Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017

What We Know So Far

In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, we see the return of Talion and his wraith companion Celebrimbor as they take the fight straight to Sauron and his dark army around Mordor and beyond. As the follow-up to GameSpot’s 2014 Game of the Year, the developers at Monolith Productions have significantly enhanced the game with a much larger scale in combat and exploration, an expanded loot system, and an extension to the incredible Nemesis System in the recruitment of allies. Though the game saw a rather unexpected delay recently, the developers are confidant that it will be worth the wait.

Below you can find articles highlighting important details we know about the game thus far:

What’s Confirmed For E3

Though nothing has been directly confirmed yet, we can expect to see the game on stage at the Microsoft press conference, as Xbox is now a marketing partner for the game. Though it was just announced back in March, WB Games have been surprisingly generous with details about the game and has released a sizable amount of video footage for the game. And given that the game will be out later this year, it’s likely we’ll see more generous helpings of footage and impressions from the game.

What We Hope To See At E3

Given its stance on recontextualizing Tolkien lore and showing off sides of the world that are rarely seen in the films and books, it would be really wonderful to see more characters from the source material in Shadow of War. The one thing going through the back of every Tolkien fan’s mind is who else is going to show up in this game? Of course, this game is about Talion and Celebrimbor’s story, and the developers have their own fiction to work on, but it would be a really special moment to see one of the characters from the films show up during Middle-earth’s E3 showing.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017
Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017Middle-earth: Shadow of War: What We Want At E3 2017

If that’s too much to hope for, then what WB Games and Monolith Productions can really do is show off more of the open-world gameplay. Given the expanded scope, and how the enhanced NPC systems are also getting a buff, it would be really exciting to see how those systems come to blows in epic fashion. Tolkien’s universe does the epic scale well, and it would be very satisfying to see it within the context of Shadow of War, which is looking to be more ambitious than its predecessor by a country mile.

Filed under:
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
PC
E3 2017
  •   View Comments (2)

    Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017

    What We Know So Far

    This year’s Call of Duty: WWII is centered around the European theater of the war. Its single-player campaign includes famous WWII battles and settings, like the D-Day invasion of Normandy and Battle of the Bulge, and primarily stars a young, inexperienced soldier from the US 1st Infantry Division. The game’s multiplayer will be familiar to Call of Duty veterans, but it will also introduce a new “War Mode” featuring iconic battles as well as a social space. Call of Duty: WWII launches on November 3 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

    Below you can find articles highlighting important details we know about the game thus far:

    What’s Confirmed For E3

    Activision and developer Sledgehammer Games have promised a full multiplayer reveal for Call of Duty: WWII at E3. It will also be playable on the show floor for attendees.

    Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017
    Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017Call Of Duty WW2: What We Want At E3 2017

    What We Hope To See At E3

    It seems like the focus at E3 is on multiplayer. A lot of the game’s multiplayer will be familiar for Call of Duty, so we’d specifically like to see the new War Mode in action–it’s a team-focused mode set in “iconic” World War II battles, and we’re curious if it’ll resemble Battlefield 1‘s Operations mode or something entirely different. It’ll also be interesting to see how the game’s WWII setting will shape competitive multiplayer.

    Of course, It would be great to see something about the Zombies mode. Nazi Zombies in particular has been a fan favorite for a long time, and Sledgehammer could provide a fresh take on the classic.

    As for single-player, but Sledgehammer has said that it wants to treat the war with respect. The reveal trailer was pretty bombastic, so it would be nice if the developer took some time during E3 to showcase parts of the campaign that could set Call of Duty: WWII apart from other WWII games. Everything shown so far has been very familiar territory, especially D-Day–E3 is the perfect setting for Sledgehammer to really distinguish its next game.

    Filed under:
    Call of Duty: WWII
    Xbox One
    PlayStation 4
    PC
    E3 2017
  •   View Comments (2)

    Arms Review

    Share.

    Nintendo’s new fighting game proves that with wacky appendages, clever boxing is within reach.

    Ditching the more grounded world of Nintendo’s Punch-Out!, Arms is a far wackier take on the boxing genre. It’s an exciting face-off as you weave around incoming fists from afar, looking for that small opening to curve your powered-up glove straight into your foe or leap into the air for perfectly timed grab. Arms is bursting with fast-paced modes and colorful exploding gloves that make every fight a blast, and its stylish lobby system keeps me coming back for more.

    As you engage in cartoony fisticuffs with the eponymous stretchable boxing gloves, of which there are many shapes and sizes, the combat of Arms is easy to pick up. You can fight any way you please: with motion-controlled Joy-Con controllers, Pro Controllers, or even a single tilted Joy-Con. The motion-control setup works well enough, since instead of throwing huge punches and tiring yourself out, subtle jabs and tilts will get the job done. Tilting the controllers to move, curve punches, and block does take a bit of getting used to, and I had the tendency to unconsciously move my Joy-Cons at the wrong time. This led me to gravitate more towards the Pro Controller or playing in portable mode, using the analogue stick for precise movements and using triggers instead of buttons to throw punches.

    What really matters in every match is movement: if you aren’t constantly strafing and jumping to dodge the projectile-like punches of your adversary, you’ll just be giving the match to your opponent. Rock’em Sock’em Robots, this is not. Equally important is charging up your Arms to deal bigger, elementally enhanced damage, but it’s a risk because pausing to charge can leave you open to attack. There’s a great sense of give and take here: for every move you can make, there’s an equal counter, and the delicate dance of trying to outsmart your competitors can lead to some very tense moments. There’s also plenty of room for surprises, as just one match against a player who effortlessly dodged my attacks had me stopping to rethink my strategies and swapping out my equipped pair of Arms to try a different approach.

    Character abilities factor into every matchup. Each of the 10 fighters has two innate abilities, such as Ribbon Girl’s multiple aerial jumps or Spring Man’s deflections. Some of these abilities can lend themselves well to developing new tactics, but others, like the fast-jumping but incredibly slow-dodging Kid Cobra, just feel like they got the short end of the stick.

    Wild Arms

    The Arms themselves are all distinct enough that you’ll soon be able to spot which ones your rival has equipped and what they are capable of. While traditional Arms like the fiery Toaster are great for straight shots and breaking your opponents grab attempts, wide-arcing attacks from weapons like the Chakram and Thunderbird can flank from the sides.

    Even variants of the same weapon type feel more pronounced than a simple reskin.

    Most weapons can charge up to deal debilitating effects, although some felt a little more pronounced than others. Sure, having a wind effect to knock a fighter away from a powerup is nice, but not as nice as using electric attacks to completely shut down an opponent and leave them wide open to a grab, which does a ton of damage. Some types are rarer than others – giving them great unique appeal (Helix starts with the only blinding weapon, for instance) and even variants of the same weapon type feel more pronounced than a simple reskin when you compare the ice-encrusted Chilla to the gold-trimmed Bubb that doubles in size when charged.

    You’re given access to every type of Arm from the start, but they are locked to specific fighters. If you want to rock a Guardian Arms with Spring Man, for example, be ready to shell out the money earned from fights in a target-hitting minigame for a chance at your desired glove appearing for the right fighter (and you’ll still have to unlock the Guardian again for every other fighter you want to use it with). I was hoping there would be a chance to be surprised with Arms nobody had in their default loadout (thirty Arms is still a pretty diverse selection), but there are some interesting choices to be made mixing a fighter’s abilities with the unlocked Arms of another fighter. Pairing up Ninjara’s quick movements with some of the freezing and electric Arms let me capitalize on his speed that I couldn’t achieve with his default loadout.

    Fisticuffs With Friends

    If you were worried 1v1 brawling would get boring, Arms does a good job of giving you plenty of alternate modes to choose from – and most every mode can be played solo or split-screen co-op, including the traditional 10-round Grand Prix campaign with scaling difficulty. The 1v100 mode gives you a lesson in endurance as you take on small groups of weak enemies until a final tough opponent. Modes like V-Ball, Hoops, and Skill Shot are nice diversions that are quick and concise, though getting walled off from your opponent by a large obstructing net playing explosive volleyball isn’t as fun or engaging as those that let you antagonize or otherwise go head to head. Getting tethered to another player in team battles was exhilarating, as I worked to defend my buddy from getting grabbed and timed rush attacks with the openings my partner created. That said, having the lock-on view constantly switching between targets on its own without my input got frustrating at times.

    Players rarely go too long without being placed or paired up with other fighters.

    The mode that really deserves a medal here is Party Match. This online mode transports you to a constantly shifting lobby area that’s almost as fun to watch as it is to take part in. Groups of up to 20 players (10 systems with two players each) are continually shuffled about as the lobby decides who should be matched up in the circles it creates. This means players rarely go too long without being placed or paired up with other fighters, and the lobby adapts to odd numbered groups by making frantic free-for-alls, grouping up against intimidating AI bosses, or letting local players take turns.

    Even when I wasn’t in a match, I was hungrily absorbing the clever layout of each fight taking place in the lobby – seeing the health bars drop, rush attacks trigger, and the timer wind down around the circle until the players were jettisoned out of the circle to seek a new match. Ranked Battles offer a little more structure, and I was happy to find friend lobbies offer a lot of customization to pick and choose what kind of matches the lobby would pull us into – including the ability to choose possible stages, modes, and how much prize money was needed to be declared the lobby winner.

    Arms  Review
    Arms
    Choose a fighting champion from around the world, equip your own combination of extendable arms, and then use a mix of button presses and quick hand motions to really take the fight to your opponent.
    Get Deal
    On Nintendo Switch

    This link directs to a retail affiliate. IGN may receive a commission from your purchase.

    The Verdict

    Arms’ clever take on boxing provides a simple premise with a startling amount of depth for those who would seek to master the stretching appendages. Its rapidly evolving lobby system had me sticking around for “just one more match.” There may not be a lot worth unlocking right now, but planned free updates may just give Arms some additional legs.

    Telltale Games’ Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2 Revealed, Episode 1 Release Date Announced

    Share.

    The episodic Telltale series will continue next month.

    Telltale Games has announced Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2, a continuation of the episodic series based on Mojang’s Minecraft.

    Hero in Residence, the first episode of the five-part second season, will be available for download on July 11 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. The voice cast for season 2 includes Patton Oswalt, Catherine Taber, Ashley Johnson, and Scott Potter. Members of the Minecraft YouTube community will also cameo, including Stampy Cat and stacyplays.

    Telltale Games' Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 2 Revealed, Episode 1 Release Date Announced

    Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2

    The second season will continue the story of Jesse and the series’ ensemble, who have conquered the Wither Storm and saved the world. Their lives of adventure have settled down until Jesse”s hand becomes stuck in a gauntlet from an underwater temple. Jesse, as well as old and new friends, venture off on a new journey that will both carry over choices from the first season and allow new players to dive into the second season.

    Season 2 will also feature Telltale’s Crowd Play mode, allowing people watching someone play the episode to influence the choices made.

    Word of a possible season 2 leaked earlier this week thanks to the Australian ratings board.

    Telltale Games' Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 2 Revealed, Episode 1 Release Date Announced

    Minecraft: Season 2 – Story Mode

    Minecraft: Story Mode originally had a five-episode first season before Telltale announced the addition of three more episodes as “post-season content.” The full first season and three additional episodes came to the Nintendo Switch earlier this year.

    Telltale Games also currently has an ongoing Guardians of the Galaxy episodic series, for which the second episode released this week. The developer also wrapped up its third season of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier. For more on both, check out IGN’s review of the Guardians of the Galaxy series’ latest episode and all five reviews for A New Frontier.

    Jonathon Dornbush is an Associate Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter @jmdornbush.

    Sniper Elite Dev Announces New Game Strange Brigade

    Share.

    Embark on a supernatural adventure set in the 1930s.

    Rebellion, the development studio behind the Sniper Elite series, has announced a new 1930s-set third-person adventure title called Strange Brigade.

    In Strange Brigade, up to four players will “embark on an exotic safari into danger.” You’ll be able to select one of four different explorers, each with their own arsenal of weapons and superhuman abilities.

    Sniper Elite Dev Announces New Game Strange Brigade

    Strange Brigade key art, courtesy of Rebellion

    Players will discover forgotten civilizations, dangerous tombs, and even fight against an Egyptian witch queen’s mythological army, as they uncover the supernatural threats hidden within remote corners of the British Empire.

    For an early look at the game, check out announcement trailer below.

    Strange Brigade is slated to release “soon” for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Rebellion will showcase the game next week at E3 2017.

    Sniper Elite Dev Announces New Game Strange Brigade

    Strange Brigade screenshot, courtesy of Rebellion

    Rebellion’s latest title, Sniper Elite 4, released this past February. For our thoughts on the “smart, strategic shooter that empowers you to make your own path,” read IGN’s Sniper Elite 4 review.

    Alex Osborn is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel.