Science-Fiction Weekly Destiny 2, Echo, Star Wars, Star Trek

In Ultra Ultra’s upcoming science-fiction game, Echo, you are not just the protagonist you also play the role every enemy. How is this possible? Describing that exactly will be difficult, as the answer unfolds in several ways. The easiest to grasp is you play as a character named En, and every enemy is a clone of her. From what I understand, you won’t see any other humans in this game. They all look exactly like you, and the only differentiating factor between the clones is a red cube (called simply “The Cube”) fastened to your En’s back.

The difficulty in describing Echo comes from the artificial intelligence that drives the doppelgangers. Every action you make is reflected by them, but not immediately. Rolling blackouts also double as updates for the clone A.I. After a blackout, if you vault over a ledge, grab an item, and step into water, when the next blackout hits, the enemies will learn how to do these things. They will forget them if you don’t use the again before the next blackout. Make sense?

You have to keep a mental note on what you do before each blackout, so you can better understand how to interact or avoid your foes. Echo is a stealth game where you move slowly and in calculated ways through an environment that looks like a palace. We don’t know exactly what is going on in this beautiful but deadly place, but it has a Portal vibe to it, pushing En to complete specific challenges in each area. The palace also shifts in tone and look to accommodate different emotional states.

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Echo begins slowly with En awakening on a spaceship guided by an A.I. named London, who speaks to you with a soothing British voice. En references the Cube on her back as a “he,” and we soon learn why. It contains the essence of someone named Foster. What role the Cube and Foster plays as the game moves forward remains unknown, but it is a fairly intriguing hook in an otherwise fascinating game. I loved what I saw of this game. Yes, it is a little strange that every enemy is the same, but keeping track of your actions and perhaps limiting them to make the next section easier is an awesome hook for a stealth game. We also see elements of dark corruption seeping into the palace at times. What could this be? That’s another mystery we’ll learn in time.

Echo is due out on September 19 for PC, with a PlayStation 4 release following at a later date. A representative of Ultra Ultra told me that they aren’t ruling out an Xbox One version, but their development team is small, and porting a game is a huge effort. Put this one on your radar, folks. The visuals and art design are fantastic.

Matt Miller is hard at work on Game Informer’s review of Destiny 2. I don’t know what he thinks of it yet, and I can’t give a timetable for when that review will be published, but I can definitively say it’s one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I’ve had this year. This is coming from someone who enjoyed the original Destiny game, but didn’t spend too much time with the end-game content. That element of the game didn’t resonate with me. As I said back in the day, “this grind is not enjoyable.” Flash forward to the sequel, and my temperature on the end-game content is completely different. It doesn’t feel like a grind or meaningless work anymore. My time is rewarded with a continual stream of loot and a wide variety of activities to engage in. Most of the weapon and armor drops are upgrades I love that. I’m also a big fan of the streamlined Crucible matches, and the Strikes…oh man…the Strikes. So good. So damn good. The level of intensity that they can deliver in the blink of an eye is something to behold. In short, Destiny 2 is well worth your time. The gunplay is better. The environment design is better. Character leveling is better. PvP is better. I think it’s huge step forward for the series. Here’s a look at my character as of this writing:

If you want to join the Game Informer clan on Xbox One, you can find us here. Shoot me a request.

I’m sure you all heard that J.J. Abrams is coming back to finish of the newest Star Wars trilogy. He’s directing and co-writing Star Wars: Episode IX, slated to release in the summer of 2019. We also learned that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in the final days of editing and polish. While on a press junket in Japan, Rian Johnson said “We’re almost almost almost done. When I get back to Los Angeles, we only have a few more days of work. Basically the movie is finished.” He also shared one tidbit of new information that we all should have seen coming. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt provides voice work for an alien in The Last Jedi. Gordon-Levitt has had a role in almost every one of Johnson’s films.

The forthcoming Star Trek Discovery show may be set in the distance future, but there’s a chance it may feel like 2016 all over again. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Aaron Harberts says they started working on the show around the time of the presidential election. “The Klingons are going to help us really look at certain sides of
ourselves and our country,” he said. “Isolationism is a big theme. Racial purity is
a big theme. The Klingons are not the enemy, but they do have a
different view on things. It raises big questions: Should we let people
in? Do we want to change? There’s also the question of just because you
reach your hand out to someone, do they have to take it? Sometimes, they
don’t want to take it. It’s been interesting to see how the times have
become more of a mirror than we even thought they were going to be.

Harberts is talking about Trump supporters. The chatter of this revelation became so loud that CBS representatives denied the inspiration point, which no one is buying, especially after Harberts doubled down on the modern-day connection.

“North Korea is in our thoughts as we finish the series, he told Entertainment Weekly. What
began as a commentary on our own divided nation in terms of Trump
supporters and non-Trump supporters – has blown out to North Korea and
how we’re right on the brink. [The U.S. is] actually right at the place
where Starfleet finds itself in episode one and we couldn’t have
anticipated that happening. But how do you end conflict when both sides
have such strong opinions?

Basing characters and stories off of current events is nothing new for Star Trek, which dabbled in Cold War and World War themes in the past. Regardless, I find it somewhat shocking just how transparent Harberts is being with the creation of this series. It’s a refreshing thing to see, but I can’t go into that series now without thinking about the 2016 election.

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