Sunday, June 16, 2013
E3 2013 Reaction
Okay, now that the unpleasantness is behind us, let us move on. Luckily there are two other next-gen gaming consoles out there, the PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo WiiU. So you don't even need Xbox, its part of the past already. They've willingly chosen to make themselves entirely irrelevant forever more, and even the suicide of the one the biggest console manufacturers in the business will not dampen the generally good news coming out of E3 this year.
As a first note, stunningly, Square Enix brought their game this year, and brought it hard. Yeah, they still carried in "Lightning Returns" and those HD remakes, whatever, but they also had new games. Exciting stuff. The "Final Fantasy XV" almost makes up for how long of a wait we've had to suffer for "Versus XIII"**. The actual game might prove to only be mediocre, but this is still a great moment to be a Final Fantasy fan, and nothing can take that away. Then, as if one miracle were not enough, there was an announcement of "Kingdom Hearts III". I guess the universe doesn't hate me after all. Those two alone would have made this a great week to be a gamer, but I have many more titles to speak of.
Let's begin with Microsoft, since this will be pretty quick:
Crimson Dragon (Xbox One) - This is a spiritual successor to the classic Sega Saturn series of rail shooters known as "Panzer Dragoon". Panzer Dragoon is the only video game franchise which I believe I am a fan of despite not actually playing a single title of. Sorry, they were released on a damn Sega Saturn and are abhorrently expensive. I'd buy them in a second if somebody had a digital release these days or any kind of remake. "Crimson Dragon" actually was originally a 360 game until it suffered some setbacks, but I wasn't really worried since I had already discounted it for being a Kinect-only title. Now they've given a controller option, but still ruined the game. Why? Its exclusive to the XBOX FUCKING ONE. (Maybe the "One" refers to the system having "one game" I want.) So anyway, "Crimson Dragon" looks like a lot of fun, I love basic rail shooters, but I'll never play it. Huge shame.
Bravely Default Flying Fairy (3DS) - I've been waiting for this title for a good part of a year now, since up until this E3 it looked it was going to be the only quality RPG that SE was serious about developing. It still ranks among one of their coolest-looking titles, a classic turn-based 2D RPG with utterly gorgeous visuals and a rocking soundtrack. In fact, we should have been playing this game by now, but Square Enix has been bizarrely ambivalent about exporting it, meaning that the good old wonderful folks at Nintendo have had to do their jobs for them. "Bravely Default Flying Fairy" might have the worst title ever for a video game, but it does really look like something really special.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) - Any Zelda game is going to have my blood-pumping, though unfortunately Nintendo did not show off their Zelda WiiU game. Its a direct sequel to "A Link to the Past", using the same map, and some 2D walking on walls gimmick. And well... that's all we got from the trailer. It was basically "here's 'A Link to the Past' again" and then... nothing. There's no hint of a story or characters or anything at all. This is probably the tersest trailer I've ever seen for a Zelda game, making me wonder if its very far along, or maybe its just that simple. The original "Link to the Past" is a very simple game, you beat a dungeons and then you wander around looking for the next dungeon. I love that game, don't get me wrong, but I can't say I'm very much on the edge of my seat for this. For one, I can play "Link to the Past" right now: I've beaten it about six hundred times at this point, I know every detail of that game. But for another, there just doesn't seem to be very much going on in this trailer. I need a bit more than simple fanservice of a classic title to make me happy. We'll wait for more information before I make a real judgment here.
Pokemon X & Y (3DS) - Yeah, its Pokemon again. But there's a twist this time: not only is it the most advanced and complex game of them all so far. But you can pet your Pokemon! You can feed them snacks, you can play with them and make funny faces and they react! Its "Nintendogs"... with Pikachu! Its the most adorable and awesome thing I've ever seen in my entire life. If you are not completely mesmerized by the prospects of making a Snorlax smile, then you are sir, are without a soul. You probably sold it several years ago, I would re-negotiate, since you're going to need one in order to enjoy this title. (Also they've added a new element, Fairy, so that should drive the competitive battling crowd nuts.)
Sonic Lost World (3DS, WiiU) - In terms of just raw gameplay excitement, this might be the best-looking game at E3 this year. One of the greatest tragedies of gaming's long and storied past was the failure of "Sonic X-Treme", a proposed Sonic game for the generally ill-fated Sega Saturn, to ever get released. It seemed to be a very cool and unique platformer, almost like "Super Mario Galaxy" a full decade before its time. "Sonic Lost World" looks even better than that. Its pure 3D Sonic the Hedgehog gameplay in a wild environment full of exploration and alternate paths. Let me just say right now that everything about this game looks fantastic and I'm loving every second I can see of the trailers and gameplay footage. This might be the game that finally makes me commit to buying some next-gen Nintendo hardware.
Super Smash Bros (3DS, WiiU) - Well, its Super Smash Bros. Again. What more do you want? Megaman looks pretty over-powered, which means that he'll either become one of my main fighters in the future or I'll hate him with a glorious villainous passion much as the one I've harbored against Pikachu and Kirby for some many years.
Xenoblade 2 (WiiU) - The original "Xenoblade" was a pretty decent game for the original Wii, and honestly, I need to get back to that one, since I only finished about half of it. (Sorry, it was actually too big, I wound losing interest when being introduced to yet another giant location that I would have to explore entirely. But I'll finish it one day... I hope.) This new Xenoblade looks like pretty much the same thing, only with far superior graphics and GIANT ROBOTS. Yes, we're returning to the original "Xenogears" roots, but hopefully with better characters and gameplay that isn't perfunctory interruptions to endless scenes of dull dialog.
Batman: Arkham Origins (PC, PS3, 360, WiiU) - "Batman: Arkham City" has to be one of my favorite games of all time, and here we go, the sequel. Or well, prequel, whatever. The gameplay looks again like the same sandbox brawler detective superhero action, only this time moderately prettier and featuring new villains like... some dude I've never heard of... and another guy I've never heard of... and the bad guy from "Teen Titans"(?). Oh well, I'm sure the Joker will be back and the action will be just as awesome, even if it is looking like DC has reached the bottom of Batman's rogues gallery barrel.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3) - With trailers this fantastically awesome, I am having more and more trouble ignoring the reborn "Final Fantasy XIV". This really is looking like everything I ever could have asked for from a modern Final Fantasy game, featuring a grand political story with huge powerful enemies and classic references to the beautiful history of this series. The only thing that's stopping me from pre-ordering this game right now is a simply one: its an MMO. But if this game looks this good this often, I don't see how I could possibly continue to ignore it for very much longer. "Final Fantasy XII" is by far my favorite installment in the main Final Fantasy series, and "Final Fantasy XIV" is taking many cues from that predecessor. We got judges, classic summons appearing as angry god with cults, Magitek Armor, and a beautiful open adventure. If this game continues to look this awesome any longer, I might have to play my first MMO. I don't know.
Final Fantasy XV (PS4, Xbox One) - Yes, here we are. The glory. The wonder. A full-on action RPG which will serve as our next main series Final Fantasy game. That trailer was amazing, featuring several fantastic action sequences. And unlike other modern Final Fantasy games, those ridiculous scenes of badass excitement are not purely FMVs, you actually get to play them. In one sequence, the heroes dueled a giant monster with a sword twenty-feet tall. They stole the sword from it, and then tore that creature in half. Even better, the game seems to actually have some sort of real style, real substance, and its trailer offers what appears to be a fantastic adventure. Hopefully, however, this isn't going to be too much of an action game and they aren't going down the route of a "God of War" clone, where everything is a predetermined sequence of action scenes and there is no free exploration or world to experience. Please make a game, not a movie, Tetsuya Nomura.
Kingdom Hearts III (PS4, Xbox One) - Okay, its "Kingdom Hearts III", that's all I need to say. I've rapidly grown tired of how many sidegames Kingdom Hearts has put out instead of making a full proper installment, since all they seem to do is make the series more and more convoluted and confusing. I still haven't played "Kingdom Hearts 3D" and I'm not really in any particular hurry. This trailer did not show very much and its brief seconds of gameplay were obviously a facade. But its hard not to be excited. I would prepare for a long wait for this title, remembering which company is making it. "Final Fantasy XV" still doesn't have a release date, so its at least a year off. "Kingdom Hearts III" could be anything as much as three years away. So get comfy. I'm sure I'll play "Kingdom Hearts 3D" at some point between now and then.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS3, PS4, Xbox One) - I've never been a huge fan of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, but I've always felt a degree of respect for how completely insane Hideo Kojima has been, creating a huge spy epic based upon his own ludicrous dreams. I really need to get around to play "Revengeance", come to think of it. "Metal Gear Solid V" is the only shooter at E3 - and there were no shortage of them - that really caught my eye. It looks like the game is dropping you off what appears to be the entire country of Afghanistan and is letting you track your own stealthy way to a mission which is leading to a grand impressive story full of characters and twists. It doesn't look like this a game that should easily be missed. And its on a current-gen system, so I don't even need to buy a PS4 just yet.
Watch Dogs (Every console pretty much) - Between this, MSGV, and "Arkham Origins", it doesn't look like I'll really need a PS4 for at least another year. "Watch Dogs" looks like Grand Theft Auto with a little bit of "Arkham City" and plenty of puzzle action. The gameplay really speaks for itself, you can drive, you can hack into cameras and play other tricks, you can shoot, you can brawl, it looks amazing. This might be one of the best-looking modern games to come from E3, offering an entire feast of quality gameplay options.
So between the hundreds that a WiiU, 3DS, and PS4 will cost me, and the approximate fifty bucks that all these games will cost, I'm going to need a lot more money to pay for all this. But with all these titles stirring the imagination, the future of gaming looks secure. There will still be at least another generation of beautiful console games until the evil of the Xbox One and DRM conquers this hobby.
But before I go, let us take a moment to mourn the video game that wasn't here at E3 today. The title that seemed to hold so much promise but were snuffed out by ill-fate, probably never to be played. Yeah, its developer still sounds hopeful, but let's be honest, this game isn't going anywhere. And that game is....
"The Last Guardian".
You looked fantastic, you really did. Nobody is sadder than me to see you never make it to stores. But I've faced reality, I'll never play you. I'm so sorry, "Last Guardian". You never got a chance to live at all. Just like that "Mad Max" game. Who are they kidding with that one. If anybody plays a "Mad Max" video game in the next five years, I will eat my own shoes.
* When I first heard people talking about the Xbox One, I thought they were talking about the original Xbox, much how today the old PlayStation is now the PlayStation 1. Turns out no, its a next-console. The idea is to the be the "one" multimedia devise you'd have in your home. Though the title might still fit, since I think there's only one person out there deluded enough to try this shit.
** A wait made considerably longer because SE decided to upgrade this game to the PS4. We might be playing this game right now, otherwise. Remember that.