Repost: E3 2010: Bethesda Softworks

On Tuesday, my final meeting was with Bethesda Softworks for an appointment only (Awesome to get invited) presentation for Rage, Hunted: Demon’s Forge, Fallout: New Vegas, and Brink. While Rage was a presentation, the other titles were hands-on. Here are my thoughts.

The presentation for Rage was impressive. Tim Willits spoke over the demo played by Jason Kim. Using id Tech 5, which allowed for mega hand crafted textures, the title looked amazing. The environments and characters have a lot of visual detail and the animations were also incredible.

Taking place in the distant future, the story follows an asteroid that has hit the planet. As a survivor/participant of the Eden Project, man-made Arcs that protected small groups of people, the main character’s Arc malfunctions and he is the only survivor.

After exiting, the plot opens where players find out that people survived outside the Arcs and have been recreating semblances of society.

The demo took place in what would be a few hours in-game where the main character is sent into town for supplies. The outskirts of town are full of mutants affected by the asteroid. After passing through the desert in a dune buggy equipped with machine guns (and killing a few other vehicles trying to stop him), he arrives as Wellspring, one of the towns.

Welllspring is one of the more important towns because it has an underground well supplying water. There is also an auto shop where vehicles can be upgraded. While outside the towns, there is the recognizable hub, in town the hub disappears and movement feels almost like a first person movie. There are also mini-games to earn some pocket money.

Featuring impressive voice acting, each character has their own personality. A mission in town was to help protect the town’s water supply from the Ghost Clan, a group of bandits whose specific ability was to perform acrobatic movements. The weapons of Rage are given so that they are used for specific areas as an introduction. The weapon given for this mission was a bowgun that could use electrified bolts that would shock enemies standing in water.

Combat was an impressive mix of FPS and necessary strategy. The main character has sub weapons to help, like the turret that can be build and placed to destroy enemies who arrived in waves. Once the mission was complete, another area was shown.

The next mission involved finding new car parts and exploring the hideout of the Wasted Clan who used their vehicles to attack their victims. The enemy AI is impressive because they don’t just stand and attack, but take cover and move around environments to attack. This area showed off a sentry turret, a spider-legged turret that moved around areas and attacked enemies. This mission was shorter and quickly moved to the last part of the demo, the Dead City.

The Dead City is a downtown area where most survivors of Rage don’t venture because no one returns. Featuring more mutant enemies, this area introduced some larger, but medium sized enemies right before introducing what might be a 25-30 ft tall “Godzilla” mutant.

The demo of Rage was very impressive, but I would like to run through the title proper to get a better feel for the combat.

The next title was Brink which showed off the objectives of the title. While combat was a little lacking for a FPS, more specifically the weapons and AI were a little weak, these timed matches keep the intensity up because each objective is important to complete the overall mission. In the match I played, I had to hack a computer which opened the option of changing character types, from a general soldier to engineer to hack another computer by climbing over obstacles.

The match was pretty quick, but since the tension was squarely on the objectives, the action was pretty easy to pass. I think with actual players, group tactics will play a larger and more important role.

Fallout: New Vegas was a pseudo-sequel to Fallout 3 featuring the non-effected city of Las Vegas. I played through some of the casino mini-games, like Blackjack, Roulette, and Slots which were interesting, but for the demo were just small moments of gameplay. I was introduced to the new partner radial menu where it is possible to assign specific actions for characters that are accompanying you on missions.

With more weapons, another deep story, and new location; Fallout: New Vegas looked amazing and should be a great title when it releases.

I finally played Hunted: Demon’s Forge, a return to dungeon crawling hack-and-slash, but features a co-op mode important to the overall progression of the title. Playing with a Bethesda rep, I got to play both the archer and warrior characters and tried out the combat. It’s pretty intense even for the demo and being accurate with the archer can make or break encounters.

The game is still early, but looked impressive and I think that the title is among of one that needs to be watched for the future. While it may appear as a redundant title, I do believe that it will be more impressive once more information is released.

Bethesda Softworks has an impressive line-up for the Fall and they all look like they will impress when they release.

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