Bethesda showcased three games at E3 this year, each with strong prospects.
My time at the Bethesda booth was pretty impressive, introducing a new IP, revamping a familiar IP, and finally taking a beloved franchise online for the first time.
The first game shown was The Evil Within, which is the latest project from Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil). The game revolves around Sebastian Castellanos, a detective who is called to investigate a crime scene at a medical facility. Castellanos finds out quickly that things aren’t quite what they seem, as the quiet perimeter of the facility gives way to a grisly discovery inside. After seeing dead bodies, Castellanos sees a creature kill other officers on the scene on a security camera; the creature is not only powerful, but also has the ability to teleport at will. The creature then attacks Castellanos, and he wakes up tied by his feet, dripping blood and hanging by his feet from the ceiling.
This is where the interactivity of the demo began, and it was a “mind screw” from then on.
To me, The Evil Within was a return to more purity in the survival horror genre. There was a consistent sense of tension and fear throughout, as Castellanos managed to escape from a guardian monster (after sustaining an injury to his leg) and maneuvered through traps to escape the facility. One sequence was stealthy in nature as Castellanos had to avoid the line of sight of the chainsaw-armed guardian in order to make an elevator and a fortunate escape. The second area shown in the demo demonstrated more combat and the effect of limited ammo in heightening the tension in the game.
Survival horror fans could be seeing the next big hit in the genre. The Evil Within is due for PC, last-gen, and new-gen hardware next year.
Second on the demo presentation list was Wolfenstein: The New Order. This first-person shooter takes place in an alternate reality where the Nazi regime dominates and adds a robot army and twisted characters to the mix. The game appeared to be shown on PC and ran very smoothly.
Wolfenstein’s protagonist, B.J. Blazkowicz, is at the center of The New Order as well. According to MachineGames, the game’s development team, attention was paid to making Blazkowicz into a fleshed out character, with emotions and reactions. Fear, romance, and anger were all touched on during the demo, and I liked the direction that the Blazkowicz character was headed.
The demo showed Blazkowicz being stopped and challenged by one of the game’s female antagonists to an odd test and then a sequence where he takes on a series of enemies – both human and robotic. The test sequence was an example of how twisted the narrative can be, with Blazkowicz having to choose the proper image in a bizarre game of word association. The action sequence was intense, with Blazkowicz making his way through a tight train car and across narrow ledges to reach an enemy area in which he was able to display his combat skills.
I really liked what I saw in the demo for Wolfenstein: The New Order. I do have some reservations in terms of how well the game will run on consoles – especially last-gen hardware – but this single-player experience has got my attention already. It’s set for release later this year for PC, last-gen, and new-gen consoles.
Finally, a short trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online was shown. This game will take place all over the continent of Tamriel, as opposed to being limited to certain areas or sections, and includes areas covered in earlier games. First-person and third-person combat will be staples here, and exploration and being able to take the game in at one’s own pace will be vital. This game is slated for release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One next spring.
Overall, there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Bethesda’s offerings. Wolfenstein will be first, late in Q4 this year, and it’s the game I’m most excited to see. The Evil Within may feel somewhat familiar, but it’s good to see survival horror get back to its roots. As for The Elder Scrolls Online, fans of the series seem to have plenty to look forward to and it could be a game that drives fans to upgrade from last-gen to new-gen next year.