We are close to the mid point of 2017, so we decided it was time for a mid year gaming review. In this article we go over games that have been released in 2017 so far, provide our opinions of them, and then look at what’s left to come for 2017. We will also look at mods released this year.
To make this page easier to navigate, spoiler tags are used to conceal everything written about each game. There are no actual spoilers on this page with only one exception: we spoil one quest in Mass Effect: Andromeda in order to demonstrate how absolutely incredibly awful its writing is.
A faithful remaster of a 1998 FPS classic, Night Dive Studios pulls it off again by not trying to fix what was never broken. The core game is left intact, identical to the original, and the only real changes are technological improvements.
The game itself is a very good FPS with unique environments, incredible enemy variety (over 30 different enemies, basically unheard of these days), and some of the coolest and most unique weapons of any shooter game such as the Shredder, Razor Wind, Nuke (although there is a gun like this in the first Turok), and Cerebral Bore.
The first game in this franchise, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, was also remastered by Night Dive Studios back in 2015. Both of them even have a level editor for mod creation!
The most ambitious remaster featured on this article, Serious Sam: Fusion 2017 ports Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter (2009), Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter (2010), Serious Sam 3: BFE (2011), the VR versions to the latest version of Serious Engine, called Serious Engine 2017. At present, you must own Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter and Serious Sam 3: BFE if you want to play them in Fusion 2017, as Fusion 2017 only comes with Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter for now.
Serious Engine 2017 is better than the vast majority; it is highly scalable (it can run on mid 2000s hardware or take advantage of the latest) and very well optimized. The included Vulkan renderer shows performance improvements on AMD systems and on any system in Linux, although DX11 is still ever so slightly better for NVIDIA cards in Windows for now. This will likely change over time as it keeps getting updated and improved.
This remaster includes visual upgrades for The First Encounter and The Second Encounter which are inherent to the engine upgrade. Improvements in lighting effects primarily, and also general improvements in functionality as it includes all options offered by The Talos Principle.
Serious Sam Fusion 2017 is currently in beta. Croteam, the developers, provide the best support in the business and continue to improve it. By the end of the year it will be three great games in one, on a brand new engine showing off the capabilities of Vulkan.
Another remaster of a classic, this time an RPG classic. The only changes brought by Planescape: Torment – Enhanced Edition compared to the original are technological improvements and bugfixes. As with the Turok 2: Seeds of Evil remaster, this one is also a necessity since the originals do not work well on modern systems. Both remasters are flawless.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, made by some of the same creators as both Planescape: Torment and the original Planescape campaign setting as well as the Numenera RPG. Despite the talent behind the game, nothing came of it beyond exceptional visual art design. All the game is good for is screenshots, and I suppose it also serves as a valuable lesson on how not to design a spiritual successor.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is a story-driven turn-based RPG but none of its writing works together to create an excellent story. Instead it is filled with meaningless drivel like excessively weird (sometimes illogical) encounters that are only included for the sake of including weirdness, carrying an underlying sense of incoherence. The characters are all missed opportunities, the plot is too unoriginal and takes too much from Planescape: Torment, the quest design is excessively repetitive (so many of them involve just finding people), unfortunately the game just does nothing right. All of this and more is explained in our review.
Even though it does nothing right, it is not the worst 2017 game we have played this year.
The latest season in Telltale’s The Walking Dead franchise, this game features an almost entirely new cast despite being a continuation. A New Frontier is at least as short as Season 2, which was significantly shortened compared to Season 1. The overall writing quality has not returned to the levels of Season 1. It has more exploration segments and thus less point-and-click segments than other Telltale games.
One of the biggest releases of 2017 and also one of the worst games of 2017. This third person shooter and pseudo-RPG (it is no more of an RPG than The Witcher games which do not even fit the definition of RPG) is another AAA failure, and as a result of its failure the franchise is now on the backburner for an indefinite amount of time. For the best, I’d say.
The initially obvious questionable design choices (revealed by pre-release footage) such as the removed pausing, reduced squad control, and limiting hotkeys from 7 in the previous games to 3 are not even close to its biggest problems. Even the fact that friendly AI is inferior to many 1990s games I’ve played is not the worst of this game’s issues. The abysmal, highly inefficient UI and general presentation including tutorial prompts and how poorly placed they are, as well as the unnecessary grindy gameplay mechanics that add nothing to the game are also not the worst of its issues, nor is the fact that many named Asari characters (a humanoid race that looks very human) have the same exact face models. The inconsistent graphics that range from excellent to piss poor are the least of its issues. The cover system is more limited and more clunky compared to Mass Effect 3, but this is not the main issue with the game. Synthetic restrictions on exploration, such as the illogical inability to progress into a quest area until you activate the quest is not the worst of its issues. Typical Hollywood lazy plot devices like your advanced space helmet being made of fragile glass so that it cracks easily leaving you with no breathable air is not the worst of its issues either. There is lots of tedious backtracking, but that isn’t the worst of its issues, and neither are the exploitable AI which can make combat effortless nor the weapon attachments having illogical properties.
Wait, all of those flaws (many of which are significant, all of which combined is enough to easily pass on the game) are only the smaller issues of Mass Effect: Andromeda? That’s right. So now you might be wondering what its primary issues are.
Interesting looking place, too bad you can’t explore any of it due to invisible walls preventing you from going there.
The primary issues are in quest design and writing. Every quest boils down to either: “Go to this marked spot and kill everything” or “Go to this marked spot and hold E to interact with some alien technology that is not at all unique” or a combination of those two elements. And the protagonist, which is too predefined to make a good RPG protagonist, has no military experience. Yet you take out massive enemy fortifications on your own and accomplish things that would make N7 soldiers jealous.
Every new planet starts off with the same basic main quests as well. Dragon Age: Inquisition was the same way only with closing the Rifts, so one quest was the same on every new location until you finished that main quest line. But in Mass Effect: Andromeda, the issue is much more severe and extends to many quests being identical everywhere you go, and the process of completing these identical quests is always the same and always too simple. Every quest is a chore and has no intrinsic reward beyond proposed combat enjoyment, but the AI is too broken and lacking in fundamental intelligence and the mechanics have taken a step back compared to Mass Effect 3 in too many ways such as the cover system (but it has many new kinds of weapons which is nice). The core mechanics themselves are also too laggy, resulting in a clunkier game than Mass Effect 3. Jumping in particular can have a huge delay between pressing the jump key and the jump actually happening.
And for some reason, you cannot save during main quests. It relies on auto saves which can have as much as a 15 minute (maybe even more) gap between them, so you can lose lots of progress easily.
No protective railings at all? Illogical level design plagues this game.
And the writing? One particular quest chain (a main one, not side quests) demonstrates some of the worst writing I have ever come across in any published work. First of all, the emphasis of this story driven game is not on writing at all, it’s on facial animations and poor cinematics. Almost every conversation is just a closeup; gamers do like this “cinematic” design when the facial animations are good but this is not how movies are shot. It is terrible simulated cinematography, and the facial animations are so bad that they have become a meme. But I digress.
The incomplete/unrealistic approach to technology in this game is worse than any of the previous Mass Effect games. You cannot even determine the tech level of the newly introduced species due to lack of exposition. Alien design is subpar as usual; take any non-human character, swap their model to a human one, and then they are exactly the same as humans. They are humans in costumes. The game likes to contradict itself, such as how Cora says she can rip an APC in two with her biotics, yet she can do nothing remotely close to that, or how Ryder has no military background yet with just two other people takes out massive enemy fortifications even early in the game.
Let’s not forget how unrealistically stupid the game’s characters often are (like most mainstream movies and shows and games); for example, Ryder and his/her squad come across a small alien structure and cannot determine what the technology inside does, when the piece they are puzzled about is obviously a generator. When you turn it on, everyone freaks out and thinks they are about to die… when it is obviously just a power generator. Which leads to another issue; much of the game’s technology comes from an ancient super advanced species called the “Remnants” yet almost all of it is recognizable to us, and the technology and Remnant ruins which you explore throughout the game are always the same. More repetition. Games do not get more repetitive than Mass Effect: Andromeda.
This game has the worst foreign culture exposition (something BioWare always attempts) of all BioWare games. You visit a new planet belonging to a newly discovered (for you) non-hostile species, and the only few cultural aspects you get introduced to are quickly tossed at you every time, before you get sent on a quest to either kill everything or hold E to interact with something or both.
Of course native creatures on most if not all planets are all hostile, which is highly unrealistic. The game even has the same local wildlife on various planets, even ones belonging to different star systems? Really? Such laziness… or rather the result of the whole game being made in about 18 months.
But none of that is even close to the worst of this game’s writing. What is explained above shows the core writing flaws in all areas of the game, but the worst of this game’s writing resides in one specific quest chain. Here comes the spoiler mentioned at the top of this page. Out of left field a newly encountered non-hostile species informs you that they believe in reincarnation, because it is relevant to a task at hand; you need to find something that will save a planet from dying, but only one person knew where it is and she is long dead. So you must put that reincarnation theory to the test, since if it proves true you will get the information you need. You must locate a pre-scourge family memento of sorts and give it to someone of their bloodline who is still alive. If provided with the memento, that person instantly receives the memories of the person who owned the memento.
Okay outsider who has yet to be proven trustworthy (that’s you), now go put our ancient religious theory to the test. Next thing you know, it turns out to be true, meaning almost as soon as you meet these people you prove their only mentioned religious beliefs (of course there are no religious conflicts in the game) to be true. That is like an alien coming to our planet and in a few days proving that Jesus Christ was indeed God’s son.
You prove their religion true by going to a marked location to retrieve an heirloom (that memento I mentioned earlier), then going to another marked location to kill some xenophobes and then giving the object to their leader (descendant of the person who owned the heirloom) and voila, their only religion mentioned is proven right before your eyes. If it was this easy to prove, why wasn’t their religion a widely accepted fact? They are a space faring species yet they were unable to prove their own religion, despite proving it being a task simple enough for a child to perform? Someone please let us know in the comments about writing examples you think might be worse than this one. We did not leave out any important details, that’s all of it.
And the “role-playing?” You can play as a more goal oriented Ryder or passionate Ryder, either way he is the same jolly fellow with the same sense of humor. Many situations are just non-interactive cutscenes. This is objectively one of the worst RPGs ever, along with The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 3. So this game is deeply flawed in every single aspect, and terrible in some of the most important ones such as writing, quest design, and role-playing.
We should list some positive attributes about the game before moving on. Although it is clunkier than Mass Effect 3, the combat mechanics are good overall but still with blatant flaws like the limitation to three hotkeys which forces you to basically change classes in real-time during combat, which activates the cooldown on all powers, and also the weapon mods having illogical properties is a problem. The sound effects are excellent however, particularly amazing in the space scenes even.
Another one of the biggest AAA releases, Prey is the latest game from Arkane Studios. It is a single player FPS. It is not a technical QC disaster like Dishonored 2 was at launch, but it has its problems (mostly in the form of graphical glitches) while every non-AAA game featured in this article that is fully completed (e.g. not Early Access) is more or less flawless from a technical perspective.
Prey strongly resembles System Shock 2 in storytelling mechanics, general layout and progression, gameplay, and pace. BioShock also takes after the System Shock franchise but is much faster paced. The UI of Prey has some Deus Ex inspiration. So in Prey, you are in constant contact with a mysterious character over a radio, and the game likes to show rather than tell. At times this can be very interesting, but the game cannot help but feel a bit contrived and unoriginal. It might borrow too much from these classics, a flaw shared by the previously mentioned Torment: Tides of Numenera but to a lesser degree here.
And as usual for AAA games, it is not particularly strong in attention to detail, as shown above. Enemy design is also far too repetitive for its own good. It has no iron sight mechanics, and it features melee combat but no ability to block for some reason. Arkane also spends too much time remaking mechanics they’ve already made on other engines, since they keep switching engines for almost every game and this seems to prevent them from optimizing their games properly. Although Prey is not particularly hard to run, and it does take on a similar art style to the Dishonored franchise and has some unique gameplay quirks later in the game (I’d say it takes too long to reach them).
Day of Infamy is a PvP and co-op FPS in a WWII CQB setting. It is essentially Insurgency in WWII, in fact it began as a WWII total conversion mod for Insurgency before becoming its own game.
It has common PvP game modes with the most popular one revolving around attack and defend type gameplay, and a nice selection of co-op modes such as various objective based ones or wave based defensive gameplay. No instant respawning, and some modes have no respawns at all. Like Insurgency, one of the most distinguishing factors of Day of Infamy is gameplay that focuses more on authenticity and realism, although not to the extent of the Red Orchestra/Rising Storm franchise much less Arma franchise. It hits a nice balance that most people can enjoy.
Gameplay is class based; each team has several different classes inspired by actual roles you’d be assigned in war, and the game places a limit on how many players can join each class, except for Grunt/Rifleman. This ensures a balanced team which is an excellent addition.
Some of the aforementioned mechanics include aiming deadzone when not aiming down the sights/scope (this means aim is not centered unless actually aiming), much more realistic aim sway and recoil than most games, bi-pod deployment, picture-in-picture scopes, realistic reload animations, minimal HUD, more realistic outfitting and carrying capacity. A team can have a commander as well as a radio operator, who work together to call in different types of air support. The shooting mechanics and animations surpass most AAA shooters, as do the sound effects, which makes for more intense and entertaining shootouts than most other games can offer. Weapon variety also surpasses most mainstream shooters as you can use flamethrowers, knives, and more.
Being a Source engine game on Steam, this game has lots of modding potential. Total conversion mods already exist for it, one we will go over on the next page.
Compared to the upcoming Call of Duty: WWII which will feature female soldiers (and female black Nazi soldiers at that), no swastikas, and who knows how many other ridiculous inaccuracies as well as the same console focused Call of Duty gameplay we’ve been getting for nearly a decade from that franchise, it is already safe to say that Day of Infamy makes Call of Duty: WWII obsolete. Day of Infamy slaughters Call of Duty: WWII in the womb. There will be no reason to play Call of Duty: WWII due to the existence of Day of Infamy which is undoubtedly so much better in mechanics, sound, quantity of content, and as a game in general (modding and free dedicated server hosting). Plus, Day of Infamy stays accurate to WWII for a multiplayer shooter. And if the level design of recent Call of Duty games is any indication, Day of Infamy far surpasses Call of Duty there as well (and far surpasses the MP maps of all previous WWII Call of Duty games too).
The latest game in the Rising Storm/Red Orchestra franchise, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is like a proper, truly advanced sequel to Battlefield: Vietnam. It is a 32 vs 32 PvP shooter and it shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that Rising Storm 2 had a stable, polished release, unlike most AAA games. The two most played game modes are familiar ones; Territories, which is an attack and defend type mode, and Supremacy which is much like Battlefield’s Conquest. In Territories, one team must attack and capture specified points on the map while the other team must prevent this.
Supremacy is a bit more complex than Conquest; each team starts on opposite sides of the map and most capture and hold specified capture points on the map to accumulate points for the team. At the end of the match, the team with more points wins, but unlike Conquest some capture points are more valuable than others and holding capture points in succession (e.g. holding A, B, and C) earns more points than holding the same amount of points not in succession.
As with the previous games in this franchise, the infantry gameplay approaches simulator levels of realism. This game features an aiming deadzone mechanic (gunfire when not aiming is not centered on your screen), picture-and-picture scopes, the ability to use backup sights instead of a mounted scope, iron sight/scope range adjustment/zeroing, the ability to fold/unfold foldable weapon stocks, the ability to attach and detach (and of course use) mounted bayonets, deadly backblasts from rocket launchers, deployable bi-pods, some of the most realistic aim sway and recoil simulation of any shooter, a bleeding system with bandaging, crippling and dismemberment, and other details as well. Also present are variants for many of the guns pictured below, and also different ammo types with realistic properties.
Weapon variety also surpasses most AAA shooters since you can use bayonets, flamethrowers, different kinds of traps, and much more. The only gameplay issue is a balance one; the M16A1’s damage is too close to the Type-56, AKM, and M14. It’s worth noting that the cover system from the previous game is gone, but considering how it never accomplished more than leaning and crouching/standing, nothing is actually lost.
The screenshot above shows the class-based gameplay and how the game places a limit on how many players can choose each class. This ensures a balanced team at all times which is great.
It also has a nice array of traps especially for the Vietnamese army, and the ability to dig tunnels under the map which creates dynamic spawn points for the Vietnamese. Each team can have a commander, who operates in tandem with a radio operator to call in air support and provide objectives for the team, like Battlefield commanders but more in-depth.
The physics of vehicle gameplay are nowhere near simulator level, but the functionality that vehicles provide is quite realistic like the Arma franchise. A much steeper learning curve than Battlefield.
The sound effects are also incredible. Napalm strikes in particular make for some of the most incredible sounds I have ever heard out of my 5.1 surround system. So forget Battlefield, a game franchise that harms the gaming industry due to its forced Rental Server Program and lack of modding, as the Rising Storm/Red Orchestra franchise makes Battlefield obsolete once again with the release of Rising Storm 2: Vietnam.
Despite being an Early Access game that is certainly very rough around the edges, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS has become the #3 most played game on Steam every day. It is a sandbox survival multiplayer shooter, a mix of third person (primary) and first person, and it intelligently mixes PvP and co-op together in one game mode.
Players operate in teams—your team will consist of friends you invite or just you alone if you prefer, and this is where the co-op gameplay fits in. The goal is to be the last team standing on an 8×8 kilometer open world island. To force encounters, a circle closes in from the edges of the map, and anyone outside of the circle takes damage until they die, forcing everyone into a gradually confining area until the area becomes very, very small and the action gets more intense.
In practice, it plays similar to DayZ even though there are no zombies. However, BATTLEGROUNDS plays exactly the way it is intended while DayZ was intended to play differently; DayZ was supposed to be primarily a co-op game in which players work together to survive a widespread zombie infestation.
More content is being added to BATTLEGROUNDS and it is expected to be finished in Q3 2017. How polished it will be is a concern since it is far from a complete product right now, being terribly optimized despite being made on Unreal Engine 4. But the design and execution of the game is on point.
On this page we look at noteworthy total conversion and large scale overhaul mods released so far this year.
Triptych is a rather authentic Lovecraftian adventure and existential horror mod, from the same group that brought us The Worry of Newport. There is no combat in Triptych (nor The Worry of Newport), only story and environmental immersion. The environments are spectacular and breathtaking, and while the writing quality is of course not at Lovecraft’s level, it is unique in gaming and it outdoes the attempts from most game creators (especially AAA games).
Day of Infamy is like a WWII version of Insurgency, and Born to Kill: Vietnam is like a Vietnam War themed version of Insurgency/Day of Infamy. Born to Kill: Vietnam exists as a mod for both Insurgency and Day of Infamy. The environmental visual quality of the mod is not yet at modern game production level, but the weapon models and animations are superior to most AAA shooters, while the mechanics and sound all come from the base game which is stellar as discussed on the previous page.
This mod is available on Steam Workshop.
Five years ago we reviewed Iron Front: Liberation 1944, a shooter/simulator that began as a mod for Arma 2. Liberation: 1944 mod for Arma 3 is like a better version of that on a newer, better engine and platform that is Arma 3.
Liberation: 1944 includes maps, units, weapons, vehicles, and a campaign set during the Normandy campaign in WWII, so it is effectively Arma 3 in Normandy. You can play the campaign it comes with and/or make your own WWII scenarios in the excellent editor. The quality of the weapons, vehicles, and units have detail that easily surpasses AAA shooters.
This mod is available on Steam Workshop.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha – Director’s Cut is completely standalone and can be found on ModDB. It is an unofficial remake of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl featuring remade content that was cut from the game. This content includes more plot elements and quests, many new levels and heavily reworked existing levels, vehicle gameplay, new mutants, new factions, and new mechanics. In terms of gameplay mechanics it is elite, and the level design is some of the best in video game history. It is a sort of limited open world that becomes fully open world when approaching the end of the game, and the ability to play in this full open world after finishing the main quest.
Director’s Cut adds quests, items, new mechanics, improves the simulation AI (A-Life system), adds a DX11 renderer, and other changes as well. Currently it has some stability issues so waiting for these to be ironed out is a great idea. The A-Life is now sufficient unlike the original Lost Alpha which had terrible A-Life leading to an empty world. The story still degenerates the same way and has a pitiful finale.
The following games and mods will be released later this year.
A community backed, Steam Early Access turn-based RPG scheduled to release later this year, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is on the right track. This franchise is doing more to keep video game RPGs alive than any other. It will be massive in scale, it features completely different playable introductions depending on your character build, and it has superb fundamental UI and mechanics like its predecessor—that is, superb fundamental mechanics both as a Turn-Based Tactics game and also an RPG.
It is both a single player and co-op game, has options for “seamless” co-op joining, and will be fully moddable with its own SDK. Combined with the excellent mechanics and Dungeon Master client demonstrated by the video below, this game represents a level of role-playing that can potentially come closest to pen and paper RPGs, although it needs a good enough campaign to make this a reality. I have not seen a game like this, with a Dungeon Master client, since Neverwinter Nights 2 which released in 2006.
It’s not all good news for Divinity: Original Sin 2 however. Acknowledging its Early Access state, the narrative and storytelling so far seems poorly written; the lack of exposition is startling and it fails at setting context. It lacks coherency. The previous game also had balance issues in gameplay, and this game has similar issues on a small scale at least. Currently the game’s Early Access version doesn’t let us play enough to fully gauge the gravity of these flaws, but they are there.
Total War: WARHAMMER 2 is the next Turn-Based Strategy / Real Time Tactics game by Creative Assembly. While some take issue with the sequel releasing less than two years after the first, they generally fail to realize that it is not a replacement for Total War: WARHAMMER. It is more like a gargantuan expansion since it will actually add on to the first game if you have it (if not then it is standalone) some time after release, resulting in two massive strategy games in one. Mods for one will be compatible with the other, so we’re going to have two endless games in one.
And Total War: WARHAMMER has near flawless mechanics, so in that regard it is a great game to expand on. The downside is that it is most likely perpetually CPU limited, as are most strategy games. Even though it has a DX12 renderer, it is tacked on and built on top of DX11 so it hardly improves anything on any system (and harms NVIDIA systems).
Considering this, some might still take issue with the $60 price tag, but it is at least the same size as the first game in content. It is true that past expansions for other games that double the size of the base game’s content have not been $60 (e.g. Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead, Arma 3: Apex, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne), but the value for the money is real with this game, assuming the quality is on par with the first (and it should be since it will be nearly identical in core mechanics so that it can add on to the first game).
The remaining concern is DLC prices. Some will likely be overpriced as usual, but probably not all. Lots of value can be found in many of the DLCs for Total War: WARHAMMER and the previous games.
An expansion that is reportedly so big that it almost became a sequel, XCOM 2: War of the Chosen seems as if it will be its own story, a sequel-like expansion for the magnificent XCOM 2. Such expansions have been made in the past for other games, and their rarity nowadays is responsible for the overwhelming shock that it’s generating.
Unedited footage of XCOM 2, for those who never played it.
XCOM 2 is a Turn-Based Tactics and Real Time Strategy game with some of the best designed, least flawed gameplay mechanics in the history of video gaming. It really does what it set out to do perfectly, so we can’t wait for this expansion.
Star Wars: Battlefront II is both the latest game from DICE, and perhaps the most poorly named game of all time. It is the sequel to Star Wars: Battlefront (2015), but both of these games have the exact same names as the original Battlefront games; Star Wars: Battlefront (2004) and Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005). Based on everything we know about this year’s Battlefront II, it looks like it’ll fare much better than the last one…
Even so, the question remains: “What will this year’s Battlefront II omit?” It is amusing that this is how you have to approach modern AAA games, asking what will be removed rather than what will be added/improved, since you will be hard pressed to find anything that is added/improved in any AAA game released in the 2010s but you will find plenty of things that were removed.
According to the developers, Black Mesa will finally be finished in summer 2017! This is a remake of Half-Life which was initially released as a mod in 2012, before being released as a game on a newer version of Source engine in 2015. Ever since its 2012 release, the last five chapters (Xen chapters) have been missing from the game. Now they are finally giving a release date, which is rare from Crowbar Collective.
Black Mesa is a must-play, but for newcomers it is probably ideal to wait for it to be finished. With the Xen release, it will be officially out of its Early Access state. Black Mesa is essentially a 1:1, truly faithful remake of Half-Life only bringing better graphics and sound, although it is said that Xen will have some actual design changes since hardly anyone even liked those chapters in Half-Life.
Half-Life/Black Mesa remains remarkable in design to this day, with many of its chapters being unique in atmosphere and gameplay, plus the fact that the game world does not merely revolve around the player. Mainstream game design, at least in shooters, has not improved since Half-Life’s time and has shown much degeneration in fact, which is why Black Mesa stands out now almost as much as Half-Life stood out back in the late 1990s.
A provocative name, as the Outsider is to the Dishonored franchise what G-Man is to the Half-Life franchise… sort of. Death of the Outsider is a standalone expansion to Dishonored 2, which we reviewed here. Let’s hope this expansion retains the greatness of Dishonored 2 (gameplay mechanics, level design, mission design) and avoids its failures (story, characters). You will be playing as Billie Lurk, a character introduced in a DLC to the first Dishonored.
The trailer goes as far as letting us know that Daud, a minor antagonist from Dishonored and protagonist in Dishonored’s two expansion-sized DLCs, will be returning.
While it’s not even close to being the second Wolfenstein game despite the name, this reveal was expected at E3. Release date is October 27. The trailer above isn’t great but that means nothing for the actual game. One can only hope the game retains the series’ thematic depth, and adds in the epic physics and super weapons from Wolfenstein 2009. It is an id Tech 6 game, so expect a technological masterpiece.
The final entry on this article is GMDX 9.0, an overhaul mod for Deus Ex (2000). Version 9.0 is scheduled to release on July 1st, so we’ll see if this holds true very soon. For more information on the mod, see its ModDB page. It seeks to improve all aspects of Deus Ex, not unlike Deus Ex: Revision which certainly succeeds at the same goal.