Mr Teatime gulps down another cup of tea and returns to E3
Tea: Rooibos Lemon Ginger
Having cleaned up the first half of the messy showroom floor of E3 this year. It is now time to drench your mop again and finish this off. So we might as well start this off with the mixed bag that was Ubisoft’s announcements:
A new year, a new Assassin’s Creed. No surprise, the game was already well-known to us beforehand. We got some new gameplay and the annual E3-CG-Trailer that is both impressive and depressing at the same. Since I can’t shake the feeling that if Ubisoft used the time sunk into these trailers to make actual content or improvements for their games we might all be happier. It’s weird, however, how held back they seem about the female main character Eve. She has one trailer lasting maybe 2 minutes. I suppose they just felt too pressured to put her in and now try to act like she doesn’t exist. I am happy to play a female character for once, I hope she has more to her than that cardboard cut-out Aveline. But I could already pull out my crystal ball and predict a striking discrepancy between the playtimes of the two characters. Eve will probably only play in those god-awful eavesdropping and tailing missions so that all the fans will finally unite and say that female characters are a bad idea and we can just return to remaking Ezio again and again, each time a little less charismatic.
The biggest surprise for me was definitely For Honor. If Samurais fighting Vikings fighting Knights does not sound like a ridiculously stupid and awesome idea to you, you might want to reassess your priorities. It claims to have a new innovative sword fighting style and the demo actually seems rather interesting. Combining strategic blows with somewhat fast paced action. It will ultimately boil down to how naturally it plays though. I can already say, however, that if they won’t unveil a Pirate-add-on soon enough I will be kind of bummed.
Next up are the things I didn’t care about at all. Two Tom Clancy games they might as well be titled Tom Clancy’s Shooter 1 &2 respectively. I don’t know who on the one hand thinks Tom Clancy is actually involved in these, I mean he is dead after all, and on the other views this as some sort of quality seal. But I digress, boring shooters let’s move on. A new South Park game was also unveiled. A series, be it TV or game format, I honestly can’t wrap my head around. The humor just doesn’t click with me. Seems like a constant maximum offence show and that would get pretty stale pretty fast. But who am I to judge. Not tempted in the slightest.
Last and least is The Division, a third person shooter that tries to look more boring each time they show us some of it. You are part of a gender and ethnically diverse Division doing… er… fuck-all? They make a big point in being some kind of society rebuilding task force, but I don’t really grasp the concept. You can’t turn a society as a single person, haven’t you read 1984? Anyway, it is set in a snowy big city and all I saw was some guys and a girl in anoraks ruffing up policemen. In total Ubisoft was pretty shallow, it all hinges on how For Honor will turn out in the end. But you can already see the annual release of For Honor 2, For Honor: Companionship, and For Honor: The Truth on the horizon.
Next up is the internet’s dream-fulfiller: Sony. Starting with The Last Guardian was certainly a bold move, but one that paid off. As everyone was apparently in daze after that. Last Guardian first, a game that has been thought dead for the past 9 years and now is confirmed to still exist and to come out in the somewhat near future. I was… okay with it. It surely looks heart-wrenching, but very try-hard at that. The misfit of a creature you are asked to escort around and that also helps you is surely lovable. It is, sadly, just what I had expected. It was nice to see it still exist, Team Ico having a phenomenal track record, but I wasn’t blown back by what I saw. The log puzzle at the end seemed really unintuitive to me though.
Heavy Rain and Beyond to Souls get a PS4 version. WHY?????? Let it be buried and never dig it up again for crying out loud. The sooner we forget these atrocities of game design and writing exist the better.
Horizon Zero Dawn, Zero Dawn Horizon, Dawn… whatever you make of that title I can’t comprehend it. The game looks nice though. I liked the lack of QuickTime-events. Other than that it just looked really okay, again nothing to lose your pants over. A female protagonist for this kind of setting is surely unconventional, but that is what this industry desperately needs, unconventional things. Robo-dinosaurs, however, do not fall into this category, sadly.
Of course, I have to talk about the FF VII Remake. Yes, that is awesome, settle down again. After having experienced that announcing an HD port for every system was not clicking well with the fans if you are doing it for the millionth time. Someone finally decided to remake the whole thing. Could be interesting if they decide to take some risks. Seeing that the fans scream that every detail must make it into the new version, however, colours me pessimistic. If you want everything as it is you can play it just as it is. What is the point of a remake if you don’t change and alter some things? A lot of movie companies could take this advice as well, but I digress.
Let’s talk about the last thing on Sony’s agenda: Uncharted 4 – A Thief’s End. A game that crashed AGAIN this year and nobody seems to be bothered by it, since it is their favourite racist franchise. The demo they showed largely consisted of boring cover based shooting that seemed to be mainly there to show off the nice destructible environments, except for some impervious sausages, I saw it Naughty Dog, no point in hiding it. The second half or rather 2/3 of the trailer was a driving section during witch Nathan Drake made a lot of massive quotations marks “witty” remarks and was an asshole towards this unfortunate town’s inhabitants. I don’t know why anyone would sympathize with him, but the number 4 at the means there must have been enough people out there who did in the past. Sony’s conference was okay at best. At least the showed a lot of games and not some gimmicky elite controller. Finally giving fans what they wanted is what earned them their internet crown again this year. From me they get an awkward smile, a slight thumbs up, and a frown for Uncharted.
The next contender is the old man himself, Nintendo. They seem to shine as soon as they don’t have to perform live on stage, using puppets this year, which was actually pretty funny at times. The big new release is, of course, a new Star Fox game. It doesn’t look that new to be honest though. Just a space flying simulator. Fans of the franchise will dig, I won’t. We got a ton of Mario Maker and some other spin-off games which just shows that they have no more ideas what to do with them. As they now start mixing the paper franchise with the RPG one. Never have character models looked so out of place. The Mario-idea-pool has been running dry for quite some time now, but now they just mixed the different water samples and try to sell them as something new. Look forward to Mario Galaxy Kart Tennis Brawl, next year.
More Zelda, but not the Zelda fans were craving for after that one glimpse last year. A 3DS game that couldn’t look more copy-pasted if they hadn’t added two more Links in different colours. Now it is totally a new game. And also the Hyrule Warrior thing will come to 3DS. Why don’t you bring the one game from the Wii to the DS I would actually care about, Nintendo? That is Mario Galaxy if you are interested
As a whole I wasn’t interested in Nintendo’s conference to begin with. And that hilariously awful unveiling of more Amiibos knocked me out for the rest. If Nintendo truly wants to have a competitive chance. They need to step up and focus on their strength. And that is FUN. Nintendo is usually about fun and local co-op. So give me more of that and not some plastic figures someone just seemed to have pulled out of his arse.
Last up, because I sure as hell am not going to do Activison, is Square Enix. Deus Ex blablabla NEW NIER PORJECT! Wait, what? A game I thought only I played and enjoyed gets a sequel? It is made by Platinum Games, the only company that can do solid combat? What is going on here, is anyone else feeling weirdly dizzy? What have you put in my drink Square Enix? Seriously now, this was the most surprising announcement of E3 this year, for me that is. And if I had to crown a winner, I couldn’t slam that metal hat down fast enough on Nier 2 (not the official title) fast enough. The trailer they showed was mostly do build the atmosphere of the game and I can appreciate that. Gameplay would have been the icing on the cake. But a look at one of the three main characters was enough to win me over. Nothing more must be said, Nier 2 had me genuinely excited and no other announcement achieved that.
Let us turn our heads towards three lone standing games I want to focus on specifically: The first is Dark Souls 3. I liked Dark Souls I a lot, I liked Demon’s Souls a lot and I didn’t like Dark Souls 2 a lot. So when a new DS gets announced this soon after the last one I am obviously sceptic. “But it is made by Myazaki,” the fans say “therefore it must be amazing.” Not quite convinced by this statement I dug a bit deeper. The trailer they showed was absolute rubbish. Not only was the atmosphere not really present, I get it – bleak – don’t harp on about it until your hands fall off. And then the Giant Lord appeared. Yes, my least favourite aspect of DSII is back. People who have actually seen the game in action claim that it is far closer to DSI than DSII which is something I would greatly appreciate, but until I have seen it for myself I remain skeptical. The new gimmick, because you always need at least a little improvement, is weapon-arts. Gone are the days when a great sword was simply swung side to side, because it was so heavy and thus realistic. Now we have entered the realm of Anime Souls, where we can lift huge chunks of metal and swing them like butterfly-knives. I want more Dark Souls, but not like this. I want them to take their time and add all the little details that made DSI so great and their absence that made DSII so terrible. I don’t hold Myazaki as the savior of this franchise. Talented as he might be, he was working on Bloodborne as well and juggling both at the same time will not make both of them turnout great. Since Bloodborne was actually good and well-designed I fear all of his creativity went into that. This is undermined by the already announced re-used weapons and 15 NEW bosses, which means we will see a lot of old bosses make a new appearance. Please, no more Old Dragonslayer. DSIII may yet turn out to be great. But put aside those hype-googles for a while and look at this a bit more rational and you will see that it is very likely to leave you disappointed (again).
Kingdom Hearts III got its first full-length gameplay trailer. My black critic-heart melts at the sight of Kingdom Hearts so I won’t embarrass myself and will just leave it at: it looks very open and free.
The last thing I want to talk about is the new Metal Gear Solid V trailer. Conveniently for you to view right here:
A few thoughts on this. I have to admit that this is an extraordinary trailer. All the previous trailers were also very artistic and well directed. The use of music in all of them was superb. Here we have an instrumental piece, a haunting tune that induces a state of unease in every second. The clips and lines are also very well selected, arousing a lot of interest while at the same time utilizing some ideas from different fields of academic studies. The idea to use language as domination method could be observed in the colonies and even after their end. A lingua franca is a commonly understood language. Thus turning this lingua franca into a uniting cause on the surface, but a control mechanism at heart. But now comes the twist: I do not want to play this game at all. The lines present in the trailer are intriguing and all, but I know what a convoluted mess Metal Gear’s story is. Second, whenever somebody shows me actual gameplay my motivation dives even further. It just not my kind of game. This is the game I read plot synopses off and watch interesting interpretation videos, but I ultimately will never play. Also the trailer seems to be giving away a bit much. This is Hideo Kojima, of course, and nothing is ever as it seems. But from the looks of a few scenes it would seem that Big Boss and this guy with the hat and Zorro-mask, Skullface, are one and the same. Nobody ever seems to acknowledge his presence in the trailer. The mirror scene and the tape labeled “From the man who sold the world” seem to me like the final reveal scene. Mirror-punching after Skullface’s reflection was shown. But that is just my theory.
E3 2015 what a mixed bag. There were certainly some surprises, but most of them were already “leaked” beforehand. There is a lot to look forward (mainly Nier that is) and thankfully a lot for me to rip apart in the future. I will not indulge in the childish game of crowning a winning company. Here is how the games industry works: If you preorder you lose and if you don’t you are a winner. With that I raise my teacup and bid you farewell until next time.