Our Lord, Master, and Omniscient leader WiNGSPANTT is away at E3 for the next week, which means I’ve control of the site in his absence. If you’ll excuse the evil laughter flowing from your speakers, let me get right to the point. There are games being shown/announced/
thrown a wedding ball in Las Angeles, and while I can’t cover all of them in these articles, I can talk about the ones important to me and hopefully you, our Wonderful and Not-at-all-brainwashed readers.
One is the loneliest number
I’ll be straight. I didn’t get a chance to watch every press event in its entirety. I’ve been limited instead to the re-uploads across the internet, but that’s for the best. I see only the games and none of the shiny light shows.
Microsoft opened with a (I’d call it slightly rank) bang, showing us Call of Duty, Halo, Dead Rising, confirmation of our fears about its “advanced technology,” a little Battlefield, Call of Duty: We Fight with Robots Now (or Titanfall if you must correct me), and some other stuff. There wasn’t a game in the bunch I cared much about, nor did what I saw of the XBox conference (not much) give me an inclination to even consider buying One.
That being said, the 360 didn’t release with much fanfare or powerful launch titles in 2005. The release itself was a financial disaster in the long term, with the RROD and the need for constant replacements. But in the two years leading up to Halo 3 and CoD4’s release, developers learned, adapted, and created games that defined genres. Microsoft came out as the king of the consoles space despite a brief deposition by Nintendo and the Wii. I’m doubtful that position will remain in their hands, because Sony raised the bar with their conference.
Four is the magic number
I’m buying a PS4. Not because of the fact it has some great launch titles lined up. Not because it has some great titles coming out. I’m buying it for one reason: Final Fantasy XV. I don’t care how bad and badly written XIII was, or the continued dreck pumped out by the XIII team. I have faith, skewed and wrong though it may be, that the real passion and talent was hard at work on Versus XIII, now XV. I want to love playing FF again, and I want the team at Square to recapture the magic of their past in this new vision.
Ahem. That out of the way, I gather you could break down Sony’s conference into two separate but equally important parts. First, the PS4 is not the XBox One, that console is stupid, by ours. Second, here are some games you really want to see.
Between the two topics, I’m more interested in the games part of things. Of those games, I want inFamous, the Order, and the Supergiant title. Destiny is a curiosity, and I’ll likely be playing Watch Dogs on the PC, but seeing the fidelity on new-console hardware is a nice jump. Kingdom Hearts won’t be on my list, if only for selfish reasons. Hate me if you must.
End of the day, I’m thinking Sony’s going back to PS2 era thinking. It wasn’t about quantity or quality of games, if was about both. If you can fill your system’s library with strong titles and not have one game shoulder the burden of the bottom line, you’re better off. I think I tend to agree with WiNG, but only to an extent. I think the XBox One will win the war, at least initially. They have the names with them. Respawn, Halo, Call of Duty, Dead Rising, Bungie (though Destiny is cross-platform). These developers and games have serious clout, and a history of success.
I want to keep in mind, for myself at least, that the current generation has been nearly ten years long, and I expect a similar timeframe for the coming one. The problem for Sony was, they tried to be another Microsoft, and competed in the same ways. Not to mention it was a bear to develop for the PS3 and they had a dearth of high-quality titles for a long time. Still, if the developers, publishers, and Sony can look long term like they did with the PS2, they’ll be in good straights for years to come.
EA and Ubi: A magical pair
Let’s start with the squirming mass that is EA. On their end, I could give a hoot and a half about sports or racing. The two DICE games are the only real takeaways from the presentation.
From Battlefield: I think they’ve come full circle. Commander mode, five man squads, 64 players, enormous well-built maps, actually usable destruction, and team-based play. Have we seen all of them in the past? Yes, we have, scattered between games for years. The thing is, we now have it all in one pretty package, and this time without an ugly blue filter over the top. The presentation was staged, true, and the map used the best tested in the game, I grant you. But given the short period between BF3 (really a beta test for BF4), and this new game’s release date, I can’t ask for much more.
Mirror’s Edge 2, on the other hand, has me highly intrigued. Cringe if you must, but I never played, or even bought, the first Mirror’s Edge. What DICE have done with the new one gives me hope. I saw a familiar setting with more focus on the character of Faith, and with Frostbite “3” powering the game, I can only hope for a grand scale city truly open to exploration. I like too that DICE made it clear they’ll only release ME3 (not that one) when it’s done and they’re happy with it.
Ubisoft has me hooked without needing a history to a series. I know they make open world adventure games, but that’s a genre with a wide-range of uses. While I can spot a few similarities between Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creeds 2 through 3, I wouldn’t call them similar games.
To that end, Watch Dogs has my full attention, as does Blacklist. WiNG mentioned that Ubisoft called the new Splinter Cell the “biggest” in the series, not the most ambitious or most innovative. From where I’m standing, “biggest” encompasses both of those terms. They want to push the boundaries while keeping the setting and stories familiar. I’m okay with a Bond style supervillain because Sam Fisher is a Bond style hero. Less on the vodka and women, sure, but he’s still a cold killer who works at the behest of a deniable contract. The multiplayer of course makes me anxious to slit throats, and if nothing else, uncovering how the story plays out will be worth the price of admission.
Watch Dogs, on the other hand, is something quite unlike what we’ve seen from Ubi-Bro. Whereas they’ve plumbed the past for our futures in Assassin’s Creed, and seen the darker sides of our present in Far Cry 3, now we’ve got a future pulling plot from the present. The hacking mechanic will be tough to pull off well, especially making it seamless with gameplay as we’ve seen in the trailers. If they do, and I know they can, combat will be less about bang bang and more about, oh, I don’t know, actual thought.
I’ve left out a ton, I know, but if you want to find out more about E3, there are plenty of avenues to walk down. This is one guy’s opinion on an ongoing expo. We’ve much left to see.