First I would like to thank IGN for making these videos easily borrowable. It’s really handy for those of us who don’t have the opportunity to head out to E3. I mean, what can possibly be better than seeing some previews of amazing games? Okay, playing the games would be even better, but that’s neither her nor there. So, I will leave you with some sick footage of three RPGs that I’m excited about: Bioshock Infinite, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Without further silliness…
More BioShock Infinite videos care of IGN.
Welcome to Columbia, a city in the sky. The city is a treat to the eyes and just the whole feel of the game looks wonderfully intelligent: American flags dot the landscape, as do statues of Justice and Liberty. It’s unique and highly political. I am very excited to see where Irrational Games takes the story in this iteration.
Plus, the player’s nemesis is a giant mechanical avian: Songbird, a creature dripping with tragedy, given Elizabeth’s conflicted feelings for it. Was it once a human and turned into a monster? Or was it born a machine with no soul? Was its song not seductive enough? I don’t know the answers, but I can feel the twist coming and it’s driving me nuts!
I’ll admit that the final scene of the player jumping out into nothingness only to use the sky hook to grab the rail was a bit much, but still sent my adrenaline running (mostly because I’m afraid of heights). I like that the sky-rails are a means of transportation; it really gives the game a unique look and I hope that it integrates well into the battles. The combat looked like it was more of the same type of action from Bioshock: a mixture of magical powers and firearms, which always felt a bit clunky to me. Visually stunning, but clunky.
In one of the other videos, one of the developers speaks of Elizabeth’s role as a companion to the player. The developers over at Irrational Games want to make sure that she is as much a combatant as the player. Here’s to hoping that the AI is good enough to prevent her from getting stuck, getting the player killed, and so forth. Nothing ruins the suspension of disbelief faster than buggy AI.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
You can view even more Skyrim action at IGN.
I played Skyrim’s predecessor, Oblivion, quite a lot back in the day. What blew my mind was the openness of it all; I played for days and days and barely scratched the main story arc at all. Instead I was off doing my own thing, doing side quests, painting pictures, spelunking, fighting vampires and (subsequently) fighting off the vampire disease myself. Amazingly fun and a great way to get lost in a fantasy world.
Skyrim looks to be inheriting this legacy, and I’m excited. I may not buy the game the day of release, but I’m sure at some point I’ll find myself fighting those dragons. I wonder just how “random” the dragons are. The developer says that they are completely random encounters, but I feel like most of that is PR-speak. The amount of detail in the world is astounding.
Still, I do like that you can customize which hand is your “main hand” and which hand is your “off-hand”, by selecting a spell in that hand. Now, the most important question of all: can you dual-wield shields? Otherwise the game is just being biased toward swords, and that isn’t right at all.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Oh hey, there are even more Star Wars: The Old Republic videos out there.
Out of these three games, I’m sorry to say that The Old Republic makes me the least excited. I watched the introduction cinematic, and got a little fired up. But then I saw this gameplay footage and my heart sank.
It looks like a World of Warcraft clone in Star Wars clothing. The damage numbers, the point-and-click abilities, the quest items, the companions that disappear when you mount a landspeeder. I was hoping for something more to the tune of Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy… not this. The combat just doesn’t appeal to me at all. And what is frustrating is that it doesn’t look like the developers tried to innovate at all. The game may have the blessing of the franchise, but it looks like a dozen other RPGs I’ve seen.
If anything is going to save the game it is the focus on cinematic storytelling. The cinematic storytelling is great for creating a more intimate RPG experience, even in an MMO. WoW’s Cataclysm expansion has used this to great effect, even if on a much smaller scale. I’m concerned that the extra effort in the quests will mean that players run through the content too quickly, however. The variety in worlds does look impressive, I’ll give Bioware that.
Still, I’m going to have to remain quite skeptical on this one. I may pick up a demo or preview key at some point, but I can’t see myself plunking down $50 for it in the state that it is in.
As Einstein says in Red Alert:
“Time will tell. Sooner or later… time will tell.”