The Escapist‘s essential guide to all big news and previews from E3 2013.
Hard to believe, but E3 2013 has officially drawn to a close!
We finally got to see the PlayStation 4 and Sony’s plans for its new console, heard more from Microsoft about the Xbox One, and got the chance to see dozens of upcoming titles. From indie titles like Outlast to big budget sequels like Call of Duty: Ghosts, this year’s E3 was as impressive as ever!
Be sure to check out all of our previews below for more info on some of the games from this year’s E3, and tell us which ones you’re looking forward to the most in the comments![ims_grid=38]
After weeks and weeks of waiting, Microsoft’s brand new gaming console, the Xbox One, now has a confirmed November 2013 launch date. The next-gen gaming platform will cost a total of $499 USD, and is already available for pre-order via Amazon. For those living overseas, the Xbox One is priced at £429 GBP and €499 Euros for Europe.
While Microsoft’s main press event is over (and for those interested, you can read a firsthand account by our own Greg Tito on what it was like to be there), there are still many details about the Xbox One that are still under wraps. While we wait for Microsoft to hand over more info, check out our previous news posts for more info on the Xbox One:
If you were planning on preordering an Xbox One console, you’d be well advised to do yourself a favor and make sure you live in one of these 21 nations:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
Why? Because it is in those nations, and those nations only (unless Microsoft changes its mind between now and then) that the Xbox One will be supported through Xbox Live at launch.
First, some good news: “Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One.” Assuming there are no catches, that’s pretty generous. It would be great to share games with family members without having to physically visit them. There are, however, two catches to giving a game to a friend not on the family list: “you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once.” The post is still incredibly vague on trading in games, with Major Nelson saying that “game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers.” It’s up to third-party publishers to make the call, but there’s no word on what “participating retailers” means, or any other details that might clear up this issue completely.
Now for some bad news:
“With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies.”
The rumors are true: you must connect once a day in order to play your games.
After the Sony Twitter campaign launched in an attempt to dissuade Sony from even thinking about DRM and anti used games policies, much vitriol was spewed over at Larry Hyrb aka Major Nelson’s blog, on Microsoft’s policies and its Xbox One reveal. In response, Major Nelson said in a forum post that “we’re fully aware of what is going on. I am also working on a few things to address it. I can’t say much more right now. But we ARE listening.” Listening, but not doing much; at least not visibly.
The recent reveal of the Xbox One left a lot of questions unanswered. Instead of building mystery and hype, some of the murky details surrounding Microsoft’s upcoming console have led consumers to assume the worst. Chief among these worries are the concerns that the Kinect component of the machine will need to be constantly watching and listening, since the ability to turn on your console via voice commands requires the Kinect to be on all the time. A Microsoft spokesperson has addressed these privacy concerns, and promises that Microsoft won’t become the new Big Brother.
“It is not always watching or always listening,” the spokesperson explains. “You can turn the system completely off. This would use no power and turn everything off. We’ll share more details about how it all works later.”
Sony finally revealed the much-anticipated PlayStation 4 at E3 2013 this week, surprising everyone who was expecting just another black box by delivering…a black rhombus. Jokes aside, the new PlayStation 4 doesn’t have a launch date just yet, but Sony has announced its new console will cost a mere $399 USD, with the PS4 setting back those living in Europe euro;399 Euros, and £349 GBP for residents of the UK.
In addition, Sony has also announced that the PS4 will not require an always online connection, nor will it block used or shared games. Sony even went so far as to release a short instructional video on how users can share games using the PS4 (at least for disc-based games). In a slight shift, PS4 owners will need to have a PlayStation Plus subscription in order to play multiplayer titles, though the service will not be required to use some of the PlayStation 4’s other features, such as Netflix. Further information may be revealed in the coming weeks, but for now, you can check out some of our previous coverage on the Playstation 4 below:
Sony has confirmed that it has issued a mandate to developers that all upcoming PS4 games must be compatible with the Vita’s version of Remote Play. “It’s true unless the game requires specific hardware like the [PlayStation 4 Eye],” said Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios boss, Shuhei Yoshida. “It will be great to play PS4 games on PS Vita.”
The latest in the long-running Call of Duty franchise, COD: Ghosts takes players to a post-apocalyptic United States, where a mysterious event has wrecked the countryside.
As a member of a US spec-ops team, players will explore the ruins of San Diego, California, repel down South American skyscrapers, and assault enemy positions with a canine companion named Riley.
Check out Greg Tito’s full preview here for more details on the upcoming title.
Next up was another slow assault, this time from atop a sky scraper in a South American city. Whatever happened to the U.S., hasn’t happened here, so the Ghost squad is clearly looking for payback. Using cable launchers, you rappel down the glass and steel building to take out heavily armed guards without you even knowing you are there. It’s a little laughable that a single line a dialogue – “The lights inside will prevent them from seeing us” – explains why the guards don’t notice the attacks before it comes, but it is just a presentation. This whole sequence also focused on stealth, with the team needing to get to a computer terminal to hack in some stuff before the whole building starts to blow up and collapse. Yep, you are in the building when it starts to fall. Crazy.
Finally, we go under the sea, but there’s no singing lobsters here. Just sharks. And guys with guns. The Ghost squad again has to sneakily swim around a salvage yard below the waves to take out an enemy ship with a hand-launched torpedo. The whole sequence is way different from anything you’ve played in COD before. With 3 dimensions, cover is meaningless if the enemy is above you. As your squadmate brother tells you, bullets don’t travel as fast underwater so it’s necessary to use a lot more fire to take down a single enemy.[quote]
Greg also had the opportunity to speak with the writer behind Ghosts:[quote]When Activision announced Stephen Gaghan – screenwriter of the Oscar-winning film Traffic – was writing Ghosts, a lot of people were impressed with his credentials. But the truth is Infinity Ward has worked with Oscar-winning Hollywood writers before and the process hasn’t been that fruitful for the videogame studio. They have a few meetings, submit a few scripts, and that’s it. In contrast, Stephen Gaghan has been completely hands-on in the formation of Ghosts’ story and wants to be a vital part of the team for the simple challenge of being able to express himself in a new medium.
Set in the decline of the Roman empire, Ryse: Son of Rome has you play as Marius, a general in the Roman Legions as he leads his army against the barbarian hordes.
Check out Greg Tito’s full preview of Ryse here:
The visuals of combat feels fluid, and the animations are all spectacular in detail. You use the A button to bring up a shield, and you can alternate between sword attacks with your gladius and a sweeping attack with the shield. Once you’ve delivered enough blows on your hapless barbarian enemies, a prompt appears for you to press a specific button to unleash a killing animation. You don’t actually have to press the right button though, as mashing anything still seems to do the job of spilling Germanic blood.
I asked the demonstrator why that was, and he said if you hit the right sequence you’ll gain more experience and/or life but the design intent wasn’t for combat to be like a quick-time event. For that I was thankful, but it still didn’t feel very fun. I felt like I was messing up the whole time, even if I was able to defeat my foes pretty easily.
Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad return in Super Mario 3D World, the latest 3D platformer from Nintendo. With plenty of throwbacks to classic titles in the Mario franchise, Super Mario 3D World features co-operative gameplay, a new “Cat Suit” power-up and more.
Sarah Lebeouf’s hands on demo of Super Mario 3D World can be viewed here:
For those who have played 3D Land, 3D World feels very familiar. It looks great on the Wii U-sharp, crisp primary colors, detailed levels-but it’s not helping the “more of the same” feeling that’s been plaguing the Mario games since before the Wii U’s launch. That’s not to say it wasn’t fun to play, especially once the cat suits came out. In their feline digs, characters can pounce and climb walls, and even skitter up flagpoles at the end of levels. Exploring the level, climbing walls, finding hidden items, and fighting over power-ups made my play session totally enjoyable. Playing cooperatively can be chaotic, like in the New Super Mario Bros. games, and it’s easy to get shoved offscreen if your partner goes too far ahead, but if you manage to work together, the co-op is very harmonious.
Skylanders: Swap Force is the third installment in the Skylanders series, letting players travel the mysterious Cloudbreak Islands and introducing several new characters. For those new to the Skylander, franchise, the series of games come with toys that when placed on a peripheral device attacked to their console, unlock characters for use in the game. Players can purchase more toys that in turn unlock additional characters, and unlock new combinations of abilities and effects.
Read up on Skylanders: Swap Force with Greg Tito’s full preview here:
The 16 new swap force toys look wonderful – I especially liked the water-based octopus pirate called Washbuckler – but Bala doesn’t want to alienate the fans who’ve been collecting Skylanders toys since the series debuted in 2011. That’s why every single toy created to date will be playable in Swap Force, complete with brand new next generation animations for every single character. Oh, and now every character can jump.
At E3 this year, Square Enix revealed a few scant details about several of their upcoming games, including Final Fantasy XV, the third entry in the Kingdom Hearts III series, and its latest MMO Final Fantasy XIV. AJ Glasser has the full details here:
Details on FFXV and KH3 are scarce. The former, previously known as Final Fantasy XIII Versus, features an active battle system with free-running in certain areas, a weapon selection menu and unique dodge-and-parry moves distinct from Final Fantasy XIII. A second gameplay-oriented trailer also revealed a type of combat not too different from Kingdom Hearts‘ mid-air lock-on slide attacks. It’s also confirmed that the game was developed with DirectX 11, which is how Square Enix plans to handle porting the title to Xbox One.
Kingdom Hearts 3, meanwhile, got the benefit of a presentation from Disney Interactive co-president John Pleasants alongside Final Fantasy brand manager Shinji Hashimoto. Between the two execs, it’s confirmed that a “more mature Sora” will go on new adventures with Mickey, Donald and Goofy in Disney worlds never before seen in the Kingdom Hearts series.
Yoshi is back in the limelight with Yoshi’s New Island! A sequel to the original Yoshi’s Island from 1995, this title puts Yoshi in charge of keeping a baby Mario safe throughout a dangerous, foreboding and colorful landscape filled with enemies.
You can read up on Yoshi’s New Island in Susan Arendt’s preview here:
Yoshi can swallow enemies and turn them into eggs, which he can then launch at bad guys, collectibles, switches or power ups. In Yoshi’s New Island, he can also create a Mega Egg, which can blast through obstacles, ricocheting around and doing massive damage to the environment as it crashes through pipes and rocks. It’s a great way to access areas that would otherwise be off limits, and pretty much the only way to make sure you collect every hidden red coin and flower. Mega Eggs are pretty rare, so a new power up lets you scope out the level by moving the 3DS around in real space before you choose which direction to fire.
Saint’s Row IV takes the insanity of its predecessors and cranks it up to 11. After being elected President of the United States, players will have to fend off an alien invasion, wield black-hole launching weapons, and beat the crap out of any poor schmuck who gets in your way with your newly-found superpowers.
You can check out Sarah LaBoeuf’s full preview of Saint’s Row IV here:
My first mission in Saints Row IV was “The Saints Wing,” the first part of the game after the player becomes President. As you might expect when a gang member is voted leader of the free world, the White House looks a little… different. There are people playing cards at casino tables, scantily-clad ladies sporting the Saints’ signature purple, and some suspicious-looking substances being inhaled. As I made my way to a press conference, I was confronted with some important executive decisions. Should I cure cancer or wipe out world hunger? Should I hit some tool ranting about filibusters high or low? A leader’s job is never done.
Capcom’s remastered version of the classic DuckTales NES title from the late 80’s aims to bring back all of the nostalgic gameplay of the original with newly designed, vivid 2.5D environments and voice acting. It’s almost like playing an episode out of the TV show!
Read up on the new adventures of Scrooge and company with Sarah Leboeuf’s preview:
As platformers go, DuckTales is pretty simple; walking and jumping made up the majority of the level’s gameplay. Additionally, Scrooge can swing his cane to knock objects out of the way (or into foes), and use it to get a jump boost, which also works well as an attack. The level I played had a few moving minecart segments, which required fast thinking-and ducking-to stay alive. Rescuing each nephew required fighting one of the disguised Beagles, which got progressively harder with more and more enemy ghosts floating about the screen.
Where DuckTales really stands out is the presentation, which is sure to make every nostalgic child of the 80’s smile. The character sprites are beautiful and look true to the franchise. The artwork is gorgeous. I didn’t experience much variety in environments, only having played one level, but I’d certainly like to see more.
Quantum Break has players scramble to prevent disaster after a failed experiment has led to a massive fracture in time at Riverport University. The game promises to include an episode story line that will change based on the actions and decisions that players make.
The Escapist‘s own Susan Arendt has more in her preview:
You will encounter different “junctions in time,” and your choices at those turning points will in part determine how the TV show progresses. Interestingly, Paul, the villain of Quantum Break is the character who will be making those choices.Given how little we know about the plot or his motivations, it’s tough to know how letting the bad guy choose your future will impact the overall storytelling of the game, but it’s an unexpected twist on picking your path forward.
The game will ship with the entire show complete, but will provide different experiences depending on your junction point choices, among other things. “We have not set out to write a Choose Your Own Adventure,” says Lake, but rather “one powerful story told many ways.” Watching the show will also give you clues about the gameplay, perhaps providing hints about how to proceed, or giving insight to a character’s motivations.
Indie horror game Outlast sends players to the Mount Massive Asylum, where something sinister has been happening behind the scenes. Players are reliant on their camera’s night vision mode to navigate the darkened corridors, where they are most assuredly not alone.
Read up on Outlast with Susan Arendt’s full preview here:
The game makes a point of reminding you that Miles is a journalist, not a fighter, and that running and hiding is his best plan for survival should something dangerous head his way. Sticking up for journalists everywhere…yeah, ok, that’s totally true. I investigated a few dark hallways of Mount Massive as the fantastic background did its best to freak me right on out. Once the mysterious groans and gurgles started, I just wanted to find the nearest door out, but the front door is locked, so the only way forward is through the facility’s maze-like corridors.
Murdered: Soul Suspect has players take on the role of Ronan, a recently deceased detective out to solve his own murder. Check out AJ Glasser’s full preview here for more info:
Ronan cannot touch things in the real world, nor speak to the living, but he can possess people that are already touching or holding things he wants to investigate (e.g. like a notebook held by an investigating officer). He can also use possession to eavesdrop on conversations or trigger memories in potential witnesses that are having trouble with their recollection of events. Possession also comes in handy when entering buildings – because part of the fiction of the world is that all buildings in Salem are consecrated so that spirits cannot go into them unless a door is opened.
Once all clues in an area have been gathered – he fell from the fourth story of an apartment, was shot with his own gun, and his killer was familiar with the area), Ronan must make a deduction. This happens when the player uses a menu to arrange the clues the sequence they happened. If done correctly, the next scene of investigation becomes obvious (the apartment) and the game moves forward.
The world of Tamriel gets even larger with The Elder Scrolls Online, the ambitious MMO from Bethesda that aims to bring the Elder Scrolls universe to the next level.
Check out Greg Tito’s hands-on preview here:
The world is just as rich and detailed as Skyrim, but the area around the town of Daggerfall was more akin to Oblivion in its temperate vegetation. Squirrels and rabbits hopped along in the grass, and the trees on the rocky paths through the fields seemed lifelike. On the high-end PC I played it on, the graphics looked great, but there’s no word on whether it will be just as good-looking on a middling or low end machine. Hopefully, the graphics scale well.
As soon as I strode into the town of Daggerfall, a dog bounded up to me. I entered a dialogue with the puppy – like you do – and I was led to the body of a young Breton. His supposed killer attacked me immediately, and I got my first taste at combat. The right and left mouse buttons feel a bit odd to constantly press when fighting, at least for me, but I soon figured out a nifty combo of trapping the Bloodthorn Assassin in his place and peppering him with lighting and basic staff attacks.
It turns out the dead guy left a shopping list, and I had to go around to the shopkeepers in town to see what I could find out. Talking to the shopkeepers not only introduced more of the excellent voice-acting for every NPC – on par or better than Skyrim I’d say – but it also let me loot all of the barrels and crates in the market. I was disappointed the guards didn’t attack me, my loot OCD will get the better of me in this game, but I gathered a bunch of raw materials like grain and fruit.
Prepare to die over and over in Dark Souls 2, the sequel to the brutally tough RPG that taunted players with its high level of difficulty.
Fans of the series will be happy that Dark Souls 2 looks and feels similar to Dark Souls with a few significant upgrades. From Software have developed a new engine for Dark Souls 2 that runs at a full 60 frames per second. Not only does this mean that the game won’t chug like the original, but the new engine also features impressive lighting effects, allowing you to see shadow effects better than ever while you’re getting the crap beat out of you. The new engine also brings upgrades to the sound quality and graphic fidelity of the game, making the sequel a more smooth experience overall.
The newest entry into the classic Wolfenstein franchise, Wolfenstein: The New Order sends players to an alternate timeline where the Nazis claimed victory in World War II and changed the course of history for the worse.
Check out Joshua Vanderwall’s full preview here:
The New Order takes the Nazis and puts them in charge, thanks to a mysterious technology. BJ Blazkowicz, the protagonist introduced in later Wolfenstein titles, awakens from a coma in 1960, to discover the new, Nazi-led order, and naturally decides to fight back in the most over-the-top fashion you can imagine.
The New Order isn’t just about dual-wielding outrageously large guns, though, there are characters, and a plot, and you’re supposed to get a glimpse of the softer side of the “Nazi-ass-kicking action hero,” in part thanks to his companion, Anya. It’s unclear how much of the story will focus on his companion or their relationship, but the one scene we did get to see, if it’s any indication, says that their interactions may well play a prominent role.
Shinji Mikami, creator of Resident Evil, returns to his survival horror roots with The Evil Within.
Scare yourself witless with Joshua Vanderwall’s full preview here:
The plot seems fairly straightforward at the start, with the protagonist being a detective investigating a number of particularly gruesome murders at Beacon Mental Hospital. He arrives to find several abandoned police cars outside, with no sign of a struggle outside the building, and no word as to what might have happened within. Upon entering the hospital, he sees the first signs of what is to come, with bodies splayed out in pools of blood. Investigating further, he locates the security feed, which reveals the killer to be some kind of apparition with a particular fondness for ethereal knives. After being beset by the killer, he wakes up and makes his daring escape from the hospital, only to discover that the outside world has literally crumbled in his absence. Shattered streets and ruined buildings are all you see from the doorway. What this means or how it happened is anybody’s guess, but I presume that we’ll learn more about the happenings as the story unfolds.
Fans of action-brawler side scrollers rejoice! Capcom’s Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara, which includes Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara, is on its way to PC, XBLA, PSN and Wii U later this month, bring some classic arcade action to those platforms.
With Chronicles of Mystara, you shouldn’t expect new gameplay mechanics or an abundance of extra features – they’ve kept the game largely intact. All you should expect is a classic side scrolling brawler with your favorite D&D classes, a handful of neat special moves and magic spells, and a lot of button mashing.
A prequel to Capcom’s Lost Planet series, Lost Planet 3 sends players to an icy hellhole filled with dangerous enemies.
The controls, for one, were awkward, which may be typical of the series, but is certainly not an open-armed embrace for newcomers. Looking and moving were not at all intuitive in the demo, though I imagine that there will be options available to tailor your control scheme as needed, so I wouldn’t judge it solely on that. The demo was also a bit of a tease, starting you in a giant mech you only got to fiddle around with for a moment before you had to disembark and meander about on foot. And meander I did. At least for a couple of minutes, before I hit the demo boss.
The Pac-Man series gets a huge boost this year with the addition of three new games headed for the PC, Wii U, Xbox 360 and the PS3.
In Ghost Adventures, players control the young Pac-Man, navigating him through the city to save his neighbors from attacking ghosts. The world is littered with things for Pac-Man to eat for points and health — standard food items and pac-dots — and also with special power-up pac-dots that give him special powers. In the demo level shown to journalists and up for hands-on time at Namco Bandai’s E3 meeting room was a Park Panic level where players could transform into a frog-looking Pac-Man with an extendable tongue that both captured ghosts for Pac-Man to eat and allowed him to attach to parts of the level to reach new platforms. Interestingly, Pac-Man can attack ghosts at any time — or use a special attack to turn them blue (and cause them to flee) and eat them the more traditional way.
After a six year hiatus, Phoenix Wright is back in court with Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies with a new law office, a new sidekick, and new cases to successfully litigate.
Learn more with Sarah Leboeuf’s preview here:
After a mysterious long absence that likely refers to the events of Apollo Justice, Phoenix Wright has returned with a new law office. He’s got a new protégé, rookie defense attorney Athena Cykes, who’s sporting a wacky hairstyle and bright yellow outfit that fits right into the game’s bizarro version of a real courtroom. Aside from Athena, there are a lot of familiar faces: an injured Apollo wants to make sure Phoenix gets justice; Prosecutor Payne returns to convict Phoenix’s presumably falsely accused client; and even the Judge is happy to see that Phoenix is back.
In this particular case, a young woman named Juniper has been accused of setting off a bomb in the courtroom, which is how Apollo Justice received his injuries. As Juniper’s childhood friend, Athena is certain she’s innocent, and it’s up to Phoenix to prove it using courtroom testimony and submitted evidence.
Takedown: Red Saber is an upcoming tactical shooter being developed by indie developer Serellan for XBLA and Steam.
Our own Joshua Vanderwall has more:
The game is as brutal and unforgiving as a realistic shooter ought to be. If you survive a hit, your health won’t regen. If you die, you stay dead through the rest of the mission, following a teammate in spectator mode. This is the case in every game mode, be it Tango Hunt, where you’re hunting down enemy combatants, or Tac Defend, where you’re defending a point or object. There are currently a number of game modes, but the team is planning to distill them down to just a handful for release to ensure that every game mode is as perfectly balanced as possible.
The game is mission based, rather than story based, so the focus of the game is squarely on gameplay and tactics, rather than characters or plot. There are no item unlocks, since you’re playing as a team of elite soldiers, you have an arsenal at the ready, and you just choose what you want for the mission at hand. You’ll need to be careful what loadout you choose, however, as a wide open map will likely want a long-range rifle, rather than a less-accurate SMG.[/quote]
How to Survive is an isometric zombie survival game with RPG elements and a heavy focus on crafting what you need to make it through the zombie apocalypse.
Check out Joshua Vanderwall’s full preview here:
he most quirky bit about How to Survive isn’t the combat, though, and it’s not the played out zombie survival theme – it’s the fact that the game focuses heavily on crafting. You’ll craft your bow and arrow from a stick and some string. You’ll reinforce your bow with a metal pipe to increase damage. You can upgrade again later to a crossbow, and eventually you can even start assembling firearms of sorts. You can kill birds for feathers to make your crafted arrows more accurate, and you can craft various kinds of food with different levels of benefits to your character. If you’re a crafter, this game might be right up your alley. That is, of course, if you’re also a completionist.
Pokemon X and Y is the latest game in the long-running Pokemon series, introducing a new type of Pokemon along with several new features and battle types.
Check out AJ Glasser’s round table preview here:
The Nintendogs-like Pokemon-Amie includes a feature from the 3DS camera and motion sensor to increase the feel of communication with your Pokemon – they might mimic your motions if you lean back or tilt your head a certain way. The relationship building also contributes to more critical hits in battle and other strategic advantages. New battle types include Horde Encounters, which make it harder to capture wild Pokemon because you must to defeat more than one to win the battle. There are also Sky Battles for flying Pokemon that unlock specific air attacks. Non-flying Pokemon with the levitate ability can also join Sky Battles. They are not yet confirming the new number of Pokemon. Fairy type is meant to balance out the over-powered Dragon type, it is the first new type in 14 years. They are exploring ways to allow players to transfer Pokemon from previous games.
The upcoming MMO Black Gold, from Snail Games, features fighting on steam tanks and giant elephants.
Lightning, the pink haired warrior from Final Fantasy XIII is back for one last adventure in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
In the demo, three Schema were shown off: Dark Muse, Sorceress, and Divinity. Each Schema offers Lightning four different types of abilities and the Schema are loosely broken down in to roles. For example, the Dark Muse Schema seemed to focus on melee attacks like heavy slash and light slash, while the Sorceress was centered around on magic attacks such as Firaga, Ruin, and Blizzara. Divinity was a mix between melee and magic.
Each Schema offered offensive and defensive abilities in the demo, but in the final version of the game they’ll be customizable. Additionally, when switching between Schema, Lightning’s clothing and accessories completely change. Since Lightning is the sole playable character in the game, the costume changes are welcome and bring a little something extra to the combat.
Sega’s iconic blue hedgehog is back in Sonic Lost World, a new game coming to the Wii U and 3DS.
You can read up more about Sonic Lost World in Susan Arendt’s full preview here:
I played through three different levels, each featuring a different style of overall play. Sonic Lost World wanted to meet new players and old pros halfway by putting Sonic’s trademark speed on demand, rather than having him run full-tilt the entire time. His slower pace allows for more precise platforming, which was on display in a sidescrolling level made up of pieces of candy. I dodged truffle bombs and ran across bridges made of red licorice, butt bouncing on enemies to release the fluffy animals trapped within. Pulling the right trigger on the Wii U controller lets Sonic run faster, allowing players with a bit more experience jumping for rings zip along the level. Pulling the left trigger puts Sonic into Sonic Dash mode, which can be used to help access hidden areas or just blast through enemies.
The next installment in the Total War series takes players back to Rome, where they can engage in large-scale tactical battles on both land and the sea.
You can read this preview by “Caeser” Greg Tito for more info:
First, we got an overview of the new strategic map from one of the developers. The playable area stretches from Spain to Afghanistan and the flora and fauna viewable on the 3D map itself changes based on where you are. Egypt and the Middle East are yellow and brown, with dunes and palm trees and elephants. The cities match the culture’s architecture, and improvements you build instantly grow in front of you on the map. Wonders like the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria and the Pyramids at Giza dominate your view, and they also provide buffs to your empire and units within the province.
There’s also the addition of politics within the Roman empire, with three house vying for control and influence – a system some players may remember from Rome Total War. The politics screen shows various personages and generals, and you can use specific actions from this screen to take care of potential threats to your dominance. The example shown in the demo was Cicero, a Roman Senator that has been giving speeches against Caesar’s reign, and we had the option to discredit him to decrease his influence. Of course, assassination is also an option. Sorry, Cicero, you’re dead. Insert Game of Thrones reference here.
The Playroom is a nifty tech demo that helps show off some of the features and capabilities of the PlayStation 4.
Check out AJ Glasser’s hands-on preview here:
Essentially a tech demo, The Playroom is an augmented reality simulator for whatever room your PS4 happens to be in. The dual camera tracks whoever is in the room and the light on the controller – offering a hologram-like menu that tilts and twists in sync with the first-player controller. The menu options for Playroom include Controller Setup, Play With Asobi, and AR Bots – three of the modes shown to me by a Sony rep in the private press area at the company’s E3 booth.
In Controller Setup, players are treated to a theatrical “diagnostics” check of their PS4 controller that features a series of hologram popups that show images of the controller’s interior (no way of knowing if these are realistic depictions without cracking one open – which understandably, Sony wouldn’t let me do). Different parts of the controller interior light up as they are actually triggered by the mode – when sounds come out of the PS4 controller’s speaker, when the controller vibrates or when the light sensor goes on and off. At the end of the “setup,” the mode ends and players are back in the main menu.
Beyond: Two Souls is a cinematic game experience from Quantic Dreams and David Cage, the developers behind Heavy Rain. The game stars Ellen Page as a young woman who happens to have a mysterious, ghostly companion.
Similar to Heavy Rain, the “play” aspect of Beyond is limited to choice-making with button presses and controller motions expressing those choices. There is very little user interface to speak of – even less than the hovering words in Heavy Rain – with Beyond players only seeing subtle white dots, the occasional button or controller icon, or a slow down in an action sequence as invitations to actually do something. The story of the game, which spans Jodie’s life from age 8 to age 23, is the real “point” of the experience and the UI takes a backseat to the player witnessing that story unfold.
The demo covers a level about halfway through the game where Jodie – along with her spirit companion Aiden (pronounced “Eye-Dan” for no apparent reason) – is trying to get through a war-torn African nation alongside a child soldier native to the region. At this point in the story – maybe halfway through the game – Jodie is a trained CIA operative and has training with guns, knives and close-quarters combat moves. Even so, it’s Aiden that does most of her killing for her, provided Jodie is close enough to an enemy to deploy him.
Fantasia: Music Evolved is an upcoming music game from Harmonix, developers of Rock Band and Dance Central.
Check out Sarah Leboeuf’s full preview here:
My time with Fantasia began with a Harmonix presentation, giving me a chance to watch the developers in action. The hands-off demo explored the Shoal, an underwater coral reef that started out drab and gray, eventually becoming more colorful. Using the Xbox One’s new Kinect, the player walked from side to side and used a hand to move a cursor, bringing some seahorses to life and collecting crystals. These interactions eventually revealed Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and choosing the song took her to a new location: a cliff set against a starry sky, reminiscent of Mickey’s position in one of the movie’s more memorable scenes.
If you’ve ever waved your hands in the air, pretending to conduct along to a song, Fantasia: Music Evolved is your time to shine. It’s not a dance game, and shouldn’t be confused with Harmonix’s Dance Central series. Those games were about recreating accurate dance moves, while Fantasia is a more personal creative journey. As the song plays, you’ll use one hand or two to hit indicators on screen, scoring points. Each song has several different mixes, and you’ll have a chance to switch between them at key points, layering them and creating a final tune that’s all your own.
Geralt’s saga comes to a close in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the final entry in the trilogy.
Check out Sarah LeBoeuf’s preview here:
The hands-off demo was from the middle of the game, with Geralt on his way to talk to a survivor of a recent Wild Hunt attack. Along the way, he encounters some bandits and chooses to engage them and save their hostage. This choice is up to the player; Geralt can intervene or simply ride away on his horse.
During the bandit fight, the demo crashed (“Did I mention this was pre-alpha?” the producer joked nervously), so we were given some information while the game reloaded. The combat has been refined for The Witcher 3, combining classic RPG action with the precision and speed of a fighting game. This gives the player a lot of tactical options, letting you mix sword-fighting, magical signs, and alchemy to take down foes with your own personal flair. Finding enemy weak spots and adjusting your combat approach accordingly adds to the strategy, and Geralt’s journal provides him with information about some of the tougher foes he’ll face.
Archaege is an upcoming MMO from Trion. Read up on Greg Tito’s Preview here:[quote]Once you get past the game’s starting areas, which are unique to each race, you’ll eventually have to cross the Sea of Serenity. The devs playfully call this massive open world PvP area the Sea of Slaughter, because it’s terribly dangerous to traverse on your own. In the Sea of Serenity is the Land of Origin, and players can build castles and other structures there. Other players can move onto your territory, and pay you tithes to plant farmland, etc. To build those things and craft the necessary components, you need raw resources like wood, sheep and metal. The best place to gain those resources aren’t on the Land of Origin, but spread around the Sea of Serenity or back on the main continents. You have to move those resources using mounts like donkeys or cattle and eventually cross the open PvP area of the sea, and that’s where it gets interesting.
If you kill a member of your faction to get their stuff, you’ll walk around with bloody footprints for a while. Seeing the evidence of your dastardly deed, other players can report you, and once enough reports come in you’ll be arrested. A trial by a jury of peers – players – is then held and decides your jail sentence, varying from a few minutes to an hour or more. (Prison isn’t necessarily unfun as you can play soccer in jail and even try to escape through a short quest if you want).</qoute>
The Walking Dead: 400 Days is a special DLC for the award-winning adventure series from Telltale Games.
Read up on Susan Arendt’s spoiler-free review here:[quote]I’m not really going to tell you much about 400 Days, DLC for Season One of the award-winning The Walking Dead. I know that kind of defeats the purpose of of a preview, but I don’t want to spoil anything about the story, the five new characters featured, or how their fates might (or might not) intersect with those of the survivors we already know. Here’s the simplest version of what you need to know: If you played The Waking Dead, you will want to get 400 Days when it comes out in July. </qoute>
Defiance is an MMO developed in conjunction with a SyFy TV series of the same name. Greg Tito has a preview of an upcoming DLC pack here:[quote]The Castithan – if you’re not familiar with the TV show – are a race of pale aliens the other races view as arrogant or aloof, and they have a rigid caste system and social structure. The comparison to common depictions of Elves is apt – even the developer running me through the new content admitted space elves is what they refer to them as around the office. As a new playable race in Defiance, you don’t gain any special abilities but you will have access to a specific questline that will give you more insight to the lore surrounding them.
Also added to the game from this pack are light sabers, er, charge blades. These melee weapons look pretty cool with a stylized blade of light, and can certainly be effective if an enemy gets close enough to you, while also providing special AOE jump attacks. Like other weapons in Defiance, you can modify and specialize charge blades to your exacting standards, including changing the color of the blade.</qoute>
Company of Heroes 2 takes players to the brutal Russian front of World War II.
Check out Greg Tito’s hands-on preview here:
Artillery and armor definitely factor in your plans. You have mortar teams that can take over German emplacements and use the weapons against the previous owners. Engineer squads can also repair damaged equipment, such as the few APCs I had with me to start the mission. Tanks are a bitch to take down with just rifle fire, so I had to save my own armor or artillery for a Panzer attack.
The long cooldown abilities like air strikes were extremely powerful. A well-timed strafe could stymie a German advance supported by Panzers almost single-handedly. Reinforcements come slow too, so it’s important to watch for when the cooldown was finished. Having a steady stream of troops available was the only way I was going to win.
Thief is the upcoming reboot of the classic stealth action series.
Steal a glance at Greg Tito’s full preview here:
It may have just been the demo, but it seemed the guards were intent on not seeing Garrett as he moved about the courtyard. Perhaps that’s because of the addition of a gameplay system called focus, which seemed to let Garrett get away with anything. Focus is essentially mana, and it’s consumed when you enter a mode that somehow heightens your senses to the point where you can see footsteps through obstructions. Focus makes everything easier, from picking pockets and locks to rushing from shadow to shadow without being seen. It honestly appears to be a cheat mode, so I was thankful when Stephen Gallagher from Eidos Montreal said you could turn it off in the menus.
At least focus doesn’t automatically regenerate. You have to collect poppy flowers to replenish it just like you need food packets to get back your health. It’s nice to have a scarcity of resources in a game like Thief, but of course that means you as the player might feel compelled to look in every crate or box you find. I know I will.
Destiny of Spirits
The idea behind the game is destiny – which here means a daily fortune forecast. The game asks players to input their birthday and – based on this information – a fortune and an element is provided to the player every 24 hours. The fortune might be good (e.g. “You will have good fortune today.”) and the element is, say, Earth. Players then take their Vita with them wherever they happen to be going in real life – to school, to work, etc. Using geo-location, the game determines how far you’ve traveled, which in turn translates into the number of spirits you “discovered” while out and about. Your fortune determines how many spirits you’re likely to find and your element governs what spirit type you find most often.
Killer is Dead is the next abstract, stylized game from Suda51, the mind behind Lollipop Chainsaw.
Gameplay in the level we saw, titled “The Tiger That Faded Into Darkness,” was a fast-paced, hack-and-slash adventure through Kyoto. The regular enemies looked amazing, with a variety of models to keep things interesting, and everything from standard attacks to special moves having distinctive animations and styles. Albeit fairly typical ninja and samurai in description, the massive serrated blades the ninja kept at hand did a great job of differentiating them from your run-of-the-mill assassin.
The action looked intense, with standard attack, block, dodge, and guard break tied to your button presses. A precise dodge is rewarded with an execution move, which one-shots your enemy in a fun thousand-slash animation. Killing enemies and absorbing their blood charges up your Adrenaline Rush ability, which will one-shot any standard foe in dramatic fashion. Additionally, as you slash away at the bad guys, you build your combo meter, which gives you access to new, more powerful combo moves. Getting hit or taking damage will reset your combo meter, so learning to dodge and block skillfully will help you progress through the levels more quickly. Then there was the boss.
Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers brings many new features to the franchise, including new creature cards, spells, and deck building. Read Joshua Vanderwall’s preview for more:
As with previous installments, the base game will come with ten decks to play with, which you’ll unlock throughout the campaign. It appeared that there was still a heavy focus on mono-colored decks, with seven of the ten being single-colored, but they are bringing some solid variety with a Blue and Black deck, a Black, Red, and Green deck, and a Red, White, and Green Sliver deck. Oh, yeah, there’s a Sliver deck, chock full of M14’s latest addition to the sliver family. This is probably only exciting for a small subsection of the players out there, but it is really exciting for them. Slivers are a hive mind, and each sliver offers an ability or power and toughness boost for each other sliver you control. For example, one sliver might give all slivers you control the First Strike ability, and another might give them +1/+1 – a boost to each of their stats. With that kind of exponential growth, and just a few Slivers on the field, your army can be very hard to deal with.
Moebius is a Kickstarted point-and-click adventure game, being produced by Jane Jensen, the mind behind the classic Gabriel Knight series.
Described as a “metaphysical thriller,” the game takes on the entire concepts of reality and history. Armed with Rector’s photographic memory, you start the game on assignment to relate a murdered woman in Italy to an historical figure. The reason for this assignment is not made clear, which spurns the protagonist on to try to figure out just why the government cares that this girl was so similar to someone from history.
The Puppeteer is an upcoming fantasy adventure title that has players quest to defeat a bear that has stolen a magic crystal and declared himself king. Did I mention your soul is trapped in a puppet?
You can read Susan Arendt’s full preview here:
The Puppeteer is presented like a puppet show, complete with sets that fly in and out, curtains, and even applause from the audience. You play as a child-turned-puppet with the unique and surprisingly handy ability to collect and carry different kinds of heads, which is not nearly as gruesome as it sounds. Each head has its own special kind of magic, and can impact the world in different ways whenever you see a matching icon. Pop on the spider head when you see a spider icon, for example, and a giant mama spider might bundle you up in silk and whisk you away to a bonus level. Swap to the cheeseburger head at the appropriate moment, and a giant cheeseburger will appear on screen and act like an enormous trampoline. The banana head (which I like to wear simply because it’s hilarious) spreads slippery banana peels that can trip up enemies. You can only carry a few heads at a time, and picking up a new one replaces one of the ones you already had, but there are about 100 different heads throughout the game.
D4 has players take on the role of a private investigator whose wife has been murdered. The events that led to her demise were so traumatic not only give you amnesia, but also grant you the ability to travel in time.
I saw a video presentation of a very early version of D4, an Xbox One title that will use Kinect controls. But this is meant to be a relaxed game, “We don’t want you standing up swinging your arms around,” said the game’s director, Swery. You’re meant to sit on your couch, using simple gestures and voice controls to work your way through the mystery of D4. The voice controls can be used to pull up the game’s “Vision” system and also as dialog support for when you talk to other characters in the game. I was really hoping to see that section option in action, but unfortunately no such luck.
Rain is a stealth action game by the makers of Tokyo Jungle, featuring a young boy who enters a realm where he’s only visible when standing in the rain.
Read more at Susan Arendt’s preview here:
Rain is a dreamy kind of third person puzzle/stealth game, as you must learn how to best use your environment to navigate the world to follow the girl and avoid the creepy skeleton-like animals that will kill you immediately if they catch you. You disappear when you’re undercover, which can help you sneak past the creatures, but they disappear when they’re dry, too, so you have to listen for their hoofbeats or watch for splashes in puddles to determine if you’re really as alone as you appear to be.
Hohokum is a 2D experimental game headed for the Playstation 4.
Our own Susan Arendt has more info:
You control what looks like an eye with a really long tail. You can sort of swim around in environments, collecting things or turning on switches or just flying. There’s no real objective to Hohokum – no score, no purpose, no Thing To Do. It’s just about playing and making things happen. Which is really awkward and unintuitive at first because, hey, you put a controller in someone’s hand and they’re going to want some kind of direction. But Hohokum isn’t about telling you what to do. It’s about letting you decide.
I played two different areas. In one, I was underwater (not that you could really tell, becuase the water was great big green circlees, not blue waves like you expect). I poked a snail a few times. I did enough that he finally got annoyed with me and threw his shell at me. I flew through a big rock and my tail changed colors. I swam through some … let’s call them fish, they were sort of fishy … and they collected on my tail. Because why not?
Daylight is a horror game being developed by Atlus.
Our horror expert Susan Arendt has more details here:
Written by Jessica Chobot (who also provided the voice work for the protagonist), Daylight is designed to be played over and over, with each play session revealing a few new secrets about the story and your surroundings. Once your cell phone battery dies, so do you, assuming a ghost doesn’t get to you first. The longest play session you can manage is about 45 minutes, but 10 or 15 minute runs are pretty typical.
Though you’ll never be sure exactly what you’ll encounter on each playthrough, there will be a some constants, such as a sealed door that needs a particular totem to unlock. Once you’ve cleared an area, you’ll move on to the next location, and future playthroughs will start from there, so you’re not stuck playing through the same hospital for all of eternity. You’ll spend your sessions exploring your environment, unlocking doors, collecting items, and finding weird stuff like glyphs on the wall, which might help you figure out what’s going on, or may just freak you out. Maybe both. Probably both. You have a compass on your phone to help you find your way around, but your footprints will remain faintly on the floor wherever you’ve been, which is a big help for those of us who get turned around easily.
Rayman Legends brings more high-speed platforming action to the PS3, Xbox, PS Vita and Wii U.
My brief blitz with Rayman Legends designers Julien Chevallier and Emile Morel took place on Wii U for the fullest possible effect in the short time we had together. Though the game is available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation Vita, the Wii U version is the only one to incorporate an “assisting character” using the gamepad. This was my first taste of Rayman – playing as a firefly-like dude named Murfy whose job it is to create distractions, platforms, and shadows that defend Rayman, Globox, and new female character Barbara as they navigate a side-scrolling sewer-themed level.
It took a couple of failed sections to get the hang of when I needed to be looking at the gamepad (for things Murphy could touch like ropes to cut or enemies to distract). Once I got the hang of it, I could zip Murfy to the edge of the screen, tickle an enemy to distract it while Rayman snuck up for the attack and then zip back a ways to help Globox reach the area by pressing a button to create a platform for him to jump on.
Hit the treacherous high seas as an assassin/pirate in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
For an in-depth look at AC IV< check out AJ Glasser detailed preview:
Boats are what Black Flag brings to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Assassin’s Creed III first introduced the concept of sailing, exploring and attack with a ship – but Black Flag builds out this feature and adds new ship types, the ability to board and capture vessels, and a fleet-building mechanic where captured ships can be sent out on off-screen missions to bring back plunder than can be spent upgrading Edward’s ship, the Jackdaw. While in command of a ship, players can give a handful of orders to Edward’s crew – including one to take shelter when the Jackdaw is under fire.
The producer sailed after the smuggler and demoed the now-familiar long shot cannon and swivel gun attacks on the smuggler’s ship. By damaging the ship just enough to cripple it (say, by knocking down the mast), he was able to pull up alongside it and order his crew to board and attack. This is where recruiting becomes important – the more crew Edward has, the more quickly they can dispatch the opposing crew of a ship (a minimum number must be killed before they rest will surrender). During the course of the game, Edward’s crew can be killed at sea in many ways – meaning he has to replenish his crew pretty consistently, or get better about telling them to take cover during naval engagements.
Command & Conquer is a relaunch of the classic RTS series, a sequel to 2003’s Generals.
Our master strategist Greg Tito has more:
The first task was to build up my base. Command & Conquer abandons the tiberium collection and cooldown reinforcements of previous iterations to adopt a Warcraft III like model. The maps are dotted with piles of supplies, and you build a supply depot to harvest them to provide gold. Supply depots make helicopters to lift the freight cartons back and forth – 3 is the optimal number per depot.
Once my economy was going, I used my command center to build bulldozers, the only units that can build other buildings. I had to drop power plants to expand the limits of where I could place defensive structures like turrets or unit producers like barracks or war factories. My RTS experience let me queue up multiple tasks, and set rally points like a boss, but soon I was being invaded with tanks and troops by the aggressive A.I. My rocket troops repulsed the tank, but just barely.
A “game maker”, Project Spark lets players make their own content within the XBox One.
For a full preview, read up on Greg Tito’s article here:
There’s a huge library of objects you can place from the rocks of the demo to taverns, barrels, birds or NPCs like goblins. Every object has default AI behavior – called its “brain” – but that can be altered and tweaked however you want. For example, the birds have the behavior programmed to fly away when the player’s avatar walks near. Jerome showed me how he could enter a goblin’s brain, and paste on the bird template. Jumping into play mode, the goblin did in fact fly away when approached, which honestly looked a bit silly. You can add multiple triggers for AI behaviors, and then of course save those templates for easy use.
The whole UI is complex, with millions of permutations available, but Jerome said that usability was a huge focus for the team. All the tweaks I mentioned above are accessible through radial menus or lists with clear icons denoting exactly what you are tweaking. I could see myself certainly paralyzed by the options, but at least it’s clear enough to begin experimenting with some idea of what you’re doing.
The Crew is an upcoming racing game by Ivory Tower and Ubisoft, promising fast cars and faster co-op play.
Ubisoft’s The Crew seems like it could be good on gameplay alone. Not only do you get the authenticity of branded cars and customization options, but the entire point of the game is to drive the cars in a broad open world – not just look at them as they make a series of turns. And you can drive them just about anywhere in a level; about 5 minutes in to my demo, I drove directly off a cliff and across a patch of desert to reach a race starting point (because following the normal dirt trail would’ve taken longer.)
Production director Pete Young explained (as I raced against several AI controlled cars on a dirt trail) that the game has an MMO approach to levels and an almost role-playing game approach to customization. Winning that race (because Young advised me to mash on the boost button at just the right time) won me some kind of unlockable that would’ve allowed me to further customize my Nissan Skyline.
Batman: Arkham Origins has the Dark Knight face the roughest night of his crime-fighting career.
When I got my hands on Batman: Arkham Origins, the controls felt instantly familiar. Like in the last two games, I could glide over the city, grapple up buildings, and disarm and knock out thugs using hand-to-hand combat. The fighting system doesn’t seem to reflect a more inexperienced Batman from what I could tell, but since the Arkham games’ combat system is so tight, it’s hard to complain about it being too effective. The new progression system displays the threat level of each skirmish and assigns a letter grade when it’s complete, allowing you to earn more experience from better performances.
From Respawn Entertainment comes Titanfall, a first-person shooter with jet-packs and giant battlemechs.
Check out Leah Jackson’s preview for more:
The demo began with our squad jumping out of an aerial transport ship in an effort to protect the Red Eye capital ship while it refueled. In order to protect the ship, we had to capture and hold up to three different points from the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC).
To help out in the fight, players can call down Titans about a minute after the match begins. Once on the field, Titans add a new element of gameplay. If a player chooses to hop in to a Titan, they’ll become a death machine.
Titans aren’t the clunky mechs you might be used to. Instead, they’re agile and extremely quick, on top of being equipped with amazing amounts of firepower. Along with being able to punch and stomp enemies with massive force, they can use magnetic powers to catch bullets midair and send them flying back at their opponents, or fire missiles that deal tremendous damage. Additionally, when players choose to hop out of their Titan for one reason or another, the Titan will automatically go on guard duty and defend their pilot from harm.
Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z features a colorful, cel-shaded approach to hand-to-hand combat – and humor.
Like other Ninja Gaiden games, the combat is all about timing and combos, which increases the number of hits and eventually yields over-the-top finishing moves if the player has executed a sequence correctly. Yaiba moves so fast between enemies, it becomes almost a rhythm game of pressing face buttons and triggers to execute punches, sword swings, blocks, and grab attacks. The challenge comes in the rank of enemies — the further you progress in the game, the better the AI becomes about blocking Yaiba ‘s attacks, forcing the player to change tactics beyond mere button mashing. The finishing move attacks are also timed with a narrowing reticule hinting at when a player should mash their next button to complete the move and a “Good/Fair/Poor” rating displayed on screen immediately afterward.
Watch Dogs is an upcoming action-adventure title that has players take on the role of vigilante Aiden Pierce, an expert hacker battling corruption in a futuristic Chicago.
Dive into Joshua Vanderwall’s full preview here:
Playing as Aiden, you can opt to be a good guy or a bad guy, though the ramifications of either choice weren’t exactly made clear during the presentation. One thing was made apparent, though, namely that if you earn a bad reputation with the common folk, they may report you on sight, forcing you to flee the police because, according to the presenter, “they will take you down.” This sounds like it’s no GTA, where you’ll deliberately start a police chase, but there wasn’t actually anything shown of just how effective the police force is in Watch Dogs, so it may still prove to be a good time.
If you want to boost your reputation with the civilians of the city, you can utilize the fact that ctOS is using cameras around the city in concert with facial and pattern recognition software to predict crimes, as well as potential victims. Interfacing with ctOS allows you to spot these potential victims, escort them safely to wherever they may be going, and interrupt crimes in progress, saving the victim, and earning you credibility with the people. If you can make the people like you enough, they may even turn a blind eye while you steal a car in the course of your heroic business.