Sunday, June 10, 2012

E3 2012 Reaction

Last year I got myself good and excited for E3.  After that, I made the very wise cynical choice to never do that again.  This turned out to be sage-like Buddha-caliber wisdom because I don't think there was a single person on the face of the planet who actually was satisfied with how E3 2012 turned out.  Video gamers are usually extremely negative folk, often hugely unsatisfied and belligerent about often the silliest of things, and yet somehow able to defend utterly despicable companies like Activision and EA who want nothing more than to fuck us up the ass endlessly*.  We're a divided folk, but still E3 2012 left everybody pissed off.

Really, my problem with E3 was simply that there was almost nothing new and surprising to offer from anybody.  Of the games I found interesting this year, only one is actually a totally new title.  The rest are games that appeared at E3 last year, or are out already in Japan, or I knew were coming out for years now.  Yeah, there are plenty of games that managed to miss the conference, and that annoys me to no end, but the real problem is that there's almost nothing to talk about.  This post isn't even all that much about E3, its more like an upcoming slate of games I want to play.  You know, I could complain about the silly casual games, but I'm not going to do that.  Hard core gamers are too self-righteous already.  They don't own video games, they don't get to decide that every single title in this medium needs to be made one way, and really, I wish a lot of them would shut up.  Half these guys hate used gaming because they buy into the propaganda that the used gaming market is killing gaming, they're out of their minds.

I'm going to try to look above the easy negativity, and try to be positive.  There actually are a very nice suite of upcoming games, many of which are going to be very satisfying and enjoyable experiences.  Its easy to hate E3 for what it lacked, but lets try to love it for what it had.  So I have nine games to talk about here, all of which look rather decent.  I'm not listing these in any kind of order at all, because why would I be organized?  And then when I'm done with that, I'll briefly pop back to being negative again.  Anyway, here we go:

Pokemon Conquest (DS) is probably the last new DS game I'll ever play.  And that's a real shame, since the Nintenod DS is probably the finest gaming console ever.  I love my DS so much.  This is easily my second most anticipated game of the year now, right behind the last game on this list.  For awhile now I've been pretty tired with the same old humdrum Pokemon game.  I wanted something with, for example, a real plot.  Something that isn't just "beat the Elite Four and beat up Team Whatever and fill up the Pokedex".  "Pokemon Conquest" sets the Pokemon saga in the midst of a feudal Japanese war, with a large cast of characters all fighting with their adorable Pocket Monster friends.  And its a tactical RPG!  I've been saying for years that Pokemon needed to be a TRPG, or if I haven't been saying that I've been thinking it extremely loudly.  Now, I know this isn't going to be "Tactics Ogre: Pokemon", and the storyline definitely will not be very dark, but it is something very different from the Pokemon brand.  Really, that's what Pokemon has needed, something different.  Coming out just eight days from now, in fact.

Beyond: Two Souls (PS3) is the game Quantic Dream is making instead of my darling, "Kara", which will forever remain nothing but a wasted tech demo.  "Beyond: Two Souls" actually almost makes up for the totally wasted opportunities there, since it seems like an action packed psychic-powered adventure.  For some reason I'm getting very deep David Lynch vibes from this trailer, even though explosions really aren't his thing.  Interestingly, this is also the second game to star Ellen Page, who is also the lead in "The Last of Us", a zombie survival horror game which really did not catch my eye**.  This did, however.  My one problem with this trailer though is that they completely forgot to show how the gameplay actually works.  Is this going to be like "Heavy Rain" where the entire game is run on Quick Time Events?  Or will there be actual gameplay?  Also, the characters only appear to be human in about half the shots, which is odd since no other trailer here has this problem.  "Beyond: Two Souls" is coming out in some strange time dimension known only as "Q4".  When it will be released in this universe is still unknown.

Final Fantasy: Agni's Philosophy (Phantom Console) in fact is not a game at all, but instead is another tech demo.  Which is utterly terrible and tragic, because Square Enix Japan had absolutely nothing else to offer this E3, other than FFXIV, "Dissidia Dance Party", and some iPhone-only Final Fantasy game.  "Agni's Philosophy" was also easily their most exciting title since "Final Fantasy Versus XIII" or "Fortress", which is funny because none of these titles actually exist.  "Versus XIII" is in development Hell, "Fortress" was murdered behind the scenes by executive meddling, and "Agni's Philosophy" was never intended to be anything other than a tech demo for SE's new engine.  So when this movie ends on a cliffhanger and leaves you wanting to see more... well, remember "Kara"?  Here we go again.  This movie actually offered a far grittier and uglier Final Fantasy game than what we've seen before, including an old man missing teeth.  A far cry from the stupidly perfect porcelain doll people that most Final Fantasy games seem to star these days.  But I guess that's all that should be said about this.  Maybe this world could have been home to a great game, maybe you could have actually ridden that dragon, maybe, maybe, maybe.  Somewhere, in some other universe, there's a parallel me who is playing this game.  But its pointless to think about him now.  "Agni's Philosophy" will be released when the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, when the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves, and when I bear a living child.  Then it shall be released, but not before.

There will be a real "Final Fantasy XV" someday, but it will probably be far more appealing to vapid Japanese teenagers.  What a shame.

Tomb Raider (PS3, 360) is a game I actually talked about last year.  But here's a new trailer.  As I mentioned last year:  "watching this demo, I am very concerned for her safety."  This game is HARD CORE.  Jesus Christ, did somebody take a bite out of Lara's neck?  Its like an entire game watching Joffrey Lannister murder those two prostitutes.  So this is something too interesting for me to ignore.  I need to know where this is going.  Coming out March 5th... of next year.

Sleeping Dogs (PS3, 360) is Square Enix's other great game of E3 this year.  This was actually announced a few years ago, as "True Crime: Hong Kong".  That leads to actually a pretty funny story.  Because that game was canceled last year by its original publisher, the Evil Empire known as Activision.  Their reasoning was that they couldn't steal enough money from the title, so they shut it down.  Square Enix laughed their asses off at this decision, bought the rights (but not the name), and are now releasing this, a very interesting and exciting open-world crime game.  One SE official actually went so far as to call Activision "crazy", which is not true, the correct term is "criminally insane".  "Sleeping Dogs" looks like a Chinese crime movie, even down to the dubbed over lip movements.  It just looks amazing.  Thank God Activision didn't release this, or else we'd have to have constant online connection or sell our immortal souls to play the game or something.  Releases August 14th.

Gravity Rush (Vita) is exactly the same game that I recommended last year.  So nothing to say here, really.  Still looks awesome, still feels like Szeth-son-son-Vallano from "The Way of Kings".  And it still looks astoundingly pretty.  Releases the day after tomorrow.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3) looks AWESOME!!!  Oh my god!  Level-5 can have all of my money, every single cent, right now.  You got Studio Ghibli coming together to create an utterly classic RPG.  "Ni No Kuni" is right now the most beautiful game I have ever seen, just barely beating out "Wind Waker".  Its a lovely cartoony RPG game with a huge world map, which by the way, is UNBELIEVABLY STUNNING.  And there aren't random encounters on that World Map!  Did you see that thing?  Did you see that?  Can you believe it?  Oh my God, this game is so amazing.  This is what "Dragon Quest X" should have been.  The PS3 version of "Ni No Kuni" is so pretty that I can forgive that Nintendo of America screwed me out of the DS game.  Releases January 22nd, next year.

Kingdom Hearts 3D (3DS) is a game I guess I have to talk about.  I've been playing the Kingdom Hearts games for about a decade now, and well... this game really is not making me feel it.  I don't know what it is, maybe it was how bad "Kingdom Hearts coded" sucks, or the ridiculous plot contrivances that are bringing Xehanort back to life, or what.  I just really cannot get excited about yet another side game in this series.  If it isn't "Kingdom Hearts III", I can't help but feel its just another delay of the inevitable.  And the fact they've included a silly Pokemon monster collection system like FFXIII-2 isn't giving me much faith either.  I guess I could build a party of two healers to back up Sora and Riku, since healing is really all I need the CPU characters to do for me.  And the new over-the-top spinning system seems like it could be a lot of fun.  But I've reached a point where the same gameplay over and over again can't really excite me anymore.  The storyline doesn't look like its ever going to reach any conclusion, I'm getting some frightening "Bleach" vibes now.  Still, I have to play this game, its a duty.  Because "Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Tron: Legacy" are in these days.  That means something.

Halo 4 (360) is a game that... Nah, I'm joshing you.  I don't give a monkey shit about this game.

The Last Story (Wii) is the last game on this list.  Why?  Because of a cheap pun, that's why.  Anyway, "The Last Story" has been a game I have been eagerly awaiting for some two years now.  And we had to fight tooth and nail to get this thing to come to North America, but the local Nintendo branch here seems to resent the fact it has to sell RPGs.  Operation Rainfall was mainly interesting for me personally to get this game here.  I bought "Xenoblade" day 1 to prove to Nintendo that JRPGs are not dead in this hemisphere.  "The Last Story" is an amazing title, easily the best-looking game on the Wii in terms of pure graphics.  It combines action-based squad combat with a high fantasy storyline.  There is nothing I don't love about this game.  And its title is showing pretensions of overthrowing Final Fantasy as the premiere RPG franchise.  Final Fantasy could use the competition, I feel.  To beat Final Fantasy, you need the man who made Final Fantasy, the master himself, Hironobo Sakaguchi.  I have "Batman 3"-levels of excitement for this game.  This is coming out sometime this summer, supposedly July 10th but there are reports it was delayed into August.

And tragically, I must point what wasn't at E3 this year, and these are things that greatly disturb me.  Because really, there's no excuse that these games weren't here:

"Bioshock: Infinite" totally no-showed, but really, I'm not very worried about this.  The game was recently delayed into 2013, but the trailers and demos clearly show this game exists, and is AWESOME.  I suspect this didn't appear at E3 purely because there was nothing left to show.  This I'm fine with.

"Final Fantasy Versus XIII" has no such excuse.  This game has been Vaporware for six years now.  Tetsuya Nomura even teased new details, then had to apologize because the higher-ups told him to keep quiet.  And um... that can't be good.  A hoax trailer recently claimed the game had been retitled "Final Fantasy XV", which would have been a good sign because at least that meant SE was willing to finish the game.  The total silence is leading us all to one real conclusion:  cancellation.

"Final Fantasy Type-0/Agito" was already released in Japan, an entire year ago.  It got great reviews, it was well-received, it looked fantastic and... nada mas.  Nothing for us in the rest of the world.  I suspect this game never got translated because the PSP completely collapsed in its last years of life, and there was no profit to be found.  Which is horrible and I hate the entire world for it.  This was a great game, and I'll never play it.  There is talk of an English translation, it may come on the Vita someday, but considering SE's track record, who knows?

"The Last Guardian" is Sony's version of "Versus XIII", a great ambitious game that looked great.  Then something terrible happened during development, the lead director was fired and then brought back as a consultant, and now nobody has heard a word about this game in years.  Again:  canceled.

"Fire Emblem 3D" was released in Japan just a few weeks ago, and unlike some other titles here, it received some word for its developer.  Nintendo of America did actually announce this game's release in North America... but not in E3.  They announced this game in the classiest way possible:  on Twitter.  Bravo, idiots.  Still, this game looks great.  Remember, the last Fire Emblem game wasn't translated at all, because, again, Nintendo of America hates RPGs.  So all in all, this is actually a positive word.

"Valiant Saga" is a curious case.  Nobody is sure if this game even exists at all, or is just a hoax.  Just two weeks ago there appeared an image online that promised this would be a sequel to FFXII that would also be a prequel to the events of FFT.  Was this the plotline of "Fortress", the aborted FFXII sequel which SE trashed a few years back***?  There even appeared a Twitter page for the title.  So a few days back, the Twitter gleefully announces that it would have news at four o'clock.  That news turned out to be... well, yeah...  So, thanks Internet.  Get my hopes up and dash them for no reason.  Go fuck yourself.

See you next year. 

* I know I'm probably years behind this topic, but Activision's handling of "Diablo III" is a load of animal feces.  You need to be online for the entire game in order to play single player???  How does any of that make sense?  I remember "Command and Conquer 4" did a similar thing, and well, that game sucks for a million reasons already, but this was the killer for me.  Here's the thing:  when you have constant online, it means you can only play the game YOU BOUGHT when the developers lets you.  Maybe their servers are down, maybe they decided your behavior was disruptive or something, or they just want to be a dick, then your game is automatically bricked forever, and there's nothing you can do.  So screw that.

This is a horrific nightmarish vision of a black future for gaming.  And I want nothing to do with it.  Activision is a company based mostly on serving Satan anyway, but this is too much even for them.  I wouldn't dare give this power to even my sainted mother, yet alone greedy corporations that spend most of their time not making new games, but instead looking for new ways to fuck me up the ass.

** Technically Ellen Page isn't really involved with that title, but the lead female looks and talks and acts exactly like her, and is named "Ellie".  Who are they kidding again?

*** Which person did SE give the dubious duty of telling the world that this game would "never be completed"?  None other than Motomu Toriyama, the director of the anti-masterpieces, FFXIII and FFXIII-2.  Fitting, really.


  1. So you weren't excited by Watch Dogs, The Last of Us, ZombiU OR Assassin's Creed III? Really?

    And the Last of Us seems like it would be your thing

  2. Yeah E3 was a real disappointment this year. Then again it's always disappointing. But please Blue don't Give up on Kingdom Hearts! I won't reveal too much but the way they set it up, yeah it was a crappy excuse to bring back Xehanort and a few of his flunkies, but if my theories are correct Sora might lose his Keyblade! There's more to it then just that, but the game itself is great and so is the game play just give it a chance. And about Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch:

    Level-5 + Studio Ghibli= Take as much cash out my wallet/bank account/or my soul as you want.

  3. What I'm most excited about is Dawnguard, the expansion to Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It looks more like an entire game than DLC.

  4. I'm really REALLY starting to give up hope that RPGs are dead. I bought a PS3 specifically for great RPGs and looks as if the Gamer world will have to continue on without me if this continues...dusted my PS2 off threw in some games and realized how much fun gaming used to be. Its sad.

  5. I won't lie, I mostly play Western games these days. E3 was...interesting. In the sense that, some games look good but EVERYTHING western devs had to offer were atmospheric third-person cover shooters, or some similar variety. Assassins Creed III, Watch Dogs, the new Splinter Cell, Star Wars 1313, a new Gears of War, the list goes on.

    Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. I've never heard of it till this blog post. Blue...THIS LOOKS AWESOME. It's like....a JRPG, with a Japanese artstyle that ISN'T stupid cutesy crap like the Aterlier Totaler games. It just looks...great. The gameplay looks fluent too.

    Thanks for giving me another game to look forward to man.

    1. How, exactly is Assassin's Creed III a cover-based shooter?

  6. Dude, relax. don't worry about KH 3d, It's NOT the same gameplay, And this Is a more powerful system than the DS, you dummy...