E3 Hype List: The Superheroes (Agents of Mayhem, Injustice 2, and Spider-Man PS4)

While I normally devote the time following E3 to rating conferences, this year I've decided to switch things up.  For one thing, each conference was absolutely drowning in games so a proper rating would be some massive 5000 word piece that no one would actually read.   And for another, for once there's actually no shortage of titles I'm interested in.  So this time I'll be highlighting games I care about rather than running down lists of games only to say why I don't care.

Agents of Mayhem is one of the biggest surprises of E3 to me.  I was never a huge fan of Volition's games, so when IGN premiered the trailer for this I didn't expect much.  But they've taken the outrageous powers and gadgets of the later Saints Row games and placed them in the context of a universe where it all makes sense, a world of secret agents fighting against a shadowy, evil organization bent on...world destruction?  Domination?  That part I'm not entirely sure on.

I'm mostly sold on this game though, even if there are a few lingering concerns. The IGN trailer mentions an item you'll be able to use in-game called "PedExploders", a device that explodes pedestrians to do damage to your enemies, with the designer stressing that the Agents "aren't heroes" and I almost cut myself on the edge.  Like, no one's forcing these guys to rescue kittens from trees but what's the point of creating protagonists that are just as evil as the bad guys?

And then there's the gameplay itself--watching the footage gives off an MMO-ish feel, like the only gameplay loop is just shooting bad guys in the face.  Even the interview talks a lot about investigating the lairs of L.E.G.I.O.N. and how they're all procedurally generated so they're different every time, which feels like something you'd run into in a lot of MMO-type games.  Hopefully when they unveil more about this game they show off more exploration in the city and story-based quests.  They've got a dozen characters that each has their own unique ability set and origins, and it would be a shame if exploring that was left by the wayside in favor of visiting sixty not quite identical dungeons.  Still, 2017 is a good ways away and there's plenty of time to clarify questions like this and more.

By the end of it all, I was kind of annoyed by Injustice: Gods Among Us.  The endless amounts of costume and character DLC just felt like I was being milked rather than getting to enjoy the fanservice fighter I had hoped for.  Still, I'm looking at Injustice 2 and so far I like what I'm seeing. 

The FGC is making Netherrealm's newest addition to the fighter, the Gear System, out to be one of the worst additions to a fighting game ever...but I'm not convinced.  In truth, I get what they mean: you're supposed to pour hours into a fighting game so that you, the player, gets better--rather than your character.  But honestly, coming into gaming as an RPG fan I'm used to my character growing alongside me.  And dumping hours upon hours into something where I only see slight growth in myself and zero growth in my character is pretty unappealing.   So points to Netherrealm for giving me a reason to care and make me want to play beyond their story mode.

It's really shocking to see how far NRS has come as a studio.  From being maligned for their seemingly neverending torrent of Mortal Kombat games to being a studio that produces the best selling fighters of the generation, their growth is incredible and I hope they nail this when it comes out next April.  (No release date confirmed, but...check their last three releases.  It's gonna be April.)

We all have our opinions.   Some people lost their shit at Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.   Some thought E3 was saved when they finally premiered God of War 4.  Me?  I was all about Spider-Man.  About a month before the conference, there were rumors swirling around the possibility of this game's existence--starting with some tweets from NerdLeaks.   Initially thought to be Sucker Punch's next game, about a week before the conference everyone switched up and said the game would be coming from Insomniac instead.

Through the entire conference I was on the edge of my seat.  It could've been bullshit.  And even if it wasn't, there was no guarantee it'd show at E3 when Sony has another two conferences it has to fill up before the end of the year in Gamescom and Playstation Experience.  Fortunately, they called it right--so I get to celebrate for once.

The game looks gorgeous--featuring what looks like a massive New York players can explore, and an older, more experienced version of Spider-Man battling against Mr. Negative and his crew.   It's my hope that this game is every bit the "Arkham" for Spider-Man it needs to be though, filled with tons of Spider-Man's supporting cast as well as other villains for us to face in unique boss battles.  Spidey's got the coolest cast of villains in comics so I hope none of them go to waste.

While I'm hoping, Dan Slott's done quite a bit in his last five years writing the character in the comics--creating alternate costumes that grant Spidey different abilities, and most recently specialized types of webbing, all of which I hope makes it into this game.  You only get one shot at a first impression. 

The only real concern is this game seems fairly early in development.  Featuring no title and not even a release year, there's a good chance this is a 2018 title, even if Spider-Man's film is 2017.   Still, whenever it comes out, I'll be ready--someone needs to finally join Batman in the ranks of "superheroes with good video games". 


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