Belated E3 impressions piece? I got you covered! I know, it’s really late. I got sick, then I got a new puppy and he was the neediest thing ever for the first two weeks, then I got (and still have) an ear infection that not only took away 75% of my hearing, but also casued immense pain, then uni started again… just not a good time. But I really wanted to do this one, even though already commited myself to doing the panels in the order they happened, so I followed through with whatever the last one was. Anyway, here we go.
So Sony was, in my opinion, the big winner of E3 2016. I’ve heard the argument that all they really did was show trailers which can be found on YouTube, but I think where Sony excels is just in sheer showmanship. E3 is the chance for publishers to market to us gamers, and Sony does it with such style that it’s impossible not to be caught up in the hype. Heck, I don’t even own a PS4 and I got hyped! Without further ado, here’s my impression of Sony’s E3 2016 conference.Something that really helped Sony’s conference was the full orchestra. Composer Bear McCreary was on-hand to direct all this (direct? Not really up with my orchestra terminology), and it was just great. It really made the entire thing seem like a grand event, which is what I want from E3, at least most of the time.
A new God of War was the first game to be revealed and it single-handedly made me want to play a franchise I used to give next to no fucks about. I’d only played the two PSP games (I’ve seen finished the first and started the second) and watched some Let’s Plays of the first three, and Kratos came off as what a teenage boy thinks is a great character and the storyline kind of jumps the shark either in the first or third games. Also, going to Hades every game is lame. But this new God of War looks to be trying to mature Kratos, and the trailer was so well executed that it seems like the writers really learned something since God of War III. The game shows actual subtlety, and it’s so cinematic. I know that word gets a bad wrap, but in this case, it means that the designers seem to actually have knowledge of camera angles and scene transitions. The game’s presentation is truly astounding. Plus, the Norse setting interests me a lot more than the Greek one. Plus, Kratos is actually likeable this time around! The combat is slower, but I much prefer slower, more methodical combat to the typical character-action/spectacle fighter (I think that’s what people call it? Or at least Totalbiscuit fans?) genre. Also, the music was awesome, and apparently Bear McCreary is composing the entire score! In short: this trailer made me want to get a PS4 and got me interested in the franchise. So yeah, good way to start your show.
Days Gone was announced and it’s basically a biker zombie game. It didn’t really grab me, but I am interested in biker culture (I remember watching this cool miniseries called Bikey Wars a few years back, which I think starred Arrow’s Ra’s al Ghul), and this can’t be any worse than Ride to Hell: Retribution. Doesn’t look like anything groundbreaking though, and zombies are so done by this point, they’re just burnt. Looks like a typical zombie survival game, and unless you’re The Last of Us (which everyone initially thought his game was), you can;t play that straight.
The Last Guardian was shown and it definitely came off better this time around. There’s not much to talk about, since it’s just more of the winged dog thing interacting with the unnamed boy, and Team ICO games usually aren’t the most cinematic things. Also, it got an actual release date! It’s coming out October 25th, 2016.
Horizon Zero Dawn showed off a lot of gameplay. The game features a dialogue wheel, which is nice for roleplaying, though I didn’t think this game would focus on that. Plus, the dialogue with other characters looks like something from an MMO (typical shot-reverse-shot in conversations). It showed its sprawling open-world, which was okay, but the map looks incredibly generic. The organic nature of exploring and getting into combats is nice, and it has your typical looting and crafting mechanics, which by this point feel pretty generic to me. The main character also “hacked” an mechanical animal and rode it around, which was neat. Also cool was how the player can scan enemies for weaknesses, which certainly adds some tactics to things beyond “shoot at until it dies”. The combat as a whole looks pretty good, with enemies having decent health and reveal weak points after taking enough damage, and being really threatening and destroying the environment (trees, buildings etc.). Plus, you can call your mount to help during combat, which gave me a very Shadow of the Colossus vibe. We also saw one animal kind of infect another, which makes me think the infectors are going to be a recurring side-mission. The game looks fun, but other than interesting combat and a unique world and aesthetic, it’s nothing that special. Also, I still don’t trust Guerrilla Games after all the crap they’ve pulled with Killzone over the years.
David Cage’s new game Detroit: Become Human was up next and… what is that name? That is nonsense. Anyway, this is the first I’ve heard about this game, but it was apparently known about before this conference. It features typical AI stuff with AIs not being treated as real people and some of them freaking out, and it’s all very unsubtle. The trailer had someone playing as Connor, a police negotiator who is also an AI. The trailer showed that you can clearly fail, but investigation helps you negotiate with people, like knowing what their jobs are, if they’ve killed before, etc. The dialogue is a bit stilted and really lacks subtlety or nuance, but it looks like this game will be a great thrill ride, if anything.
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard was announced, and it’s seemingly the franchise going back to its horror roots. It uses a first-person perspective (and it obviously meant to be played in VR) and features the protagonist, a male, exploring a creepy and unhygienic house (cockroaches, ew). I can’t tell you whether you will find it scary or not, because I’m a big baby who finds BioShock scary. But it’s very atmospheric and looks like a return to form after the clusterfuck that was Resident Evil 7. Also, I like that they put ‘Biohazard‘ in there as a nice workaround for the title (in Japan, Resident Evil is called Biohazard) — though it does lose something when the ‘VII’ is made via colouring in parts of ‘Evil’ — and that Resident Evil doesn’t want to be a schlocky B-movie franchise anymore. I’m going to stay far, far away from it because I’m a baby, but you horror fans enjoy. It’s releasing next year on January 24.
Final Fantasy XV was shown off with some truly annoying dubstep music by some guy called Afrojack. Because why would I want some glorious orchestral music when I can listen to… Afrojack? Also, it’s getting some kind of VR add-on or minigame or something where you play as Prompto (the pretty blonde guy) in first-person and ineffectually shoot at things while the other guys do all the work. but hey, you can teleport! Yeah, it seems entirely gimmicky, and if it’s exclusive to PSVR, that’s probably for the best. FFXV is still dropping on September 30 and it’s still the last chance I’m giving Final Fantasy.
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare showed off its campaign. It looks like a solid sci-fi shooter with a mix of space dogfighting and environments with lots of verticality like the hull of a space ship in space, where you can walk around on floating debris. There were also some cool takedown moves and equipment, like a grenade that is basically the Singularity from Mass Effect. It’s a pretty big change for CoD and one that its usual fans aren’t buying, at that. I think it looks kind of cool, but I’m not a Call of Duty fan by any stretch, and I’m definitely not the guy who’s going to buy it day 1. I think it’d be cool if Infinite Warfare were a completely new IP, but They then showed off the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered which looks nice. Both Infinite Warfare and the CoD 4 remaster drop on the 4th of November this year.
Some random Skylanders: Imaginators thing was also shown, where you can “create” your own character. And by create, they mean that you can swap out pre-made parts, LEGO-style. Oh, and it had Crash Bandicoot in it, to compliment what was said: that some Crash Bandicoot games will be remastered. Skylanders: Imaginators will release Octoboer 13. Oh, and I keep thinking it’s “Imaginauts”. because that would be a much cooler name.
Death Stranding is the name of Hideo Kojima’s new project, and it’s got Norman Reedus as well. So obviously there was hype from this, even though all we got was… Norman Reedus on a beach, with a baby and discarded high-tech handcuffs. With dead sea life all around him as he wept. And he may have had a his stomach cut open. It was a weird little thing, but it was very well-shot and I actually did enjoy analysing it.
The last thing shown was an untitled Spider-Man game by Insomniac. Apparently it’s the first in a series of games that Marvel will be outsourcing to well-known devs. The game isn’t based off any existing comic (at least not directly) and takes place in its own universe. It looks nice, but that’s not hard these days. Aside from that, the game gave me a very Amazing Spider-Man feel. The costume is more tech-focused, including the shifting eyes from the Civil War costume. It’s scheduled for release next year, which makes me think that, no matter what they say, it is in fact a kind of tie-in game for Spider-Man: Homecoming. I just don’t buy that this game has been in development for a long time, especially since we had a Spider-Man game in 2014. I hope it succeeds, because with the Arkham franchise wrapped up (at least the main, Rocksteady entries), we could use a big hitter for superhero games. I guess only time will tell.
Sony also talked about Playstation VR and how it’s a good experience and blah blah. Farpoint is a game made for PSVR and it looks like a really generic sci-fi shooter. Star Wars Battlefront will be getting some X-Wing VR missions, for those who still play that piece of crap. I’m just sad that it’s not its own game and is likely going to be disposable single-player missions or co-op at best. Batman Arkham VR was announced and it’s exactly what you thought it’d be; you’re Batman in VR doing detective stuff. Oh, and either Mark Hamill or Troy Baker is the Joker. It’s coming October this year. Lego Star Wars: The F0rce Awakens was shown and it’s about what you’d expect. I’m looking forward to it, since I liked The Force Awakens but I’d like to see something take the piss out of it.
So that was Sony’s presentation. I gotta say, while there were some duds (why would you close with Days Gone?), it really got me hyped for the next few years. Some really good-looking stuff, and it was actually quite varied as well. While Sony didn’t get people out to talk as much as others, they did a great job of letting the game’s speak for themselves. Sony won this year’s E3 through sheer showmanship, and demonstration of the passion their games can invoke. Kudos, Sony.