Okay, so, I am working full time this summer, for those who do not know, or just stumbled onto this post, and that means I cannot spend all day in E3 mode. It makes my nights very hectic, as I try to pick up the piece right after getting home, but I went through Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, and Sony’s press conferences, amounting to over five hours of footage, while writing up some quick thoughts on the opinions on the video games, as I have been doing since 2012. Without further ado, I’ll just get right to it.
Disclaimer: For my coverage of E3 2015, I chose to use captioned CGs from a series of Eroge (pornographic games) developed by the companies Crowd and Bishop. I in no way support these titles, I dislike pornographic material in general, but I do like some of the non-pornographic art included in these titles, and thought this would be a fun little gimmick.
So, I was actually pretty satisfied by Microsoft’s press conference. It was a bit by the numbers, not a lot of surprises, but nothing cringeworthy, just some small bits where my ears phased out what the presenter was saying, as I knew it was generic industry fluff not worth processing. Okay, there was a lot that was not for me, and I was very well aware of that. Halo 5: Guardians if for fans of the series. Forza 6 is for people who view cars as something more than transport machines that double as weapons. Gears of War 4 is for… I’m not entirely sure, as it seems to have some horror elements scattered in the shown footage. Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is for people who enjoy skill based games or multiplayer ones and not for people who want a carefully constructed single player experience in a colorful and fun world. While Rock Band 4 is for people who have friends and have fingers that move fast
But there was some cool stuff that went beyond the games shown, with backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games being a reveal that came right out of left field, although it will be limited. Better than nothing, but I kinda wish this was here for the system’s launch, instead of two years later. Hell, didn’t Microsoft say that backwards compatibility was pretty useless for the console’s longevity, so why the change of heart? Whatever, it’s ultimately a good thing. Same with that EA Access service receiving more titles, and getting a free trial this week for all Xbox Live Gold members. Oh, and the new Elite Xbox One controller was revealed as a customizable super controller that actually does look like something I may start using as a PC controller… If it was not apparently $150…
On that subject, Microsoft did show off some windows 10 games, namely a MOBA(?) entitled Gigantic, which I honestly forgot about an hour after the conference, and Fable Legends, whose trailer deviated from the source material to the point where I thought it was a Kameo reboot as it came right after Rare’s part of the presentation. What did Rare have to show? A repackaging of thirty of their classic titles, including Banjo, Perfect Dark, Conker, Battletoads, and a whole lot more. All for $30, Rare Replay will be releasing August fourth of this year. I just hope the ports work well, if not… You only had one job. But if it works, then this may be the best retail collection of all time, especially from a monetary perspective. However, Rare did not simply wallow in the glory days, as they are making an open world online cooperative and competitive multiplayer pirate and adventurer simulator, Sea of Thieves… Yeah, I wanted a Battletoads or Banjo to be quite honest, but this is okay, I guess, if you are into that sort of thing.
But there was a very pleasant surprise for me in the form of Recore, a collaborative project from Amarture and Comcept. The game is about a girl in a destroyed world, where she and her robotic companion explore the technological ruins that lay beneath the desert encrusted surface, or so I believe. No gameplay was shown, just a CG trailer but it will out in Spring 2016. Onto my wishlist it goes, assuming comes to PC! Dark Souls III is already on there, but I honestly have no idea who was convinced into buying it with the vague, dark, and depressing trailer that was shown.
Meanwhile, the independent developer showcase was pretty darn good. Cuphead still has a lot of potential to be a modern classic if it really does control and play as well as it looks. Fullbright’s Tacoma looks to be an interesting space adventure that deals with far more interesting material than a high schooler coming out as a lesbian in the nineties. Ashen looks alright, but the bleakness mixed with the smooth art style does not really strike me as very unique, plus a world filled with other players does not interest me nearly as much as a world filled with proper characters does. While Beyond Eyes seems to take the premise of Perception, that survival horror title by those ex-Irrational developers, and make it into a beautiful watercolor adventure of a girl exploring the woods and trying to fight wolves while being blind. Unique, creative, pretty, and on my wishlist.
I am also considering placing Rise of the Tomb Raider on there, even after I really did not care for the first iteration of this reboot. It looks to be a more linear and cinematic experience, but one with far more interesting locales, and perhaps dehumanization of Lara to the point where she becomes a psychopath, and I do love psychopath protagonists. However, I will check the game out a bit after November 10th, and if I hear that GeoCaches return, I’m putting back up my blinders. I’ve said that Fallout 4 is on my wishlist, but I will only get if after the mods improve the game, well lo and behold, as the Xbox One (and PS4) versions of Fallout 4 will support mods, while the XBO version comes with an extra copy of Fallout 3. But in their quest to emulate the PC, Microsoft has opened Xbox Game Previews, which is a nice way of saying Early Access. However, you can actually try a game out in the form of a demo before giving it a go, so I am willing to say that this is fine. One title hitting the service soon is DayZ, whose developers are making ION, a space MMO that has next to no information about it available.
Also, Gear of War: Ultimate Edition was revealed, but was not actually shown, weirdly enough. Presumably they had to show off HoloLens a bit more, a peripheral whose functions could easily be replaced by a monitor, mouse, and microphone. Maybe the MineCraft demo was just not ideal, but it was a low point for me, and did nothing but make VR seem all the more unnecessary. Overall, however, I’d say it was a good show, a bit upsetting at how they are holding onto stuff for Gamescom, but they have had far worse performances.
Moving onto EA, they began their conference with their most interesting title, Mass Effect: Andromina, presented through a CG trailer, featuring jetpacks, planetary traversal, and… that’s about it, as I would expect from a holiday 2016 title. Just a small confirmation and spark to reignite the passion fires. BioWare also had their The Old Republic expansion to show off, Knights of the Fallen. Naturally, nothing but story fluff was shown, as you simply cannot demo an MMORPG and make it look all that appealing to play, because it is an MMORPG. Unraveled, however, was the one game where actual gameplay was shown that got me excited during EA’s conference. Okay, the actual introduction to the game was uncomfortable, but it is a game where you play as a sentient yarn man who goes on a big adventure across the country and through the seasons to get back home, or something. It’s certainly a good way to get a puzzle platformer up on my wishlist. Good job Coldwood Interactive, but how the hell did you partner up with EA?
I also am curious as to how many strings were pulled to get Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst out, but as I expected, while the story looks interesting, the actual first person traversal looks like it would make me a bit miserable at how terrible I am at it. And the game also happens to look pretty darn delightful from a visual perspective, mixing graphical fidelity with an appealing art style that is more diverse than the fairly sterile environments of the first game. While EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront looks… pretty fun, actually, and makes me realize just how much more I enjoy seeing a third person shooter with honest to goodness healthbars, guns that shoot lasers, and robots scattered through the field. It has an element of fun that I honestly want to see in most games, but, well, I’ll get into some examples later.
Beyond that, there was some EA Sports stuff, a segment for Need to Speed’s… newest reboot, naturally featuring some live action footage and a lot of story fluff above some gameplay that I thought looked pretty. Then they brought out a woman to talk about how important mobile games are, how people spent 400,000 years on mobile games, and how they are going to push their franchises even more on mobile, including Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, a Collectible Card Game… Minions Paradise soon followed, which is a Mobile builder game based on those yellow pill people from Despicable Me, who are obnoxiously incompetent little workers whose happiness you must maintain… They also spent a lot of money to get Pelé to talk about how great soccer is… I really should not have bothered watching this crap.
Switching to Ubisoft an hour later, they began with their most interesting title as far as I am concerned. South Park: The Fractured But Whole will act as a sequel to The Stick of Truth, switching the focus on the kids playing super heroes. The trailer also featured a remark about how the combat in the first game sucked, it kinda did to be quite honest, but I have no idea what the substitute will be. Well, I do know that Ubisoft San Francisco will be substituting Obsidian as the developer, which is mildly concerning. I get that Ubisoft likes to keep things in-house, but this means I have no clue what the game will really even be. I could say the same about Trials Fusion: Awesome Levels MAX, which is an expansion that is selling itself with a cat-pirate and a satanic unicorn… Okay, that’s funny for fifteen minutes, but you really can’t base an entire game around a single joke. Well, unless you back it up.
For Honor did grab my attention as it is a history encompassing title that is basically Musou X Bushido Blade, I have no clue as to how, but is a fairly interesting game that, naturally, has a multiplayer focus, thereby shooing away my interest. The Division looks less impressive than it did way back when, and it really does look to be incredibly boring to play, same with Rainbow Six: Siege. They both are very serious and intensive multiplayer cooperative games that are being presented as this intense and immersive cinematic experience that honestly look like the sort of thing I would sleep through if not for all the gunshots. Maybe this impression is due to the serious teamspeak used by the performers, but I really cannot see the appeal in playing these games, at all.
Oh, but I became more and more jaded as the conference went on, and honestly do not see why people would want to pick up The Crew: Wild Run as the game it is an expansion for had loads of problems,a dn already was such a serious and humorless racing game that I just… guh. You drive around cars around the United States, which sounds fun, but why bother making it such a downer to do so? You really do not need to be serious in order to be taken seriously… or rather good. That’s why Trackmania Turbo, a console entry in the PC bound series, looks very creative, colorful, and fun in comparison to most of what was shown. Same with Anno 2205, a future city builder where you can colonize the moon… Not my cup of tea, but I am giving the okay to anything involving space, because space is sexy!
However, I give no okays to titles that have gameplay footage, but opt to show a CG trailer that I very well know is not accurate to what playing the game is like. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has a pretty neat setting when you consider the amount of personality that Ubisoft may shove in it, but when your game is this far along, and you have demos on the showfloor, just show us some of the footage, please? Oh, who am I kidding? These people banked on Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands as their big closer, a game about exploring the world and murdering drug dealers with your friends. Because as we know, those who sell cocaine are objectively evil! …Watching Aisha Tyler bring out Trey Parker and Matt Stone and later hug Angela Bassett were the best part of this conference.
It’s almost over though, as Sony ended the night with their conference. And they… Had three of the biggest reveals of E3 history. The Last Guardian is happening, and will be out in 2016. Final Fantasy VII is getting remade, will launch on Playstation 4, hopefully in 2017. And Shenmue III is up on Kickstarter, and it broke Kickstarter due to all of the people rushing to the site. These all make me so happy, as I do want to see these games be released, and I want people to shut up about them coming back. Honestly, these were running jokes that have lasted for years and years, but now, now they are finally done, and that makes me so happy.
Oh, but there are other cool announcements here, such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, which is a game wherein you play as a girl with a crossbow and spear, in a world where civilization collapsed long ago, and robot dinosaurs roam the Earth. The gameplay looked pretty fun, and I am glad that the developers of Killzone, Guerrilla games got a chance to do something like this. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was also shown off, idled for a minute and had to be reset. Once the demo was working, it featured Nathan Drake destroying million upon millions of dollars worth of equipment. I mean, it looks fun, and seems to be a rollercoaster ride through a gorgeous set piece, but, seriously, this man is a criminal, and I hope that is part of the game’s storyline. While Arkham Knight will begin with a police officer killing a bunch of people in a diner, the Joker may be a zombie, and Batman will die in the end.
However, I would say those were the only parts of the conference I liked… Okay, aside from Devolver, but while I like their games’ style, I don’t really enjoy playing them. A new Hitman was announced via CG trailer, but not even a title was dropped. Street Fighter V had a poorly shot and pretty short reveal of Cammy and Birdie being added to the roster with an announcement of a Beta. No man’s Sky looked very… underwhelming due to the live demo from a flustered developer, but still looks wonderful despite that. Firewatch looks great, but I did not want to know a single ounce of the storyline more than what I got from the reveal bit of gameplay from a few months ago. I wanted the baby turtle to be a surprise, damnit! While Media Molecule’s PS4 title, Dreams, looks like the most abstract piece of ‘I don’t even’ that I have ever laid eyes on. I have no clue what it is suppose to be, and that mildly annoys me.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s female protagonist, Evie Frye, looks way cooler than her male counterpart, but she will likely play second fiddle and will possibly die or be raped if Ubisoft is as tone deaf as I fear they may be. World of Final Fantasy is… I honestly thought it was a joke announcement for what would be Final Fantasy VII’s remake. Instead it is this weird chibi monster taming nostalgia based adventure that I honestly can’t make heads or tails of. Sony’s attempt at grabbing the Call of Duty franchise while it is cold with Black Ops III weirdly removed whatever interest I had in the game by showing actual gameplay,a s it looks to be very by the numbers shooting and hiding behind cover in single player, while the multiplayer was clearly scripted, as in storyboarded, to involve lengthy killstreaks.
Then there was Morpheus’ five minutes of fame, where I was not convinced by it very much at all, and only learned that there will be a Titanfall-esc title for the platform, involving three-on-three battles. Andrew House once again derailed the game talk with video, TV, and music malarkey, and then there was the Disney Infinity 3.0 exclusivity deal with Star Wars. In short, Sony is getting timed exclusives for toys, and dedicated ten minutes into telling everybody that. It made for a very disjointed show, but I thankfully was able to skip through the bad parts because I was called away mid-stream.
Overall, this was a great day for video games, but thank god it is over; I’m going to bed! Yes, some other things happened, I’ll write about them tomorrow. For now, bed!