Tuesday, June 11, 2013

E3 Thoughts

A lot happened.  Take a seat.
  • Xbox Live Gold is gonna be offering some free games for the time being.  Sounds like they want some of that PS+ pie, but with Assassin's Creed 2 and Halo 3, they're not off to a particularly great start.  But it's something.
  • MS whispered some poison into Insomniac's ears, and now Insomniac's working the other side.  Oh well.
  • Quantum Break could be really cool or really dumb.  Knowing Remedy, I'm prepared for the latter.
  • MS is getting rid of Microsoft Points for Xbox One.  Thank god.
  • Titanfall sounds really awesome.  I'm glad it's coming to PC, or I'd be pissed.
    • I'm guessing it's a timed exclusive.  When will MS learn?
  • They didn't seem to have much to say about the Vita, which is saddening.
  • Square Enix couldn't even be bothered to send a damn intern out to LA announce two of their biggest franchises?  A fucking video message, yeah I'm kind of annoyed.
  • Final Fantasy 15 will be excellent.  Given that SE couldn't even promise it would be out by the end of 2014 (remember this game was announced about 5 years ago), we also probably won't see it any time soon.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3 was a tease if I've ever seen one.  SE says it's coming.  I say it's coming in about 10 years.  Nice that they know what we want, at least.
  • Watchdogs looks alright.
  • The inFamous Second Son trailer was remarkably good.  It also looks like more inFamous, which is fine I guess.  I'm hoping it's a bit more evolved than it looked in the few bits of gameplay I saw.
  • Destiny looks really cool, though I guess I was expecting something a bit more revolutionary.
  • Sony kind of unloaded on MS when they got to the price and policies.  It was like watching a whole bunch of nuclear ICBMs leave their silos.  You knew whoever they were targeting was fucked.
    • Let's get this straight.  Sony made a superior machine (technically speaking) and is selling it for $100 less.
    • DRM?  No used games?  Online checks?  Pfft.  Only silly people do that, says Andrew House.
    • That's $400 with the Playstation Eye bundled in, just so you know.  No $450 "Pro" bundle.
  • Sony trotted a bunch of indies out on stage.  Some of their games, like Galak-Z and Secret Poncho looked really fun.
  • SuperGiant games announced Transistor is coming to Playstation platform(s).  Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it is a turn of events, given Bastion's appearance on seemingly every platform available EXCEPT for Playstation (and Nintendo...).
  • Driveclub sounds neato.  Apparently you get it for free on launch day with PS+, but they emphasized that it was the "PS+ Edition," which leads me to believe it will be at least somewhat gimped.
  • The Order looked interesting.
  • Maybe the Gaikai streaming thing isn't a pipe dream after all.  Sony's announcing it for 2014.
  • The Last Guardian never coming out is a legitimate possibility.  I think if I were Sony I would trash the project.  There's no way a game like that will recoup the costs it has no doubt accumulated over the years.
  • Looks like PS+ will be required for online play on PS4.  Sony's finally taken that step.  All things considered, it's a minor negative, but a negative all the same.  Sony's only doing it because they know that it's one con in a sea of pros, and it won't make them look bad against MS, who's been doing it forever.  Won't effect me personally for the time being, as I have PS+ through 2015 or so, but it is unfortunate.
  • They started backtracking a little bit the day afterwards on the policies thing.  Tretton says publishers can do whatever they like where DRM is concerned.  Yoshida assured the Podcast Beyond boys that DRM wouldn't be a thing on PS4.  Sony is dangerously close to making the same PR mistakes Microsoft did just a couple weeks ago.
  • The system itself looks pretty nice.  The back is all pretty much all ventilation, except for where the ports are.
  • HDD is user-replaceable, which I appreciate very much.
  • So it seems like the $400 price point DOESN'T include the Playstation Eye.  Unfortunate, but probably a necessary sacrifice to keep the price down.  If I were Sony, I might have considered offering a $500 SKU with 1TB of storage and the Eye included, but after the SKU mess they had last generation with the PS3, I can respect them wanting to just have one version for now.
  • Though it didn't seem to get a lot of attention on stage, the Vita does have more than its fair share of games to show at the event.  Unfortunately, most of them are either ports, indie games or sequels/expansions.  No big new IPs, like Gravity Rush or Soul Sacrifice.  I don't think anybody can truly say the Vita doesn't have any games, but without a few big, unique titles to tether the other games, I think it will continue to have perception issues.
  • Wii U still doesn't look like much of a proposition at the moment.  Wind Waker HD alone won't sell me.
  • 3DS, on the other hand, is looking like just the ticket.
  • Fairy type in Pokemon sounds incredibly dumb.  But I won't knock it until I see it in action.

  • Mirror's Edge 2; another tease.  EA knows we want it, which is nice.
  • Garden Warfare....you know what?  Might be cool.
  • I almost forgot they announced a new Battlefront game.  I should be overjoyed...but for some reason I'm not.  Maybe I need some gameplay.
  • I guess I'm kind of a sucker for racing games, because The Crew got my interest.
  • For all its new trappings, Assassin's Creed IV looks like more Assassin's Creed.  For better or worse.
  • Ubisoft didn't say anything about Beyond Good and Evil 2.  Very tragic.
  • Metal Gear Solid 5 looks awesome.  I can only hope it can live up to all that potential.
So in short.  Microsoft made a turn for the worse, Sony made a turn for the better, and Nintendo and most publishers played it safe.


I don’t like the idea of turning this into something where I just post random thoughts.  I started this blog wanting to focus more on long form writing, and that’s still what I want to do.  But I rarely have time.

What I hate even more than the idea of turning this into a game diary, however, is the idea of letting this blog sit and fade away.  So I will write.  It probably won’t be a review, or an editorial, or something intensive, but I will write.

Anyway, I'm playing a lot of games.

Ace Attorney HD Trilogy; Capcom was kind of enough to release all three of the original Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games on iOS.  I'm replaying the first one on iPad now.  It's lovely.  The port isn't perfect--the UI could be better, and you can't fast-forward through text--but the ability to have all three games in one app running at Retina display resolution (complete with HD sprites) is worth any minor caveat.

Injustice: Gods Among Us; I bought this game on the cheap, mainly because I wanted to be awesome with The Flash.  To my surprise, while I still have the highest win ratio with the scarlet speedster, I'm having a lot of fun playing Hawkgirl and Catwoman, as well.  Still, having gotten into fighting games with BlazBlue, I have a hard time getting behind 3D fighters.  I don't dislike them, but they're just so...slow.  Injustice is nice for when I just want to sit back a little bit, but I'm used to every split-second being of vital importance.  Anyway, the story mode was also really cool.  It's kind of like a big, long, big budget superhero movie that happens to be interactive.  And they tease a sequel at the end!

Company of Heroes; I was excited for Company of Heroes 2, and resigned myself to the fact that I would end up buying it day one.  But then I booted up the original, and realized how little of it I had actually played.  I've played dozens of hours of Company of Heroes, but I never actually finished the campaign missions.  Considering there's like 40 of them, and each can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour, that's not crazy, I suppose.  But I'm not going to get CoH 2 until I at least beat the campaigns in the original.

Anyway, I really love Company of Heroes, even though I'm really bad at it.  It just nails the atmosphere so well.  When you have dudes yelling and screaming and running as the ear-piercing sound artillery shells slamming into the ground mingles with that of bullets whizzing through the air and tank engines humming away, you know you've got a birds eye view of a battlefield.  It's gritty, it's nervewracking, and it's exciting.

Sleeping Dogs; I bought this game some time ago, and never got around to trying it until now.  It's pretty good.  A solid 8.5.  There are some spots where you can tell that it's been to hell and back in the dev cycle (the dating mechanic is stunningly underdeveloped, for example), but overall it's impressive that it not only came out, but came out to be as good as it did.  The voice acting and writing is excellent, the story is engaging, and the gameplay is competent at worst and really satisfying at best.  And--at least on PC--it looks gorgeous.  Just like Not Ping.

Remember Me; I like Remember Me.  I think it's a solid game.  It's not without its issues, but most of those issues reside in its somewhat simplistic gameplay, and its underdeveloped mechanics.  The world it's set in is fantastic.  Not since Mirror's Edge have I seen a game with such an interesting and well-defined setting, and such incredibly strong visual direction.  Neo Paris is perhaps even more fascinating to me than Bioshock Infinite's Columbia, another world full of wonder and intrigue.  The gameplay is fine.  It has its moments of excitement and fun, but in general never seems to achieve greatness.