GAMERSYDE | X360, PS3, PC Friday, June 24, 2011 | 9:25 AM

First Look at Bethesda's Line-up

First Look at Bethesda's Line-up

We will continue our little tour of the publishers present at last E3 with one of the kings of open world games, Bethesda Softworks. It is then no wonder that the three titltes we saw behind closed doors all featured a very large open environment. The Elder Scroll V: Skyrim, the impressive Rage or even Prey 2 had all very promising things to show. You want to know more, follow me inside!



Skyrim

For the first time in my life during a presentation, all I could think of was to steal the controller from the hand of our host. Even though the game clearly was not the best-looking title of this year's E3 (the award goes to Rage by far), the level of details is still rather impressive. Indeed, it is very easy to just lose oneself contemplating a flowing river, or the effect of the wind on the surrounding vegetation. The environment is so lively that even the developer demoing the game was surprised when a fox just jumped out of a bush without warning. Note for later, you don't want to catch a developer off guard when his avatar is holding a sword. The fox learned it the hard way believe me.

During our little walk, we could see beautiful mountains in the distance as well as a running stream just ahead of us. We then headed to a nearby village in which a few merchants offered jobs to anyone willing to make a little money. It includes the main character, obviously. Leaving the village behind, we took a small path leading towards the snowy peaks. Alas, two or three bandits decided to assault us so we could see the new combat system in action. It is now possible to hold a weapon in one hand and cast spells with the other. Different combinations are possible depending on what you prefer of course; you can use two melee weapons to increase the speed of your attacks or you can combine two types of spells to cause more damage.



Once we got rid of our assailants, we headed towards the entrance of a spooky-looking cave. We had barely time to reach the place when a dragon popped out of nowhere to attack us. That sequence was most probably scripted but it was nonetheless impressive. As we did not have time to play hero, we rushed inside the cave to avoid confrontation. After exploring the cave a bit, we finally got to a mysterious gate. No signs of any type of mechanism to open it, except for some strange symbols. A code unlocking the gate? Lucky as we were, we seemed to possess the necessary item to crack that code. First things first though, we observed this item thoroughly using the new 3D inventory. This new feature allows to look for clues by manipulating objects, or read books by actually turning the pages.

After we found the proper code, the gate opened, shaking the ground of the whole corridor heavily. A blue glowing light appeared in the room behind and we soon discovered it was coming from the powerful artifact we had been after. These stones contain the knowledge of the Dragon people of Skyrim. Thankfully, the main character is one of the very few humans to be able to learn the content of the stones instantly. In fact, dragons are intelligent creatures and they even have their own language. The hero's task is to try to understand everything about them. Why? That we do not know yet. Unsurprisingly, this quest does not make dragons very happy, which is why they will attack in a completely random manner.



The demo continued after we left the cave, when, in the middle of a prairie, we ran into a herd of mammoths. At that moment, we could feel nothing but respect for the gigantic animals. A feeling obviously not shared by our host who started to attack one of them. Quite logically, the wounded animal fought back and tried to impale us with its tusks. All of a sudden, a dragon came out of the blue and grabbed the mammoth before taking him away up in the sky. Again, it's probably safe to assume that the scene was somehow scripted for the presentation, but it worked pretty well. The dragon was not done with us though, so it came back spitting fire and screaming words in an unknown language. The battle was fierce, with the hero using his thunder spells to hit the flying beast. After a few minutes, the dragon came back to continue the fight on the ground. A fight that did not last long as a critical hit sent it to a dying agony, its screams sending another mysterious message. Each dragon you kill gives you access to new knowledge after you absorb their soul.

General impressions


This new episode in the Elder Scrolls series could very well make the previous games pass for mere DLC. We only had a short glimpse of the map, and given its size, hundreds of hours will probably be necessary to unveil all its secrets. Even if the game does not look that impressive visually speaking, the possibilities are so many that the graphics should not be much of an issue in the end. Dragons will obviously have a central role in the main plot, but it is also evident that random encounters will have huge consequences on the player. Many new ideas like the 3D inventory or the new combat system are welcome additions to the franchise. Provided the main quest manages to be more interesting and better paced than Oblivion's, Skyrim could become our long-awaited dream game.





Rage

Rage was the only playable game at Bethesda's booth. When I first saw it, I figured this had to be the PC version of the game. Little did I know it was in fact the Xbox 360 build. The developers of ID Software undoubtedly know what they are doing, as the game looks absolutely stunning on Microsoft's console and I can only imagine how incredible it looks on a high end PC. Textures are unbelievable and only a few minor glitches could be seen in the distance once in a while. The mission we got to try asked us to retrieve an engine part which was missing in the main character's buggy. Fortunately, we did not have to go on foot since we had a quad at our disposal. The first words we exchanged with the locals allowed us to enjoy the typical American accent from the westerns of the 60's. Once outside, we could really feel the heat that came from the burning sun, thanks to nice dynamic lighting effects.

If you cannot expect the size of the map to be as huge as Skyrim's, it appears there is still plenty of open spaces to drive through. Some places are more welcoming than others so you should always be prepared in case you run into a bad crowd. Exploring the environs on wheels is immediately a lot of fun and it is very tempting to stop in the most intriguing areas. Unfortunately, the demo did not give us much freedom as many places seemed locked. The sensation of speed is good, emphasized by the motion blur effect of the vehicle's boost. Also worth noticing is the fact that GPS have survived the cataclysm and still work to point us in the right direction.



After a short ride, we arrived at our destination and continued on foot. We walked down a winding path in the middle of a canyon to a nearby derelict building.. Just our luck, the place was heavily guarded by an angry bunch. Time to let the guns do all the talking. A few gunshots later, we were finally inside and, again, we were stunned by the very detailed rooms. Many objects could be picked up, so we started to look for explosives to blow up the door leading to our objective. Once it was done, the remaining bandits tried to offer resistance but what were they to do against a powerful shotgun? It did not take long to find what we had come for and that's when the demo ended.

General impressions


To find out what happens next, we will have to wait, just like you, but one thing is certain, rage is a lot more exciting than some might have thought. The world seems rather big, the game looks gorgeous and actually narrows down the gap between consoles and PC. The only downside we found was the AI which was not always at its best. There is still time before the game is released in October so let's hope it will be improved. Exploration on foot and on wheels seems promising and we can't wait to see more. Definitely one of the good surprises of this year's E3.





Prey 2

Usually, when a title is followed by "2", it makes sense to assume it is going to be a sequel. Things aren't that simple when it comes to Prey 2, as it is clear that the two games only share their common name, nothing more. In Prey 2, you play the role of a bounty hunter whose main motivation is to make loads of money. Set in an open-world futuristic extraterrestrial environment, the story will take you from one contract to another, with a good share of gadgets and alien-made weapons. The city you evolve in seems pretty big and very lively. It is obviously not built like human cities as it spreads in about every direction. You can walk freely anywhere you like and decide to interact or not with the world, choosing whether or not you want to intervene should a random event occur. For example, you can run into a poor fellow who gets beat up and either save him, help the others finish the job, or even kill everyone so they all get their share of love from you.

If you prefer to focus on more specific tasks, you can accept new contracts and track down your prey. Some guys are pretty easy to capture, others require a more methodical approach. When your target is protected by bodyguards, you need to find the best solution to get to him/her. You can either try to bribe one of the guards, sneak in, or simply use your firepower to get in. Should you use the latter solution, your prey will most likely try to run away, but it is not really a problem considering your free runner skills. As a matter of fact, the main character can run faster than most people, jump off from impressive heights and climb just about anything that stands in his way. A gadget even allows to hover for a short time to cross larger gaps. When you capture an enemy, you can either decide to kill him or let him live, but negotiating with him is still an option if you want to make more money. Delivering your prey alive to your client is achieved thanks to a very useful teleporting device, but you may also have to torture the prisoner in order to get more information. be careful though as Jack Bauering someone is bad for their health.

General impressions


One may wonder why the development team decided to entitle their game Prey 2 when it has so little in common with the original. That being said, the new open world aspect of Human Head Studios' title seems really promising in terms of gameplay. What's more, you don't get to play a bounty hunter that much in video games. I may be mistaken but the last game I remember was Star Wars Bounty Hunter on PS2. Keep a close eye on this one then, as we sure liked what we saw.

All comments

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Commented on 2011-06-24 09:40:48
Prey 2 (so awesome!), Skyrim (if combat is better) and Rage...the holy trinity!

Much better than Capcom's lineup lol
Commented on 2011-06-24 10:17:02
Ghost_Deus, how could you forget ODDWORLD STRANGER's WRATH as another bounty hunter videogame?!
Commented on 2011-06-24 10:32:32
Now this is what I call a line-up! Skyrim alone is enough! Cant wait.
Commented on 2011-06-24 13:19:56
I am most likely going to buy all of these games.
Commented on 2011-06-24 14:21:20
Hopefully those game will be just as great as Demons Forge lol
Commented on 2011-06-24 14:48:58
Skyrim is what I am most interested, but I may give Rage a look in as wel...from what I have seen there is little difference between Rage for consoles and Rage for PC, they have stated that they are tuning it to consoles. From what I have seen, it doesnt look like the most impressive visually though...Battlefield 3 is clearly more impressive, and U3 and what I have seen of Hitman impress me more. I think it looks pretty fantastic overall though
Commented on 2011-06-24 15:05:26
RAGEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Can't freaking wait for that game, My God all other games pales in comparison, yes even Skyrim.

But looking at this line up I think these 3 games are very awesome and makes this list a must buy for almost every gamer out there.

Thanks for this.
Commented on 2011-06-24 18:48:45
The combat in Skyrim still looks jank, which is shocking when you compare it to lower budgeted 1st-person melee games like Zeno Clash or Condemned. And no, it's not because it's an RPG that the jank is allowed, because it's real-time and pales in front of other action RPGs (Mass Effect, Deus Ex HR, Witcher 2).
Commented on 2011-06-24 19:07:09 In reply to digi_matrix
Posted by digi_matrix
The combat in Skyrim still looks jank, which is shocking when you compare it to lower budgeted 1st-person melee games like Zeno Clash or Condemned. And no, it's not because it's an RPG that the jank is allowed, because it's real-time and pales in front of other action RPGs (Mass Effect, Deus Ex HR, Witcher 2).
Careful, ES defense force incoming.

I agree, combat looks like for something in 2005 or something.
Commented on 2011-06-24 19:52:42 In reply to IRAIPT0IR
Posted by IRAIPT0IR
Careful, ES defense force incoming.

I agree, combat looks like for something in 2005 or something.
My message to them: come at me, bro!
Commented on 2011-06-24 20:04:30 In reply to IRAIPT0IR
Posted by IRAIPT0IR
Careful, ES defense force incoming.

I agree, combat looks like for something in 2005 or something.
Your comment is something from 2005.

Rage looks cool though :D
Commented on 2011-06-24 20:15:08 In reply to Sath
Posted by digi_matrix
The combat in Skyrim still looks jank, which is shocking when you compare it to lower budgeted 1st-person melee games like Zeno Clash or Condemned. And no, it's not because it's an RPG that the jank is allowed, because it's real-time and pales in front of other action RPGs (Mass Effect, Deus Ex HR, Witcher 2).
While it looks woody I find it isn't a deal breaker for me.
Posted by Sath
Prey 2 (so awesome!), Skyrim (if combat is better) and Rage...the holy trinity!

Much better than Capcom's lineup lol
This is Bethesda's year I think, people will say that MW3 and BF3 will stomp all over it but these titles and more from one publisher all looking so good? To put it bluntly, Bethesda own my wallet from late August until early next year.
Commented on 2011-06-24 20:38:50 In reply to GriftGFX
Posted by GriftGFX
Your comment is something from 2005.

Rage looks cool though :D
Impossible.

I just made that comment moments ago, combat in Skyrim DO look from 2005.

Rage indeed looks amazing.
Commented on 2011-06-24 20:41:03 In reply to IRAIPT0IR
Posted by IRAIPT0IR
Impossible.

I just made that comment moments ago, combat in Skyrim DO look from 2005.

Rage indeed looks amazing.
I know. I was just saying that I thought your comment was stupid. I didn't think you actually traveled back in time and posted in 2005.
Commented on 2011-06-24 20:55:16 In reply to GriftGFX
Posted by GriftGFX
I know. I was just saying that I thought your comment was stupid. I didn't think you actually traveled back in time and posted in 2005.
The Irony here is strong....lol.

Keep it up.
Commented on 2011-06-24 20:56:05
The obviousness here is also strong. Comments.. not so much.
Commented on 2011-06-24 20:58:14 In reply to GriftGFX
Posted by GriftGFX
The obviousness here is also strong. Comments.. not so much.
Why are you on my back?

You should be attacking Digi here not me.

:P
Commented on 2011-06-24 21:07:45
Well I don't disagree that the combat isn't first rate. And anyhow, it's your MO (you're not the only one, sure)--you're the one that would have every title be an action game.

And I'm just giving you a hard time. I don't really care and neither should you :P
Commented on 2011-06-24 21:08:58 In reply to GriftGFX
Posted by GriftGFX
Well I don't disagree that the combat isn't first rate. And anyhow, it's your MO (you're not the only one, sure)--you're the one that would have every title be an action game.

And I'm just giving you a hard time. I don't really care and neither should you :P
Yeah I know, I was just making it interesting.

XD

:P
Commented on 2011-06-24 22:49:43
Skyrim is going to be awesome; the other games are simply irrelevant.
Commented on 2011-06-24 22:56:04 In reply to blmbox
Posted by blmbox
Skyrim is going to be awesome; the other games are simply irrelevant.
There you go!!

You are late man!!
Commented on 2011-06-24 22:58:25
Sorry I was taking a dump.
Commented on 2011-06-24 23:30:09 In reply to blmbox
Posted by blmbox
Skyrim is going to be awesome; the other games are simply irrelevant.
Hmm...that's the only one of the three I really don't give a shit about.
Commented on 2011-06-25 12:24:39
But you have no taste.
Commented on 2011-06-25 12:55:47
skyrim for life. nuff said. Rage and prey 2 got my attention. but skyrim... i lost 3 weeks of uni to oblivion. thank God i grad and own my business now. so bring on skyrim please lol.
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