Overall, with Sony’s Playstation 4, I was left feeling a little underwhelmed. Many of the “big games” were games that we already knew were coming down the pipeline. A new Assassin’s Creed, a new Call of Duty, a remake of Final Fantasy 7, a new Shenmue, yet another Street Fighter V. You could even measure the room from the lack of surprise from the crowd. So many awkwardly wasted applause lines. There were a couple of moments of large cheers, but many times, you could count the number of people applauding on one hand. Unlike Microsoft’s, EA’s, and especially Bethesda’s conference, this year’s E3 was very disappointing in the realm of the Playstation.
There Were Some Games That Stood Out, But Not By Much:
The Last Guardian
This game opened up the Sony conference, and though it was visually impressive, the mechanics of the game seemed clunky and unresponsive. Animations, especially of the main character, were a little nonsensical at times (look at the strange way he pushes objects). I think what we saw, or at least I hope what we saw, was a very early development build where it’s not all smoothed out yet. However, once they work out the kinks, this game looks very mysterious and intriguing.
Final Fantasy VII
Although it’s a remake, it will be interesting to see how different the game is from the original. Especially graphics-wise. Even though I don’t want much of the story to change, I do hope, however, that they make the game a little more approachable in its combat system. I just remember that there was a great deal of time wasted grinding. Sooooo much grinding. But now the graphics look awesome, so there’s that. Hello again, Red XIII!
Horizon Zero Dawn
When I first saw this game… to be honest, I thought it was yet another Turok. Primitive human hunter in a technologically advanced wilderness. You have guns and a bow and arrow. You fight dinosaur robots. Yeah, Turok! I did like that the main character was female and scary in her incredible might and calmness in battle. though to be honest, I’d rather play a game where I played as one of those robot dinosaurs. They look absolutely stunning… if not a lot like the cartoon, Zoids…
I frankly don’t know what to think about Firewatch. Its core principles have been done to death before. The whole “survive in the wild” games are currently plaguing the early access boat on Steam. What is new, is the premise. The fact that you are a park ranger on duty and that you investigate things like rowdy teenage campers and missing persons. The trailer seems to indicate that the world might be a much darker and mystical place that it appears… and if that’s the case, I really really hope it’s anything else other than zombies. Survival horror zombie games are now a penny a dozen. They are all terrible and parodies of themselves. We do not need more. If it’s not zombies, hurrah! The game might be that much more interesting!
Dreams is another experiment from the beloved Media Molecule game studio. You may remember them from their previous smash hit, Little Big Planet and the other iterations of that franchise. Dreams is a continuation of their strong core belief in creator made content that comes entirely from their fan base. This new game gives an interesting motion based sculpting tool and allows you to create animations through the art of puppetry. They then, somehow, let you create games with those two mechanics and share them online through a cloud computed database of content. It’s very ambitious, but if they pull it off, it could be something entirely new and organic in the gaming sphere.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
I never, ever, thought I would say something like this, but the new Call of Duty actually looks pretty good. From the trailer and the gameplay of what we see, there’s a great deal more depth put into just the presentation model than there has ever been before. However, we won’t really know if they are just following their capitalist formula of “how to extract money from Call of Duty players” or if they are really focusing on the actual design of the game and innovating to push the title to new heights. Art vs Money. Even though it’s set in the future, will we still have to press “F” to pay respects? From the multiplayer, I can already tell that I will stay far far away from that mess.
It just looks confusing as all get out. I’m not totally averse to PVP, but I am averse to only getting a few seconds of play time followed by two or three minuets of death induced wait time. I like games where I have time to enjoy them. Time to explore and get to know them. The super quick deaths of the multiplayer trailer… I’m just not about that at all. I will also say, that since in-game gun design is always something that I wag my finger at in most first person shooter games, the guns in this new Call of Duty do look futuristic. However, it would be a lot nicer to see some extremely futuristic weapons other than your mundane common standard today guns: the assault rifle, machine gun, machine pistol, knife, bow and arrow, shot gun, and Gatling mini-gun, all of which are so blasé. So in the end: Call of Duty Black Ops 3 doesn’t look terrible, but who knows? There’s still time for them to ruin it like they have all the others.
No Man’s Sky
This is probably one of the largest open world sandbox games to date. This game, if successful, will be one of most in depth space exploration games ever made. It’s artsy, there’s space combat, planet exploration, and it is impossibly massive. If they can pull it off (and release the game in a working fashion with very few bugs) it will be something to behold. It’s not very well known about in detail, but it looks like it’s going to be something to watch for sure. And according to the E3 PC Gaming Show, it’s also coming out for PC!
Shifting a Little Bit to the Square Enix Press Conference:
There ares a lot of games that I’m not going to really touch here. Many of them are JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games) that are always at the core of the Square Enix platform. There are a few Final Fantasy-esque games here and there, another Just Cause and another Hitman. Square Enix just didn’t really have any teeth outside of their die hard fans for specific titles.
Kingdom Hearts 3
I never was much of a Kingdom Hearts fan. It has indeed had some interesting story elements, but the game mechanics were always a major turn off for me. Especially the strange building block spaceship battles… it was just too… I don’t know… it was like a Final Fantasy marketed to an audience way to young for my enjoyment. In the past, the stories of Kingdom Hearts tries to go a little dark, like it does in a Final Fantasy, but then they have to add spoon fulls of cuteness to jam down your throat. This one looks like it’s a little deeper and the complex battle mechanics look pretty solid. I’m not too sold on the Walt Disney World Theme Park ride summon spells… though the teacups looks kinda funny… It’s yet another “we just have to wait to see what happens when the game comes out” moments like most of this year’s E3.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
This game could be great. The last Deus Ex: Human Evolved, was great… but only after they had fixed the launch title some time after it was on the market. The last Deus Ex that came out was half made for the first part of its lifespan. They had to release a “director’s cut” DLC to add missions and, even more importantly, fill your character’s points based skills tree with more points so that players could actually fill out their skills tree and progress through the later stages of the game. It was a mad scramble to put the whole game together after launch. With all the fixes, however, it was a really good science fiction game. My only one complaint, looking at the new version, is that I wish we could exchange our character’s robot body parts for different robot parts. Like, if we wanted a gun arm instead of a left hand, or we wanted faster running and higher jumping legs we could swap durability for speed and agility. That kind of thing. Let people see their characters visually evolve and allow us to evolve with the main character as we play through the game. Some players could choose all stealth robot body parts while others could focus on combat, that sort of thing. But who knows. From the demos, the game looks very pretty.
I was severally underwhelmed by the Sony and Square Enix presentations. They just didn’t really hold any sort of impact, and most of the games shown had been previously announced elsewhere in the media months before the expo. It just seems strange that Sony would take a step back after dominating E3’s in the very recent past. Though I’m sure next year’s will be an interesting comeback.