E3 Highlights Releasing this Year

Guardians of the Galaxy

Potentially the biggest game announcement prior to Nintendo’s showcase, and the best part of the announcement, a date this year!

With expectations likely tempered from the release of Avengers last year, Eidos Montreal have started their messaging about the game strongly, including everyone’s new favourite tagline, No DLC and Microtransactions. Another strong step for me is the focus on only having Starlord as the playable character, meaning that they can refine the combat system and focus on Starlord being fun to play. The addition of the calling in the other guardians to wail on certain enemies was also really cool, adding another layer to the combat. I wonder if this will include weaknesses like a JRPG, having to send in certain fighters to take down some enemies quickly. 

The other sell for the game is the relationship building of the Guardians, who are still new in their role of guarding the galaxy. This seems like it will give you a bit more agency in the story of the game, though in interviews following it has been said that it will not affect the overall story. Either way I think it will be fun to be at least more engaged in the smaller moments of the story and being able to exclusively pick on Rocket the Raccoon and just make him hate my guts. 

The gameplay that was shown looked great and I am keenly awaiting my adventure throughout the cosmos. 

Dodgeball Academia

I am a sucker for a bit of school based drama and story, and with Knockout City this year Dodgeball has definitely been placed in the forefront of my mind. Playing as Otto on his journey to become the ultimate dodgeball champion is a journey I am in on. 

Dodgeball Academia is touting a full blown RPG Story with the main quest presumably to become ultimate champion. There are also side stories to play promising to uncover some hidden truths in the Academy, as well as some minigames to have a break from dodgeball. The characters you meet also look to be diverse, from humans to monitor faced people all included in the school. Building a dodgeball team across this eclectic class looks to be a fun task as you level up your roster of players and discover their unique traits. 

Of course, there is the dodgeball itself! Matches look to take on a brawler type gameplay, with damage being dealt to the opponents via balls not being dodged. Each team player also looks to have unique abilities that will help in the game. Otto’s card is shown in the trailer to have Focus Beam, an ability that damages opponents caught in the blast. A plethora of other skills are shown off in the trailer, including Otto showing off something that is decidedly not a beam, showing there will be some customisation in this area. 

Dodgeball Academia just looks fun on all counts, and I am keen to put my gloves on for this Dodgeball journey. 

Death’s Door

Potentially one of the most shown games at the Summer Games Fest, popping up around the grounds on multiple occasions throughout the festivities. But man was I happy to see it every time. 

Playing as a Crow in this Hack and Slash adventure across unique and brilliant environments is shaping up to be a murder of a time. 

Collecting the souls of the dead is a grim but honest job for our little crow buddy, but our daily routine is interrupted when a soul we have been sent to claim has been stolen! Travel into a world where death is an option and ungodly creatures live well beyond their time. These creatures look to be excellently designed, and add to the humorous misery vibe of Death’s Door.

Acid Nerve’s previous game was lauded for its combat above all else, so the combat in their newest games is in good hands. With a trusty sword, bow and arrows it seems a typical affair, but the trailers have shown how fast paced the combat can be. Dodge rolling attacks and even deflecting enemy projectiles make for a strong foundation to combat. Acid Nerve promises your victories to be rewarded, and your mistakes just as much punished as you customise and master the abilities of your little crow. 

With just over a month to launch it has definitely found itself on my most anticipated for the rest of the year. Everything about it seems up my alley I cannot wait to collect souls with my crow buddy

Age of Empires IV

Age of Empire IV is a bit of a funny pick for this list. It’s one of those games that really I just have to know the name to be interested in its offerings. Age of Empires II and III were a huge part of my childhood and easily some of my favourite games though I have not gone back to them in a long time.
One thing I am really looking forward to with AoE IV will be the efforts that developers Relic are putting into making sure that each of the eight civilizations play in a more unique manner to what previous AoE games have. Though fewer civilisations in total I think this will make for a great way to modernise the game, especially for potential online competitive play. 

The historical basis of the campaigns are also a large drawcard for me, the original AoE’s taught me alot about history. With 4 new campaigns covering over 500 years of history, revisiting the tales of Joan of Arc and Genghis Khan for starters I think will make me feel like a kid again.

Rain hail or shine I will be trudging through the history books with my army, and with its inclusion on GamePass makes this an easy option for my hype. 

Encased

To me, Encased is a bit of a fever dream. It has sat on my wishlist for a while now having been in early access for almost 2 years. I kinda thought it might have been one of those games that was abandoned, things were outdated on the store page and it had not had an update posted in a little while. This all really suited the aesthetics in a weird way though. So when it popped up again in a sizzle reel for a new publisher, I was doing a bit of pinching of my arm.

The retro sci-fi nature of the game never goes out of fashion, and in spite the plethora of other options in the field Encased looks like it will have plenty to offer in the area. As any good RPG should, Encased is promising lots of options for players to get their fill. Start out by choosing a division of CRONUS, impacting features, mechanics, and game options. Leave the dome and work your way across the waste, an open world with little order other than 5 factions vying for control. Align yourself with one of these or go it alone. It wouldn’t be an RPG without these difficult decisions.
Character customisation is another important aspect, and all the usual suspects are present. These can as always have bearing on the decisions you make and even combat encounters and their frequency. Encased is showing off a number of weapons as well, promising variety in combat for when you are not able to charm your way through. 

Another interesting thing about this release is it will be one of the first full releases from Prime Matter, the new Koch Media subsidiary. While irreverent to the gameplay, something I am very interested in watching is how this new label progresses. 

With the full release coming in before the end of the year and a while since I have jumped into a game of its kind, I have an itch that will need to be Encased. 

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