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*SPOILER ALERT! This review will contain plot spoilers for Fallout 4, and is significantly longer than my average review. Fair warning.

I’d like to preface by saying I’ve never played a Fallout game before, despite owning both 3 and New Vegas. I don’t know why, really. Maybe I’m just bad at prioritizing, or maybe it’s just an irrational fear of “not getting it” when there’s so much fanfare surrounding the series.

It’s what I like to call Dark Souls Syndrome.

I finally got around to playing Fallout 4 at the end of January, and it wasn’t at all what I expected. I don’t have any prior experience to base my comparison, so I’m not sure what I expected, but this wasn’t it. At all.

Our tale begins in a retro-future Boston, with the player customizing their male or female sole survivor.  The character creation suite is vastly improved over New Vegas (which is as far as I’ve gotten), allowing you to modify everything from facial structure, body type, and standout features like scars, acne, or blemishes.

You’re then given a small amount of time to explore your home, catch a brief glimpse of your baby boy, give the mobile hanging above his crib a spin, and have a chat with the local Vault-Tec salesman about securing your place in Vault-111, should anything bad happen. Because of course it does.

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A nuclear explosion rips through Boston’s Commonwealth as your family narrowly escapes in to the underground shelter of Vault-111. It’s here they say their temporary farewells and strap on their vault suits before stepping in to their assigned cryo chambers for (unknowingly) 200 years. As you begin to thaw, not only do you witness your child being abducted, but your other half is murdered in the process.

This is the exact moment when Fallout 4 began to lose me–roughly 20 minutes in to the game.

I don’t feel that Bethesda gave me enough time to care about my neighbors, let alone my own family. You interact with your robot butler more than your significant other, and you barely interact with your son, yet I’m supposed to emerge from Vault-111 with a colossal sense of attachment to a town I never explored and a family I know nothing about. The concept of family and the act of abduction or murder isn’t enough, which feels weird to say.

Fallout 4 is all about choice, and once you exit the vault you’re free to explore the Commonwealth and do as you see fit. As my girlfriend pointed out, you can now explore the artist formerly known as Boston and learn more about your long dead neighbors–something I complained about not experiencing pre-nuke.

Should you follow the quest structure though, one of your first objectives is to meet up with and assist one of the game’s four factions: the Minutemen. This uninteresting group of individuals introduces the player to the optional mechanic of settlement building, but also thrives on sending you on repetitive fetch and kill quests that grow old rather quick. My son has just been kidnapped, but the breadcrumb segment for the story mission wants me to forgo that in the name of expanding the commonwealth with unorganized farmers?

The main story arc in Fallout 4 is fine–though the only big moment is a twist near the end–it’s just really thin for such an expansive game. In typical Bethesda fashion, this is fleshed out by voluntary exploration and aligning yourself with different factions, which all seem to tread this morally grey area the player needs to evaluate… but they’re just not interesting.

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During the search for your missing son, do you align yourself with a xenophobic military unit, an unorganized group of farmers defending the Commonwealth, a shady organization creating sentient AI and using them as slaves, or an underground faction that would gladly take human lives at the cost of freeing the robotic synths?

I didn’t really care for any of their ideals, but I had to choose one in order to complete the primary objective. Some of their methods were baffling as well. Why would a group of humans put the well being of lifelike synths ahead of other human beings at a time like this? Better yet, why would I, a lone survivor in search of his missing son, braving a world buried under nuclear fallout, side with AI sympathizers over actual human beings? You don’t see lions killing other lions to save an elephant, right?

I expressed my disinterest in Fallout 4’s story to a group of friends, explaining that I didn’t want to waste time with boring quests or settlement building, and they gave me the best piece of advice I could ask for.

“So don’t.”

Don’t. For the first 10 hours of Fallout 4, I treated it like a linear experience. I knew the world was massive and that I could explore at my leisure, but I wanted to rely on the quest structure to get a feel for the characters and have a sort of road map to my next location.

I then went in to the game with the mindset of an explorer rather than a survivor. I’d look at my map and visit the undiscovered areas, stockpile crafting materials, and tune in to the local radio station for a bit of background noise. In turn, I’d stumble upon distress signals, legendary monsters, and new companion quests, which provided some of the game’s most memorable moments.

I came across a television broadcaster attempting to “civilize” a group of super mutants by reciting Macbeth, and later a disfigured ghoul child who locked himself in a refrigerator as a last ditch effort to escape the nuclear explosion 200 years ago. Random encounters in the Commonwealth created a deeper connection than any of the game’s factions, as did the personal tales of the sole survivor’s companions.

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You have to spend a lot of time with each companion to open up their quests, and with so many companions to choose from, that seems like a daunting task. The ones I experienced though were pretty great.

I loved the character development of the synth detective Nick Valentine, who assists you in the search for your missing son early on. He knew that all of his memories were tied to the implant of an actual deceased human, but he never let that define who he was. To let go of his final memory, I helped him avenge the murder of his implant’s fiance. Nick was now free to be himself, his actual self, which was a powerful moment–more emotionally stimulating than anything the primary arc had to offer.

I’ve seen a lot of complaints (and received similar replies on Twitter) that Fallout 4 looks dated. Some have even compared it to Fallout 3, in terms of graphics. While it doesn’t look as astonishing as other current-gen open world games like Batman: Arkham Knight or The Witcher 3, the latter statement just isn’t true.

Trust me, it’s just nostalgia blindness.

After finishing Fallout 4, the first thing I did was pop in New Vegas on PS3. The world is barren, devoid of the complicated back alleys and run down factories that litter the Commonwealth. There’s far less explorable structures, NPCs, and the third-person character models are laughably bad.

Fallout 4’s character models didn’t ooze the same current-gen quality I found in similar games, especially with their soulless eyes and questionable facial animations, but the game isn’t ugly by any means. Sure, there’s off-putting textures here and there, especially within some of the armor and foliage scattered about the Commonwealth, but it’s fine. And I find myself saying that a lot here; Fallout 4 is fine. It’s not as good as I had hoped, but the game is fine.

I found myself enjoying Fallout 4 more than I did at the start, but there were still some major hurdles to overcome in the form of combat and frequent technical hiccups.

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Again, I’d never played a Fallout prior to 4, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of combat. I’ve played my fair share of shooters though, so I anticipated iron-sight aiming, ammo management, upgrades and the like, but it felt unpolished, clunky, and downright unenjoyable. I’ve been told that it’s a vast improvement over the previous games, which is good I suppose, but it just never clicked with me.

10 hours in to the game I decided to drop guns altogether, in favor of heavy hitting melee weapons and explosives. This made Fallout 4 feel more like Skyrim, just with landmines and radiation poisoning, but it still felt as half-assed as it did in Skyrim in 2011. It’s as if Bethesda refuses to evolve, slapping this not-so-fresh coat of paint on to an engine that hasn’t changed much since 2006’s Oblivion.

In the 50-ish hours I spent with Fallout 4, I experienced a laundry list of bugs that hindered my enjoyment while elevating my frustration with its dated gameplay and cumbersome UI. Game crashes, subtitles freezing on screen, frequently becoming immobile after using stimpaks, getting caught on terrain, awful AI pathing causing NPCs and companions to avoid quest objectives, quest prompts claiming that I’ve failed a quest when I could still turn it in as completed, NPCs wandering away during conversation (requiring me to start all over), AP being spent on V.A.T.S. that bug out and never actually happen, enemies teleporting for no apparent reason, and NPCs not responding to any form of interaction don’t even scratch the surface.

I’ve been told by many other players that Fallout 4 was the most polished Bethesda game they’d ever played. I’m not sure if my experience is something isolated on the PS4 version, but it felt more like an early access Steam game than a finished product. It was a mess, to say the least.

However, even with all of the technical issues I still found myself enjoying Fallout 4. I’m not sure how, as I’ve stopped playing games with far less issues, but something compelled me to stick with it.

Maybe it’s the world itself, or the element of surprise storytelling out in the Commonwealth. It could also be my interest in open-world games, exploration, and things that aren’t human. But it sure as hell wasn’t the clunky combat, the laundry list of technical hiccups, the dull factions or forgettable main story arc.

But still. Fallout 4 is fine. Just fine.

*So where’s the final score? There isn’t one. I did spend a lot of time conveying my opinion in the above text, and I hope that’s worth more to you than some arbitrary number or a sequence of shaded in star shapes. Basically, I’m not a fan of scores so I no longer use them. Read the review and judge for yourself if it’s worth playing.

Bethesda Keeping Their Lips Tight About Dawnguard DLC Release Date For PS3 and PC Users.

The 30-day exclusivity clause for Skyrim’s “Dawnguard” DLC on the Xbox 360 has been over for a few days now, but Bethesda isn’t giving the rest of us sewer dwellers a time frame as to when we’ll be able to access the new content.

Given the fact that we PS3 users had the worst version of the game (playability wise) and a botched launch plagued with issues, I was hoping that Bethesda would give us the benefit of the doubt and have Dawnguard ready for us once the 30-day clause was over.

According to Bethesda’s VP of Marketing, Pete Hines, via Twitter, “We have not announced Dawnguard for any other platform, nor given a timeline for any such news. If we have news, I promise I’d tell you.”

Bethesda also announced that the next Skyrim patch 1.7 will be headed our way “in the coming weeks” and will contain mount combat and new kill cams.

source: http://www.ps3trophies.org/news/news-7364-Still-No-Word-on-Skyrim-s-Dawnguard-DLC–Patch-1-7-Soon.html

Dishonored gameplay footage from E3 2012

Dishonored is one of only 4 titles left in the year that I’m excited about. Who doesn’t want multiple ways to go about completing objectives in a steam-punk atmosphere? It’s like a virtual Cherie Priest novel, son! Well, sans zombies and the blight I suppose.