June 21, 2013

The E3 Blog: 2013

So once again I'm the king of procrastinators with this blog. In my defense, I have massive nails right now and typing is damn near impossible. Anyway... here is my interpretation of this year's E3, just in case anyone cares what I think. Please note, this blog was written before Xbox announced changes to their DRM policies.

That was exciting. Right? General consensus is that 2013 was a good year for E3. There was certainly a massive amount of hype going in, and few surprises coming out...
I suppose we should start with the obvious: the console war. Like pretty much everyone else on the planet right now I feel like Microsoft (hahaha, my mac says 'Microsoft' isn't a word!) basically dug the Xbox's grave with the One. Nearly every news release since the official reveal has been bad news. I can appreciate that they're trying to do something new and different for their next-gen console, but there are just so many things wrong with this one. It seems like it's been designed to tear the gaming community apart, and just make us all stereotypical losers who are glued to our Xbox 24/7. Let's start with the first bad idea: this "game pass" shit. Let me be the first (or 7000th) to say that trading/sharing games is at the center of my very being. I would not have played or bought half the games I have if someone hadn't lent it to me first, or at least brought to my house to play with me (on MY console). Also, being a game collector and having lots of old games and consoles, my friends are constantly borrowing from me. Is this supposed to be the future of gaming? What ass-hat sat around and thought up this brilliant idea? I realize it's a money game, but they should have known they were gonna piss a few people off with this.
Secondly, Xbox One is strictly for people with no lives and amazing internet. You not only need the internet to use the various tools the One provides, but you need to connect just to make the damn turn on! Specifications suggest the One needs to be connected to the net every 24 hours or shit will just give up on you. How is this realistic? Many, MANY people on this planet have no or virtually useless internet connection. You've all been ruled out of Microsoft's choice demographic. Also what is one supposed to do if their internet is down for a while? What if I go on vacation for a week? Am I supposed to hire a babysitter for my Xbox? "Hey, could you just come over once a day and turn my Xbox on and off? Gee, thanks". Furthermore - and I may be alone on this - but who needs all the internet crap anyway? I mean Live is fun, and that's become an integral part of Xbox gaming, but I don't need an Xbox that skypes and controls my tv and all that junk. If it's not gonna do my laundry then just make me a console that plays games! Also the kinect creeps me out. My kinect is currently in another room, far away from my 360. Because I never use it. I don't want it cluttering my game room. I'm not thrilled by the idea of a console that won't operate unless it can see you. "Xbox, does this dress make me look fat?"
Additionally, the controller is an ode to the massive clunker that came with the original Xbox - which I hated; it's not backwards compatible - not that I'm surprised; and it's bloody expensive.

That brings us to our E3 hero: Sony, and its Playstation 4. Let me just say I completely loved how they rubbed all the Xbox's downfalls right in Microsoft's face at the end of their press conference.


I think the PS4 is the clear winner between these two, although I will say that the console itself doesn't excite me that much. It doesn't seem to differ a lot from the PS3. Reminds me of a 3 on steroids, really. I'm glad they're cleaning up some of the 3's flaws with background downloading, for example, and boosting its power and whatnot. And I've heard good things about the new controller, too. But I haven't seen anything about either of these consoles that truly signifies "next generation", particularly when you consider that both companies will be pushing two consoles simultaneously. That is to say, Xbox will still be making new things for the 360, as well as the One, and Sony the PS3 and PS4. Back in the day when a new console came out, it was like "what the hell is a PS one?". Eventually, you learn to appreciate the old console for its games and such, but this time it just seems like more of the same. A lot of games are even being released for both of either companies consoles or all four. Just feels redundant, and not at all "next gen". 

UPDATE: Microsoft has recently announced that they will be scrapping their shitty policies regarding game trading and internet connection. While I think the PS4 actually has some competition now, I still don't think this solves the crisis altogether. I'm glad to see they stepped up to the plate and answered to the gamer rage though. They had wrong ideas. They've begun to correct them.

That said, I have not pre-ordered either console, and I don't think I'll be rushing to buy one for a long time. I am, however, motivated to finally upgrade to the WiiU! I've been putting this off for a while now, because it really didn't seem worth it, but it looks as though if I wait too much longer I'm gonna miss out on a lot! So kudos to Nintendo, this year's underdog!

I guess that bring us to games. There were truckloads of game announcements this year, and obviously more than a few struck a chord with the gaming world. I, on the other hand, am a little harder to please. Like I said with the consoles, there wasn't a whole lot about any of these games that screamed "next gen" to me, except for their abilities to do worthless Xbox stuff. There are a few that I'm morally obligated to check out, a few that I'm interested in, and a few that I feel are just overrated. I'll say a few words about some of the big titles.

IMPORTANT: Let me just get this out of the way now. I've said before that I'm a very "old school" gamer. That doesn't mean I only play retro or anything, just that I've had trouble adapting to the explosion of capabilities of this generation's gamer. I like games that have a comprehendible style, and focus on things other than multiplayer action and using every button on the controller at the same time. I tend to lean toward RPGs and strategy games for this reason, and even they are getting to be a bit much for me. This is obviously just MY opinion and MY preference, and my first impressions of this new batch are based on such.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag -
The AC games have been slowly losing me over the years. I thought the first one was cool, and then gradually lost interest from there. But I feel like it may just be me, and maybe I need to revisit this series. The game looks like fun, but otherwise typical AC. I'll probably borrow it from someone and give it a whirl. Not a good sign that the demo froze...

Battlefield 4 - 
Something this demonstration showcased beautifully is something I've always hated about first-person shooters: you can't see anything. As you can imagine this game is not my cup of tea; there's not much to it... typical FPS? Seems like the kinda thing I'd pass out on the couch while my boyfriend plays. No thanks.

Bayonetta 2 -
This looks brilliant. Should be interesting on WiiU, too. This looks like one of Nintendo's best efforts at graphics and complex gameplay. Also I want those boots...

Below -
Had to double check this one 'cause the note I jotted during the conference just says "Huh." This looks like it might be up my alley but does anyone else feel like it's excessively zoomed out? It's only on Xbox One so... probably won't be playing this for some time, if at all.

Call of Duty: Ghosts - 
Don't play CoD. But you get a dog! Why do I feel like that can only end poorly...

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 -
Castlevania is an old staple for me. They could make CV out of 'Twilight' movies and I'd still play them (and that's saying something). My notes were as follows: "Angry dude... angry dude with hair dye... some chick... some chick with boobs... that's creepy... not a lot of actual story in this trailer, is there?". I'm sure I'll give this a whirl, eventually.

Dead Rising 3 -
I'm not the zombie's biggest fan. I've always loved classic hResident Evil but that's about it. That said, this game looks like it's probably a lot of fun. I like the idea of turning everything into a weapon and then getting all "MacGyver" with things. They chose their gameplay reveal very smartly, but this leads me to believe we've probably seen the best things about it already. Again, an Xbox One exclusive, so for now, that does not include me.

Destiny - 
"From the creators of Halo and the company that brought you Call of Duty..." That's not a good start as far as I'm concerned. That said, this looks absolutely gorgeous, I just worry that the gameplay won't be my style, and this will be another one of those "watch the boyfriend" play games.

Diablo 3 -
I remember when D3 came out on PC, and I was booking my employees vacations at work, and I asked John, "hey, when do you want your vacation?" and he was like, "well D3 comes out May 15th... so... two weeks... or... actually I quit." Haha. I know he got really into it but other than that I've actually not heard anyone talk about this game at all. I played the first two, a million years ago, but haven't traipsed into the third. Not sure if I should. I wonder how it will do on console? 

Dragon Age 3 - 
You guys are gonna kill me. I haven't played any of the Dragon Age games. I'm not sure I have the patience. This is what I meant about RPGs getting a little out of hand for me. In any case, I know they have a pretty good reputation, and I'm in no position to trample on that. Hopefully someone will get around to showing me this one so I can make up my mind.

Elder Scrolls Online - 
I love the Elder Scrolls games. I'm not an MMO person. So I'm not sure what I think about this, but I'd be willing to find out. Definitely looks like kind of game you completely lose track of time with. Thankfully it'll be on PS4, 'cause I don't have a gaming computer and I don't see XboxOne in my future.

Final Fantasy XV -
Ooooookay. Here we go. What you should know: I haven't liked any FF after X. What you shouldn't know: this trailer gave me chills. Instead of writing a big rant here I will just say this: I'm skeptical. The current trailers and info leave me conflicted; I'm wondering if I could warm up to it if I got to play it from the very beginning, but it still doesn't look or feel like FF. While it does have a next-gen feel to it, it seems like there is a disconnect in style, both in setting and characters. There's this weird combo of old and modern, I'm not sure it works. For now, I'm going to TRY to keep and open mind. But it's hard. FF has been dead to me for a long time. As far as them changing Versus XIII into XV is concerned, I have no comment. I've never looked into either until now. 

Grand Theft Auto V - 
GTA is another staple, not just for me but I think nearly anyone who calls themselves a gamer has probably played at least one of these. The thing I've always loved about GTA is that you don't even have to play it, really. Sand box. There are so many elements to the gameplay that you can always find ways to entertain yourself without actually engaging the story... which is also fun. I've invented a number of GTA party games, so I'm sure this will find its way into my collection sooner than later.

Halo 5 - 
Here we go again. I don't play Halo, either. I like seeing the sun once in a while. That said, I hope to catch someone else playing. Halo is always good for conversation.

Infamous: Second Son -
I've never properly committed to the 'Infamous' games, though I own them all, but this one actually intrigues me quite a bit. The story is there, so it comes down to gameplay. If this game manages to suck me in it may be the first next gen game I jump into.

Killer Instinct -
Hahaha! The monster truck announcer! Is there anything he can't sell? ...Yes. Yes there is. I don't think I'll be playing this. I have the old one.

Kingdom Hearts 3 - 
Right. Another one. I'm gonna be honest with you guys: KH never did it for me. It just feels like an awkward gathering of random sell-out characters and Disney. I never particularly enjoyed it. I played the first one through, and got bored about halfway through the second. I won't be in any hurry to play this.

Knack -
Looks like a pixar movie? I'm really not sure what to make of this. Seems like it could go either way. I'll check this out on someone else's dime.

Metal Gear Solid V - 
I love the MGS games. We go way back. With the last couple of titles though, I've found I get wrapped up in someone else's gameplay rather than enjoying it for myself, so I feel a bit unprepared for this. Kiefer Sutherland is now the voice of Snake. That actually doesn't seem like a bad fit to me, but there's nothing quite like Hayter... Also doesn't hurt that Kiefer Sutherland was my childhood crush and will always hold a special place in my heart... haha! I'm looking forward to checking this out, one way or another.

Minecraft - 
In exchange for my complete lack of information regarding Minecraft - because I don't play it - I will share with you a mildly amusing story as to why. Does anyone remember Strong Bad? I love Strong Bad, and once upon a time I made a deal with a friend - who desperately wanted me to play Minecraft - that if he watched ALL of Strong Bad's emails, I would buy the game. Still waiting...

Mirror's Edge 2 -
I remember when the first one came out, I was surprised by the look of it. Not just the choice in graphics style, but the fact that it's so bright and sharp and colorful. For a first-person action, this seemed a bit out of place, which is a good thing if you're me! It also broke all the rules with movement and displays. Really all you have is what you are, and that's pretty cool. I didn't really play the game as much as I watched others play, but I did enjoy it from that perspective. I'm sure number 2 will be a hit with the same crowd. And I especially enjoyed the part where they said "it's coming... when it's ready!" Cheeky bastards. I demand someone play this game for me!

Pokemon X/Y - 
Do I really need to discuss Pokemon? Buy Pokemon! And watch 'Pokemon But With Animals Instead'.



Project Spark - 
Now here's where shit got interesting. This game is like Sim City on acid. This reveal was the only one that I actually spoke aloud to myself while watching, and it was something like "holy shit. Wow". The chief issue with this game is that it's an Xbox One exclusive, and that's really too bad 'cause I think I'd enjoy giving this a go. I'm interested to see what the feedback is after its release.

Project X Zone - 
This game has been getting quite a bit of hype. Personally, I'm not that impressed. Crazy crossover games really don't do anything for me. I have all the original titles that participate in this one... I'd rather play those. It's an interesting idea, but it doesn't get my gears turning. Have fun, kids.

Ryse: Sons of Rome - 
This is another 'no, thank you' for me. I completely understand the hype for it, it's just simply not a game made for me. And of course, it's only on Xbox One. No go.

Saints Row 4 -
You guys are gonna kill me again... Haven't played any Saints Row. Are you really surprised though? 

Sonic: Lost World - 
I'm a classic Sonic fan, and it sounds like they're trying to get back to the stuff people actually like with this game. Here's hopin'. Might be fun on WiiU?

South Park: The Stick of Truth - 
I love South Park and I'm happy to see them expanding again. I'm sure it'll be chock full of laughs.

Super Smash Bros. (& Various Mario) - 
I think it's safe to say this is a Nintendo staple. Nintendo classics have always pretty consistent; entertaining and fun; not exactly mind-blowing in the "new" department, but these are the games that always resonate with their existing fans. I'm not the biggest fan of Smash Bros., but I've many a memory of it, and I can't wait to get my hands on Mega Man and pummel the shit out of that annoying Wii yoga guy...

Tales of Xillia - 
Frankly, they could just stop at the "of" and I'd still buy the game. Tales games have yet to really let me down, and I'm looking forward to finally getting to play this. Hopefully not 5 years later like with Vesperia...

The Crew - 
I'm not really a fan of driving games, but this looks like it could be good. Probably still not for me, but it's different from its predecessors, and I can appreciate that. This is one of the few games I saw this year that seemed to take advantage of the more obvious next-gen abilities (what I mean is, normally it's the graphics that stand out in next-gen upgrades, but that's not really the case this time around) so it gets a few extra points for showing off new stuff. The details still seem a little blurry to me, but I'm sure it's nothing a few hours with the game can't sort out.

The Last of Us - 
People are already raving about this game. I think I see why. It'll probably be a minute before I get around to playing it, but it's definitely on my to do list. I look forward to finding out if it lives up to its reputation, and its developer's reputation.

The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker - 
Check.

The Witcher 3 -
Seems to be one of the rare complex, action RP games that I'd actually give a shot. It looks great, definitely "bigger" than the others in the series. This is another of the few games this year that I feel is trying to take advantage of next-gen abilities, but it might actually just be that it's such a leap from 2? I'm looking forward to checking this out. Probably take me a decade to complete though.

Time and Eternity - 
This is hardly exciting in the grand scheme of things, but I love the look of this game. Very much my style. Kinda looks like a combo of 'Tales' and either a simplified 'DoA' or a complicated 'Street Fighter'. Not much else to say, really, it's all very familiar. I hope it's a good game. 

Titanfall - 
This game, for me, falls under the Halo umbrella. It looks beautiful, but it just doesn't strike me as something I'd enjoy playing. I'm sure it'll be another one of those wildly popular games that I've never played. Likely never will.

Watch Dogs - 
And the winner for game everyone but me wants to play is... this one! I really don't know what it is about this game but it just looks frustrating to me. I can already see the graveyard of broken controllers. Maybe I just haven't seen enough, yet, but it just looks like one mundane task after another, hidden under the blanket of a really cool concept. I wonder if this wouldn't have made a better movie? I will reevaluate after I've seen it myself, I guess.

X -
So this is just like Gundam/Full Metal etc. turned into a new game, right? For WiiU, which is interesting. That could be cool or annoying. This does look like the epitome of Nintendo console graphics thus far, does it not? Another game I really can't comment on at this point. Need more.

And most importantly: 

Barbie Dreamhouse Party - 
...I'm kidding, you guys.

Obviously this isn't every game that was discussed at E3, but I think these are most of the big ones. Listing them all would not only bore you to tears, but it would take me the whole year to get the damn blog up. I should probably just try to blog-as-I-watch to avoid this happening again. 
So there you have it! My short(ish?) and potentially controversial thoughts about the big news from this years E3. Thanks for reading. Cheers, 'til the next one.

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