This year’s E3 certainly wasn’t an E3 miss, considering the myriad of games shown as well as the unveiling of two new consoles, and all the paradigm shifts that come with them. I could talk about this year’s E3 at length, but it wouldn’t really be “Mecha Monday” then, now would it? So instead I’ll focus on the mecha games shown this year. Now there are a couple of pretty huge ones, both of which have taken center stage at respective conferences. That’s a lot better than I can say about most E3s. Best we usually get is MechWarrior or a new Armored Core. Obviously, I’m pretty excited.
I know this was technically announced back in January, but MonolithSoft’s X looks to be quite spectacular. X appears to be an open world RPG in the vein of Xenoblade, but obviously upgraded for next generation systems with what seems like online co-op and mecha combat, of course. The environments appear to be very large, complete with a very impressive draw distance and colossal-sized creatures. While the teaser at E3 really only showed off exploration, the environments appear to be pretty varied. Essentially, this game appears to be Xenoblade, but better, with somewhat of a Monster Hunter-like twist with its large enemies and maybe even a Phantasy Star Online-like twist with how co-op may work.
I’m a little worried about the online co-op, as that might de-emphasize the plot, or at least remove the player as a central character. Additionally, online co-op may mean that there may not be NPC-controlled party members, or at least no unique ones. Still, Monolith has brought us games with pretty awesome plots, so that shouldn’t be too much of a concern. I’ve heard mentioned that Xenoblade was actually intended as a prototype for X, and seeing as how I really liked Xenoblade, I can’t wait to see what X has in store. The mecha elements, specifically, are pretty salivating, as where else can I explore very large environments and take on colossal creatures with mechs?
The other mecha game, Titanfall, is a hell of a lot more prominent (probably because it’s being developed by ex-Infinity Ward founders’ new company, it’s a first-person shooter, and Microsoft showed it at the end of their conference). Essentially, Titanfall is a fast paced first-person shooter with parkour and the ability to control agile mechs. While it doesn’t have a single-player campaign, the developers have promised emergent storytelling through multiplayer. It’d be cool if it ever becomes something like EVE, but that’s up to the player-base to decide.
The gameplay of Titanfall seems to thankfully be where the majority of development is focused. Gameplay consists between several players on different teams (and maybe an FFA), with a point-based system like many RPGs nowadays. Player characters can traverse environments fast, due to the fast running speeds and the parkour. The mechs themselves appear to be pretty agile, and nothing like the hulking monstrosities Western mecha usually is. Nonetheless, this worries me a little. While I’m not expecting anything like Armored Core speeds, it’s a little disappointing that “agile mechs” seems to translate to “bigger humans”, considering all the things you can do with mechs.
Fortunately, we haven’t seen enough of the mecha gameplay, so I’m willing to bet they’ll diversify the mechs a little. Well, that and I think the UI was a little cluttered, but that’s pretty simple to fix (assuming Respawn considers it a problem). Other than that, it looks pretty solid. Here’s hoping they don’t turn it into a yearly franchise!
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