Lucien’s First Take: Control – Official Gameplay Trailer

This year seems to be the year of things flying under my radar, in terms of gaming.  First there is gonna be A Plague Tale: Innocence.  Then I was stoked for another game from the team who made Until Dawn called Man of Medan.  A game that is in the same vein, and the first of an anthology of horror games.  A concept that has been tried in films and failed, but maybe can work in a digital medium.  Both of those games have flown incredibly under the radar.  The former is one I haven’t heard anyone talking about, and that depresses me.  Now another game has made its way into my scope, and it’s one that has a unique look and seems to play in a way all its own.  Just one trailer has gotten me hooked to see more.  It’s called Control.  They just released a gameplay trailer.  Let’s take a look and then talk about it.

We start with what I presume is our protagonist telling us that what we’re about to see is gonna be “weirder than usual.”  Okay.  So I take it that weird is pretty normal in this game’s universe.  We then see a montage of a lot of stuff that I would call weird.  There are people floating in mid-air.  Some very open and ominous areas.  A yellow room with a ton of blood on the floor.  That’s kinda creepy.  There’s a decent amount of atmosphere here.

It seems that the setting for this game is a place called The Oldest House.  There’s a narration in a different trailer by some other character that this place is in New York and it has a ton of history.  Strange things happen here, and the US government has gotten involved.  Uh-oh, I think I see where this is going.

We then see our protagonist wandering some of these weird areas, with no HUD and the only weapon in her arsenal being this weird-looking pistol.  Okay, I’m interested.  The game tells us that if we want to survive in this strange place, we have to be strange too.  There are some freaky looking enemies, and it then tells us we have to right.  Rock on!  Let’s see fighting.  From there is one of the things that got me hooked.  We see our girl running down a corridor, and then it cuts to her just deciding to start flying into the air.  That’s awesome!  Is levitation just something we can do?!  Please tell me yes.  Every kid dreams of having the power of flight, so playing as a character who can just do that on the fly sounds pretty great.

There’s also her using that power along with telekinesis.  Alright, so we have super-powers.  Super-powers mixed with gunplay.  I am totally down with that.  Some bits of her shooting, and then we see her throwing a ball of fire.  So is pyrokinesis one of the tricks in our arsenal too?  That sounds fun.  Are we able to mix and match powers, or do we have a power arsenal that just grows over time.  I also saw our weird gun shooting what appeared to be electric bullets.  Does that mean there’s weapon customization too?  This game is growing on me.

More abilities, like somehow being able to stop a character from moving with the power of our mind.  That’s pretty awesome.  Or there’s our girl being able to pick up debris and use that as a shield.  I also think that’s rad as fuck.  I couldn’t help but notice there how the destruction of her would-be shield is pretty meticulous.  This game looks pretty damn amazing, graphically.  She can also dive-bomb an area with her levitation power.  Pretty cool.  Then there’s her picking up random things and showing how that power works, along with the destructability of the environments.  Loving this game more and more.

It seems that the weird gun we have is customizable.  I love that.  I guess that instead of getting other weapons, we can simply turn this gun into whatever we want.  From the research I did, you can do this with some kind of looting mechanic as well.  Alright, game.  I’m interested.

Finally, we get a montage of the various parts of The Oldest House.  Place looks pretty damn trippy.  I love a world that has visual flare.  Can’t wait to do some exploring.  We then see some kind of strange, enormous creature.  So this game also has trippy boss fights.  Down with that as well!  The trailer concludes with one of the strangest yet still interesting things – our character using her telekinesis on a film projector and smashing it into a wall filled with journals.  They crash to the floor and you can see and hear the details.  It really looks and sounds like a ton of journals are crashing to the floor.  This game is marketing on this aspect hard, and I have no problems with that.  Destructable environments is a lost art in gaming, as of late.

This game has captured my attention, and I am gonna be seeing what it is come August 27th.  Yet-another game this year that came out of nowhere, and got my attention immediately.  Hopefully it isn’t like Remedy’s last game.  We all know how that turned out.

Initial Verdict
You have my attention, game

Peace out,

Maverick

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Lucien’s First Take: Borderlands 3 Official Reveal Trailer

I’ve only just discovered the Borderlands franchise a couple months ago with The Handsome Collection.  It featured the best game in the franchise, Borderlands 2.  That game is just awesome.  My favorite character to play as is Gaige.  Her death robot was so OP.  At first it’s just a good diversion, but once it’s leveled up enough, between it and me, we mopped the floor pretty hard with all the enemies we came into contact with.  Even ones higher leveled wasn’t that big a threat.  With all the fun DLC included and New Game Plus for even better loot, it just got better and better.  With hints of a new game coming, everyone had been chomping at the bits for something concrete.  It’s finally dropped.  A sequel is coming, and now we’ve gotten our first look.  Let’s see the trailer, then we can talk about it.

Oh boy.  I cannot express how excited I am.  This trailer felt Borderlands as fuck!  It had that signature sass that the best game in the franchise is known for.  We start out with the perfect hook – the psycho mask.  Get us all in the mood.  Then it switches over to a ominous thing – a sign for what appears to be a cult – the Children of the Vault.  Oh dear.  Then we see some nameless baddies looking ominous.  Finally, we get our girl who was leading the Crimson Raiders at the end of the previous game, Lilith.  Great way to start.  Got me hooked!

We cut to what I’m going to assume are our four main vault hunters of the game.  Okay.  this crew looks pretty ominous.  Was kinda hoping we could pick up where we left off.  I was REALLY hoping to see Gaige come back.  She was my favorite character from the last game, and I wanted to see what kind of trouble we could get her and Deathtrap into now.  Not to mention Zer0.  Where’s he?  Still, gonna give this crew a chance.  Let’s see what they got.

Now we see that the trailer is really about to get started.  We got a guitar, some crazy imagery, and people with guns.  Shit’s about to get real!  There’s a montage of our hunters being badasses.  It seems the new Siren of the game can summon six energy arms to help her in battle.  That’s pretty cool.  The vehicle combat is back.  That was probably the least interesting element of the previous game, but it seems they have upped their effort here, with floating cars and all sorts of crazy weapons.  Okay.  You got my attention.

A screen tells us we can become a vault hunter.  Alright!  Please, do tell me how this works.  In the montage that follows, I notice that our girl Maya is back.  That’s pretty rad!  I liked her in the last game.  She was the first character I played through it as.  So at least she hasn’t been abandoned by the franchise.  REALLY hoping Gaige and Zer0 haven’t been either.  Seems one of our characters is either a robot himself or has a head like a robot.  That looks cool too.  Seems the Commando class of this game is a blonde dude with robots doing his dirty work.  It would be cool if they are expanding on the turret concept of Axton.  That was lacking in a lot of ways.

The title screen tells us to explore the “worlds.”  This means we have more than one?!  Oh baby!  That makes my mouth water.  Among the montage of places, we see a REALLY cool cyberpunk kinda world.  Then there’s a jungle sorta place that brings back bad memories of Sir Hammerlock’s DLC in the last game.  That was the worst of the ones in that game.  And probably my favorite moment of such wonderfully sassy humor – a sign for Ellie’s Scrap, but with how the S is hanging off, it looks like Ellie’s Crap.  I love it!  Puts a smile on my face.  A sign that this game isn’t forgetting about the roots where it came from.  I’m so glad to hear that.

We then get introduced to the villains.  It’s the same duo from earlier.  And at least one of them is a Siren.  But wait, I thought only chicks could be Sirens.  The mythos of this game is deepening.  I can dig it.  Granted, I don’t know if any sequel can capture the absolute majesty that is Handsome Jack and the utter hate-ability of him.  You just loved to hate that guy.  He was such an asshole, but you loved him all the same.  Part of me hopes this game doesn’t try, and just does its own thing.  I think that would be better.  There are also fire-breathing dinosaurs, giant mech robots, oh, and a Brick Sax Solo.  I love this trailer.

And Tiny Tina is back!  She was my favorite character in the last game.  I was dead-certain that she was voiced by Lori Petty, but it seems I was dead-wrong.  She’s voiced by Ashly Burch.  A woman whose talent is becoming more and more known to me as time goes on.  My opinions about her views outside of her work aside, she has some real talent and I am DESPERATELY hoping they keep the obscene but lovable nature of her character in this one.  It makes me happy that she’s back.  There’s also Mordecai, who I’m glad to see as well.  He seemed like a cool bro.  We also have Sir Hammerlock and Claptrap.  Glad to see their faces as well.

Finally, this game decided to sell its most touted feature in one of the best bits of marketing that keeps with the tone of this franchise – Over 1 billion guns!  What a way to tell everyone that loot is making a massive splash.  We have guns with legs.  If what I’m seeing is correct, maybe we can even get mech suits?  A guy can hope.  They know to have a big finish of damage and carnage.  Glad to see Claptrap didn’t let his dreams of being a dancer die.

The next question is – when is it coming out?!  Thankfully, it doesn’t look like we’ll have to wait long to find out.  They say at the end of the trailer that on April 3rd, we will get more info.  Until then, I’m hyped.  One thing that people are worried about is if this game is gonna embrace the “live services” mentality that has infected far too much of the gaming sphere.  That’s legit.  Randy Pitchford even made a joke about this game not having a “battle royale” mode or anything like that.  Makes me unbelievably happy.  If this game goes the live services route, I’m gonna be pissed.  Not even kidding.  We’ll see.

Initial Verdict
I want my LOOT!

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: The Pathless (Reveal Trailer)

When I first heard about this game, I didn’t think much of it.  But then something found me – it is being created by the same people who created ABZU, one of my favorite Indie games of all time.  After that, my curiosity peaked pretty damn fast.  That game was visual poetry, paired with some incredibly music.  The idea that a video game could be made that is nothing but a non-stop water level and it’s fun was mind-boggling.  So I’m curious to see what this stupid is up to next.  What is this new game, The Pathless?  Well, the trailer has dropped, let’s take a look.

We open up with some wonderful music, which tells me that Austin Wintory is back in action.  This trailer is really starting off on the right foot with me.  We start off with our veiled Asian-looking character landing on a beach.  Okay.  We look up to see a massive structure in the sky that is vaguely like the giant underwater inverted three-sided pyramid in ABZU.  Are these universes connected?  There’s a fun thought.  I will be watch-dogging for signs of that as I play through it.

A shot of our nameless character walking through the woods, and the perspective gives some definite size to this place.  It’s pretty intense.  There’s a foreboding atmosphere that is palpable.  We see into a ruin, and this is REALLY giving me some serious ABZU vibes!  I mean, look at the architecture!  I can’t be the only one who thinks that these universes are connected, right?  Our nameless character finds an eagle in a stone structure, and they seem to hit it off.

Then we’re racing through the woods!  This place is so gorgeous.  This animation style does so much for me.  Our character is running along, when she can draw her bow and shoot at these targets in the air.  Curious what that’s about, but she’s making good time.  The eagle is with us now.  Guess they hit it off.  There’s this bit with her running alongside a flaming monster, using her bow to shoot it.  Does this mean there are boss fights?  That’s a curious thing.  The main character jumps off a cliff and grabs onto the eagle and somehow is gliding downward.  Silly, but alright.  Then they’re flying past the inverted glowing structure in the sky.  So curious to see what that is.

We have a montage of what might be stealth gameplay, tons of creatures, some of whom look like bosses, our character using her bow, and a strange character with three eyes, then it closes on our character and the eagle having a hug.  That’s pretty cool.  Alright, game, you have my attention.  I differ from a TON of my contemporaries when I like games that are different.  Games that appeal to a more niche audience.  I love the artsy kinds of games like Journey and Flower.  It’s cool to see games that try new and different mechanics to make stories that are vague come to life in the best of ways.  Why I am in such a minority baffles me.  Color me impressed, Giant Squid Studios.  Let’s see what you got.

Initial Verdict
Let’s see what you can do

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: MediEvil – Announce Trailer

Something I’ve been really enjoying are these complete remastering of classic games that I grew up with.  The Spyro original trilogy is coming out soon and I can’t wait to play it.  There was the remastering of the original Crash Bandicoot games, which was fun, albeit with some of the same flaws intact.  The dedicating to keeping these games in the spirit of their originals but with visuals that are out of this world has been admirable.  Now it seems that another game that I loved from yesteryear is getting the same treatment- MediEvil.

This is a franchise that I figure a lot of people have forgotten about.  The quirky adventures of the derpy knight Sir Daniel Fortesque, I remember first being exposed to the original in the form of a demo on my cousin’s PS1.  It was so much fun!  Taking a lot of cues from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the aesthetic and gameplay were great.  It has a style all its own, but was forgotten about by gaming, until now.  The remaster has been announced, now let’s see it.

We begin with the upbeat, lively music.  These games were never self-serious, and if you took them that way, you’re doing it wrong.  And nowhere is this more apparent than when our hero makes his entrance.  That derpy face.  It’s adorable.  I love this guy.  The trailer gets right into showing us the action, which is nice.  I prefer trailers with gameplay.  This game is a hack-and-slash, which is conveyed.  The environments are just great.  The aesthetic from the original hasn’t been lost in this remastering.

Next up, we have some great back-to-back shots showing the original versus this version.  It’s glorious!  Just like the remastering of Spyro, I cannot praise the visuals enough.  This game looks fantastic!  Even the puzzle-platforming has gotten a boost in the looks department, which is just fine by me.  A montage of the action, and it finally ends with a cut to the title.  Then we get to hear Sir Daniel’s derpy voice.  I love this guy.  He’s too adorable for words.

I am stoked!  This game has already gone to my list of Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2019.  Working on that for the end of the year.  So much to be excited about.  Back to a classic hack-and-slash adventure with one of gaming’s forgotten heroes.  Can’t wait.

Initial Verdict
Arm up, Sir Daniel!

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Aladdin Trailer (2019)

You know what I hate?  Modern Disney.  Modern Disney has lost every ounce of the creativity that old-school Disney had.  Their creativity hit its last peak in the 90’s, and after that it’s all been downhill.  Now, because Disney is so devoid of creativity and desperate for quick bullshit that they can cash in on because they need to get pools of money that they can dive into like Scrooge McDuck, we have live-action remakes of their biggest movies back when they were animated and cool.  And they have, without a SINGLE EXCEPTION, sucked.  Badly.  They are all terrible.  The worst offender among them is the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast.  A film that proved that not only can Emma Watson not act, but she also can’t sing.  Go figure.

Since Disney is out of creativity, they also decided that they should take the time to shit on the legacy of Robin Williams as well, and make a remake of one of their best animated films, where the late actor was able to bring so much to it.  His role as Genie is iconic.  But hey, that’s just how it goes.  I guess Will Smith will get a crack at it.  The idea of having to hear him sing “Never Had a Friend Like Me” makes my cringe muscles go out of control.

However, they have finally released a trailer.  Before this, there was the poster for the film, and I will say that if there is one and only thing that they did right in this, it’s that the lamp looks cool.  That’s it.  Now, let’s watch the trailer for this movie and see what the damage is.

We begin on what is, admittedly, a very cool shot of the Arabian dessert.  Sand dunes are always very beautiful to film.  While the heat and I are not friends, part of me would love to see that scenery in person someday.  But we have this terrible orchestral version of the song that begins the animated film, “Arabian Nights.”  Oh Groj.  Not holding up well and we’re only a few seconds in.

Then we cut to another shot of the dunes, but look!  A CG city in the background!  Oh boy!  Obvious CG is obvious.  It’s not even well integrated.  It looks so out of place in this setting.  We get a closer shot, with CG parrot who I am going to assume is Iago.  It’s a safe assumption.  And just like every CG character in all the live-action versions of these movies, it looks bad.  These films really have hit a high mark in all having consistently terrible CG creations.  That’s almost impressive.  Not a single film stands out in any real way for quality CG characters.  Maybe it’s because I am just so conditioned to this shit and it has gotten to the point that I don’t take this shit seriously anymore.  Oh how I long for the days of practical effects.  Would it have been that hard to train a real parrot to fly around?  I guess they couldn’t do that over a CG environment where everything looks fake.  The bird would get lost in front of a green-screen.

We get to hear the voice of the Cave of Wonders!  Oh boy!  The creepy cave that appears from the dunes because of a weird magic beetle thing.  So how bad is this CG going to look?  The irony is that it was CG in the animated film, and I guarantee that will have looked a million times better.  Wait, what?  It’s a regular cave, but with glowing eyes?  Then how, exactly, has no one gone to get that lamp before?  If this cave is just sitting there waiting, then how has no one gone in there?  The voice-over tells me that only the “diamond in the rough” can enter, but if the place doesn’t open, then that rings hollow.  I’m sure that the cave disappears without some terrible CG effect.  I was right, though.  The Cave of Wonders in the original film, with dated CG, looks better than this.  Can nothing impress me in this trailer?

Oh look!  CG cave!  With CG treasure!  In an entirely CG backdrop without a single bit of an actual set!  Wow!  That’s so fake that the fakeness of it is leaping right off the fucking screen at me.  We get the title in that iconic font, and then we have Arab main character guy reaching for the lamp, which, as I said before, does look cool.  There.  I found one thing that impresses me – the lamp.  Congrats, Disney.  Some underpaid artisan worked really hard on a cool piece to go with a terrible movie.  Kudos to that craftsman.  Whatever you paid them, it wasn’t enough.

This looks so fucking stupid.  This is the next entry in the creatively bankrupt Disney corporation, who is so desperate to just cash in instead of taking risks.  Gotta love.  Of course, these films make bank, so I guess the retarded American public eats this shit up too.  So I get to be in a wonderful minority of people who see all these truly amazing films languish on the vine, while endless dreck like superhero films and whatever cash-grab remake, reboots, sequel, or live-action version has the intellectually-void public paying money for.  This country needs to fucking die.  Not kidding.

Initial Verdict
I’m so sorry, Robin Williams, that Disney wants to shit on your legacy

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: DOOM Eternal – Phobos Gameplay Reveal

Have I talked about how awesome 2016’s remake of DOOM was?  Because it was!  It was the coolest fucking thing in a VERY long time.  A great meme that I saw on Twitter surmized it like this –

Dark Souls – You’re put in a room with a bunch of demons

Doom – A bunch of demons are put in a room with you

That game is fast-paced, it’s combat is slick, the violence is visceral, and the plot isn’t half-bad.  The way it left on a cliffhanger had everyone wondering what was going to be next.  And we didn’t have to wait long.  Two years later, and Bethesda shows off their next look into this new franchise, and holy fuck is it awesome!  I didn’t cover the trailer at E3, because while that was cool, it didn’t show me much.  And I didn’t cover the first gameplay trailer that had the pretty funny line about not calling the demons by their name, instead calling them “mortally challenged.”  That was cool and all, but it felt like more of the same.  But now we’ve gotten something else, and holy fuck balls!  I love it.  Let’s see the trailer, then we’ll talk about it.

It opens with us seeing Doomguy walking into a room full of people, and everyone who looks upon him seems like they are shitting their pants.  As they should be!  Because getting in Doomguy’s way is a VERY bad idea.  Then we get some poor, scared bastard who has the key to the door in our way.  Yeah, we decide that he’s going to wheel in his chair over to that door, with us dragging him by his neck.  I love it!  Then we have these two guards, one of which is telling me I can’t be here.  Oh yes, I can!  By the way, nice gun.  Mind if I borrow it?  As if we care if he says no.

Then we get into the action.  I couldn’t help but hear the computer say that the “Slayer” has entered the facility.  At first, I thought it meant me, since the original game has the Hell logs calling me the “Doomslayer.”  But I think it’s talking about someone else.  Does this mean there’s someone who can stand toe-to-toe with me?  This intrigues.

This gun is awesome!  My least favorite weapon from the last game was the pulse rifle.  It seemed useless to me.  But this weapon puts that shit to shame!  The pulses from this weapon blows the demons to bits!  Plus, there seems to be an effect on nearby enemies hit with it.  I am liking this more and more.

After blowing some enemies to bits, we get teleported into another room, where there is a Baron of Hell wreaking havoc.  In this battle, we learn some neat things.  For starters, instead of just hitting the guy, we are blowing pieces off him.  Alright.  Plus, his ground pound attacks have a very definitive area of effect, but there is a nice way to counter-act it.  I was sure that I saw earlier Doomguy doing some kind of dash maneuver, and you see it again here.  Makes it look like you can use it as a kind of strafing move as well.  That’s pretty slick.  The speed of the fights is taken to 11 for this game.

Once we get out of that fight, we go back to a weapon that I had as my old stand-by in the first game.  The gauss cannon with the scope attachment was the premier weapon I had for bigger targets.  Seeing it again is nice, but I saw something this time.  It seems that it doesn’t have the same ammo as the pulse rifle.  Yes!  It was so frustrating that so many weapons all had ammo pools shared with other weapons.  If they got rid of that for this game, all the better!  Let me be able to go through my full arsenal before having to rip out the chainsaw and getting an ammo dump.

During this next fight, we get to see that one of the attachments of the regular shotgun is to use it as an assault rifle.  That’s awesome!  I love it!  And when we attacked a Mancubus, we could blow its arm off!  So, does that mean that all enemies have destructable parts?!  Color me impressed!  Bethesda really has gone the extra mile here.  Not to mention, this new integrated flamethrower attachment is really something.  Being able to watch your enemies scream as they burn, with you able to blow off pieces of armor to refuel your own is pretty cool.  Lots of little touches with this new game to make the pace even better.

Finally, we get to the door, and it seems we are introduced to this “Slayer.”  I get that it is meant to be badass, but something about it doesn’t feel that way to me.  To me, it just looks like a more amped up Imp or something.  But there is something that caught my eye – we got the sword back from the original game.  As I remember, when you get to the end of that game, Samuel Hayden takes it from you as he sends you through the portal back to Hell, with a farewell indicating that he knows he will eventually see you again.  That intrigued me then.

It was strange for Samuel to turn on you.  He went through all the trouble of finding you, and bringing you to Mars.  He was almost loving over your sarcophagus, yet turned on you in the end.  But his saying that he knew he would see you again caught my eye.  As did him saying he isn’t the villain of the story.  Was there something he knew about everything?  Part of me is looking forward to seeing him again.  Hopefully the game doesn’t fuck around with some half-assed him already being dead storyline.

Overall, this looks awesome!  The action is faster, the weapons are better.  Do we get that sniper rifle from the last game?  You see the red troopers using it, and it looked pretty sweet.  I was hoping to get a crack with it.  Since the assault rifle still has scope capabilities, probably not.  Bummer.  That thing looked fun.  It has changed up the formula just enough, and knowing that I will be among humans makes me even more stoked to see what happens next.

Initial Verdict
Time to kill some Hellspawn!

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: A Plague Tale: Innocence – Gamescom 2018 Trailer

Holy shit!  Where has this game been?!  I’m normally pretty on top of nerd culture, but this one totally snuck up on me.  And now that I have seen the unveiling of it, I can’t get enough.  This has sky-rocketed from a game I have never heard about, to me desperately hoping it comes out in 2019.  I know it won’t be this year, since the phrase “Work in Progress” is at the top of this video all the time it’s up, but a man can dream, right?  Much like a lot of the games I have been stoked for, over the years, it begins with us seeing a decent snippet of gameplay.  Going in not having known anything about this, I was giddy to see more.  It kept me enraptured from first to last.

Part of me wishes all games did that – introduce themselves with a long gameplay bit, then have the story trailer and whatnot to get me into the narrative.  If they can find a way to work both in, that’s great.  And for those who want to call foul because of how I said that I like how Kojima has done with his new project, there’s a difference.  I expected what Kojima did.  He likes the secrecy.  And this trailer was in the same vein.  The gameplay was more in depth, but it didn’t spoil the whole experience for me.  It tantalized me enough to want more.  That’s what a good trailer is supposed to do!  There’s a lot to talk about with this, so let’s get into it.

We begin on a boat, with a boy who looks to be in his early teens steering, and an young woman who is holding a young boy.  The lad is sick, and she is concerned.  This companion, introduced as Lucas, seems to be a very knowledgeable sort.  She asks him about the nature of the brother’s disease, and he imparts information from alchemists.  From their conversation, I can gather that the parents of the two passengers are dead, and Lucas is not a family member.  So what is the nature of their relationship?  An interesting question.  Over the course of the trailer, we see that he is quite dedicated to the two.

I’m also curious as to what disease the girl’s brother has.  The title of this game has Plague in it, but I get the feeling that it isn’t The Black Death.  If that were the case, then he’d probably be fucked.  Does take a touch of the realism out when Lucas explains that it can have effects, depending on the person.  As if this is some supernatural thing that will give him super-powers.  I am kind of hoping not, because as this trailer goes on and we see how it looks grounded in realism in a lot of ways, it makes the description of the illness seem far-fetched.  Of course, it may just be that it is a folktale and the kid really does have a very bad illness.  Kind of hoping so.

Once we get past the cutscene into gameplay, we find out that the place they are heading is French.  So this game takes place in Medieval France?!  Alright!  This makes me happy.  Their accents go with it, I suppose.  Lucas knows enough about this kid to know his name – Hugo.  Alright.  This tells me that there is some connection between the two sibling and Lucas.  Enough for him to be very brotherly and it feels natural.  The visuals in this gameplay bit are unbelievable!  It genuinely does feel like I am in Medieval France on a very foggy day.  Getting a sense of place like this is just astounding.  I also caught that we have the Roman numeral V and a title.  So this is the fifth chapter of this story.  That’s interesting as well.

As we journey down the river, I can’t help but notice there is some banter between the girl and Lucas.  She cares for his comfort, and he talks with her like they are close enough to be open about that.  It’s an interesting hint about their dynamic.  Curious to see who Lucas is to the two of them.

Hugo finds himself a British shield and sword, pretending to be a knight, but the girl and Lucas are immediately alarmed.  Why would that be here?  The answer doesn’t take long, as the smell of death greets them.  At the top of the hill, they see the source – a battlefield, full of rotting corpses.  The detail again comes to mind, and you can feel the horror of countless dead bodies, all around.  It’s clear that girl wants to go around this, but Lucas tells her they have no choice, if they want to get to the Chateau.

What follows is a brilliantly told bit of exposition through gameplay.  You can feel their horror, having to climb over the dead to get away from the nightmare.  Hugo feels like a real kid, asking silly questions to the person who is the adult in his life at the moment.  Coming up to the corpse of a horse, the situation goes from bad to worse.  Rats burst out of the rotting carcass, and now they are surrounded.

Then we get to see a gameplay feature.  You can loot the environment, and fashion weapons out of what you find.  It’s a simple crafting mechanic, but it makes sense.  We also see that the girl’s weapon of choice is her sling.  After fashioning some incendiaries, you find you can use them with the sling to fire volleys at flammable targets.  Light keeps the rats away.  Odd, but whatever.  I’ll go with it.  There are also some cool environmental puzzles, like using a trebuchet to assist in lighting more fires.  We also find that the girl, Lucas, and even Hugo are involved in solving these puzzles.  That intrigues me more.

I’ve said before how little touches in these kinds of trailers go a long way for me.  Little signs that the developers show special attention to detail.  One thing I noticed is that your torches burn down, if they are just sticks of wood.  The kind enclosed in metal don’t, but that little touch goes a long way to selling me on the realism.  It’s good stuff.

A human enemy comes into play, and here shows off a couple more mechanics.  Not only can you use long grass to hide in, but she can also use her sling to target either human opponents, or their stuff.  Like when you use it to break the lamp the guard is using to keep the rats away.  Whats follows is, what I’m sure in real life would be absolutely horrifying, the rats tearing him to pieces.  His screams sound real enough.  Lucas finally says her name.  I think it was Alysia?  Correct me if I’m wrong.  It’s also interesting that you can use the rats ripping other enemies to pieces as a way to charge past them.  This game looks so fucking grim!  I love it!

We get more environmental puzzles, this time with siege weapons.  I cannot get over how amazing this looks.  The siege tower is full of arrows.  Looks like it was headed for a wall we can see behind, but never quite made it.  Here we get to see that, since it’s clear she’s not made for battle, when enemies catch sight of you, your best option is to send some stones flying from your sling, straight at their heads.  Naturally, the rats tear their corpses to pieces, giving you an in to get inside the siege tower.

Since stealth definitely seems to be the name of the game, using breakable jars to lure guards away is smart.  Giving you the chance to shatter their lamp and let the rats go to town on them.  It’s such a disgusting way to deal with your enemies.  I genuinely do love it.  After pushing a siege weapon and getting it stuck in the mud, you realize that not only does tall grass factor in, but so do other environmental hazards.  I kinda like that.  Makes you wonder what ways they will integrate that into the narrative.

Alysia gets to have this neat bit where she follows an English soldier who has a torch, in order to get close enough to get one that is on a cart.  That tells me that there is going to be a lot of clever sneaking in this game.  I love it!  Again, little touches like that go a long way.  She’s not a warrior, after all.  The best she can do is use her small size and padded feet to stay silent and move among those who are dangerous.  The game helps you keep track of the positions of her enemies by having a kind of white border on the side they are facing.  I like that too.

There is this other nice way of the game telling you that you can only be stealthy.  Notice the metal helmets that they are wearing?  That’s a nice way for the game to tell you that their heads are protected.  If they find you, you’re fucked.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  And the guy has a torch on top of a pole, which means that you can’t break it.  The only choice you have is to sneak.  The player here is smart, realizing that they have to ditch the torch and head into the tall grass to sneak past.

It seems that even the dead can be of some use, as there is a wonderfully grotesque puzzle of using dead French soldiers as food for the rats to sneak past.  It also gives us a nice little bit with Lucas being very kind and telling Hugo to stay close to his sister.  I like this character more and more.  The trailer ends with a knight who appears to be trapped begging to be helped, only for you to use him as living bait for the rats, so you can escape.

This trailer is DARK!  I cannot love this enough.  I am going to be reading all I can about this game, to learn everything I can about when it will be released and what other media will be put out regarding it.  Sure, it’s easy to make comparisons to this game and titles like The Last of Us, but the setting and character give it all it needs to stand apart.  Not to mention the fact that stealth is the only tool you have.  There is no shanking or fist-fights.  All you can do is hide, use the environment, or the sole weapon you have in order to stay alive.  This looks awesome.

Initial Verdict
Cannot wait to see more!

Peace out,

Maverick