E3 Hype List Part 3: The Open World (Watch_Dogs 2, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Mass Effect: Andromeda)
I'm probably more hyped about Watch_Dogs 2 than any other non-Spider-Man game on this list. As much flak as the first Watch_Dogs received, I always found it to be a solid title. No, it was never without it's flaws: Aiden Pearce was a giant dickhole, the typical open-world fringe like clothing options and music was next to nil, and it almost always felt like you were driving on ice. But it also had a ton of really great bits to it: the myriad of ways you could deal with encounters, the crapton of mini-games, and downgrade or no downgrade it was a pretty game. After finishing the first game, I looked forward to a potential sequel because I knew a game where they acknowledged and worked to remedy those flaws could be something special.
And so far, Watch_Dogs 2 looks well on its way to be just that. Replacing talking baseball cap Aiden Peace with Marcus Holloway is half of the job, and judging by videos like the one above, it looks like they're more than aware of the others and have been actively working on them as well. San Francisco looks like a more robust, entertaining area to explore than Chicago was (and I had a blast in WD1's Chi-Town), the supporting cast looks to be at least on par with the last game's (Clara, T-Bone, and Geordi from WD1 were all actually quite good), and the fact that they've expanded on both the different kinds of areas and the different tools the player means I'll doubtlessly be losing dozens of hours playing this game when it drops this November.
I just hope they've added significantly more music to the soundtrack this time. Yeah having Run the Jewels and Eric B. and Rakim play is neat, but last game had Nas' One Mic and 2 Chainz's Feds Watching--but that was ALL they had and one can only play those so many times before even Confidential Liar starts to sound semi-appealing, which was the true great tragedy of Watch_Dogs 1.
Horizon: Zero Dawn still looks as glorious as it did at E3 2015, and while I called its delay the second I saw the "targeting 2016" thing last year, that doesn't make me any less excited. This time the demo gives us a closer look at humanity's society post-collapse, and it should make anyone who liked last year's trailer even more excited to play it now. I can't help wondering: what are the different tribes like? What sets them apart from one another? Are there any tribes that are warring amongst one another, or are they all too busy trying to survive in this world where the machines are now the dominant life form?
And how'd the world get this way to begin with? There's so much for this game to potentially explore, to say nothing of all the amazing types of robotic animals we'll apparently be able to throw down with. It's great that Sony is allowing all of their development studios the opportunity to try different things, and I hope this is the runaway success it can and should be.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is probably the most iffy game on the entire list. I wasn't the biggest fan of BioWare's output last gen, but Dragon Age: Inquisition is probably my favorite game in all of 2014, and so the company's earned more than enough good will for their other major franchise to catch my eye until they do something to lose me entirely. And you'd think, with the game less than a year away, enough promo material would exist to make a firm decision on whether I'm interested or not...but since BioWare's apart of EA and they haven't been capable of cutting more than one or two decent trailers a year for the past three years or so now, I'm still somewhat lost.
Take this trailer for instance--you see the developers about as much as you see the characters and world. Worse, most of the information we know about this game still comes from leaks rather than any official release from BioWare or EA. Still, it shouldn't be too hard to get this right: I'm a sucker for science fiction, so as long as they can construct a believable galaxy of interesting worlds and alien races, I'm in.